Thursday, November 22, 2007


I am home alone in the quiet after Thanksgiving Day.
The children and the husband are staying overnight,
and I am home
because the dog needs me.

I have been working,
for two hours straight.
speaking aloud,
uninterrupted in my flow of thought.

I might be tempted to think that it would
be nice to work like this all of the time.

But I think that without the Others,
I would only begin to talk to myself more and more.
And eventually, the conversation being uncontested on every front,
I would stop talking.
And then writing.
And then moving.
And then breathing.

It's quiet in this house.

It's better with them here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My Mom's The Teacher

Well the twins have been bugging their teacher to please, "be absent so our mom can be the substitute teacher." She complied today, and I have just finished 7 exhausting hours of trying to keep 30 eight year olds quiet, involved, on task...

I bow to school teachers everywhere.

Thing is, all of the children are good. Really, how can an eight year old be evil? But combine them in groups of over...say...10, and you will find it impossible to have all of them facing forward at the same time. So explaining an assignment becomes an exercise in thespianism. Face animated, voice clear and bold, wide, sweeping hand gestures...

When the boy twin sidled up to me with furtive glances left and right, I bent my head to hear his secret.

"Mom. You're talking different."

"What? Is it bad? Do I sound mean?"

"No, you just don't sound like you do when we're at home."

He slipped back to his seat, and left me pondering my transformation.
See I'm a good sub. The children usually love me. I waltz in and Mary Poppins my way through a day, leaving admiring little girls and boys behind every single time. And so far, when the twins and the middle child have seen me in the hallways, they have grinned proudly at me and boasted to their classmates that I am their mom. I thought today would be the pinnacle of my elevation in their eyes!

But later, alarmingly, the girl twin lowered her brow at me and said,

"Mom. You're acting weird."

I was crestfallen! Me, weird? Yes, I might be a little strange, a little surprising -- a little out of the ordinary as far as substitutes go...but that's what makes me interesting to the children! I can say the alphabet backwards! I can do foreign accents! Heck, I can SING!

Okay yeah I can see the problem.

Thing is, I usually don't lose my coolness factor until they get to be around twelve. Here I have accomplished it in one day of 3rd grade.

Oh well.
Tonight both of them re-emphasized that I should just act the same at school as at home. I said maybe nobody would hear me if I spoke that softly.

And then I realized what a good thing it was,
that the mom they know at home,
is the one they want.

Monday, November 12, 2007


She is sad.
Her tummy hurts.
She is not hungry.
This morning we go to the doctor for a follow-up to the CTscan last week.
A needle, some blood, weight, height, some questions.
Pretty routine, I guess.
But when she's eight years old,
when she's yours,
nothing like this feels routine.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Lesson In Coolology

Let's say you walk into a cool coffee place, and you find yourself at the front of the line before you are really ready to order. Not that this happened to me today or anything. Let's just "say".

A piece of advice. Wave the next guy through. Let the guy behind you go up and order. Let the women in heels and makeup and black clothes go in front of you too. If you are not prepared to order, step aside.

Remain cool. Don't look around yourself nervously at the growing line and the toes tapping impatiently. If you want to maintain an air of coolness, do not, and I repeat, do NOT fumble around in your purse for Exact Change. This is what old people do. Not the young, chic people who frequent coffee shops.

One more thing. In the process of extracting your Exact Change, and holding up the long line of Business-type people by not knowing what you want to order, do NOT, under any circumstances, slide your finger so far into your little change purse that the non-coinage spills out onto the counter. This would include not spilling out your driver's license, your receipts, your ticket stubs unless they were for something cool, and last but not least, two super-size tampons. Not one, but two.

Count them. Look at them rolling out onto the glass counter for the man behind you to pretend not to see.
One large super-size tampon.
Two large super-size tampons.

Granted, this is all a completely hypothetical situation that you will probably never find yourself in, but just in case, now you know.


My New November resolution is to write more. This is as opposed to my New October goal of eating 6 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. I can't last a whole year with my resolutions. I can't even remember them for that long. But I might be able to do one thing for a month.

Life should be easy. We make it too hard. We're so hard on ourselves. Eat right, exercise, learn something, don't lay around. You know, maybe today is the day to just lay around. What's going to happen if I do? Will my brain shrivel up from extreme non-use? Will I get fat or or will my house fall apart?

What if I, just to be completely out-of-the-box crazy, were to write a post that is just a little bit of ramble, and stream-of-consciousness, and imperfection? Using way too many commas in one sentence just for the heck of it? Would it send me down the road of laziness and sloppiness and a general disarray of the mind?

Or might it possibly do the same thing that laying around the house every once in a while does? Gives my mind and body some rest. Recovery from emotional distress, or busyness, or the need to be tidy and perfect.

I'm doing it. I'm going to free myself from the binds of trying to write something Meaningful. There's a time for an essay, and there's a time for just letting it all hang out.

I am giving myself permission to take it easy.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Heart and Soul

I was in my studio last night, playing Heart and Soul on the piano. The middle child has discovered this at school and wants to learn it. The children were all upstairs watching the Friday night movie, and I was just noodling on the bass part. I was thinking about all the ways it can be played differently, and how to teach her something about music through it.

The boy twin appeared, jumpy and excited. "It's too scary for me!" he says.

I patted the bench and he sat down close. I said, "Here is C. I'm going to play a song where C is Home, will you play with me?" When he nodded, I think his whole body lifted and settled -- what were they watching upstairs? He was twitchy and vibrating.

So I whispered in his ear, "C is Home. You can play anything you like, and you can go anywhere you like, but just keep coming back Home.

And don't go too far away, or you may get lost.
And don't forget where Home is.
Right here, next to the group of two black keys."

He nodded, bumping on the seat to begin, so I played, and he played above me, with the courage and the freedom of an 8 year old boy.

Seconds later he was gone, attempting the excitement of the movie again. I kept exploring how to move from C to A, to F, to G...

Five minutes later he was back and resumed his position, playing high and strong and now trying with both hands, then he disappeared.

For the next half hour, I kept on a steady pulse of a simple song in the basement studio of the house. He came and went without speaking, adding his free-wheeling melody to my soft structure.

I thought about him leaping up from a particularly alarming scene on the television. Excitement propelling him down the basement stairs, through the dark play room, toward the light coming from my studio door. Toward the murmur of music that was just the same as when he left.

Seems like that is what Home is all about. A constant drone of familiarity that you keep coming back to. A hum in the foundation of your world that is always there, in the back of your mind, for when life gets too scary.

Heart and Soul playing on and on.