Friday, December 9, 2011

Why I Love Humans


“To err is human; to forgive, divine.” - Alexander Pope

“Be nobody's darling;
Be an outcast.
Take the contradictions
Of your life
And wrap around
You like a shawl,
To parry stones
To keep you warm. ”

Perfection is the greatest myth of humankind. Setting ourselves up to be perfect is just so wrong. It’s the ugliness, the scars, the failures, contradictions, quirks, crooked teeth, knobby knees, horse-like laugh, and gross imperfections that make us, me, interesting and human. It’s good because it is real. I am not airbrushed.  My nails look like shit today. I am mildly hung-over. My lips are dry. I am getting old. I am abrasive and impatient. I am hungry. My shit stinks (so does yours and you know it.) I have to wear glasses to read just about everything these days. My pits are sweaty. But guess what? I am me. I will be loved just like this.  I am loved just like I am. How cool is that? 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Youth


In youth, the skin has buoyancy—a juiciness—plump, soft yet firm to the touch, it springs back from a smile, from a pinch. It snaps back instantly—there is no lag.

I lag. Here it is. My skin lags (rhymes with fag, sag, and hag. How lovely.)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Self-Hate Part 2


How come when it comes to saying the really hard stuff I get totally mealy-mouth and can’t type or say a thing? 

What kind of coward am I? 

I boast and brag about being a truth teller, about not being scared of much, about being fearless mostly, and about how important the truth is—at least knowing your own truths. How is it that I have no trouble being an asshole or being opinionated or speaking my mind. Then, fast-forward to me, crippled by the truth—totally paralyzed to write or speak the story, to hear the song, to dig in and say what’s it is.  

The only good is that the stakes are high and I have a shitty poker face. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Oh, That Vicious Inner Critic--Shut Up!


God, November is hard to swallow this year. The sadness floods in like a tsunami, a barrage of waves smashing grief, anger, longing, in a relentless call and response. It’s hard to stand; harder to sit. And then, there is the bitterest taste in my mouth, not just a metaphor…it’s sour like after eating too much candy. Maybe that’s it—too much Halloween candy, I’m all bitter in the mouth. Bitter and soaking wet with disappointment. Here comes the end of the year. Watch out for regret slipping into this wintery mix; slippery motherfucker that regret is…what have you accomplished this year? How about those New Year’s resolutions? You fucking loser.  When will you ever learn?

Rattle, leaves, rattle. Shake in the wind. The wind trying gently then with more vigor to shake those last little palms of hope and life loose, leaving only skeletal pointy shards of the blackest bark behind. And the snow will come…you can bet on it. More death. More cold. More isolation. Ice.

Put that in your pipe.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My love to you old life, my ode to those little moments of self in the big, bad City


I don’t always miss my old life. And yet...sometimes I do. I miss walking alone through the City and feeling alone. There is a peace in being completely unobserved, being one of millions, unknown, anonymous, mysterious maybe?  I miss having no one to report to. My time was mine alone. Boyfriends be damned. My iPod (1st generation) playing weird songs from some little surreal band that played the night before at Fred’s, like Songs to Drink and Drive By or Leah Siegel…waiting for the train, no one else on the platform for a second, singing, dancing around in that little teeny, tiny moment of quiet in the City.  

Ah, Maker's

Saturday, August 20, 2011

It's almost October 1st (Grandmother's Birthday)

My sweet cousin sent me a number of old photographs of my grandmother and grandfather. She took the time to scan them and sent me nice jpegs. Looking through all the pictures I can see happy and not-so-happy expressions in her face and in his. I am better able to write the narrative now that I have a husband and child of my own. I can see the tensions and frustrations…the thinness from starvation and worry, the fatness later from having unmarked time with an empty nest and not much else to do. If I only knew then what I know now, my relationship to my grandmother would have been very different. Not that I was bad to her in any way, but I understand so much more now about how difficult life is. How happiness and family don’t solve all the problems, how complicated it is to raise a kid (or 4 kids in her case) and have a marriage—always bending, always giving in, giving up—trying so hard often in vain.

In her later years, the years that I knew her best, she was mostly relaxed (or more relaxed) and would treat herself often to shopping trips and sundaes, Mexican lunch with the girls. She would sit and put her feet up. I am so glad she did. I know how long the days are raising kids left alone in a house with a baby—chasing, chasing, rescuing, preventing. We all deserve to put our feet up; to eat sundaes; to rest, to sing, to laugh, to try new things, to have joy!

I miss my grandmother as much in my memory as in real life. I wish her here sometimes to talk to me again, to tell me secrets—I wish I could rub her shoulders and feet and pepper her cheeks with kisses. She would get such elation from my daughter—so funny and full of life.

Thank you cousin for the pictures.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Humans

Here I am again surprised that I am like everybody else…with such obvious and transparent human emotions. Nothing to see here. I am conflicted about going back to work. Very excited to have a wonderful job. But, oh, Baby S, my love, my dear, my soul (see, look up going back to work on the Internet, you will find thousands of mommies just like me.) How bittersweet. Will she ever know that I love her so much and that I have not abandoned her?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What Did You Have for Dinner Last Night?

I had a toasted bagelthin with unsalted butter and a small hunk of hot pepper cheese, a glass and a half of white wine, and Jeni's coriander raspberry and dark milk chocolate ice cream. Who needs nutrients?

Monday, August 1, 2011

A New List of Things to Do

1. Take a class at every yoga studio inside of 270.
2.  Make an apple and/or a peach cake.
3.  Take a bath each week—not a shower, those are daily—but a real, good, soak-your-butt, mineral salt, steamy, relaxing, with a glass of wine, bath.
4.  Create a new recipe using pesto.
5.  Spend one whole day without complaining or worrying.

