Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Barbaric Yawp is Building

I should be sitting in the dentist office instead of at my laptop with another cup of coffee. I conveniently got the time wrong despite the fact that it was written in black and white (10:50) in my planner and I even listened to the appointment reminders they left in my voicemail this week and last week. I am not a big fan of the dentist although I do like nice looking teeth. I don't really know why...I haven't had a bad dental experience in eons and I very much like my new dentist and her staff. I'm not going to wax poetic on my irrational fear of drills and flouride. I'm simply going to accept my oversight for what it is...a gift. You know the gift of time. When suddenly your busy, crazy, scheduled to the hilt day opens up and is your's to make what you want of it. What you need of it. It really is a beautiful thing.

I haven't been shy about the fact that the last couple weeks were wretched. The strife and sadness really took its toll on me. Today feels like the calm before the storm. Tomorrow I need to start shopping and baking for our Easter brunch. It's a good storm though...I'm excited to have a house filled with guests, and a yard too if the 70 degrees they're predicting rings true. And then next week is Spring Break. I'm looking forward to a change in routine although I'm not foolish to think they'll be much relaxing down time.

The good thing though is that I'm starting to see the sun and not wince. I'm feeling its warmth and not shuddering. I'm thawing out. I'm done hibernating.

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world.

  • Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)

Saturday Snapshots

Dancing (or spinning) the morning away. Gotta love a little lady who can take the lead. And then prove that Big Girls Don't Cry...they don't cry when their dizzy dance partners bow out of the show.
No...they steal the show solo with pretty pirouettes and amazing arabesques.

Whiling away the afternoon dying eggs for Easter. The GIRLS (Miss Bit, Aunt Jess and Moi)...


EGGS while...

The boys (cats) were dying to get ahold of the noisy birds in the bushes.

Until Mr. Sun called them in for their afternoon siesta.

And the other boys (T. Bone and Hubby) immersed themselves in March Madness...

And Legos.

When "art" imitates life.

Somebunny sure is cute!

Tomorrow is the start of Holy Week. I'm praying for a week filled with reverence and grace.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Friday Photo

T. Bone is channeling his inner prep, which makes me wonder if I still have my copy of my tween Bible - The Preppy Handbook.
He's revisiting the 80's while my girls gone mod back to the swinging 60's. Never a monochromatic moment in our house.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

  • Miss Bit woke up with a big smile on her face yesterday morning knowing that it was her school's Open House/Ice Cream Social last night. When she saw the outfit I set out for her she said, "Oh I just know you're letting me wear something so beautiful because it's a special day!" She skipped around the school hand in hand with her friend M. happy as can be.
  • T. Bone had a tough situation with some neighbors/friends yesterday who are older. They go to the middle school. They excluded him even as they built a fort on the edge of our property in our neighbor's yard. He calmly said, "It's OK...I have better friends than that." I not so calmly wanted to tell them $#@! and call them $#% &#^#%*%$S! but how could I when my little boy was being so big? At the school function last night he worked things out with his friend P. all by himself.
  • T. Bone got down right excited about a green gingham dress shirt at the Gap the other day and for a moment I wondered where the aliens had taken my grunge lovin' son.
  • Crystal and Casey...next week is rhythm and blues.
  • The Real Housewives for keeping my life REAL.
  • So much pink in my closet for spring.
  • Pizza at my brother and sil-to-be's tonight.
  • I talked to my Dad this week. We had words a couple weeks ago. I finally broke down and cleared the air. I so don't like being on the outs...I'd rather be sorry than right...something my big hearted hubby has taught me.
  • Baking a fresh loaf of banana bread for my kids this morning for breakfast. They love it...they appreciate it...it makes the house smell so good.
  • I'm feeling a little better, lighter, brighter.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Today is Tuesday

