Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summer Serenade

Listening to the rain beat down the hopscotch pavement.

Leaves bouncing for joy, sending drops on their way.

Sun breaks thru hitting roofs and siding.

Chimes serenade the grass below.

Earthy smell, damp and sweet.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Power of Oxi Clean or The Power Of Three

This morning's news Uber Pitchman Billy Mays dead at 50. You've all seen him. Jet black, slicked back hair and matching beard, trademark khakis and denim work shirt; Enthusiastically pitching floor wax, cleaners, gadgets, cookware, and lately life insurance (ironic?)

Remember the adage, celeb deaths come in threes? If it had not been Michael Jackson it would have been someone else to fill our need to make sense of things? To will a prophecy, to control the universal number three? Spooky indeed!

Friday, June 26, 2009

King Of Pop

I was combing thru blogs early yesterday afternoon. I'm fascinated by those in other languages. Some of those blogs provide a translation feed. I prefer to gaze at the photos and guess what they're about.

I came upon one, a lushly drawn ink of Michael Jackson with a crimson soaked heart, broken in two. The image was so beautiful and mysterious with foreign text surrounding the drawing. No translation code was needed. I surfed the Internet and within seconds, learned Michael Jackson had a heart attack. Minutes later, I read he was pronounced dead?

The King of Pop, dead at 50. He was preparing for his big "comeback" July 15th with sold out shows. His presence was undeniable. Whether you loved or hated him, his contribution to Soul, R&B, Pop, dance, celebrity hysteria, pop culture, freakdom, fantasy, opulence, and over the topness is now clearly history. Sadly, he leaves behind three children who will continue to grow up under this cloud of weirdness and speculation.

You have heard of death in threes? It's that uncanny phenomenon that celebrity death come in three. This time around Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and now Michael Jackson. This is a creepy occurrence. I read a great article by Ryan Omega at Examiner.com who has his theory. He says we are so "attuned to death that it naturally happens. Deaths occur in threes, marriages occur in threes, births occur in threes. We almost universally will the number three." If if hadn't been Michael Jackson it would have been someone else to fill that spot. He also explains it this way. " The point of prophecy is that a statement reverberates so strongly within a culture, that society seeks to fulfill it through its perceptions and it becomes an unwitting expectation." Incredibly heady stuff by Ryan Omega!

Today I'm going to add more Michael Jackson to my iPod.

Puppy Dog Tails PART 2

I have come to a decision that I know is just and carefully thought out...We will NOT have Gibby circumcised! I have fretted over this and lost sleep over this....I thought I had done my research thoroughly, but still felt uneasy. Maybe Gibson's temperature the morning of his surgery was a Godsend! I was changing him this morning and looked upon him in his sweet little boy wholeness and a peace came over me.

He came into this world intact, he will remain so. My heartfelt thanks to all who posted on the earlier story. Your comments did have an impact on my decision, as well as me forcing my pediatrician to "honestly" tell me what he thought. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" Sometimes it does take a village to raise a child.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Snails And Puppy Dog Tails

Gibson was to be circumcised this morning, 7:30 sharp! (Ouch!) This procedure was not done as a newborn in the hospital. I wish it had been. I've been going round robin on this subject and not wanting Gibson in any discomfort or see stitches when he's changed. He's discovered his little...and he grabs it and giggles. Because the procedure wasn't done in the hospital in a timely manner, his pediatrician recommended a urologist. She advised us to have it done around age one.

Lola wasn't feeling well on Father's Day and spent the day on the sofa with a temperature. She's back to her snack wanting, cartoon watching, sassy little self again. Whatever virus she had, she wanted to share it with Gibson. Wouldn't you know, on the morning of his surgery he was running a mild temp of 99. I woke him up at 6 this morning and his whole body was overly warm. He laid in his crib and soothed his "pup pup" blanket while I took his temp. Usually he's batting the ear thermometer away or trying to chew on it.

