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!

Monday, December 31, 2007

2008

Simply this ~

May it be sweeter than all the years that have come before.




Happy New Year.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Gum Drops & Rosy Cheeks





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Travelin' Fam

After a cross country flight and two nights in Seattle, we made for the mountains and the drive from Seattle to Yakima. Behold the power of an aunt betwixt toddlers.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Things Change

We've been in Seattle for less than 24 hours. I love this city, always so full of promise without any level of intimidation, like the cool kid in school who was genuinely nice. I was out on my sister's patio admiring the stormy cityscape, familiar butterflies and exhilaration hitting me as the lights winked at me from across the water.



I took a deep breath and let the sounds of the night settle upon me, dusting me in a glittery, big city glow. Then I turned and peeked through the window and saw a kind of sparkle no city could ever rival, no matter how spectacular.



At peace in the city. Happy holidays, indeed.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I know, I know, "She's naturally thin."

I received an email from Bella Cucina and I saved it, thinking, "That's just lovely. I should tuck it away for inspiration." Before I could share it with anyone I got another email from them and oh-my-holy-fucking-jutting-sternum!



This is the best they could come up with to proffer gourmet goods through my monitor? I'm not sure how she's managing to hold the platter up, or strike that, how she can hold herself up. I suppose in its intended context, the gnarly bones poking through her paper thinskin echo the swirls of the pretty embellishment at the top of the email, but still, not what I want to see first thing.



Then again, I suppose if women in Hollywood are looking like this, it makes sense they'd think the way to push food is through identityless breasts on bones.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Faucet, meet Belly. Belly, meet Faucet.

21 weeks.



Care to place bets on how long it'll be before the basin is eclipsed by the bump?

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe

Cagey.
Cryptic.
Ambiguous.

My apologies, but as so many of you have experienced, when local readership catches on, one's ability to speak freely is compromised. Yesterday marked a point in the road at which I can talk...some. Obviously there was a job offer, then another, and then from another came a counter to rival the others. It took me right back to every time I ever had a boyfriend and suddenly became irresistible to all men. I'd draw sly looks in the grocery store, lecherous looks on the street and excessive attention just about everywhere else. The difference now is that instead of blushing, I'm giving come hither looks and encouraging the attention.

It is intoxicating, this awareness of being wanted. After so long in an area that lives on "who you know" and "the way it's always been done," I'd quite honestly forgotten what it felt like to matter to anyone beyond my immediate circle. So, to put an end to some of the suspense, it is not the book that I have been hinting about, though that too has resurfaced. My dear friend has come back and we are working to get me on track with the book. The job offers come from the hospital and a friend, each with incredible promise, allowing me to be challenged and appreciated, but also afford me time at home. The counter comes from my current job, conveying an appreciation for me that I hadn't known existed.

I have to chuckle as my belly grows, inexplicably, so too, do my options.

We'll be posting belly shots soon. And, of course, as I make my decision I'll be posting that/those too.

Thank you for sharing the excitement with me, and for being with me as I've made my way through bringing home Briar and arriving at afternoons working from home with my girls beside me.

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Unequivocal

We stood together in the fading afternoon light, muted gray shadows blanketed the tired snowdrifts and the cool wet air snapped at our fingers. The mill, out of sight in the distance, burped its familiar clouds and as they sailed higher they lost their form. How strange to be so strong and present and then, like that, gone.

Six long months had passed, alternately weighing us down and lifting us with the promise of a change. We didn't know what to expect as we walked up the stone path, flutters of the unknown nipping at us from all sides. The wait was murky, the hands on the clock and the flow of conversation conspired, anchoring us to a table beneath a harsh florescent glare. Nervous titters and anxious shuffling, the start and stop of conversation, chairs creaking and hearts leaping, none of us seemed ready to draw the curtain, until it happened.

There was an audible crack as the film between wondering and knowing tore. The hands I had watched as we made our way to this moment changed before my eyes, what had looked so strong, so powerful, were now twisted, my gaze wandered and the strength of my own hands came to me, long fingers and wide palms, luminescent, capable.

A spiritual revival and an unravelling. Across the table I watched as two faces reflected the sum of of our journey, late nights and early mornings, tense moments and soaring triumphs. The exclaims and murmurings of so many memories, warm faces and bright colors flickered. The florescent light grew weak as our unity flashed, the shift of power unexpected, yet as natural as the setting of the sun.

