The Wink is a labor of love, occasional source of ire and constantly influenced by the toddlywinks in my life- my daughters. There's also the HunkyWink. You'll read all about them as The Wink unfolds. Please feel free to wink back!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

“Can you tell which thing is not like the others by the time I finish my song?”

Ah yes, life is good.

(takes a sip of champagne)

My plan is all coming together. I still can’t believe how well it’s all falling into place. If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would be a multi-millionaire I would have told you to go suck a pacifier.

It’s amazing even to me. A decade ago I was using my video camera to tape finger puppet movies for my kid, movies that I hoped would shut her up so I could have five measly minutes to myself. Oh sure, I included classical music and stuff on those tapes – gotta be all “educational” after all – but a few shots of rolling balls and pinwheel fans worked like a charm. Did I feel guilty for sticking my kid in front of the boob tube so that I could chat on the phone with my girlfriends? Maybe for a minute. But then I learned I could take a shower. By. My. Self. Can you call it a scam if people practically knocked down my door to get their own copies? I’ve got one word for you - Score.

Now look at me, I’m living in the lap of luxury. I turned those tapes into a line of “educational” (heh, there’s that word again) videos, books and music cds for infants and toddlers. Some pretty packaging, the name of a long dead genius (who, I should add, didn’t speak until he was three years old. Hmmm.), and four years later I sold my company for a cool 200 million to that company with the spokes-rat. Double score.

Can you believe that people actually believe that their infants are going to learn French by zoning out to that drivel? It just goes to show that you can sell ice to Eskimos if you market it well. Good marketing and feeding off of the fear of new parents. It doesn’t hurt that I look like the girl next door. Tee Hee.

Sure, I have my detractors. The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t care for my videos being marketed to children under two. Autism schmautism. They haven’t come up with enough proof to shut us down yet. In the meantime, show me the bling, baby.

Oh! And here’s the best part. My videos have become so popular that the President of the United States mentioned me in the most recent State of the Union Address! There was me, that guy who jumped in front of a subway train to save a total stranger and that Army Sargeant who fended off an enemy attack in Iraq. I’m sure I’m not the only one who had that little ditty from Sesame Street in their head during that introduction:

One of these things is not like the other,
one of these things does not belong.

Sure, a four year old could pull the wool over Dubya’s eyes, but one would figure that his advisors and speech writers would have caught that little gaffe.

(takes another sip of the bubbly)

Ah yes, it’s all coming together. Haven’t you heard? I represent “the great enterprising spirit of America”. World domination cannot be too far away.


"When she's not writing scathing posts about millionaires, Mrs. Chicky is planting her 21-month old daughter in front of Tivo'd episodes of Sesame Street and Wonder Pets to get five minutes of peace. She heard they're educational so that was good enough for her."

You can find Amanda over at Mrs. Chicky's place today. To read more posts from the February Blog Exchange please visit Motherhood uncensored.


Little Things

Sometimes the shittiest days can be fixed with itty bitty things from the universe.

I was at will call picking up tickets for Sesame Street Live today. A woman at the next window said:

"I'd like to buy tickets for the concert."

"Which one ma'am?"



"Really? Not effervescent? Huh, well I think that would be a good name."

Second thing. I walked into the Nick the Tailor to pick up 2 sets of curtains that have been there waiting to be hemmed since early December. I swore to Sean (remember, I was having a shitty day):

"If she hasn't finished the curtains I am going to fucking kill her."


"I am not kidding."

"Ok, honey."

I walk through the doors and she's standing there. 4'3" if she's an inch. Missing many teeth, Greek Orthodox Mass going on a 12" Trinitron tv circa 1972 in the back corner, and dozens of precariously perched candles burning alongside an endless rack of clothes.

She gasped as she looked up from my unhemmed curtains.

"You eesh gonna live along time. Ay, shoo. I was a'just tinkin' 'bout choo." And she crossed herself, shaking her head and smiling up at me.

Thanks universe.


Toddler Rave

Between the Disney Princess food, the twirling neon whip thingies and the magic of Elmo under stage lights, our experience tonight was a bit like a toddler rave...not that I have ever been to a rave. I may just be one of the least night life savvy people ever. However, if I were to apply the magical creativity of my degree in theatre and my quasi hippie upbringing to imagine a rave for toddlers, it would look a little like this.

Frickin' Frock

First, let me start off with a disclaimer:

I believe "fricking" and "freaking"to be huge cop-outs.
However, I could not fight the allure of alliteration and my chutzpah stops just shy of blatant profanity in titles...I think. I may go back on that some day, but not this day.

So, the frocks arrived, they of an earlier post, wherein I hemmed and hawed about what to wear, finally arriving at 2 options. The feedback I received was nearly unanimous in preference for the second dress. Who cares right? I mean how long can you really drag out a post (or series of posts as the case may be) on which dress to wear to an event. Never underestimate my power to milk a topic.

I ordered the dresses from Nordstrom. Shop From Over 500 Brands they tout. Ok. I tried. I found two, they seemed decent. Pardon my seeming lack of enthusiasm. I actually had a delicious time poring over the selection of dresses with the incredible knowledge that my mom was footing the bill. Yup, my mom called and said,

"Write down my Visa number and do it."

Karma? Are you listening? Send my mom some love would ya?

Armed with her Visa number I really was excited, sort of a mini-WNTW spree courtesy of Mom. There was much fretting about size. I have had 2 children in as many years and I am a bit shaky on what size jeans I wear, let alone semi-formal evening wear. A couple months ago I was swimming in a 10 at TJ Maxx so I held my breath and crossed my fingers as I selected a size 8 for both dresses.

Well, they came. And oh, the delight at just the sight of the box here at Chez Wink. It was palpable.

Can we talk about how awesome it is to have other girls wildly tearing open boxes with me? And they totally cooperated. My sweet girls!

Then came the content examination frenzy. Again, utmost cooperation. Avery took the sheer black & peach number, Briar the black & white halter.

But wait, the dress Briar had was most definitely not black and white. It didn't look quite right. Was it silver? Never mind I thought, I'll try on the Avery dress first since no one had it as their first choice anyway. I was so excited. I thought it looked incredible in the photo. I was imagining a skirt that swirled seductively around my legs and a bodice that was flattering and safe for moving around in, since I will be working at the event.

Umm, how do I say this? There was no swirling and certainly no flattering. I closed my eyes as I pulled the zipper, waiting for it to hit the halfway mark and stop, halted by a larger than size 8 torso. When the zipper stopped I opened my eyes to check the damage. It wasn't going to move another centimeter. It was all the way up and I could have invited one of the girls, maybe even both, to join me inside the bodice. It was at least a size too large, if not two. I am NOT a 4. I am 5'10" and so not a 4. Oh well. Dress # 2.

I took it out of the bag. Definitely silver. Not what I ordered. That's ok though, I thought. The black and white thing might have looked cheap. But then, so did the silver thing I was looking at. I wondered if it might have a train as more and more fabric poured out of the plastic bag.

"Put it on Mommy. Mommy wear the princess dress?" Briar prodded, while Avery gently gummed the cardboard box.

"Ok, honey. Let me just see how it goes."

I unwrapped the dress and let it hang from the hanger. It didn't look right. What was wrong? Did it need to be tied in back?

No. No need for a tie.

