Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Looking Forward

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

I have been languishing, standing still in one place for months, feeling trapped in the stagnancy of real life, missing my favorite place in the world – and it’s knowledge of constantly possible escape – more than I ever imagined I would, and suffering an almost painful wanderlust. Tonight I booked a flight, and the realization that I have five trips planned in the next four months has me feeling pretty okay. Pretty good mix, too: Three (3!) girls trips, with three very different, very separate, and very awesome groups of ladies. One couples’ trip. One family vacation with a bunch of other families. One flight. Four (4!) road trips. Mountain, beach, desert.
Looking forward is the best.

(Cross-posted on Facebook. I wrote out the post, and then realized I would want this on the blog. It happens that way sometimes.)

Vengeance is in My Heart

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand, Blood and revenge are hammering in my head.

-Shakespeare

I drive morning carpool about once a week. I take the girl, two of her friends, their older brother, and one other boy. Both the boys are former schoolmates of my boy’s. Five kids at 7am. They never shut up, but can be entertaining.
This morning, I end up in the wrong lane. I put my blinker on and implore other drivers to let me in. One by one, they pass me by, seemingly not noticing my sad eyes and my insistent blinker. Finally, a guy about my age in a white truck looks right at me. “Yes!” I think. Nope. He totally drives right on by, smiling like The Cheshire Cat at me the whole way.

I was spitting nails.

If I don’t have other people’s kids in my car, this usually means a muttered string of profanities. (Okay, there was that one time where Rollie and the Commune Twins learned the phrase “You fucking dick,” and at high volume, but it was a Saturday Reading Bowl situation and all bets are off when I’m on my first coffee in a Saturday school day obligation scenario.)

This morning’s Fucking Dick, however, earned only a grudging “Jerk.” The kids all agreed. “Yeah, that guy was being a jerk.” Luckily, the next guy let us in, and I pulled in behind the offending white truck, completely giving him the finger in my mind, which is just not as satisfying as the real thing.

Then this exchange:

A, one of the 6th grade boys, says, “You should just rear end him.”

“Believe me, I kind of want to,” I say, “but violence is rarely the answer.”

M., one of Tiller’s Other Twins (she collects twins) says, “A. Loves violence,” in a voice that sounds like she’s saying he loves K-I-S-S-I-N-G girls.

I look back at A. in the rear view mirror. He’s gazing out the window in silence, then responds with a chilling calm, “I don’t love violence; I love revenge.”

Note to self: Don’t cross that kid. Ever.

And So We’re Told This is the Golden Age

Friday, January 1st, 2016

I often have grand ideas about end of year posts, New Year’s posts, the marking of the passage of time, and what it all means. This isn’t one of those posts.

I stayed up until 3 am with friends. I slept late in a bed fit for a queen. I awakened to coffee and bacon, and no hangover. I visited my sister and drank a cup of coffee with our families and dogs. I talked and laughed at a bar and drank a pitcher of beer with my best friend (spoiler: also my sister) while waiting on takeout barbecue, black-eyed peas, and collard greens. It was okay that this year I didn’t make them myself. I met my first stranger of the year, a sculptor named Nate who goes by Hugh, and I hit the jackpot and brought home a brown paper sack full of beer bottle caps for my son’s bottle cap collection.

I stuffed myself on beer, bbq, prosperity, and good luck while watching a movie with most of my favorite people. I am terrible about seeing movies in the theater. I always find other things to do, or to spend my money on. Even when they are on Netflix, it takes a while to get around to seeing them. So, for instance, I saw Grand Budapest Hotel in the theater, but had not gotten around to watching Moonrise Kingdom. Honestly, Lisa, Todd, and I were going to watch Love and Mercy (I was going to invite Kristin to come over and bring Danny Noonan the puppy!), but the sound was messed up, so we settled for Moonrise Kingdom.

Two things: First of all, I love Wes Anderson movies, but I find them completely overwhelming from a sensory and nostalgia standpoint. I find myself constantly distracted by thoughts like “I really need to wear more mustard and khaki,” or “I miss smoking,” or “Holy crap! My parents had that ashtray with the plaid beanbag bottom!” or “That’s totally what Tang packaging looked like when I was a kid!” or “If I were pregnant right now? My kid would totally be getting a Moonrise Kingdom-themed nursery!” Then I have to reign myself back in to even pay attention to what is going on.