We embraced, laughter rising from bodies weary with relief. Our goodbye echoed with the closing of one door and the opening of another. A new beginning. A destiny. Sitting today, in the light of a new day, having reconnected with what was meant to be feels like the greatest gift.

Here's to seeing clearly.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Snag, crack, pop

Some days you glow and some days...

Oh to feel as cute and peppy as those little marching band snap, crackle, pop boys. Today I am battling the inevitable snags and pulls on my sweater from my ever-evolving midsection which seems to draw the lusty attention of every exposed nail, splintered door jam and open drawer.

Equally unattractive and unavoidable the relentlessly itchy skin on my belly and the magnificent cracking on my hands. It is as if this lil lass gestating inside of me has taken one of those fancy striped straws and is sucking down every last drop of Amanda. So dry. So itchy, so (gag) scaly. And the pop, oh lord the POP!

"Mama, it's getting bigger and bigger and bigger. We're gonna need to wiggle, wiggle, wiggle the baby out, so she can be safe."

Yes, indeed, let's wiggle that baby out so she is shielded from the danger of my belly's staggering growth.

Excuse me while I go weep at another sappy email that was forwarded to me, while I sit tapping my foot to the rhythm of my scratching.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Trees are simple

Life, though amazing and wondrous of late, can be ever so complicated. This evening, just shy of seven o'clock, Sean was still at work, the girls were at the zenith of their nightly I-need-you-and-I-must-do-everything-at-an-eardrum-bleeding-decibel, I hit the proverbial wall. The ligaments holding this little Rockette wanna-be in my belly made themselves known, declaring it quitting time and leaving me feeling as if a 15 pound boulder might just base jump from my uterus and break through my pelvic floor (please don't humiliate me in the comments by saying that what I have just described isn't possible with the female anatomy, I take care of it, but I don't totally grasp the whole architecture therein.)

The chicken I'd set in the wok was sputtering, blazing hot meteors of thick balsamic and chipotle marinade were rocketing from the wok and out into the kitchen, it was at this precise moment that Avery clapped her hands around my legs, wedged her head near my aforementioned, aching pelvic floor and began swaying with remarkable force for a person of less than 36 inches.

Splat.

Hiss.

Pop.

"What's doin', mama?" Briar asked as she walked in trailing a three foot boa, a 2.5 foot string of faux pearls and wearing my sports bra pageant sash style over her dress.

"Honey, ya gotta go. Mama needs to finish dinner, take Ave."

KaPling.

Sizzle.

Kts, kts, kts, CRACK.

"What's that?" She asked moving swiftly toward the sound and potentially disfiguring crackles coming from the stove top.

"Out. NOW. GET OUT BOTH OF YOU NOW!" They scampered off and my self-worth as a mom hopped on the back of the increasingly painful throbbing beneath my belly.

"And on one, two, three we'll jump and have her on her knees..." this followed by a maniacal cackle.

It was not a banner day, despite a still blissful halo around the frame of my future.

So, with that, I've decided to post pictures of tree shopping.

It doesn't get much simpler than Christmas tree shopping. Unless of course it is Christmas tree shopping in Vermont.


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Monday, December 10, 2007

Me?

Pessimism has never been my bag, it just serves no purpose. Now with kids, and knowing how fleeting time really is, I want to waste as little time as possible. The last three years have been an exercise in cutting away all which does not enrich, no more time-sucks that create tension, no more friends that take, take take and a whole lot more things that bring joy, create memories and add meaning.

There have been bright times and others not so bright, but through it all, we've been confident in knowing that we've been on the right path. I mentioned the other day that the path has been curving, reaching toward a new horizon that brought the promise of incredible opportunity. Today brought a new vantage, a perspective that unveils more than one way.

I am sitting in front of the fire, laptop balancing on my crossed legs and Briar asleep beside me. Her right hand is touching my leg, open as if inviting me to take it in my own. Her face is turned away from me and tendrils of hairs lap at her neck like lazy, late afternoon surf. She slipped off to sleep as I rubbed her back with my left hand while my right hand typed a press release. Bits of light skip energetically off the ornaments as the cat makes a lazy pass beneath the Christmas tree. Avery is upstairs asleep, a Backyardigans book I read to her earlier, clutched in her arm.

