Monday, December 06, 2010


I stood in the glare of the kitchen light
with my eyes squinted, hands reaching for coffee when
Middle Child intercepted me.


I stood mute, in a pre-coffee haze, recognizing the tone of measured
trying-not-to-panic-we-have-to-leave-in-ten-minutes pace of her words.

"The dance team is doing our routine at lunch today and I looked
everywhere but I can't find my black shirt so I was wondering if I could
look in your room to see if you have one?"

I nod and move instead to the basement stairs, to begin the sift
through clean and dirty clothes in search of the black shirt.
I find it in the wash, transfer it to the dryer and lug clean clothes
back up to the main floor.

In the meantime I've found a mess left down there and send the twins
down to please pick it up before they leave for school.

The Teenager darts out the door to start his car and
the Husband declares that he is working in Grand Rapids today,
except that they have
"a foot of snow and are expecting a foot more".

I blink at this news and watch him help himself to an out-the-door cup
of coffee.

I say please drive carefully, but I'm thinking
please save me a cup of that coffee,

when Twin Boy emerges from the basement arguing with Twin Girl
only to stop short and stare at me with an awful look.

"My food."

I am still holding the basket of clean laundry, and glance at the clock,

"What did you forget?"

He is doing a report on Nicaragua today, and he completely forgot that
he was supposed to bring some sort of visual aid,
and had told all his friends that he was going to bring some traditional
Nicaraguan food for them to taste.

He looks like he is going to cry.

Twin Girl steps into the conversation and says,

"Oh yeah I have to bring something from Guatemala."

I am frozen, digesting the dilemma and the 3 minutes we have to work with
when the Teenager dashes through the kitchen again and says,

"Enchilada sauce."

I dart to the cupboard to find an old cool whip container
and tell Twin Boy to grab the can opener.

"Why do we have to pour it in there?" he says,
rummaging through the wrong drawer,

"So it looks homemade," I say,
reaching into the lazy susan for a can and
over his shoulder for the can opener
from in front of his sightless eyes.

Twin Girl sighs and says,

"I guess I'll just bring a soccer ball."

I nod, thankful, and send Twin Boy to the pantry
to find a sleeve of soda crackers.

"Pass around the sauce," I say,
emptying the can into the container,
"and give each person a Saltine,
and have them dip it in and taste it."

"What if it's too hot?" he says.

I look at the can and snap the lid in place.

"It's not hot."

I put everything into a plastic grocery bag
and hand it to him.
He stands there, grateful.

"You have bare feet," I say.

He looks down and then makes a dash for his bedroom.

"Brush your teeth!" I call up after him.
"Everyone's in the car!" I yell up again.
"What is taking so long?"

He darts down again, grabs the bag from me,
slips on his shoes in the garage,
mashing down the heels, and calls back,

"Thanks mom!"

I close the garage door and go out on the front porch
to plug in Christmas lights so they can see them on their
way down the drive.

When I come back in, somebody is pounding on the garage door.
The Teenager mumbles something when I open it
as he pushes past me to grab his backpack.

Finally the door slams again and I go to the front door to see them go.

They are grinning from the car at the lights and I wave back absently,
noting the beginnings of a snow shower,
and the fact that they will make it to school before it gets really bad,
and wondering if the kids will know or care that it is Old El Paso
enchilada sauce and that Twin Girl's visual aid is just an old soccer ball,
and whether I will ever see my black t shirt again,
and if there really is a foot of snow in Grand Rapids today.

I come back in and the silence feels temporary.
But I wait a minute and it stays.

I breathe,
and pour a cup of coffee.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

You're In Good Hands

I was helping Twin Boy with his winter coat
because the zipper had split,
understandable since he is the third child to wear it.

But it's a really good winter coat
and the manufacturers of this particular brand
are great about customer service issues.

I told him,

"Don't worry, if this zipper is broken,
they'll send us a whole new coat!"

He looked down at it with new appreciation,
eleven-year-old wheels turning,

"Is this coat insured?"


Friday, November 12, 2010


I am making soup.

And just now the recipe called for 2 quarts of chicken broth,
but the can I bought was only 49.5 oz.

So I measured out one quart and poured it into the soup pot.
I poured the rest of the broth into the measuring cup
but of course it wasn't enough.