I logged on and now I don't know what to say. That's the story of my week. It's still quiet in my world, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, Father T. gave us 3 rules this week during his sermon that were given to him every Sunday he visited the cemetery as a kid: be quiet, don't step on graves and don't drink the water (poisonous lead pipes). Basically, turn off the t.v. and tune out the noise around you and pray, be nice, and neither myself or my hubby was exactly sure just where he was going with the last one. Let's face it... based on most accounts I don't drink enough water. We kind of decided the premise was steer clear of poison as in negativity, fear, judgement, reproach. When he suggested turning off the t.v., Miss Bit's eyes got as wide as saucers. She is still a major Sponge Bob aficionado and needs her daily fix. (I'll gladly turn off the propaganda spewed by the biased, brain washed media and be thankful if I never again have to hear about Pelosi and her Slaughter tactics. If you aren't scared yet, you should be people, and let me just state for the record that I am not against health care reform.) T. Bone listened intently to the story of Lazarus. It's an attention grabber for a 9 year old.

Spring sprung here last week. The longer, warmer days mean the kids are spending lots of time outside refilling their vitamin D reserves. There are as many robins in the yard as kids, and the chipmunks are once again chasing each other around the yard making the cats crazy. There aren't any buds on the trees yet, but before long the world around us will be vibrantly verde. The cats are leaving hairballs when they wrestle, following the sun as it moves from room to room, and mewing for a little fresh air...their own edition of the morning news (acccording to my Aunt). The bbq was fired up over the weekend to grill some chicken served with a side of fresh steamed green beans. I've been busy planning our Easter brunch and my sil-to-be's shower. The world around me is sunny and bright so the way I see it...I'm bound to perk up one of these days.

And that being said...I don't want you to think that I've been holed up in my bed paralyzed behind my room darkening shades, or that I'm crying in my coffee day after day overcome with sadness and despair. It's just that my grief is closer to the surface than it's been for a long time. And my heart is heavy in a way I'm not used to. Instead of periods of pain and disambiguation, it's a constant aching funk, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it sure doesn't seem to be getting any closer. I feel alone, even though I'm not. I'm not speaking what's on my mind very often because if I did, I probably would be alone.

So last week about this time I felt unlucky, and this week I feel uninspired. I'm getting through each day, but I'm just going through the motions. I'm moving forward crossing them off the calendar, but where am I going? What's the point? Why? I've had moments of laughter. How could I not chuckle when I came home with a bag full of lovely Liberty of London dresses only to hear Miss Bit exclaim, "Thank you Bermuda!" Her commentary during Dancing with the Stars last night had me in stitches. There's no way not to crack up when she walks around listening to my I Pod singing songs from The Princess and The Frog, or the Black Eyed Peas loudly. I had to crack a smile when T. Bone came home excited and proud that he won first place in his den's Pinewood Derby races. He makes me laugh the way he is so consumed with March Madness and already convinced that he's going to win my office pool. And to hear his British accent...now that is funny! I even felt genuinely happy Friday celebrating my friend's milestone birthday with the girls, and celebrating my brother's with my family on Sunday.

I started writing not sure of what I wanted to say today, and now 20 minutes later Father T.'s rules...simple and true...seem uncannily relevant at this time. I'm going to keep praying for the courage to be nice to myself and the strength to be nice to others.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

  • Driving with the sun roof open the last couple of days.
  • The way my kids love corned beef! We ended up making it again on St. Paddy's Day to go with my sil-to-be's delicious colcannon.
  • The special job of bringing up the gifts during Sunday's mass. Miss Bit presented the wafers and T. Bone brought the huge glass carafe of wine. Of course, Miss Bit wanted to follow Father T. straight up onto the altar for the rest of the service.
  • Not paying to see Up in the Air or The Messenger in the theater because they were so not worth the $. Planet 51 was worth the $3 + free popcorn price of admission for Saturday's Frosty Flicks.
  • T. Bone's resourcefulness.

  • Today is pajama day at school!

  • Fresh berries on my cereal for breakfast.
  • A field trip to the Planetarium with Miss Bit's class this week. Even I learned something about our solar system.
  • Liberty of London is coming soon to a Target near me!
  • An extra hour of daylight.
  • Playing outside after school.

