This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine...

Monday, December 12, 2011

All is Calm, All is Quiet

There's a song, by Jens Lekman, called "The Opposite of Hallelujah."  I'm terrible with song lyrics, but sometimes the story of a song catches my curiosity and I will listen to it methodically, learning verse by verse, usually at the top of my lungs.  Here are the first and second verse, the ones that caught my attention years ago:
I took my sister down to the ocean
But the ocean made me feel stupid.
Those words of wisdom I had prepared
All seemed to vanish into thin air
Into the waves I stared. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Who Knew Taming Could Be So Fun?

I've been settled this year in the way the once "wild" West was settled.  The tracts of untamed prairie and forest within me have had roads cut through and little building put up.  A few acres have been cleared and where there used to be clumps of conifer, deciduous, fern, vine, and shrub there are now orderly rows of nourishing plants.  In this metaphor fantasy the settlers are not violent.  They have basic needs and do not seek to outgrow their abilities in time and space.  They do not shoot whole herds of animals or feel threatened by the wild calls in the night.

In 2006 or 7 I took on a side job as a brochure designer for a woman who was beginning a life coaching practice.  She had been doing higher education tutoring for some time and wanted to transition to working for herself.  I must have given her some amazing bullshit spin about my experience or abilities because I had no idea how to use the Adobe programs she wanted me to use.  No, I only had a girl friend who did and I begged for her advice and tutelage.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Bass, The Bass, The Bass

I feel sheepish about my lack of content, in general lately.   Maybe it's that fall vata shaking me up and making my head whip this way and that.  I received this notice in my in-box recently.
Dear Publisher,
We noticed your blog (listed below) has not updated for more than 60 days.
Blog Title | Subterranean Fire
On investigating the feed URL, we received the following error message:
Feed Error: Feed URL not working. Details : Feed URL registered with Kindle Publishing:
Kindle customers expect to receive frequent updates for blogs and news feeds to which they subscribe. Because blogs should update at least once per month, we are canceling blogs that have not updated in more than 60 days. Accordingly, if you do not fix this issue and publish new updates within 7 days, we will remove your publication from the Kindle Store.
If you have any questions or concerns, please write to us at
C'mon amazon! It hasn't been that long!  I have been doing.  I have to give myself credit, if only to stand up for myself against the eviscerating critic who's been riding my ass day and night for the last couple of weeks.  (I'm referring to myself.)  I have been! I've been making way, even it the steps are small they are being made and at least 51% of them are in the right direction! Even if it doesn't always feel that way, I must trust myself more than the angry inner critic wants to allow.  

I have been thinking about anger lately.  I did not know, in fact I'm kind of shocked, to find out what a hot head I truly am.  Damn! I'm an angry snot on the inside way more often than I ever wanted to admit.   I guess it's no surprise, though it is stereotypical (as usual), and funny, that it took becoming a wife and mother to learn that about myself.  That's the great thing about family, eh?  They love you no matter what, and it's a good thing too... Not that I've been walking around being a total jerk to my men, I think I'm a pretty good lady to be around most of the time and they are wonderfully forgiving for the times when I just lose my cool and turn into my alter ego.  I've taken to calling her Pippi Snot-Stockings and she sure does revel in pitching a tantrum streak.

It occurred to me recently that 90% of my protective layers of bull-shit have been stripped off in almost two years since I moved out here.  I used to spend so much time shellacking the protections on myself!  The clothing to convey a certain class and social status, the facial expressions to convey a certain wit and charm, the written come-ons and flirtatious exchanges to convey my most interesting and enticing qualities.  Being real, I guess, has never been a certain strong suit of mine.  I was ever insecure and so revealed little to most of the kids, teens, college chums, dates I met along my life path.  Veils came off little by little as I grew and learned to love myself more and more and I even thought I had moments of total sincerity, but now... I wonder, how could I have been truly sincere if I wasn't truly able to listen?

Oh, well.  There's that critic inside me again, and she's putting her psychoanalytical hat on to try sounding oh-so informed and deeply correct.  I bet she wouldn't enjoy me telling y'all that it just took three tries to spell psychoanalytical correctly.

I am good.  It's such a damn simple concept and such a damn difficult one to incorporate with consistent belief.

Two quotes have been floating around in my brain a lot.  The first came from an interview with a comedian on NPR's news quiz show.  He said:
I think a lot of comedians when they're really young, what they start off doing is pointing out how dumb everything else is so that you can seem smart and cool.  But what you realize as you get older is that the enemy of comedy is cool.  Cool makes you not funny.  And if you really want to connect with an audience, you've got to be very present and just going okay, guys, let me tell you about this thing I did, and just kind of admit everything that you're doing. 
I identify with this!  And you, you other writers out there reading, do you?  It totally hits home for me that I've been trying to get more and more specific about what's going on in my life, learning, and growing and that the closer I can get to writing the true reality, the better the writing and the clearer the message.  It's not that I've been dishonest before, it's that I wasn't writing the smallest nuances.  There are three thoughts for one step so often and those three thoughts lead a person to a feeling and that feeling leads to an action and it all plays out.  So what three thoughts happened in one step?  Why did I suddenly feel smaller or weepy or bursting with devotion?  Those subtle human workings are the most interesting and I want to capture them on the page.

The other quote I bumped into three times in two days.  I don't recall where I saw this, the grocery story mysteriously comes to mind, but I saw the quote written somewhere,
The miracle is not that I finished; the miracle is that I began.
Then, the following day (that is, today) this quote showed up twice in an article in a crappy promotional newspaper I was perusing.  When I say crappy I'm referring to the specific use this newspaper had for me, not its content, per se.  Did you catch the poop joke there?

It is so hard for me to begin things!  I feel silly when I'm hemming and hawing and what really needs to be done is anything; hence the weight of this statement in my mind.

