Saturday, May 29, 2010

Truer Words

We're doing our thing this weekend so I may not post for a few days (I hope you're doing your thing, too), but this passage from Ode Magazine jumped out at me, and I wanted to share it for pondering during these fine days:

...we only experience pleasure--real pleasure--when our attention is entirely engaged by one thing: having a conversation, preparing a meal, watching a gripping film; only, that is, when we're not dividing our attention between tasks. Our attention is pure energy. It transforms whatever it comes into contact with. Animals and children know this far better than we do. Over and above food, warmth or money, it's attention they're really looking for when they come to us. And they bask in our attention as though it's sunshine. Adults are the same way when they're passionately in love: nothing can beat gazing endless into the loved one's eyes.

Hope you have lots of gazing coming your way...

...and lots of silly dress-up, too.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Things Go By Fast

Lilacs don't last very long inside, but I can't keep myself from cutting them every few days and bringing them in. They just about fill the room with their scent.

And did I mention that our big girl had her kindergarten graduation? Yep.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Week in Review

Recipe for a Week without The Pants

1. Gather your ingredients:

One major league baseball game, where Nolie eats an entire ice cream the size of her head.

One housewarming party, where the parents don't watch their kids, so I have to.

One episode of Addie coming in the house, saying, "Mom! There's a poop in my hand! From my butt!"

Three minutes spent washing the dishes, during which time Nolie manages to slice the pink dress she is wearing into a million tiny ribbons. Using "safety" scissors.

Twelve seconds of Addie watering the garden with the hose before she manages to spray me full-on in the face.

One dead bird in the yard, which must be disposed of.

One case of doggie pink-eye; three people on allergy medications; one person on nebulizer treatments; one person on antibiotics; two people on inhaled nasal steroids; countless bumped heads and scratched knees.

Two nights of Nolie sleeping in her own room. By choice.

Three drop-dead gorgeous spring days.

2. Mix all ingredients well. Once soggy and lumpy, also add in chores: mowing the lawn, vacuuming the endless supply of pet hair, taking out the trash, doing endless loads of laundry, and organizing oodles of doctor, veterinary, haircut, playdate, and other appointments. Add in a dash of a full-time career.

3. Pop in the oven until sizzling.

Tips for success: As soon as the girls fall asleep at night, collapse into bed and watch on-demand episodes of Parenthood, Community, 30 Rock, The Hills, and The City. Also, get loaded up with nuclear arsenal of allergy meds, and discover that you haven't actually been breathing for the last ten years. Suck air in like it was, well, air. Silently thank goodness for some forms of Western medicine. And eat copious amounts of vegan coconut ice cream.

When is E. coming back?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Stirring Jam

Oooh, sorry for the gap in posts, all seven of you loyal readers out there. I had to get final grades in and had some marathon end-of-semester meetings, and now someone in my household (I won't say who) is in Switzerland installing light-powered gizmos, so I'm single-parenting for the moment, and have dove right into that, attending parties and baseball games and picnics with the little ones.

Also, we got new Motorola Droids, and let me tell you, for as big a disappointment as that freaking Blackberry was, the Droid is most fantastically at the other end of the spectrum. I tend to be a bit technology-phobic, but I've taken to the Droid like a duck to water.


And reJuJu is selling quite briskly in a certain Colorado mountain town boutique, much to my surprise, so I've been spending my free time at night sewing rather than blogging.

It's summer now, though, so that should shift a little. You know. Shifties.

But here's another poem a friend sent me, and I quite like it, so I'll leave you with this:

About a Boy Stirring Jam

A wooden spoon for stirring jam,
Dripping sweet tar, while in the pan
Plum magma’s bubbles blather.
For someone who can’t grasp the whole
There’s salvation in the remembered detail.
What, back then, did I know about that?
The real, hard as a diamond,
Was to happen in the indefinable
Future, and everything seemed
Only a sign of what was to come. How naïve.
Now I know inattention is an unforgivable sin
And each particle of time has an ultimate dimension.

--Janusz Szuber

Whoa. Talk about a reflection on staying in the present.

See that jam stirring, friends, and make those memories.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Pretty much the perfect day

Got to sleep in today (okay, I get to sleep in every Sunday, but "sleeping in" when you have a dog and little kids is until 7:30, okay? Eric does get up with them all at ungodly hours, the dear man. So today I got to "sleep in" without guilt). Munchkins brought me coffee, chocolate, and strawberries in bed, plus excellent gifts they made at school. Here's the card that goes with Addie's gift, which was a little wooden boxed festooned with many, many glued-on feathers:

In case you can't read it, it says, "Mom, I hope you have fun with this darn thing. Addie."