Secondly, I had to watch it, because a few folks told us that our son was like Sam in Moonrise Kingdom. We spend a time or two a year yurting with friends. In the fall, we go to Fort Yargo (in Winder, near Athens) and spend a weekend on a peninsula. We have our own canoes. And now that the kids are all older, we slap lifejackets on them, send them off in the canoes, and pour a drink on dry land. This past October, our kids exercised their freedom in the natural world. And my son was a lone trailblazer. He would wake up and before I had finished my coffee, he was out in the canoe, shirtless at times, heading for the beach across the lake, all by himself. He wanted to be in that canoe by himself. He wanted to feel that quiet that you get in the middle of a lake by yourself, and to go somewhere that no one else is, and where none of your people can see you. We hear tell that he beached the canoe and swam by himself. I guess I am a terrible parent for letting my kid canoe out of my sight across an acre or more of lake, and for letting him swim unattended, but I think our kids never have enough time alone exploring nature, so I am willing to chance it. As he headed off numerous times that weekend (I think he may have done 3 or 4 trips out alone on the lake by himself each day), our friends commented that he was “like that kid in Moonrise Kingdom.” I knew enough of Anderson’s movies to know that might be a compliment, but it also meant, well, he’s kind of weird, but then the apple doesn’t fall from the tree. So, I was looking forward to finally seeing the movie to see a glimpse of what others were seeing in my son.

I saw it, too. His curiosity, independent streak, desire to explore, need to be and do things alone, and his innate craving to be in nature. I’m okay with the comparison.

After, Lisa and Dash went home, I decided to write while listening to my new records. Todd bought me a few albums: Elvis Costello’s This Year’s Model; Squeeze’s 45’s and Under; U2’s Under a Blood Red Sky; Prince’s Prince; Simon And Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits; Joni Mitchell’s Hejira. (The Joni Mitchell album deserves a post all it’s own, but I’m working up to that one. Still thinking on it.)

I put on U2, because I’m obvious like that. Rollie sat down next to me with his Sherlock Holmes book, and he let me play with his hair. (He’s 12. I don’t get to play with his hair much longer, so I’m trying to take advantage of times like that.) We talked about U2, and we looked at the album cover, and I showed him photos of Red Rocks online.

I wrote some more while he read at my side. He asked if I would play “Cecilia” and I said “Yes, but we’re listening to the whole album.” His two favorite songs right now are Simon and Garfunkel’s “Cecilia” and Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” It is not lost on me that this is fucking awesome. I told him how much my mom loves Simon and Garfunkel, and how much I love them, and how we would listen to Simon and Garfunkel on 8-track, and when “The Boxer” came on, I told him that one made me cry, and he said “why?” and I told him to just listen to the album, and one day it would make him cry, too. I didn’t tell him that it is a sad song on its own, and it reminds me of mom, and makes me feel like a little girl, or about my friend telling me that his father loved the song and one of his kids played it for him on his deathbed, but I thought it all, because I think it’s beautiful in the way that only a classic song can be as it infiltrates our memory and thought and intersects with bits of our lives like a puzzle piece.

Todd has since asked if he can watch Black Mirror, so the music is off and the tv is on. The cat is snuggling up next to me on a blanket and the dog is asleep in the chair next to me, and we’ve cleaned up spilled prosecco by turning over the wet cushion to the ugly ripped side.

All of that is pretty much what life is like in general. We turn over the cushion to the more comfortable side. The less wet and dirty side. It still might be a little torn up. We have to choose which side is better.

This was me last New Year’s Day, early on the beach at Cape San Blas.
11010_10152510110481516_8181027511327676755_n

And here is me last night, laughing and giving the finger to 2015. (Okay, I’m actually giving the finger to my friend Jason’s parents while I sit on the toilet, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.)

IMG_7156

I know nothing of what this year meant. It may mean nothing. Things I know: I know that whatever I think is normal will change. I know that whatever happens, I will be okay. Whatever happens is what is supposed to happen. I know I need to think less about it all, and that I need to put one foot in front of the other and try to enjoy the small, beautiful moments.

I thought that this wasn’t one of those posts, a post about the year past and the year to come, and what it might all mean. But then again, maybe it is one of those posts.

12: In Between Two Worlds

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Dear Rollie,

My sweet baby

Baby, you are 12 today. I don’t even know how we got here. It seems like I was just at Northside yesterday, waiting with your Daddy, watching Mash reruns (Suicide is Painless is forever ingrained in my memory now as a reminder of my labor with you), for your arrival. I love you and your sister equally, but by the time she came around, I was used to being a mother; But you, baby, turned my world inside out and changed me forever, more than anyone else has in my entire life.

I used to write about you every year around your birthday. I did it for Tiller, too. But somewhere along the way, I got down to the business of living, and I didn’t have as much time for writing. You don’t take naps anymore, unless you are sick, and nap time is when I would write.