Hadj's ipod is playing on shuffle right now.  We have remarked several times on how weird it is that from the thousands of songs the machine could "randomly" choose, it seems to repeatedly choose Sonic Youth, Neko Case, terrible dub step, and Skinny Puppy.  It ignores the entire discographies of Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Talking Heads and on and on.  There are two loaves of meat in the oven.  I'm about to do some simmering, caramelizing magic on two pears I picked earlier this morning and bring them to an Autumn themed pot luck on top of a chocolate red wine cake this afternoon.   Salamander is smiling and chuckling across the kitchen table from me.  He seems to have just been dressed in a onesie with the reverent Cookie Monster on it.  I'm overdue for a jog.  And so I will begin, late as usual, but damn, hell, at least I'm going.

Oh! Before I do go; do any of you readers use the RSS?  If so, are you having problems with it?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Reaching Toward Equal Sunrise, Equal Sunset

My rituals are begun.  I'm about to write my three pages, clearing the way, centering myself, sinking into a comfortable writing seat.  Soon I will ignore the rise and fall of the winged creatures outside my creation room window.  I will stop imagining what they are and are not, stop marking the patterns their flights seem to make.  Though they do fascinate me with their dances.

Monday, September 12, 2011

"I Ain't Afraid of..."

Another good story from last week begins last Wednesday.  I went to a meeting with some spiritual seekers and it was held at this woman's amazing historic home.  It was a modest castle with arched doorways and lead glass windows. I listened to stories of tragedy, stories of ghosts, angels, and prayers.  I didn't have many requests to voice at the time, but I did have a question.  

I was twenty or twenty one years old and it was the start of a new school year.  Over the summer I had made dozens of new friends and had been spending a lot of time at one social butterfly's house in particular.  She lived with two roommates in the upper portion of a duplex.  Below them was the party junction of four or five boys.  One of the boys was an artist with big, wild hair.  If I could sum up a certain weakness for men, that's the sentence I'd use.  An artist with big, wild hair.  I nursed this crush, secreted from him, for quite a few weeks.  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"Have a Story Worthy Week"

Last Labor Day weekend saw us with neighbors and friends barbecuing hot dogs and hamburgers as Real Americans do.  I brought a winning broccoli slaw and ended the night with a massive strudel-like apple pie from Costco.  I mean, really?  Can you get any more cliché?  It was lovely.  The hosts were our surrogate grandparents up the road, they throw a fine party.  As we picked at the last crumbs from the massive strudel pie, our surrogate grandmother's daughter asked me how my writing was going.  She relayed to me a conversation she had with another neighbor of ours.  Apparently they were talking and he wondered aloud about what I was writing.  Then, she told me, he blurted out, almost giggling, "For all we know she could be writing an erotica novel!"  I was agape as she mimicked him: older, dorky, and unassuming.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

We Made Our Own Computer Out of Macaroni Pieces And It Did Our Thinking While We Lived Our Lives

I was all set on skipping my three pages today.  I begin every bi-weekly writing session with a three page journal entry and today I reasoned with myself.  It takes the steam out.  I conjectured -- It prevents the actual work.  Then some auspicious input came along, and it turned into something I wanted to post here.  That of course changed the way I approached the writing slightly.  I think of the physics law, in which the act of observation changes the behavior of atoms, often.
I'm thinking of posting these three (or more) pages every time I write them.  The upside of doing so is posting more often and sharing more of myself in writing.  The downside would be less time working on stories of a non-blog, non-journal nature.  I'm undecided.  (This warm up to the meat of the entry comes after a bit more noodling.  If you want to skip the noodling click here.)

I'm working from home today.  As expected the start time was shoddy -- I've only just begun after a half hour of snacking, emailing, and various piddling google searches.  The urge to go smoke a cigarette is (perhaps) even stronger.  However -- maybe the detour I took to get to work was secretly wise.  I am beginning to feel more juicy.  And - well - here I am! writing these pages even when I thought I wasn't going to.  Again though, I'm distracted.  What can be done about this terrible overhead light?  (Pause for serious inquiry, turn off light, move desk lamp, light "guava-coconut" scented votive.)  There now.  Not only is that an improvement for this environment, it's an improvement over the previous environments I've recently chosen to write from.
The reasons I'm writing these pages number at least two:
1. I felt I aught to, deep down
2. My horoscope confirmed me

I am listening to ambient music tones called "Soma" by Tom Kenyon.  I got as much of his music as I could find after a vision board workshop while I was pregnant.
Juicy yes, but unfocused too.  Mental whirlpool.  It's quite possible that that's OK.  I had planned to write more in the [unnamed, unpublished document] tonight.  Then mood struck this afternoon.  I was thinking about the malleability of my external personality i.e. the things I focus on and how they shift and why.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This Post Will Not Make You Money, but It Might Make You Feel Rich

My moon time is coming again and that means that listening to one of my favorite albums makes me feel like some kind of human stew; all the memories, thoughts, experiences blending together in a rich sauce that somehow feels like it should be sustained, wrapped up and put away for later reflection or feeding on.

Not Knowing, Action and Completion

While reading about harmful/helpful bacteria and germs I came across a statement that said a study showed farm kids had better health throughout life than city kids.

I don't literally live on a farm.  There are no cows or goats to milk, no chickens to feed or hay to bale or any other of my limited examples of farm knowledge.  No one will die or go hungry if I stay in bed until the full light of the sun has dried off the morning fog.  But some thing does die a little. -- The Wild One.

I know I've talked about Women Who Run with the Wolves on this blog before.  It's been awhile because I haven't picked up the book in over a year.  I recently loaned that book to a friend and in return I was fed a few highlights she sparked on as she began the book.  It's been a joy to hear someone else talking about wild women, and self nurture and care.  I've been doing my best to take care too.
I've been gone from this blog for so long that there are multitudes of stories trying to jump out of my throat right now, but there's also the me who has been up since four and who wants to crawl back into bed for a few minutes now...