  • This Daddy's girl!
  • Friends that have your back.
  • Cat naps.

  • My princess...pretty in pink with pigtails, a pouffy skirt and a polka dotted present ready to party.

  • Knowing that nothing is ever impossible.

  • Grandma's who leave chocolate cake for dessert and take stuffed animals home to mend.
  • My hubby went out for some March madness with friends last night.
  • I went to bed early with a stack of reading and a cat.
  • Getting up early this morning to workout.
  • Dinner tonight for Rose's 50th. Tapas, vino, good friends and gifts.
  • This week is over.

Top O' the Mornin to Ya!

I didn't want to get out of bed this morning and I couldn't figure out why until I remembered that today is St. Paddy's Day. It's been a rough week already, and here we are at March 17th. I feel like I'm being kicked when I'm already down. Last year this day was a doozey too because it was such a favorite of my Mom's. How can I not think of her....miss her even more...on a day that she so loved to celebrate? I miss her Irish jokes, sharing a green beer, dreaming together about traveling to Ireland someday. It's hard to feel lucky today.

And really how lucky are the Irish anyways? Cursed with famines and a bloody civil war that is still being waged?

Nonetheless...I had to get up. I turned the frosting for our cinnamon buns green lest my own children go hungry. Miss Bit declared the outcome even more magically delicious than usual. Then I shamrocked my kids (shirts, cheeks, headbands, boxers and fingernails too) and sent them on their merry ways. I couldn't convince either one of them to let me give them the green freckles my Mom gave me year after year, and they're too young for her O'Shit button. O' Well!

And then I look at these two and I am so quickly reminded of just how crazy lucky I am.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Backyards Full of Boys!

My yard is filled with boys and now I KNOW it's spring. 5 to be exact. Playing a loud, competitive, cut-throat game of scrimmage...2 on 3! Forget it that my nose knows...I hear this with my own 2 ears. Thankfully, I'm signing off to meet a friend of my own for dinner on this lovely night.

Spring is in the Air

This morning the air smells like spring. It’s this distinct earthy, fecund smell that takes me back to so many a March of my childhood growing up on the river. I can still taste the metallic residue from pressing my chubby cheeks hard against the screen as I strained to watch the world around me wake up after a long winter. I can see myself in my pigtails sitting on the still chilled cement steps with a bowl chock-full of peanuts waiting for a courageous chipmunk. By the end of the summer, they’d all be eating out of my hand and the whole yard would be a sea of beautiful blooming buds. Irises in every color of the rainbow, tulips, roses, daffodils, forget me nots, peonies and pansies to name just a few. There were so many birds feasting at Mrs. Kay’s feeders all day long that their chirps and squawks became subtle background noise almost as soft as the summer’s breeze yet to come. I felt safe here in this little fenced in haven on the outskirts of the city on the banks of the lazy river.

A couple times a year, Mrs. Kay would pack a picnic lunch for my brother and me, and we all hiked through the woods in search of the perfect cool and loamy spot on which to rest. Once found, she’d spread out the red checked blanket and we'd settle in to eat cold fried chicken, fresh fruit and warm cookies. It was these times that we couldn't even fancy whether we were fairies and gnomes or kings and queens, but we felt the palpable magic and privilege in the fresh air that we breathed, and we both secretly wished that we could share every meal just this special way. We knew that we were forbidden from making the trek down to the river without our trusted guide. We only snuck down the paths solo a couple of guilty times. Mrs. Kay told us that it wasn’t safe for us to go alone, and we believed her because she adored us.

