Friday, February 26, 2010

12 Seconds Flat

Come Be Inspired.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Please step forward.

To meet the fastest eater on this side of the Mississippi.


Miss Georgia.

Guest doggie.

Black ones are always welcome.

Well, any breed is always welcome.

Black ones are extra always welcome.

I'm sorry, I'm prejudiced.

You must thank these sponsors for your free viewing today:

Mr. Kibble, who provides Georgia with her delicious grub; and Ms. Enzyme, who makes it possible for Georgia to digest her un-chewed food.

(please excuse the green buckets in the back ground...they were there for bathing and flushing toilets as the impending power outage was breathing on our dirty dishes)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Iowa Wrestlers Meet Olympic Hockey Players

We're on vacation. I wake up every morning to the sounds of the waves lapping against the shore. The breeze shifts the curtains in our open windows, just slightly. A nanny feeds my children breakfast, so all I have to do is roll over and rub Paul Bunyan's back. And then maybe read a book until I feel like putting on my bathing suit to stroll down to our private beach. It is delightful.

Oh right. That was just my dream.

Two feet of snow on my doorstep last night, rain on my roof top this morning, 50 mile an hour winds projected for tonight, six more inches of snow by tomorrow.

But we're going to build a snow fort today. Yea. So there.

Claire has had a bunch of play dates this week and the boys always feel slighted that they never get to have any. I try to explain to them that it's like dog sitting...we always dog sit for other people because they have one dog, but no one takes our dogs because we have two. And I tell them that they have each other to play with anyway. But they don't buy either of these explanations.

So, needless to say, the boys have been spending a lot of quality time together on our 'staycation' as my friend Katy calls it. Now, being identical twins they have had to share everything starting with their genes. They share books, clothes, toys, shoes, and their bedroom. There is very little that they call their own. But they do okay with this. It is a very rare occasion for them to squabble, bite, fight, kick, punch. They truly love each other.

Except for the last couple of days. They've been fighting over Lego men, sitting on the brown chair, space in the tub, trains, planes, race cars... I hear "Timmy kicked me, Auggie pinched me, Timmy bit me, Auggie hit me. I have the cleaner boots. No, I have the cleaner boots." I'm not kidding on that last one. A fight...over who has the cleaner boots. Really?

I kept telling them to work it out, between the two of them, and to use their words. And I guess, in the Olympic spirit, this is how they chose to do it:

Because the whole "talking it out" and "please use your words" stuff just wasn't working.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Things are moving too quickly around here...

My boogies.

She just turned 8. Eight. Eight, which comes before nine, which comes before ten (10). The year I got my period.

We gave her the boots. She was wearing her underwear. I couldn't adjust the settings quick enough. And so like in this photo too, when I just simply didn't know yet how to adjust settings to get the right photo in the right light, she's blue. And old.

Too old.

For her birthday Paul Bunyan and I gave her a gift card to spend at I Tunes. Yesterday she picked out some songs.

She picked out:
1. Katy Perry's Hot n' Cold, where she calls out her boyfriend because he "PMS's like a bitch."
2. Miley Cyrus' Party In The USA, in which she describes "moving her hips like yeah."
3. Iyaz's Replay. He sings, "Who would ever knew/That we would ever be more than friends."
4. Taylor Swift's Love Story. "You'll be the prince and I'll be the princess."
5. Taylor Swift's You Belong To Me. She confesses to be "standing by and waiting at your back door," because "you belong with me."
6. Selena Gomez's "Naturally," where she espouses to "love the way you know who you are," and "that it takes [her] breath away."

She's been listening to these six songs for the last 24 hours. My head is swirling with images of boys knocking on the door, and her waiting for a boy to call...even though he's with someone else and her crying on her bed because he hasn't called. And then I see her dancing at a club and moving her body in a way that only a woman who knows not only what the word "sexy" means, but also how it actually feels.