I phoned the urologist and explained his temp and Lo's weekend battle and lose of appetite. I felt uneasy about Gibby having the surgery with a fever, the urologist agreed and it will be re scheduled later this summer. I spent a restless night worrying about the surgery and poor Gibby.

My husband and I have educated ourselves on the procedure and feel the pros far out way the cons. We are not doing this for religious reasons. Studies have shown a lesser chance of some cancers for circumcised males and low urinary tract infections as well. Hygiene is anther factor. Another reason, gender identity. I don't want him to be different than his daddy. As a Latino and African American boy growing up in a white family, he may encounter some "belonging" issues. We will teach him to celebrate his racial differences with pride. We will invest, as a family, in keeping his cultures alive. I just have to worry and fret for the next few months until it's rescheduled, then have him safely back home!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Morning Wanderer

I had my iPod charged and ready to go this morning. Lola is feeling much better! She had a temp of 101 which steadily rose to 104.3 and stayed there all day Sunday, Father's Day. She's back to her cookie wanting, cartoon watching, rambunctious, off to school self again! Thank God!

I haven't been to the gym in about three months and thought I owed it to myself to get sore and sweaty! The Y has an exceptional child watch room so I planned on dropping Gibby off so he could play.

I was driving down my street, windows open to catch some morning air, and I did a double take.....was that a small child walking by the side of the road? Before turning left at the stop sign I looked down the road. Someone was several blocks away heading toward the child. "Stupid parent!" I thought as I began to turn onto High Street. "Why would you let your child run so far ahead of you on a busy street?" I spotted the boy but then didn't see the person I thought might be a parent? I engaged my four ways and pulled over onto High Street.

My heart was racing. I locked my car, Gibby was with me. I called out "Hey little guy where are you?" He was several houses up the street when I spotted him. "Hey sweetie where's your mommy?" I guessed he was about 3 years old wearing only a soggy pair of diapers and a Batman pajama top, no shoes, no socks. I bent down in front of him. My first thought was someone, maybe his parent, would see me and think I was trying to kidnap the little guy!

"Hi sweetie, what's your name? Where do you live?" He didn't respond but pointed down the sidewalk and then pointed across the street. Without thinking I held my arms out to him and he gladly came to me. By this time a man and woman came out of their house to see what was happening. "I found this little boy in front of your house, I've never seen him in the neighborhood before?" They hadn't either. I didn't bring my cell phone and was about to ask if I could use their house phone when I spotted a police cruiser crossing High Street from Maple. I waved my arms to flag him down.

I wasn't sure what to do, leave him with the couple and try and find the cop or use their phone. The cruiser was coming up the street and pulled behind my car. I told the officer I had found him. The officer asked him the same questions I did with no response. "How about a toy buddy, I have a stuffed animal for you." The officer held him in his arms. A boy, teenager in a tye dye shirt came down the sidewalk. The big brother, calling out the little boy's name. In seconds, another car pulled up behind the cruiser. This was the mother. "Dayton, how did you get out?" She guessed he had walked out the back door. The family was moving into a rental and this was their first official day in the house. I hung back a bit to give them privacy with the officer. The mother seemed more embarrassed than alarmed.

He told her I had found her son wandering the sidewalks of an all too busy street. I think she said thanks, doesn't matter, I just happened to be there at the right moment.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Playdates, Pancakes And A Six Pack

Wow we had a big day! Lola is unusually quiet so I check on her. She's sound asleep on the sofa. This is a sight of sheer beauty, and I wipe away a tear. This little bundle of slumber, so peaceful, so serene. This from a kid who, when I say "Honey you look a little sleepy, maybe that's why you're so cranky" loudly declares with a hand on her hip "I don't DO naps!" I turn of the TV. Her latest fascination is Casper The Friendly Ghost. We picked out a few of them from the library. I loved those cartoons as a kid. I relished in the thought that grow ups were afraid of him, yet children loved him.

