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!

Friday, August 31, 2007

My Baby Don't Love Disco

She lives for Rascal Flatts (Thanks to Dad she actually has a very refined taste, but when she's home with mama it's country time). We're still playing along in the Baby Loves Disco sponsored contest that Parent Bloggers are running.

So, without further ado, here is my luscious as a home style dumpling, little Avery, shaking what her mama gave her to Me and My Gang much to her sister's delight.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Splat

Walking toward the house, Avery on my hip and Briar drag-skipping from my right hand, I spy something on the ground. I rush to make sure it isn't another gift from Barnaby, slayed, fileted and left to bake in the afternoon sun. As I get closer I realize it is still alive, and I scoot it along the pavement with the toe of my shoe. Once, twice and then he does it, he flips over. I watch him crawl away. I smile.

"Ok, girls, one minute. Mom just has to unlock the door."

"Uh-dow," Avery gurgles, hugging me with excitement.

"That's right."

"Ooh, look mom." Briar exclaims.

I turn at the exact moment that her purple sandal stomps down, effectively halting the victorious escape of the bug.

"A bug. I got !" She looks at me, beaming.

"You sure did, honey."

"You're welcome," she says as she brushes her hands together and skips through the door.

"Thanks." And then a silent, sorry, lil guy.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A suggestion

To the designers, producers and retailers of stuff for kids,

I wanted to offer up a couple of tools for further honing of your gross negligence and unacceptable and unapologetic finger-pointing and cries of "wasn't me!"

My daughter, Avery. See her? Isn't she cute? Doesn't she look sweet and innocent? Don't you just want to harm her? I mean really harm her, just when her parents think she's safe? Oh, the victory in that, almost like shooting fish in a barrel.

Click on the picture, make it bigger. Go ahead, force a dropper full of lead in her mouth, she won't fight you. Certainly not if it's in the form of a chirpy, gaily colored little duck watering can. Oooh, and if that doesn't work, I am sure you can find more chewable, suckable ways of getting her to ingest your plentiful poisons. "You want Boots, honey? No, why don't you suck on daddy's steel toed work boots from the construction sight? Mommy knows horses poop there, but it's ok, better than a Boots doll."


And here's my other daughter. Her name is Briar.

She couldn't wait to unwrap Tanner and make him poop. I praised her for picking a treat that came with not one, but two toys. Little did I know that there was a third toy in the form of a deadly magnet. "Yeah, Briar, great job! Let me pay for that right away!"


See, I thought this way, having their faces right there, it might be easier to figure out ways to swindle parents and harm little ones. Maybe those pictures aren't compelling enough. How about this:

It's Briar again. I know you can't really see her face, but look closer. See it? It's her dad leaning in as he weeps with joy, and behind him? That's my sister, Abbie, Briar's aunt. She's not usually too mushy, but Briar got her. Oh, how we each wept.


And here's Ave again, just after they handed her to me. Another natural childbirth, delivering a kind of joy and pain unlike anything you could ever imagine.


Doesn't that just get you going, make you want to do better? Shoot higher? Drive you to figure out just how to start sooner, when they're even more vulnerable. Bottle nipples coated with some sort of toxin that ravages the nerves? Hmm, does that have any sort of a ring to it for you?

I'm just trying to help you on what is clearly a deliberate mission to to do anything but consider the end-users of your blighted products.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

IDT Energy, or I Don't Think So Jack Ass

I heard a rattling coming from the back of the house, checking for and finding both girls I shrugged it off. Then the dog started making frantic sounds, I checked the clock and looked toward the back of the house, "Too early for Sean," I thought.

"What's that sound mama? What's that sound?" Briar asked, wrenching herself from the tractor beam pull of Wonder Pets.

"I'm not sure honey. Stay here, I'll be right back." I locked the two doors on that side of the house and walked toward the rattle. I had left the storm door open when we'd come home from the sitter's house. It was locked and standing on the other side was a tall man, dressed in black dress pants and a short sleeved, dress shirt. A laminated badge hung from his neck identifying him as "Cody." I walked down the steps, he looked me in the eye and rapped once more as I approached. Ok, that's rude, I thought.

"Can I help you?" I asked.

He looked at me, looked at the door and then back to me with a glare.

