Thursday, August 17, 2017

Just Joy | sidewalks, feel me strut so good; gutter, don't forget this face


  • We are at the circulation desk checking out this week's book haul when one of the librarians (one I remember from my own childhood visits to Cary Public Library) compliments Mads on his Batman mask and gloves. Mads is exasperated and corrects him, "No, I'm The Flash," and I translate/explain that Mads is actually The Flash disguised as Batman. Mads tells him, "Actually, Batman is my brother and he let me use his mask." The adults have a good chuckle at this. One librarian says, "Nice brother!" As we're walking out the door, Mads turns and shouts, "Remember, I'm The Flash and I run really fast, but Mommy doesn't like me running in the library!" I am doubled over laughing as I usher him out the door.
  • Mads has fallen into a limp, heavy sleep on the drive home. I lift him out of his car seat and cradle him, shushing with "my sweet boy"s and "mommy's here"s. 93% asleep, he reflexively lays a smacking smooch on my neck.
  • I am a nearly 33-year-old woman, riding a horse on a 96-year-old carousel, calliope music and pastels washing over me.
  • Cars slow down and honk, drivers wave, as we light fireworks in our drive way. A shower of sparks rain down, silhouetting my baby's excited face as he looks back at me, making sure I'm sharing this spectacle with him.
  • We are having a great, slow morning together--the kind of morning I want to have more of, the kind of present, mindful morning I am proud of. I turn on Queen of the Stone Age's "Misfit Love" and Mads plays along with a pink plastic whistle. Wolfman picks up Mads' tiny play guitar and begins to strum along.
  • It is Sunday morning, and I have to wake Mads at 7 so we can take his dad to work. He's happy when he opens his eyes as I pull up the blinds in his room. When I lay next to him to snuggle a bit before we're off, he asks dreamily, "Mommy, can you scratch my back?"
  • Grandma is standing in my kitchen, and Thorn meows at her feet. She leans down and groans as she picks him up. "I forgot what it's like to have a big cat like this, a T-shell cat," she says (her favorite cat, T-Shell, was maybe even bigger than Thorn). I ask her how much she thinks he weighs. "I don't know? Thirty pounds?"

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Madmartigan, 3 Years Old | Mr. Blue Sky please tell us why you had to hide away for so long

An interview with Martigan, early on the morning of his 4th birthday:
Q: How old are you?
A: Four!

Q: What is your favorite color?
A: Blue!

Q: What is your favorite food to eat?
A: Apples and blueberries and strawberries.

Q: What is your favorite show or movie?
A: Justin Time.

Q: Who are your favorite super heroes?
A: Thor and Iron Man and War Machine and Wonder Woman and Rescue Bots.

Q: What are you thankful for?
A: Strawberries and bananas.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do?
A: Play!

Q: Where do you like to play?
A: At the playground. At the trampoline park.

Q: Where do you and daddy go during the day? Where have you been going lately?
A: Markets!


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Thankful Thursday | rock has got the right of way

My garden has done a lot of Jesus-take-the-wheel-ing this summer. And, despite my self-sabotaging instincts, I managed to relax into a state of mild and pleasant surprise at the goings-on in my little chicken-wired garden plot. I let go of my expectations completely and accepted that this was a hard summer. I was sad, and some of my houseplants died while I was sad, and outdoors my would-be garden just had to make its way without a gardener. Let me admit here, however, that I've never been a good gardener, necessarily; my gardens have always been a sort of laissez faire event due to my incredible lack of skill and/or knowledge.  But, this year I was more neglectful than ever before. I hardly visited my plot at all. I tended to the compost pile, tossing kitchen scraps in and turning the hot mass with shovel, but of course producing garbage is easier than producing sustenance. Pumpkin vines wound about the entire plot, choking out my peppers and tomatoes. Zucchini rotted on the vine. I did pick several large yellow mystery squashes, the stems of which deposited tiny spines into my skin, but I failed even the some would say charming task of deciding how to cook and eat those squashes. They grew a film of fuzzy mold on my kitchen counter. Then, I tossed them into the compost pile and broke into them with a shovel, which was satisfying. 