I'm just off the phone with promise who spoke to chance, unbelievably just this morning hope and faith sat in my living room. I am simply without words, battling the urge to question why this has all happened, how I might have deserved this and if there is anything I need to do to prevent the other shoe from dropping. I literally ache with wonder and gratitude and excitement. A moment of tearful thanks on my knees and I'm off, this is my life, and it's nipping at me to soar higher.



I turned on the evening news
Saw an old man being interviewed
Turnin' 102 today.
Asked him what's the secret to life
He looked up from his old pipe
Laughed and said all I can say is:

Don't blink,
Just like that you're six years old
And you take a nap
And you wake up and you're 25
Then your high school sweetheart becomes your wife.
Don't blink,
You just might miss your babies growing like mine did
Turnin' into moms and dads
Next thing you know your better half of 50 years
Is there in bed and you're prayin' God takes you instead
Trust me friend, 100 years goes faster than you think
So don't blink.

Well, I was glued to my T.V.
When it looked like he looked at me
And said, "You best start puttin' first things first."
'Cause when your hour glass runs out of sand
You can't flip it over and start again
Take every breath God gives you for what it's worth.

Don't blink,
Just like that you're six years old
And you take a nap
And you wake up and you're 25
Then your high school sweetheart becomes your wife.
Don't blink,
You just might miss your babies growing like mine did
Turnin' into moms and dads
Next thing you know your better half of 50 years
Is there in bed and you're prayin' God takes you instead
Trust me friend, 100 years goes faster than you think
So don't blink.

So, I've been trying to slow it down.
I've been tryin' to take it in.
In this here today gone tomorrow world we're living in
So...

Don't blink,
Just like that you're six years old
And you take a nap
And you wake up and you're 25
Then your high school sweetheart becomes your wife.
Don't blink,
You just might miss your babies growing like mine did
Turnin' into moms and dads
Next thing you know your better half of 50 years
Is there in bed and you're prayin' God takes you instead
Trust me friend, 100 years goes faster than you think
So don't blink.

No, don't blink.
Don't blink.
Life goes faster than you think, so don't blink.
Life goes faster than you think. Don't blink
Don't blink
Life goes faster than you think...

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

Pause Interrupted

I'd really been relishing the still, rolling the tangy excitement of suspense around in my mouth and luxuriating in toe curling "What will happen if I take this road?" and "What might be waiting down this path?" kind of wondering. It felt good to have opportunity sprouting up around me, but I can only be entertained with that kind of sitting on my hands type daydreaming for so long. Things are poised to change, and that is wonderful, but life mustn't stop while the future takes it sweet time making itself known.

So, what's a pregnant, working multiple jobs, married to a small business owner and mother of two to do?

Why tear down more walls of course!

Yup, we done ripped out the wall between our kitchen and dining room, and in doing so, discovered an impossibly dizzying number of possibilities.





It was incredible to be able to help Sean, thanks to the wondrous presence of our Girl Friday, Trina. (You should go read her stuff and tell her what a wanker the dude who stood her up is. Seriously.) She played with our girls behind a closed door, the sound of their exuberant squeals of delight the perfect soundtrack, as we worked laboriously, and remarkably without incident, to remove the industriously screwed, nailed and wedged in cabinets.

There is much planning and plotting and daydreaming to be done, though in this case, the dust management and the creative repurposing of closets and shelves to take the place of now absent cabinets, make hand-sitting an impossibility. Now, if I could only get Sean to be as willing to theoretically play out the different options as he is to do the heavy lifting that makes having options possible.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A fork in the road

Three years ago the phone rang, it changed my life and I remember everything about that moment. I'd been back at work for a few weeks, Briar was barely three months old and I was quite simply crippled with my longing for her. I was consumed with guilt at spending forty hours a week at a job that I loathed, working for people who didn't respect me and who operated from a playbook that I didn't have. A mortgage and health insurance kept me going back, and each night as I held Briar in my arms I wept.

When the phone rang I was faced with a decision in a moment that felt nothing short of God-sent, a door was opening at just the time when I felt as if the darkness might drown me. I've never looked back, ok, I take that back. I have looked back. I have looked back time and again, each time I am overcome by the same weak-in-the-knees, what-if-I-hadn't horror. But I did. I said yes.

The phone is ringing now, almost three years to the day. I never knew it could happen again.

