Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lost Things

Today I am no longer blue.
I just returned from Kohl's where I lost my Kohl's credit card.
I had it in my hand, and then I didn't have it in my hand.

I rifled through my bags, my pockets, my purse.

I stood in line at Customer Service, with things to return,
and explained what happened to the nice lady at the counter.
She perkily asked for my last name,
and said she'd check but if I had just lost it, it probably wouldn't be back there yet.
Then she reached into the secret lost-but-found things drawer
and pulled it out.

"Today is your lucky day!" she said.

I couldn't believe it, and said,
"Wow, somebody was really honest to return that."

She said, "Oh yes, they usually do get turned in."

Lost things, returned by strangers.

I needed to hear that good news.

Friday, December 26, 2008


The children are usually the ones who have the day-after blues,
but this year I caught it somehow.

Might be partly because we dropped the teenager off at grandma's yesterday,
and coming home without him is never quite right.
Might be because now the middle child is a teenager too,
turning thirteen on Christmas Day.
Might be how I grossed myself out today by eating a fast food burger.
(I say I'm flexible as a vegetarian, but whenever I flex...I quease.)
Might be that picture of twin girl with what I highly suspect may be the
Last Baby Doll Of Christmas.

The night before Christmas, it is all potential.
The day of Christmas, it is all realized.
The day after, it is all over.

Now we live in the limbo of Not Christmas Anymore,
and Not The New Year Yet.

It's cold and I'm blue.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Lookin' Good

I was pushing my cart down the canned goods aisle,
when I thought to call home and ask if we were out of waxed paper.

I was feeling good,
baseball cap on,
there to get the job done.

Then I remembered that my cell phone was not in my coat pocket,
but in my sock,
because my clothes had no pockets today,
and it just worked out to keep it there.

So I hitched up one leg of my pants,
and suddenly I felt sort of cool.
I actually had the thought - fleeting, ridiculous -
that I hoped nobody would become frightened if they saw what I was doing.

Like maybe I was pulling a gun or a knife out of my cool,
concealed leg-holster.

Of course I was wearing big clompy boots,
pushing a cart full of groceries,
clutching a list written on a well-worn spiral notebook
with "Writing Journal" scrawled in a child's handwriting across the front.
And I had a purple washable marker that I was crossing stuff off with.

Yeah I looked pretty dangerous.

Anyway, the illusion was shattered when I reached into my sock
and tugged only half of my phone out, since the back panel had come off and,
inexplicably, adhered itself to my calf.

I peeled the rest of my phone off of my leg,
slid it back together and made the phone call.

Lookin' Good.


Friday, December 19, 2008



twin boy


middle girl


twin girl


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

School Daze

Taking a breath for a snappy comment over my shoulder
to the children in the backseat,
I realize I have already dropped them off.

sheez, I'm either talking to them when they're not here,
or we're circling the backstreets around the school
because I can't remember what I have driven into town for.


Monday, December 15, 2008


They stitched him.
He tripped over the rug at Wendy's,
and banged his head against the trash can.

Nope, no germs to worry about there....

Anyway, today was the big Jiffy Mix field trip.
It's really cool.
They show you a slide show (I think it's an actual slide show),
and they give you a cookie and juice,
and then you walk between the red lines to see all the machinery
and the workers,
and you get to wear a hair net.

But the thing the twins have been talking about
for five days is the trip to Wendy's afterwards.

That's where he earned two stitches.

Funny thing about boy twin,
we always knew he'd end up with a few stitches,
the way he
through life.

We lost him once on a cruise ship,
and once at a Target,
and once at a petting zoo.

He was okay those times,
and he is okay this time too.


It's A Feeble Request....

...when you hand a ten-year-old a 20 dollar bill for Santa's Secret Shop
and ask her to,

Bring back some change.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I Can Take You

That's what I said to the teenager.
Although he is taller than I am now, I still outweigh him by a good ten pounds.
So I thought I could take him.