My mom told me something about herself the other day.  We were talking about my beginnings as a modern latchkey kid - when I was in full-time day care at 12 weeks old.  She was talking about the how and why of the success or our situation.  Then she said, as an addition or final explanation, "I like things to be easy."

Some kind of eclipse in my perception is ending and light is being thrown upon shadow.

I am very typical of my generation.  (As conventional as a four year degree and "essential" handheld electronic devices.)  One of the often publicized "problems" with me and my "millennial" friends is that we expect instant results out of some over developed sense of entitlement.  It seems that our parents' proximity of birth to WWII and a great city will influence our degree of spoiling, and so will the amount of money in their family.
My mom was born just after the baby boomers, to a Jewish family who became middle class on the uppermost part of Chicago's North side.  She married in 1981 at age 22 and had me about six months later. My father missed being a part of the "great generation's" offspring, but his eldest siblings were in on it.  He was also born in a Navy family and it seems their causal realities are varied from the daily "conventionally known" realities of non-military families.  My dad's family was larger and had one working parent (the absent one) so they were lower down on the economic ladder.
He might have been taught about the gains come from hard work except his mom had a fatal heart attack when he was 13 and his father was never around for long, at best.

Lots of girls play at princess stories when they're small.  It's an extremely common theme in American girls' psyches.  The princess may be poor, but golden hearted or drop dead gorgeous or extremely talented at singing.  Or she may be wealthy, a real princess at the outset, but beset by either villain, tragedy, or higher asperations than royal marriage and begetting.  In either case, in the majority of these popular tales, the princess' fortune ends fatter and through some kind of instant, game changing good luck.

We don't ever learn what happens to Princess Ariel of The Little Mermaid.  What if Prince Eric didn't want to, or wasn't able to, stop his seafaring in order to stay home having adventures and copious sex with his 16 year old wife?  What if she found herself on land, with her legs and her snorfblats, with a whole new world (sorry, wrong princess) to explore, all on her own?

Ok, so I'm not an ex-mermaid and I didn't get into a multi-species war with an octopus queen and my father didn't grant my biggest wish with his magic trident, but I am finding out what happens after the "and they lived happily ever after" curtain falls.  It was really embarrassing to me, to have to admit that I'd played right into that fairy tale and had No. Idea. what came after "happily ever after."  I hate it when I turn out to be a cliche.  (My trick for that is to just do or same something original or clever and then moving along.)

I have learned so much about myself in doing this work of mining into the cave of myself in order to be more authentic, more present, more consistently honest with myself and my lover.  I don't take myself to be a dishonest person.  I do my best to always show up and be real and present with my beloveds.  It is only now that I realized that I omit things in a split second.  Things that are not a big deal, but that some part of me sensors for the perceived sake of others or of some kind of peace.

Hadj make a funny the other day when a woman told me she hadn't ever really know any Aquarians.  He said, "And you never will!" and then guffawed at his own joke in that way he has.  It was clever and so true, but I wouldn't have ever known it until this relationship. I do require a lot of space and my man requires much less.  We meet in the middle as often as possible and call to each other when one has gone into hiding.

Now that my sense of humor is back and I've again traded in my depressive blues for more manic flower power patterns, I can see that I make the committment more and more everyday to be as much of what my man needs as I can and also to be all of myself that I need.  That's really all required and I'm pleased by the simplicity.  The universe has put my right where I need to be if I want to work out the knot of not yet knowing how to energetically move and patiently be.  

Hadj and I were talking the other day and I was saying how it can be disorienting to pine for the city while feeling grateful for the country at exactly the same time.  I gave a few examples of what about the city I was missing and he said, "instant gratification."  That's what the city has.  You can get anything you want any time of the day or night when you live in a metropolis.  "Here," he said, "if you want something you have to do research first."

Sometimes it's very reassuring to have a name for the struggle you're feeling.  It's like having a flashlight in the woods at night.

Speaking of work, and patience with this post is waning at the present and I'm not further patient to save it and make it into the picture of what I originally had when I began writing it.  I had grand ideas, of course, least coherent ones, and now what I have is written.  And what's really great is that this post, this very one, is really a mash-up of something I began writing two months ago and have finally come back to tend to now.  That's part of the reason why blogs are so great.  Whatever I need to say, I can say it quickly and move.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Own Softer World

I've made one other personal rendition of A Softer World before.  You can see it here.  Then you can marvel at how much more advanced this one is!  This is my new piece of pride.  I love the website Picnik for helping non-graphic geeks like me make fun stuff in a snap.

Body Mind Hypnosis

I can stop wishing.  From what I learned of hypnotherapy last week I, with all my daydreaming, imagining, and irregular meditative states, am a great candidate for hypnosis.  As it was presented to me, hypnotherapy can basically be used to reprogram our thought habits around certain subjects or behaviors.  You're reprogramming your brain; like all of my unlearn and retraining issues.  I'm betting I can stop wishing to be a certain way and hypnotize myself.  If I have a positive, smooth script and a few quiet moments I can immerse myself and remake parts of the past as I keep wishing they had been.  I can stop wishing and make it real.  For instance, even as my boy wiggles and baby-grunts on the floor next to me, I can cull the idea here now and create a script to heal my body treatment habits.  I can unmake the story I've told myself, about my upbringing's strengths and failings.  I can unmake the why of my bodymind issues.  I can fill in the places I wish were different with new truths that I know now.  I can go back and give myself all the things I know now, that I wish I knew then.  I can stop wishing; can have it be...

