Tuesday, June 30, 2009

balance point

I could feel her heart pounding through the thin cotton of her sweaty t-shirt. I patted and rubbed her back halfheartedly while my mind wandered to a place where I could look down on this moment, and I wondered if I appeared more sympathetic than I felt.

My thoughts were: “Come on, you’re not even trying. Don’t wimp out, you’ll feel like shit and make everyone suffer.”

My lips uttered much more encouraging sentiments: “You’re doing great; I know it’s hard, you can do it!”

I had wondered if the bike was too big, if she would be able to control it. I had never been a strong bike rider, and always preferred having the ability to lay my feet flat on the earth if I was so inclined. This bike was so stinking cute though, and it was the smallest one they made that did not come with training wheels.

I knew she wanted to give up. She had tried a couple of runs on the grassy hill, but kept bailing before she gathered enough speed to find her balance point. We were not even worrying about the pedals, just trying to coast a little and find that point. On her last attempt, she totally let herself fall along with the bike, landing on top of it. She lost it, the tears came, the panic unleashed. Naturally, she commenced with yelling at me. “You were tipping me! You’re talking too much! I can see you walking right there! I can’t even breathe!” And the quintessential: “You’re stressing me out!”

Her blond hair hung in her tear-streaked face; her piercing blue eyes shot daggers of accusation and mistrust from beneath the visor of her new pink helmet. So I shut my mouth. I patted and rubbed. I reflected. I hypothesized:

If she gives up, the rest of the day is going to be miserable. I’m not sure that I will ever get her back up here to try again. It could be a year before she will agree to it. We should have taken the training wheels off of the tiny bike for this lesson, and then let her tackle the big one. I don’t know if she can do it, she’s a bit uncoordinated. Should I let her give up?

I felt rather than heard the deep intake of breath. She pushed her hair back, squeezed my hand as she removed it from her back, righted the bike and announced: “I’m ready.”

What process had she been employing during that moment of shared introspection? While I was preparing for the aftermath of her certain failure, she was gearing herself up for success. God, this girl! What a girl.

Her brother and I were instructed not to move or speak. There would be no cheering, no running alongside, no catching her if she fell. We were to reveal no evidence of our existence.

Of course she did it.

I wish I had a photo to show you, but it’s right there in my mind. Her square, defiant shoulders perfectly aligned above the teetering wheels. Her tan, thin arms maneuvering the handlebars through the wobble, her impossibly tiny legs taking purchase on the pedals to maintain the speed she had finally accepted. She turned on to the paved sidewalk and finally glanced over to give me a smile. That’s the photo.

I was actually jogging over to get my camera from the car when we heard the telltale sound of an approaching ice cream truck. Some moments just have to be celebrated rather than documented.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Third Time is No Charm.

Well I'm back in the hospital, for the third time, and it's not the nice one with wi-fi. No, it's the old one without wi-fi, and it looks like I'll be in for a good long time. (Nothing like typing my posts on my phone's keyboard!)..
I'm still clinging to the small possibility that the good docs will break with custom and let me go home tomorrow, as my situation is somewhat borderline. It's not a full previa, and I live close by, both facts that make the possibility of “the big bleed” (a) less likely, and (b) less dire if it were to happen.
But honestly, in this day and age of hyper-litigation and medical malpractice cases gone wild, who's going to sign their medical-degreed name to my discharge papers?

Probably no one.

Boo hoo.

But, as one of my lovely nurses said to me yesterday, “things change around here all the time,” so even the decision to keep me here until I deliver is not a given. I can keep on hoping that as my belly expands it drags the placenta along with it, or that they get sick of me and kick me out, or that I win the lottery and can hire a private nurse for my home (the challenge here, of course, is getting out to buy the damn lottery card).

See? Lots of options. No need to panic about day after day after day after day of mass produced meals, shared showers, repeatedly interrupted sleep, and seeing my kids in hour-long intervals.



Yeah, right.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Guest Blogger: Lovely Lizbeth

This weekend, we are proud to introduce a new guest blogger with a nice little moment to share.

Meet Lizbeth, and her lovely eyeballs:

My magical moment with Michael Jackson:

I'll never forget walking through Prague at dusk one spring evening with Peter. It had just rained, we could smell the cool dampness and the cobblestones reflected the lights in the little streets off Staroměstské náměstí. The tourists had gone to dinner. The streets were quiet. And then all of a sudden they weren't...

