Saturday, October 25, 2014

On Repeat

Lately I've had obsessions with albums. An album I play on repeat in the car. One for the office. One at home. They don't change for about a week. In some cases, it's a few weeks!

Here are some recent/current obsessions:

All Hail West Texas by the Mountain Goats. Every song rips out my heart and tears it into pieces that slowly float down in front of me while I drive. "Too far gone to catch them all, but not too far gone to care."

The Best of Leonard Cohen. What else is there to say? Before I switched to Cohen, it was Simon and Garfunkel's Bookends and Bridge Over Troubled Water. There's a way the sounds of these albums make me feel, but there are also associations that bring me back again and again. Justus sings some Cohen songs. Simon and Garfunkel provided a backdrop to the days leading up to Jonathan's return to LA.

Lodger by Bowie. All the way up, late at night, driving. I think Lodger rules.

Bloom by Beach House. This is on repeat in my office these days. It was nice when I had the office to myself for a few days this week and I turned this on and all they way up.

And then reluctantly on repeat is Alphabutt by Kimya Dawson. My kids are obsessed. They don't mind Raffi and they love the Beach Boys, but Alphabutt is their top pick. Every Effing Day.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Basic Right

Daily outdoor free play is a basic child right. It's not a reward for doing well; it's not a treat. It's a need. And half an hour at recess doesn't cut it. 

I wish I could give my kids what my parents gave me and my siblings: fields and woods and creeks and time to explore it all. 

At this point, I can't give them any of those things. But I can take them to this park in our neighborhood after school. I can let them run around and climb and swing and wrestle until almost dark. I can chase them and tumble down into the grass to tell them wide-eyed stories about fairy rings. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Half Measure, Full Measure

I finally had a chance yesterday –yes, in the middle of the work week!– to pull out all this stuff and use it.

I worked a half-day at my job. Technically, I worked a full day, half at home. But I'm much more efficient at home than work. It's like when you're homeschooled and you finish everything by noon while all your public schooled "peers" still have hours to go.

Anyway, now I know how to use all this. Well, mostly.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


So, our wage system and the cost of living are based on the assumption that two adults support every household. Such is not the case. Oh, no. There are all sorts of families, you know, and a lot of them don't have two grown-ups bringing in money. Lots of them don't even have two grown-ups.

Apropos of nothing, as Dumas might say.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Like New

This is where my kids sleep now.

There's this Tomie dePaola book my kids love about a little girl whose constant is her quilt. Through all life's changes, new houses, new schools, new friends, she has one thing that always feels like home. I'm glad my kids have quilts because they need them these days.

Last week, I climbed into the attic at Irene and brought down the quilt Gramere made for me. It is was red and white. Now it's all the same kinda faded tan. Anyway, it has a giant hen that takes up almost all of one side. Under the hen is a stitched motto: "Then I will," said the little red hen, "and she did."

During these months of no blogging, our lives have changed a great deal. I separated from James and moved to a different city. New home, new job, new life. New schools for my kids, new yard to play in, new life.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Lobster and the Crab

a fable by Arnold Lobel

On a stormy day, the Crab went strolling along the beach. He was surprised to see the Lobster preparing to set sail in his boat.

"Lobster," said the Crab, "it is foolhardy to venture out on a day like this."

"Perhaps so," said the Lobster, "but I love a squall at sea!"

"I will come with you," said the Crab. "I will not let you face such danger alone."

The Lobster and the Crab began their voyage. Soon they found themselves far from shore. Their boat was tossed and buffeted by the turbulent waters.

"Crab!" shouted the Lobster above the roar of the wind. "For me, the splashing of the salt spray is thrilling! The crashing of every wave takes my breath away!"

"Lobster, I think we are sinking," cried the Crab.

"Yes, of course we are sinking," said the Lobster. "This old boat is full of holes. Have courage, my friend. Remember, we are both creatures of the sea."

The little boat capsized and sank.

"Horrors!" cried the Crab.

"Down we go!" shouted the Lobster.