"Ah, yes, I'm here to see if you received your discount on your last National Grid bill." He asked as he tapped his clipboard.

"I have no idea," I answered honestly.

"Ah, ok, ma'am. Did someone come by three months ago with a pink form for you?" His eyebrows furrowed worriedly as he asked this.

I thought back to switching energy carriers. I didn't recall anything about additional paperwork and I knew no one had been by.

"No, nothing like that." I shook my head.

"Oh, dear. Can you get a bill? If you show me your last bill I can just check that for you."

I just wanted him to go away. "Umm, let me go grab it." I started up the steps.

He cleared his throat and put his hand on the door handle, jiggling it to find it was locked. "Can you get this? Can I come in?"

I looked at the door confused. It wasn't as if it were raining outside. I looked at him and then back at Ella who was waiting on the step. "You know what? The dog'll lose it. I really can't." He looked incredibly annoyed. It seemed perfectly logical that a woman home alone would suggest to a male door-to-door whatever would get this, be used to it even.

"Why don't you meet me around the other side of the house?" I said, unable to curb my need to keep everyone happy.

As I raced to the other part of the house, grabbing the energy bill on my way, I silently seethed, "Can you get this?" WTF? Why would I let you into my house?

I got to the screen door as he walked up the steps. I stepped part way out, blocking the entry behind me.

He proceeded to tsk tsk tsk about the absence of my discount.

"Not a problem. I can take care of this for you and make sure you get the discount you signed up for."

He was writing on a form, covering the majority with his arm. I craned my neck to look. He pivoted. Then he asked me my name, which I told him.

"That's not what it says here," he said, indicating the bill.

"Well, that was my maiden name."

"So they have it different on file?" He asked not looking up.

"I don't know. I just know that's not a name I have on anything else."

Then he looked up at me and smiled, a smile I can only describe as lecherous, as if suggesting I was fabricating a marriage.

"So you just got married?" Leaning in, his musky scent assaulted me, seeping into my nose and mouth.

I reeled back. "No actually." He stepped toward me, smiling and licking his lips. "I, umm, I've been married for four years." I trailed off. Standing so close that his dress shirt touched my arm he leaned down and said, "So why don't they have your married name?"

I stepped back and started closing the door, just my head poked out. "All I know is I pay my bill online and my last name is not what they have on the sheet."

He leaned back. "All right then. I just wouldn't want this to get lost. I'd hate for you to miss the discount."

"Fine, put down whatever you need to."

Plowing forward he made like a commercial closer and spoke dizzyingly fast, saying that there were no sign up fees, no early cancellation penalties and no more high charges.

"Great."

"Sign here, check here and initialize here indicating you understand you are getting a discount and," an even sleazier smile as he moved his face closer, "that I was kind and courteous." His eyes met mine and I shuddered, literally shuddered. "Now you have three days to cancel this, though why anyone'd cancel a discount I have no idea. But law states we've gotta hold this for three days so if you make the poor decision to cancel, you can."

"Ok, great." I went to look at the clipboard and he whisked it away, "You'll get a pink copy," he said.

As he handed me my pink sheet I flipped it over to read the fine print on the back.

"None of that applies to you, cause you aren't a company." Then he held his hand out to me and leaned in like he might kiss me.

"Thank you for signing up with IDT for energy savings and you tell my supervisor I was a nice guy, ok?" He squeezed my hand and smiled.

"You bet." I turned, locked the door behind me and scanned the pink sheet. I'd never signed up before and the sheet said as much. The whole thing had been a shady way of hurrying unsuspecting folks through. I looked up the number, 1-877-887-6866, and waited on hold for ten minutes before reaching an operator.

"A guy just came to my door, I'd like to cancel the Switch and Save program." I said.

"Uh, ma'am, did you sign the form?" Her question was loaded with the insinuation that I shouldn't have signed if I was just going to cancel.

"I sure did. I have three days, taking the option. Thanks."

After a bit of huffing she gave me a cancellation number and I was free, except for the little disclaimer she gave that seemed to leave this open for a sequel:

"Ok, ma'am, you may still receive a welcome letter, but you just disregard that form. You're still cancelled."