Music floated through the darkening streets, softly bouncing off the old walls and filling the air. Michael Jackson was in town, doing a concert up near Prague castle. The breeze had changed and with it floated the faint notes of "Earth Song." Every time I hear that song I'm immediately taken back to that beautiful night, and that haunting music.

The photo is not mine, but it captures it pretty well

photo credit: PragueDailyPhoto.com

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Hodgus Podgus (that's Latin)

In the spirit of Friday hodgepodge, and in celebration of the sun, which made a rare and miraculous appearance yesterday, let's have a look at some random photos from this spring, shall we? And then we can all go right back to bed.

Ha! More on this to come . . .

Night night.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

no fair

During this part of summer in San Diego, no one asks "which fair?" It's just The Fair.

In 1880, a group of San Diegans organized an agricultural fair to bring county farmers together to share ideas, see who had the best citrus fruit, who baked the best pie, and who had the fastest horse. After that first fair, the county fair was held annually with a few exceptions in various county locations until 1936, when it moved to its present Del Mar home.

In 1947, the fair boasted an average attendance of 23,429 people each day. By 2008, that daily average had skyrocketed to 58,843. That’s a lot of peeps. Too many peeps for me.

One of my co-workers says that she loves the fair because she used to do the whole 4-H thing as a girl:

A county fair without animals just wouldn't be the same. You can see baby animals, farm equipment, animal shows and of course, the ever-popular Junior Livestock Auction, where San Diego County's young people auction the animals they have hand-raised during the past year.

That sounds nice, doesn't it? It summons images of Fern and the Zuckermans, country kisses and dutch apple pie.

Is this the same fair?

Food is one of the main reasons people visit the San Diego County Fair. Not only do we have the traditional "Fair fare," but we also offer some surprising upscale dining and sipping experiences.

What will be the gotta-eat-it food of the 2009 Fair?

Among the items listed as New Food this year: Deep-Fried Bread Pudding, Deep Fried Green Beans, Zucchini Weeni (hot dog inside a zucchini, then deep-fried in a special batter), Deep Fried S'mores, Zucchini Fries, Oatmeal Cookie Chicken Sandwich, Deep Fried Cheese Curds, Deep Fried Mexican Ice Cream, Chocolate Covered Bacon Strips.

Oh my, that IS surprisingly upscale!

My kids are going to the fair this Friday on a school trip, and my poor husband has been roped into chaperoning. At school, the kids have each been involved in planting things to enter in an agriculture contest; they have big plans to join the pie eating contest and hopefully catch a race featuring turkeys, pigs, wiener dogs (presumably not wrapped in zucchini), or hamsters. It will be a good, old fashioned kind of day at the fair.

However, once the school bus hauls off those poor, sad suckers without chaperones, my kids will hightail it out of the wholesome sector and straight into the sweaty, tattooed arms of the carnies. To the so-called fun zone. I hope they have time to knock over a bank on the way there:

Most rides require 3-6 coupons. On certain rides and attractions, the rider pays directly. At the Fair ride coupon booths, you can buy the following: Single ride coupon, 75 cents; 14 coupons, $10.00; 30 coupons, $20.00; 77 coupons, $50.00.

I recently made a shocking admission on facebook, one that I suspected would be met with repugnance and ridicule:

“Am I the only person on this earth who loathes the county fair? All those people, all that grease - give me the beach any day. I am, however, a fan of the carnies.”

But I don't call them my peeps for nothing:

Kendra said -“I’m a closet fair hater!”

Keith agreed - “I'm with you...I HATE the fair! Traffic, MONEY, horrid-sickening food...I boycott it and loathe it!”

Rita stipulated - “I like small fairs, the little town ones. Not a big fan of the big fairs though.”

Mary Ann asked - “They still have county fairs?”

Ellie said - “Aw, thanks Jacquie. I appreciate your vote for my kind.”

Johanna lamented - “hate it-the heat, the lines, the $...”

Of course, a few weirdos fair affectionados eventually came out of the woodwork:

Mary countered - "I LOVE the Fair!!!!!!!!!!! Apparantly (I love) everything you all hate! Hilarious people-watching, any kind of food-on-a-stick, rides you hope won't come apart while you're on them, carny's...what's not to love!?"