The Crab was shaken and upset. The Lobster took him for a relaxing walk along the ocean floor.

"How brave we are," said the Lobster. "What a wonderful adventure we have had!"

The Crab began to feel somewhat better. Although he usually enjoyed a quieter existence, he had to admit that the day had been pleasantly out of the ordinary.


Even the taking of small risks will add excitement to life.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I Love June 10th

Yesterday was rotten. It really was. June ninth is rotten every year because it is the anniversary of my brother's death, but yesterday was extra much so.

It started out a fairly promising day, for a June 9th. I had this job interview last week and yesterday I had a series of assignments to complete within a time frame of three hours as part of the application process. So I was maybe a little anxiety riddled because of that, but it's an exciting thing!

But then this happened. It was the kids' first day at the YMCA day care and they effing lost Amby. They found him (he had gone with a field trip group to a skating rink in another part of the county!) and it all worked out fine. But it's absolutely not ok and the folks there had no explanation. James ended up going to the Y and withdrawing both children from the program.

And then as more of like a minor thing to top it off, I had a somewhat emotional discussion with someone very dear to me about something we don't see eye to eye on. But that's not a negative thing because I think we're better for it.

Anyway, June 10th, I'm all yours!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

in Just- spring

Today started out drizzly and cold. Not sweatshirt cold, just not the muggy heat you'd expect this time of year. It was all gray and green and urging us to get muddy. So we went to the woods.

We went off trail and the kids played in a shady, muddy creek. Bea wore jeans and water boots, but waded in way past the boot tops. Amby wore jeans and crocs and got fully soaked. I know that wet jeans are miserable. But they aren't as bad as poison ivy. Also, as irrational as it might seem, the more skin that's covered, the less afraid of snakes I tend to be. We didn't see any water moccasins and maybe the precautions were unnecessary, but I'm a careful-ish mama.

We hiked through the woods and saw the mountain laurel in bloom. We found a moss-covered clearing with a crumbling altar off to one side of it. We found a rustic gazebo covered in professions of love. Everything was so idyllic, I could almost hear a Miyazaki-esque soundtrack in my mind's ear.

When we got back to the car, the children were covered in mud. They washed (sort of?) in the river and I stripped them for the ride home. I was so tired, I was sure they would immediately nap. Oh, but it doesn't work that way.

*     *     *

To tie it all up with a nice bow at the end of the day, we started our new bedtime story, Howl's Moving Castle.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


If turning 30 isn't enough, I'll tell you what is. Being cast as Juliet's freaking mother. That's enough to stop a girl in her tracks.

I'm going to be in a production of R&J done in the "drive-by" style. No rehearsal, the one and only performance just a week after getting our parts, lots of booze.

But I'll be sober because booze would only make it that much harder to remember my lines.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Things That Annoy Me/Things That Please Me

I know how she feels in this exact moment. I live in that moment. 

Children who won't play independently.
Mixes without song lists.
Dick picks. Really any inappropriate emails/messages from guys.
Empty wine bottles right there on the counter where full bottles are supposed to be.
Plasma centers that give you less and less money for your liquid life.
This song.

Children who are predictably easy-going in almost all situations.
of Montreal.
Alexandre Dumas.
Spontaneous road trips.
Plasma centers that are open 7am-7pm for my convenience.
This song.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sick Days

The kids started school a few weeks ago. Yes, in the middle of the second half of the school year. We'd been on the waiting list a while. They've been sick on and off all these weeks. It's the first time they've been exposed to germs. I guess their immune systems aren't what they oughta be. I guess I should've nursed them longer.

We were up most of last night. It was messy and noisy and adorable, as illustrated by these truly terrible photobooth family selfies. (At one point I needed to take a breather and I left Bea with my laptop. She took about 50 selfies! They are so good. I almost want to get her a phone just so she can have her own instagram. But not.)

