Thursday, May 25, 2006

Breaking Up, Moving Up, Keeping All the Friends

Dear Blogspot~ Um, it's just not really working out, is it? Sure, you're great. I don't really have a lot of complaints - but I'm just not really satisfied with our relationship. What's that? Is there someone else? No, of course not. No, no, no, NO. Ok, yes. Yes, I've been blogging somewhere else. Oh, it doesn't matter what it's name is. What good would it do to talk about... IT'S TYPEPAD - are you satisfied? Yes, I like Typepad better, and yes, I'm even willing to pay for it. It's more user friendly and I don't have to know anythng about HTML or find someone who does to help me and I get all the pages I want and it's not that expensive... Is that what you wanted to hear? Is it? Oh, come on, stop crying. We both knew this wasn't forever. It's all part of the blogosphere, eh? Don't get too attached? Don't be surprised if you have to change your bookmarks? I should go. But hey, you know where to find me: www.etb.typepad.com/bettiebookish

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Another million dollars I'm just giving away

The BathTop - a laptop you can bring in the bathtub. It comes in very momblogging-friendly colors and with momblogging-friendly quick keys. It's perfect for the mom who left her demanding 10-hour-a-day corporate job so she could live a life of leisure at home, caring for her 1-3 toddlers, maintaining three blogs - plus a packed flickr account, shopping for the best prices on Nikon lenses, knitting kooky sweaters for all her internet friends' kids, designing T-shirts, searching for a literary agent, courting book deals, landing book deals, starting a home business, growing organic produce, thrifting, getting drunk at rock shows, going to blogger cons, speaking at blogger cons, watching TV, running marathons, getting a master's degree and contemplating getting pregnant again. Bathtime is the only time she has to post to flickr. The BathTop comes with a washcloth that says, "I'm Blogging This." Of course, mere weeks before the BathTop is released to the public, Apple will come out with the iTub, which does all the same things and is only the size of your wedding ring - the one you got, not the one you wanted.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Jack Frost can bite my shivering ass

It is May 21, if I am not mistaken. And this afternoon, during a birthday barbecue, there fell from the sky something not unlike snow. Granted, it was not totally LIKE snow. It was mostly like little globs of Icee flug from thousands of tiny spoon-ended straws up in the sky, making the driveway and deck slippery and encrusting the woven doormat. I don't mind winter. I don't think I'll mind snow drifts lining the driveway throughout January and February. But ice falling from the sky at the end of May just seems apocalyptic. And it's cold.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Regret

Oh, I shouldn't have eaten all that food yesterday. What a mistake. Mistake No. 2: Deciding at midnight that a bowl of Reese's Puffs cereal would really hit the spot. I just can't understand why I'm not the lithe little thing I used to me. Just can't understand it.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Hola, amigos - tres?

If you're the kind of person who likes to enjoy a weekly meal in a good Mexican restaurant, I have one piece of advice for you: Do not move to upstate New York. There is no Mexican food here. Nada. Half an hour away, there is a place called the Rio Grande Tex-Mex Grille, and it is owned and operated by people whiter than I am. And that, my friends, is saying something. We went there one evening, and while the food was technically edible and didn't, for instance, require a visit to either an emergency room or a pharmacy, it wasn't remotely Mexican in any really helpful sense of the word. That is the only Mexican restaurant food I have eaten in three months. Until tonight. Tonight, we drove an hour to go shopping, and since we were already in the neighborhood, went to the only restaurant in a 120-mile radius where your food will be cooked and served by brown-skinned Spanish-speaking people. It was glorious. More than glorious. I may have to find excuses to go to the big city more often. I had the vegetarian combo No. 3, a diet Coke, guacamole, cheese dip (for my daughter, she loves it, what - I'm supposed to deny her?) and a heaping helping of oh HELL yes for dessert. I hurt myself it was so good.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Everything is oh, so far away

