Saturday, March 28, 2009


Sometimes I worry about Middle Child.
She is this beautiful, quiet, sensitive child -
smooshed right in between the Teenager and the Twins.
Talk about being invisible....

But last night I watched and listened in amazement as my invisible middle child
walked out on the stage and into the limelight, reminding me to pay close attention, 'cause she's growing up and finding her very visible place in this world.

She came home one day saying with a shrug and a smile that the lead role in the musical (the princess) was hers and that she had three solos, and that she was very happy about it.

The months following that, she spoke only a little of the preparations and there was not a single after-school rehearsal. We dug a "ball gown" out of grandma's dress-up box, and I scrubbed it with a magic marker to erase some stains...and sewed it up a little, but that was the extent of my involvement.

So last night I was surprised and delighted to find that my beautiful, quiet, sensitive child has an above-average (I'm just sayin') singing voice, wonderful comic timing and also, she can dance.


(Not too much singing in this video, just cuteness)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Punch Lines

He appears behind where I sit at the computer
and says with wide dare-you-to-believe-me eyes,

Colton is SO AWESOME."

"He can put 37 grapes in his mouth at one time!"

He observes my jaw-drop with satisfaction, puts his cereal bowl in the dishwasher,
and leaves me to turn back to my typing,
wondering at the post-fodder that so often just drops neatly into my lap.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Not Worth The Energy

Ever since the remote was broken
the people in this house have been watching considerably less television.

Apparently getting up off of the couch to change channels is prohibitive.

Is it troubling or happy news when one realizes
that one has finally grown too lazy

to even watch TV?


Friday, March 20, 2009

Lovin' It

I had a coupon.

So today, like we do about twice a year, I took the twins to the usually-outlawed fast food place
for some BOGO breakfast sandwiches and a Mocha for me.

I took the twins because you could only have one coupon per person per visit
and we were buying for the whole family.

I explained on the way there that they would each have a coupon,
and they would have to go in and buy something all by themselves.
There was much whispering in the backseat as we pulled into the drive-through.

I was collecting my change at the first window when I noticed that they had flattened themselves on to the backseat where they lay motionless
until we pulled up to the second window,
and then there were some shrieks and loud whispers to, "Duck back down!".

Apparently this was a high stakes mission and they were very serious about not messing it up.

I pulled into a parking space and handed them coupons and money.
They kept telling each other their order aloud to make sure that they would say the right thing.
Then they ran in.

Back they came, breathless, each with a bag and change.
"Mom!" they said, interrupting each other to tell me how they felt like grown-ups ordering something all by themselves, and how twin boy went first,
and then he realized that he should act like he didn't know twin girl,
but he didn't want to leave without her when he was done ordering,
so after he got his food he just
"shuffled around and looked at stuff until she was through."

I asked why and he said, "So they wouldn't get suspicious."

Twin girl said she let her brother go first so that she wouldn't have to say anything except,
"I'll have the same thing as him."

Yes, I'm fairly sure we put one over on them.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Short Wave

My head is always full of thinking.
It's not particularly brilliant thinking,
it's just....thinking.


Sometimes the things that swirl around in my head become overwhelming
and I can no longer determine priorities for them.
Odd things can rush to the forefront of my thinking,
blocking out the most pressing, important thoughts and, I think, relieving me of them.

So last week I studied for my ham radio license,
went down to the Red Cross and took the test for fifteen bucks,
and afterward they shook my hand and welcomed me aboard.

I still don't know exactly why I did it,
except that I needed to do something measurable,

I think I needed to do something that would connect me with other strange people,
and with outer space at the same time.



Saturday, March 07, 2009

Mission Accomplished

I am up late, just riding the high of having hosted an awesome party at my house tonight,
the kind where people stay after the party's over
just because they're having a good time.

True things from tonight that either made me smile or laugh:

* Several people asked me if I have a bathroom.