Now we are not a violent family.
We don't hit each other, even in play.
The worst fight anybody has ever had here
was a spit-fight in the way back of the van years ago
between the twins.

We try to touch each other gently.

But yesterday I was feeling sort of itchy
and I challenged him.
I think I just wanted to get him out of the chair
where he resides with his ever-present book,
slouched and slack.

C'mon, fight me.

He grinned and unfolded his body,
and proceeded to pin me to the floor.
He gave a running commentary to his delighted siblings,
a la The Dog Whisperer.

"See," he says while kneeling on my chest,
"this is what we call the submissive pose."

For my part, I could not stop laughing.
I had no strength whatsoever up against those dimples,
that curly hair, that wiseacre mouth.

There is something so startling,
and utterly incapacitating,
about the idea of my baby,
growing up.

Yes, I think the paralyzing laughter was why I lost this time.
I think I can still take him.


Thursday, December 04, 2008


His eyes were red and puffy and he appeared past bedtime.

"Ohhhh, come here," I said, pulling him into the chair.

He sank into my lap.

"I was just thinking about how I only have a few more hours left to be nine,"
he spoke into my shoulder.

"Ohhhh, shhhh, it's gonna be alright."

"But these 9 years went by so fast,
and now I'm going to be 10 and I just don't want to be."

I never knew a child who loves to be a child as much as this one.

He added,

"And I don't really know how many numbers I have left."

I thought about that.

I said,

"You are special, because you know how to enjoy the Now.
Most kids just can't wait to be older.
But you, you are living every minute with all you have.
It's going to be okay.

And I think you will have lots of numbers."

He sniffed, and nodded, and left my arms for bed.

I wonder...

Do I love my Now like that?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


The teenager says that he feels uncomfortable
when they are all having their television show
and I run in and dance through their field of vision
and then run out again.

He thinks it's weird.

I said I am not here to make things comfortable for him.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Squeaks and Miracles

Today I wore my squeaky shoe to church.
For some reason last year, the right one started squeaking and it's awesome.

I always announce that I'm wearing my squeaky shoe to the family.
They make no reaction whatsoever to my announcement,
but I'm strangely pleased about it anyway.

When I wear my squeaky shoe to church, I have to walk up to the front to play.
We all try to go up as quietly and unobtrusively as possible, but my shoe squeaks every other step and I think it's hilarious.

It's like I have this really funny joke inside of me that NOBODY else gets.

I was smiling all morning.

Right before we were to start playing, a really special person came up to me and tapped me on the shoulder and told me that her father's brain tumor just disappeared. It's completely gone.

I kissed her right on the face.

What else can you do?

Good things all around me.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Looking for Something Good

I feel like I just opened a really really good fortune cookie.

My aunt called with a message of peace and love for me.
She told me to look for something good this Christmas season.
She has a sense of something positive that is coming.
She's feeling good vibrations...

Now I am too.

There's a saying that goes, "You find what you're looking for."

So thanks to my aunt, I am making it my goal to spend this season...

Looking For Something Good.

Join me?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Last Santa

There comes a time in all of our lives, when we make that last visit to Santa.

I don't actually remember my last visit, but the year that I didn't go up to him is still vivid in my mind. I remember being in the department store, and being surprised by someone's suggestion that I go sit on Santa's lap. I remember a slow burn traveling up my cheeks as I wrestled with the truth of the matter...that in other's eyes I still seemed young enough for Santa....that I felt incredibly uncomfortable with this perception....but that secretly, deep down, I wished I were still brave enough to go up. I don't remember how old I was, but that startling knowledge - that through merely the passage of time, Santa had emerged one year as a stranger instead of a friend - left me unsteady, disgruntled.

Today we visited the mall ahead of the crowds and only twin boy eagerly said he'd like to visit Santa. But when we got there, he looked abashed...like a big boy in the nursery. We stood behind the fake trees, and twin girl joined us, uncertainly interested all of a sudden. A Santa's helper peered kindly through the trees and said, "Do you want to visit Santa? Come right in! Come on! You should come!"