A question up front to all you readers out there who have brilliant ideas and actually follow through with them: What the? Seriously. I mean, do you just plunge right in? Do you do a little research? Once you start your research and find the arena is more (complex, difficult, flooded with talent), how do you plow right in without a satchel full of second guesses and anxiety? I mean, didn't your parents ever TELL you that you sucked at follow-through, and they weren't going to pay for dance lessons because this was just going to be like horseback riding lessons, clarinet lessons and therapy, where you'd quit abruptly the minute things got the least bit difficult? And didn't you ever come to the realization, maybe in your upper-mid-thirties, that instead of being insensitive, maybe your parents were simply insightful and hit your nail square on the head? IN A NEW YORK YARD SALE So this weekend, I did something I've never done before - something pretty out of character. No, I didn't follow through on some creative idea. It wasn't THAT out of character. Friday night I drove with Xerxes and most of the NY cousins to Syracuse, to hours away, where we spent the night at J&B's so we could wake up at the crack of doodle-doo and go yard sale-ing. In Florida, yard sales happen every weekend all year long, and if you are so inclined, you watch the classifieds and show up on someone's lawn at 4 a.m. so you can watch them through night vision binoculars. The moment they stir inside the house - even if they are just turning over in bed - you rush in and offer them 35 cents for the bed they're sleeping in. Up here, things are a little more ogranized, as was the case in Syracuse. Instead of leaving yard sales (tag sales?) to individual choice, the tradition here is to designate a certain weekend for everyone in a given area to trundle their shit onto the lawn and let the haggling begin. We trolled the sales of a large housing development called Radisson, where the houses ranged from '80s condoriffic to Millennial McMansion. The thing about yard sales? they kind of suck. I've never had god luck at them. And I never will, because I do not seize the buying opportunities correctly, I am easily convinced that something really crappy is kinda cool, and I slide right by the attic Rembrandts and sterling grape snips that eventually make their way to the Antiques Roadshow and inspire gasping from all involved. But I did score two old school desks to use as end tables in our renovated schoolhouse house, and a really incredible oak trestle table for our kitchen. I'm especially proud of the table, because it was obviously well loved. YOU ARE BUT DUST This is an all-out plug for a line of cosmetics coming to the market soon. It's called Dust, and it's the brainchild of a young lady I know. A couple months ago, we were at the home of one of our NY cousins and this woman, AZH, was all aflutter with her idea for creating a new cosmetic line in the same vein as bare minerals. She had researched a little online, and had come up with a name and some packaging ideas. I am going to be utterly honest here when I tell you that my reaction was something along the lines of, "Hmmm. I guess that fantasy is a nice way to pass an evening." I didn't think much more about it until Friday night in Syracuse where she gave us all makeovers with her line. Zoinks. (Also, see top of this entry.) So, good for her. And when she gets her Web site up, I'll link it so everyone can order a little bit.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Aappy, Aappy

