Thursday, November 20, 2003

Psssst...over here...

Come see my new home!

I can't wait to see you again and show you what I've done with the place. Oh, and please don't forget to change your links.


ETA: I gave up the ghost on Baggage Carousel, so that's a dead link. You can find me blogging at Her Able Hands

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Stop. Look. Listen.

Last night Chris brought wee Lila upstairs to the bedroom where he engaged her giggling evening spirit and told me to go on down to the computer and have at it. I had in front of me at least a half hour of quiet, baby-free, both hands on the keyboard time so I could get a piece written for the online writing workshop I just joined. As I made my giddy way downstairs, Tyler met me on the steps with a notebook and pencil.

"Mom, I want to write a story, will you help me?"

Heart sinking and racing at the same time, I stammered something about wait a minute, let me think while I took inventory of the selfish thoughts flying through my mind.

What do you have to do that now for?
This is MY time. For Me. Alone.
I could cry right now.
I'm a bad mother.
If I loved my kid I'd invite him to write with me.
I hate writing with anyone in the room, I can't even think.
Oh, God, he's going to want to chat about his story.
He's going to ask me questions.
I won't be able to write anything coherent.
Dammit, just go to bed we'll do this tomorrow.
No we won't, I'll have something more important tomorrow too.
I have to learn to do this and have a family.
Is he trying to get a rise out of me?
No, he wants to be with me. He needs my attention.
I can't give it to him and to my work right now.
Yes you can. Just do it.

I compromised as best I could, "I've been looking forward to having a little time to write by myself all day and I'm tired so I need to focus. You can sit at your desk and work on yours and I'll sit at my desk and work on mine. Deal?"

He grinned and ran to his desk, jabbering on about how he wanted to write a scary story but did I think that was a good idea because it was almost bed time. He didn't think he'd scare himself, but what if it turned out to be a really good scary story. Did I want to see the drawings he already did of aliens who want to take over the earth?

He switched on his desk lamp and got busy. I stared at the screen with my fingers resting on the home row, trying to hold back the flood of tears brimming in my eyes. I felt so inadequate-as a mother and as a writer. I felt so in love with my boy who has more enthusiasm and hope in his left pinkie than I have in my whole body. How did I get so lucky? Why can't I remember to appreciate it without having to be humbled into it again and again?

He rolled his chair back and held up the notebook with a paragraph in his best cursive and two small drawings. "Can I read it to you?"

It was good. He showed instead of telling, he used strong, descriptive words, eleven year old descriptive words full of drama and passion. He finished and I told him how he painted a vivid picture with words. He said, "Maybe I'll grow up to be a writer like you."

Oh boy, there went the water works again. "Honey, if you write, if you enjoy writing, you're already a writer-at least that's what my teachers tell me."

"Good. Then we're a writing family." He turned out his light and left his story on the desk, came over and gave me a too-wet kiss and wished me goodnight. He brushed his teeth and tucked himself in without the usual comedic coersion routine and I think that's because he got what he needed.

I opened a folder of writing that I haven't looked at in a while, copied a poem I like and pasted it into a post window for the workshop and hit send.
Take these broken wings...

You know how when you're driving down the highway and you see those huge flocks of black birds (Grackles, I think—millions of them) and they're flying in waves as if they're all attached to the same string that's pulling them in swooping dives all over the sky and they all land in the trees at the same time then rise up again and the air looks like it's alive because there are so many of them, pulsing and vibrating and making you look away from the road when you shouldn't and you can feel the rythm of their flight as if you and your Oldsmobile have wings too?

They just flew into my front yard.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

The Hills are Alive With the Sound of...

Lila makes that spitty, raspberry pssllllllssppfffffffsszzzzttt sound, punctuated with anngggh, cough, cough, cough, zaaachooo, eiplahk, and snort.

I think her father may be Mork from Ork.

When I look at her she stops, breaks into a face-splitting grin and sucks in air so fast it chokes her.

This is how we've spent the last twenty minutes.

on continuous loop.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...