Riiiight.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Heavenly Housekeeping

I have been shamefully remiss. I am as fond of comments and feedback as donkeys are of cookies (unless they're rocks). I have inexplicably sat for weeks, months even, on the best kind of feedback for a praise-hungry ass like myself, fellow blogger bestowed awards.

Today I am making amends and dusting off the awards I've been given, by women so talented and beautiful in both spirit and person, that when I discovered the praise I both teared up and squealed, while my feet made energetic-1920's-synchronized-swimming-bathing-beauty-flutter-kicks-of-joy.

The Rockin' Girl Blogger




This badge gets around like certain Hollywood starlets, yet I still take the receiving it with a reverence reserved for things like 25 minutes showers with new girly products, too expensive to have made their way to me by any means other than as a gift, and the ZZ Top-She's Got Legs-quality-smoothness of my gams upon emerging from the shower. I feel kind of like a knock off Yoplait girl, but seriously, this makes me feel that good.

Thank you, Jenn. Having someone as deft at the keyboard as you praise me, girl-crush me, even, well it makes me blush.

And you over there, the striking mom with the razor wit, and staggering vocabulary, I'm on my knees. The day you posted my name under this mantle was a day I'll not soon forget. Ya'll gotta head over to the divine Chicken and Cheese, she'll feed your soul, I guarantee it.



Thank you, DamselFly. I don't know which delights me more, the adventures of FlyBaby or the flights of well-dressed fancy.



More thanks to a-better-than-she-knows mom of three boys. I dig you, big time.

And special thanks to a woman I am not ashamed to call my idol, she's witty, ravishing and deliciously spicy. I'm sure you already know her, but if you don't, you'll wonder how you ever got by without her once you taste Nutmeg. Swoon.


This next one I saw all over the place, each time sinking a bit as I saw myself as a Twinkie in a world of dense, high nutrient super-foods.



Then it happened, I got called out, and by someone who sits high on a shelf I reserve for a select few. I hope she knows just how highly she is thought of in our amazing circle of bloggers. Thanks, Kelly.


And these next three are quite dear. Sometimes it's easy to get down, to think you don't make a difference and that you are irritable and unbending (Saying "no" and administering time out are necessary, but damnit they make me feel like a villain sometimes).

Three women that have touched me: one with her unerring visits to my blogs and her precious comment, another with her valiant fight and crusade to increase awareness of IBC, and another by touching me as a woman, sister-figure and at times, a bit like a daughter, acknowledged me with awards that speak more to character than to writing.



Thanks, Colleen and Lara.



Colleen, you are the one who is thoughtful, I am honored, touched and hooked on your stories about life with your little angel.



She was thanking me for my comments, on her blog and others', I should be thanking her. She's doing important, world changing work, both by conquering her cancer and ensuring two more spirits are raised by an amazing mother, and by spreading the word. Thank you, WhyMommy.

I don't think she posts these kinds of badges, but Kate has a way of writing that I envy. I would certainly pass a Thoughtful Blogger Award to her for the piercing choreography of emotion and wisdom in her essays at Sweet l Salty.

Bossy is the ultimate Thinking Blogger, with a take on things that never fails to make me stare at the computer with my mouth hanging open, wishing I'd thought of what is before me -(and yes, sometimes I wonder if I am a little slow as things sail over my head).

And to Sarah, a Nice Award, presented in my best Borat voice. She delights me with her posts, tickles me with her comments, and makes me so grateful that I started this blogging thing, otherwise we might never have met.

The Schmoozer, is “an award for those who have the natural ability to effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship.”  I am giving this one to Mike, who writes beautifully, both as he comments and as he posts. I am so happy to have found him!

Janet is a constant Rockin' Girl Blogger. I cherish her comments and look forward to her posts.

And last but not least, Trina Rockin', Thinkin', Thoughtful, Nice and just generally awesome.

Whew. That felt good. Happy Saturday.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Blaggity Blag

Colleen at a Madison Mom, blagged me after she was blagged by Melody at Slurping Life. Never one to back down to a dare, or forsake the opportunity to overuse a word like blag which somehow seems scandalous and wicked, I am answering her blag challenge...almost a week later.

These are the rules and details of the Blag:
• Each player starts with eight random facts or habits about his or her self - Colleen wrote about 8 careers, so I am following suit.
• These blagged chosen ones are to write posts on their own blog about these eight facts.
• They are also to post these rules.
•At the end of their blog they will list eight people* they have chosen to blag by listing their name and a link to their blog.