We've lived in our neighborhood for some time now and I'm just beginning to think some of these people are actually ok. Lo has found some friends to play with and I love the idea. Her friend Jake was to come over this morning for a playdate. Not keen on the idea that every social situation has to have a "name." Can't the kids just PLAY like I did? She was at his house two weekends ago, so I thought It would be a nice gesture to have Jake here, make pancakes, do art projects, etc..and give his mom a bit of a break. She was overjoyed and hurriedly dropped him off so she could run errands. A six pack and a shotgun had me wondering where she was off to, and I would have happily tagged along!

Lo and Jake immediately fell into play mode and I whipped up some pancakes. I was pouring the batter, listening to Louie Armstrong when I heard the front door. Lo's other friends from down the street wanted to know if she could come over and play. Jake gave me a mournful look. He wanted to play with Lola's guitars and color with her. I invited the kids in, asked if It was ok with their dad if they stayed for pancakes. Of course it was ok! Now I've added four more plates to the table and brought out small bowls of M&Ms, sprinkles, decorator icing and orange slices for mouths. We're big on pancake faces at my house. The other kids had never done this at THEIR homes and it totally upped my cool mom factor. (I've noticed the other moms are now wearing makeup and big earrings too!) By now I had turned on an all Jazz station for background music. Their father was still sitting at the table as well. I asked if he's like some pancakes, he declined and starting telling me about his Jewish faith. I was half listening because I could smell smoldering cakes on the stove. I'm not sure if he was seeking recruitment? That's where the conversation was headed...he was complaining about friends who are some sort of radical sect who don't recognize his particular conservative beliefs...again I had to politely excuse myself for orange juice and milk for his kids.

Fast forward and after an hour I tell him it's ok if he has other things to do, I would gladly entertain his kids. Off he goes and the mayhem continues. There are five kids in Lola's room. Legos, Tinker Toys, guitars, bongos, maracas, and stuffed animals are scattered everywhere. Clothes were pulled out of her armoire and her plastic play grocery cart was crammed with shoes. I thought some outside play would be great. Before I could suggest this, a beach ball came sailing over the stairs and broke one of my picture frames.

After a rousing three minute game of badminton the kids suggested we have cookies. Didn't they each eat two large pancakes less than two hours ago? I set out a plate of cookies, turned my back for milk, and the emply plate was spinning on the table! One of the parents phoned "Are they having fun?" "Yeah, we're having a great time, are you ready to have them back home?" "No, not really...." "Uh, ok, how about I send them home in about 20 minutes? Great see you then!" I quickly hung up the phone. "Ok guys your dad wants you back home in 20 minutes." This announcement was followed by "Awwwwwhhhhh, can't we stay more and play with sidewalk chalk?" The phone rang again, it was Jake's mom. "I'm finished with my errands, how goes it?" I told her great, and the house was full of kids. "Shall I bring my knitting?" Jake's mom was at my door in less than 10 minutes. She and I sat on the side porch enjoying coffee and banana bread. The kids were still inside now watching Casper.

After 30 minutes I made sure the kids looked both ways before crossing the street. I told Jakey's mom we had a late afternoon picnic to go to and Lo needed her bath. "Awwwhhhhh, can't I stay longer!" she pleaded. I kinda like this neighborhood thing.


I'm not sure what's more annoying....watching Jon and Kate pimp out their children or the ongoing, inane TV cutesy chat concerning the amped up demise of their marriage? Why must I suffer yet another "TV celeb hottie talking head" with her shiny hair, blinding white teeth, push up bra, and power jewelry prattling on along with a teleprompter, chronicling the alleged affairs, emasculation, bitchiness, and child spanking in the driveway. "Is Kate cracking under pressure?"
"Does Kate spend too much time on her cell phone?" "Is Kate having an affair with her bodyguard?" "Are Kate and Jon Dunzo?" The new slang and verbage following this disaster is too much to bear! Oooohhh stay tuned Monday as Kate announced big changes!