One thing the following hypnosis script draft does not have is the into and out of portion, like I experienced at the session I had.  At the end the script included something like a trigger.  The color, in that case was red.  Every time I saw the color red, I was instructed, I would feel good.  Would feel valuable, vibrant, vivacious, and so on.  I will do this for myself now.  The color of the root chakra, the seat of the body, the pelvis, balance point, is also red.  (Well, isn't that just convenient?  A twofer!)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

There Isn't One Right Way

I've decided to submit the story I've been working on for publication, so I won't be putting it up here for the time being.  Here, now, are some things I have been writing and thinking lately...

First of all, before I get to what I've written recently, I want to share one of those a ha! moments, as Oprah coined them.  I thought there was a right way to feed a baby.  I thought there was a right schedule to be kept, so somehow, the baby learned how to eat rightly.  Now I see that no, there isn't a right way, there is the way that works for that particular baby and mother.  I've learned a lot, in retrospect, about my feeding habits with Salamander.  I needed more support than I realized or sought, but...oh well! At least we're doing great now.  In that same vein, some more of what I've been writing on paper, transferred here for you all to read...

I have to admit my own mistake.  I thought I had to teach Salamander something rather than know I just had to feed him.  Well, now the boy eats.  He SO eats and it's a joy to listen to him snore after he's fallen asleep eating his last bottle of the night.
I thought it had to be all from me.  I was unconsciously out to prove something with breastfeeding.  This proud, stubborn piece of me mistakenly took on showing some people how it could and should be, instead of realizing THIS is NOT about THAT.  This is a new life we're feeding here, not my life we're making proof as success out of.
Back to Salamander snoring.  That was a couple nights ago and it was painfully precious.  He fell asleep in my arms in the rocking chair.  The bottle dropped out of his mouth and tiny fists and he positively gurgled like some fat old man with sleep apnea.  In a grown person it could have been a gross sound but in this tiny boy it was purely hysterical.  I had to bite my lip from bursting out.
"more eggs please"

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Isn't It Fun When We Go As Fast As We Can?

I want to share my dork with you.  No, I don't have a whale penis our house isn't that big.  OK, I'm on my third sentence and already I'm editorializing myself, but this (if you're like me) is just too funny.  I heard, probably in fourth grade, that a "dork" was "actually" the name of a whale penis.  And now Google has half affirmed me.  Moving now, decidedly, on...

By "my dork" I mean what Lights Me UP.  The specific and eccentric set of stuff that tickles my fancy and fills me up with goodness.  Over at 1,001 Son Days I've managed to curate a lovely set of bloggers focusing on the positive and fanciful in this world.  I'm spending as much conscious time possible thinking happy thoughts.  Sprinkling damn sparkly fairy dust on myself and my loved ones (or those who just happen to be nearby) and believing that a new world that is hopeful does still exist.  And! What I'm really proud of right this second is that I'm doing this despite the hours a day I spend listening to panic, doom, and "balanced information" on NPR stations.  OK, sometimes they have happy stories too.

It is really helping me that I specifically choose what images I let in my life!  If something leaves a bad chill up your spine, get it out of your life, right?  (OK, I'm still totally subject to the royalty of True Blood, but I love a good fantasy thriller.)  On the road today I was listening to a podcast called The Indigo Room with Sydney Chase and it revved me up like a can of Red Bull used to when I was working two jobs in the big city.  Even better! These were good vibes organically made and offered to me from a real person!  Let me tell you about some of the effects it had on me.  First of all, she uses the phrase "wicky-wacky."  Now, I'm not going to be able to define exactly what she means by that, but viscerally I could tell she meant "kinda off."  Or wonky.  But I just liked it! Wicky wacky.  Also, this woman's laugh is gold and she ain't afraid to spend it!  Every time she laughed I laughed.  She was laughing so much that I couldn't only giggle along with her.  I was guffawing in the car to myself.  I was kicking my feet the way Salamander does about five minutes into a meal of sweet potatoes or pears.  Right when the sugars hit him, I guess, his feet just get all happy and start kicking up a storm.  It's so damn cute.

Another reason I said I wanted to share my dork with you is because of my all time favorite food blogger, Deb, at Smitten Kitchen was included in the most recent issue of Everyday Food.  She was talking about her blog and encouraged people (readers) to be them, be their dork selves.  Her showing up in this magazine that I've just begun a subscription to was surprising and led me to feel I was being followed, euphemistically speaking, by a favorite celebrity and that this was somehow teaching me something, or hinting I should look somewhere for inspiration or guidance.

I only have ten minutes before I'm kicked out of my writing hole for the night so I'm going to give as many quick bits of good news I have in the next five minutes.  Yay! Doing things fast!

I put myself back to work.  That means, with my excellent partner's support, I'm taking two nights a week to get away from home to a wifi supported distraction free location to write, write, write.  I even have a system!  An objective!  A goshdarn mission statement!  And I have my first story.  It's three and half pages, 2200 or so words, and about my experience with a pediatrician in Salamander's fifth month.  It's kinda long for a blog, no?  Do you want me to put it up here?  I'm thinking about it....

I tried hypnotherapy and it was really cool!  At the end something very synchronous happened that sent shivers up my spine.  It made me feel pretty damn good about myself, over all.  And that was the point! Isn't that special?

Hadj's birthday is this weekend and we have a baby sitter for six hours!  Plus, I'm making what looks to be an awesome cake and I'm pretty stoked about it.  I need more close friends,in this area, to bake for...

We're going to have about 650 more square feet to inhabit on our property soon!  Our buddy is moving out so he can explore his adventurous future in Thailand and that means we get our studio and half our "garage" back.  Exciting!

Salamander.  Oh my goodness.  I wrote a few paragraphs earlier this evening on a specifically gaga love fest I was having with him a few nights ago.  I was going to post it here, but then forgot so I'll come back to it soon.  But, jeez.  Salamander.  He is such a blessing and excellent teacher.  Thanks little buddy.