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Monday, December 3, 2007

Polaroid Apology

Ok, not really. These were all really taken with a cute little Canon with image stabilization, which is handy, but not foolproof, or Amanda-proof, as it were.

This post is a snapshot, a handful really, of how we spent the weekend and why, Bettejo, I opened the door to letting Sean determine what was for dinner last night.

Some of you may remember this, a sweet memory made one afternoon in our dining room.



Not long after, yet totally unrelated, came this.


We'd have had the girls pull their weight, but you know, their arms get tired so quickly...


And so it was that Saturday morning, what was quite possibly the coldest day of the season thus far, Sean set about deconstructing in the interest of at long last claiming a central room in our home. I was remanded to the back room, "What I need you to do is be with those girls, enjoy the time,".

"But I want to help, can't I just do--" he shot me a look and said, "Would you let the girls tear around in here?" I shook my head, "Of course not." He gave me a gentle look, nodded at my belly and said softly, "So don't let her, ok?" I conceded defeat with delight (plaster dust sucks...and blows and sticks and is just generally nasty!)



The room got dustier, the air got colder, and eventually the wet blankets that I hung in the doorways to catch the plaster dust became so frozen that they could be held on end and extend several feet without bending.



After the lath and plaster came the built in, also known as the nailed-glued-stapled-and-nearly-impenetrably-built-in built-in, which we'd been hesitant to yank, but once it was gone we breathed a dusty sigh of relief.



Then came the assessment of the anything but consistent studs, 12", 9", 14", 7".



An open door to allow for ventilation, also handy for food preservation as the temps dipped far, far below 32 degrees.



Despite the messiness of the job, Sean is a very tidy worker.



Oh, yeah, he's also fast, amazing and pretty easy on the eyes.




So, yeah, two days and four walls later, I offered him dinner. He earned it.

I love you baby, thank you for taking such good care of us.

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

I'm Sorry, What Was I saying?

I don't know what is more difficult, describing the sheer wonder of pregnancy and its ability to illuminate power and beauty in your body that you never imagined, or trying to articulate the staggering force of the stupidification that is being pregnant. I'd wager I had higher functioning IQ days in college after truly grievous damage done through the use of alcohol and bad company. (not the band, the ditzy friends and questionable guys).

When I am not weeping at the sight of a sparrow alighting on a bush or melting into a gooey puddle at the sight of a battered Cinderella sticker trapped in the lint vent of the dryer, I am most likely trying to get my tongue and brain to cooperate:

"C'mon, buddy, you can do it, say 'what I'd like is lemonade',' you can do it." Instead what comes out is something along the lines of:

"Like. I'd a. What like is lemonade. I would likely make a lemonade. I'll take lemonade, please," this last part spoken as if I am at a countryside revival trying to exorcise my demons. I am trying to so hard to be ok with it, some days the triple threat of widening everywhere, stuttering everything, and whimpering about anything can bring a gal down. Luckily I have a pretty twisted sense of humor and am kind of enjoying the so-over-the-top-she-can't-be-faking verbal incompetence and emotional fragility.

Another perk, if there are any pregnant gals out there reading this hoping to find some light at the end of the tunnel, or at least a bit of ambient light along the 9+ months way, I've got it. The moments when mind and mouth cooperate are infinitely sweeter than ever before. Case in point, tonight I was in the kitchen trying to figure out what the hell to make for dinner.

"Hey, babe. What would you like for dinner?" I called to Sean.

"Aw, I don't know. The stew you were going to make sounds good."

"Ok, but we both know I didn't get to the stew today," I called back.

"Yeah, but it still sounds good and that's what you asked."

I then thought with perfect clarity: jack ass.

"Ok, how about I make soup, a different kind, and then tomorrow we'll have stew?"

"Soup? Yeah, I don't know, that doesn't sound so great, not like stew."

Then I gave the universal long, loud silence in response.

"Yeah, I don't no babe, I'm not that inspired," and with that his involvement in the creation of dinner was complete.

Fast forward 10 minutes.

"Oh my god, what is that incredible smell?" he called out impressed.

"Oh, nothing, just the dinner I'm pulling out of my ass," I called back with a grin.

"Wouldn't it smell kind of bad if that were the case?" he retorted sounding incredibly proud of himself.

Before he could get the cocky I'm-so-funny-smile off of his face I called back, "Not coming from an ass this sweet."

2 points pregnant chick, 0 points baby-daddy.

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