Herewith, 8 glimpses into the checkered work history of yours truly:

1. KFC lackey - Yup. My first tax deducted paycheck was at the KFC on 40th Avenue in Yakima, Washington. I think I lasted all of eight weeks. One too many times having to pluck errant feathers from raw drum sticks and cleaning the twice enjoyed kernels of corn from the floor of the bathroom was enough to make this chicken cross the road.

2. Video Store Rental Clerk - Does this really bear mentioning? Why yes, it does, thanks to Harry. Harry was a curly, red haired trucker with a lisp. He wore tight Wranglers and brought us cookies and pizza. He would rent porn, which back then came in very large boxes (I say this as if I know how it comes now). He rented the tapes to make copies for hawking at truck stops. Somehow his entrepreneurial spirit (or cover) made it less uncomfortable to manage the transactions. There was also a little person who would come into rent the same movies. This man was so short that he could not maneuver the boxes over the counter, nor could he hold the massive cases in one hand. I would have to walk around and take them from him. It was, to the 17 year old me, the most mortifying thing in the world.

3. Baker - I worked with a Rastafarian named Kevin. I know, Kevin. He was white, tall and dorky, but professed his devotion to the Rastafari movement. He let me pull as many shots of espresso as I wanted as I worked from 3-10am making bagels. He also introduced me to reggae, lots and lots of reggae.

4. Bartender - I wasn't particularly good at this as my literacy of alcohol was confined to what I'd learned drinking warm, flat beer from kegs in apple orchards. I erred on the side of heavy pours and when in doubt of which liquor to use, I used several, everything had a certain Long Island Iced Tea quality to it.

5. Barrista - At this point I am simply enjoying the B thread. I pulled espresso for Seattle's Best Coffee in downtown Yakima. It was an awesome job, bartending with less ingredients and no drunks. I also took significant advantage of the bottomless supply of chocolate covered espresso beans.

6. Origins Make-up Person - See, right there? The fact that I don't even know what my actual title was will let you know how bad I was. We had to wear five products on our face at all times. I tried to use mascara, cheek stain, sunscreen, cover up and lip balm. No dice. They wanted me to cake the stuff on, which wasn't natural to me. Nor was touching people's faces, these were scary walk-in-off-the-streets-of-Harvard-Square faces, and proceed to tell people that I could remedy their issues with one swipe of A Perfect World. Oh, no no no no no, so not true. Couldn't do it.

7. Carpenter at the Williamstown Theatre Festival - And then Assistant Production Manager and then Production Manager. It was grueling work, insane hours, and insulting pay, but I met my husband there, as well as a small group of amazing people with whom I am still friends today. I met the gone-too-soon John Spencer, had my ass chewed by Roger Rees (Brits do it better,even when they are bloody dead-wrong), laughed hysterically as a friend's first driving experience involved picking up David Schwimmer and promptly crashing, was proudly unimpressed as George Clooney (I find him to be oddly simian looking, now Bradley Whitford...ooh la la) visited to see his then special lady, Traylor Howard, fielded passes from ...we won't go there, and came into my own as a person. A bit of name dropping? You bet, and this isn't even the half of it, but if I might direct you to the earlier 6 gigs, I think I earned it.

8. Brace for it, because I am taking the sappy trail here. The role I have now, folding in my marketing work at the chamber, my unpaid volunteer freelance writing, being a mom, a wife and friend is the best position I've ever had, like Williamstown, it has helped me understand who I am and what I am here to do.


*Because I still occasionally cave to doing what everyone else is doing, I'll pass on listing eight people, however, and this is a huge however, if you are reading this and have had some sort of fantastic, horrific or truly-steal-the-thunder-at-a-dinner-party-type of job, you better dish!

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There and back.

On the way there:

Packed tight.

Sleep tight.

There:

Up there.

In there.

Home:

Clean.


Kissing.



Oh, and did I mention that mere hours after returning home we went off in search of more outdoor adventure?

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

We're Home

With a pocketful of memories and sand.





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Monday, August 20, 2007

Seeing with New Eyes

These sweet girls of mine make it impossible to wallow.
Today, and evermore, I am back to living.