So they trudged forward, feet dragging. Something pulled them forward, something pulled them back.
But they smiled politely and spoke their words of request with plastered smiles, with stiff necks.

We all laughed as we gathered up our things.
I said to the husband, "The Last Santa."
He agreed with a rueful smile.
Then all six of us walked away together, arms looped, smiles real again.

But leaving something behind.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

What is Good

So I am sitting on the couch with my bass, just holding it.
And it's all dark here and everyone is in bed.
And I'm listening to Richard Bona sing,
and his face looks like an angel.
And I think to myself,

"I want to be good inside.
So that whatever comes out of me

is beautiful."

Here is some Peace and Love.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Alarms and Things

Tonight I found five dollars in my shoe.

LOVE when that happens.

And this morning I realized
that when you're not used to setting a clock radio,
the sound level of the radio station at 6am
is way WAY louder than it seemed the night before when you set it.


Friday, November 14, 2008

We're All In This Together

There is an "I Voted" sticker stuck, face-up, to the bottom of the inside of my washing machine.
It's starting to get faded.

But I'm leaving it there for awhile.

I sense this wave of optimism in our country, from "both sides" - something that I don't remember feeling in a very long time.

I know that I am a naive and hopeful person, and tend towards the dreamy side, which is why I leave the worrying and the politics to the practical people most of the time.

When there is voting to be done, I read alot, look at things from as many sides as I can figure, and go with my gut.

Then I sort of...leave it in the hands of God and those more capable than me.

But this time I am loathe to let it go.
This time I voted, and I sat forward instead of sitting back.
I am, admittedly, naive and hopeful.
Honestly I really like this about myself.

Whoever we voted for, we are a part of the process, and a part of the results.
I'm trying to hang on to this feeling of newness and oneness we have as a country.
I don't want it to fade.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Weird Girl

Weird things happen to me.

Today, I was stung by a bee.

That's not so weird, but consider this:

I was standing in my bathroom, blow-drying my hair,
and suddenly a bee stung my blow-drying hand.

Who gets stung by a bee in their own bathroom?

And yet...
that bee had to figure out how to enter the house,
make its way upstairs into my bathroom,
and then fight its way past flying hair and gale-force winds
in order to sting me.

I give him some creds.

The Bee Who Lasted Until November.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cars and Me

This morning I got my arm caught in the steering wheel,
up to my elbow.

I actually veered onto the grass, and had to stop the car completely
before I could unwind the wheel and get my arm out of it.

And this was just while navigating the driveway.


Sunday, November 09, 2008


Does anybody remember Wrapples???

Take an apple....add a Wrapple....wrap the Wrapple round the apple, add a stick....

I want one.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Math Facts

Those timed tests are a real struggle for twin girl, just like they were for me.

So we got her some glitter glue pens, and she started working on making flashcards.

After about two were done, she discovered that if you fold the flash cards in half before the glue dries,
it makes a really cool pattern when you open it back up.

Can't figure out why those timed tests are so hard for this one, no siree....


Monday, November 03, 2008

To The Polls

Tonight the phone rang, and I answered it.
My mouth dropped open and my eyes got really big.
I started gesturing toward the phone with my eyebrows really high,
waving my hands to get the children's attention, pointing at the phone, and pretending to mouth words to them.
I put my hand over the mouthpiece and with great emphasis said,
"It's MITT ROMNEY!" they all gasped.
They started running around shrieking to each other while I shushed them and paced the floor,
phone pressed to my ear.
"Mom," one of them, breathless, rushed back up to me, ecstatic,
"Mom. WHO is Mitt Romney?!!!"
I waved them off pretending to listen intently.
Then I beckoned them to come, and with finger to my mouth,
in turn pressed the receiver to their ears.
They responded beautifully,
awed, reverent even...
and nodded importantly to each other.

The masses are easily impressed.


Friday, October 31, 2008


I commented on my cousin's blog just now and the word verification was:


I felt really bad typing it in,

like my computer thinks I'm a lawless degenerate and I'm confirming it.