Then I found a leftover box of chicken broth in the refrigerator
and I poured all of that into the measuring cup
every last drop
and it came up exactly to the 1 quart line.

I think this bodes very well for my day.


Monday, November 01, 2010

This morning I have a stiff neck because over the weekend I drove into a ditch.


I was parking in the dark at my sister's house,
where I was leaving our car,
so I could attend the surprise party for my brother two doors down.

There was a car in the driveway already
but it looked like I could fit next to it,
so I pulled up and


my right wheel went down into the drainage ditch
next to the driveway.

It was sort of covered in leaves so I thought it was just earth
not a ditch.

Things like this don't trouble me too much.
We were all surprised but nobody was hurt,
so I laughed and said something dumb like,

"I just drove into a hole!
And now I'm gonna do it again!"

But see I didn't mean to do it again.

I meant to back out in a better way than I had pulled in,
but I didn't,
so I did do it again
and there was a harsh grating of metal
as my wheel went back down into the ditch
and the bottom of the car met the asphalt driveway.

It was sort of jarring, too, hence the stiff neck.

The first time I laughed,
the second time I smiled a fake smile
with lots of teeth and apologetic eyes
at the Husband who just blew out a bunch of air
that he had been saving for this moment apparently.

The kids were thrilled, as usual,
and sprinted ahead of us
two doors down to tell the gathered family
that I drove into a ditch.

I assumed a solemn face
and walked to the house quietly,
keeping my aggravating optimism
to myself.


Thursday, October 28, 2010


I wrote this a couple of weeks ago but didn't get to post this until just this morning,
and re-reading it, I re-lived it,
and it turned out just as I hoped it would:

We picked up his tux last night and he tried it on, and he is so dashing,
so very dashing.
He looks so good in black.

At 4:30 he will stand with the court and have pictures taken,
at 5:30 he will ride in a convertible down Grand River to the school.

We will tailgate and buy cheesy potatoes and carmel apples from the cheerleaders and the FFA down by the football field,
and they will judge the floats,
and our lousy football team will beat whatever lousy team they've matched us up with on this day, because you always win at Homecoming.
And the stands will be packed with old people and kids who graduated last year,
and we will shiver and drink out of our thermoses and sing, "Hail to Webberville!" and stand up when the band plays it, clapping to the beat and yelling, "Hey!" at the end,
all in unison with our fists to the sky.

And afterwards, the cars will circle the track and the court will be introduced,
ending with the four senior couples, and they will slowly and tediously read the bios for each one over the loudspeaker, as the boys escort the shivering girls to their places.

And the whole time I will not quite be able to take it all in,
I will be kept from seeing the big picture,
because for me, all I will see is him.
All night long, I will know where he is, over by concessions, down by the gate,
up at the top of the stands, I will just know it by my sixth sense.
And I will look at the other mothers, so relaxed, as if this happens every day, and I will think to myself, "Can't you see that my son is the best of them all? Can't you see how handsome he is, how beautiful, how he outshines every other one?"

I can remember like it was yesterday, holding him in the back of the church,
with his head on my shoulder,
glad that he fussed so I could stand back there,
so I could have an excuse to focus just on him,
feeling my place as his mother so keenly,
and enjoying it so completely.

I can remember the rush of feeling in my chest when I kissed his little lips,
like falling in love,
and how he was so utterly and completely mine when he could fit in my arms.

And now I am bawling here all by myself.

But I want to feel it,
I want to think about it,
because this feeling of seeing him bloom,
beginning to let him go,
is just as powerful a joy, although painful,
as when I was his possessor.

Does that make sense?

My heart is just so full I can't stand it.

It was his first dance, Homecoming Dance of his senior year, and it was Middle Child's first dance too, as a freshman, and she fit right in to the house full of senior kids getting ready around her.

So many endings and beginnings.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday morning

I am up early drinking the first cup of coffee
and delaying getting ready for church.

I just set my library copy of The Glass Castle on
the end table I searched for and bought at a garage sale.
It is scuffed but made from good wood and just the right shape.
It has a drawer that sort falls open because the
sliding mechanism is broken but I don't mind,
I just keep it closed.
Now I have a place next to my chair for a lamp
and to pile my books.