Three. Three years ago today you were born, my beautiful daughter. But of course, you were not my beautiful daughter on that day. It was someone else who had the fortune of taking that part of your journey with you. Someone who must be thinking of you today. Someone who must miss you in the same, deep place where you miss her - the place where you will always miss each other. Two years ago today, you woke in your small bed next to your "jie jie," and your nanny fed you breakfast of 1/2 steamed bun and a bottle of formula, or so we were told in medical and progress reports we received not long before we met you. You didn't know it then, but I was already on my way to meet you. With your photograph in a folder that I carried with me everywhere I went, I had already become your mother. We were getting visas and making travel arrangements and ticking off packing lists. We were excited, terrified and utterly in love with the idea of you. And now, here you are, just two years later, serving me a tea party on your tea set with the little blue flowers. You tell me what to eat and just how much. I hate to tell you this, but you are a little bit bossy. This may not always go over so well with others. it doesn't always go over so well with me. Because you had your party a few days early this year, the actual birthday is likely to be an anticlimax. I had to get some work done this morning, so I allowed you to watch television and spread your own jelly on waffles. The uninterrupted writing time was worth every minute I spent de-jellifying the house afterward, while you soaked in a bath. A bath that had bits of strawberry jelly floating on the water's surface. Then we put on clothes and hopped in the car for a trip to the plant store so we could buy you a birthday plant. You love the plant store. You especially love plant stores where you have an opportunity to interact with livestock or the owners' pets. There are cats who live at the local Agway. Earlier this week, you cornered one of those cats while he was face-down in a pot of catmint getting high, and you forced him to receive your stern affection. Today it was an ancient - cryptozoologically ancient - chocolate lab who lumbered into your path with a tennis ball. You played with her, tossing the ball down the rows of creeping phlox and Japanese maple trees, before she would return to you with the soggy, soil-laden ball in her massive, warty head. Then she got tired and moved on to a shady spot where toddlers could not find her. We toured the hoop houses until I couldn't stand the sicksweet hospital smell of too many flowers in too small a space. "What about a birthday lilac?" I asked. "No," you said. "I want a hot dog." "Yes, we're going to get you a hot dog at the restaurant after we leave here. But right now we're finding you a birthday plant for our garden." "Oh. Yes - a bersday lilac! What's a lilac?" We looked at the lilacs and chose a Miss Kim, guaranteed to "impress." You said that would do. With the lilac packed in the car, we headed for the Creamery for lunch. "I want a bersday hot dog and a bersday Sprite and bersday ketchup..." The woman who made your lunch asked how old you were. "I'm two and a ha-- NO, I'm THREE-year's old." We sat at the picnic table outdoors, where it was warm and the sky was dark, dark blue, and you asked me to take your picture with my phone so you could "do (your) brand new smile." You are napping now. Maybe. Tonight we will take you out to a bersday dinner for the whole family. I think you are changing as much now as during those first few months after you became my daughter - those months when you were learning a new language, a new family and new miracles like walking and eating Cheerios. One minute I'm convinced you are 7-years-old, and not possibly one day younger. You are articulate and funny and I want to spend every moment of the day listening to you. You make up jokes like singing the Alphabet, "A, B, C, Cheese, E, F, Cheese, H, I, J, K, Soap..." Fifteen minutes later, you refuse to use more than one word at a time and you are whiny and petulant and cross. You say things that are not true. "Put on your shoes, and you can go outside with me." "They ARE on," you say as you step into the yard. I look at your bare feet and say, "No. they're not." "Yes they are." This is what it is to have a 3-year-old daughter. I haven't done this before. It's hard and it's scary. For both of us. But we get to do it together. And I promise we'll have lots of lunches on picnic tables and lots of trips to the plant store and lots of warty dogs to help us along the way.

Monday, April 24, 2006

An almost comical number of daffodils

It's like I've never seen spring before. And honestly, maybe I haven't. The spring that visits tropical locales is equal in intensity to the winters and autumns that visit. It's only summer - that sweating beast who doesn't know when it's time to go home already - only summer that we meet full-on. From my windows that face the highway, I look directly onto a lane that intersects with our street a dozen or so yards south of our driveway. That lane meanders around the hills and vales, crosses the creek that gives our hamlet its name, meanders some more, crosses the creek again, and finally intersects with our street a second time about a mile south of our house. Walking that great loop gives one the benefit of three miles of postcard-worthy hillside vistas. And somehow, almost all of it is uphill, no matter which way one walks around it. And it's only a slight detour to the corner general store, where there is organic coffee and chocolate chip muffins the size of my head. Yum. JC and I have been trying to make that walk a part of our daily routine, seeing as how we've been able to squeeze in plenty of time daily for chocolate Easter candy, a glass or two of wine, a little more candy, a stop at one of the many local NY pizzerias, and just a handful or two more of candy before bedtime. Did I mention the ice cream? Because there is ice cream. At any rate, we've been taking those walks, and being astonished at the beauty around every corner. I did not anticipate the changing colors that would occur in springtime. I thought that what was grey and brown would just turn green and that flowers would erupt in the garden and it would be spring. But that is not how it happens. The hills wake up in a slow, subtle mirror-image of fall. The maple trees are topped with a haze of red buds. The forsythia shocks the landscape with sprays of electric yellow. And the green is like nothing else, the way it muscles through the winter mulch. This is not a sweet springtime that dances into view when winter has taken its leave. This is a full-on, balls-to-the-wall, resurrection-style springtime that kicks winter's bony ass and sends it running north.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Are you Sarah Connor?