Scene from last week's early, windy, winter storm:

a taste of what's to come.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Please hold for the next available service representative.

I received notice in the wee hours of the morning that the five days of bleeding I experienced twenty eight days ago were not another round of postpartum bleeding brought on by carrying those eleven boxes full of books like I thought it was. It was, in fact, an untimely and uninvited visit from my Aunt Flo. She showed up again at three o'clock this morning unannounced with her cramps and headache thinly disguised as a reaction to eating too much cheese and halloween candy.

I'm one hundred percent certain that when I signed on for this whole pregnancy and childbirth thing—even paying extra for the insurance successful breastfeeding without supplementation supposedly guarantees—I would receive in return for my service to the betterment of humanity, at least six months, if not one full year without having to set eyes on that batty old bitch.

I bled for twelve weeks postpartum. Twelve weeks. That's just shy of three months, twice the norm. I hobbled and then walked around feeling like a ghost of a human being, anemic and pale to the degree that I jumped if I saw myself reflected in a window I was passing, terrified for a split second that a vampire was stalking me. When the flood finally stopped I got two weeks off which was not quite enough time for the blisters on my ass cheeks—caused by three months of sanitary pads chafing my tender skin—to heal. Then Aunt Flo showed up in all her unwanted, busy-body, time-to-go-through-another-Costco-sized-case-of-pads glory.

I'm pretty sure my uterus is in breech of contract but I don't know who to lodge a complaint with. I'm not even sure what I should ask for to compensate me for this inconvenience.

Dear God,
I want a refund?

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Because Tyler said so

Age 4
Doing spastic giraffe jumping jacks with his buddy,
"You do a lot of exercise and then your brains get dizzy."

While measuring the ceiling with a measuring tape and
being tickled by his Dad,
"Stop tickling the worker!"

Age 5
About our dear friend,
"Why did they call her Maxcine?"
After a few minutes of thoughtful silence,
"Maybe it's because she's seen a lot."

When asked how he liked the clam chowder I'd made for dinner,
"It's magical."

While chatting at bedtime about emotions and moods and how they make us behave in ways we really don't want to,
"Mom, is your moon cycle almost over?"
"Yes, one or two more days."

Age 6
After days and days of watching Bugs Bunny when he first broke his leg, talking about his accident sledding,
"What an incowpoop."

When sick with a viral infection and after having blown his nose for two days straight,
"Mom, my nose is raw. But what about all the rest of my skin,
is it raw? Or am I cooked?"

Age 7
While hiking in Goose Pond Mountain State Park, looking at an
ancient oak with mammoth branches that bent back on itself,
"Mom, that tree looks like a woman dancing.
It looks like it's moving it's hips like you do."

Monday, November 10, 2003

No more excuses

My office is finally structurally ready for me to unpack the nineteen boxes of books, notebooks, software, pens, and things with many nest-making wires, and pictures, letters, pint sized mason jars of paperclips, push pins and pennies, my cool swingline stapler, and proportional scale wheel from my days of pasteup design, pantone color swatch book, big ass book of clip art, eleven nearly used up tubes of Burts Beeswax Lip Balm, three broken telephone head sets, cd walkman, two sony tape walkmans that haven't worked in five years, digital camera, Rolleiflex camera that has instructions in German and I don't know German, the boxes of unused Holiday cards that had hidden religious sayings that I didn't know about until I'd opened them, the exacto blades that someone spilled juice all over, so they stick together, the big, red Webster's, the Roget's, the Writer's Market, the Macs for Dummies ( I sure miss having an extention to call to make a tech person show up at my desk within minutes and make all the problems go away), broken pencil sharpener, Magic 8-Ball, abalone shell with sage and lavender smudge stick .

My desk is clear of everything except the monitor because the keyboard tray has been mounted underneath, the fifteen cube shoe cubby is mounted on the wall, three angled shelves are anchored firmly to the other wall, all of the wires lead down the hole in the back of the desk or are loosely tied with a glad bag twist tie until I get one of those sock thingies. The modem is mounted under the bottom shelf, the surge protector is on the wall under the shoe cubby, the printer is on top of it.