There are two built-in beds in this room. Bea "slept" in one and Amby was in the other. I started out with Amby. There was a strange moment in the night when I realized that the extremely comfortable warmth was also wet. And it took me a beat or so to decide to get out of it. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

General Update

photo by jonokino

1. My internship turned into a job! Now I am a staff member at HUB-BUB. I'm working part of the time as I'm also in school full time. It's really freaking nice that the folks I work with are some of the very folks I prefer to hang with. Silliness and art and "the power of fun as a catalyst for positive community change."

2. This week is Spring Break! I mean, today is the last day of the week before Spring Break, get it? I have a ton of catching up to do, a paper to write and an exam to study for (for which to study), but I also have a super cool project to be a part of; Ishmael is doing a mural all this week in Spartanburg! If you are local, hit me up and get involved. (See that contact button up there? Yeah.)

3. So this semester totally ends in less than two months. I am so over it already, but having that light at the end of the tunnel is everything. I tend to work myself to the bones and forget to take a moment to breathe/eat here and there. Weight slips off of me like water off a turtle's shell and my hair keeps dreading up. But, hey, less than two months? I got this, y'all.

4. I've started watching House of Cards with Mama. It's a good little reward for me to look forward to after getting stuff done from my mega list. So far, I'm enjoying it a lot. We've watched two episodes.

5. I mentioned weight loss. So, yeah, my friend Russell gave me some unsolicited "doctor's orders" to follow. His personal tips and tricks for gaining weight. He would know, I suppose. He says to eat a lot of comfort food, late at night whenever possible. Macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, etc. Y'all, I'm in. Bring it.

Friday, February 14, 2014

One of My (many) Favorites


I Was Mean to You Today

Things were difficult
and I was impatient.
You were trying to explain
why I must reorganize the files
on my computer, why
they all have to have project numbers,
why I can't put them
where they've always been,
what the tax consultant said,
what you need for your report
to the Board of Directors,
and it boiled down to my files
have to be re-filed, and they
have to have titles with no more
than twelve letters to leave room
for project numbers,
and I said, Well, dammit.
And you said, Don't talk like that.

You sounded pained
and I was mean to you.
I was bored and tired
and mad, and you were
trying hard. Later,
I went out in the rain.
I went to the mall
and bought us both really
expensive pillows. Down
pillows with 100 per cent
cotton covers, 400 thread count.
I have lusted after them for years,
ever since Mama told me
that she asked Grandma,
who was 86 and dying,
"If you could have anything
in the world, what would it be?"
and Grandma answered,
"A down pillow" and Mama
didn't have enough money.
I bought two down pillows for us all,
to say I'm, sorry.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Spending the Night

Our house doesn't do well in this winter storm weather. So I am spending tonight in a drafty old plantation house which is legitimately haunted. It's where I grew up. Irene.

I get the nursery. 

It's sweet, right? Except it's inexplicably the coldest room in the house. And the attic door is in here with me. It won't shut all the way. 

Beatrice sleeps in here. She says the ghosts don't like her, but they are nice to her anyway. Their faces are half happy and half sad. Their eyes are sad. They talk to each other, but not to her. I've heard them.

I shall conduct a proper blackout.

Monday, February 3, 2014


There was a tattoo design competition at school tonight. This is what I drew. I would definitely make some further edits given more time, but I like it. Because, well, I love drawing hands and I love hatching.

Last night when I finally got done with all my school stuff, I emailed a pal and asked for a challenge. That's where the text in the design came from. I thought about it a while and decided to have hands attempting a connection. I like the idea.

There were so many great submissions to the competition! Can't wait to see the outcome!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Most Terrifying Moment of the Year So Far

Tonight, James and I took the kids out. It was cold, so we went to Haywood Mall where there's a play area for kids. Beatrice ran right in and James went with her. Amby wanted to explore a little so he and I walked around for a few minutes.

We came back to the play area and James was white and walking in circles around the enclosed area.

Bea was gone. 

We both started searching inside the play area for her. It was really packed and it's easy to just lose sight of a kid for a minute. I thought she was in a tunnel or behind something. That's how it always is. She's never wandered off, she's just hard to keep an eye on at every second.

But then he said that she'd disappeared as soon as they'd gotten there.