Can you even believe she came to love us as her own grandchildren? My parents moved into one of the cedar shaked, tidy houses on Mr. & Mrs. Kay’s property when I was a few weeks old. Mr. & Mrs. Kay never had children of their own and didn’t want someone else’s children upsetting the grounds or the critters so it was decided that we would need to move once I could walk. Then the agreement was amended to when I could run, and again to when my brother could walk, and it went on and on like that until my Mom decided it was time to move. Even then they tried to convince her to stay. They wanted us to stay despite the fact that we had grown into active kids who would traipse all through the yard playing hide and seek, statue maker and red rover red rover, tear up and down the driveway racing our big wheels and render ripe raspberry bushes fruitless in a few sneaky seconds. Over the years, we all came to think of each other as family. We came to know each other as not only friendly neighbors, but also connected kin.

Spring is in the air today and Mr. & Mrs. Kay are on my mind. I'm remembering them just as I always do when I get that first fertile whiff of this season of rebirth. This single powerful scent calls forth so many potent childhood memories. How is it so? It has to be true what they say about our sense of smell...it has to be our strongest sense.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Scenes From The Weekend

FRIDAY: A little bowling with the champs before dinner. Fun family fun.

SATURDAY: Dancing the afternoon away with friends to the tune of Big Girls Don't Cry.

Then cozying up for a movie night on the futon after Daddy's super pasta supper.

SUNDAY: Church, enjoying the beautiful day in the yard, corned beef dinner.

In the Dark

We lost our power last night. I was actually woken from a sound sleep because the house was too quiet. Eerily quiet until my heart started thumping right out of my chest. The fan that whirs and vibrates from the corner of our room stopped mid-spin. At first I felt unable to move...paralyzed just like my fan. What is it about the dark that can fill me with such stifling fear? I mustered up the courage to get up...I pulled back the blind only to see that our whole block was pitch black. I felt a sense of relief. Relieved we weren't alone. I'm afraid of being alone in the dark. We're never alone though really, but without any light it's sometimes hard to remember that...to believe it.

This morning on my way to church I was struck by the Phantom's words when Music of the Night was the song in cue:

Night time sharpens, heightens each sensation
Darkness stirs and wakes imagination
Silently the senses abandon their defenses

Slowly, gently night unfurls its splendor
Grasp it, sense it, tremulous and tender
Turn your face away from the garish light of day
Turn your thoughts away from cold, unfeeling light
And listen to the music of the night.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dance Party

Miss Bit got all dolled up for her friend's birthday celebration this afternoon. She was so excited to go party at the dance studio that she said, "Mom, this is a day I'm never gonna forget!"

Phone Call From Heaven

My Mom called me lastnight. It was kind of hard to understand her. Heaven is so close and yet so far away. I was just happier than I've been since I can remember to hear her voice. I had so many questions for her. I asked her if it's beautiful there and she said, "Ohhhh Yes!" Then I asked her if she's with her Dad, and again she answered affirmatively. I was thankful I got to tell her how much I miss her, and of course, before we lost our connection she told me to hug and kiss the kids for her.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

The Mom of a first grader who approached me at the roller rink to introduce herself and tell me that she thinks Miss Bit is the sweetest kid she knows in the school. Awwww! There are about 500 kids in the school you know!

T. Bone confessed after confession Sunday that Father B. told him to be nicer to his sister, to include her more and not to be as rough.

A Gymboree coupon in the mail minutes before I sent my Easter order online. I'm smitten with the tulip dress and thrilled that T. Bone agreed to wear a pink oxford. I keep telling him, "Real men wear pink." Now I just have to convince him that real men wear blazers with their Bermuda shorts and Bucks!

Pink polka dot rain boots for my puddle lovin' Lil Bit.

T. Bone had a new friend over Sunday to play. They've known each other for a couple years, but they're just becoming buds. They spent the whole time building Legos. J. is REALLY into them, and he showed T. Bone some "REALLY COOL" stuff. He made us all laugh when we were driving to the roller rink cuz' he told T. Bone, "You're lucky you have the sister you do. She's not RIDICULOUS like my sister. My sister ANNOYS me EVERY SINGLE day." Miss Bit tried to hide her smug smile.

When Miss Bit's friend A. came over the other day the first thing out of her mouth was, "Lil Bit...I think we'll be friends forever. Don't you?"