Bridget echoed - "I LOVE the fair! So much grease, heat, wacky gizmos, creepy people, shaky rides, grease, animals, $10.00 hot dogs, corn on a stick, funnel cakes, and more grease!!! What could be better?"

Amy simply said - "fried s'mores"

Mary, Bridget, and Amy -I hope you and the other 65,000 fans of the fair enjoy it this year, and for many years to come. If you're looking for me, I'll be the one enjoying the extra space at the beach!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Much ado about nothing

Not being able to do much of anything myself, and having to ask people to do things for me does not come easily to me. I don’t like it, in fact I detest it.

Don’t get me wrong, people have been great, and have been doing all sorts of things for me and my family (without us having to ask). Very helpful things that have made the last weeks much easier on us all. But it’s still really hard to let people do all of the tasks that I’m used to doing (and to accept that they’re not going to do them exactly the way I do, which is, of course, the right way).

I don’t like feeling indebted to people; partly this stems from the way I was raised, partly it just makes me uncomfortable to get so behind, if you will, because although I want to pay back everyone who has done any little good thing for me, I worry that I won’t be able to, or will let an opportunity pass, or will forever be in karmic imbalance.

But more than all that, I hate being dependent on other people. I’m used to taking care of myself, and other people, and now I can only take care of myself in the sense that I do as the doctors say and hope my body doesn’t betray me. But, let’s face it, I’m not really taking care of myself. My husband, primarily, is making all my meals, doing all my laundry, washing all my dishes, etc., etc., etc. A coworker is covering the tasks I can’t really do from home while I'm out. My husband is shuttling the kids back and forth to school, and camp, and play dates, my friends offering the play dates so that my husband can take a break, and my kids going to longer play dates more often.

It’s all fine, certainly not a terrible situation -- no one is sick, no one is dying, no one has suffered a great loss.

But I find myself on edge, and constantly having to remind myself to let things go. The milk does not have to always be rBGH free, the toilet seat does not need to be replaced this week, and the sale of my condo will go through without me going over there for a final walk through.

I’m successful at letting things go lot of the time. I really am, because, honestly, what alternative do I have? But when my ex-husband texted me today completely pissed off that I pulled the girls from swimming for the next 4 to 8 weeks (while flat on my back and unable to drive), the feeling of helplessness was almost overwhelming.

Take a burden off your overworked husband, get two-word texts from your ex-husband that read: Fuck you.

It stung. I’m really trying to do the right thing here.

I know I should just be pissed at the idiot for being completely insensitive to my situation, and I am pissed, but more than anything I feel powerless. It’s such a sucky feeling.

It will pass, all feelings do. I know this, and I eagerly await this particular feeling’s passing. But in the interim, I cry, just a little.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


The minor league baseball team in this area used to be called the Norwich Navigators. Nice ring to it, right? New London, the whaling city; Groton, the submarine city; boats, water, steering.

Now, though, it's the Connecticut Defenders.

Complete with a nuclear submarine float. Sigh. I miss Ahab and his cute little harpoon.


Mistah and I went to a game recently with our friend Johnny Slips. On a Thursday. A Thirsty Thursday. A cold rainy endless-spring-in-Connecticut Thirsty Thursday. $3 Sam Adams. Including the pint glass. Can't beat that.

The guys brought out the line up cards, as they do. But, really? I know it's all a ruse. I know what they're talking about. Candlesticks always make a nice gift.”

The Defenders' mascot is a chicken. Clearly. Johnny Slips, however, insists he is an eagle and he is called Cutter. Yeah, right.

I still say he's a chicken.

I only recently got a real handle on the difference between the words pugnacious (argumentative) and pugilistic (fights with fists).
And it looks like we got a little bit of both here . . .

There was a serious, conspicuous, lack of peeps at the game.

I think there were only 12 people there. Including me and Johnny Slips.
But we had a grand time. We drank Sams . . .

. . . we yakked . . .

. . . and we enjoyed less than 2 hours of baseball. The game was over before we knew what hit us.
Aw, finally the chicken eagle made his way over to me. Since there was no one else in the stadium, the flying rat bastid.