I have to go! The nice waitress who alternately has called me missy, dear, and ma'am wants to go home.  Love to you all.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Graceful Smoldering

It's so disappointing.  To have traveled way out West, seeking peace and fulfillment; to have found one and not the other.  To be a seeker is to realize, eventually, that it's already there.  Then how? How to open up and see what's sitting on the tip of the nose already?  This is good.  This throat clogging, ferclempt feeling of being clogged up with sensation and experience is good.  It's how I used to feel in front of the keyboard, when I was selling my hours and feeling existential dread all the time.  It's a birthing feeling.  Open up more, mama, we stories, we words, we want to live.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Beautiful Inside and Out

I wrote the following for a contest.  I thought the contest called for a 700 word essay.  Then I went to submit it and found I'd totally read the rules wrong and the limit was for 500 characters.  I wrongly interpreted this to mean 500 characters with spaces, but no.  Essentially I wrote an essay when they wanted a couple "tweets."  Well, whatever.  At least I got this nice essay out of it.  The subject is "A time when you felt beautiful inside and out."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Stacks of Caps

I heard a deliciously lewd line once that went, "He's so hot, I'd wear him like a scrunchy."

I turned that line on its head in conversation with Hadj once while commenting on all the ladies strutting about sexy in the newly warm air.  I said, "She's so hot, I wanna wear her like a hat" in this fulsome, growly Southern woman accent into which I sometimes spontaneously seep.

All naughtiness aside... one of the things I have "a thing" about is hats.  Literally speaking, I look good in hats.  As you probably guessed I'm not speaking quite literally here.  All my life I've felt split in two.  There's the external me and the internal me.  I've come close, a time or two, to feeling the two were pretty well merged, but there was always the exception, the company face I'd put on at work everyday.  I'm prone, it seems, to taking on too much in my life in terms of personal expression.  Trying on too many hats in a given time period.  Honestly, I admire those who choose a good hat and stick with it until it has truly been worn out.  I saw a piece of artwork one time that had the line,
"I laughed when I realized how many years it took to discover who I first zealously exploring...who I am not."  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

See Ya in a Bit!

I just queued up posts at 1,001 Son-Days for the next six days.  There's a triple layer "Pink Lady" cake frosted and pretty in the frigidaire.  There is a set of home-made "fuzzy cupcakes" wrapped and adorned by the front door.  We are all ready in the house for Aunty Ana's visit from Chicago.  Ana is my sister from another mister and she gives the best hugs.  She's the one who taught me not to fear baking and to always respect Martha.

I'm not really going to say much more about that except, go on over to 1,001 Son-Days and see some slobber covered horns! A few days from now there'll be a small written piece on how the name Salamander came to be, and I don't think I've ever talked about that here.

Finally, what do you think about the fuzzy cupcakes idea? I would post a picture, but I forgot to take one before I wrapped them, so it'll have to wait.  They're for her review mirror, in the fuzzy dice sense of things.  She loves cupcakes and knitting, so I thought they'd be a whimsical fun thing for her.  I also thought they wouldn't take much time, but that was four months ago.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Vision Post

She is women laughing, spilling wine, chopping onions
licking licorice, looking backwards savoring salt, satisfied, she is
mother pulling patience from the air, bedraggled hair, she is
woman stacking shocks of corn, woman making love in dreadlocks
sweeping floors sweating summer heat
What does a goddess look like?
She looks like you, She looks like me
She looks like us in sacred conversation.
Yvonne Pearson

Excerpted from a poem called "What Does a Goddess Look Like?" which appears in the 2010-11 We'Moon date book.

This is a calling.  This is me, calling out.  I know my women, sisters, elders are out there; I'm asking.  Please, please find me.  Please, please lead me to you.  The laughing, wine spilling, onion chopping women help me stay sane in the world.  I have a good life, but you women, I don't yet know where you are, you will make it so much better.

Friday, May 6, 2011

You Can Get This Snippet

This week I realized that my need to be writing had finally overcome my laziness in the early morning hours.  I felt a familiar feeling, chagrin, when I thought about how typical it is of me to have finally committed to one child (writing) when I had just had another (you, Salamander).  I can be funny that way; putting too much on my plate just to prove I can do it.  And so, this tumble-log, will include writing at times, or me talking about it.  I’m trying to pack in as many truths as possible, my darling. 
Now, as the house is dark in all but the craft room/office, and my tea is hot beside me, I hear you cooing and burbling in  your room across the hall.  You’re an hour early, I think, with something that feels like panic swaying in my belly.  Please don’t be awake just yet.  I so urgently want to feed this other child right now. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mother's Day Gifting and Explanation to Previous Post

I gotta say, I'm really loving Shutterfly.  Ever since Salamander was born, it's become more important for us to have physical prints AND convenience.  When I was looking for a birth announcement to send (it turned out super cute) I recalled my cousin's recent announcement came from Shutterfly, so I checked it out.  Not only did I get announcements for everyone at a good price, great quality, and fast turn around, but I was rewarded with fifty free prints to boot.  For the price of shipping I got fifty 4x6 prints in matte, which is by far my favorite part of the whole deal.  I usually hate glossy prints for my own collections.  

So, while I normally am not one to give free advertising (I did get a bonus of $10 off my next order as incentive to post the image above) when I love a service, I'm not shy about spreading the word.  (Just ask any of my friends or family about bogs boots and they'll tell you.)  

Hit these guys up if you need photos printed, cute announcements or invites made, custom address labels, custom mother's day (etc.) gifts.  I've done all of that with these guys in only four months! Phew!

Mother's Day Gifting

Happy Mom Collage Mother's Day 5x7 folded card
Find unique Mother's Day cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ending and Beginning at Once

Every life, [Tomas] Tranströmer writes, “has a sister ship,” one that follows “quite another route” than the one we ended up taking. We want it to be otherwise, but it cannot be: the people we might have been live a different, phantom life than the people we are.