It was a size 20. So not only was it not the dress I ordered. It was at least 6 sizes too large. The event is about 10 days away now.

I am, to put it simply, without a plan. If I send the dresses back now with an exchange request included and wait for the return to process, I doubt that I will receive the replacements in time. And then, if they do arrive in time, who's to say I will have the size right or a style that fits?

Why does this happen to me? Did I do something so awful? I don't know what to do. I did just get one set of curtains back from the tailor (after two months) maybe I could make something. Totally kidding. Just please world, don't make me end up in a last minute is that what you wore to church last Sunday* dress.

*I realize that I have not been in a church wedding, no wait, not even then. No, haven't been in one since my grandmother's memorial service before our wedding. So right there we know I don't even have a fucking Sunday best backup dress.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Sweet Dreams

The days seems so long these days, with so many things carrying over to the next day's to do list. I try to find something each day that feels like a victory, even if it's just the tiniest of accomplishments...putting away a hamper full of folded clothes , cleaning the kitchen, or prepping the pot for the next morning's coffee (I did say tiny.)
The one thing I can count on every night is my routine with Avery, it is literally my salvation. After kisses for Daddy and Briar, she burrows her face in my neck and I carry her upstairs. Depending upon the amount of dinner I failed to clean from her face, we pop into the bathroom for a few quick passes of a warm wash cloth over her cheeks. Lately with the bug going around our house we spend a little extra time, me trying to clean her nose, shetrying to suck every last bit of water out of the cloth. Then we head to her room. She knows exactly what is coming, and unlike her profoundly difficult to get down for the night since birth sister, she welcomes the sleep ritual.
I turn on a nightlight that was my grandmother's and we go about changing her diaper, kisses and coos throughout. She rolls about as I try to snap her in her pj's but rather than annoy me, I respond playfully. I am endlessly grateful that I have an infinite fuse in this arena. After pj's we scamper into the full size bed, tug and twist the pale lavender afghan throw until we are covered and face each other, my lips touching her head. She nurses and strokes my face, occasionally looking up to give me a twinkly I love you. Her dark hair is kinked and pointing every which way from the ponytail we remove before bed, it tickles my nose and feels as decadent as the most luxurious fur coat might feel 'round the neck of a woman with no worries. Outside Avery's door and down the stairs are a pile of dishes, unopened mail, articles to write and emails to answer, but for now there is just a tickle and a sigh.
Watching through silky strands of hair, her journey from playful to milk drunk is my peace. Her lashes, flutter against the curve of her cheeks, her hands press against my skin, tracing circles and then every so often darting down to embrace my side, her legs curling to wrap around me. I am hers and in this moment we are everything. The sound of her swallowing fills the room, delicate puffs of breath against breast, and the familiar melody of muted kisses on sleeping brow warm me. This is my everything, my release and my reset, my beginning and my end.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Pardon Me

I have allowed myself these last few days to sink into a stuffy oblivion of what seems to be my annual January bug. Runny nose that will not blow itslef into the aloe infused tissues. A tickly sneeze that will not come. And of course a throbbing head ache that will not respond to drugs. Bed. And lots of it.

Soon I will be back to share with you the magic of the blinged out quasi midget raquet baller that made my night (not that way!) and the marvel of the Wesley Snipes meets Mario Van Peebles meets MC Hammer weight lifter...who knew a membership to the Y would come with such sweet rewards?

Soon my friends, soon I'll share, but for now I must go and fruitlessly blow my nose and assume the painful I wish I could sneeze position.

Happy Sunday.

PS The dog is inside, but the cat still insists on prowling for 15 minute increments.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

How I love the letter X

Briar loves the letter X. Witness her rendition of the alphabet song. I think this version has 2 or 3 x's. Other times there are 4 or 5. The best part comes at the end (in addition to brilliance behind a camera, I am great with video chronology and making an audience watch till the end). The look* Avery gives Briar is priceless.

*Watching this again, I see that the look is not as evident (refer to earlier mention of photgraphic genius). My apologies. 


Who the frock cares?

In a bid to achieve sheer irrelevance (witty and subtle play on words, subtle only if you don't, like I just did, point it out) , a post of what is most likely of no value to anyone but myself, I give to you, the dresses.

Option A: A flirty twist on the little black dress.

Option B: Different without being too out there.

So there you have it folks. My greatest dilemma* currently, which frock shall I wear?

*That's a total load of crap, I have some huge worries, but come on, sometimes you just have to give it over to the universe and let yourself sweat the small stuff. But seriously, about those big worries: what am I going to do about shoes? And my hair? My hair people, it's, umm, can hair be dry and oily and poofy and flat at the same time? No, you say? Come take a peektake my word for it, the pictures would scare you.

The dresses will be arriving in 5-8 business days. The event is in 2 weeks and 2 days. I'll keep you posted. Who knows, maybe I'll book that spa day?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Today was an exhausting day. There's no punch line coming

I spent the day at the County Jail for a Leadership program. I did the same thing last year so I thought I was prepared. I drank an extra cup of coffee and brought extra layers (cold and boring last year). There was no amount of coffee or fleece that could have prepared me.

The DA talked to us for no less than 90 minutes regarding a recent case she tried up north. It involved what was ultimately the murder of a three year old. Fucking insane. I think I understand why she spoke to us the way she did, her voiceweaving in and out of clinical and compassionate. But she could have accomplished it in ten minutes. The extra hour + was gratuitous. I sat and wept. And tried not to vomitor pass out.

After she was through we went into the jail and spent 45 minutes being leered at by inmates. Lecherous looks, malicious sounding laughs and hateful musings spoken to be heard. And they were women.

My stomach just turned over and over again.

I am exhausted, looking so forward to sleep, but feeling guilty that I'll be sleeping tonight and the little boy who's story I tried to stop listening to this morning will never get to go to sleep again. He'll never be tucked in. He'll never have anyone scoop him up in the night to whisper into his neck to chase away a nightmare. No one will ever tell him how sorry they are. No one will ever tell him it wasn't his fault.

Damn this world.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

What Will I Wear?

Typically my deliberations over what to wear go something like this:

"Hmmm, bra or tank top with shelf bar?"

"T-shirt or sweater, lift or unzip?" It's a nursing thing.

"Jeans or something that isn't jeans?"

"Pony tail or Red Sox cap?"

"Ankle socks or wool socks?"

This routine lulls me into a false sense of being low maintenance. Then events like the big one I have coming up next month bring to light the reality that I am actually a girl who, dare I say, likes getting dolled up...maybe even tarted up. If only that were as easy to do as it is to imagine.

We are less than 3 weeks away from the big event and I have nothing to wear. Literally. Because even I know that I can't make jeans or cords work at this event no matter how many sequins I incorporate or how thickly I lay on the mascara. Seems that in some fit of longing for organization I threw out all the slinky little this and thats I had purchased over the years. Surely I could have cobbled together an outfit with a chiffon skirt and spangled halter, no?


I am 33. A mother of two. I cannot work Wet Seal and TJ Maxx clearance buys into something appropriate for an almost black tie event. As I find my age group in online surveys moving closer to the middle and further from the perky 18- younger than I am age, I realize that certain kinds of tank tops are not appropriate outside of the house (unless of course I am wearing a hoodie or am out on a walk with a Baby Bjorn covering parts
(So sue me, I can't quite embrace all the rule of fashion appropriateness when it's really hot. But I swear that when the time comes I will have the good sense of Diane Keaton to cover stuff up and look ravishing...please can I look that good when I am 60? Vain? You bet. Are you telling me you don't want to look like Diane Keaton? Helen Mirren?)