I was never a fan of the show. I watched an episode several years ago and thought "Hey those kids are adorable, Wow! How do they do it?" My impression then turned to "Gee, she's bitchy!" and "He's kind of a doormat!" I felt more sorry for the kids than Kate or Jon. Were they asked to sign on season after season? Were they asked to be pimped out to the perverse curiosity of America? I get the novelty OK! A set of twins, then bang jackpot, jackpot again! Parenting is not all it's cracked up to be! I will be honest and say some days I wince at the word "mommy." Just as I'm sitting down with my husband, after a shitty day with a glass of wine. "Mommy!" Just as one of them finally goes down for a nap and the other is busy with a sharp pair of scissors and Super Glue. "Mommy!" Just as I, quietly as possible, turn the page of an outdated magazine. "Mommy!" It takes practice, patience, love, and lots of praying on my knees to simply not loose it and spiral into bitchy, overwhelmed, poor me, mommy mode.

None of us know Jon and Kate. We see hours of filming edited, spliced, only the juiciest bits delivered to us hot and fresh to our living rooms. Maybe she's not a bitch. If she is I will curtsy and proclaim she has every right to be with that many children. If Jon is a vapid, drooling punching bag of a man, I too shall give him some slack. Maybe he's not allowed to have a voice, maybe he does the best he can do? I can moderately guess they love their children and probably mean no malice to anyone.

I don't give a shit If they are "dunzo!" Affairs are a nasty sort and end up hurting all involved, even the most innocent ones. (Did he even have an affair? Being photographed with a female "friend" after hours, shutting down clubs is not the smartest move in hindsight. Dude, you're married with a ton of kids at home, isn't that where you should be?) I think about those kids several years from now. This will not be their parents shinning moment.

All I know and can loftily quip upon is MY mother-state-of-mind. Most days It's bliss! Most days I feel It's my calling. Most days I feel I'm getting the hang of it. Some days I'd like to go for a drive and not return. Some days I feel the weight of the world and would rather stay in bed. Some days I'd rather not have to brush teeth, change diapers, lug two small persons with me where ever I go. "Can't mommy use the bathroom! I need my privacy!"

A small twinge of guilt floods over me as I type that proceeding paragraph. OK, it passed! I LOVE MY CHILDREN and honestly can not imagine my wonderful, amusing, cartoonish, buffoonish, existence without them. I also have a husband who is an equal, who enjoys the rush of parenting, who sees this life at a bit of a different angle and gives me perspective and a chance to take my breath. We're dealt a certain hand and it's all in the playing. I've never had much of a poker face but do enjoy the game.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

By The Hair of My Chinny Chin Chin

Sean's at work. Lola is in pre K. Gibby is napping upstairs. I'm sitting in my sun room wondering what nonsensical verbage will magically pop out of my head and onto the screen? I'm listening to the sounds around me. The thunk thunk thunk tap of the keys under my fingers, the constant hum of the modem, the birds in the yard cheeping. I hear the garbage truck rounding the corner of Tulip Lane behind us.

I should surprise Sean and mow the lawn. I don't feel like dealing with the piles of dog poo in the backyard though. There's so much weeding to be done and I think I left a load of wet laundry in the washer from yesterday. I'm scratching my chin and feel...Whoa, what the...a CHIN HAIR? I'm freaked out and intrigued at the same time. Maybe this is my next calling..let the chin hair grow, of course there is just one! And it will amaze all across the land. Millions will come to see this chin hair wonder and its humble hostess. The blind will see, the lame will walk, all will speak their own language and all will understand (bathroom break, be right back.)