Sunday morning's breakfast...a buttery sweet cupcake with my coffee. My only sweet splurge in seven days, and well worth the wait. And my frister for sharing her frosting recipe with me.

Hanging out with Jess Tuesday night. I'm glad she corrupted me.

I'm waiting for the final changes to be made for my dining room and living room window treatments so that I can approve and order them. Maybe I'll have them before Easter when we are hosting a brunch.

Painting plaster Easter eggs with Miss Bit yesterday afternoon. We love a good craft project.

Big Mike singing Kate Bush's This Woman's World on Wednesday's Idol. I LOVE that song...I LOVE him! I cried just like Kara.

Irish soda bread.

Dr. Jay said T. Bone can wait to get his braces until after we get back from Bermuda since his expander has done such a nice job already.

Good report cards. Miss Bit and T. Bone both showed enough improvement to earn a trip to Stonefire Pizza.

A lazy morning. I took my time getting up just lying there stretching, thinking, snoozing, dreaming.

A day off today with the kids and a family date tonight for bowling.


The fog outside is thick like pea soup tonight and serving as a most suitable metaphor for the dense legume puree that has taken hold of my mind this week. I need a crosswind to clear the air. I've been listless, distracted, and maybe even apathetic, and it's not the gray March days. Sunday night I tucked Miss Bit in at 8:30 and then tucked myself in at 8:31. Monday I skipped my workout, Tuesday I skipped my volunteer work, and today I skipped showering (until 10 minutes ago that is). It's not even 8:00 yet, but I am already eagerly anticpating my bedtime. This suffocating fog is filled with self-doubt and riddled with insecurity. Words like indecision, regret, anxiety, fear, and paralysis take on new meaning during times like this. The days feel long...and yet, short at the same time. When I am in such a state, sleep is my tried and true escape...my single reprieve. Writing doesn't even work, which is why I have been quiet here.

But the thing about fog that I have come to understand is that eventually it lifts. Before long I can see from one side of the street to the other again. Before long I can see tomorrow and the next day and the day after, and know that although I may not have all the answers, I'll get the ones I need along the way.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Whatta Weekend

It was a non-stop fun-filled few days. Friday was the perfect kick-off as hubby and I stole away for a date night. We both love a good thriller so it was a no brainer that we ended up seeing Shutter Island. The twists and turns kept it entertaining. When did he actually go crazy? Why? After the movie, we shared our favorite pizza, and then we came home and made the night a double feature. The Hurt Locker was also a psychological thriller in its own right. I don't quite understand how it stole the show Sunday, but then again...I think it was the only best picture nominee that I actually saw so what do I know. I don't quite understand how anyone signs up for another tour, but thank God they do.

The Wiz kept us entertained Saturday afternoon. The costumes were great and the music nostalgic. Still singing Ease on Down the Road. The kids all loved it except T. Bone. The other 4 were all smiles with rapt attention on the stage while he had a rather pained look on his face and ants in his pants. He just wasn't feeling it.

After the show we all convened at our house for a family play date/pizza party. It is so nice that the adults can visit uninterrupted while the kids play. It really wasn't long ago that one of us had to constantly be running interference and no conversation was ever finished.

It is such a blessing that my childhood friend's kids are such good pals with my kids.

Little C. looks up to T. Bone, and T. Bone looks out for his little buddy, C.

We spent Sunday morning at church and Sunday afternoon at the roller rink. The whole family strapped on skates for the Daisy event. T. Bone is quite the speed skater. It was Miss Bit's first time so she spent a lot of time hugging the wall, but she started to get the hang of it and she never got discouraged. I think her favorite part was when they dimmed the lights, turned on the disco balls and blasted one of her favorite songs. She laughed at me when I told her that I used to hold hands with boys while I skated around the rink, and then she laughed at me again when I tried to stop myself by doing a quick turn and ended up on my knees. Then when I tried to get up, I fell again and hit my elbow too all so I didn't ruin a picture. For this reason...I am glad that I forgot to bring my camera.