Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Self-portrait: a dream

 {when there is no appropriate photo}
me: post run
I dreamed again last night that I was pregnant.  Baby #4.  It picked up as I walked into the hospital, in no apparent distress, in labor.  I loved the whole process of having babies, the labor, the epidurals.  Pregnancy on the other hand for nine months was no cakewalk but I'm getting off-topic.
This labor was slow unlike the other three.  I waited and wandered around the hospital between mild contractions.  I was intermittently aware that I was hooked up to an IV but then at times it had gone missing.  My Chinese doctor at one point was philosophizing and pontificating on the topic of preventive medicine and outlining the steps one should take to properly care for oneself illegibly on a piece of paper as he reclined on a pile of pillows.  His words made no logical sense but I knew in my mind what he was trying to say.  He spoke to my youngest about her eczema and her "pool foot" problem (some of you mothers may be familiar).
'Take care of yourself outright and you won't get sick' was his message.  Got it.  She listened, nodded.  My husband wandered somewhere in the building.  I told my doctor the story about the neurologist of a former patient, a man my husband had gone to high school with. We had discussed him at dinner, which is the only way he made it into my dream, I'm sure.  The story was about how he had taken his dad's Delorean out for a joy ride with some of his friends while in high school and got busted.  I told it like I was there. I was on a brown leather couch. Random.
When labor didn't progress I looked at my belly profile in the mirror.  The baby was still high.  She moved, turned and faced me straight on, her features protruding through my skin clear as if I looked right at her.  I saw her eyes, nose, open mouth as if in a scream, all fingers and toes.  She was huge.  And breach.  Her arms and legs were at ninety degree angles in a pose as if to say, "Get me out of here!"  I remember thinking how much I didn't want a cesarean.
Then I painted a picture frame that I liked the worn look of prior to painting. I was mad that I had ruined it by starting to paint it. I used paper towels instead of a brush.  They stuck to the glass of the frame and it became one huge, goopy mess.  I woke up.
What does it all mean?  And please don't tell me I secretly want another baby or my inner child is screaming to be let out.  I blame it on the headache I had when I went to bed.  That is all.


the cold heart blames
shuts the door
tighter. harder.
until through a crack the little things spill
by accident
like light
and a hand
one on top of the other
I am here, remember? it says without saying
and the day begins
because of one small crack
followed open

Saturday, August 25, 2012

What I want

Life is exciting around here.  I dubbed last night "family date night".  All five of us went with my daughter to get this year's new pair of glasses.  Cute--check.  "Everything looks so small!"  She can now see clearly again--check.  Let's go.  We went out to dinner and ate too much to go straight out for ice cream so we killed time at Target (buying lightbulbs and birthday cards and running into neighbors and a teacher friend) and Barnes and Noble.  Somehow date nights of every kind usually include a trip to the bookstore.  I know, the twenty-somethings out there are jealous.  Oh wait, they're not reading this.  We ended up pigging out on ice cream.  Family date night.

I was the last to pick out my book.  My husband ended up with two fishing magazines and researched the hot topic of late:  comparing techniques on how to kill and prepare fowl for human consumption (enough already with the roosters). 

"Just Google it", I said.

"I don't like the internet."  This from the man who taught himself how to can tomatoes from an online search and plans nothing without first a look at the weather radar.

"Oh, right."

My son grabbed a book from last year he didn't quite grasp and wanted to re-read, the girls nabbed sequels and books by favorite authors and I stood there staring into space.  I wandered.  I picked up this and that and put each one back down.  Note:  I am easily overwhelmed by too many choices and the inability to hear my inner voice.

I wondered, as I do, what people would think as they saw some forty-something, worn-down, tired-looking lady perusing the self-improvement, cooking, psychology, health and fitness and Eastern Religions sections.  Why not just fiction?  Humor?  How to raise a decent kid?  Too easy.  It had to speak to me, change me.  I was looking for an overhaul but something in the realm of simple yet profound, please.  While I typically would have rushed to leave and either hastily picked up something I didn't like or left with nothing at all, last night I took my time.  I made them wait and I think I found it.

So far what I've learned is this:  I have everything I need.  It's all just a dream (really?!).  It's no big deal. 