I learned how to dance to a song about a woman named Billy Jean and I watched videos of a man who turned into a dancing werewolf and I listened to how to walk like an Egyptian. At 8, I didn't know what it meant to belong to someone, to wait for love, to have a boy take my breath away, or move my hips like "yeah". I don't think Claire understands these things either. But now that the words are on her I Pod and she's dancing her head off to them and belting out the lyrics, some day they will start to infiltrate into her head. And she will get it.

And somehow that makes me feel blue too. And all I want to do is read Fairy books with her on the couch until she leaves for college.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Marriage Proposal In Three Short Acts

Act I

Setting: the inside of a children's ski school room. Many small jackets are hanging on hooks. Boots and bags and hats and mittens are shoved in small cubbies against one wall. There are colors all around, but most predominantly is the color blue- various shades of blue. The walls are blue, trim is blue, floor is blue, chairs are blue.

Scene: kids are playing, drawing, crying for their mothers and fathers who have abandoned them to go skiing by themselves. Instructors are mulling about helping kids. In walks a delivery man with a vase of roses. It is Valentine's Day. Spotlight on a young woman kneeling in the back of the room helping a young girl pull up her pants after she has peed. The young woman notices the delivery person and starts to walk towards him. She is noticeably embarrassed, knowing the flowers are for her, from her boyfriend. She stops to see the delivery man talk to her supervisor. The supervisor scans the room and sets her eyes on another young woman in the opposite corner of the room and yells out her name. Spotlight again on the first young woman, who is noticeably dejected as she hangs her head.


Setting: A Chinese Restaurant replete with all the generic Chinese art.

Scene: It is later that day. A young couple sits alone in the restaurant, despite it being Valentine's Day. It is the same young woman from ACT I and she has a gift wrapped in pink tissue paper next to her on the table. The young man and young woman have idle chit chat while they eat their dinner. The young woman gives the young man his Valentine's gift. He opens it. It is a massage book and massage oil. He is visibly excited at the prospect of an all-body massage later that night. The young woman receives nothing in exchange. She is visibly annoyed. The young couple pay their bill and get up to leave.


Setting: A small apartment, not too unlike a hotel room with a kitchenette- a cheap hotel room with a kitchenette. The room is dark with only a light on in the kitchen over the stove. The back bedroom is dark. There is a small television on. A cheap Walmart television. The 1998 Winter Olympics is being broadcast from Nagano, Japan. You can only hear the voice of Matt Lauer. But you know it's the Olympics.

Scene: It is later that night. The same couple have pulled out their cheap futon to make it into a semi-comfortable bed. It is a fairly new futon. The young man polyurethaned it himself. The futon cover, in a navy blue, is already pilled. There are only a few pillows. The young couple is lying side by side watching the Winter Olympics. The lights of the t.v. are flickering on the wall behind them. Nothing is being said between the two of them. As the night progresses the young woman starts to get visibly angry that the young man has not given her anything for Valentine's Day. She takes a few deep sighs and turns away from his body.

Young Woman (says disappointed): I'm going to bed.

Young Man (says desperately): No wait, I have something for you.

She turns to him and he hands her a ring.

Young Man (earnestly): Will you marry me?

The room goes dark.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


I'd like you to meet the new face for the Campaign Against Rotavirus.

If you or a loved one has ever suffered from the effects of the Rotavirus you might consider signing the petition at the bottom of this page. Please write to your legislators. Parents, let's do all we can to eradicate this horrible disease.

So we never have to clean out another puke bucket for as long as we both shall live.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dog Mountain

I went on a little adventure yesterday to pay homage...

to Stephen Huneck. His home workshop and gallery sit on a mountain side in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. It's about an hour and a half from my home.

I think I deliberately requested to come pick up my favorite Huneck print, the one I bought when I was in mourning, so that I could visit the dog chapel on Dog mountain. I'd never been there.

Although Liebe and Sydney were a little nervous of the big wooden dogs standing outside the chapel, it just took a little sniff of the doberman's ass for them to get to know each other.