It is dark and the house is quiet,
and I just finished the book.
I was up late reading it, but I didn't want to finish.
Whenever I finish a very good book at night,
I can't get to sleep afterward.

So I left the very ending for this morning
and woke up early to read it.
Now it will speak to me for some days
unless I jump right into another good book,
which I am likely to do.
But if I can, I like to let it settle.

And this morning I am living dangerously,
because last week I left myself only
fifteen minutes to get ready,
and I made it.

Now, no matter how many warnings
I give myself,
somewhere deep inside I will know that I can make it
in fifteen minutes.

This is dangerous knowledge for my

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cheers II

Hundreds of shrieking girls fill the hot, overcrowded gymnasium
where parents and aunts and uncles and siblings have spent the last
four hours of their lives,
subsisting on lukewarm pizza wrapped in tinfoil,
coffee, popcorn
and overpriced soda, can by can.

They are waiting for the judges to announce whether they will receive
a gold, a silver or a bronze for their months of hard work.
They've donned blindingly white tennis shoes
and pulled their hair back so tightly into ponytails
that their eyes water.
It's a good thing that they don't allow a stitch of eye makeup.

All of those coordinated hair ribbons are bouncing to the beat
of the Electric Slide and even though I have my head in my hands,
elbows on knees, ears plugged and eyes closed,
I can still appreciate their simple joy.

Of a job well done,
of hard work about to be rewarded,
of beautiful youth and the boundless energy that comes with it.

So I smile and watch her ponytail bounce,
her scrubbed face flushed with pride and silliness and happiness
for this, her moment.

I am glad she is so healthy and strong.

And so I cheer,
something I never pictured myself doing,
cheering for my cheerleader,
I yell,

"Blue! Gold! White!
Blue! Gold! White!"

and all of us,
the Husband,
the Teenager,
the Middle Child
and Twin Boy
and me


Sunday, October 03, 2010


Today we were in a new church,
and at the end of the service
they served communion,

and I was closing my eyes in prayer
before drinking of the blood of Christ,
when I peeked at the twins

just in time to see them cheerfully clink their cups together
in a silent toast
to an understanding Jesus.


Saturday, September 25, 2010


I have two students on Saturday mornings.
A 10:30, and an 11.

And some mornings when I am in my pajamas at 10,
thinking about splashing some water on my face
and heading down to the studio to make a little plan,
I wish for a nice relaxing slow morning instead of lessons.

This morning, wish granted, both cancelled.

So here I am with a second cup of coffee.

And that's how my world seems to work itself out
because today was going to be a very busy day.

Middle child in the parade at 2,
tractor pull downtown all afternoon,
(a place to see and be seen of course)
working the front gate at the rec league football game
for my cheerleader at 4:30,
evening Ox burgers and dollar rootbeer floats
at the Fireman's Field Days gathering
down by the fire station.

Okay now that I've written it all out,
it doesn't seem so hectic,
in fact it sounds like a really homey, country way
to spend a Saturday.

mmmm, coffee.


Friday, September 24, 2010


I am wearing the most hideous thing imaginable.
It's a lime green tight jogging shirt with
lime green jogging shorts that don't quite match the shirt.

I can't explain its hideousness,
it's sort of like the pants come up a little too high,
and are a little too poofy,
and the top is a little too tightish and just not quite
the right shape.

And the top has to be tucked into the pants
because the shirt is too tight
and the shorts are too poofy.

All this to say,
I do not like these clothes,
and I am going to put them in the Goodwill bag,
but usually before I do that,
I like to wear the rejected clothing
one more time.

As if they know they are not wanted,
but I need them to know that no matter how repulsive
they are to me at this moment,
I still appreciate them.

And I do.

And I hope nobody drops over today.

The end.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Moon Train

Ooooooh, catch the Moon Train,
catch the Moon Train.

Ooooooh, catch the Moon Train,
catch the Moon Train.

All aboard, passengers,
we will take you through the night.

Never fear, when you're here
You will travel soft and light.

Oooooh, catch the Moon train,
catch the Moon Train.

Travelin' girl,
busy days,
got a lot of things to do.

Never slow, but maybe you'll,
ride us for a mile or two.

Ooooooh, catch the Moon Train,
catch the Moon Train.