I hope that you enjoy this as much as I did, if you don't,
feel free to mock my chortling.

Here's to living.


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Friday, August 17, 2007

Too Soon

I almost missed it, a handful of mail already in my hand, something made me look. There it was, a buff colored envelope, like the kind of thing you'd expect an invitation to a child's birthday might come in. I lifted it gently, then closed the mail box and went inside, the screen door floating to a close behind me. I set the mail down, holding on to the smaller envelope. The hand was familiar, at once willowy and crispy, the ink was blue and in the corner was a large stamp bearing an intricate heart.
Mom.

The postmark, with its wavy line and curving YAKIMA WA brought back a tide of emotions. So much history, bittersweet memories of home. I touched the charcoal circle and imagined the mailbox where this little envelope's journey has begun. An ivy kissed, wrought ion railing upon a stone stoop, thick, lush grass, a carpet beneath robust fruit trees with their quirky combination of gnarly trunks and shimmying leaves. I imagined that I felt the imprint of the stone on my bare legs, prickly and coarse, warm from the day's sun. I remembered sitting and listening to the sounds of the neighborhood as I traveled back to this far away retreat of mine.

The envelope felt weighty, and I ran through events in my mind:
My birthday? Nearly a month past.
Briar's birthday? Not for another month yet.
Just because? Didn't feel right.

I ran my finger under the flap and slipped the card out. It bore a delicate, almost sun-softened illustration, a girl, head propped up on books, clutching an open book, the pages close to her face as if to prevent interruption. Behind her were stacks of books and a bookshelf beyond with still more books, all cast shadows throughout the room. The girl's hair was haphazardly pulled back, auburn tendrils fanned around her face, which was set in concentration, oblivious to the world around. Her knees knocked together and her skirt puddled at her sides, white bobby socks sagging above blue mary janes. The foreground was filled with characters from Alice in Wonderland: Alice, the mad hatter, the Queen of Hearts and more.

Inside the card:

With all love
from Grandpa
Who loved you
beyond all reason
and without end.


Inside was a check, 'g'pa's Bequest', it read.

I closed the card, not quickly, but emphatically. Suddenly the writing meant something else, my name on the front of the envelope, Grandpa's on the card. Yesterday was five months from the day we flew to California, the first time I visited Claremont not to see my grandpa. Gone. I didn't believe it then, and I've not believed it since.

I still find him, in a puffy white cloud on perfect summer days, in a Dora bowl of Paremsan goldfish, and in the pages of his books. And now, holding this envelope, I find the threat of losing him. The color that I had thought was buff, wasn't. It was the color of aging pages, the color of the papery skin on his forearms. He'd lift his arm and clutch mine as I leaned into kiss him. His smell was always the same, and it haunts me. So do his whiskers, white, golden and auburn, brushing against my face, making a swishing sound as he stroked his chin in thought.

I turned the card over.

"And what is the use
of a book,"
thought Alice,
"without pictures or
conversations?"
-Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, 1865


For a moment the words seemed to blur and I wondered, What is the use of a world, without Grandpa?

I held the envelope and card, rubbing my thumb along the paper, uncoated and smooth, a heavy stock. I brought it to my face to breathe in the scent, expecting Grandpa and finding plain, old paper. Plain, old world.

He would want me happy, but more importantly, he would be happy. Easy to cry, easier to delight, he lived every single moment with an intensity I've only ever seen again in my girls.

The card shifted in my hand and I looked at the girl, considering his legacy of books and words, of living and loving with intensity. I imagined the way he would respond if he were here today, if I said, "Grandpa, it's Amandita. I was just watching Briar and Avery and I had to call you. We walked your walk today, from porch to corner. The girls were picking clovers and squealing at passing butterflies. They were literally bubbling over with joy at just being alive. They reminded me of you, making it feel like instead of 3,000 miles away, you were here, not three feet from us."

He'd laugh and then say, "Hold the clovers, I'll be right over."

Anytime Grandpa, anytime. We'll be here, I promise.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Reach Out and Touch Someone

Someone left a comment on my other blog yesterday and it seemed to jump through the screen at me. Abs, my sister. She is in Seattle, a place that has always been magical to me, from my first time in the city bumping into Paul Newman (literally, oh, the gangly, teenage horror) on the steep sidewalk outside of the Inn at The Market, to the countless trips with Mom to scout the finds at The Rack.