Twelve is a birthday that needs to be written about. Twelve makes you seem so different, so in-between-two-worlds. In so many ways, you are still the same little boy you were when I wrote about you six years ago. When I wrote that, Lauren Shankman was pregnant with Jake. You were just starting Kindergarten. Six years from now, you will be starting your Senior year of high school. I cannot wrap my head around that.

My little boy is still there sometimes. You still need and want hugs. Sometimes when we walk together, you still take my hand. You will still sometimes come to me on the couch and sit with my arm around you and put your sweet head on my chest. Oh, your head. And that hair. You are almost a teenager, and the hair is starting to show it, as smelly and greasy as a pork chop like Scully the Cat’s. Your hair is crazy, and reminds me of mine and Grandpa Palmer’s. The more it grows out, the crazier it gets. I love it when it sticks up.

You have grown so much in the last year. You are all gargantuan feet and when I hug you, your head comes up right under my chin where I can rest my chin on top of your head. I would not be surprised if you outgrow me this year. You and Tiller will one day be taller than me, and it cracks me up that I am going to be the runt of the family in a couple years’ time. How could you not grow, when you are eating so much? I never know anymore how much to make, or how much pizza to order. You could easily eat a pizza by yourself some days.

This year is the year that the lakehouse is being sold. I am thinking a lot of it, and will probably write about that, too, but please know that while my memories of childhood there are so very important to me, that my memories of time spent with you and Tiller there are more precious than you can imagine. I still remember you falling asleep on the boat, so small that the lifejacket almost swallowed you. I worried so much about making sure you have sunscreen on at all times. Now you put on your own sunscreen. I let you drive up and down the driveway there, and the feeling of sitting in the passenger sit beside you, your feet able to touch the pedals, and you in complete control, is one of the most surreal feelings I have ever had. We’ll work on your braking skills.  I remember taking you for your first ride on the jetski – you were so scared and wanted me to slow down. In the last couple of years, when we ride together, you do the driving. You are careful and attentive, and the moments that we spent together riding around the lake, stopping at A-frame village to jump in and get wet, and going to Bulldog, and Goat Island, looking at osprey nests in the power lines, and the Marina. . . .those I think are moments i will think about when I am on my deathbed.

This is the year that you learned to cook grilled cheese and soup on your own. We have started leaving you home alone. You get yourself off to the bus on your own now, when Daddy and I have to leave early. We worried that you would have trouble with missing the bus, but you have been so responsible about getting there on time. And you ride the bus home and come in and stay with your sister until i get home. You also started playing Ultimate Frisbee, and meeting friends at Panera on Tuesday mornings, and you are still playing trumpet.

Last night at dinner, you told me that saw your first fight at school. And this is the year that you started middle school (6th grade!) and when i asked if you were nervous, you admitted that what scared you was the thought of going to a school dance. I told you I would dance with you beforehand, and I was pleasantly surprised that you seemed to find comfort in that, and I hope you will take me up on it. Thank you for still sharing some of your secrets with me, about crushes and girls; Your secrets are forever safe with me.

This was the first summer that you were allowed to go to the pool by yourself. The thought of that amazes me, when I think of all the hours I spent holding you in the pool, watching you like a hawk. You ride your bike there all by yourself, and sometimes you ride your bike to friends’ houses. I barely worry. That amazes me. You go away for a week at camp without me and I know you are having fun and don’t even miss us. That makes me happy and sad and proud, all at the same time.

People tell me all the time what excellent manners you have, and how kind and patient you are with little kids, and that you take the time to say hello to adults you know. That makes me proud too. It is an accomplishment for us that you can behave when we are not there to make you. Now if we could just tone down the eye-rolling, sighing, and angry outbursts at home, that would be great. I don’t have a lot of hope for that, though, as I was 12 once, too. I know it is natural, no matter how infuriating it is sometimes. I know I love you anyway, even when I would very much like to slap you silly. I love you even though you are messy, and forgetful, and your room stinks no matter what we do to it. I love you even though you take so many long showers that we often have no hot water. Never forget that I love you no matter what.

Being 12 is hard. You are still a little boy, and almost a teenager. Your body is changing, you think too much (wonder where you got that from), and a new school and new social situations are scary. You are going to change so much in the next year, and I try to hold on to the little things that you do that say “little boy,” but what i mostly see is handsome, smart, funny, charming, mercurial young man. Bear with me when i ask about your day, or school, or homework.  Bear with me if I still need hugs, or sometimes need you to hold my hand, or I want to kiss you on top of the head at bedtime.

I look forward to seeing you become a teenager in the next year, but it is terrifying at the same time. A natural progression, but really, really daunting. Kind of like that roller coaster scene in the movie Parenthood. . . Good thing you and I both love roller coasters.