Whistle blows,
then you'll know,
soon we'll see the morning light.

Engineer says,
"All is clear!"
Hope you had a beautiful night.

Ooooooh, catch the Moon Train,
catch the Moon Train.

Ooooooh, catch the Moon Train,
catch the Moon Train,



Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I was walking with the Teenager and then I sent him on home
and I took a detour
by of all things the lagoon system
because it's surrounded by lots of grass
and the Kalamink woods
and because the maintenance guy who always waves to me
from his mower, on my walks,
cuts a clean path through the brush,
right up to the creek.

It's a circular path, and nobody walks on it,
so sometimes I imagine he made it for me
and hopes I will walk there,
and see some beauty that is otherwise hidden by the scrub.

So I climbed a tree by the creek and put my head back
against the big limb that angled up behind me,
and I watched the geese fly south.

They formed an imperfect V,
and there were stragglers
and loud ones and quiet ones
and they kept coming
group after group.

And once I saw a lone geese calling
frantically, headed north,
and I thought,
he is late,
maybe he got preoccupied by some beauty
and now has to catch up.

I think that
the wrong direction
right then, for him,
was the right direction.

It made me feel good.
And then I went back home.


Sunday, September 19, 2010


I heard singing.

So I looked around the corner in the basement
and they were singing together.

The Teenager and his sister,
Middle Child,
laughing and singing softly
all the words to some pop song
that I didn't know.

They are enjoying each other,
and it makes my heart glad.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010


She walks in with a long string of plastic pearls double wrapped around her neck.

"I like your necklace!" I say.

"If I wrapped them three times around I would be choked!!" she answers.

She is six years old, my student returning from a summer off.

"I missed you so much," she says, "I haven't seen you in a WEEK!"

We sit down to play at the piano, side by side,
our eyes closed, hands on the keyboard.

"Now just play whatever notes your fingers fall on, and just listen
to what comes out," I say,

"Don't worry about what it sounds like, just listen.
Some things you will like, and some things you will not like."

"I don't like bees," she whispers, eyes screwed shut in concentration,

"or mosquitoes."

"Me neither," I whisper back as we play.

"And I left myself on the bus," she says, opening her eyes and dropping her hands.

I do the same and look at her.

"What happened?"

"I didn't get off at my stop," she explains,

"I blame my brother."

"That's what I would do," I say.

Later she is sounding out words in her workbook.

"It's Wolfgang," I say helpfully when she gets stuck.

"Hahahaha!" she laughs, "What is that?"

"That's Mozart's first name!" I say.

"Oh," she says,

"What is his last name?"


Sunday, September 12, 2010


First weekend of football almost over.
And I'm getting creamed.

Flacco and Jamaal Charles to watch tomorrow night,
it's not gonna be enough.

Really? Pro football?

I don't even know who I am anymore.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Cool Thing

My Florida cousin, Kelle, appears in this month's issue of Parents magazine
and I can't tell you which page because I left my copy at a dinner party last night
where I took it to show all of my friends.

But this is what the magazine looks like:

And she posts about it on her blog here.

I love reading her blog.
When there is a new post it's like getting a present.


Thursday, September 09, 2010


My cousin over on Go Green challenged readers to contribute to these surveys. Choose a question and give me your best answer!

What's a video you'd recommend for staying in on a cold, rainy, fall night?

There's a video I saw a long time ago that I'd like to see again, it's called, "Finding Neverland". I remember at the end during the credits there was this really pretty piano piece, and I want to hear it again.

What's a song you listen to when you want to get pumped up?

Beat It, Michael Jackson

What's a book you've read over and over?

I'd have to say, "Little Women", I really love that book.

Where do you go in the fall for a little day trip?

BEST MAZE of course! It's a corn maze right here where we live. They have a super scary one and then a regular one for wimps like me.

What's your best easy recipe?

Every once in awhile we have "Nachos Italiano", which is a recipe we copied from this cool place we used to visit when we lived in Florida. It was a movie theatre with little round tables and soft swivel chairs. During the previews and during the first few minutes of the movie, waitresses snuck around in the dark and took your food orders. So you could eat dinner and watch a movie at the same time!