So I am in the market for a dress. Or an outfit. Though, as I learned in my travels online tonight, not
the flippy, fun evening top and slacks look.

"Naw. I've seen you do that. A lot. Yeah, you've done that look many times." Sean told me dismissively.

Ugh. Great. I guess just cause it ain't broke doesn't mean you shouldn't fix it.

Let me share some ideas. This first one, I would never in a million years have the balls to wear. And besides, if I had balls, it would just be really weird if I wore it.

It's cute though, right? Maybe 8 years ago. Probably not. Anyone who has the nerve to wear this, I envy you. Buy it, wear it, send me a picture you ballsy gal you!

Ok, the next one, same brand as the previous, but with an actual chance of me wearing it. However after some reflection I think that the theme of the event, That's Amore, this dress would make me look like a server. Or some sort of evening attired spanish soldier.

Sean said black dresses were super predictable and didn't I want to look different. Then he saw the pathetic so-help-me-I-am-losing-all-hope-and-may-have-a-breakdown-any-minute look and said, "Oooh, that one's nice."

This is what I call the cute, but no way in hell I'll wear it cause it's a tired look top.

So where does this leave me?

I honestly don't think he'd agree to have me on his arm if I wore a kimono.

This little number is $1500 on Bluefly. Call me crazy but it looks for all the world to be an evening version of the dresses Loni Anderson wore on WKRP.

With this one I'd have something to do with my hands when I got nervous. I'd just braid the night away.
"What's that? You're nervous too? Here, you braid the back."

Of course I could always go the "I know it's a boring design, but the potential for nip slips make it tough to look away" type of dress

Anyone wanna conga?

I am no longer having fun despite the festiveness of the last dress. What the hell am I going to wear?

Monday, January 22, 2007

She said no and I agreed

I used to kind of make fun of my mom. She would go to the store to get my sister this or that and she would come back with the most ridiculous things. It seemed impossible she could get it that wrong.


Welcome to being a mom, Manda.

I hit the store the other day to get provisions for Briar's days with the sitter. The whole macaroni and cheese obsession had grown ever so slightly worrisome. I purchased ramens noodles, soups and tuna fish. Surely something would strike her fancy. Her sitter is very respectful about my desire to feed the girls organic and natural foods, so she always asks before she offers an alternative.

The other day I showed up and she said,

"I tried to give Briar the ramen noodles but she said no. I told her she had to try them but she almost panicked and said, no Jen, please no. Away, take it away. I went and looked and you had bought her seaweed noodles. It smelled like the ocean at low tide."

Yeah, I pretty much suck. Sorry for teasing you about the caffeine free Coke mom.
Seaweed? I have the slightest little bit of bile sneaking up just thinking about it. The worst part is they are in the back of the car and Briar reacts to them as if they are some sort of evil monster. I've gotta either throw them out or actually use them as a warning.

Briar, do not hit your sister again or I will make you eat the seaweed noodles!


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Elect Women for a Change

Suzanne Reisman at Blogher wrote a piece on a bumper sticker she saw:

Elect Women for a Change

I can appreciate a catchy or witty turn of phrase as much as the next person, but I tend to agree with her that this makes a pretty sweeping generalization that does a great disservice to women, or rather to exceptional women really working to make a change.

I do believe that Hillary is exceptional, but I also believe that she is making concessions and compromises in her bid to get to where she wants to be. And this reality leads me to a place of confusion. I know that Hillary could be great. I know that she could speak for a lot of us who feel that past administrations have not spoken for us, or rather they have, but they have not done what we wanted. They have spoken over us. The thing is, I don't know that anyone can actually walk the walk when they get into office.

So do I support Hillary? Yes, I think I do. But do I support her for who and what she is or for who and what she isn't? Do I think Obama might have an easier time getting things done because he won't be fighting the ghosts of how he did or didn't deal with infidelity? Because he won't be the first female president? Because he isn't hated because of bullshit political ignorance? Yes. But then he would be the first black president. He would be the man who kept a woman from being elected. Are we already doomed to have these two cancel each other out?

In 1984 I thought a female vice president would be incredible. Now I just think someone without a hair trigger temper would be ideal. Someone who would focus on the things that have our nation crumbling in on itself. Do we have to be a super power? Can we feed our kids? Provide health care to everyone? Can we try and protect the earth?

I am so torn. Part of me wants to check out and not be disappointed. Not be vilified for thinking a certain way. But I am a mom. I have a future generation to consider. How could I consider having another child when I am not spending every last bit of energy to ensure the best future for the children I already have?

I want to go back to holding Briar in my lap and have dangling chads erased from history. I want to go back and have Bill never know Monica. I want Gary Hart not to go on that boat ride. I want the world to not care so much what happens when the President is at home. I want my girls to have trees to climb on, air to breathe and people to look up to. I want them to look up to people who follow the rules, people who fight for good over evil.

Clearly I want a lot of things and I am incredibly not clear how to get them.

I guess all I can do is be honest about how my participation or my lack of participation contributes to the cycle of getting away from what's really important.

Today I am just glad that Hillary is participating.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Hillary is in...Jury Still Out

I received the following email about 10 minutes after reading on Yahoo that Hillary was officially running in 2008. I'll be posting something before the weekend is out about how I feel. I wish I could muster up the same enthusiasm and excitement that I had in 1984 when I attended a Mondale Ferraro rally in Eugene, Oregon. Seems that 20 plus years and the last 6 and some odd years have dampened my ability to really believe anyone who takes that office can really serve the people, all the people. In any case, I can say that between Obama and Clinton I do feel some stirrings of optimism. For now, Hillary's letter:

Dear Amanda,

I'm in. And I'm in to win.

Today I am announcing that I will form an exploratory committee to run for president.

And I want you to join me not just for the campaign but for a conversation about the future of our country -- about the bold but practical changes we need to overcome six years of Bush administration failures.

I am going to take this conversation directly to the people of America, and I'm starting by inviting all of you to join me in a series of web chats over the next few days.

The stakes will be high when America chooses a new president in 2008.

As a senator, I will spend two years doing everything in my power to limit the damage George W. Bush can do. But only a new president will be able to undo Bush's mistakes and restore our hope and optimism.

Only a new president can renew the promise of America -- the idea that if you work hard you can count on the health care, education, and retirement security that you need to raise your family. These are the basic values of America that are under attack from this administration every day.

And only a new president can regain America's position as a respected leader in the world.

I believe that change is coming November 4, 2008. And I am forming my exploratory committee because I believe that together we can bring the leadership that this country needs. I'm going to start this campaign with a national conversation about how we can work to get our country back on track.

This is a big election with some very big questions. How do we bring the war in Iraq to the right end? How can we make sure every American has access to adequate health care? How will we ensure our children inherit a clean environment and energy independence? How can we reduce the deficits that threaten Social Security and Medicare?

No matter where you live, no matter what your political views, I want you to be a part of this important conversation right at the start. So to begin, I'm going to spend the next several days answering your questions in a series of live video web discussions. Starting Monday, January 22, at 7 p.m. EST for three nights in a row, I'll sit down to answer your questions about how we can work together for a better future. And you can participate live at my website.