I love this place. I am in love with it. I LIKE like the winding highways and leaning barns and suede moccasins on everybody's feet. The clapboard churches, thumb latches, chicken coops, tapped maples, miniature tulips, glassy lakes, seasonal closings, muddy thaw, slate paths and gruff farmers? Swoon. I like this place for more than a friend. I'm going to get my best friend to talk to this place and find out what it thinks about me. I am going to write my name next to the name of this place in the third stall of the girl's bathroom on the 200 hall. NOT A PEEP Perhaps as a result of my rural lovedrunkenness, I fully consented to the purchase of six baby chicks this afternoon. The little birds are currently in a box in our garage under a nice, warm brooding light. We bought them at the local feed store, which I suspect is operated by Celtic witches. In addition to your normal feed/garden store items, you can also buy a broad selection of Irish folk music and books on nature religions, white witchery and Lephrochaun magyck. There are two cats (familiars?) that roam the store (shoplifting surveillance?), and I think I spotted a young Melissa Joan Hart dong her homework by the Wellies and steel-toed work shoes. She was wearing burgundy suede Merrills. But back to my family's apparent descent into madness. JC has wanted these birds, and has been so excited thinking about the coop he'll build, etc., that he has lost sleep. I am famously and loudly terrified of most birds, particularly the domesticated variety, which come chasing after humans for food. Birds, with their lizard feet and cold, one-eye-at-a-time gaze just give me the creeps. I just know that, when they cock their heads and look at me, they're plotting to flutter underfoot, trip me and peck off my face when I fall to the ground. Aren't they? But wait - maybe all that nervous fear is just some vestigial kneejerk, and if I were to inventory the things that still really scare me, maybe chickens wouldn't even register. That's just what I did. I ran a bare hand blindly under the sofa of my terrors, and I did not pull out any chickens. So we all piled in the van today, and went to the farm store and bought six pullets. Mine is named Sarah Connor - not just because Sarah Connor was a badass mom ("Fuck you chickens - peck on this!"), but because when I told JC that I wanted Araucana chickens, he said, "What? Sarah Connor? What the hell is a Sarah Connor chicken?" It's a chicken whose eggs save the world from cyborg domination. Also, they come out in pastel colors. We have four Araucanas and two Rhode Island Reds. No word yet on which of the Araucanas is Sarah Connor. Whichever chick lives to adulthood and looks like she has the hots for Michael Biehn - I guess that's Sarah Connor.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Me, too, sweetie

In Buttercup's vocabulary, "too much" is one word. Toomuch. She has a habit, for example, of eating half a banana without swallowing even the teeniest bit of it. When she realizes that her life may be in danger, she spits the banana out and annoucnes, "I had toomuch." She understands that toomuch can lead to trouble. If you have to go to the potty because you have toomuch, it's important to heed that call right away. Or at least sometime within the hour. When it comes to gummi worms, toomuch has serious intestinal ramifications. Balance in all things is optimal. She understands this. Therefore, I know that I am in trouble when, during a recent bath, I reached to turn off the water, and she intercepted my hand with calm authority, looked me in the eye and explained, "I WANT toomuch." So do I, my darling. So do I. IN WHICH BUTTERCUP PLAYS WITH HER COUSINS One of Buttercup's favorite things about her "Brand New House," (aside from the bedroom with pink, striped walls) is the opportunity to play with her cousins. There are the twins, handsome young men of 7 who are at once identical and utterly different. And then there is 3-year-old Jehosaphat, who has become Buttercup's partner in toddler crime. Just three days ago, they managed to extort some 20 jellybeans just by asking the right people at the right times. During a spat (jellybean-related) Buttercup scolded her cousin that he was "a bad Jehosaphat." "Unh-uh," he told her in his husky voice that promises to take on Rick Astley proportions once he reaches adulthood. "My mom says I'm a honeybunch." The defense rests. Jehosaphat's mother is expecting another baby. With three boys in her house, she would not be unhappy to have a baby girl, and she seems to have been paying special attention to Buttercup and holding her at every opportunity. I think she is hoping that my daughter's girlishness will somehow inform and influence the baby in her tummy. I hope this doesn't backfire.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