A couple months ago my friend, Anna Pulley, shared a link to the advice column, "Dear Sugar," at The ("The online cure for Ritalin").  The advice that week was to a young woman who was struggling to overcome her demons and get down to brass tacks so that she could, finally, "write like a mother fucker."  The post was probably one of Sugar's more famous posts.  I immediately cried, and then printed out the whole column so I could have it at hand whenever I need a kick in the proverbial pants.

Sugar is a writer, wife, mother of two and in her early forties.  I don't know what else she writes besides this always perfectly timed and deliciously tender advice column, but then again, I haven't researched it.  Her advice columns are full of charm, wisdom, and lovely affections like calling the writer of the questioning letter "sweet pea."
And so the question, sweet pea, is who do you intend to be. 
Advice column #71, which came out last Thursday, is from a man in his early forties who, along with his wife of the same age, is trying to honestly figure out if he (and she) should conceive children and become parents.  I'm going to try to refrain from summarizing the reasons he gives as to why he's torn, because you can go read it yourself, and because I want to talk about standing at the docks, myself, staring at those sister ships and how I'm wondering which ships are ghosts, which have already left port, which may be coming in.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It Starts Out Emo, but Really Gets Swinging in the Second Half

It's just after 6:30AM.  I am at the desk in the purple room and before me are the splayed out remnants of a once lovely jade plant.  I began this plant from a small cutting while living on Rock Street, I think, though it could have been on High Street.  Either way, that's damn near ten years ago.  The jade survived the moves from Michigan, to Illinois, to here and did very well last summer on the back deck. Now, after surviving my nearly killing it twice previously, it is near death once more.  When I began this paragraph I thought I might say I didn't care, anymore, whether the plant was revived or not, and how that the death of something that has been with me more than seven years was somehow metaphorical for my life, but as I wrote, my attachment to it resurged and I thought of how very little effort it would take to bring the good luck succulent back.  And that feels aptly metaphorical for my life too.

Writing, this therapeutic writing is a rare breed of constancy in my life span.

I go through the daily motions now and aim at the best choices I imagine, but if I set down and ponder what I'm doing I feel at a loss - or lost.  What am I doing? I'm a wife and mother all of the damn sudden!  Who is this; cooking consciously balanced meals, learning about the cognitive developments in a five month old, keeping to a cleaning schedule?

Oh shit.  Why hello familiar face in the mirror, you've put on some weight.  No wonder - really, with all my new baggage.

I did pick this baggage out myself, didn't I?  Wasn't I deeply tired of my one hand-me-down bag, cycling the carousel alone?  Didn't I long daily for newness and family ties, constant companions?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Journal Entry, Abridged: Here Again, Gone Again

Here I am, again, back to square one, again.  Back on track, again. Maybe I can comfort myself with the hopeful idea that every departure from my best intentions (and to the happy, if sick, land of total indulgence) is accompanied by an even more quick return.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


This is a poem I wrote in my new favorite cafe, which sits just below my new favorite yoga studio.  I go there every Sunday morning at 8:30 to practice yoga and then share conversation and yummy foods with new friends.  I've found my church.

update 4/10/2011  Thanks to my friend Angie for reading this and sharing her insights.  Based on them, and on some of own hunches, I have edited this poem a third time to what you see now.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cause It Makes You Smile and Giggle

Here's a particularly lovely email from my mom.

I am UPSing Salamander's bank today.  Of course I wrote a note then forgot to put it into the box.  So......

Sal - think of Grandma Korey when you're saving your pennies.  Have Mom and Dad put the bank high up for you until you are older.  I knew you just had to have this cause it makes you smile and giggle and you don't know yet but I always say "If you're not laughing you're not living." Counting the sleeps until I can hold and kiss you.  See you soon.

Love and hugs
Grandma Korey
She will be here in seven "sleeps" which is a way of counting time devised by my Aunt for my cousin when she was very small.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Few Notes on Daily Beauty

Some signs can't be ignored.
The vacuum must be left where it landed
when you picked up the book to check the date.

The normal floor inhabitants must be left askew,
baby bouncer on the bed, dog bowls on the dryer,
kitchen chairs in the living room.

You've wondered why it seems that one author's
voice is following you around.
She's there again today in your borrowed yoga magazine
from last spring.  She was there in that radio program,
chosen based on it's byline, which didn't mention her.

You have to let things fall where they may sometimes;
because the baby's asleep, the fighting cats separated, the washer
filling up.  Take this chance.  Let the wind blow through the tightness
that's accrued during this week and open, open

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Trying to Talk Over the Wind

Sometimes I feel the need to jot a few things down before I move on to the "higher priority" tasks on my daily list. Other times I'm able to say "nope" to putting my passion on the waiting list.  Other times I'm better at living with the muddy paw prints on the floor, last night's dinner dishes on the counter.  I heard a mom of three once say she was a "recovering neat freak" and I understood what she meant.

Anyway.  I'm way off base on my regularly scheduled programming at home and in my writing, not mention hungry for breakfast and coffee, and running on nap-borrowed time.  I actually can't ignore the mud clods, the hair balls, etc. because to really write I need more than an hour and to live sanely I need more order in my environment. That's just how I am.

Let me just be brief and say, boy it's windy here!  The wind makes us crazy sometimes.  It stirs up energy, makes old issues new again, makes us restless, talkative, and all these other weird ego outbursts you can imagine.  I think we get it wrong.  The wind probably wants us to listen, not try to talk over it.  It wants us to find a little hillside, button up our sweaters, and stand tall as it batters about, whooshes, and brings stories we'll never be able to copy on paper.  If we wait though, if we wait long enough to let the wind's busy blowing into ourselves, it will leave us better than it found us.  The wind is a wise game player.  But we haven't been doing too good a job listening.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

1001 Son Days

It's really really my nap time, but I have these words that just won't stop coming out of me.  I can't clamp down this dam, but the locks are in progress to level things off for nap time.