Sign up to join the conversation here.

I grew up in a middle-class family in the middle of America, where I learned that we could overcome every obstacle we face if we work together and stay true to our values.

I have worked on issues critical to our country almost all my life. I've fought for children for more than 30 years. In Arkansas, I pushed for education reform. As first lady, I helped to expand health care coverage to millions of children and to pass legislation that dramatically increased adoptions. I also traveled to China to affirm that women's rights are human rights.

And in the Senate, I have worked across party lines to get billions more for children's health care, to stop the president's plan to privatize Social Security, and to make sure the victims and heroes of 9/11 and our men and women in uniform receive the fair treatment they deserve. In 2006, I led the successful fight to make Plan B contraception available to women without a prescription.

I have spent a lifetime opening opportunities for tens of millions who are working hard to raise a family: new immigrants, families living in poverty, people who have no health care or face an uncertain retirement.

The promise of America is that all of us will have access to opportunity, and I want to run a 2008 campaign that renews that promise, a campaign built on a lifetime record of results.

I have never been afraid to stand up for what I believe in or to face down the Republican machine. After nearly $70 million spent against my campaigns in New York and two landslide wins, I can say I know how Washington Republicans think, how they operate, and how to beat them.

I need you to be a part of this campaign, and I hope you'll start by joining me in this national conversation. Visit my new website at to learn how you can join in:

As we campaign to win the White House, we will make history and remake our future. We can only break barriers if we dare to confront them, and if we have the determined and committed support of others.

This campaign is our moment, our chance to stand up for the principles and values that we cherish; to bring new ideas, energy, and leadership to a uniquely challenging time. It's our chance to say "we can" and "we will."

Let's go to work. America's future is calling us.


Hillary Rodham Clinton



I warned you I couldn't stop basking. Reveling. Gloating. Whatever.

Here's the thing though. I can't schedule it. I can't call to schedule the spa appointment. I fear that the reality won't measure up to my delicious anticipation. I find myself sitting watching tv
Oh my god did you see last night's WNTW? We were all tearing up.
And by we I mean Stacey, Clinton and I. Sean was on the computer. Encouraging me to watch the show, but not quite being able to do so himself without assaulting his manliness. It was a great show, but if they continue down the weepy path they will spiral into the bottomless crevasse of sappiness that effectively killed that Ty Pennington makeover show for us. Cattiness, education and joy, that's all I want from Stacey and Clinton.

But as I was saying, I'll be watching tv and it will hit me.

I have a credit at a salon. I can book anything I want. Anytime.
My mind reels.

There are literally pages of options.

Aveda Hydrotherm Massage?
Carribean Therapy Mud Wrap?
Elemental Nature Facial for Self-Renewal?
Botanical Skin Resurfacing?
Hair Detoxifying Treatment?
Foot Relieving Treatment and Focus Pedicure?

My mom and Sean have both asked me when I am going to go. I cannot answer. I really want to savor it a bit more.

I guarantee that when I do go, I'll be reporting on the sheer fabulousness of the treatments. Any ideas on how to keep the reality from paling next to the anticipation?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Forgive Me

I am forecasting a trend. So I'd just like to apologize in advance. I'm not usually so full of myself. It's about the Belly♥bar™ contest. I cannot seem to stop basking in the glory that is being a winner. I realize that it's entirely possible that there was some sort of virtual snafu that prevented all the entries from being received, or that there was a winner for every area and that my entry was the only entry from the Adirondacks, but neither does anything to diminsh my all encompassing elation at standing on a figurative winner's podium in my head, a warm breeze gentling flowing through my unfrizzy, hair which frames clear, tawny skin. (Stick with me, in my head my hair and make up are always flawless. And my legs area always shaved. Never a mysterious smudge on my clothing. Matching get the idea.)

Leslie called yesterday.

She wanted to know if Saratoga Springs and Saratoga were one and the same.

"Yes, it's the same place."

"Ok, great. I'm in California so I wasn't sure. There is an Aveda spa on Broadway. Would that be alright?"

The only thing better would be an Aveda Spa with its own Starbucks,
and Bradley Whitford slinging espressos for me.

Heck, having Mrs. Whitford there wouldn't diminsh my delight a bit.

It's funny. I felt an immediate kinship with Leslie. Maybe it's because she graduated from Scripps College and the Claremont colleges are so familiar to me with my Grandfather living nearby. Maybe it's her obvious commitment to women's health. Or maybe it has something to do with the words:

"You'll have up to 250 dollars to spend at the spa."

Yeah, as I think about it, it must be the Claremont connection.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

You Won!

I checked my email tonight and saw this in the inbox:

From "Leslie Sagalowicz"
Subject: Congratulations!
Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2007 18:19:30

I thought, eh, probably just junk mail, but I opened it, because, well because I like email. And because it said congratulations. I like real mail too. Just one of those people who believes that even if I don't mail something out, something nice might just arrive in the mail. You never know, right?

Turns out I was right:


It is my pleasure to inform you that we have chosen
your entry for the Mommy
Olympics as one of the Grand Prize entries - you
have won a day at the spa
for yourself!!!

We need a bit more information please to process
your prize. Could you please email me your full name, address and phone
number? Also, do you have a favorite spa near you? If so, I can provide you
with a prize for that spa - and if not, I'll find you one.

Thanks so much and congratulations again!



Ok, so I didn't buy it that easily. I mean she was asking for personal information. Kristen at Debaucherous and Disheveled locked her blog up because of crazies, so I thought I ought to be on the safe side.

Sent: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 4:40 PM
To: Leslie Sagalowicz
Subject: Re: Congratulations!


Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but could you
refresh my memory about this before I send out my



Eh, see. I can be careful. I told Sean about the email with all the dorky disclaimers of thinking it might be a hoax. But then:

Of course! You wrote a fantastic entry for our Mommy Olympics contest
on Here's your entry to jog your memory:

mama2bna's picture
Morning Olympics
Comment by mama2bna posted Thu, 2006/12/07 - 10:03pm

Generally I watch those handsome, immaculately dressed and painstakingly coiffed folks on the Today Show while I sit in a state of undress pondering which clothes might be clean enough to wear, nursing my 6 month old on the left side, pumping on the right, punching the keys of our iMac with my left hand to keep my 2 year old's iTunes library of Little Einsteins and the like on a loop, while bouncing the cat on my foot to entertain the dog and instructing my husband as to where he can find his socks as I cradle his cell phone on my shoulder and I tell his business partner that it probably isn't likely that we can give him a lift from the dealership.

Does this jog your memory? Congratulations!!


Holy Crap! I won something! I am beyond excited. I am like jump up and down squealing thrilled. So, Great Powers of Karma, let me give credit to a few places, first, Blogher, where I found the contest. Second Leslie & Company at Bellybar. I am really hoping to go here for whatever pampering the aforementioned angels from Bellybar see fit. Some people may remember a little experience I wrote about, which happened right outside of this salon.