"We loose ourselves in the fog of everyday life." I just heard that on tv, an insurance commercial I think. So, back to my musings...Why on earth do you need to talk on your cell phone while walking the dog? I'm thinking about grilled lamb chops and a spinach salad for dinner tonight, throw in some goat cheese and cranberries and we're good to go. I should sign up for on line banking. Stinky Newman needs a bath. He just forced himself under the computer table and sent my coffee cup for a spin. He lays his head on the printer and then makes these incredibly loud swallow noises for about five minutes until he gets comfy.

Now I'm under assault from neighbors on both sides. Both are tackling their lawns with super sized mowers. A gorgeous breeze is now blowing and causing me to sneeze. I'm thinking about Lola, probably outside on the playground playing with her friends. When I picked her up yesterday she was busily making a sand pie. She was sitting in the sandbox with a red bucket between her knees, her blonde copper hair spilling into her eyes. "It's made with sand, grass, and this rock! Taste it, it's good!"

I just pulled three loaves of banana bread from the oven. When good bananas go bad! I usually add chocolate chips and a heavy splash of Myers Dark Rum for good measure.

Well, I should get back to reality, grab a shower, brush my teeth, groceries, errands, and find those tweezers.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Will Work For Sanity

I need a job! I worked on my resume a bit over the weekend. I was layed off almost two years ago from a job I held for almost 10 years. It was a perverse, multi level den of dysfunction. A round about of tales, tattling, titillating weekend gossip that made it to the ears of every employee and was twisted so badly by the time the tale was spun that all were too involved to claim innocence!

I was a buyer/designer/manager and sales person for a furniture store; a mom and pop store run by a man so emotionally crippled that he needed to smoke lots of dope to face his life. He had two children, a toddler and a baby, and a wife of immense artistic talent who gave up her dream and her studio to become his concrete brick around his neurotic neck. When Bush was "elected" president, he bought land in Nova Scotia, stock piled canned goods, generators, and water thinking he very well could ride out the apocalyptic end eating beans and Spam.

His parents bankrolled his furniture empire and their threat of pulling the monetary plug daily plagued him. He would lurch into the building, not making eye contact with anyone, not even mumbling a hello or good morning. He would immediately chastise someone for a mistake and berate them for their stupidity. He felt every employee could be "made over, toughened up." He had an unhealthy, out of line sense of paternal devotion to the employees. He unleashed his rage on all. Many female sales reps would flee the building crying and vowing to never return. This is so outrageous it can't be fabricated!

There was a little break room in the back of the showroom resplendent with a dorm fridge, sink, table and chairs. He knew no bounds when it came to his hunger. Any leftovers or items that looked tasty were fair game to him. His wife subscribed to a macro biotic diet at home for the family, and any chance for him to stray from those morsels meant "guess who ate my lunch!" We witnessed him eat from a peanut butter jar with his nasty, heavily knuckled, dirty fingers. Customers would ask how he was, how the wife and kids were, making small talk. "Don't ask! We were up all night with the baby. Don't have kids man, it ruins your life!" He and his wife believed in attachment parenting, both kids in bed with them. They didn't believe in cribs loudly proselytizing they were nothing more than prisons and could very well damage the psyche of the wee charges.

Despite the miserable, ogre boss, I did indeed love my job! It was creative, complex and always entertaining. Clients became friends who would just drop in to say hello and update me on their families. I had several brushes with the famous rock stars and writers who call this area home. Famed writer Kurt Vonnegut bought furniture while teaching and wanted to then return it when his tenure was up. He didn't want any refund, just simply to return it to the store as he no longer had use for it. I had to explain the no return policy, which greatly confused him.

I've been a stay at home mother for almost two years now. This has been a luxury and a privilege. I have no hair left to pull out and when my stomach growls I look under the sofa cushions for leftover Goldfish Crackers! The postman is now leery of me and my inane small talk about the weather. He graciously waves from the sidewalk and says he has lots of mail to deliver today. I don't take this personally, me in my pajamas, bed head and morning breath, all too eager for some adult conversation. I think the FedEx woman is on to me now too.