It was serious. She wasn't there.

As soon as it hit me that she was gone, a few other parents started noticing and coming up to us. But right then, a mall cop came walking towards us and he had her.

She was so little. And pale. And she had a bloody nose. I could tell she had been crying.

She eventually told us that a kid had punched her and she had run away. She got lost and a lady with some little girls had helped her find the mall cop. We were all completely shaken up. She sat with me most of the rest of the time we were there. And I needed that.

It's amazing how it can seem like everything is moving so fast, but then, in that one moment, it just stops and you zero in on your only priority as a parent.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Life Update

School + Internship + 45 Minute Commute + A Family = No Spare Time. This is normal. I'm used to it. But it does mean that the new season of Downton has to wait until after graduation. Monday-Thursday, I leave home at 8am and get home between 6 and 7. Friday is a home day. A bless'd, welcome home day.

If you aren't on facebook and friends with me, then you probably haven't seen my current profile pic. This is what it looks like. Amn't I glorious? (That's a word, you should use it.)

It's my last semester. I'm learning HTML/CSS coding, prepping my portfolio for the job search, learning about Islamic art, learning about conspiracy theories. Fun fun.

My internship is at HUB-BUB. I do graphic design, etc. "Etc." means some light marketing, generating ideas for exhibitions and implementing them, wine tasting and bar tending. I love working there! It's an awesome organization and the people are just my kind.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Head and the Heart

I'm kind of obsessed with this band right now. I listen to their albums a lot and like them more and more. There's only two, so get on spotify and check them out already.

It's super exciting to find a great, new band. Well, not necessarily new. I got crazy excited when (after like a year) I popped in a Quasi CD a friend gave me. Like, why did I wait on that one? Anyway, there's so much I like about The Head and the Heart. The sound is kind of americana, chill, hip and sexy. And it's catchy which is really damn important to me.

My favorite of their songs just might be Let's Be Still.

Monday, January 13, 2014


Boy, I've added a ton of fresh stuff to my shop. There's a range of different sizes even though there's mostly just my own body modeling. Don't let the pictures fool you, look at the measurements in the listing.

Heads up, I'm planning a new name and look for my etsy shop. Excited!

Saturday, January 4, 2014


"...we must remember, that while language constitutes a barrier, poetry itself gives us a reason for trying to overcome the barrier. To enjoy poetry belonging to another language, is to enjoy an understanding of the people to whom that language belongs, an understanding we can get in no other way…" -excerpt from T.S. Eliot's Nobel Prize banquet speech, 1948

Remembering T.S. Eliot, who died on this day, Jan 4, in 1965.

Lucy, An Amazing Gifter

Now that Christmas is a distant memory, this may seem late to mention. But my friend Lucy is a really gifted gifter. Here's what she gave me for Christmas this year, in a sugar skull/pop art bag, on New Year's Eve, over sushi:

A hand-drawn and lettered Dune-themed card that she made.

A message in a bottle necklace in which she hand-lettered an Edna St. Vincent Millay quote.

She customized the wrapping paper with Julian Koster of Neutral Milk Hotel and glitter.

A box containing:
star confetti
mac'n'cheese lipgloss
cake vodka
an out of print Lemony Snicket book

Every single detail of this was thoughtful, personal and special. Gifting is a talent and she's got it!

Friday, January 3, 2014


This year, I'm probably going to get a tattoo. It will probably be something really nerdy, like SPQR or a Frank Herbert/Daniel Handler crossover. Regardless of what it is, it will be planned long in advance and done by someone good. Here's some stuff I've been looking at that I like for various reasons.

I like that kind of arm-ish location. I like the idea of using a natural history illustrative look.

Do you have tattoos? Do you have advice?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Last Chapter of 2013

It's been hard for me to blog lately. There's a lot of stuff going on in our family and I've felt like being more private. (Probably not as dramatic as my self-portrait above would have you imagine, lol.) But our holidays were good. Lots of family, lots of food.

I'm so glad 2013 is over. I've heard the same from a lot of folks. 2014 will be a better year.