Tomorrow morning watching the Today Show (provided I wake up in time) is going to be very different as I savor the thought of a spa treatment. Purr.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Sometimes imagination just can't beat reality, in this case I am referring to the I-cannot-believe-he-is-for-real reality we encountered mid-workout at the Y. Sean and I are going to the gym now after a couple months of taking the girls out in the double stroller for runs while we earned a membership. Sean felt like we needed to demonstrate that we could commit.
Luckily our passing the committed enough line coincided perfectly with our holy fuck winter has arrived in the form of an ice storm covering everything with seriously impenetrable ice globules and inhaling air this cold might kill us realization.
So you'll understand our glee as we hit the gym. The comfortably warm gym. We can taste for a moment what it was like to be able to just pick up the keys and run to the gym, no worries of clunking dumb bells into soft spots or having a push up interrupted by a poopie diaper. We get to be Sean and Amanda, maybe flirt with each other a bit, maybe just focus selfishly on how we look and how improving that makes us feel better. It's good.
I think we were about 40 minutes into our workout when we heard a voice. A voice that belonged to the oddest looking man-thing I have ever seen.
Let me see if I can do this. He was 5'4", maybe 5'5". He had on long dark blue pants and a black shirt that had some sort of graphic on it. It wasn't that the graphic was complex or something offensive, it was simply overshadowed by the sheer wrongness of his hair. Sean was mid-press when I blurted out,
"My god, it's like, it's like...wilted cilantro. That guy has a funky, shiny clump of wilted cilantro on his head."
Sean lost it as he stole a peak, he set the weights down and we both tried to turn away. After a moment I took my turn on the bench. I was trying to keep the weights in front of my eyes so that I wouldn't have to see the gym-slime thing when Sean said,
"But did you see the pants? Manda they're velvet. They are blue velvet pants."
I peeked and saw that while they were not actually velvet, they were a seriously plush velour, which, if you ask me, and I think I'm pretty open minded, is not the sort of thing a guy should wear to the gym. Or at all. But, considering the sins carried out by women holy panty lines and maybe-you-should-cover-those-up on every other machine, I won't complain too loudly.
But back to the hair. It was shoulder length, curly, and I think if it had slightly less product in it, it might just have been blonde. Adding to the general foulness was the way he had it coming into his face. I think I saw it catching on his eye lashes and puffing out as he spoke, inasmuch as something that oily can puff. I couldn't quite put my finger on who he reminded me of. Beneath his nasty hair was a fairly normal, all american type of face. Who? Who did he look like? Got it.
"Sean, do you remember Eight is Enough? Remember the curly haired kid, I think he drove the van?"
"I was too young for Eight is Enough."

Damnit. For those of you not too young, travel back with me, back to Eight is Enough and sweet Tommy Bradshaw.

Did you see him? Now picture him with mucho product in his hair, blue velvety pants, oh and a bottle of raspberry water. That was him. And he was working it. But before I go on, do you know what Tommy aka Willie Aames is doing now? Well he's not at the gym here in town, though by the look of the body armour they want us to believe he goes to the gym. He's spreading the word.

Our creature at the Y was spreading a different kind of word. He stood, short legs spread wide, velvety crotch hanging low. He had been talking to a girl for some time, Sean was calling her the lilliputian escort, I was calling her nasty, short skank. I know, we are awful people. I suppose this goes against the whole open-minded line from earlier. We really do behave terribly. Thing of it is, we have fun. Quietly. The short woman moved onto another exercise and curly funk was left to his own devices. I literally did not see him do a single exercise while we were there.

"Hey. How was class? Your face is red." He said to a non-descript late 20-something with writing on the ass of her black pants that I believe said: Combat. They may have been velour pants. I prepared to watch her diss him.
"Yeah, I get red. It's awesome."
"So, what's the verdict? Is he out?"
"Umm, he's just really off. So out, kind of."

This guy was some sort of cut-rate, free weight Svengali deluding young women into thinking he was something more than a velour clad midget in need of a good scrub and hose down. I was hooked. It was like that really trashy dating show from about a decade ago where they ran the little thought bubbles down below which usually read something like this for the guys,
"Man, I cannot wait to get into that shirt. Now if she would just shut up."
And for the gals,
"Oh my god, is he balding up there? He's really kind of ugly. Does this shirt make me look hot?"

"You know, if I could go into your future and change this so you didn't have to go through it, I wouldn't. Because then you wouldn't learn, you wouldn't experience the cycle, the rev-oh-lution of this." And believe me when I tell you, he did a deep knee bend for effect as he said rev-oh-lution. I wanted to clap. He was amazing. Sean and I tried to continue our workout, but it was just more than we could stand. We decided to move to another station. We decided to call it a night when just as we got to the new spot a person raised to sitting from an ab work out.I had been looking at what I thought were very impressive man boobs, but were in fact just boobs. Female boobs. Sean stutter stepped and then shuddered. We promptly left.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Gap in Time

She has a gap between her two front teeth. The front right tooth broke through with an emphatic huzzah, a brilliant streak of white suddenly punctuating the glistening expanse of swollen red gums, a lieutenant barking orders at the foot soldiers below. It joined the two bottom teeth in effectively changing the landscape of her face. Her dark eyebrows arched gracefully over striking, almond eyes had new balance with the solid anchor of her changed mouth. Sweet rosy lips now framing a perfect triangle of clicking, sucking and clamping delight. These new found elements in her mouth fueled a renewal of passion for discovery. She chattered and clacked, gnawed and ground. I ground my own teeth in silent prayer that her startlingly sharp new teeth would not explore the parts of me so familiar to her mouth.

At night she makes whistling sounds pressing her tongue against her teeth and industriously blowing air through the corridors of tooth and gum even as she sleeps. She moves her jaw back and forth, the lieutenant tooth grinding mercilessly against the lower two, asserting its dominant position and size. She tests the teeth against my flesh, the expanse between thumb and finger, the corner of my wrist, and yes, my breast, but there only twice. The shrill gasp and sudden flinch as I pulled from her mouth announced a distance she wanted nothing of. She has abandoned all assaults against her source of comfort and sustenance, and for that I give thanks and offer up my wrist, hand and shoulder.

A few days ago her top tooth was joined by another. This tooth is shorter and with ridges on bottom. It is at times like a lazy eye, giving the architecture of her face a slightly off-kilter appearance. It changes her, that tooth. As smiles break across her delicate face, the fineness of her visage is exquisitely marred by the surprising jagged tooth. The gap it creates sends ripples through the symmetry of her countenance. It is wide and filled with the plumpest dollop of blushing gum. I love this gap, this imperfection that finishes the masterpiece. Her dark blue eyes, though lighter than they once were, dance and skip above the gap. The more she giggles and the more she moves, the more I cannot tear myself away from that gap. I want to run my fingers along the staggered line beneath her teeth, I want to rattle my nail between the two. I lose myself in her gap. The second tooth is growing fast, the distance narrowing between their size, though the gap remains.

I hope to protect her from the ills of wishing for an image other than her own, yet I fervently hope she keeps her imperfect gap. I have learned how swiftly the seasons of infancy and toddler-hood go. I have already bade farewell to more words and rituals with Briar than I care to remember. I can let go the things I know must pass, but I wish desperately to hold on to the gap. This perfect declaration of uniqueness, of going at her own pace. This gap is grittiness. It is throatiness in a world of high pitched squeals, it is coloring outside the lines and it is running when everyone else is walking. Perhaps what I am wishing for is that Avery will have the strength to embrace her gaps and her cowlicks, her curves and her angles. I know that when this gap does close I will still love most in both Briar and Avery, that which makes them each so definitively mine and decidedly their own.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Because I said so

No, this is not a post about either of our daughters. This is a post about the stand off at the Okra corral.
Well, not actually okra, but Jerusalem Artichoke Corral and Barley Grass Pass just didn't have the same flair, but trust me, both were in the magical recipe that sparked our confrontation.