Kind of has a friendly ring to it though, sort of like:

"Hey Perpie, you're a lawless degenerate, but, I like you."


Monday, October 27, 2008

Concentration Is Our Game

According to Gizmodo.com, a US company has developed a headset that reads your brainwaves. Oh joy.

Here's what the website says: "NeuroSky's prototype measures a person's baseline brain-wave activity, including signals that relate to concentration, relaxation and anxiety. So, if you're playing Tiger Woods PGA Tour and you lose concentration, you could find your shot buried in the rough if you fail to keep your Zen-like concentration." For more, read here.

I'm thinking that I could use one of these gadgets.
I'm not a gamer, but it could be said...
it could be argued...(possibly)
that I do lose concentration every once in a while.

I'm wondering, could a tool like this give me a little shock when I speak aloud my intentions but then immediately go in a different direction?

"I am going to do the laundry."
(Heading upstairs, away from the laundry) Zzzzt!
"I just need to get something first!"
Zzzzt! Zzzzt! ZZZZT!
"Okay, okay OKAY I will do the laundry and then
I will do that other really important thing that I was going to do instead."

It could work.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sleeping In

Woke up early this morning and read in the dark by myself.
I'm not someone who can usually fall back to sleep once I am up,
but today somehow found me curled up under a blanket again on the couch.
I hovered in a state of near-sleep until voices and little tremors of footsteps stirred some vague part of the house.
Whispered conversations near me, and shushes, and silence again.
I fell asleep then and dreamed vividly.
Waking, I found myself still alone.
It seems they had found me, and then gently left me to my sleep.
After 9 am now, and yet still gray and cold and early-ish outside and in.
What a beautifully slow way to begin a Sunday.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Neatness Counts

Looking over my calendar I realized how every January I start out with such high hopes.
Not in making any crazy resolutions, mind you, just hoping that this year I'll be able to keep my calendar nice and tidy.

But each month it gets steadily worse, until finally by around September it just degenerates into this:


Clean Phone

I lost my phone on Friday.
On Tuesday, I reached inside the dishwasher to empty it,
and there it was, lying in a pool of water under the heating coil.

I think of how it was all alone in there, buzzing hopefully every time we called it.
Its little screen filling with water, its battery corroding, its red light fading...
Eventually losing the will to live, sending all messages straight to voicemail.


Monday, October 20, 2008


On Saturday night I had this dream that I was driving in the car with girl twin and there was a tornado coming (one of her worst fears), and during the whole time I had this sense of control and calm and feeling like I knew exactly what to do. I turned off the road into this field and drove over the ground toward this low area. Then I got her out and we lay down flat, me partly on top of her, and I just kept telling her to keep her head down. The tornado went right over us, and we could feel the "eye" of it, and the little suction, but we were safe.

I told her about the dream on the way to the imaging center this morning for the scan, and what I thought it meant -- that this was something she was really afraid of, but that I was completely in charge and completely in control, and that I would take care of her through it, and that she would be safe with me and everything would be alright.

So on the way home, when we were both smiling with relief of the tears and the fear and the awfulness behind us, she says,

"Now what do you think you'll dream about, Mom?"

I said, "Well, I think I'll probably dream about the thing that you are most happy about and most looking forward to, like Christmas or something."

There was this long pause and then she said really quietly,

"Thank you."


Sunday, October 19, 2008

His Favorite Shirt

He wore this today,
and yesterday too.
I highly suspect that he slept in this outfit,
but I am not going to ask,
because I am way happier not knowing.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

In the Zone

I had dropped two of them off at the high school, and turned down Main.
Thinking about the day ahead.
Warm car-seat makin' me cozy.
Not driving too fast.
Careful near the elementary school, children could run out.
Leaves on the trees so autumn-ish.


Just easing down the street.
Looking forward to getting back home.

Two soft voices now enter my consciousness.

I spy little faces in the rearview mirror.
Kind, funny, forgiving little faces.

That's right, I have two more, don't I?
They were so quiet back there.
Drove past their school.