Nachos Italiano

Tortilla Chips
Pizza sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Aluminum Foil

Cover a cookie sheet with foil.
Spread with chips
Dollop chips with pizza sauce and pepperoni.
Sprinkle plenty of shredded cheese over the top.
Broil in oven just until cheese melts and starts to bubble.
Put the tray on the table and everybody just dive in
immediately before it cools!

What website do you visit just for fun?

Recently I've been visiting for their daily deal.
The descriptions are funny, and the deals can be really good!


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

All By Myself

Today the Husband said a funny thing happened.
He thinks I accidentally called him from my cell phone,
because when he answered all he heard was me
having a conversation with somebody about Canada.

I must have sat on my cell phone weirdly,
but it was just me in the car alone,
practicing my Australian accent.

"So you were talking to yourself about Canada, with an Australian accent?"

"Yes," I said.

It's really disappointing to have to explain yourself like this all the time.


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

First Day 2010

The Teenager (Senior)

Middle Child (Freshman)

Twin Girl (6th grade)

Twin Boy (6th Grade)

Every "first day" since Kindergarten, we have walked them to school.
It gave us time to talk and calm the jitters,
time to see them to the door with one last hug.

This year they all went off without us.
They are really growing up.


Monday, September 06, 2010

Best Kids Ever

This weekend I had an incredibly busy schedule,
and the Husband was working.

It was also the weekend of the first game for Twin Girl.
She cheers her heart out, and a parent always attends,
sitting through two long hours of rec league football,
stale nachos and lukewarm coffee,
because we love her.

I didn't make a big deal out of the fact that we'd both miss her first game.
The children would be alone all day, and I just matter-of-factly went over
the schedule with her -
what time she would hop on her bike,
to remember to take her water,
to lay out her uniform the night before,
and to not talk to strangers of course.

She's eleven years old, and the school is only a mile away,
an easy bike ride, and I wasn't worried
but I did have a twinge of guilt about missing the game.

Anyway, later that afternoon I called from out of town
to check on them and got a breathless Middle Child on the phone.

"Twin Boy and I just got back from the game," she said.

I was surprised, "You went to her game?"

"Well, yeah, we wanted her to have somebody in the stands. It was so cold
though, so we walked back home after half-time. The Teenager is still there."

I said, "Where did you get the money to get in?"

"Oh yeah," she said, "I took my own money because I was going to buy us all snacks,
but then when I got up there I remembered we had to pay to get in."

"So no snacks?" I said, "and you used your own money?"

"Yeah," she said, "that's alright."

Later I talked with the Teenager, because Saturday was cold,
and I couldn't imagine him voluntarily giving up his warm spot on the couch
to go sit for two hours on the hard bleachers,
with no other teenagers in sight,
only a bunch of little kids bumping into each other on the football field.

I said, "Did Daddy tell you you had to go?"

He said, "No, I just thought someone should go with her. I sent the other kids home after half-time. It was really long."

I sat there with tears in my eyes, holding the phone.
He rode his bike up with her a half hour before the game, stayed with her the whole time
and then rode her home afterwards.

My kids,
little Boxcar Children for a day,
supporting their sister and taking care of her when we couldn't.

They love each other.

It makes me so happy.


Saturday, September 04, 2010

Lap of Lux

I am sleeping at my parents' house tonight.
Busy, busy weekend, with performance last night,
memorial service this morning, wedding rehearsal this afternoon
and a wedding tomorrow.

My parents are "local" to the events so here I am and I must say
it is always good to be home.

When I got here, my parents weren't back yet
but I found a tupperware of homemade oatmeal raisin cookies on the counter.
I ate four.

My mom made my supper, but I wouldn't let her cook me up something fresh.
I said I wanted the mysterious thing in the pyrex dish in the fridge.
All I knew is that it was a leftover of my mom's cooking.
It had chicken and cheese and stuff in it.

She grudgingly warmed it up for me
but kept asking what else I wanted to go with it.
What did I want to drink?
Do I want chips?
(heck, YEAH!)
"Let me get you dessert!"

Was my life really like this when I was a child?
If so, when did I lose my mind, grow up and leave this luxurious place?

Later I plan on getting stung by a bee.


Thursday, September 02, 2010

I Knew This Day Would Come

I was trying to post every day for 30 days,
but if there's one thing I know about myself it's that if I ever say
"every" when it comes to a resolution,
you can be sure I will break it as soon as possible.