S: You need to drink. You are sick, it's the only way you'll get better.
A: But I did drink.
S: Not enough.
A: But look at all I've had.

S: You need to drink things that will make you better.
A: Like what?
S: This.

A: It's green. I am not drinking something that is green.
S: Try it.
A: You try it.
S: I'm not sick.
A: Drink that and I bet you will be.

S: Manda, drink it.
A: No.
S: Drink it.
A: No, and you can't make me.
S: Drink it.

I start to laugh, because really, how canhe make me drink it? And how can I possibly drink it? My god, it's so thick it leaves gritty marks on the edges of the glass like a milkshake. A putrid, green milkshake with three different kinds of grass in it.

A: I can't.
S: Drink it.
A: How about if we compromise? I'll have a spoonful.

S: I am going to feed Briar, you better finish that by the time I get back.
A: Perhaps you've forgotten who's mom I am. I can outlast you in a battle of will.
S: Drink it, Manda.

I look at the glass. I even pick it up, sniff it. I can't. I am as afraid of drinking this liquid as I was of singing a Burt Bacharach song in front of an auditorium of people in college. I know with near certainty that if I try to swallow the contents of that glass my body will rage against me and violently send it back from whence it came, still cool and thick in my esophagus. I carry the glasss into the living room, with a resolute jutting of my stubborn chin.

A: Not only can I not drink this, I won't drink this.
S: Damnit Amanda, drink it.
A: No. You drink it.
S: Fine, give it to me. I will drink some.

I hand him the glass thinking there's no way he'll be able to do it. Health food aisle cereals make him gag, how can he possibly swallow something that for all the world looks like the gunk peeled from the bottom of a fish tank and then melted under a hot sun? My self-righteous reverie was broken by the glass being thrust at me with at least an inch worth of "Superfood" funk now absent from the glass.

S: There. Now drink. It isn't that bad.
(Stony silence and a defeated retreat to the kitchen.)
A: All right. Glass. Hateful glass of green. I'll have you know I would rather puree pearl onions and eat them than drink you.

A: I would rather make a poultice of lima beans and pear onions and apply it to my entire body and leave it to dry for an entire day than drink you.

Through my frustration at being cornered into acting like a recalcitrant two year old I am touched. My eyes well up as I think of him at the store picking out the different Odwalla elixirs, filling the basket with different products to nourish me back to health. The image of him holding a forkfull of macaroni and cheese while the other lifted the heinous green nectar to his mouth to share the burden of the 16 ounces of vile make-you-betterness. I realized that just as I once followed a boa wielding, Ella Fitzgerald sounding classmate's performance with my own warbly, adrenaline charged Bacharach slaughter, I must drink this concoction. And so, I drink.

A: Bruuhuhuhhugkaka.

The hairs on my arms, neck and face, yes, my face, stand on end. I fight the tidal rush of bile and actually stand on tip toes to stave off the desire to clutch the kitchen sink and unleash my body's protest of this unwanted and unappreciated health brew. I am only half way there. I stare the glass down again, playing a mental game imagining myself to be one of those muscleheads that breaks cement blocks with their head. I shake my hands at my sides, make a guttural sound and bring the glass to my mouth before I lose my will. I win, sort of, as I redirect my defiance from Sean to my body, and hold the juices down. I carry the glass with my arm extended to Sean.

A: I drank this much.
S: Oh, honey. I had no idea you were out there doing that.

A: I cannot finish it. I am sorry. Can this be enough? Please?
S: Tell you what, I'll finish the last part.

And he does.

S: Bruuhuhuhhugkaka. It is so much less nasty cold


Friday, January 12, 2007

Kinda Funny

You are not ever supposed to do this.
Your are not to encourage.
You are not to tolerate.
Your are certainly not supposed to blatantly promote this behavior by literally turning a camera on it, but I cannot help myself sometimes.

And I am a repeat offender.

Tsk, tsk,tsk.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Tell Me That's Not Sexy

This mama says: Thanks Universe.

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Sunday, January 7, 2007

Nice, Vermont

We spent the day in Vermont Saturday at our friends Deb's house.

I love visiting her place, an old beauty that she and her friend Rui lovingly restored. (She may read this and say there was nothing loving about it. I think once past the renovations we all ought to be entitled to rewrite things a bit and look back fondly on the work, though we might have spit and cussed through every last dusty damn minute of it.)

At Deb's it seems that around every corner there is something new to marvel at. I remember staying overnight in March or April of 2001 and feeling every bit like Anne of Green Gables, my eyes wide as could be as I drank in the magical qualities of the house. I heard the whistle of a train in the night, slept under downy blankets, enjoyed a perfectly appointed guest bath, and a breakfast of fresh baked bread, preserves and coffee from an achingly delicate mug. It was amazing to watch, four years later, as my own daughter, at the time not yet one, found the same kind of magic.

Briar, late summer '05, making friends.

Briar, playing out back, '07.

It is so difficult to find truly magical places anymore. I was excited to be back. This visit did not disappoint. As I daintily fed myself and Briar bits of honey dew and strawberry. (Ok, Briar fed herself and me eating is anything but dainty.)

Briar, this visit, eating the first of approximately 37 strawberries.

I sat on one of the stools behind the unusually tall island in the kitchen. (I love it when things feel made for me, as opposed to for shorter people that most things seem to be created for.) I was reaching over and making myself a second sandwich and needed a fork. I crossed over to the drawer and opened it to find a tray of cheerfully colored, perfectly mismatched yet matching patterned silverware. I looked down at the rows of forks and spoons as if they were different candies...which one to pick, which one to pick? I exclaimed how lovely they were and told Sean we needed to get some. (Sometimes I think I begin to resemble Hayley Mills in the Parent Trap, the Hayley that is woefully unrefined, when I am visiting Deb.) I asked where she got them.



No, that wasn't a guess as to which area in France, just a smart ass nice because of course they were from a place I couldn't just skip off to. I chose to make it a running joke for the rest of the afternoon. I think we left just shy of Deb saying,

"Amanda, enough with the France crap."

To which I am sure I would have either said a rednecked, "Moi?" or "Merde." You see I am just so giddy to visit I cannot stop myself. Luckily, we had not one distraction, but two, as this visit marked the first time Avey experienced Deb's house.

Avery spent about an hour enraptured by Deb and her gleaming kitchen floors.

And Deb, being the consummate host, made time to ooh and ah
over the gargantuan strawberry Briar gnawed on for 15 minutes.

Avery became lost in thought...

Briar was similarly taken with something during our visit in '05.
Come to think of it, Sean looks pretty jolly too.

After a while Avery started goofing off.
This photo so perfectly captures her burgeoning personality.

I'll leave you with that squeezable image of baby goodness.