I did not garden this summer, but I did sit in the back yard and drink rum out of a hallowed-out pineapple at the solstice. Many an evening, I sat reading stupid novels while Mads played in his $7 plastic pool (often, I'd pour Buddy Wash in while it filled and call it his bath). On Tuesday night, we roasted marshmallows at the fire pit after the sun set and "camped" (Wolfman set up the tent out there). I am so grateful for this fenced in back yard, for the Walmart plastic pool, for the tiny pumpkin that grew while I wasn't watching and protecting it, for Thorn Rex as he perches on the deck with his fat belly hanging over the railing, for stinky herbal bug spray, for a man who can build a fire, for tropical fruits, for the smell of meat cooking on an open flame. I am grateful that summer is almost over.
I Am Grateful.

  • I am grateful for books that mean nothing to me, procured for next-to-nothing, that I can guiltlessly rip apart for art projects.
  • I am grateful for an ink smudge on my fingernail that makes me feel like Jo March.
  • I am grateful to past me, for all the meticulous notes in my past journals.
  • I am grateful for AC/DC playing on the radio as the high way opens up and we pick up speed.
  • I am grateful that our ailing beast of a truck, Brunhilde, chose not to start on a day when we weren't in a particular hurry, on a day that Wolfman was with me, rather than a day I was out alone or out alone with Mads.
  • I am grateful for grimoire flip-through videos on Youtube (like this one).
  • I am grateful for the smell of Play-Doh and coffee and sizzling sausage links, all in our kitchen one morning.
  • I am grateful for the way Wolfman sometimes unexpectedly falls into a Scottish brogue. 
  • I am grateful for the tastiest margarita I have ever had on date night at La Rancherita.
  • I am grateful to be married to a man who tips servers so generously.
  • I am grateful for very sharp razors with which to slice through boxes.
  • I am grateful for the crinkle of packing paper.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Madmartigan, 3 Years Old | headlong little one into the wild unknown

Dear Martigan,

The past three months have been a painful blur for me, and I think I've missed out on some things. I've been here, of course. I haven't gone anywhere; I never will. But, I'm not always all-the-way-here. Sometimes I will hear your little voice becoming agitated and realize you've been talking at me for many moments without recognition, that I've been lost in my head, and the guilt of that crushes me. Your dad and I have done our best to explain to you why things are different now. None of these explanations make a whole lot of sense to you, but you're picking up on the fact that life is strange and unfair, and sometimes people are disappointing. Try as I might to protect you from those facts, I can't wave them away when they land on our doorstep. I can only kneel next to you and listen hard while you talk, and answer your questions as honestly and simply as I know how, and apologize if I miss what you say the first time, then listen harder. Even when I've been distracted and sad, I have loved you and I have been amazed by you. 

And we've had fun. You are a joyful creature. You are a creature full of a lot of feelings, joy being one of them. We laugh quite a lot. You have that same clownish impulse as your dad, that same desire to see me giggling until tears spring to my eyes. You are so kind, so intuitive and sweet. I never worry about the man you'll be. But, I do want to do a better job of watching you and guiding you as you become that man, whether the world is falling down around us or not. 

I love you always, in every moment, every day,
Mama

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Thankful Thursday | a kinda sorta haunted house

Cleaning up after the kids are in bed one evening, I find a half-eaten chicken nugget when I sweep under the dining table. I stare at it for a long time, perplexed. The idea of food (meat) surviving on our floor uneaten for so long is ludicrous, or, was. I am grateful in this moment for our good dog, Lunchbox, who, to his final days, was a dutiful, industrious living vacuum cleaner (and, of course, a pal).