Pooped

Is necessity truly the mother of invention? Or is it privilege? Or boredom? Or intelligence? All I know is that it is not exhaustion that inspires creativity.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tell Me Something Good

3 to 5 Year Plan
1.      Get a good job, a job where I can contribute my talents and skills (and the things that make me special) and where my contributions are valued. I want a juicy job that I can really love, sink my teeth into, and dedicate myself to. I am ready.
2.      Do more yoga. Build a daily practice.
3.      Look into taking yoga teacher training. And maybe take teacher training, even though I may never want to teach.
4.      Write more. Blog more, work on short stories, write poems and essays.
5.      Revel in my daughter (almost 1 already!!!) and my family. Make time, plan specific events and outings that will make memories and bring us more joy.
6.      Pay off all credit cards, student loans, and car payments. Buy a house. Build a new garden. Eat salads from my garden.
7.      Learn to can. Must to do this!
8.      Read more. Starting with anatomy books and the history of yoga.
9.      Seek out new music. Build playlists for S. Dance and sing, clap and shake, love music, live in music.
10.  More joy, less worry.

In an attempt to archive some stuff for Baby S

The names I currently call my daughter:
Stinker Binker, Barnabus, Sylvester, Stinky, Cuddles the Baby, Monkey, Monkey Face, Monkey Butt,  Big Baby, Baby Head Face, Baby Monster, Little Dentist (thank you AG), Syl, Sunshine, Sunshine Face, Sunny Butt, Wild One, Wild Baby Monster


When do I stop calling her baby?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cooking Without Lists

Some where there is an artist who collected lists, lists found, I believe, and made them into art. The lists of my life would accurately illustrate each stage of my life. My list today is as follows: diapers, wipes, eggs, bananas, condoms, coffee

From a purse tucked in the back of the closet:
wine, good cheese, ½ n ½, crackers, mangos, avocados, strawberry/clove cigarettes, eggs

And found in camping gear:
graham crackers, hersheys, marshmallows, lighter, paper towels, windex, cat treats

That’s all.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ah...

So, my IUD is implanted into my uterine lining. Barf. I have to have a procedure to have it removed. Barf again. It really hurts. It's lame. I am so, so over this whole drama with my womb. No more after Tuesday. Just get this IUeffingD out of my body and leave my uterus alone!

(Note to S: You are totally worth all the trouble and pain. The joy you brings outweighs any and all suffering. You are dear and perfect and wanted!)

To My True Love, A Poem-ish Thing

You are my favorite person, and yes, I know there is a new person around
she is lovely, and wonderful, and perfect, but runs a close second to you
you sit really close and take up just the right amount of space--not too much
when we are still. Thanks for watching Lost with me.
It’s way too scary to watch alone.
Your love is the best gift I have ever had, even better than a hot-pink bike with tassel handlebars, even better than the best chocolate ganache, even better than ocean-fresh sushi at Bayfront Bistro, better than the most beautiful carrots in the world
Don’t forget. I won’t either.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

As Yet Untitled

What is in the missing of some one that tears the heart out so slowly?

Is it that time speeds by—so much to tell you, so many things happened since we talked last—or that time stops—you are as I remember—has nothing changed?

I never stop missing.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Crown Jewels and All, but Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid

What if I can’t find a job? Like, ever? Whole Foods wouldn’t hire me. I know because I have applied and have been rejected.

Do people still live in communes? Is it too late to start one? My thinking is thus: if I can’t find a “straight” or traditional job, then I would like to write full time. But, if I am writing full time then who will watch/play with/love on/discipline Baby S? So, if I start a commune, then maybe, I can write full time and have some other folks around to watch/play with/love on/discipline Baby S. I can help with their babies/pets when I am not writing. One day a week I can make dinner and we can share other responsibilities. Like on Big Love, except without all the creepy polygamy.

Is there a non-weird way to do this? Can we all live in Clintonville with our own homes, maybe just be next door and house-behind neighbors and then share childcare, dinners, and gardening chores?

I know that I am not alone in the feeling that I am doing all of this by myself. Yes, of course, with D’s help and my mom’s help too (at least once a week, which is more than a lot of people get), but it isn’t enough. I hate to say it takes a village….

Maybe we should move somewhere more hippie? Like Ashville, NC or Portland, OR or Yellow Springs, OH.

Here’s more: It might also be better if I had siblings. Being an only child is wonderful in many, many ways, but if I had a sister or brother or both, I might have a small community of people to live with—to commune with. Here’s the rub…I keep thinking that Baby S is going to be an only child—am I setting her up to feel the same way I do when she is grown? Maybe we should have another baby.

Too much for today…I am going to go finish my really good library book. Ann Patchett State of Wonder. Read it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

In honor of father’s day (insert tongue into cheek)

My father, sarcastically “dear old dad”, was not around. I can make excuses for him—he was young, he didn’t know any better, he didn’t have a good male role model, blah, blah, blah. Truth is truth: he was a coward. Thankfully, my grandfather was not. My father figure was a man 56 years older than me. Grandpa is a good man, a good provider, a good story teller, good with his hands, good at many, many things. He took me places with him. He held my little hand and told me stories. We took naps together and went to the hardware store. He pulled splinters out with tweezers and taught me how to play pool. I am thankful that I had him in my life as a young girl; he filled the daddy-is-a-loser void and then some.

My husband is a new dad. Baby S is only 9 months old. She adores her father already. He is the funniest, and most fun; he is the giver of baths and unusual treats, like banana, Nilla wafer pudding and first slices of tart and tangy lemon. My heart is filled to overflowing with love for my husband as I see him becoming a father to Baby S. I know it takes time for a man to become anything. I wish for myself patience and generosity for my husband…to give him the chance, the time to fill the shoes of a father, of a husband, of a man—the chance to become S’s father. I suppose it may take a lifetime of becoming to get it down—to really know how to be anything—a mom or a dad seems like you are always learning new and better ways to love your children. I can’t wait to see it unfold, each year a new place in their lives together. Oh, my little family, I am so in love.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

From the Mental Archives

I remember a pencil sharpener in the laundry room of our basement. I loved that pencil sharpener. I remember thinking that it was so cool to have a real, wall-mounted, grade-school-issue pencil sharpener. You could adjust the sharpener for different widths of pencils and it had a barrel to collect the shavings—which I dutifully emptied. I don’t think I ever told anyone how cool I thought that was (oh, the mockery.)