Now, when I think of it, I am reminded of the scene from Sleepless in Seattle, Tom Hanks showing his son just how far away Seattle was on the map. The Adirondacks to the Pacific Northwest is a long way indeed. Knowing Abs is down makes it even harder. So, as I find myself unable to move forward without trying to somehow remedy the situation, I hatched a plan.

This plan requires me to step forward and admit something of which I am not very proud. Abbie and I are very different, always have been, but there is one area in which we have almost always been in synch and that is in our profound appreciation for cheesey humor and 80's movies. Realizing that it was improbable that I post Girls Just Wanna Have Fun in its entirety, I settled on the next best thing. Here's hoping it elicits the gasping laughter and shameless snorting it once did.

I love you Abba-dabba-doodler.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I'm knots about her

B: Mama? Can I have a pony tail?

Me: Sure. I need to get your hair wet first.

B: K, just not on my dress.

Me: I'll do my best.

I begin gently combing her hair, catching drops of water with my free hand. Then I encounter tangles.

Me: Ooh, what happened? You have knots.

B: Yup.

Me: What is it? What did you get in your hair?

B: Nuts.

Me: You got nuts in your hair?

B: Yup, I got nuts, mama. I got nuts!




*Quick video disclaimer: Contents are choppy, if your stomach is feeling weak today, look away from the screen, look away from the screen!

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Monday, August 13, 2007

A Moment as Sanctuary



Familiar, wispy ringlets floating in an ocean breeze,
Feathered locks of auburn framing the face of a newfound friend,
Tendrils dark and heavy with seawater cling to a slender neck,
Tiny fingers intertwine, friends in a moment, memories of a lifetime
Shimmering grains of sands, cascading over pink toes,
Treasures of shells and sparkling eyes,
Giggles and exclaims floating out to sea,

The wholeness of joy delivered.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Anatomy of a Swimsuit and a Camera Wielding Husband

The Sitting: Sunny beach in Connecticut.
The Players: Two toddlers, Dad and a camera, Mom's old bathing suit.
The Drama: Mom tries to keep her girls safe...both sets.

From a distance we are a mom and two daughters taking a dip.



Up close we are a mom being tugged
into a topless flashing scenario
at the happy hands of a 15 month old none too keen on waves.



Knowing I won't call attention to myself in front of strangers
and in-laws alike by by screeching, "Yo, dad-man,
stop taking pictures, I'm hanging al fresco,"




Sean comes closer, rapid shooting no doubt.




I'll see your fast frame and raise you a pair of mama-masking toddlers.


Damn, now Briar is tugging too.


Atta girl honey, help mommy a bit!


Oh, ok. Avery you want to actually swim now?
Great, apparently so too does my left breast.


Here's the deal Ave, mama can keep you safe
right up here against my chest, ok?


Oh, good girl baby.


What'choo gonna do now cameraman dad?


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Friday, August 10, 2007

Connecticut



Anyone pronounce that middle c? Seriously?

I've never heard anyone say: Cun-neck-ticket

But there it is, taking center stage. Whatever.

We're going. To Connecticut, middle c or no middle c.

I'll most likely not find a quiet, private, little haven with a wirelss connection. So, take the weekend off, no need to check in, or paw through the stuff in archives, we aim for the shelf life of Twinkies here. Pop back next week as I regale you with stories of Connecticut...or what the neighbors did while we were away.

Go visit Jenn. She's amazing. And I'm not juts saying that because she loves me, though that does add to her considerable appeal.

Have a great weekend all!

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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Secret

I feel awful, I have this secret, this fervent hope I keep silent. I dare not say what I am thinking as it is so unthinkable, so shameful. I've tried to come to terms, tried to surface from this place of dark yearning, but I am not strong enough. It grows so strong and fierce, the intensity of my desire threatening to eclipse all, making my every movement a struggle.

I know they'll say I'm crazy, that I'll regret saying it, but I don't believe it. Not a bit. And so, I suppose I might as well say it:

I want summer to be over. I want to wrap myself in autumn's embrace. I long for the crackle of back-to-school and Halloween longing. I catch flashes of red, renegade leaves turning before their time and my hear soars, a deep rumbling in my belly rises to the surface and the voracity of my hunger for the cooler air and quieter streets makes me tremble. I want to draw the curtains and nest. I want to chop potatoes and mince onions, I want to feel the hot, wet kiss of steam from a simmering pot of stew.