I was blown away when we went inside:

The pews were perfectly framed. And the walls- plastered in notes to lost animals.

There was not one single space left on the walls.

"Lucky, You are with your best friend now. Enjoy!!" The notes were so touching and real. I mean, I know some of you can't understand're not dog people. And those of you that are, makes perfect sense. Doesn't it?

Dogs do have a soul.

And from the ceiling down, I could feel the love and loss.

And the sun shone bright through the stained glass windows.

Right down the aisle...

to the angel dog.

And to Stephen's art at the door of the chapel that is inscribed in his scribble of capital letters, "IT WOULDN'T BE HEAVEN WITHOUT DOGS."

We hiked up over the gallery and chapel, up to the top of Dog Mountain.

And my black Labrador friends found many new scents.

And although I'm usually quick to pull on their collars, tug on their leashes to keep moving, I let them sniff all they wanted yesterday. I let them rejoice in the symphony of smells, with no urging to keep on.

And we took a second (well, more than one) to think about what's really important in life and that life is way too short to not start on those dreams that you've been writing about. They decided that they wanted more treats, more than just a few a day. They wanted lots more. They decided that they wanted to shed all their hair this spring outside the house instead of inside. They decided that they were done eating stuff off the counter and that life was too short to make me mad. And I decided that I'm going to scratch their butts more. Oh, and start on those dreams of mine.

Monday, February 8, 2010

My Love Story

My old college roomy is having a giveaway at her amazing little jewelry shop near Cape Cod. All you have to do to enter the $300 giveaway is to send her a love story. Any kind of love you love your house, your dog, your toe nails. You name it. She's all about love. Any kind.

I was digging deep in the recesses of the memory to pull up moments of my falling. My big fall. My leap off the cliff into Paul Bunyan's life. There was his goatee, the mountain, the smell of his cigarettes (god damn it, I thought I forgot that part), the time he stuck his head in my car to get a whiff of the chapstick I wore. You know, the details that conjure up the goosebumps (those forgotten things after 12 years of marriage).

I was digging in the more recent recesses of the memory of the moment I locked eyes with my first born. After the morphine wore off. She and me. Alone. In a hospital room. I know how the light was low, where I was sitting, how Paul Bunyan was sleeping next to us.

I was digging in the most recent recesses of the memory...when two identical things were ripped from my belly and they had penises even though I had convinced myself and Paul that they had tiny vagina's. And even though the love was instant, I've had to dig deep for the details that gave me goosebumps because that year, the year they figured out how to sit up, crawl, sleep, walk, eat, talk...I don't remember much of it. My love story would be fraught with fears and insanity and panic attacks. And no one wants to hear that.

And because of all this digging around, snooping in the crevices, I happened upon my story. In the layers of my memories- from the moment I jumped off the cliff into Paul Bunyan's arms until now- I have fallen in love with myself. This is my love story.

Before Paul Bunyan, before college, before high school I was flailing in the swampy murky mire of mean adolescent girls. I gave so much of me away just to be liked, accepted, associated with. The fun I had was guarded, hoping against hope that it wasn't going to be different in the morning...that I would wake up without friends.

My high school days were filled with trying to be the best...running for offices, senior class secretary, student government, varsity club, honor society, German club (yes, German club), math team, three Varsity sports, homecoming queen (yes, but only just nominated). Where was I in all that college application shit?

My college days were filled with eating 10 grams of fat or less a day, running, lifting weights, playing field hockey, competing with my teammates for the position. Yes, we were a team, competing against each other. Who could have the lowest body fat, run the fastest, score the most points, have the most assists, stick to the diet the most hard core,have the most awards? I left college at my lowest. Defeated.