As a child I lived with my mother, grandmother, and grandfather. The basement of my grandparents’ house had green and black swirled tile on the floors. The basement was always cool and often slightly damp. When it rained water would stream in near the steps. There was a pool table and a piano and a dehumidifier and sometimes a full bedroom and living room set up, other times just boxes and discarded furniture and knickknacks—French-looking little boy blue porcelain statues, a cornucopia from Thanksgiving, a metronome.

My grandfather’s army fatigues and camping gear had a nook underneath the stairwell and across from a gross, moldy, creepy shower stall that was always closed off by a thick plastic shower curtain printed with cherry blossoms in 60s psychedelic colors—did anyone ever use that disgusting thing?

Some days the basement was creepy; at other times cool—an escape. It varied from day to day and certainly from year to year as I grew older. As children, we, my cousins and I, used to play in the basement often. Sometimes a pool game, or hide & seek.

I remember the squeak of the basement door and the sound of Grandma’s flip flops on the linoleum steps. I remember trying to learn (teach myself?) how to play the piano. We would always bang around on it. I liked the sounds. I loved to sing. I remember listening to Madonna’s True Blue tape for the first time in the basement on my Grandma’s little boombox.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Birds of America

Yesterday my sister-in-law came up with a great idea for a business. One that she thought--correctly—that I would be interested in. My major objection to starting a business or working in general is that I won’t have time to write. Since I had S, writing has once again become a lifeline for me—Write or Die. So, in an attempt to focus my writing a little bit, I have decided to spend the next amount of time (not sure how long) working on some writing goals. I may or may not share all of them here. Just wanted to write this out-loud, put it out there for accountability’s sake.

I’ve started by re-reading Bird by Bird. I have been reminded thus far to start writing from the beginning—revisit childhood memories, to get the out, I suppose. I didn’t really do this in college writing classes, so now is the time. Also, once you have a kid, childhood memories come flooded back into your mind…songs, dance moves, more songs, snacks-both loved and hated-people, games, general feelings about times of day and movies watched, etc.

In BbyB, I was also reminded to start small (to attack my work (book?) one subject, one inch at a time—or bird by bird if I were like Lamott’s brother who waited until the last minute to write a huge report on all the birds in North America—Lamott’s father told the boy to start writing “bird by bird”—i.e., not to get overwhelmed by the whole story, just start writing, start small, start somewhere.

Some of these exercises might be reflected here. I have noticed that I am not writing fiction. I am writing memoire mostly, although right now, I am writing memory, which is not quite memoire yet….

I would love to start a business with my sister-in-law. I wish I could do that, stay at home with S, writing beautiful memoires and still have time to cook and eat and spend time with my husband. I am just not sure that I am that organized. Wait, let me rephrase, I am sure that I am not that organized. Maybe…

Bird by bird.

Selfish Thought of the Day...

Please stop crying so I can write. [Going to] Hell seems so close some times.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Odes of May

Radish

Radish, you spicy little onion you,
how you make a salad sing
with your peppery bite
hidden under your crimson sling
may you always reign supreme
and be so bold
to stand up to creamy dressings
and lettuce oh so cold
you are best sliced thin
smashed into an avocado
on crunchy toast with watercress
standing bold with a pinch of salt
and no bravado

Quinoa

Quinoa, Quinoa, my favorite grain,
I love that no one can say your name
(except for me, of course)
it’s “keen” like a lover’s sigh
and “wa” like a baby’s cry
all crunchy and chewy and easy to cook
with mushrooms and feta each bite is perfect
Quinoa, Quinoa, my favorite grain,
I love that no one can say your name.

Red Pepper

Oh red pepper, you are the best,
oh so bright in your fashionable jacket
Oh so much better than your wan cousins
yellow and orange cannot compare
and green, tasting yucky everywhere,
oh red pepper you are a dream
of crispy, crunchy veggies steamed
or fresh you are the best.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mixed Truths and Some Lies

- it sucks not to be able to cook. Baby S is very, very demanding right now. Less cooking more carrying out.

- frozen vegetables are ok. I like frozen creamed spinach very much. Also, frozen turnip greens are delicious. Frozen mixed veges are nice to add to a quick soup. Frozen corn is delicious pureed in soups as a thickener.
- slow-cooker. Slow cookers save lives. I am making slow-cooker chicken thighs in tomatoes and garlic for dinner tonight. It beats having Wendy's again.
- there is no such thing as baby-proofing. Just saying.
- a little bit of dark chocolate goes a long way for the soul, the tired, aching, dirty old soul.
- cold coffee really sucks. I rarely get hot coffee anymore. Microwaved coffee is wrong, just wrong.

Weigh in

193. So slow but at least it's moving.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ode to Mother's Day: Blog: It's not all about bitching; sometimes it's about love.

I don’t want to miss a thing. What will happen if I miss one breath, one blink, one smirk, one tear—what will it look like when she takes that first step? Will she know it? Will she be proud of herself? Will she feel afraid or will she feel triumphant? Maybe both, a little afraid and then the rush of “I did it! Holy shit, I am walking!”


Can your heart explode from loving so much? You know that feeling in your chest when you see something amazing and touching and you almost cry (welling up, tight and hot)? I feel that way every single flipping day. That is the love of being a parent. If anything ever happened to my daughter, my heart would die (black, frozen, bottom-of-the-ocean, dead.) The love that she inspires in me is the real thing—genuine, unembarrassed, unconditional love—it’s fierce and bright and hot and free; it floods out of me, uncorked. She is the moon and the sun. She inspires poetry and music and dancing and all things tender and sappy and divine. I am in love—maybe for the first time.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sleep training and other myths of parenthood

There is no such thing as sleep training. People lie about it all the time. That or they have nice little babies that have the right temperament for sleep training. My baby says, “No effing way Mom—if that is your real name—I am not sleeping just because you want me to. Forget it! Hold me or I will scream!! DO it now!”