I Am Grateful:
  • I am grateful that when the heat makes me lethargic on the playground, Mads accepts my suggestion that instead of tag we play "zombie tag" so I can shuffle lazily after him instead of running.
  • I am grateful for the way my grandmother lights up even the dimmest (grimmest) of rooms, and I am grateful if I've inherited even a smidgen of her sparkle.
  • I am grateful when my grandpa tells me I'm a good driver.
  • I am grateful for Queen Anne's Lace and early blackberries growing on the side of the road.
  • I am grateful for the way traffic lights reflect on the wet street at night when it rains.
  • I am grateful for Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest and sipping coffee out of a 1986 Casper The Friendly Ghost mug in June.
  • I am grateful to Jared for making me coffee before he leaves for work (to a job where he will make other people coffee all day).
  • I am grateful for the patience of the waitress at Noodle Blvd as my pre-schooler attempts to eat ramen for the first time.
  • I am grateful every time my son runs to me with a booger he's picked on the end of his finger, asking me to wipe it away with a tissue, because it is not a booger he's wiped on something else, flicked away, or eaten.
  • I am grateful for the self-satisfied grin on Wolfman's face as he listens to his own music, recorded the previous evening, and he announces with approval and pride, "That's nasty."
  • I am grateful for Grandpa bumping the side of my knee with his fist as we wait in a courtroom and telling me, "Tough life. Get over it."

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

March Joys & Favorites | fart nuggets!

| March Joys | 1. Forcing the boys to pose for a Spring family portrait with me when I realize we've all dressed in plaid one morning. | 2. Our first trip to Goodberry's of the year. | 3. Followed, within days, by a morning snow fall that's completely melted by lunch, leaving no evidence it every happened at all except my photos. | 4. A new fairy house at our front door, with occasional gifts for the kids. | 5. Visits to the State Farmer's Market, when we can manage it, for tasty produce and handmade candy. | 6. Finally, after years of hemming and hawing, hanging a little gallery wall in our living room and then pausing to admire it with every free moment for weeks afterward.  

| Correspondence | I have loved sending mail out with these Star Trek stamps, as if I'm sending missives to the final frontier. 
| Garden | 1. Bought myself a little English Thyme at the farmer's market because I'm not growing nearly enough herbs. (Note the proper use of a vehicle's cup holders above.) | 2. My Albuca spiralis is in bloom, which may very well mark the end of its time in my window sill (these plants are annuals, and the last one I had that bloomed died promptly afterwards). 
| Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny | Rather than show you a trailer, I'm posting the opening scene of this flick, for the few of you out there who, like me, somehow made it this long without seeing PoD. A lot of the movie is the goofy stoner humor the trailer promises, but it is the musical numbers, scenes like this one, that make this movie truly worthwhile because they could probably be used as educational materials for non-metalheads about why metal matters so much (in short, it's magical and rad). Plus, I have to admit, I always find Jack Black endearing and I think he's a totally underrated talent, comedically and musically. | Other movies I enjoyed this month: Tropico, Nacho Libre, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.
| Buddy Thunderstruck | If you're recommending any sort of media to me, you really only have to ask one question to know if it's truly my kind of thing: is it white trash? Buddy Thunderstruck is a new Netflix show for children (though I read on a parenting website the characters' choice expletive "fart nuggets!" is frowned upon by many parents), but the truth is that Wolfman and I love this much more than Mads. We also love that Ted Raimi voices Buddy's sidekick Darnell. | Other shows and specials I enjoyed this month: Donald Glover's Weirdo and John Mulaney's New In Town.
| Hammers of Misfortune | An aptly named band to be listening to in the midst of so much dreariness this month. This band sounds like everything that was the fairy tales that engaged me as a child, with a cool, angsty, demonic beat to it. (And, the band does have songs inspired by witches, trolls, bloody axes, and dragons in its catalog.) The proggy vibes of Hammers of Misfortune give me all the Ritchie Blackmore feels, but with a little more heaviness, which is great for driving alone at night. 
| Links, etc. | 1. Vintage Laura Ashley, INFP "mapping", tattoos by Kerry Burke, and more inspiration collected on Pinterest. | 2. Diemon Dave the West Virginia Ninja. | 3. Lidia Yuknavitch's TED talk "The beauty of being a misfit" | 4. Chris Crocker (particularly this video) | 5. The Dogist | 6. Atchoum | 7. Whitney Way Thore's video "Stop Telling Me to Smile" | 8. Missing Richard Simmons #trypod


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