I'd like to work again. Get the kids off to daycare where they can play with their friends and develop social skills. I'd like to wear my pretty clothes again and dive back into the world of problem solving, human interaction, and a paycheck! I'm working on my resume objective and think I finally have it:

Recently balding mother surviving on juice boxes and Cheerios seeking gainful employment where I can utilize my witty verbal skills, creativity and eyes in the back of my head senses to establish a sense of sanity, fulfilment, and a paycheck.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Go Ahead, Unwrap It

Today I'm a big, whopping 41 years of age! Turning 40 last June was so exciting! I am not a woman who is afraid to age. I'm not afraid of wrinkles, age spots, or mental dementia. Though I am quite vain and guilty of the dog and pony show: makeup, clothes, all the smoke and mirrors to seem flawlessly ageless. Last year Sean and I celebrated my birthday in NY City. It was a perfect weekend and we arrived back in Massachusetts receiving a call from our case worker that a baby was legally free for adoption! Fast forward to Gibson who will celebrate his first birthday on the 15th! Another Gemini in the family!

This birthday is a bit more subdued. Gibson is upstairs napping and Sean and Lola are out buying party hats and horns for my wee celebration tonight. My only request, sushi and champagne. I didn't want any gifts, I have so much already. This confused Lola, aren't birthdays all about parties and loads of presents and cake and ice cream!?? My birthday thoughts evolved into what follows......

I've unwrapped myself many times. I undo the ribbon and strings, slide my finger under the tape and am always surprised at what I find nestled in the box.

I am sometimes beautiful, a rare gem looked upon with intake of breath. I am a puzzle, a challenge, a game to the receiver who wants to piece me together and make me whole. I am a coat, a cloak, dark in the shadowy night, hiding so as not to be discovered. I am a sponge absorbing other's pain. I am a salve hoping to heal. I am a child craving attention, wanting to jump in the morning's puddles. I am a little girl, see how pretty I am!

Sometimes I am only a dime store box with last years wrap. Do not fill me, but unfold me, shelve me in the closet.

My best gift is here...and now! To see, to feel, to live, to remember, to change, to create, to be greedy, to be envious, miserable, lonely, despondent, to be childlike, embraceable. Here to see beauty, to see death, to see the sun, to ponder at the moon. To hear the waves beating down on the sand, let me in! To feel the warmth, fullness, emptiness...to feel the struggle to take a breath...........To see the trees, to walk upon its leaves. To walk the ground, to taste the earth. To feel the sting, the trickle of my salty tears. To love so much that my heart does break.

Oh, how I ache.

I want to close my eyes, stop the spinning, all this beauty is too much, I want hush...

Blood pulsing in my ears, I want to be still for many years.

Yet, I want to be free, eyes open to roam. Let me rise up, this earth, my home.
I want to feel the dirt in my hands, smell the day as it began. Let me create. Let me try to accomplish in a day all that I may.

Let me smile, let me laugh, let me grieve for something that has passed. Let me put my arms around you, inhale your smell. Let me see into your eyes and know this, all of this is real.

And when I die and cease to wake, you are there beside me, as is fate.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Both Sweet And Bitter

"How do you do it, how do you live your life to the fullest?" Sean had come home from another day of fighting the corporate suits and wasting almost two hours at a sexual harassment seminar for his staff. Lola was watching Scooby Doo in the computer/sunroom and Gibby was pulling Newman's fur. Newman is our beloved nut less wonder, our knuckle head of a mix of a mutt, a faithful old boy, arthritic in his hind legs, slow moving, unless it's a cat or food situation. Sean had spoken to his mom on the way home. His Dad's birthday is today. He would have been 66. Tom died in March of 1999 from a rare blood leukemia. He was a school administrator, health nut, voracious reader, baritone voice of clarity, and had recently retired.