If this works, it might just work.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Wet dog

It's time to start over.  Time to bathe the skunky dog, time to replace the worn out light fixtures that have needed replacing for the last two years, time for a big trip to Goodwill, time to re-clothe the kids, time to say goodbye to the band of roosters.  After the other day when I found them attacking our one lone hen she laid her last egg and took off.  She is gone.  A friend remarked, "can you blame her? She suddenly realized she had SIX husbands!!"

As I bathed (tortured) the dog I sensed his inability to see past the bath.  He is almost human after all, the way he looks at me and knows what I'm thinking is eerie, the way he understands what I'm saying, remarkable.  Even his many neuroses...all very human-like.  Sometimes I don't like to look in this dog-mirror.  There he was, standing in the baby pool (outdoor shower soon! please!) utterly miserable, dripping wet, half his normal size, looking at me with those sad, sad eyes unable to rationalize that in about an hour he'd be mostly dry.  It was a 90 degree day after all.  It struck me how stuck he was in the present and how when I feel most like a wet dog it's so hard to see myself dry, fluffy, clean and white, better than my dirty self before.

This is one of the things that keeps me the most hopeful about life and relationships whether they be with others or myself:  there are a million and one chances to start over.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I may not want time to move on but it does anyway.  School starts, the kids go, everyone is happy and makes the best of it.  I finally have the chance to take one, big, giant, humongous, substantial, fulfilling, replenishing, essential, deep breath.  I'm no longer covering for anyone on vacation (until next week, that is) and am playing catch up on a million and one things and it feels so good.  I hadn't realized how absolutely crazy the summer was until it was over.  I was ready for full collapse.

The dog is healed.  Her surgery created a domino effect, the results of which I underestimated. I knew the aftermath would entail some juggling but adding about 5 more balls to the air was enough.  It is always good to return to baseline chaos.

the leg
The beans are high, the chickens have grown into roosters rather than hens (shock!) and the results are highly unfavorable.  I had one remaining hen that hadn't been taken by our resident fox and she is under attack.  The scene at the coop is deplorable.  The odds are too great I would have picked out six roosters by chance when the bin said "laying hens".  There had to have been a mix-up during shipment to Southern States.
"Return them," someone said. 
"And get laughed at," I said.  We have a humane neck-wringing and chicken cleaning/boiling lesson scheduled for Saturday by a close friend and the day can't come soon enough for our poor henny. 
"They're the perfect age for eating," he said.  At least they won't go to waste anyway.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

In the sand

While the others busied themselves in the waves, this one brought me endless offerings from the sea.  This little girl somehow ended up my critter catcher.  It is in odd contrast to her love for accessories.

The dance was the same all week.  Walk to ocean, dig under surf, scoop up handfuls of living creatures, bring them to mom for show-and-tell.  Listen to mom "ooh" and "ahh" and remark at the size of each one as if the differences between them are vast.  Take creature back to the ocean and watch it wriggle backward under the sand. 

Yes, I wish we were still there.  Yes, I wish I hadn't already had the post-vacation meltdown that ensues with the realization of a packed work schedule and school (and middle school) about to start and rooms messier than ever and dog smelling like skunk and (damn) rooster still crowing and garden grown over and flowers dying and unsuccessful baseball tryouts and generally wondering if you are doing everything possible to be the best parent you can be even though your littlest still has sore toes from the pool and wondering where in the world you are headed and hoping it's the right direction because you're taking your family with you.

My husband says I have pre-school jitters.  He says I get like this every year.  He says it will pass and every other mom probably feels the same way.

Some drink, some shop, some gab endlessly on the phone, some may clean the house till they're silly to cope.  Part of me wishes I still had my toes in the sand with the fiddler crabs, but of course that cannot be.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Where the road ends...

...the beach begins.

This was our every day for the past week and as usual I thought I could get forever used to having sand between my toes that never really went away.

We watched the wild horses graze from our little blue house every morning and evening.  Unlike the typical beach house, here it was quiet.  So quiet we woke to the sound of birds and the horses whinnying in the distance.

They came close to say hi.

Rainbows landed.

Children played and dug and ate and slept and refined their beach skills of digging, Kadima, sand-fiddler and clam catching, boogie-boarding, walking, shell-finding, reading, playing cards.

Oh, and cartwheels, of course.