None of the sleep training books or blogs or info on the web says what to do if your baby screams (not cries, not fusses, not whines but screams) for 2 hours while you are supposed to be sleep training. Baby S will go from lying in her crib to all-fours to sitting up screaming. She can sit there and scream indefinitely. So what should I do? How can I comfort her? She is not hungry. Not thirsty. Does not need to be changed. She is exhausted. What can I do?

Two hours is a really long time at 2 am.

Signed, slightly defeated.

HD

Yoga

My yoga practice has become more of a meditation and less for exercise. That is not to say that I don’t get those totally sweaty practices where sweat drips from my nose onto the mat because that happens every time I practice. But it is so much more for my mind—for my own sense of quiet—to check in with myself. Checking in is something I am denied most of the day. Baby S doesn’t really allow much time for me. She demands so much. I want to give her so much. It leaves very little for me.


I search out the quiet. When I am yogaing, I concentrate on a pose or breath or gaze and I do not think about babies or husbands or pain or how tired I am or how long it’s been since I have had a brow wax. I just get strong in the pose and breathe, focusing my mind into the movement, holding, breathing. I love those moments.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Last Night

I want to drink a glass of wine, take a bath, have sex, and read before bed, but it’s one minute until bedtime; so, I will just brush my teeth and be a minute late for bed.

Friday, April 15, 2011

She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain When She Comes

Spring and applying for jobs has kept me from my writing. Well, that and only having 24 hours in a day, which seems really short most days. My daughter is chewing on some clean laundry, so I have a second to write.


Applying for jobs is tough. Selling myself seems so juvenile. I feel like I keep jumping up and down with my hands in the air screaming, “Pick me! Oooo, ooo, ooo! Pick me!” [Is it okay for babies to eat used dryer sheets? I hope so.]
Jobs are notoriously difficult to come by these days…an ode to recession:

Oh, stupid financiers, why did you fuck us?
Haven’t we all suffered enough at your merciless, greedy hands?
Please stop stealing our money and lives. We will get you back later,
because what comes around, goes around (might just stop spending,
how you like us now?)

In addition to broadening my job search, I have increased the breadth of what I will apply for. I can do almost anything now, and have like, 20 versions of my resume. Need a doctor? I can do that? Looking for an experienced IT fellow? I’m your guy! Oh! Did you just say you are looking for someone who can make coffee and type 16,000 words per minute? And you pay $16K per year? Awesome! I can do that and sing songs to my baby and write my blog. Look at me! [Was that barf or slobber?]

I am smart and capable, a quick study and a lover of work and words, hire me to do anything, please.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

List of things I love about myself (an exercise suggested by a self-help book I am reading.) This is really hard. You should try it:

1. I am funny. I crack myself up. I make D and the baby laugh. Even Catface chuckles from time to time.
2. I have a nice, friendly, big smile.
3. I am mostly optimistic and in general happy. I like moving on. I dislike grudges and like to forgive and forget.
4. I like my hands. Yes, they are huge, and slightly masculine, and dry and cracked and ugly, but I like them. My hands are strong and expressive. My hands are trustworthy.
5. I am a good mom (so far.) I like my kid and playing and being strong for her and helping her eat, and go to sleep (even when she doesn’t want to but is so tired that she is falling over). I enjoy her.
6. I am better at yoga than I think, than I admit. I am strong at yoga. I like my body when I am doing yoga.
7. I am a good friend. My loyalty and ability to forgive makes me a good friend. I have learned in the last 5 years, how to let people love me too, which also makes me a better friend. Not so one-sided, less competitive.
8. I am not competitive (which I say is a plus, something good about me.) My push and drive comes from myself, from inside; I do not look to others to set my bar—I set my own goals. (That’s why this whole weird mommy competition was so foreign to me. Thankfully, that’s over for now.)
9. I do not care much what others think of me. I am good at being myself. I am not sorry. Here I am. This is me. Like it or leave it.
10. I have cute toes and strong feet.
11. I am a really good cook. I love food and cooking. Cooking is my love language; I cook therefore I am, etc.
12. I am generous. I am generous with money and gifts and love and I read people as generously as possible (except when driving. Everyone is a stupid asshole when I am driving.)
13. I am an exceptional driver. Safe, efficient, and conscientious.

List of things I hate about my apartment:

1. mold. There is mold everywhere. It was painted over, left for dead, or at least forgotten, but it’s still there; seeping through the walls, foaming out of the cracks and crevices of the bathroom and kitchen. I find traces of it in window ledges in the baby’s room and our bedroom, sometimes even in the living room windows on a steamy day. It sucks. It’s gross. I have a war with the mold. Me and the bleach spray (which is dangerous for the baby so, I spray at night or when she’s in the other room and then open all the windows so we are freezing…it sucks. Did I say that already?)
2. the toilet. The toilet hates to flush. The toilet is lazy. One piece of paper or ten it won’t flush. In this house, it is best to pre-flush the toilet (in addition to post-flushing it, please don’t forget.) Remember Ally McBeal (which I used to call Molly McButter)? Remember the little character that had a remote flusher because he liked a clean bowl? Wouldn’t that be nice?
3. neighbors. My neighbors are nice enough, but people are noisy and nosey and sometimes inconsiderate even though well-meaning. I am sick of neighbors.
4. creaks. Everything creaks. The floors creak like crazy. We can hear Cat walking around at night because the floors creak so loudly.
5. the bathroom. Add mold, door creaks, and a non-flushing toilet and what do you get? My ugly, nasty, falling-apart bathroom. It is the worst. A constant battle to clean. Noisy plumbing and a useless toilet; maybe we should start going outside like Cat.
6. landlord. Useless.
7. storage. No storage. No closet space. No counters. No real cabinets.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Truths etc

-browning meat before you stew it or slow-cook it adds 10 times more flavor (that is not a scientific measurement of flavor)
- quick pasta sauce: on low heat cream goat cheese into freshly-strained pasta, add canned tomatoes (diced or cut them yourself) with a little tomato juice (from the can) to make a sauce. Add a little bit of minced fresh garlic and salt well. (“Cream” is used as a verb above…it means “to break into, or break down”) I make this often with sautéed veg (whatever you have around, red peppers work nicely) and sliced, grilled sausage
- high heat is good for cooking. High heat over time equals burning.