I started a new tumblr account.  It's called 1001 Son Days

I will post photos, notes, songs, videos, stories, poems, etc., etc., etc. for 1001 days all centered on thoughts, feelings, and events relating to my first son.  This was inspired by the beautiful journal created by Nikki McClure called The First 1000 Days.

When I first saw it, it stole my breath, but I scoffed.  It was a cover. That's quite a commitment, I feared.  Envy bore up in me and the idea wouldn't go away because her art moved me.  So, I spat out that bad taste, made the leap, and will do this.  The point of the tumblr is to try to keep a record to have and look back upon (we do have photos and physical keep sakes too).  Another reason I am doing this is because I need to write and tumbling often feels like a good format when time is short or thoughts are scattered.  

I love the idea of gathering each post, when all is said and done in this particular idea line, for a book to have and hold too.

Here is a post I wrote today that won't go live on 1001 Son Days for three days.

The Mama and the Papa
It is common for older people to lay in bed at night thinking of ways to better live their lives.  When you’re older try to remember not to do this too much.  Notice you’re doing it and let it go.  Focus on your breathing instead.  We already practice noticing our breathing together, when you cry hard at night and breathe erratically.
Last night, before I let go into my breath and into sleep and dream-land, I thought about roles.  The roles we perform in life.  
When I was teaching youth reading and studying skills I was most nervous about those students closest to me in age.  I worried they’d see through me and know that I thought their humor or behavior was sometimes amusing.  I was trained not to let them see my humor too soon.  I was supposed to be an authority figure of sorts, and they had to learn to respect that before I was allowed to crack too many smiles.
Last night I thought about my new dinnertime requirement.  We eat, as a family, at seven.  You go to bed at eight.  That way your papa and I also get to sleep at reasonable time.  Or anyway, that’s my hypothesis.  I felt very firm as I talked this plan through last night with your papa. 
Then, at bedtime, I thought about rules and that somehow led to thinking that you don’t need to be exposed too often to my personal neuroses.  That is one role of the healthy parent, in my opinion.  I thought of the way your papa talks.  He might say, “I’m the papa” to you, and then introduce, “and she’s the mama.”  
You don’t need to know our names for awhile.  You need to know we’re here and we’re taking the best care of you possible because we love you so much our hearts feel gelatinous more than we care to admit. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

We All Have the Buddha Within

Watched a PBS online video called The Buddha last night.  Had beautiful dreams in two hour snippets afterward.  I have learned I can't necessarily recreate pleasing behaviors just by making sure the conditions are reproduced identically.  Five hours of sleep in one go two nights in a row does not mean I won't see two hour intervals for the next three nights.

I said to Hadj, "Wouldn't it be great to be raised Buddhist?" and he said, "We could raise Salamander that way."
"But we're don't practice Buddhism," I countered.
Maybe it's time I start meditating on impermanence again.  I usually wind up seeing that Hadj and I are in agreement on most things.

One scholar they interviewed talked about the three things that cause human suffering.  He said greed, anger, and ignorance are our major downfalls.  He said the idea is not to stop yourself from experiencing these universal human traits, but to be able to turn them on their heads and express generosity, compassion, and wisdom instead.  I thought of my old work and felt proud.

I can see Salamander gearing up to give us a chuckle soon.  He responds in surprisingly apt tones to my questions, smiles, and laughter.  He smiles with me.  Coos with my laughter.  Hopefully he'll enjoy looking out his window at the beauty around us too, because I'm about to go wash it to let in that strengthening spring light.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Happy Anything Can Happen Day!

I don't know how it came to be, but Wednesdays have been dubbed anything can happen day around our house.  I've always loved Wednesdays.   I guess I love many forms of middle ground in a big way.  

I wanted to stop by and post a quickie here today because I've been thinking that several of my recent posts have been representative of difficult times and I don't want to mislead.  Bottom line: we're doing good!  

Monday, February 28, 2011

Own Up and Brighten

Oh what a day.  I couldn't call my neighbor because I was sobbing so hard.  I couldn't swallow my pride and let her see me like that.  I knew I probably should, but just couldn't do it.  When SalBaby had cried through another nap time and my patience reserve ran dry I said, "I'm going to calmly put you down now and go into the other room."  Once in the bathroom I swore a blue streak.  Earlier today I couldn't admit this, but here and now I will: I quietly swore myself silly in my little isolation chamber; in the process "telling" my two month old to shut up and calling him a bastard.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Keeping Limber

During the first nap:
It's time for some honesty.  Some scary, smacked in the balls, I don't know where this'll take me honesty.  I've begun and erased four different sentences on this e-page and that's what tells me I have to begin right where I am and not care where it leads.  I have to trust it will lead to the place it's supposed to.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Winded Fable About Where to Sleep

I colluded in seven weeks of teaching my son that "to fall asleep" means to be in a squishy king sized bed against a big warm body (or two).  It means a nipple in his mouth and a boob on his cheek.  Now I'm paying the price.

But he was is so cuddlesome!

I'm paying the price because I want my bed back.  I want to be able to turn over at my will again.  It's been since August (at five months pregnant) that I could do that! I want to be able to full body snuggle my man more often! And stuff!

I'm reading Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg.  I think her suggestions are very appealing and workable.  And now I'm in an intense negotiation phase with Salamander.  This kid knows what he wants!!  I  do know that babies cry inexplicably sometimes, or at least, I have been told that many times.  And I don't necessarily doubt it.  But I also have moments of sheer oneness with my child and lately he's telling me loud and clear what he does and does not like.  He does not like to show me how strong his legs are when he's tired.  He does like sleeping with boobs on his face.  Typical male.  Sorry, that's crude...