Next stop, job.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Aww, Jeeze. Why'd you have to go and do that?

Moody Mama reminded me that it's time to start Christmas shopping. Given the current state of our personal economy I am hereby giving advance notice to anyone who might be expecting a gift from us this year that you should not get your hopes up. You will each receive a letter describing in adequate prose exactly how much you mean to me and/or a mix cd of songs that make me think of you. I may or may not design funky labels for the cd's. I will not design funky envelopes for the letters. I will however use nice envelopes, beautiful red ones with white feathers in the paper fleck that are left over from the great art deco invites I did for my sister's bridal shower. Of course, I'll need to use something entirely different for my sister. Perhaps one of those envelopes that I have from 1991 that are made with a NYC map. I think I have one without coffee cup stains on it. I may throw in a poem here and there, not necessarily a good poem, and not always one of my own, but a poem is a nice touch I think. Rilke and Rumi always have something wonderful and deep to say. The poem may or may not be on the same page as the letter, depending on how long the letter is. I'm sure I'll be able to describe in adequate prose exactly how much some people mean to me in just a few sentences; not because I feel so little for them, but because I've been working on my "less is more" skills. I will now begin working on my "look honey, homemade gifts are not lame" skills.

Christmas sucks donkey dick.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Row, row, row your boat...

I'm filling out insurance forms to get me and the kids added to Chris' plan, and my pen hovers over the line provided for spouse, uncertain and a bit afraid to commit-not to the marriage but to the name. We had a civil ceremony on the twenty-fourth, a gorgeous seventy degree day. The Mayor of Kent married us in his office, in a ceremony that took all of three minutes but spoke sweetly of the things that matter most to us-communication and support and patience in our relationship.

Now I'm at the place where I have a huge pile of paperwork to shuffle in order to change my name. I've been using my married name even after the divorce because I haven't wanted to deal with the paperwork, also because I never liked the sound of my maiden name. I'm not going to say the last names here because I once Googled a former friend's name and found myself reading a blog that revealed much more than I ever wanted to know about this person. I will however tell you the ways in which the names have been twisted to make fun of me.

As a teenager I was tall and skinny and prone to bad hair and acne. I was called Hambone, Hamhocks, Ham and Cheese, and Hamburglar, ham of course being part of my name. No one has ever made fun of my married name, in fact most people would comment on what a beautiful name it was. Until a few weeks ago, that is, when my now, hopefully last husband listened to me ranting about something that made absolutely no sense whatsoever and then after a moment of silence smiled and patted me on the shoulder and said Kelly Leo-tardo.

Now Chris' last name carries its own weight of problems, most of them more painful for a boy, which he can and will humorously attest to, but for me it's about the way it sounds. It rhymes with Kelly and means a boat used for shuttling people and cars back and forth across bodies of water. Put the two together and it's rather deadly. Two two-syllable names, both ending with y makes for such a choppy rythm. Insert my middle initial J. and it's not so bad. Lila's got his name, and Tyler's got his fathers last name, which I obviously gave up my right to—no matter how lyrical it sounds—a long time ago. If I go back to my maiden name then we have three last names under one roof.

Julie covered this topic quite nicely on her blog. Let me just say: what she said. Salon ran a very interesting article about it as well that filled my head with so many reasons for and against taking my husband's name that I'm sitting here feeling the way I often feel when making a choice that has social and personal implications. I don't really care what the feminist in me should do, nor the traditionalist—oh yes, she's in there too. What I'm looking for is the answer that will make my day-to-day living easier. Lazy? Perhaps, but practical too and with the ten thousand layers of complication that make up this cake of a world we live in, I'm all for going straight for the big frosting flowers sitting right on top.

So in order to eliminate one more detail of my life that will need explaining to every new person I meet, thus freeing up God only knows how much time, I will be hereby known as Kelly Shuttle Boat.