- if you get into a cooking rut—making the same 6 dishes every week, buy a cooking magazine, and plan, yes, PLAN, a menu making one new recipe each day. It’s fun and helps you get out of the rut. This week I made:

1. pea and spinach risotto with mini pita pizzas with roasted red pepper sauce and fresh mozz
2. poached, shredded chicken with French lentils and kale
3. roasted chipotle rubbed pork tender loin with black bean salad
4. shrimp, leek, and spinach linguine with lemon sauce
haven't made yet but, 5. coconut, chocolate chip, oooey gooey bars? if I have time

Downward Dork (that's me)

I am back to yoga. I went to three classes already this week. I think I will start to go to two classes a week—one during the week and one on Saturday or Sunday. It felt really good to do vinyasa again. I feel strong and quiet (and a little old.)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Weigh In

4 pm. 198 lbs...is it crazy that I am happy as hell to be under two-honey? Then, call me crazy.

Keeping It Real (“Get over yourself! You’re going to fuck up! It will be OK.”)

I used to call myself Bea Real. I thought it was funny. Funny, and a good reminder to be honest, to be real, not to forget myself, not to be someone else, not to follow. That phrase has lost a lot of meaning over the last decade. It seems that many phrases have been picked up by advertising giants and turned into cliché—a cliché which makes us forget the original meaning. Be real.


I just finished reading a book called Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer. It was one of those books that came to me as if in a dream. Good book karma, I suppose. The topic of the book is something that I’ve been struggling with in my life, in my marriage, in my new family. The book is about balance. The book is about being good versus being real. I have always struggled to be good. It is not what comes naturally for me, not what comes first. Usually, I think about an answer and try to choose what is good. It amazes me how often I choose what is morally ambivalent. I err on the side of morally neutral, but I want (or have always wanted until now) to be good. Ha!

Thanks to my new book-writing friend, Claire, I am convinced that I no longer need to work so hard (and fail most of the time) to be good…that I need to shift my perspective toward better balance and be more real (i.e., relaxing, enjoying, not reading so much, maybe doing more, just being myself that is not trying to be anything at all.)

I am not sure where this pressure to be perfect came from. I resisted all of the typical teenage desire for perfectionism—I was the bully, the leader, the loner. I didn’t look to others for approval—they looked to me. I set the standards; I was the bar. So why now do I gawk at other mothers on the street trying to ogle their babies, trying to gage how I’m doing. That baby isn’t nearly as cute as mine. Oh look, that mom has huge black circles under her eyes, I look better than that, don’t I? Is that mom radiant? She is! How does she do it? Oh, we need that nice, expensive stroller with the SPF visor, don’t we baby? Where the fuck did this come from? The litany of thoughts that flow through my mind on a daily basis is pure torture, mundane, banal torture.

I care too much about sleep training, and breastfeeding, and which diapers are the best, and how to make my husband participate more in family life, and is it organic? Is it local? Is it cheap, we are on a budget, you know? Life has become didactic and competitive and I am becoming a lemming, a follower, a fan. A fan of all this prefect-mom bullshit. Moms have to be perfect now, didn’t you hear? Recently I have been telling my friends and sister-in-law that I am tired of all this. I don’t want to do it anymore.
Then I found this book (or this book found me, woooo watch out karma.) I don’t want to be perfect. It’s too hard and not real enough. I have always been happy with my mistakes. I’ve always thought that my mistakes and hard-living make me who I am—and generally, I like who I am. How does having a child change this, change me? What am I so scared of? Book quote time:

             There. I had said it. The world hadn’t ended. Nor had my marriage. Maybe each trial
             didn’t make another chink in the armor of marriage, bringing it to its inevitable end
             point: divorce. Maybe each trial made a marriage.

Keep the noun marriage or substitute family, adulthood, life, motherhood, etc. Now, that I have everything that I want (that I’ve wanted for years) I’m so afraid that if I don’t do everything perfectly that I will lose it all—that the god(esse)s will think that I don’t deserve to have it all and they will smote me. If I fuck up at all, my baby will be gone, my marriage will end, my life will come crashing down and rinse away in the Olentangy. That’s what I am afraid of. Sounds realistic, doesn’t it? No? Right.

I am tired of feeling this way. So, no more. Thank you book karma. Thank you Claire for being so smart and living through this crap too and writing about it so I could be reminded of myself. I am a leader although no longer a loner, I co-lead a tribe now, one specific tribe. My people. And we struggle in this together. Me and DD and Babyface (and the cat) are a tribe. We will fuck up. We will not be perfect. We will not die. We will be happy and have fun and love each other and live. Perfectionism is dull and not real. Fuck being good.

I feel better. Keep it real.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why do all movies sounds like plays these days?

Who talks like that? I do, well, I did. I don’t now. Now I say things like, “Come on Babyface, let’s go to the store and take Bunny in a Carrot Car to play with.” I feel so un-special. I feel like my vocabulary has taken a nose dive. Words are slippery elusive things that I can’t seem to get my hands on. I used to live in words. Now, I live here in poopy-doo-doos and binkies and meltdowns and silly-head-face gigglinas. Argh. It’s all onamonapic and personifications. I no longer have enough time or narcissism to be witty.
Just watched: The Romantics (don't bother, one long, wordy conversation after another)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Are you happy?

What the fuck does that mean? Are you happy? Who is happy? What is happiness?

Yes, there are happy moments in life. There are moments of joy or elation. We all want to be happy. That is the goal, right? But maybe the goal is wrong. What does it mean to be happy? I read a book that discusses this, a book called The Happiness Project. I never finished the book, but the premise was smart, a smart way to tackle this question of happiness. The author is trying to figure out what the components of happiness are (work, energy, family, marriage, etc.) and how to improve her overall happiness by achieving specific goals in each area (i.e., get more sleep, have date night, etc.) I am not sure what her conclusions are but let me make my own…. No one thing makes us happy or miserable. Most of the time we walk around and we are fine…not great, not terrible, but alive, and not hungry, and not asleep, and not dead.

