Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mad Men/Simpsons

A couple of days ago I decided I would try and post every day.  Here I am at 5:00 p.m. with no ideas, but I just saw this on another blog and I love it.

If you love the Simpsons and/or Madmen, you'll like this:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

you should read this poem

Found this poem by Tony Hoagland in they July/August issue of Poetry.  


Don't take it personal, they said;
but I did, I took it all quite personal--

the breeze and the river and the color of the fields;
the price of grapefruit and stamps,

the wet hair of women in the rain--
And I cursed what hurt me

and I praised what gave me joy,
the most simple-minded of possible responses.

The government reminded me of my father,
with its deafness and its laws,

and the weather reminded me of my mom,
with her tropical squalls.

Enjoy it while you can, the said of Happiness
Think first, they said of Talk

Get over it, they said
at the School of Broken Hearts

but I couldn't and I didn't and I don't
believe in the clean break;

I believe in the compound fracture
served with a sauce of dirty regret,

I believe in saying it all
and taking it back

and saying it again for good measure
while the air fills up with I'm-Sorries

like wheeling birds
and the trees look seasick in the wind.

Oh life!  Can you blame me
for making a scene?

You were that yellow caboose, the moon
disappearing over a ridge of cloud.

I was the dog, chained in some fool's backyard;
barking and barking:

trying to convince everything else
to take it personal too.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

School? School? School!!!

Is anyone else ready for school to start?

Yes, I have lamented about it on Twitter -- acting like I just can't stand the thought of summer being over.

And I kind of can't.

But mostly.  Yeah.  Pretty ready.

True, there is a corner of my heart that is screaming and gnashing it's teeth at the idea that my baby is going to first grade.  I don't like that, not one little bit.  Same part of my heart is pretty horrified that my oldest is going into fifth grade.

At least once a day, for a few seconds,  I look at both of them, think of the upcoming school year and consider throwing them in the car and heading for the border.  Either one, I don't care, just please don't take them away from me and put them in that mean, cruel, boring world called school.

But this morning, alone in the house, the kids off on a kind of field trip with their father, I am wondering how I will survive the next two weeks until I can get those whiny, needy, constantly-hungry boys out. of. my. house. 

So yeah, two weeks and counting till school starts.  We're buying supplies today, maybe some pants (damn you school dress code).   Maybe we'll bake some cookies.  Go swimming.  They'll stay up late, wrangle some extra time on the Wii or TV.   

I'll keep holding them close while I can.  And counting the days.  I am so counting the days.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Vacation recap. OK I'm ranting

I got home from El Salvador two weeks ago and immediately planned a road trip with my family to Maryland to see my mom.  I had to go up for work and the kids/husband were feeling restless.  'cuz they never get to go anywhere (i'm rolling my eyes while i type this).

Things I do not particularly like, in no particular order:

•road trips with my family

•preparing for road trips with my family

•staying with my mom

•watching my mom poke and needle and drive me and my family crazy

•not being home

I really meant to post while on this trip but within five minutes inside my mom's house she had started in on me.  First attack:  "looks like D7 has gained weight since i last saw him" -- the truth is he has lost a bit.

We did have some good times.  Took the kids to some of the museums on the mall in D.C. and J11 is old enough now to enjoy them.   It's so nice to see him recognizing pieces of art or history that he has studied in school.

D7 is still a little young and you would have thought we were torturing him dragging him around for a few hours.  Although he did provide us with the most entertainment while at the museums.  Example:  While walking through the mammal section of the Natural History Museum (or whatever it's called) they started playing a loud video on a huge wall video screen and D7 covered his ears and yelled, "OK!  I am out of here!"  

Also, my mom's thermostat doesn't work. She thinks it is 78 degrees in there.  But I think it must be closer to 90.  Really.  It was horrible.  And humid.  It was not a dry heat.  Sleeping was impossible, especially with little legs and arms clinging to me all night.  We got home, walked into our 85 degree house and breathed a sigh of relief.  

Also every time I tried reading blogs or doing anything on-line she would peak over my soulder and ask what I was doing.  Even my kids have learned to not do that.

Apologies to all of you out there who have wonderful, or at least healthy, relationships with your mother. I know I always horrify you with stories of my completely dysfunctional relationship with my mom.

Anyways, we are back home.   Pretty much my favorite part of a trip.  Today is unpacking and laundry and errands and I always feel like when I get home I see things a little differently then I did when I left.   Being gone always gives me a better perspective, at least for a while.  I guess that is really my favorite part of vacation.    I'm dying to get to the quilt I started hand-quilting and I found a bunch of new knitting projects.  Have a girl's night out coming up this week, I hope.  A couple of yoga classes...  Yep.  Definately glad to be home.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Unexpected Milestone

You know those milestones you mark off as your babies become toddlers and then small children?  The first smile.  The first tooth.  The first step. First day of school.  The first lost tooth.  

Here's one I wasn't expecting.  Buying my eleven year old son his first pair of men's size shoes.  I know.  I am totally freaking out.  

I took him shoe shopping this morning. He loves running and has been walking a mile or two every day with his dad and brother and needed new shoes.  

I grabbed the seven's in the boy's section but they were to small.  I know it sounds crazy, but the whole thing was a little surreal.  We went to the men's section, grabbed a pair of eights and tried them on.  

They fit.  

Really I got a little lump in my throat.  I think I started talking to him differently right there.   My baby.  In man shoes.  It's not right.