I'm not an "every" kind of person.

I'm not even an "every other" kind of person.

I'm more like a
sort of person.

And last night my band played a song that I wrote.
And I'm really excited about it.

And I think that if I were the kind of person who could post every single
day for a month without missing, ever,
or if I were the kind of person who always turned her library books in on time,
or the kind of person who didn't forget appointments
or rush around being late to everything,
then maybe I wouldn't be the kind of person who could write a song.

That's completely not true, the song would probably be way more awesome -

but it's the kind of thing I tell myself when,
as happened just two minutes ago,
I leave the sprinkler on overnight

and realize it only while gazing out at the yard the next day,
spying it sprinkling there to and fro, to and fro,
steadfast and sure,
beneath the drizzly gray skies of a morning rainstorm.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Can I Live At Grandma's?

She got stung by a bee at Grandma's house.

It was her worse fear, next to tornadoes.

I know Grandma and Grandpa felt bad,
as if maybe they could have prevented it.
But they couldn't, it was just bound to happen sometime.

And I'm pretty sure they did everything they could
to treat the injury.

For example:

They googled bee stings,
they put ice on it,
they put an onion on it,
they put meat tenderizer on it,
they gave her a baking soda bath,
they gave her Benadryl,
they gave her ice cream,
they helped her limp downstairs to the big screen tv,
they gave her a pillow and a blanket,
they checked on her in the night to be sure she was still breathing,
and then her cousins down the street
gave her crutches.

They gave her money even though her job was interrupted by the bee,
and called it "worker's compensation".

But she is home now,
and she is no longer on disability.

She had to clean the bathroom for no money at all.

I am an ogre.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Big Barn Jazz

Last Sunday a band I'm in played at the Big Barn Jazz series,
which is basically a bunch of couches in the basement of this big barn
where people come and play jazz once a month,
and other people pay ten bucks to come hear it.

It was fun because the singer who we opened for, Sunny Wilkinson,
had a huge crowd.

She was really super nice,
the piano player (her husband) was so good,
and their cool bass player called me, "girl,"
which made me feel very hip.

That's me the third from the left in the pink shirt,
along with my band, iZwicky.
Sunny is tall and blond and her husband/pianist
is right next to her.

At the last minute iZwicky asked me to talk,
so I did most of the talking between songs
and introduced our band.

I pretended I was somebody who does stuff like that
all the time. :-)


Sunday, August 29, 2010


Twin Girl is working very hard, doing odd jobs for anyone who will take her,
trying to save up enough money for an iPod Touch.

So I told her that she could straighten the bookshelf and I would pay her.

I told her that my two shelves were already done, so to leave them be.
I told her that all she really needed to do was to look through the books for any
that we might want to get rid of, and put them in a pile for me to check over.
I told her to straighten up the rest.

Now this is the girl who is so much like me.

Instead of taking 15 minutes to do a quick straighten,
she pulled every single book off of every single shelf,
including my shelves,
and put them in a huge pile in the center of the room and then left
and forgot about the whole thing.

Later she put them all back on the shelves,
this time in alphabetical order,
not by author but by book title.

We have Magic Treehouse books mixed in with
Annie Dillard and Mark Twain.

It took her hours.

But she was pleased and I paid her,
acknowledging the genetic footprint I have left behind.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Weird and Happy

Today at Walmart the grocery cart guy was standing near my car,
grinning and basking in the sun and he said,

"I'll take your cart for you!"

I said, "hey thanks!"

Then he said, in his thick Mexican accent,

"Glory Hallelujah, Jesus Christ, dju are wonderful!!"

haha. It was such a weird and nice thing to say.

I don't know if he was talking to me or to Jesus!

Either way he seemed really happy.

Stuff like that can make my day. :-)


Friday, August 27, 2010

Space Laundry

Well now I am officially a geek because I watched a
video of Ken Bowersox doing his laundry in space.

And I thought it was cool.

Where do astronauts get water?

What's it like to sleep on a space station?

How do you take a shower and use the restroom in space?

These are questions that plague me and keep me up nights.

I found the answers here.

Brushing off my ham radio license to listen in on the astronauts conversations.