I'm goosing him; can you tell from his expression? He loved it.

The bad guys won. Those crumbs.

And the teams congratulated eachother on how badly they both played.

“Okay, folks. Thanks for coming.” But it's over too quickly! We've still got beer to drink!

“K, folks. Time to head on home, now.” But we're not done yet!

“Okay, now, folks. Folks??”

Monday, June 22, 2009

scenes from a weekend

because really, I'm too tired to type complete sentences.

Friday night: pre-birthday celebration with the ballet homies

Saturday morning: a visit to a local gallery, and a special showing by some of the artists

I was acutally outbid on my boy's painting!
Saturday lunch special: Feliz Cumpleaños !

Saturday afternoon: a jump for joy party

Livin' the dream

On to Sunday: lined up for Father's Day lunch

then out to enjoy the spectacular day

Are they okay?

: )

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Weekend 3-Way: June 20

There are so many important events to highlight this weekend! I hardly know how to choose.
Exhibit A:

These two hot tamales. FIFTY years ago today - that's F.I.F.T.Y. - they vowed to have and to hold. And you know what? I think they really meant it!

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Exhibit B:

The Day of the Father falls this Sunday, and it's a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the Daddies in our lives. I’m so thankful and pleased that the Daddy in my house chooses to spend his special day at the beach, preferably with a drink in his hands. We were made for each other!

Happy Father's Day, Honey!

I’ve got to go with Exhibit C for the 3-way, though. June 20 is a big day for her, too.

For this weekend’s 3-way, let’s talk about my eight year old girl! Tell a story about her, show a video of her, send her birthday wishes, whatever. It’s just all about the girl.

Happy Birthday, Baby!


My girl kicks butt.

Wow, your girl sure does kick butt! Happy Birthday to her, and Happy Anniversary to your lovely parents, and Happy Day of the Father to all those good fathers out there; especially those who know how to celebrate ocean side with a drink in their hands.

My recent best memory of your girl is when she was being chased down by that giant, seemingly rabid seagull in OB, but would not think of putting down the bag of cheetos (was it cheetos?) she was clutching on to. Her face was hilarious--a crazy mix of laughter and terror. Although, if she slowed down and got into position, I bet she could have kicked that flying rat's ass.

We really miss the girl soup we used to make after trips to the beach. There is not much cuter than three sandy, sun-drenched girls in the bathtub after a long day at the beach.....

Happy birthday, cutie!


Oh, I have so very many Ms. Boogsie stories, Bill and I having spent so many hours in Jacquie and Bill's pull-out couch with that very birthday girl. When she was a tiny tot, and would wake up in the ungodly early morning hours, Jacquie would pitch her right into bed with Bill and me, so Jacquie could grab an hour of sleep before going to work. Mistah would hide under the covers, to try to finish sleeping, but Boogsie, in all her 1- and then 2- and then 3-year old glory would bat at him under the covers. "Dude? She knows you're under there." We played and sang and bonded and fell deeply, deeply in love.

One of my very favorite stories, though, is one day we were trying to leave San Diego, after a month or so there (including a Porgie-sitting stint, God Rest Her Soul, while Jacquie and fam were on vacation). The Westy was getting a brand-new-brakes job, and it was like 3 on a Friday afternoon and we still didn't have her back. We were ready -- all our stuff was piled up, ready to be packed into the Westy, so we could head north, but we had no Westy.

Ms. Boogsie and I were out in the driveway together and we did the one thing one can do whilst waiting: we made music together. I sang every ditty I know, accompanied by the girl on the kazoo. She was so into it. She thought the kazoo was a real instrument, and was just kind of shocked at her prowass. At one point she said, between numbers, "I'm really good at this. Some people have to practice. I'm just really good."

Happy Birthday Ms. Boogsie!

Friday, June 19, 2009

A heartbreaking message of staggering length

Being on bedrest means a lot of things, one of them is that it’s easy for people to find you. You are primarily, well, in your bed. I am allowed 1 hour total up-time per day, to shower, pee, walk to the fridge, drag my ass out to the chaise lounge, etc., but for the most part you’ll find me in bed, working, or reading, or online shopping, or the like.

My kids joke that they’ll always be able to reach me, as I normally have my phone right next to the bed.