* A little girl who I didn't know came up to me and said, "I'm bored."

* I held a beautiful, newborn baby who cried but I rocked him to sleep.

* I got a knife stuck in my frozen dessert and couldn't get it out so I had to just leave it on the counter with the knife sticking out of it like it had been attacked, until it thawed.

* It was a baby shower, but a man in jeans, flannel shirt and a baseball cap arrived,
and I still don't know who he is but he was really nice and helped move cars, so I was glad he came.

* Somebody who was supposed to be here at 5:30 got really really lost and didn't arrive
until after 7. We would have saved her some cake, but she had it with her.

* And...

somebody's hair caught on fire.

I'm totally serious.

You know, I don't think a party really gets going until somebody's hair catches fire.

Don't you think?


Friday, March 06, 2009

The Paranormal

I have always felt a bit unnatural in the kitchen, but tonight even more so.

I'm making a Peanut Butter Pie -
and the recipe calls for me to do this thing
where I am supposed to open a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup,
peel off the little brown paper and then

not eat it.



Last night, went for a walk with the dog down to the end of our country road and back.
Getting dark, the few streetlights flicked on, with long stretches of night in between.
I balanced-beamed the edge of the road, holding the long leash high in one hand, teetering.

Found a miniature soggy Elmo in the street, picked him up and sat him facing
the Pressel boys' house, where I figured he came from.
All those little boys careen daily around their driveway whatever the weather,
in their Big Wheels, and on roller blades, whacking plastic balls with plastic bats everywhere and nowhere in particular. I love the mess of little boys, and picture their mom pushing them out to burn off that crazy boy-energy every afternoon. Now Elmo is waiting patiently for them to come out today.

Smelled a bon-fire, oh joy! Somebody beckoning Spring in the backyard. And a different, sawdust smell (not as sweet), from a tree chopped down near the Baptist pastor's house. Their golden retriever bounded out to meet us and I said aloud, "Here comes trouble," but he was just out to sniff. The hair down the middle of Buddy's back stood up straight, he froze, tense and alert, but didn't bark until the bigger dog bounded away again.

I like it that he really only barks when the danger is far away. Up close, he is terrified of course.

Skipped. Balanced-beamed a little more.

Passed the sign that says, "Children playing" and looked all around but the children were in for the night I guess.

Coming up to the house with two big dogs, we're both always nervous. They bark ferociously and bounce, bounce, bounce until their haunches are just as high as the fence. So far they only jump vertically, and haven't thought of backing up to take a run at the fence. When they do, we're goners because I'm sure they can clear it with enough forward momentum. Facing straight ahead we march with stiff limbs, eyeing friendly doors and low limbs just in case. Safely by, we relax and now there are no more houses.

Just a field on the left, and a marsh on the right and the dog zig-zags to get the best of both smells. Zing! He's off and I stop the leash in time for his long body to whiplash around, and then he turns to strain toward his target. It's a possum, sitting two feet from the road, just a little behind us. Frozen. He barks, barks, barks and I reel him in gently, crooning. Soon as he backs off the possum saunters down to his hole.

I laugh and persuade my tiny fierce hunting dog away, toward the next streetlight, toward the little line in the road that we touch and then turn around to head back. I always imagine this confuses the dog. Because we walk all that way and never really arrive anywhere. Maybe I should stop and point to something or stand still for a few moments. "We have arrived here, and now we are going to go back there." That should be enough for him.

All the way back I felt the wind, cool on my face, through my hair, blessing me. Spring, and walks, and smells, the animals, the life - it is coming, I can feel it.


Thursday, March 05, 2009


I find it hard to deal with crumbs.

Dirt and grease, no problem.
Scuff marks, syrup blobs, peanut butter smears--I know what to do.
But crumbs just irk me.

You can't really catch up with crumbs.
You....corral them.
You chase them around on the counter with a wet washcloth,
finally u-shaping it so that they are surrounded,
and then do your best to pick them up.
But crumbs....cannot be grasped.