"Don't most men live until at least in their 70's? Your dad is going to be 70. How do I do it, how do I live my life to the fullest?" I looked at my husband of a young 42, not wanting to picture my life without him, not wanting his children to only have memories of him. He sat in his favorite patina-ed red leather chair in the living room, now holding Gibby in his lap. My mind searched for the soothing, comforting, balm to ease his worries, to erase a long weary day. I am the comforter, the soother, I absorb all worries.

"Maybe it's just to live in the moment, take pleasure in your children and remember that this day, this hour is so fleeting." We are so caught up in our day to day. It's human nature to always look ahead, to worry, to plan. All the time saving, scraping, plotting, climbing, crawling, biting, forcing our way to somewhere, somewhere, but where? What about the memories, the physical love to one another, where does that go? Does it rise to the air, evaporate and then blanket us in our final hours? Are each of us mindful we are weaving this tapestry of love to pull over our shoulders, to warm our children, to grasp onto when we have nothing else?

It's not an answer. It's not a solution. I hope to see and live my life by my own advice to my husband. It's hardly possible, yet do able. One day, one hour, one minute. Seeing life as a journey, a struggle, an adventure not to be lived alone but shared with those in our lives, those that complete our tapestry.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Episcopalian Jokes, Ear Hair, And Cash

"Why don't' Episcopalians have sex standing up?......because they're afraid they'll start dancing!" "Why don't Episcopalians have orgies? Because there would be too many Thank You notes to send!"

This is how I met my neighbors Mark and Amy. We were having a tag sale. Actually the Madison Circle Tag Sale. Sean and I decided this year we would participate and unload some stuff; junk, things never unpacked when we moved to Massachusetts from Annapolis Maryland. (That was eight years ago.) We sold lots of baby gear stuff, stereo equipment, Cds, just stuff collected over the years.

Tag sales are a unique thing. People sell their junk to other people who are not really looking for that chipped crock pot, but wow, it's only $5! People are an odd lot to begin with. Car after car pulled up. "Oh shit, they're in my azaleas!" "No, sorry, no antique rifles for sale." "Honey, who's the strange guy trying on that gauze skirt in our backyard?" He looked quite fetching in it, and I suggested a top to go with it. I was lightening my overloaded closets. I should have sold shoes and a bag to go with it.

10:30 was way too early for a glass of wine, so I settled for another cup of coffee. Lola was pumped up, running around the yard singing for the throngs of bargain hunters. "Mom, I just don't understand this? Why are these people buying our stuff?" "Shhhhhh honey, this is your college fund." Our neighbor next door was assaulted with scavengers who sojourned from our driveway to hers. Her name is Bunny. I'm guessing that's a nickname, she was selling lots of bunny paraphernalia. Bunnies on plaques, bunnies on ties, bunnies on picture frames, bunny ceramics playing golf, trimming the Christmas tree..collectible bunny stuff.

I saw a couple entering our driveway thru our backyard. Enter Mark and Amy. I was upstairs and saw them approaching Sean who was seated in a wicker rocker in the driveway overseeing the sale. "Any motorcycle helmets for sale?" Amy asked. "I know you ride and thought you might have one Mark could try out this weekend." Mark was the complete physical opposite of Amy. He was tall, willowy and had a knack for politically incorrect jokes. I learned more about him in seven minutes than I think should be legal in most states! I also learned his wife of six years did not drink, dance or have any preference in music. Mark was pouring over used Cds we were selling. He peppered his music scouring with one lesbian joke, two Episcopalian jokes, one knock knock joke, and then asked if I minded dirty jokes! (Kids, get in the house, mommy has to chase off a very strange man from our driveway!)

