Tag Archives: motherhood

those aren’t ghosts, they’re shadows….happy all hallows late afternoon

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Proof of our society’s decline is that Halloween has become a broad daylight event for many.  ~Robert Kirby

why am i struggling today…on what has always been a most hallowed holiday for me? in years past, i spent hours on perfect evil pumpkins, searched for and found grownup halloween festivities where my twisted costumes would actually be recognized by equally twisted friends. in younger years, i spent months on elaborate age-appropriate costumes and laying out the trick or treat path that would fill my pillow case at least half-full of candy…in my day, there was no plastic pumpkin mold big enough to cast a container that would hold my haul. i’d prepare for hours of additional, spontaneous recon and candy-mining, to be accomplished in the dark and sometimes some darn cold weather.

now i have a haul on top of my refrigerator waiting for neighborhood kids who may never come. i spend real time plotting ways to eliminate that bowl of belly ache from my life…like dumping half of it each into the sunlit bags of my first two trick-or-treaters…or bringing a huge bag to the vultures at work who somehow carve through a whole department’s worth of leftover candy and the coming onslaught of holiday goods in seconds, leaving only a suggestion of caloric existence (thank god for scavenger birds).

of course i’m excited to see my littlebean in her cutie pirate costume tonight. it’s pink and in the sun it will gleam in all its bedazzled glory. (see what’s happening to me!!!!!??)  i got a preview yesterday before she marched in a parade and it was painfully, agonizingly adorable. and tonight we’ll do rounds of tricking and treating in my neighborhood first, then her father’s. as the parent of a 2.5 year old, i should be geekin’ with camera batteries charging (though they last longer without the flash), my own costume ready to go, giggles and tricks that work in daylight planned…(yawn).

suddenly i feel like a way less enthusiastic version of my mother…she was always so adult about things…or seemed so from my tiny-eyed perspective. but she at least took the step of making her own halloween treats, back when you could give popcorn balls away, offer cups of hot cider or make candy apples on sticks. i used to wonder why she didn’t also create a haunted house, record spooky sound effects and dress up in elaborate costumes like some neighbors. and of course i thought it would be cooler if she gave out snickers or milky way bars instead of raiding our candy bags for them later. by the way, my mom had seven kids and did LOTS for all of us on holidays. i spend most of my reminiscing time now just marveling at our survival rate…my evolving understanding of that alone exhausts me and casts my unmet expectations in a most ungrateful light.

my transition to a mommy’s halloween has not yet found an obvious path, as well-lit as the choices may be. i feel lost. my adult halloweens always centered around shock value…and nighttime. i lived in NYC for several of my best…with the freedom to be as dark, offensive or insensitive as i wanted (something about a central park jogger springs to mind, leaves in my messed up hair…ah the memories). i still have my beautiful, silky black kitty who decorates all my dreams and halloweens, the same who did humpback stretch poses next to my NYC pumpkins just for effect. but somehow my retiree neighborhood with all 5 of its kids just doesn’t inspire me. my old neighborhood of the last few years wasn’t much better. i’m definitely not as offensive (out loud) as i used to be, and i’m certainly more sensitive…all of which sounds kind and boring at the same time….yawn. maybe i could dress up as political correctness this year. hmmm. (ooh, a spark of halloween trish just flickered. granted, it’s one that’s hard to see during pre-sunset trickortreater hours).

so this year it’s my own dull demons who appear to own this halloween. no one could have told me, even 6 or 7 years ago, that i would ever outgrow my favorite holiday, and i’ll still fight you on that one most days (though nights would be cooler). today, though, my costume appears to be this bland face, this hollow stare, this whistful sigh. i really thought my daughter would inject life back into all these magical celebrations. sigh. perhaps another year, she’ll see the eerie glow in my eyes, hear a creepy laugh swallowed in a plotting throat, light the scariest pumpkin on the block and help me denigrate…er…decorate the front porch and more. or maybe once she’s grown and gone i can have some real parties again, twisted and senior style. meanwhile, there is nothing a whole lot scarier for me than feeling boring or adult. yikes. that’s the first truly scary halloween shiver i’ve had in decades.

send me some spookiness, my readers. creep me out. make me laugh maniacally. or commiserate with my sudden lack of enthusiasm. or feel free to enjoy your own halloween night, grownup or kid-friendly, cocktails or fuzzy tails. i’ll accept the contagion, and this mood in 2011.