I realize that this is either

a) creepy
b) geeky
c) super cool


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cool Space

Just saw the International Space Station pass over.

We stared with mouths open and quiet oohs and ahhs for a minute
and then,
as if we all had the idea at the same,
we jumped up and down waving and hollering.

Silly. :-)

If you want to see it in your area, look here.

Lansing friends, don't miss it tomorrow night at 8:50pm!!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010


It's my ya-ya nickname.

I got my name because I'm always making up songs.

Mostly little things like lullabyes and half-thought out melodies.

For the past two days though I've been finishing up a real song,
and it's been hard and life has been a blur.

I feel like when my children talk with me I am so far away,
and my brain won't stop,
and the pressure to finish moves me past mealtimes and bedtimes and people times.

I have been with pencil and paper
and looping machine and bass and keyboard
for two days now without much of a break,
and I feel numb.

The thing is, I am past the point of thinking it is very good.
Now I am just to the point of getting it done.

For someone like me, who chases butterflies
but doesn't like to catch them,

who begins books and projects and resolutions and to-do lists and new adventures
but abandons them when the first wind of change turns my head,

it is a task of elephantine proportions.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Good With The Bad

Today I was inspired by my cousin to get off my duff and write,
just write.

No matter if I'm brilliant or boring, I gotta get out of this funk.

To see how she puts it, look here.

And what I have to say today is that Mockingjay was released,
and I was ignorant about it,
but Twin Boy let me know.

So we set off for Tuesday Books at 3,
and he sat down with a bunch of kids who were strangers to him
and talked excitedly about the first two books,
and frosted cookies and did a trivia challenge,
and shot water guns at targets that dripped colored marker down the side of the building.

And he and I split the cost of the book,
because he only had half.

He never has any money because
he always buys ice cream.
One for himself, and one for whatever lucky soul is with him.

And the other thing that happened today
is that I had a fit when I found all of my best books
piled in the middle of the front room,
bent and folded up where someone had tossed them.

Only I didn't know that a teenager friend was playing video games at our house,
and I didn't see him slip out until his car was pulling away.

I would have left too.

So every day brings a little pride in myself for doing good
and a little shame at myself for doing bad.

I hope it evens out.

If not, there's always ice cream.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Back To Glue Sticks

I miss rubber cement.

I miss cardboard pencil boxes.

I don't miss covering my textbooks using old grocery bags.

I miss back-to-school shopping.

All four children begin school September 7th at the same building.

There will only be one drop-off point, which is good for me because I can tend to forget about the second one and drive right past the elementary school amid cheers from the back seat.

Two sixth graders, a high school freshman and a high school senior,
all housed in the same building in our little town.

And they don't need much, not like yester-years.

We have all of the rulers you could ever hope to own,
thin markers are starting to become childish,
and the 10 cent notebooks that we stocked up on last season
will last us well into the 22nd century.

Nobody needs a pencil box anymore,
and now they have sturdy backpacks that will take them through college,
without any "character" designs to date them.
School lunches are bought, not carried,
so I walk right past the new cool fabric lunch totes
and recyclable water bottles.

But I still love to look at all of the school supplies at the store.
They're still fresh and new looking, and not messed up and
scattered around from frantic last-minute shoppers.

It makes me feel like I want something to organize.
I think I need some sort of polka dot index card holder
and of course a fresh pack of cards to fill it with.
I'm pretty sure that I need a Trapper Keeper,
filled with folders and tabs and things that can be labeled.

I want to pick out five shiny folders
with pictures of kittens and puppies and maybe
Zach Efron on the front.
I want to draw a mustache on him and
sharp pointy teeth from the kitten's mouth,
blood dripping down,
and horns on the puppies head and a text bubble
saying, "Feed me!" coming out of his mouth.

But instead, yesterday I bought a little plastic thing
with two drawers and a compartment for three dollars,
and I put it in my music room and filled it with
a bunch of small items that have been cluttering the place up
and now I feel better.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Tactic

Now when the Teenager says something obnoxious,
I repeat it back to him immediately
except in my Fozzie Bear voice at top volume.

He may or may not stop
but this has definitely become
a win-win situation for me.