In my opinion, there's a lot of common sense missing from the oft recommended reading for earth crunchy types of parenting.  A quick list while I'm thinking about it: feeding on demand, infant potty training, saying "no way jose" to pacifiers all the time.  Maybe I'll find a magical trick or change my tune on these later, but at this point in time I just want a routine that I can breathe more freely in.  I don't want to internally swing wildly from doing whatever he wants to trying to cram in as much "me time" (which sadly often means chores or eating a meal!) as I can stomach while he cries it out in his crib.

We realized today that actually, we haven't even tried his crib.  We've tried the handy seeming "side car" our friends loaned us, but not the beautiful crib my parents gave him.  When Hadj pointed it out I thought about the coolness of his room as opposed to the often dry heat our wood pellet stove creates in our bedroom, the serene sea foam walls of his room, the air of a stillness away from hubbub and I sighed in relief.  Another notch in a sane sounding plan.  I think I just stumbled on a perfect parenting slogan.

This may be one of those times that I look back and wish I'd taken a different route.  Putting wee Salamander in his own crib right off the bat would have been terribly difficult for the first two nights (probably seven) and I'm pretty sure I would have sat at his crib side like a sick pup until I passed out from exhaustion...HOWEVER...I'll probably do something like that anyway now, but first, I have to go through lawd-knows-how-long getting him to accept the switch.  I'll let you know how that goes, some day...

In her book, Tracy Hogg stresses for parents to pay very close attention to their baby's common cues in order to work with them in a cyclic daily system.  Luckily, I'm already an expert on this because I have spent damn near exactly seven weeks to the hour observing him.  Now that Ms. Hogg has handily pointed out some more of the common cues that I wasn't picking up on, I'm feeling confidently golden.  I'm no fool to think there won't be stops and starts, progress and regress, as we go, but I do believe that we can learn our way to a system of sleep that will provide all household humans the independence, comfort, and sanity needed for a contented life.

And there's the moral for ya, in the end there.

Bittersweet Little Onesies

So the clothes thing: in my last post I mentioned how clothing on our son sometimes feels like a sadness to me.  It's an indication of time, and so many parents want to freeze time more than anything.  Want to stop up that hour glass and play in the top half of the sands infinitely.  Maybe that is a memory we can live inside of forever when we are gone.

Monday, February 14, 2011

While My Infant Son Napped

I made this book while my infant son napped.  I could only cut the pictures while he slept so the pictures are small and quick gleanings from my new life as a mother.  The dining room table became my studio.  I would put down my pencil as lightly as possible so as not to disturb the baby, hoping for a few more moments of work before I, too, had to take a nap.
The alphabet was never finished intentionally; the naps were too short and life too thrilling to justify going all the way to Z. 
-Nikki McClure, Authors Note from AWAKE to NAP

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Salamander Three

It occurred to me that I've not been fulfilling my duty as a proud parent on my blog yet! I need to post bragging pictures of our beautiful son! So, here are a few, ranging from a week to five weeks old.

a week old

cheery at five weeks

showing off one of his dimples, three weeks

Friday, February 4, 2011

Makes for Biochemical Peace

At some point we become mature enough to realize that our parents existed as individuals, with rich lives, before us.  While sitting on the back deck, taking in serenity through osmosis, I thought of that and then thought of the reverse implication: right now, I am Salamander's world.  I want to do my best to make his world a peaceful one while I can.  
serenity through osmosis on the back deck

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Love Rendering Kvetch

The boychik is in his car seat still and a sense of extreme urgency has gripped my ridiculous mind.  His car seat is pushed up against the dryer which is running needlessly, in order to create the white noise and vibrations that I hope will render him sleepy for a few more precious moments.  I am facing the new mommy problem of seriously needing some me time.  I have been operating primarily according to my newborn's wishes for six weeks now and my need to exercise, write anything, knit, etc., has been over ridden. 

Don't let my kvetching throw you off.  I am, obviously, in complete, mind-numbing love with my child, but

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

While the Visitors Sleep

Every one is asleep.  My boy is on my left side softly cooing with his exhalations.  Things are happening in daily life.  Mom and Dad are visiting, things are breaking, food, aches, pains, what have you, but at this page, right now, anything lacking richness, nutrients, organisms, enzymes, or cooing baby breath falls away.  Night sky emerges - cold air and snow fall.  It's calling me outside, while naked, soft skin and a warm fire keeps me still.  Still next to cheeks and tiny soft lips - lips that make me wonder what the divet above an upper lip and below a nose is called. A dew drop could rest there.

My mom has told me about the aching in her heart caused by loving me - I understand that now.  With Salamander's new existence here with us, I understand now, the way my mom knows I am just like her.  Some how - before him I wouldn't accept it - now I see our identical natures.  I see how this love is deeper than others, bigger.  My head is where her heart is, just as Salamander's head rests on mine.  He makes my chest glow hot gold.

I am divided between the desire to sleep and an utter memorization by his open mouth: the ridges in his dry lips, the inert softness of his vulnerable tongue - oy vey...

I can feel my ability to love expanding with practically every quick breath he takes.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Beginning Reactions: The Body, The Mind, The Heart

[Diary Entry]
Salamander is born.  A perfect gorgeous boy.  I went into active labor 24 hours

...ago was probably the word to come next.  Unsurprisingly  I haven't been able to find time to write since his birth day.  

[The Body]
I feel I can't kiss him enough - that any microscopic space of skin not touched by my mouth is enduring a small failure of mine to find and cover it with soft lips and moist breath.  I have urges to audio-record the tiniest coos and squeaks he utters so I can listen to them when they've morphed into new language.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Salamander's Birth Story

The festive spirit was entirely co-opted this year by the spirit of anticipation and excitement that filled our home as we awaited the birth of Salamander.  Hadj and I mentioned our holiday festoons a couple of times, but the need to recreate holiday traditions just wasn't in me this year.  And Hadj tells me now, he never really even liked Christmas, before this year.