We can pretend

that I haven't gone almost two months without writing anything in this space. More importantly, we can pretend that someone has been checking it every few hours wondering when that next post will appear. Sorry, dude. Update: We're in New York. It's breathtaking. I miss my Florida friends. It's snowing here. I promised myself I would find time to write every day. I haven't. We sold some cars. We bought a Jeep. Buttercup has been shoveling snow. Xerxes has what may be a date. I'm in love with the view out of all my windows. We have room - come visit. Office View

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I don't like Monday socks

Buttercup received for Christmas a pack of Barbie socks with the days of the week knitted into the cuffs. Although she cannot read, or even recognize letters yet, she correctly identified in her drawer the socks intended for Monday, and told me she wanted to wear them to bed. I grabbed them from the drawer, and got ready to slip them onto her feet when she changed her mind. "I don't like Monday socks," she said. "That's a long way to go for a Boomtown Rats referrence," I told her. "Comedy is all about economy." When will she learn? TENTH AVENUE FREAK OUT I haven't posted much in the past couple weeks (I say this like it is an alarming change in my behavior). Every time I sat down to write something, I invariably checked what was up with Moreena and just couldn't bring myself to inflict upon the world my flimsy ramblings. But, as updates are in order, I decided to buckle down this morning. We are now officially the owners of a huge amount of debt that represents a home and 15 acres in upstate New York. I've been interviewing movers and getting estimates and calling utility companies and generally freaking the fuck out because, holy shit, we're MOVING ACROSS THE COUNTRY in just three weeks. And my house? IS NOT REMOTELY READY. MY BRAIN IS WORKING ON ALL CAPS THESE DAYS, AND I WAKE UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT WONDERING IF I'VE FORGOTTEN SOMETHING VITAL, SUCH AS GETTING HOMEOWNER'S INSURANCE OR DECIDING WHETHER OR NOT TO BRING MY CATS TO NEW YORK. On one hand, they're terrible animals who are not really fit for indoor living. On the other hand. we've been told that mice come into the house in the autumn. No I want mice or cat urine in the house? It's a tough call. If I write the list of things I must accomplish before our departure, your head would explode and all the goopy bits of blood and bone and brain would get stuck in your keyboard. Trust me - I'm going through, like, seven keyboards a week over here. I need adult supervision to get through this.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Feeling Salieri

There lies in front of me the opportunity to do something really good - something that could be of real benefit to others. It also could be of real benefit to me. Finding this opportunity has meant having one meeting after another with people in good suits. I will confess only to you, dear readers, that on the occasion of each of these meetings, I was wearing a brand new outfit. I am not a compulsive shopper; I just thought it would be more impressive if I didn't wear my Only Good Suit ay every meeting. For the first time in my life, I own dress shoes in more than one color. When I focus on how I could benefit others with this new career move, I am filled with 100 percent confidence juice. The creativity and goodwill just burst forth like fireworks of sunshine and starlight emanating from my chest cavity. Then I start to think about how I could benefit. I start to think about how I have to benefit in terms of making a a living, and that starlight starts to fizzle. I begin to wonder just who the hell I am kidding, pretending to be a grownup over here. I remember suddenly the time my father told me he was not going to pay for dance classes because I never followed through with anything I started. I was 10, and my dad was a prick, yes, but the part of me that believed what he thought of me still exists deep in my head, where she apparently still believes an overthrow is possible. The answer, of course, is to simply approach this vocation from a purely outward-motivated center, rather giving in to the temptation of becoming an anxious, inward-obsessed heap of bubbling failure-in-progress. How do you do that?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Barely even trying