Love,

Mama

 

 

 

The Things I Found While I Was Looking For Answers

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

The first day I was at the beach, I walked down to the water’s edge in the late afternoon. I watched the waves roll in, and I looked in both directions. My dog and family ran circles around me. My thoughts ran circles around me.

Sunday: I sat in the sun while they played in the sand, while I wrestled with it all. I went down to the water. I wore sunglasses. They couldn’t conceal tears slipping down my cheeks.

Monday: I promised myself I would walk. I set out in the gray mist. I reached the water and looked both ways down an empty beach. In both directions, I was alone. I chose the longer walk. I could not see the end of the beach; it just ended in a dark, thick fog. It was the end of the world and just dropped off into nothingness. I didn’t pretend I might run. I walked with the wind at my back. The mist turned to drizzle. I didn’t reach the end. I turned back into the wind, and walked back the way I came, watching drops of rain form on the brim of my hat, and then drop away into the sand like tears. I walked up the boardwalk to the house, cold and tired in the pouring rain.

Tuesday: The sun came out. I would run to the end of the beach. My music died before I got there. I heard the ocean and slowed to a walk. I walked and walked and thought. I came to the end. I watched birds wheeling as one over the beach. I hopped a rivulet cutting the spit in two. I stood at the edge. Waves converged at a corner of the beach from two directions, crossing one another with no rhyme or reason, no repetition, no ebb and flow. I started picking things up as I walked. I put them in my pockets. A shell, a common one, but with perfectly clean-cut corners. A dark, smooth rock. A small bone, maybe part of a spine. A feather. A worn piece of wood. A crab shell. Some shell so shiny it did not seem like an earthly substance. Polished glass. I put everything I found in my pockets. When my pockets were full, I carried the rest in my hands.

FullSizeRender

New Year’s Day: I awakened to cold dog nose in my face. We slipped out of a silent, sleeping house and over the boardwalk, making our way to the beach. I let him loose. He ran to the water, and then back to me. He sat next to me standing on the beach, leaning against my leg, watching the birds. The sun was hanging over the water to my left. I closed sleep-filled eyes, felt the sun on my face, hand on his head. I thought, “This is a New Year.” And, “What does that even mean?” I felt lighter.

Last Day: I ran the opposite direction. I ran until I was finished. As I walked back, I picked things up. I studied them. I had no pockets that day to hold it all. I picked one or two things up at a time. If I came across something shiny or spiky or strange, I’d stop to compare the two. I would pick one thing up, turn it over, decide if I wanted it. Hold it in my hand.

Was it rough? Was it smooth? How much did it weigh? How much space would it take up?

I would decide to put one down for the other. And then put that down for something else. I left things behind that could not be carried. I went home with less than the day before. I carried home one magic wand and a broken butterfly.

FullSizeRender_2

The things that I found while I was looking for answers.

 

Protected: I Am Not a Freak of Nature; I Am Nature (Part II)

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

It Takes a (Yurt) Village

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Oh, hello blog! Long time, no see.

So, I have failed completely at updating my blog on a regular basis. But i just can’t let the old girl go – she has brought me so much joy. What we’ve been up to: Life. I have a ten year old now.

I HAVE A TEN YEAR OLD HOW DID THAT HAPPEN OH MY GOD.

He says stuff like, “BOOM!”, throws up gang signs, and wears black sports socks pulled up as far as he can. He doesn’t like to brush his hair, let me hug him unless he is sick, and he mutters, “whatever” under his breath occasionally.

Basically, he is me.

I went back to work. It is rewarding and hard. In a nutshell, now that I have done stay at home mom, Work at home mom, and Working out of the home mom, well, my conclusion is that Parenting is Fucking Hard. Oh yeah. I already knew that. Seriously, no one of those is any easier than the other – they are just different.

There’s other stuff, too, but i won’t bore you. Highlights, though, are the aforementioned tenth birthday, the fact that my husband has racked up a bunch of skymiles, we went to an awesome wedding in LA and I wore a sari. Oh, and we went yurting. (OMG. I think i have ADD. I came here to post the yurt photos.)

So, we were invited to go yurting with neighbors summer before last. Basically, you can go to Fort Yargo, in Winder, GA, and rent yurts for the weekend. There are six. They are all on a peninsula, and if you rent all six, then you have yourself a weekend yurt commune. IT IS AWESOME. There is GREAT mountain biking, hiking, canoeing, swimming, and kayaking. Highly recommend it.

So, we just finished up our second yurting trip with the group (a random, ragtag bunch if I ever saw one) and it was super fun.

test two

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

to

Test

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

ARGH.

Brodes

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Thinks I turned down the bed for him . . . .

20130128-215123.jpg