I'd hate to admit that I needed Paul Bunyan to fall in love with myself, but I think I kinda did. He showed me that finishing a pint of Ben and Jerry's in one sitting is so much more fun than poking at a Fat Free, Sugar Free half gallon of what? Ice? I hate to admit that I needed the last eight years of my life as a mother to fall in love with myself, but I think I kinda did. My children have shown me that poop and vomit and sleepless nights really help you look inside yourself and taste the darkness. I hate to admit that I needed the wombats to fall in love with myself, but I think I kinda did. I didn't believe my bush was worth all the attention it gets now, but sometimes when someone tells you you're beautiful, you have to believe it.

All kidding aside, my love story starts with some holes in a place I used to call home. The holes were measured and evaluated 5 years ago. They were studied and diagnosed as holes. I've been patching them up as best I can, but in the process of defining the holes, I've slowly begun to accept myself. I am no longer not skinny enough, not smart enough, not good enough, not fast enough, not productive enough. I love my mediocrity. My self love began when I stopped trying to be better than I was. I keep a dirty house. I drink too much. I eat like a second grader. My garden is full of weeds. I never made it to the Olympics. BUT I am married to the nicest, most confident, kindest, most useful (and sexy) man I have ever met. I have children who are friends with each other and I have people who come up to me (random, like the other day) to tell me how much they enjoy them. I have friends who love and respect me for who I am even though I have a hairy bush, I don't know how to dress myself, and I sometimes have big zits on my left cheek.

My love story is in development. But I can tell you it's the beginning of the sweetest love story I've ever read.

Please tell Rachel your love story. And if you're so inclined, will you tell me?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Wanted for questioning...

I'm looking for answers on the whereabouts of a Mr. Paul Bunyan. I've questioned Red.

Who generally knows where Paul is when he is plowing snow off the pond.

I cornered Red's dad in a back alley.

He said he didn't know anything.

I questioned slim.

Who is always with Paul when he is loading wood for the furnace.

I questioned this lone guy, who hasn't seen the likes of Paul Bunyan in many moons.

Of course, he's very lonely and in need of a mate...if anyone knows of one out there.

I talked to this old man...

because he's usually around Paul when he does his chores with the alpacas.

I interrogated the black sheep of the group,

who usually knows where Paul is when he's shoveling the walk.

There were three newbies on the scene,

who had no idea where Paul Bunyan was.

And it sounded like they didn't even know who Paul Bunyan was.

Having never met him or done any chores with him.

And there is one pair still at large. I believe they were last seen driving away on Friday morning in a 2006 silver Toyota Tundra headed towards Sunday River, Maine. If in the slim chance you happen to see them, tell the missing pair of gloves and Paul Bunyan that they are sorely missed and that the pond needs to be cleared, the wood for the furnace replenished, the alpacas need tending to, the stoop needs clearing, oh and the bathroom needs finishing.

Your time is up Paul Bunyan!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Terrible Hodag and the Animal Catchers

I read this book to the boys awhile back. The book is about a creature that lives in the Northwoods. The Hodag is 40 feet tall, has the head of an ox, feet of a bear, back of a dinosaur, and tail of an alligator. He is, however, not terrible at all. He is sweet and gentle and loves to eat blueberries. The loggers of the Northwoods, led by Olee Swenson, love and respect the beast. So when city slickers come to catch the infamous Hodag to send him off to the zoo, the loggers have to take drastic action to save him. And the Hodag, unfortunately, has to scare the zoo keepers off- by roaring and chasing and generally being a monster, which he (apparently) is not.

Auggie shook in his boots, sucked his thumb harder, was rattled to the core. An escalation ensued- one with me yelling something about 'there's no such thing as a Hodag. It's made up. It does not exist! Now go to bed' and, him crying harder, 'he's here in the house. I feel him.' I couldn't understand how he couldn't understand. It was my weakest moment as a mother. And I haven't been able to shake it.

So, of course, I write.