No matter. I'll turn around.

They say, "It's okay, mom."
And they grin at each other.

I think it is okay.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Product Placement

The best part about getting your hair cut is when they rub your head.

Last week, the stylist rubbed "clay" into my scalp in order to make my hair stand up at the root. (on purpose)

I wanted more clay.

"More clay?" I tried to ask, but I was drooling.

This I get from my mother. You just have to reach up and flick a speck of lint from her hair and her head drops forward, her shoulders hunch and she starts drooling. Then she nudges you with her elbow, the rest of her still slumped, and mumbles, "More". At that point you're stuck and have to rub her head, but it's all right, because she'll do it back.

Anyway, the worst part about getting your hair cut is when they make you feel guilty for not buying "Product". When you ask how much it costs, they are very, very vague. But then they're rubbing it into your head, and you feel all your muscles go slack, and you're swaying back and forth in the chair and your head nods and suddenly it seems that you've agreed to buy the stuff.

It just appears up there on the counter next to your Visa receipt.

So, I guess sometimes you take the good with the bad.


Monday, October 13, 2008


Twin girl has recently been barraged by requests by the boys in her classroom to become their girlfriend. (It's happening to all of 4th grade girls for some reason.)

At least she is sensible. She tells them matter-of-factly, "I'm not old enough, and I don't want to either." She is kind, though. One particularly disheartened youth sat staring sadly at his table, she recounted, after her refusal. Apparently a terrible rumor had circulated throughout the fourth grade that the reason she had not taken his offer was because she "thought he was disgusting." She promptly remedied this, by telling the poor boy this was most certainly not true, it was just that she was not allowed to and she only liked him as a friend.

Yesterday she told me with a sigh and a flip of her hair that she really believed the entire fourth grade was in love with her. She displayed the contents of her lap, presents from admirers, with a mixture of pride and exhaustion. The attention can be relentless.

Today, however, a shining star has risen to the top. Yesterday, his present was a peeper, a tiny white piece of paper folded into something like a bird mouth that opened and closed. It was lumped with the others. But today he had outdone himself. With a flamboyant arm flourish, she pulled it from behind her back and smiled triumphantly. A gape-mouthed Peeper of the grandest proportions.



Sunday, October 12, 2008


Sometimes we have ice cream for supper.


Friday, October 10, 2008


The twins were getting out their math facts flashcards.
I looked up over the book I was reading,
and mentally congratulated myself at raising these children
to be studious and diligent in their quest for math mastery.

The next time I looked up they had vanished from the room,
but had left me this:

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Twin boy explained from the back seat, while I was driving him to the grocery store, that he really likes playing with girls, and he doesn't think they are gross like the other boys do.

He said, "If one sits down next to me at lunch I just stay right there, I don't move away."

I said, "I'll bet that's because you have a twin who is a girl, so you're used to playing with somebody that's of a different sex."

Muffled snorts from behind me...

"Gender, Mom. It'd be better to say a different gender."

Monday, October 06, 2008


The imp popped up beside me.
He was bouncing up and down.

he says,
"I know what I want for Christmas."

Ah, October has arrived.

"What?" I say, prepared for something Lego or a video game, his usual fare.

"I want...

a white tuxedo."


He then went on to explain that if he got a white tuxedo,
he could wear it to weddings.

I'm thinking he could pull it off.

Before I could recover completely, though,
he added:

"And on Picture Day, I think that it would make my picture
a little bit jazzy."


Friday, October 03, 2008

The Universal Quandary

I'm trying to decide between losing a few pounds,
and just buying a new pair of jeans.