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tee up the blues….live it, sing it, ping it

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wow. i’m so excited about the 96% humidity outside. it should feel like a good ol’ mississippi morning out there, though mississippi is 800 miles away. and at the risk of sounding rather bourgeois, i will admit that i will be golfing really badly in this humidity and sun later this afternoon. that would be cart golfing…because i am of the lazy bourgeoisie if i am of them at all.

i think the last time i golfed (badly) might have been that dreamy, foggy, magical day when i got engaged in the Pali mountains of Oahu. that means it’s been probably 7 years since i set my barely used spikes on the links. my shiny golf bag will need a dusting. i’ve golfed about a half dozen times in my life, but i liked it. so i will do it again and channel my inner tiger…that would be Tigger, not Tiger W. (hell, i’d take Tony the Tiger over a meeting with Mr. Woods any day…even a Tony mascot in a fur costume…and my friends all know how i feel about mascots <shudder>). i’m actually hoping i won’t be reminded of Tiger too much, or see any Schwarzeneggers meeting up for a tee time with any Edwardses…real or figurative. the likelihood that anyone from those families would end up at my local county 9-hole practice course i realize is quite absurd, but my brain is great at absurd…my heart might even be better…and fear takes the gold everytime.

so what the hell am i alluding to? i suppose i can’t be this vague and honest at the same time. i’m talking about golfing badly and taking back another little piece of my premarital life. i will claim it for my Self, as part of the true and outrageous life i have in front of me. i’ve read that blogs like mine should be intimate. i’ve read and been told by hemingway and dear friends to, “write hard about what hurts.” so in the interest of Being my most outrageous, honest Self, and maybe helping a few people Be theirs, i will share with you something hard that hurts.

i’m barely divorced. ug. that word. i’m not a “put my dirty laundry on the web” kind of person, but i’ve mentioned in several posts now references to my world falling apart, nay, even exploding…(though maybe imploding would be more appropriate given the amount of weight i felt…like a collapsing star, the crushing pressure in my chest…when all i thought i knew came crashing down on top of me one december saturday in 2009). the quick and dirty version is couched in paragraph two of this posting. i’m a trendsetter for sure, as evidenced by the recent strut down society’s catwalk, of marriages run aground by…hmmm…let’s call it virility + fertility. yes…my daughter has a half-sister out there, not much younger than she….most specifically not so much younger that she could have been conceived at any time other than when i was still quite swollen with my first and only pregnancy. so my ex did it first, before it was popular…though i know it is an age old tale…he then endured months of the non-stop, 24/7 News Cycle of Gossip while keeping his own secrets buried deep, only bubbling to the surface as nerves and some delusions about how this kind of situation might be resolved without (me) (ab)using golf clubs (clearly, not telling me was his best stab at a starting point).

i won’t delve too deeply into details, there are so many. but i will offer that he’s not an all-bad guy, that he’s working really hard to turn his life into something admirable and that he’s a great father (“good thing, ” i think sarcastically to myself…and to you, my gentle reader). so i’m here, writing my heart out, and turning my life back into something i admire and Love. part of Being outrageously me is acknowledging the fires that tempered my soul, steeled my heart, and stoked my passions only after almost burning the whole place down.

i have no grand vision of joining the LGPA one day (“good thing, ” i think sarcastically to myself…and to you, my gentle reader). i simply want to take my smiles and healing heart out in the sun to burn off some calories and sweat, and to re-up on some blood and tears lost in recent years past. i put all of this out here because i promised to make an example of myself on these pages, and my Self screams at me to let the world know how grand life can be, even after pain and grief unimaginable to those who’ve not walked through infidelity and the crushing financial implications of divorce and extracurricular child-rearing. i opted out of the latter obligation, but paid a lot for the trust i’d once given freely. still, i’m here, and not just here but ALIVE.  i carry some heaviness in my heart still, but it is illuminated by the light in my soul and by the Love of amazing people around me. heaviness, grief and disappointment are part of living, incalculable, unpredictable, inescapable. that’s what makes the Blues so blue and yet so satisfying…at least to me. i know…and feel…that sorrow is part of a bluesy, beautiful life…and today i happily accept the one i’m living.