But sometimes people come to visit, and we normally head out the detached family room, so that visitors don’t have to hang out on my bed with me. I sit back on a recliner and revel in the grown up who’s come to ease my boredom and save my sanity.

Last night my great friend Kendra came over, bearing an incredibly delicious Thai dinner homemade by her Thai friend, whom I’ve not met, but who I'm now a big fan of.

We ate, we talked, T (my husband) and she drank beers (okay, I had one too), we laughed; it was a great time, and I was out in the family room for hours.

When I crawled back into bed, I picked up my phone to see that I had 4 voice mail messages from my kids, well, from one of my two kids, the younger one, the soon-to-be five year old.

Uh-oh I thought, 4 voicemail messages in 9 minutes, someone really wanted to tell me something. My guilt was already mounting as I pressed the playback for the first message, which turned out to be a hang-up. It was the second message, the one that ran out after 3.05 minutes, that was the knife to my heart.

And here it is, in it's entirety, all said through tears and dramatic inhales of weepy breaths:

Mommy, I wanted to tell you I want to talk about my birthday, but I can't because
you’re not on the phone (sob); but I wonder where you are; if you have time, after
dinner, [mumble, mumble, mumble], okay?

And Mama? I wanted to tell you (long pause), that I miss you, and I really want you, and daddy said it’s a message, but I still really want you, where ever you are….

I want to tell Cappi [her baby sister that is still in utero] that I love her, and good
bye, and I’ll see you to-moooorrow and then, when I get home, I will talk about
my birthday with you…. [Unfortunately, she is at her dad’s for the weekend, and
I will not be seeing her until Monday late afternoon]

I mean (sob), I will call you every day, okay mama? Because I won’t be home.

If I leave a message, please call back, okay? If you don’t answer the phone. Please,
PLEASE mama, okay? I really want to talk to you. But I don’t even know where you
are. (weepy sigh)

So bye mama, I love you (kiss sound)

Bye Cappi, I love you (kiss sound)

Bye T, I love you (kiss sound)

Bye, Miss Lilly (our cat) I love you (kiss

Bye, Samba (our cat who ran away a few months ago), I love
you (kiss sound)

Mama, mama? Please call me back. Please, please, pretty please call me back when you see my message.

Everybody….kiss, I love you everybody. Kiss, kiss, I give you a hug, and I give you a million kisses…. in my heart.

And no matter what you look like, I’ll still love you Cappi, and Mama. I’ll blow you a million kisses in my heart.

I love you mama, I love you everybody. Huggies. Bye.... (another weepy sigh)

Please call me back, please, please call me back, when you’re done.

Kiss, kiss,

I’ll see you on Monday. Kiss

Bye, Mama, bye T, bye Miss Lilly, bye Samba, Bye Henry, up in
heaven (our dead cat), bye, um, um…..
And the message cuts off.

Big weepy sigh from me.

It made me want to drive over to her dad’s house, righ then, at 10:05 PM, and wake her up and give her a big giant squeeze. But of course I didn’t.

I wish I had an audio file of the poor girl's mommy angst. It's all at once funny and sad and pitiful and touching, and it makes me love her fiercely.

And to think I’m having another one of these little girl people…..(sob, sob, weepy sigh)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Later That Night.....

Inspired as we were by the success of our neighborhood-wide Yard Sale, and by the magical qualities of our keg of Cottrell, we played a rousing game of Champagne Homerun Derby Saturday night.

We had three first-timers that night. Hsin, sadly, fouled, so we drank that bottle without much fanfare. Owen had an infield pop-up, much to his dismay. That bottle went down quickly, too. But Dawn? Pop! Right over the fence.

Dawn, Owen and Jennie clamored right around the fence to mark the cork in the wilds beyond Champagne Field.

Owen thought it was the perfect opportunity to give Jennie a tutorial on the finer points of Hopping A Fence.

Foot up . . .

. . . and over.

That's right, Jennie. One foot up . . .
. . . and over.

Okay, Jennie, one more time. Foot up . . . Yep, just like that . . .

. . . and over. Over, Jennie, over!

Um, okay. Let's try again. Foot up? Good. Perfect. And now . . .

Nice job, Owen.

Oh, don't worry, Jennie. The grass is much greener on this side of the fence.