I dream of slipping little legs into bright woolen tights, tenderly twisting ringlets through the edges of hats. I want to giggle over the sight of our breath in the night, the street lights, tall and regal, illuminating our way as we tromp through piles of leaves or drifts of snow. I cannot wait to scamper into bed and burrow into the warmth of Sean's arms, to sleep side by side, touching the whole night through. Sigh.

I want summer to be over.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Got Somethin' Wrong

B: Hey mom.

Me: Yes, sweetie?

B: Hey, somethin's wrong with your foot.

Me: What's that?

She places her index finger on the dark polish on my big toe.

B: Mama, what happened? You got sparkles on it or somethin?

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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Wuss

I am a wuss, and it's odd, because I am also quite ballsy.

I love language, love rolling words around in my mouth, love experimenting with the musicality in different pairings. I have favorite words and words that I aspire to be able to use without sounding affected. I also have a small library of words that make my skin crawl. Some I do not like for the sound they make coming out of a person's mouth, moist, being a great example. Others I hate for having been embarassed by them growing up, case in point, horny. Just typing it makes my skin crawl.

We decided fairly early on that the girls would learn the proper terms for their bodies. Vagina is really the only word we've had to deal with so far. We introduced penis so they'd know that their friend Mason does not, in fact have a vagina. We also explained about my breasts and feeding Avery, and Briar before her. Nipples and testacles have never come up, perhaps because for whatever reason they are words that I struggle to say without blushing.

The other night I was putting Briar to bed. She was rubbing my back, her head nestled in the curve between my shoulder and my neck. Touching the center of my back she traced a small mole.

She looked at my face and said:

Hey mama, you got a nipple, right here you got a nipple.

And then she laid her head back down. My cheeks were flaming and then the laughter came so hard and so fast that she sprang up and let loose giggles of her own. We collapsed on her bed, hysterical tears still springing from my eyes well into the third bedtime story.

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Monday, August 6, 2007

Home Again

Our whirlwind Staurday wedding trip was a treat, 12 hours spent laughing, talking, flirting and being the Sean and Amanda that sometimes get eclipsed by mom and dad.














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Sunday, August 5, 2007

Chasing Bells



Anna and I met in Williamstown back in 1999. We were friends from the first, she was more alive than anyone I'd ever known. Wild black curls, dazzling brown eyes, a deep soulful laugh filled with gasps and squeals and a kind loyalty that has never wavered. She was the maid of honor at my wedding and her toast left the audience collectively swooning and falling more in love with Sean.

A few months ago Anna sent me an invitation to her wedding. My heart soared, my friend who most believed in true love (but who never thought it would find her) was getting married. I marked the date on the calendar and had my heart set on going. As happens, life kind of intervened, a deadline here, a tantrum there, and it began to look grim. We cancelled our hotel room and arranged for the girls to be watched, with the plan to be our leaving for the wedding at noon and returning home by 10.

We would have been on schedule, but that pesky little life thing got in the way. I was prepared to leave the house a certain way, the way you leave it when you are going away, closing the door behind you and knowing that while you are away no one but the little spider up in the corner and the cat are going to see your mess. I found out at the eleventh hour that someone would be staying in our back room, you know, the summer lair of the intern? But it wasn't as simple as that, this person would be staying at our house after a party, a party that would end by 6. This meant that at least 3 people, more likely 4+, would be at our house. Hanging out. Whatever.

I vacuumed, tidied and scrubbed. The unfolded laundry went upstairs, the dirty dishes were washed, the splatters of juice and ketchup in the fridge were rubbed away (and while we're on it, WTF with ketchup? I don't squirt it around in there and yet it's everywhere. Always!) Sean put up a sign "No shoes inside" and we asked that the dog stay outside, this to prevent the inevitable excited piddling that occurs.