Anyway, stroke of genius today - I have discovered that crumbs can be
sucked up!

My canister vac with hose attachment hoovered them from
the stovetop, the toaster-area, the tiny drawer under the oven,
the edge where they gather around the lazy susan
and joy of joys, the silverware trays.

As an intelligent, educated woman, I am proud to announce that
I was thrilled at the prospect of conquering crumbs today.
This has nothing to do with education, economic status or domestic acuity -

this is just the pure pleasure of making little tiny, annoying, pervasive
things that are bugging me



Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Sneezing With Consequences

Walking back to the parking lot after the basketball game,
the husband and I led the way with children trailing.

Suddenly we heard twin boy sneeze
and saw his glasses skid onto the sidewalk in front of us.
We laughed so hard, but it got me to thinking.

I was watching this info-mercial on Bumpits recently.
They're these little plastic hair inserts that you stick on top of your head
and comb hair over to give
"natural volume and lift to otherwise drab hair".

I checked out my otherwise drab hair in the mirror
and realized with certainty that if I were to wear one of those babies out to dinner,
there is no doubt in my mind that before the evening was over I would sneeze
and a Bump-it would land on my salad plate.


Sunday, March 01, 2009

At Breslin Center

This song was being played by the band when twin girl and I descended all of those steps down to the main floor of the Breslin Center. And I know it's a little corny, but all of a sudden, listening to "Gonna Fly Now", I had this heart-rending moment - this good heart-rending moment - of realization that twin girl had survived, and I with her, and today was a day for celebration.

The Michigan Children's Health-Care Initiative along with the MSU Pediatric Subspecialty Unit at Sparrow Hospital has teamed up with the Michigan State University Women's Basketball Team for a program called, "Kids Of Inspiration". Children are nominated by nurses at Sparrow, and if chosen, get to attend a game at Breslin Center, sit on the main floor right behind the team, and be named, "Junior Coach" for the day.

Today was twin-girl's turn.

Almost exactly two years ago, she had acute appendicitis and was rushed into emergency surgery to remove a huge, inflamed appendix. Two days into the hospital stay, we were devastated with the news that her appendix had contained a cancerous tumor. We listened to possible futures for her -- having another operation to cut out part of her intestine, undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation, etc. For days we lived with our hearts in our shoes.

Soon we learned that the cancer was confined to her appendix, and the only follow-up care she would need, would be regular CTscans and blood draws over the next five years. Thankfulness doesn't even begin to describe how we felt.

That's her story in a nutshell.

Except that, minor though her trauma was, twin girl deals daily with the fear of any one of us getting sick. She is afraid of tornadoes and bees. She is afraid of accidents and fires. Stomach-aches plague her when the worries get too big. She is a happy, healthy child...but sensitive, and the whole experience has left a deep imprint of the transiency of life on her little soul.

So today, walking down those steps, my eyes brimming with tears, I watched her glowing face and I felt a thankfulness for this little, yet really big day for her. She deserves it. Every child who has had some hurt, big or small, deserves a day where somebody turns to her and says, "You are special."

In fact, they announced it over the loudspeaker, and zoomed in on twin girl so the whole crowd could see her up on the big screen.

After the game, we were escorted "down the chute" to the locker room. Opening one set of doors, twin girl was greeted by Suzy Merchant who shook her hand and directed us through another set of doors, where the entire team was waiting and erupted into a huge cheer, just for twin girl, as soon as we opened the door. They whooped it up and posed for pictures. She just grinned.

Even the teenager was pulled in for a group picture, quickly followed by a huge group hug that senior (and very special person) Mia Johnson demanded. (plus one additional special child that missed her day with the Spartans the week before)

To see that face, all lit up, because today was her Special Day,
has made me a true Spartan fan. They did it for her.
And I really, really appreciate it.
Go Green!