On Top Of It


It's Friday morning.
I love the days when I am on top of things.
So often I am just one step behind.
Today all three children went down to practice their instruments without being told.
They ate breakfast quietly, reading, as usual.
Girl twin sat at the counter reading, with a backpack on her back, all ready to go.
Nobody stayed too long in the shower.
Everyone remembered to brush their teeth.
Someone said, "Well, when are we going to go?"
I said, "We could go now if everyone's ready."
Footsteps coming from all over the house suddenly, and I high-fived everyone
as I held the door open for them to go past.
(Except for the teenager, I just checked his mouth for the retainer - IN!)
He had started the car, so it was nice and warm.
Just a leisurely drive to the school, no rounding the corners on two wheels.
Even dropped off library books on the way there. Imagine that.
Sat in the parking lot for a few minutes before they got out.
Had two quarters in my pocket for the twins. Popcorn Day.

What could be better than Popcorn Day when you didn't forget your quarter?

Yessir, on top of it.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Because a Bunk Bed Isn't Enough Fun

We heard distant shrieks, happening in waves - like the sound of rollercoaster people in the distance at the theme park.
I let it go on for a while and then went up to find the twins experimenting with the box-and-string method for transporting items up into the bunk bed. Sort of a pulley system without the pulleys.

Boy twin is now sleeping on the floor of his own room, with a homemade canopy above and his legos comfortably close by.
He has created his own space.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


The nine-year-old boy twin was nowhere to be seen at bedtime.

He usually sleeps on the floor between his sisters' beds in their room.
He's done that ever since we moved and gave him his own room.
He sleeps flat on the carpet, with absolutely nothing underneath him,
just a blanket on top, and somehow we've let him continue this because:

a) He says he's perfectly comfortable and
b) For five years now it seemed like it was going to be a temporary thing.

So I was surprised to find he wasn't in the girls' room
and I popped my head into his own darkened bedroom.

"Are you in here?" I asked the darkness.

Silence, and then:

"Indeed," the darkness answered back.

I rolled my eyes and went back downstairs.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

This Counts

It's all in the details, of course. And our details may be the most creative and artistic, or they may be humbly messy and lopsided. But either way, we understand that sometimes it is the very smallest thing that has the most value in the world of a child.

Like today.

Twin girl packed her purse before church, and then un-packed it for me to see.
She was delighted with herself because she had packed:
lens cleaner and soft cloth
a small flashlight
and a house key on a keychain.
As she re-packed it before getting into the car, she smiled and shrugged quietly, saying, "Well you never know."
She was prepared for anything.

And when we got back home, do you know that the door was locked?
(How did I know that it was gonna be locked...hmmm....)
We never lock the garage door, but there you go.
The teenager came back to the car looking put out, "It's locked!"
I heard a gasp from the back seat.
"Mom! Mommy! Wait! Wait! I have it---"
She was climbing over the seats and almost fell into my lap, breathless.
She pulled out her key and handed it to the teenager.

She smiled at me, eyes shining proud, oh what a smile.

See now, that counts.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


I went around turning off lights that had been left on today, flicking them absently.
I reached in and flicked off the bathroom light, and stepped out.
I stopped.
Stepped back in, flicked the light back on, and saw this:

I raised my eyebrows, flicked the light back off and went on about my day.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Okay so we have a new expression.
This is my serious attempt to get the following saying into circulation.
Go and spread the word:

"My itch is gettin' wiggy."

It happened tonight at the husband's store where a big Halloween kick-off event was going on...I took the children to see it all decked out, and before long they were donning costumes and walking around with buckets of candy to offer to customers.

So middle child walks up to me wearing a huge Hannah Montana hairdo that is going askew, and she says it:

"My itch is gettin' wiggy."

We looked at each other and burst out laughing. The teenager overheard and says in his newly deep voice, "My itch is definitely gettin' wiggy." He passes it on to boy twin who doubles over in laughter...

Later in the car we discuss the actual definition of this new, fine phrase and everybody takes turns trying it out aloud. It feels really good to say and it definitely describes a feeling of inner itch, whether you're wearing a wig or not.

You can say it when you've just had enough and you're ready to go home. You can say it when there's a tag bothering you and you just have to change clothes.
You can say it when your patience is wearing dangerously thin.
You can say it when you've abruptly changed your mind and the only reason you have is that niggling feeling inside that something isn't quite right.

My itch is gettin' wiggy I gotta go to bed.