Friday, July 16, 2010


I've been wearing my MoMA tshirt around the house today
and when I looked in the mirror just now it said plain as day:

"A MoM"



Sunday, July 11, 2010

Insult to Injury

I was trying to look on the bright side,
noticing that the poison ivy dots on my elbow have formed themselves
into a perfect smiley face,

but then I got a mosquito bite right in the middle of the rash
and it seems that my natural optimism has finally run its course.


Wednesday, July 07, 2010


So tonight the Twins, Middle Child and I drove into the city
to see a musical production at the community college where my cousin teaches.

We sat together in the outdoor ampitheater
and ate all of my cousin's chocolate chip cookies,
accidentally making loud noises with our water bottles,
laughing at the funny parts and
clapping with the songs.

Twin girl had a stomach ache so she laid on her back on a blanket
and braided a piece of string that she found hanging underneath
Middle Child's lawn chair.
Twin boy sat behind us in his chair, coming alive when the cookies were passed,
and kicking his sister's chair by accident with his too big flip flops
every few minutes until she hissed at him to stop.

After it was over, we said goodbye to our cousins
and the twins wanted to go sit by the koi pond, so we did,
lugging our chairs over there.

Middle child groaned but I said,

"What else do we have to do? Where else do we have to be?"
It was near 10pm, but so warm they said it felt like Florida.
We weren't tired.

I sat in my chair on the koi pond deck and they dangled their bare feet in the water
for the koi to nibble, but none came that close.
Then we picked up our things and trudged back to the car,
taking our time as the campus emptied and darkened.

I was almost out of gas, so I got off the highway right away
at a lonely Sunoco to fill up.
Twin girl opened the back door and the sounds of conflict leaked out.
All three were rummaging around the front and back seat of the car.

"What did you lose?" I said, pressing Yes for a receipt.

A shoe.
She lost her shoe.
Just one.

"How did you just notice that now?" I asked, but right away I knew
it was one of those questions that was sort of moot.
Either she had walked to the car unevenly with only one shoe on,
or had gone barefoot, but either way, one shoe was still back there.

"We'll just go back and find it," I said.

Back on to the highway, then to the interstate,
around the stadium, through the detour we went.
"Maybe it's by the koi pond," she said.
"Maybe we'll have to wrestle it away from one of the koi fish!" I said.
"Maybe we should look for a koi that is shoe-shaped," said Twin Boy.

The campus was dark, but some office lights were still on,
and a security guard walked past us as we scoured the grounds
for a green shoe.
None at the entrance, or in the ampitheater,
none in the grass beyond,
but then Middle Child started to run.

There in the middle of the sidewalk by the pond,
under a little campus streetlight was the shoe
and they grabbed it up,
laughing at its prominence there in the middle of the walkway,
where so many people would have had to step over
or around it to get by that night.

In the car again, Twin Girl talked with our cousin on the phone
to tell her the story of the shoe
and to tell her thank you for the cookies,
and thank you for the Rolaids that made her stomach feel so much better.

She got off the phone and we all tried to stop her, saying,
"You forgot to say thank you for the Rolaids!"

She said, "I was going to, but I forgot what they were called,
and I almost said, 'Thanks for the Rolodex,' but I knew that was wrong."

So we laughed even harder,
and we were glad that she had lost one shoe,
because it was so weird,
and we were glad we had to go back there,
because we didn't really have anything else to do,
or anywhere else to be,
and it was warm
and we weren't tired.


Sunday, July 04, 2010

An Old Post I Forgot To Post

The Teenager was SO not into it tonight when the twins wanted to play Charades
and escaped to his room.

A little bit later he emerged and we threatened him with all sorts of stuff
in order to get him to play.

Then we said he could leave if he just performed ONE Charade,
so he stood up and had us guessing and yelling for a full three minutes
before I realized he was just doing random things.

I started to get mad, but then I had to laugh.
The other kids were having such a good time yelling out guesses
and he just kept accumulating props, racing around the room
earnestly motioning to them with each one.

You really had to be there.
The yelling, the laughter,
his whole obstinate charade of Not Participating,
resulting in the weirdest pantomime ever.

He had a dog sweater on his head,
a red mixing bowl on top of that, an Ov Glove on one hand, a spatula in the other,
high-stepping across the living room just to thrill and confuse his younger siblings.

Thrills and happy confusion abounded.

It's a pretty good way to spend a Friday night.