That's probably a harbinger of things to come, don't you think?

Next: When you have a day that's all about you, for heaven's sake, it's time to paint your toenails, and the toenails of everyone who will sit still.

The freakin' weather is finally cooperating, so we got to have a lovely brunch outside with our lovely friends. And did lots of digging for worms. We might even have created a habitat for them called "Worm's Night Out." Yum.

And, most important, Ke$ha's babies hatched.

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Day Like Johnny Cash

A little poem, for finishing out the semester on:

Today was a day like Johnny Cash
started out talking, smoothlo

But then the curtain pulled in and
I was lying on the floor
The room spun and
I couldn't find my guitar.

Today was a day like Johnny Cash.
There was that time I put my fist
up in his mouth and shouted

And there was that other time
I walked the line.
It doesn't seem like it but
I struggle to make up my mind.

Today was a day like Johnny Cash
and I'm the one that survived.
I'm the one for whom things
is easy.
I've got June, a place, my faith.

Today was a day like Johnny Cash.
When it all came to pass anyway and
my voice rumbled low and
my fingers played the train and
only the beat noticed
and went on.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Mother Thing

I've been writing more posts as a daughter lately, and not so many as a mother, you've probably noticed. Of course, where one begins and the other ends is not always easy to discern.

The fact of the matter is I'm trying to figure out some things about pain and anger and loss. There's love at the root of it, and I'm making my way toward something that looks like compassion, I think. But those other things are there, too, and they continue to bubble up unbidden, taking me and others by surprise when I don't know what to do with them. So, as N. might say, I'm moving toward them rather than away. I'm trying that to see what happens.

These three reflections have come my way recently:

1. An NPR interview with Patti Davis, Nancy Reagan's daughter, on her new book The Lives Our Mothers Leave Us.

2. I'm systematically reading everything Martha Beck has ever written. If you've been in a one-mile radius of me lately, I've practically shoved a copy of one of her books in your hands every other minute. Anyway, from one of her memoirs, Expecting Adam:

This was my first tentative, wary encounter with one of the greatest gifts I would receive from Adam: the understanding that the word mother is more powerful when it is used as a verb than as a noun. Mothering has little to do with biological reproduction--as another friend once told me, there are women who bear and raise children without ever mothering them, and there are people (both male and female) who mother all their lives without ever giving birth. The bad news is that not all of us have the good fortune to be born to our real mothers, or to stay with them as long as we need them. The good news is that, while mothers are often in short supply, mothering is not. Against all odds, despite everything that works against it on this unpleasant, uncomfortable planet, mothering is here in abundance. You can always find it, if you're smart and know where to look.

3. Finally, an email from one of the many women who continues to friend and mother me both when my own mother can and cannot:

Jen-Woke up early and started to do my usual routine. Hit the "favorites" on my computer scrolling down to my secret obsession, But somehow I clicked on Toddlerspit. Started reading. Oh. Felt your words so deeply that I had to slip in and out of them. Oh. Grabbed my sweet dog, Molly, and headed out. Headed out to "my place, my walk". The walk that takes me high enough to see down the hogback all the way to Pike's Peak. The walk that, if I'm lucky, I experience "The Sun to my left, the Moon to my right, the Meadow Larks started to sing". And I did.

And I had this "vision". I "saw" you with a heavy, heavy coat on. The coat contained all of it. Your sorrow, your anger, your grief, your loss and, most importantly, your hurt. And it contained all of those things for your mom and grandma (and their moms and grandmas) too. And, then I saw that it contained your love for all those hurt souls too. And then I saw you take it off, the coat that is, and you took it off carefully and gently without any of the previously mentioned emotions in the action. You just took it off. And when you did, oh my gosh, when you did, THERE YOU WERE! And you were beautiful. You were glowing. You were all you are and more. You were Jen. And you looked like a grownup but your face, your face was the face I saw when you held up your "pray first" project. And I cried and laughed all at once.

This is the meditation for this Sunday, the week before Mother's Day. This is the trick. To feel anger, sorrow, and sadness, and also occupy a space of tremendous gratitude for my own mother, who was such a part of my life for so long, and for all the mothers who continue to step into that space on her behalf now. What a precipice it is.