Except that it is.  It is right.  He is growing up.  And I like it. I like seeing his sense of humor develop and seeing him observe and figure things out.  I like having conversations that are closer to adult conversations then kid conversations.  I even like when he rolls his eyes at me when I try to joke around with him.

And the fact that he picked out a stuffed animal on the way out of the store?  Yeah, I liked that too.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Letter of Explanation

Dear Neighbors One Street Up,

About eight years ago, pregnant with D7 and trying to placate J11 -- who was J3 at the time, I decided to take J3 and the dog to the park.  It was about 4:00 p.m. and I was trying to get through that late afternoon/pre-dinner period that is sometimes a challenge with toddlers.  

The park is about three blocks from our house and to get to it requires crossing a very busy, two lane road.  Quite often our cat Tom would come with us to the park.  He loved going on walks with us and I loved how he would just hang out at the park and then follow us back home.   I would pick him up and carry him across the busy street.  Sometimes he would just run across.

I remember that day getting about half way to the park, seeing Tom, and thinking I should turn around because it was getting late and traffic was picking up.  But J3 was cranky and I was tired and just wanted to sit down for awhile.

We made it the park, the four of us -- J3, me, the dog, Tom.  I'm sure we had our usual good time at the park, I don't remember.   It was almost dinner time when we started home and reached the main road we had to cross.

I had a dog on a leash and a three year-old.  I picked J3 up, turned around to look for Tom, wanted to pick him up to.  But was afraid to try and cross the street seven months pregnant, holding a toddler in one arm and the dog leash and a cat with the other arm/hand.  Besides he always made it.

Not that day.  We waited for a gap in the traffic and started across.  But Tom hesitated. I made it to the other side, turned to watch for Tom.  Turned in time to see him start running and then get smashed by a car.  It was horrible.  Heart-wrenching.  I remember he kind of flew up in the air, jumped, ran across the street to where we had started.

Of course I ran back over, with dog and child, all pregnant.  I remember J3 laughing, because Tom had looked so funny to him, hopping and flailing.

The woman driving the car pulled over and her friend explained she had just lost a cat a few weeks ago.  They offered to stay with him (he was still breathing) while I ran home and got the car.   It seemed to take forever to manage to get back home.  The toddler, the dog.

By the time we got back Tom was dead.  Everyone was crying (except J3-who didn't understand at all).  I carefully put Tom in the car and brought him home.  I laid him out next to the house and waited for J to come home and bury him.

Tom was one of those pets that really gets to you.  One of the special ones.  He was a stray who followed me home while I was on a walk when we lived in Maryland.  It was three days after a horrible blizzard and he was very sick.  We saved his life, taking him in.

And then I took his life with my carelessness and selfishness.  I did.  This is one of those times in life where I can't really make any excuses, except that I was stupid.  I knew there would be lots of cars.  I knew I was taking a chance.  I killed Tom and it still haunts me. I still miss him.

Now we have Daisy.  Sweet Ms. Daisy.  Another stray.  Just came to the house, skinny.  Took us in, loves my boys.  She is our cat.  Another one of the special ones.   The boys adore her and love on her and can't get enough of her.

She also likes to walk with us.

So.  Dear neighbors who live one street up, a street that is only two blocks long, but very very quiet.  That is why on many mornings when I go out for a walk, I spend 30 minutes walking up and down your street, back and forth, with a gray and white cat following and calling out to me.     

Monday, July 6, 2009

a little rambling

I'm done with my self-imposed reading deprivation.  It ended right in the middle of a business trip to El Salvador.  I cheated less than I thought I would.  

Now I'm sitting in my hotel room waiting for a couple of miscellaneous meetings and cleaning up around our office before I head to the airport and home.  

I just realized yesterday that my whole reading deprivation was going on at the same time I was producing videos about literacy projects/classes in El Salvador.  Classes taught by local women in their neighborhood.  They go door to door looking for students.  This organization has sixty classes just in San Salvador, teaching thousands of people to read -- most of them adults or elderly.

I had to make an effort not to read for a week and they are making huge sacrifices to learn how to read.    Such a huge contrast.

Well, now it's time for me to go and I didn't really say any of this quite right.  I don't think I even figured out what I was trying to say.  Just wanted to get something posted....

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

still. not. reading.

So.  I'm still not reading.    No blogs, books, magazines, on-line articles, newspapers.  Nothing.  

Gotta say it's pretty weird.  

No I don't feel like I am having an amazing, cathartic, artistic awakening.  But I do feel like it's kind of been a good thing for me to do. 

I've been working on my quilt.  This is kind of a big deal for me because it was this thing sitting on a shelf in my office/sewing room. I walked by that quilt every day and every day thought to myself, "I need to get started on that."  It really bothered me that I wasn't working on it.  Now I am, and that feels really good.

I also played the piano.  First time in months.  Also another one of those things I walk by every day meaning to get to, but never quite do.

The thing about the quilting and the piano and even writing here is that when I don't get to them because I'm so busy with life I convince myself that those creative outlets are really not that important to me.  That I don't need them.  That they are not part of me, an important part of me.

But they are and I do need them and somehow this setting aside reading, making some space in my brain has given me a little time to think about that, get comfortable with the fact that I need those things, and to look for places in my day to fit them in.

Tomorrow I get on a plane for four hours -- yes, I am breaking the reading fast for that.  Trust me.  I have a brand new copy of The Monsters of Templeton which I can not wait to start.