I've been carrying around this scene
deep in my pocket-
its edges are curled from reuse.
You are center stage
with a face painted red
from exasperated panting.
Backstage is your brother,
watching in support,
lisping the words along with you.
And I regret
every time I uncrumple that night
that I didn't lay sooner,
next to you;
that I didn't pull back
the curtain of your fears,
or shush them silent,
to prepare you for
the next time they wriggle free,
from under your bed.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Full Moon Skate

I sometimes drive this car around.

Without the nice rack on top, of course. It gets somewhere up towards 40 miles per gallon and we rarely have to fill er' up, which is just why we got er'. Right now, however, she's got the windshield wiper fluid light on. It's not in a constant "on" state; it just blinks when I slam on the breaks, go up a hill, go down a hill, turn to the right, turn to the left, go over a frost heave, turn on the radio, fasten my seat belt, take a breath, or sneeze. IT IS DRIVING ME CRAZY. I realize it's there to tell me I'm straddling the line of safety. To fill it is to be safe. To not fill it is to be irresponsible. Every time it blinks I'm reminded of what is empty. I think if the light just stayed on, I wouldn't think twice about all that is missing in my life. But since it sways with the waning blue juice in the plastic jug, I'm constantly reminded of the deficiencies in my life. I know I'm reading into it. But am I going to fill it? No. I'll just wait until I'm on the highway and I'm behind a tractor trailer and I won't be able to see and I won't be able to pass because she just doesn't have the get up and go with all her 4 ponies and I'll have to pull into a gas station to fill er' up. I'll just wait. Because I'm good like that.

But for now, the light is in MY FACE. So when I get ready to have people over, which Paul Bunyan and I did last Saturday night, I start to worry about all the little details. And the light, the f-ing windshield wiper fluid light, was on in my mind all day long. There won't be enough chili (blinking yellow windshield), everyone will be so cold (blinking yellow windshield), no one is going to come to skate anyway because it's colder than a witch's tit out here (blinking yellow windshield), we need some lights up so people can skate from between when the sun goes down and the moon comes up (blinking yellow windshield), the fire is too far away from where everyone will be hanging out (blinking yellow windshield), etc., etc.. IT WAS DRIVING ME CRAZY.

I kept saying to myself, "Just fill it up. Just fill it up, you Hussy." And now you think I'm crazy and that's okay, because I am. "Just fill it up. Just pull over and buy some blue liquid and fill it up".

And then people started to arrive, carrying their L.L. Bean tote bags full of skates and extra clothes and snacks. And then they started to skate. And then they started to have fun. And then I see a pack of boys and they're having fun. And then I see a pack of girls and they're having fun. And the yellow light, the blinking yellow warning light, it doesn't blink. Not even when E yells out the front door to ask me where my cornstarch is (perfect time for the warning light to blink: YOU ARE DEFICIENT!! Time to go make the fondue instead of making your friends do it). Or when the moon didn't rise early enough (YOU ARE LACKING IN COMMON SENSE!! Why did you organize this party without knowing when the moon was going to rise). Or when kids came piling out of the basement of doom, where we have apparatus set up and designed just so they kill themselves, or at least crack their heads open (INSUFFICIENT PLAY ZONE!! Why would you let someone else's child down there to die unattended?)

Yea, but none of that. No yellow blinking light, where usually there is a yellow blinking windshield.

I filled it up. I filled up my cup. And not with beer. It runneth over with friends willing to make fondue, stir fondue, put food out, put food away, put baby to sleep, to cheer my children on, to help the wounded ice their wounds, to skate with me by the light of the full moon.

I skated that night at midnight. By myself. The pond heaved with excess. I wondered what my life would be like if I lived in Newark, or Detroit, or Orlando. I wouldn't be able to skate by the light of the moon. I mean I might be able to. In a small outdoor rink, that didn't crack or pop. But it wouldn't be able to hold all my friends. At once. Or all their children. At once. We'd have to take turns. And it just wouldn't work, not without a warning light. A big one that said WANTING (more space for friends). Yea, I'm lucky I don't need that. No yellow blinking windshield here. We're full. We got fluid, spilling over, freezing in the light of the full moon.