Saturday, January 6, 2007

It looks like a danish

You ever find yourself imagining a scenario, forecasting a reaction to something and then having reality introduce an entirely different scene? I won't say that this happens to me a lot, but boy when it happens it sure seems to be intense. A while back I made a triumphant order on Bluefly, parlaying an old purchase that I sent back into a new order that cost nothing, ok it did cost something, but that money had already been spent so it felt free-
This is a shameless 80's reference, but that last line drove me to it, can you guess the movie?:

Brenda: Uh, those are hot dogs, right?
Hot Dog Vendor: Yeah, want one?
Brenda: Mmm, yeah I'd love one.
Hot Dog Vendor: That'll be two bucks.
Hot Dog Vendor: [Brenda hands him a check, he stares incredulously] A check?
Brenda: Yeah, but it's a good check. See, Chris' mom wrote it to Chris 'cause Chris bought her something, I can't remember what. Then I bought Chris some press-on nails, I gave Chris the difference, and she wrote the check over to me. So I'll write the check over to you, you keep the difference, and I'll take the hot dog. So, you got a pen?
Hot Dog Vendor: Get outta here!
Brenda: Wait! I'm starving, you'd rather throw it away than give it to me?
Hot Dog Vendor: I work on a cash-only basis.
Brenda: But it's a perfectly good check!
Hot Dog Vendor: No! I'll make it very clear. you slip me the cash, and I'll slip you the wiener.
Brenda: But I don't have any cash!
Hot Dog Vendor: Then I don't have a wiener!

Back to my free order. A pair of spectacular jeans and an Alici and Olivia pink cashmere rosette sweater. The sweater looked like it would do all the wonderful things you want a sweater to do: accent the waist, complement the bust line and make your arms look lithe. I had high hopes for the color and the way it would look with the jeans. The Saturday the box arrived I squealed and tore open the packaging. The jeans were perfect, and the sweater looked like it would live up to my fantasies.

For the record, as I type I seem to be morphing into a virtual version of Alicia Silverstone's character in Clueless. I am going to hang on to the hope that because I don't know that name, I am not as shallow as the reread of this entry makes me feel.
Sean looked on happily as I unfolded the jeans and held them up to gauge the length. He looked appreciatively at the sweater.

"Wanna see it on?" I asked, hoping he'd say yes because I was pretty sure his eyes were going to pop out of his head.

"Sure," he said from a prone position on the couch.

I shimmied out of my pants and pulled on the jeans. Fabulous. I shucked my plain, long sleeved shirt from Target and slipped on the sweater. The cashmere felt soft and decadent against my skin. Looking down the sweater looked incredible against the dark wash of the jeans. All curves were being hugged and everything looked about 190% better than it had in the baggy jeans and Target tshrt.

"Well, what do you think?" I asked with bright eyes and a huge I look hot grin.

He sat up, looked me up and down and smiled as his eyes stopped on the sweater.

Perfect, I thought. He's going to tell me not to wear it out, I look like a MILF.

"It looks like a danish."

"It what?"

He gestured to the rosette on the front of the sweater.

I looked down at my chest. The accent, which online and in my mind, had looked like the embellishment that would elevate my entire outfit from simple to sublime, was being compared to baked goods. This was so not what I intended.

Was he right? I hoped not and laughed it off. I waited patiently for Friday to come when I could wear jeans to work. My co-workers raved about the sweater.

"Great color."

"Super fit."

"Where'd you get it?"

That afternoon I was strutting around the house having totally forgotten the danish comment. I was in the kitchen outting together a snack when Briar came in. She climbed up on a chair and began playing with the rosette.

"That's pretty, huh Briar? Mommy has a flower on her sweater."

She looked at me. I waited for her to tell me I was pretty or call me "mommy Princess." She was uncharacteristically silent. And then, "Mommy scoot? Scoots Briar, Mommy? Please."

I pulled her chair over to me. She reached for the flower.

"Ok, honey, just be gentle." I said as I noticed it was a bit loose.

"Mommy off. Mommy off flower."

"No, no, be gentle. Do you want Mommy to get you a flower?"

"No, Mommy. No want it. No flower. Off."

"Oh, you don't want one? You want Mommy's flower?"

"No. Mommy. Off!" And she pulled at the flower.

I looked down as it hung limply from my chest. Wilted.

I walked to the counter and snipped the threads holiding it on.I held it out to Briar.

"Would you like Mommy's flower?"

"No. Thank you, Mommy." Then she looked at me, ran her hand along the empty space on the sweater and smiled. She looked up at me with her icy blue eyes.

"S'ok Mommy. It's all better now. Mommy's pretty." And she hopped off her chair and left the room.

I was stunned. I looked down at my unadorned chest. She was right, it was better.

Damn thing really did look like a danish.

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Pownal Barn

Enough with the barn and Vermont, right? And besides dip shit, that's a silo. Whatever. As Sean would happily tell you, I can't be bothered to distinguish between magenta and pink. They bleed the same in the wash...

A year ago we never went anywhere. I mean a trip to the grocery store for wax paper and flax seed was exciting. Stop laughing, I'm not kidding. I once snapped at Sean because I just needed to get the hell out of the house. "Please, just let me go get a cup of coffee!" I hopped in the car, started it and realized not only did I not have a bra on, my socks didn't match and I had applied mascara on just one eye, because you know, braless and Victor/Victoria eye make-up is so current, or as I overheard in a salon, "It's on trend."

What the hell is, "on trend"? The salon owner was training a couple of new stylists and she said, "Be sure to tell the girls that the up-do is on trend they need to know that on trend is what they are getting here. Everything is on trend" Does that not sound just slightly off? I suppose I shouldn't talk since I have basically had the same hair style (and I use the term 'style' loosely)since before graduating high school...there was that one departure when I chopped it all off to play Beatrice in Servant of Two Masters, but that doesn't really count. No matter how you cut it I am just so hopelessly not "on trend."

As I was saying, we never went anywhere. We only had one little one for pete's sake. What were we thinking? Now we have two in diapers, one super mobile and one more mobile by the second, and by mobile I of course mean squirmy and uncooperative. Just feel like we really deserving of a parental badge, the Traveled with 2 and survived. I suppose some parents might think we're awful for schlepping our kids all over, but a drive to Vermont isn't exactly transatlantic travel. And the girls are so good and we are learning to be so flexible, and by we, I mean Sean, and by flexible I mean not exploding. I think since guys don't carry the little angels inside for 10 months learning little peculiarities like-
Hmm, I can't go for more than 11.5 minutes without peeing and I need to eat approximately every 33 minutes.
They don't become acclimated to the high maintenance reality of traveling with little ones until they are actually traveling with little ones unsuccessfully. Did that run-on sentence make sense to anyone other than me?
The girls absolutely delighted each other, except for one bit of country road when Avery musically babbled and gurgled to Briar for which she was rewarded with, No! No! A-ree, NO! God bless her she just kept on keepin' on. Life will be really interesting about a month from now when Avery is truly mobile.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that despite the challenge of everything necessary to travel and despite oppposing nap schedules and despite my tendency to regret making plans, our little family has been putting the Subaru to good use. And it's been fun. And Vermont is nice. And barns are pretty. So are silos. So there.

Happy trails.

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Wistful Moon

Sitting folding clothes while the girls slept I looked up and saw the moon.
I wished Briar were with me, that she could look out the window and see it. I wished that we could squeal and show Avery that big old moon. I let them sleep while I smiled out that window like a girl in love. I've held the secret of that moon inside me, knowing when Briar calls to the moon from her window that that big old moon comes and peeks in on us. Oh, Mr.Moon indeed.