Maybe that is my new answer…I’m not dead. What a downer.
How are you?
I’m not dead.
Ok, then.

There has to be more to this than that. Being alive in itself may make some people happy, let’s say the terminally ill, or someone who just recovered from major surgery—they are probably happy to be alive. What about the rest of us? Is just being alive enough? No. Maybe it should be.

Yes, I do know that I think too much, that I am going over, and over, and over this same question that people have been thinking about for like a million years…or so it seems. What is art? What is beauty? How can we define ourselves? If we leave cave drawings will they know we were here?

The goal of happiness seems silly in the grand scheme of things. But maybe not. Why live all this life if we are just living “through” it. I don’t just want to get through this (alive?) I want to enjoy my life. But wait, don’t I enjoy it? Wasn’t I just smiling and laughing with a friend on Skype? Wasn’t I just playing and smiling and laughing with Babyface? Didn’t I just have a delicious pot roast leftover lunch? Am I not fat and warm and healthy and writing on a nice computer? What the fuck is wrong with me? I have everything and yet I sit here pondering my happiness. What a vain, narcissistic thing to do? Who cares? More circles.

Too much time on my hands? Or wait, I thought I didn’t have enough time for things? Which is it? Maybe it is that life is all of the living we do in between happiness and death. Maybe it isn’t happiness that we should be searching for…maybe we don’t deserve that. Maybe happiness can only be experienced in small moments, in little pieces, in between the other stuff. Can you imagine being happy all the time? What would that even feel like? Would you have to stay high? Shit, you would have to be high, right?
Remember childhood…you were happy right? Wrong, really remember it…you were always questions things, struggling to learn, vying to grow up faster, wanting to be something that you weren’t—certainly that was not happiness. Once again, it was only moments.

More on this to be sure. Maybe I can think on it and get past all this boring crap I am writing now…and come up with something more concrete, more interesting, more real.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

To my dearly departed

My day of the dead is here. My dead. I am well and at peace and happy. Thank you for watching over me, I needed it, but now I am okay. Go on then, go on.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Some sort of ode to the tub

Sitting in the bathtub drinking a beer feels so luxurious now; it may have felt luxurious two years ago too, but not like now. Now it feels like what I would think drinking fine champagne is like. I usually drink prosecco or some other sparkling wine, and although it’s delicious and delightful and hints at luxury, it is not fine or fancy.

In the tub I am holding two small soap slivers—one slightly larger than the other, both smooth and oval—pressing them together to make a little soap sculpture. Like something zen, or wiccan, or Jewish, or hippie—small rocks stacked up to say something spiritual or funerary. Me, saving these little soap scraps like it’s the Depression, thinking about how to foam up this small amount of soap in my luxurious bath. The water so hot, my skin steams on the surface.

Somehow there is something thrifty in me; I use soap until each sliver is gone—I try to incorporate a little bit onto a larger chunk. It is as if I didn’t have a cupboard full of soap and shampoo at the ready. I use every last drop of toothpaste (I have been known to cut open the tube) and pound the lotion bottle on my hand until the very last blob comes out. I hate wasting those things.

As a kid, I loved to squeeze the toothpaste out into the sink to watch it coil, to smell the minty freshness, to then smear it around with my fingers into a minty abstract painting and finally to rinse all proof of my art away. All gone. We get so far away from ourselves, from our childhood, our kid-ness as we age. Now, with a baby I try to remember what it all was like—what I liked (the smell of the hose on hot blacktop making a rainbow) and what I didn’t like (playing baseball with David and Jason Fedders.) I remember my mom singing to me and rocking me at night. I remember the smell of the basement; slightly dank and moldy and like sawdust and motor oil. I remember running through the long church pews while my family practiced in the choir.

When I was very small, I remember excitedly running through the house and bumping my head on the kitchen counter. I remember struggling to tie my shoes and which foot again? I was constantly confounded by which shoe went on which foot. I liked Sesame Street quite a bit but loved the Bloodhound Gang and the Electric Company. I also liked MASH—which seems strange for a young kid. I don’t even like MASH now. My grandma would make popcorn on the stove on Sunday nights and we would have popcorn and 7Up and watch The Sound of Music or Mary Poppins or The Wizard of Oz. I thought most adults were old and soulless, but I like Mary Poppins and my grandma.

I loved taking baths when I was a kid. All the splashing was fantastic. What imagination! I had in water games and stories that I would tell. The mermaids, and pirates, and dolphins, and surfing and swimming, and boats—I had many yachts. I loved that luxurious word yacht. And now, the bath is my only recluse, my only quiet—head under the water—my fifteen minutes of peace. There is no longer any time for mermaids and pirates. Some nights I don’t even wash; I just semi-recline (damn small-ass tub!), sit very still, listen to the roar of the water and try to relax. I let go of the day, of the baby crying and fussing and whinnying—let go of the lost job, and the lost freedoms, and the exhaustion, and fear (what if I am not good enough?) and I try to be still. To be clean. To find a place to start over again—tomorrow will be better/different/more fun. I will start again tomorrow.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday List (a manifesto of NOTs)

1. I will not be a slave to all organic unbleached cotton blankets and wooden toys. Wooden toys are effing boring!
2. I will not be a perfect mother.
3. I will not make all of my baby’s food (once she starts eating food.) I will make boiled sweet potatoes, mashed bananas, mashed avocados, etc.
4. I will not not yell at times. I will express my anger and frustration as kindly as possible. I want S to know that I am human and have emotions.
5. I will not use cloth diapers.
6. I will not sell our TV. S can watch some TV. She will use the computer too and I am sure have a cell phone. We are not Amish.
7. I will not make friends with people just because they have a baby my baby’s age, size, sex, or because we have the same pediatrician, go to the same park, or day care, or because we shop at Whole Foods, or Trader Joes, or happen to both go to the farmers markets. I do not have a lot of time for new friends (or sadly, for my old friends who I miss so, so much.)
8. I will not ever stop missing the days when it was just me.
9. I will not ever stop missing the days when it was just me and D.
10. I will not ever stop loving my little girl.
11. I am not sorry. I am not sorry that I had her. I am not sorry that this is my life. I love myself. I love my life. I love my baby and my husband and my fat cat.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I am self-superb (or not)

I hate asking for help. It is more than the fact that I am self-sufficient. I am more than sufficient, I mean, I am more than self-adequate, no? What is better than adequate? Superb. I am self-superb. That doesn’t sound right. Superb is not fitting the bill. I will think about it. I digress.