Amy had gone back to her house to drive her "motorcycle" over to our house to show Sean. It was an amphibian looking cycle with two large wheels in the front and one in the back, resembling a jet ski. She wanted Mark to ride it but he was leery, and needed a helmet. Mark was bouncing from one inane subject to the next and landed on hair. He said he was thinking about letting his ear hair grow long. "Oooh, Laurie Anderson, I saw her a few years ago and I was the only guy in the place with about five hundred lesbians all dressed in black." He was clutching a Laurie Anderson Cd and continued his vision concerning ear hair. "So, yeah, I want to grow it long so the Misses has something to hang onto!"

Thank God Amy pulls up in front of the house and every one's attention is diverted to the three wheel thing. We oohed and aahed for a bit and I sat on it for a virtual test drive. She had to return it to the dealership that afternoon so we said our goodbyes and nice to meet you to Amy as she rode away. We didn't have any helmets to sell so Mark walked home with a plastic grocery bag full of used, cheap Cds.

"Wow! what did you think of him?" I asked Sean. We were packing up the last bits of Cds and baby gear that hadn't sold. "I kinda liked him, he's goofy." "Yeah, me too. We should have them over for dinner some night. Let's make sure the kids are in bed early before he starts telling more jokes!"

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From The Tree

I have the house to myself again. I've got loads of laundry to catch up on. I should grab the checkbook and mail out some bills. I should finish cleaning out the attic for the upcoming Madison Circle Yard Sale. My parents were here for a few days to celebrate my mom's 66Th birthday. Her birthday coincided with Gibson's baptism. Mom and dad are his godparents.

I wanted mom to have a special birthday. My two brothers live mere minutes from my parents in Pennsylvania. My oldest brother has six kids and is a bit busy with trying to keep a job and keep a household from imploding. My other brother has one daughter and likes to sit in his recliner and pretend the world doesn't exist. I call him my baby brother even though he is a year and two days older than me. How can I gently say they are both a bit spoiled and don't exactly think of ways to make my mom's birthdays special.

My parents have always seemed ageless. I think I've always had this vision because it shrouds me from the future. My mom is a very complex woman with a novel worthy history. Only years later has she shared these tales with me. Her father was a decorated soldier, a smoldering eyeful of a man, who left them for another woman when my mom was less than two years old. My grandmother stood her ground and told him he could not have his cake(trollop) and eat it too! Divorce in those days was a heavy stigma for a Catholic child and my mother always felt the scratchiness of the cloak she wore. Grammy worked tirelessly to support herself and mom. Cleaning office buildings, working in factories. My mother often would help her mother after hours in these life sustaining laborious efforts. Grammy often told mom "No matter what work you do, always do it with pride and to the best of your ability."

My mom was a dark haired beauty, much more sophisticated and older in appearance. These blessings were also her curse, bringing the attention of men. She had a lonely childhood with Grammy round the clock working. She would spend summers with relatives. Some of her stories are lighthearted, in the kitchen along side NaNo and NaNa baking, chasing chickens in the backyard. She was the rescuer of mangled cats and would nurse them back to heath. She was often seen pushing a baby pram with a cat tucked up to its little nose with a blanket and a baby bonnet around its head. There were other stories of wandering the neighborhood at night, looking into the windows of houses where inside the glow of family dinners together made her so despondent.

Years later, as a child I remember when Grammy would come from New York to visit us. She lived close to Yankee Stadium and had remarried. I remember my mom was so happy when Grammy stayed with us. They would spend hours in the kitchen cooking and baking and laughing, always laughing! Mother and daughter relationships are to me the most complex. There are so many layers to this wonder. I look into my mother's eyes and see this woman who has overcome so much, has raised four children, who is the proud grandmother of thirteen grandchildren, who is a beautiful grayish sixty six years of wisdom, aches and pains, perverse sense of humor, gourmand extraordinaire, published poet, nature communicator, secret keeper, partner in crime, book loving, coffee sipping, Scrabble champion, quiet deep in thought woman. I know she has more to say, but chooses not to. Not just yet. Bit by bit she is telling me her secrets, bit by bit I am discovering my mother and cracking the complex code.