Blues a healer, healer, all over the world…It healed me, it can heal you – John Lee Hooker

balanced beaming and bumper cars

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bleah. monday morning. my illuminated life still delivers plenty of dimly lit, squinty-eyed, grumbly-breathed monday mornings. i polished off a particularly outrageous, particularly “me” weekend last night knowing that the physical and psychic transition into this day might drag a bit…and it is. Reluctance is leading Team Motivation this morning and a couple of important members are missing from the round table.

coffee is speaking up, and like my dad, is always a little miffed at the ones who call in sick on a monday. it means that coffee has a LOT of extra work to do, and has to listen to the others bitch and moan while it covers the whole team’s ass. now coffee and another motivator..the one i’ve never met in person and whose name i don’t remember (instinct? survival instinct? something base like that)…are pushing me to live today, to do the things that make me proud and happy and that fund the rest of these words and dreams. work, dishes, laundry, cat-food shopping…it’s hard to push a limp body up a monday morning hill.

so this limp body is twitching, stretching proudly (and gently, ouch), and straightening up to face the parts of life that come after a weekend of friends, shooting guns for fun, baking yummy treats, playing scrabble, watching movies, losing sleep from all the excitement and then tubing my way down the shenandoah and potomac rivers on the clearest, sunniest day of the summer. i’m recovering from a weekend “off” – of a lot of things. i left my monday through friday job where it belongs, my baby girl was on her own vacation for a few days, and the darker side of my attitude took a good long hike. two of my favorite people provided companionship and affection and enough laughter to make my belly sore. i believe i made the most of a rockin’ summer weekend. if there was more to be made, i was too happy, busy and exhausted to notice.

i did notice this morning, however, all of the chores, tasks and obligations i either skipped or that were already laid out for this week. ugh. i’ve never been great at balance. i mean the physical kind. it plagued me in some sports that i was otherwise good at, and looms in my mind as the inevitable reason i would fail a roadside sobriety test, no matter my condition. i can’t even walk down a sidewalk without playing bumper cars between friends. i know there are ways to work on balance…core muscles, muscle memory and practice…but my innate sense of balance has a starting point, a set point…and it’s a little squirrely on its best day (except that squirrels are actually pretty good on a balance beam, if not a little spazztastic elsewhere). the point is, i know i can’t pull off “the dream,” my purpose, without working this balance thing.  the elated, the dreary, the bone-crushingly sad, the euphoric, the mystical, the blue, the exhilarating, the exhausting, the indignant and the livid…all of those influences inside me have to balance, at least enough to stay on or in view of the Path…wherever its twisty terrain leads. so right now i’m grateful for all of you “bumper cars” who help me stumble along. i’ll need a beltway-monday full of them today.

(c)rickety morning

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the flood gates opened yesterday and words upon words tumbled out of my head, through fingers, sneaking into posts, emails and texts, some well and some badly. now i feel a bit spent, a little weak…like the morning after a good puking drunk. i want to write with inspiration, and i do feel inspired…to do something…but somehow the jackhammer outside my front door at 7:27 am on a fryday is jarring me out of any deeper thoughts than these. i thought jackhammers were only metaphorical anymore, or only used in inherently loud places like highways and metro stops. it seems more meaningful, like a sign (of what?), for the crew to be here, disturbing my tiny townhouse neighborhood where children’s elevated laughter is tolerated…sometimes. i’m more grateful this morning than ever that “puking drunk” appears rarely in my adult lexicon. jackhammers and hangovers? too poetic to be real.

so under all of the rainbows exist very normal days…the to and fro of the workaday world…our noses and eyes cast downward at the grindstones that feed us, cast away from loftier things. that workaday world beckons me, a reluctant participant again lately, as i steal morning moments and tuck them away for myself, here behind these words. i suppose that will be easy enough to remember if i want to peruse them again later…i hate when i put things in that “special place” i won’t forget. it’s always the same special place that i will never remember later. i try not to spend too much time browsing old moments, but sometimes i need to refresh my memory of just who i’ve become and who i want to be today, so it’s nice to keep certain ones in a safe place. and i will admit to some reminiscing and sentimentality when it comes to my relationship with letters A-Z. that, and with a life full of outrageously ALIVE moments, it’s nice to capture a few and use them to fuel the rush and the desire to make more. it helps to remember how i can feel sometimes…because feelings are so fickle…like my big family, they can’t sit still or stay all together very long without causing some chaos, and some of them are rather reluctant partners when paired for certain tasks.

it’s early, in a quiet house, a quiet heart and a settled mind…that wasn’t very much jackhammering after all. even in the quiet i’m not finding some profound thing to say, some “hook” for a reader other than me, so let these words be part of my peace meditation today. let me find joy and balance and soul on a soft, crickety friday. and please let me find one more cup of steaming coffee in the carafe in the kitchen. please.