I hate asking for help. During labor, I apologized a thousand times; “I’m sorry” to the nurse; “I’m sorry” to the midwife; a friend said to me (yes, a friend in the labor room—brave soul), “I've never heard you apologize so much. What’s gives?” I replied, “Well, I've never needed so much help. I usually do everything myself.” I am paraphrasing the conversation because I don’t/can’t remember the exact wording but the gist is true. Even during labor I had a difficult time asking for and taking help.
I hate asking for help. I have had to do it so much in the last year. I still hate it. But, practice has maybe made it easier. Here’s the control-freak part, so, when I ask for help, can you do whatever it is exactly the way I would have done it? No? Okay, then it is not helping.

Now who needs a shrink? Wait, I meant to type “Who needs a drink?”

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Truths

to make better salads
- add Craisins and goat cheese crumbles (Whole Foods makes the best goat crumbles)
- add thinly sliced purple onion, strawberries, blue cheese
- add homemade garlic croutons and shaved parmesan

to make better rice (cooked already, leftover or fresh, brown or white or any grain)
- add toasted pine nuts, diced (raw) shallots, a pat or two butter, chopped parsley
- add good EVOO and shaved parm
- add lime juice, cilantro, cubed mango, salt (and grilled shrimp cut up if you have some leftover)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Things that are wonderfully surprising about being a mother (in no order; list is not complete)

1. Play. It is fun to play on the floor. It’s like I had forgotten how to do that. Now I play on the floor all the time. I bark like a dog. Make funny faces. Puff out my cheeks. Anything goes.

2. Toots. Baby toots are hilarious. She has no manners (yet.) No shame. Just rat-a-tat toots (pop, pop, pop) any time, all the time.

3. Poop. There is a fascination with baby poop. I never thought I would care or that this would happen. I never thought I would be amused by or want to talk about poop. Here I am. I also never thought that D and I would talk about poop. “Honey, come and see this!” or “God, babe, there is like a ton of poo in her fat folds. Gross.”

4. Love. Yes, everyone has written and said how much you love your child—you will love your child more than you love anything, anyone, including yourself. Of course. Got it. This is not a surprise to me. But, what is surprising to me is the amount of love she has for me. I remember when I was pregnant; I worried that she would not like me. What if? Now, I am so amazed at the amount of total, unprompted love that she has for me. She adores me. Follows me around. Wants my attention and approval. I am her sun. It’s is flattering and wonderful and I want to be better (at all things) to be worthy of that love. That love is amazing. (I am aware that this "love" is a survival thing; that it is an evolutionary thing that she needs me to survive.)

5. Laugh. Her laugh is my favorite thing. It is so great it can make me cry with joy just thinking about it. And oh, that toothless grin (I rue the day she gets those pesky teeth and looses that toothless grin forever. The day that my little Elmer Fudd will transform into someone new, something less cartoony, someone more beautiful.)

6. Small. My life is so small now. It is about moments and sighs and smiles and giggles and toots. I have found what is really important. Everything else pales in comparison. It’s not that I don’t miss my friends, because I do. But I am addicted to these small moments. She will only be this age, this size for a short time. My friends (the true ones) will still be there, beautiful, interesting, and full of love for me, when I resurface from this small bubble of baby love. S is it. She is worth staying home; she is worth not drinking; she is worth missing out on happy hours and parties; she is worth it all.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I'm a Loser Baby

Ah, procrastination, you old friend, where have you been hiding? Wow. I can do a whole lot of nothing sometimes. I can blame it on never having downtime. I can blame it on having so much to do all the time that I have to goof off once in a while. I can blame it on the rain. But there it is. What have I accomplished all day? Zip, zero, nada.


Sometimes I have so much to do that the only thing I want to do is listen to music, ignore the baby, drink tea, and read the Internet. Who needs to clean the house? Not me. What about laundry? Nope. Menu planning? I'll starve. Freelance project? But I did so much yesterday. Kiss my husband? Maybe, but will he clean the house?
Back to work, slave, back to work!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Truths of the Day

- shallots cooked in butter is one of the great joys in life. Shallots are better than onions in most cooked dishes.
- risotto doesn't take that much stirring...it's a myth. You can over stir risotto. It's better soupy and not so thought out. Relax.
- champagne should not be for special occasions.
- do NOT wash mushrooms. Water makes mushrooms all tough and rubbery. Wet a paper towel or tea towel and wipe the dirt off.
- always wash spinach three times. Soak in cold water and lift leaves from the water (buy a salad spinner.) This is true for all green, leafy things.
- coffee gets bitter when it's cold. Drink hot! (or iced, but iced coffee is a cold-brewed process.)
- quinoa is my favorite grain. It is so, so versatile and yummy.

The New Fat Me--You don't know fat until you have had a baby

I’m fat. So, I am on a mission to lose some weight (while breastfeeding) and to buff up a little. I am sure that I lost some muscle tone throughout my pregnancy and recovery. The losing weight while breastfeeding thing is a little bit of a myth…while it is true that you lose a lot of the initial weight faster than a non-breastfeeding woman, it is not true that you automatically slim down just because you are breastfeeding. I guess it all depends on your metabolism (mine sucks) and how much food you push into your mouth (a small ton) while you are at home all day long, all winter long with not much else to do (or ways to entertain yourself) except eat.