Oh Mister Moon, moon, bright and shiny moon
Please shine down on me
Oh Mister Moon, moon, bright and shiny moon
Shining from behind that tree
Way over there there's an owl in a tree
Ba-doom ba-doom
Here she comes swoopin' down on me
Oh Mister Moon, moon, bright and shiny moon
Please shine down on
Won't you shine down on
Please shine down on me


Friday, January 5, 2007

Man Crushes

Ok, I can't do straight soapbox rants.
I have to throw a little something in. A twist. A spritz. A Spitzer.
Eliot Spitzer. From day one (New Yorkers'll get that) his campaign for Governor had me on pins and needles. Stark black and white ads on tv, powerful print messaging. And yes, those eyes. He just seemed so honest, so sincere, so driven. Hero like. A really cute in a normal way hero. I thought maybe it was just me, so when the ads came on I worked hard to keep my mouth closed, tried not to look as if I were swooning.
Standing up for what's right.
Making tough decisions.
Crusading for fairness.
Yesterday I was cruising along conducting my usual high brow current events catch up... Perez, Celebrity Moms, and Page 6 etc, when I saw something that absolutely delighted me. And now, with a defiant set of my stubborn chin, I say, "Ha! I was not alone!"

Read on.


Thursday, January 4, 2007

Another Inconvenient Truth

I discovered how to make it through a movie started after 8pm.

It's a little thing called the complete obliteration of the world into which you have blithely brought two lives.

Al Gore. Who'd a thunk it?

We watched An Inconvenient Truth. Not having seen a movie in quite some time, unless you count the 20 minutes I saw of the Da Vinci Code the other night before passing out, I was excited to see this much ballyhooed movie. I don't know if I was expecting an Imax type production on the lively spirits of angel fish, but about 7 minutes into it I felt as if I'd been sucker punched. I seriously didn't know if I was going to make it through, the information was so densely disheartening.

Luckily, our cat started gagging and clucking halfway through (I don't think it was the movie, but I certainly felt like retching.) Sean paused the movie and went to the kitchen and I asked if the cat had indeed vomited. "Yup," he said. "It came out like a party favor." (He who finds it, cleans it.) As he dry heaved and swabbed the floor I said, "Any chance Al's going to tell us what the fuck we can do to fix things?" He snorted, I can't be sure if it was for what I said or the vomit.

Al painted a pretty bleak picture. When he talked about people going from denial to despair I was nodding. Yup. More emphatic nodding. I definitely just went from unaware to without hope. Thanks.

He came around in the end and I definitely feel somewhat better, as if I might have a tiny window of opportunity for helping to turn things around. I won't deny that I liked life better 4 hours ago when the biggest thing on my mind was how to handle the logistics of getting our car tuned up and taking the screen off our storm door before the cat destroyed it with his jungle climbing "let me in" antics.

Nobody wants to listen to a zealot ranting about how to avert disaster or damnation, but come on folks, lets turn out some lights, park some cars and start thinking about how it may not be so nuts to run cars on corn.


An Inconvenient Truth

It's January in the Adirondacks. It's mid fifties outside. They're calling for temps in the 60's this weekend.

A sled came in the mail for the girls today.

"Ooh, mommy, look. Get in. Get in Mommy, get in?"

"Yeah baby, that's a sled. You can get in."

"Goin' outside now mommy, k?"

"No, honey. We have to wait for snow. When the snow comes we can go on it outside."

"Shown. Shown soon, Mommy?"

"I don't know, baby. I don't know."

I'll admit I don't know a whole lot about the state of the environment and how grave things really are. Seems like back in college I tried to stay somehwat abreast of the issues, if not for actual interest than at least to fulfill the role of, by outward appearance, issue driven college student. Now there is so much with just trying to get out the door in the morning and fed before bed, that reading a paper, watching a movie or listening to a lecture seems so trivial. I swear to god this parenting thing and learning life lessons every day is kickiing my ass. Just when you figure something out a new piece is added and you are left with a smarting backside and an awareness that you are doing it all wrong.

I am realizing that there really should be snow outside. I mean like a lot of snow. Like already hate-the-shovel amounts of snow. But there isn't. And now I look at our girls and think, what the hell is happening? What can I do?

Our house is doing 1 of every 5 bulbs with the swirly, loopy energy efficient bulbs. I hate how long they take to light up, but appreciate knowing that I am not a total jack ass bleeding energy. We buy 75% organic. And that ain't cheap, but damn the meat scares and the thought of chemicals going into the girls turns my stomach. We have two cars but really only drive one. We have at long last started recycling. But we use disposable diapers. Our washer and fridge are energy efficient, the dryer, stove and dishwasher are not.
So I don't know, does it make a difference?

An Inconvenient Truth came in today's mail. I am pledging to dig my head out the sand. I have to as a parent to two people that have no guilt in what's happened so far. Hopefully we can lead by example. Hopefully they'll be proud. Hopefully it'll make a difference. Hopefully we're not too late.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Patent Leather by the Light of the Moon

I followed behind, a silent pursuit.

An infectious wind in her hair freedom.
Shiny patent leathers toes scampering over a glistening sidewalk, slick with bits of slushy ice and rain. Woolen tights embroidered with crimson and gold vines weaving up two legs of green, a brilliant blur of color against a mossy fence. Bright lime fleece jacket with cobalt piping and tangerine swirls, the sleeves shielding what I imagined were pink from cold fingers. The clacking of sole against sidewalk punctuated by exuberant squeals

Mama. I runnin. Briar's a runnin' ina street.

A dog bark. The whiz of stroller wheels on wet pavement behind me. Stars overhead and bright golden moon to the east. My eyes teared. It was cold. And perfect. The flash of street light on patent leather.


Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Taboo or Must Do?

Creating this blog I had intended to create a place where people would not necessarily have to endure endless bad photos of my children, read every last detail of my emotions as a mom, or hear the gruesome details of trying to look like something other than a nursing, working, struggling to keep up the romance, married mom in upstate New York.

I have succeeded thus far, but fear that in doing so have artificially amputated an important part of myself. You write what you know, find humor in the every day and on and on. I could of course continue ranting about my co-workers god knows they give me plenty of ammunition, but wouldn't that get tedious? We all have lousy people we have to deal with, right? I'd love to hear about yours, if only to make mine seem more normal. I could continue to share chestnuts from my trove of self-deprecating and of course the self-incriminating stories.
But I think to make this a place you can enjoy coming to, a place where you can count on humor, honesty and a liberal serving of absurdity I need to open the door to the mom in me. I pledge to keep things like this to a bare ass minimum.

And I'll really will try not to do too much of this kind of thing.

With material like this I can't promise to be 100% faithful to the rules.

I hope those of you who have been popping in to read my rants will be receptive to a softer (and stickier) side of me as I write about life with 2 girls, husband, a dog and a cat from hell.
I hope if you read something that moves you or enrages you, you'll feel free to drop me a line. And for the record, I have had at least one emphatic protest* about Briar and the video, but I stand by her loving it and that we never caused harm.

*And, for the self-righteous record, the protest came from one of the people who laughed the loudest.