Friday, January 14, 2011

No Thank You

She ate all of her mashed red potatoes with the skins on.
She ate all of her green beans.

She left her fish alone and said,

"Is it okay if I don't eat the fish?"

Pan-fried tilapia, served with a dollop of butter
mixed with fresh lime juice,
lime zest, diced serrano chile and salt.

I was only thinking of the time I'd put into making that dish.

I said, "Oh honey, there are lots of vitamins in that fish,
you should eat a few bites."

She gave me a pained expression.

I said, "One bite of fish?"

She looked down at the fillet and turned a little green.

"Ohhh!" I said, understanding dawning.

She had some more mashed potatoes and smiled at me gratefully.

Sometimes I am so thick.


Thursday, January 13, 2011


We have a lot of conversations about being weird at our house.
We celebrate it.

I think it started when one of the kids had a bad day and came home from school saying,

"Mom, I'm weird."

Instead of disagreeing I said,

"That's okay honey, it's a good thing.
Also, normal is boring."

We say "normal is boring" a lot.

I have four children between 12-18, and these years are not easy peer-wise.

There is always someone cooler, someone better-looking, someone who has nicer clothes.

But we have a corner on the weirdness factor, and claiming that,
instead of denying it,
sort of helps ease the teenage angst.

Why fight it?

When you are a teen you feel weird all the time.
So let's be honest about it and just ride the wave of weirdness.

I was driving the husband somewhere the other day and stopped at the high school to drop Middle Child off at dance team practice.

There was nobody around so instead of parking at the edge of the ramped sidewalk,
I just pulled up to the door.

The husband sighed.

The child, who had been silently absorbed in her own morose back-seat thoughts,
grinned like mad and stepped out,
and waved,
and kept waving as I backed out again.

She likes it that we aren't normal.

We color outside the lines, and sometimes, we drive outside of them.

I had a friend once, who, when I tripped on the sidewalk,
did the exact same thing a second later so that I wouldn't be so embarrassed.

I feel my weirdness contribution to the world is sort of like that.


Wednesday, January 05, 2011


More fish biting the dust...we have all sorts of hypotheses about why,
but it's our own fault for tackling the job without expert advice,
as soon as the last one dies (morbid, I know),
we will take a trip to Preuss' Pets downtown,
to start over with the right water, the right fish, the right chemical balance.

She smiled when I told her what we'd do, and got that look in her eye again,
the twinkle, the excitement,
the belief.

It's the way I feel most mornings,
with a half cup of coffee under my belt,
waking up to a gray sky and a quiet house,
in my old unraveling chair,
calendar and clean notebook paper by my side.

I feel hopeful again, that the mess of the day that is yesterday
has died and gone fully,
and today,
I have a whole day
that is new and clean and fresh
and alive
to start over with.

Good Morning!


Sunday, January 02, 2011


Twin Girl got an aquarium for Christmas, and happily chose fish from Walmart to fill it.

She has this way of beaming,
and this way of eyes-wide-open-trust and hope.

The fish did wonderfully until a few days later when we decided to add some more
from another discount, mass-market store.

Four died, two of the old and two of the new.

They had already been named.

She cried quietly and stopped looking at the tank.

She sends Twin Boy into the room before her to check to see if any more have died.
She makes him check first thing in the morning too.

She got a headache.
She couldn't sleep last night.
She can't sleep now,
and is on the couch reading a book,
trying to get sleepy.

The Teenager said,
"Leave the light off, and then you'll get eyestrain
and it will make you tired."

She ignored him and I watch her there,
so quiet,
so sensitive,
and I want her to feel better.

But I am also glad that she has that thing inside of her
that keeps her fresh to pain.

If that makes any sense at all.