Most of the time, I don’t even notice that I am fat. I was so huge when I was pregnant that after the baby came, I felt small at first—look at those svelte ankles and wrists?!?! Now, I am playing peek-a-boo and making up songs about Babyface and her chubby toes. Who gives a shit about my fatness? The baby doesn’t. The cat doesn’t. If the husband does, he doesn’t say. Everyone else say, “Oh honey, it will come off, you just had a baby.” Thank you. That was over four months ago. Not quite a “just” anymore. Let’s get real. So, instead of just bitching I am doing something about it.



1. Joined the gym (at least until summer) that has a daycare (not the best care I am sure, but as long as they keep her alive for an hour or two, I’m okay with it.)

2. Stop wearing sweats (this means that I need to go shopping…eff.) When you have to wear pants that zip and button, you have to buy a size. Right now that size is a 16/18. Hello Lane Bryant!

3. In the process of getting rid of snacks and cookies and white-flour shit in my cupboards. No more pretzels, no more junk, no cookies, brownies, animal crackers…all so seemingly innocent. Ha. Why not reach for an apple or a little hummus and carrots?

4. Realized that even though I am still breastfeeding, I cannot eat whatever I want anymore. I cannot be the garbage disposal that I have been, that I was during pregnancy. I do not need seconds or thirds. I do not need two cheeseburgers. It is not okay to eat two chocolate chip scones (Timbits, muffins, etc) in the car! It’s okay to feel hungry (for more than the minute it takes to shove some shit in your face.) Let’s let my appetite build, shall we? Yes.

5. More cooking. Less laziness.

Things that stand in my way (identify and get over it):

1. No one sees me. I am at home all day. I don’t go out. I don’t work outside of the home. Who cares what I look like?

2. I just had a baby.

3. It’s a huge pain in the ass to lug a baby to the gym in the ice and snow and unsafe during flu season.

4. No incentive? Too exhausted? It seems that I care very little about anything except my kid, keeping the house, feeding the husband, and getting a little sleep. My priorities are different. What I look like, isn’t even on the list.

5. My body changed so much I can’t get it back to what it was 8 years ago (my smallest weight.) I am too old to be that thin anyway.

6. Aren’t moms supposed to be doughier? This is what I am now.

7. I will never be skinny. I have always been thick. I will never be a skinny bitch.

8. I am getting older. I just turned 34. This is what 34 year old women look like. (At least, married mothers that are 34 and that were never thin.)

One more bitchy thing then I am moving on…eff models, and movie stars, and all those Kardashians that have babies. It is hard to lose weight and look good after you have a baby. It takes longer than a month or six for most normal gals. It takes dedication and concentration and someone to watch the kid while you exercise and it takes a lot more than most (poor, normal) women have at their disposal. I don’t have a trainer. I don’t have 3 hours a day to exercise. I don’t have a personal chef and stylist. I don’t have an airbrush. I am just like every other fat new mom in the world. My story is not unique.



The Weigh In

201 pounds

I weigh two hundred one pounds in sweats and slippers at 3:30pm on Thursday, February 03, 2011. There is it. My heaviest was 250 at 10 months pregnant. So, yes, I have lost about 50 pounds. Good for me. But I am still, by any and every standard, fat, overweight, obese.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Some Quick Truths

- vanilla makes chocolate taste better. Add pure vanilla extract to chocolate cakes, cookies, hot cocoa, etc.


- pure vanilla extract helps teething babies...its scent calms the senses and the GI tract

- clove oil is a substitute for Ambisol

- ground dry mustard (or a tiny bit of wet yellow mustard) makes cheese dishes better (mac-n-cheese, cheese dip, grilled cheese)

- always season every component of a dish separately. It is important to salt and season each part. This will not make the dish overly salty (usually.) This is one thing that professional cooks do that home cooks do not do.

- starch counters salt...add more potatoes, rice, carrots, etc. if your dish is too salty.

- sharp knives do less damage to fingers than dull knives. You should sharpen your knives weekly (I sharpen more often.)
- using canned beans and tomatoes is okay! Life and cooking should be simple. Tomatoes are only amazing when they are grown perfectly in season (so, like two months each year.) For the rest of the year, use canned--yes, even for salsa and crostini/bruschetta. For most bean dishes, canned beans are perfect. I only slow cook beans when making slow-cooked Cuban beans. Otherwise, can opener.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

New Year's Resolution...

take better care of my skin and cook more. Let's keep it simple.

Ok, so here I go again [ellipsis, sigh]

Since the last time I wrote, I had a child, a girl who is very sweet, very lovely, very big and very small at the same time. Now I have very different things to say; new goals to work out, to list, to try on. I like the idea of trying on goals like a pair of jeans. This goal is too small; this goal is too big; this goal is too tight.


With another upcoming job interview, I am again wondering if I want to go back to work. The last interview I had went well. I didn’t get the job but they did throw me a freelance bone. I am freelancing now. That is okay. Still keeps me in sweatpants and a pony tail—there is no glamour, no high heels, no fast-paced office banter. But there is a baby, a sweet baby girl that needs hugs and kisses and play time with her mama (that’s me.)

Maybe not working is a good trade off right now. Every woman I see at the grocery or Target (old and young) tells me to “enjoy” my time with my baby, tells me that it goes by so fast. I find this condescending. I know they mean well; a little advice from another mother. But I do enjoy my baby. How could I not enjoy her? She is hilarious. This time is fleeting an precious. I know this already—thank you for telling me again and again. And yes, you are right, it is going by so fast—so fast that I cannot keep her in tee-shirts, cannot keep her from rolling over, cannot keep her from laughing, and trying to talk, from making new sounds, from smiling at strangers. I still find the true advice a little off-putting. I want to shout “Mind your fucking business! You had your shot. Sorry if you blew it.” Maybe I should see a shrink.

I am making chili. It smells wonderful. Babyface is bouncing in her chair completely amused by Hedgehog and company. Gotta love that old Hedgehog.

Listening to De La Soul Buhloone Mind State.