We had intended to leave by noon. At 11:55 I was an unshowered, frizzy haired, gummy, scum faced wreck wielding filthy, limp Clorox wipes, the girls were still asleep and neither of Sean nor myself had ingested anything more than coffee in the time we'd been awake. I ran for the shower and did my best to shave my legs and underarms so that the effect of the dress I purchased at TJ Maxx the night before at 7:30 was not marred by stubble and fuzz. Sean popped his head in after 15 minutes and said with as much tenderness as he could muster while still sounding credible, "I am kicking you out of there. It we don't leave in fifteen minutes we will be late."

There was a moment of divine intervention because 99 out of 100 times that my shower is interrupted or shaving my legs is compromised before a special event I go into 100% meltdown mode. It's not something I am proud of, and luckily this time, showering-devil-bitch stayed away.

"Ok."

I finished bathing and dressed in minutes. Then it was downstairs to make snacks for the girls and go over last minute details with Jan. The girls made it relatively easy, so delighted were they to have Nana over and focused entirely on them. I prepared a paper Dora plate with goldfish and cheese. This was followed by sippy cups of juice, pear slices and finally peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat.

"Better make something for us." Sean cautioned. He was right, I was threatening to bark and my hands were trembling. While he went and got the AC cranking I started sandwiches, gratefully heeding his suggestion to hold the condiments. Our last name isn't Murphy, but we could have a law all unto ourselves with regard to the probability of stains by condiment spillage.

I kissed the girls and Jan as I dashed out the door, my cabernet colored toe nails sparkling from where they flirtatiously peeked out of my patent leather peep toe heels. Sean smiled as I walked to the car, my dress swirling seductively around my legs. I made the 20 feet from house to car without breaking a sweat in the 93 degree heat.

"Hi." I said happily.

"Hi." Sean was smiling approvingly, a wicked glimmer in his eye. "Fuck!" Not what you think, this was me, I had gouged my foot, the rich nail polish smeared, the center of my toe nail ugly, glaring white. "Shit, shit, shit!"

"What?" Sean was stricken, breakdowns like this are bad...we were on our way to another wedding and I was pregnant. Stepping into the car the seam of my pants split. It was loud and unforgiving and I should have lost my shit, but, I didn't.

I explained and he calmly smiled and encouraged me to go in and fix it. No threat about our time, no judgment.

"K."

Two minutes alter we were on the road.

Condimentless sandwiches.
And, because hungry + trapped in a car = miserable,
a bag of chips.

Proof that we were actually leaving town.

Because I've got a tremendously hot husband.

Note the billboard, "Are we there yet?"
This was less than 60 minutes in...antsy mama.

Antsy, and nervous, these windy, narrow,
cement divided deathways terrify me.

Gratuitous fun and husband/driver
aggravation with the sexy new camera.

Annoyed, but charmed by my impertinence

Hmm, maybe I'll shoot myself.

Umm, so this is really kind of fun!

The wedding was at 3:30. We arrived at 3:25. I had to pee. I held it.

Waiting for the bride.

Gushing over boys in suits.

Delicious, angelic, like little cake toppers.

Missing Avery already.

Entranced by the Best Man's son.

Missing Briar too.

Anna enters, radiant and holding hands with her mom.

And then leaves holding hands with her husband.

Forever blowing bubbles.

True love.

And a celebration of a most magical day.











Wishing you a happy life with laughter and love. And babies, lots and lots of babies.

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Thursday, August 2, 2007

1000 words

Sound the horns, shoot the canons, we bought a new camera.
Sleeker and sexier than our last, it fits in the palm of my hand (My palms are big, they match the rest of my hands, so I'll add that two could easily fit)

It will never be this
grandaddy of them all camera. But it will diminish the likelihood of revisiting the images of the girls as babies and feeling a bit like we are walking through an abstract art exhibit.

It also won't show images of me as a tall drink of quirky, heavenly, blonde bossiness. I get plenty of bossy of another kind. Every day, particularly around three o'clock and when the issue of sharing princesses comes up.

Though I've been toiling night and day (maybe more like alternating afternoons and Tuesdays) in the garden, it likely won't take any pictures along these lines.

The purchase was inspired by these girls


And this friend.

So far it's taken only one picture, which for whatever reason, I love. When it comes to cameras, if they take a shot you like, and it happens to be of you, and it's taken at unforgiving close range, by your husband, on the hottest, stickiest, most vile personal body odor provoking day, well than I think its worth its flashing weight in gold.

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