So much to cover, so few entries. First, I had my annual follow-up with my oncologist, who declared that my lab results are "absolutely boring in their normalcy." I'll take it. A few days later, I found out that I have osteoporosis (on the border between mild and moderate), and will need to start taking a medication that is quite the rage among the over-80 set. I'm gonna rock it Granny-Style, with 8-12 ounces of water once a week, followed by 30 minutes of standing or sitting upright. Jealous much? Included in the osteoporosis informational sheet I received from the imaging center was a list of "fall prevention tips." Fall in this case refers to taking a spill on your brittle hip bones, not the luminous season of the year when the hillsides are ablaze like a box of Crayolas and Woody Allen makes another movie in New York. At the top of the list was: Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes. So I went out and bought these beauties from the Stuart Weitzman orthopedic line: Granny's Dress Shoes I will not go gentle. No - when I break a hip, I want all the young, strong-boned women who clamor to my rescue to gasp and say, "My God, look at those beautiful shoes!" AHEM, UH, AHEM My speaking career officially begins this month with two engagements - pro bono, because I am using them as practice. What's that, you say? You've been looking for someone to speak to your group about the pain and promise involved in new growth? Or maybe you're an executive looking for the kind of speaker who can entertain, teach and touch - but not in a stripper way - to reconnect the people on your staff to the sense of purpose that initially attracted them to their jobs? I can help. Seriously. And I'm not that pricey. Yet. Get in on the ground floor of this dream machine. My presentations include 50 percent fewer cliches than this here post. Plus, if you're really lucky, I might wear those shoes and break a hip.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Ass blood, but not mine

Let me begin by cautioning everyone that, if you are a human being, and you experience anything that could even remotely be described as "ass blood," you need to seek immediate medical attention. Yes, it's probably just hemorhoids or something else that will require an embarrassing trip to the pharmacy for a product that is (naturally!) packaged in a bright yellow box that can be identified from all the way across the prairie. But you need to check. If, however, you are a dog, and you start evacuating blood from your two major holes - those being the mouth and the ass - it may not be that big a deal. That was how I started my Tuesday morning, with a dog who, after a day of being sick to her stomach and generally moping, suddenly began crapping and barfing blood. I assumed that this was the end of her life, so as I wrapped her in a towel and gave my son frantic instructions to watch his sister, I started planning how I was going to tell my husband that his little dog had died because I had not taken her to the vet the day before. We're using a new vet right now, so I had never the met doctor who examined our baby, Zuzu. She was extraordinarily thorough, asking about any possibilities that the dog had gotten into rat poison or antifreeze. Antifreeze? What's that? We don't use that here, as far as I know. She looked in her eyes, felt her ears and belly and lifted her furry tail to look at her backside, where the white fur was streaked with blood. Then she smelled my dog's ass. With purpose and concentration, the way a wine connoiseur puts his nose into a glass. She told me her expert senses detected both blood and feces. Ladies and gentlemen, I've had jobs that sucked. I've had jobs that made me want to kill myself or someone else. I've had jobs that made me cry all the way there and back. But I have never had a job that required me to smell a dog's ass and make a diagnosis. The diagnosis was HGE. And although it can be life-threatening because of the sudden onset, rapid dehydration and blood loss, Zuzu's case was not severe. She stayed in the hospital for a couple of days on IV fluids and antibiotics, and that was that. Best of all, I didn't have to tell my husband that my negligence doomed his darling little princess. OTHER HIGHLIGHTS - We gave found renters for our Florida house, and although we are charging them significantly less than what we could probably get, they are friends with a baby on the way, and I won't have to go through any kind of management company or Realtor. And they keep a much cleaner house than I ever could, so the peace of mind is well worth it. - Yoga, baby! I attended a yoga class because, from the memo I got, apparently it is required of every woman between 25 and 75 that, within the first month of the new year, you must engage in at least one humiliating and disspiriting physical activity from which you cannot escape halfway thorugh class. The best part - the VERY BEST PART - is that as I was approaching the stairs that lead to the classroom, I saw two of my son's good friends, a young man and a young woman, who also were in the class. They said Hi, I said Hi, then we waited uncomfortably in the hallway for the kickboxing class to wrap up. Neither of the two options open to me - to stay and make a fool of myself in the class, or to run away like a little bitch - were very appealing. I stayed. There also was the matter of my mat. Doing pilates and other mat-centered exercises in the past, I found that those thin mats tended to hurt my spine and tailbone. More embarrasingly, they caused my feet to sweat during the warrior pose et al, and I spent so much energy trying not to slide around on my mat that I couldn't much focus on breathing at the right times and letting go of all my competitive urges, remembering that what I did yesterday is not what I can do today, and what I can do today is not what I can do tomorrow. So I have a thicker mat - a mat that suddenly seemed like the equivalent of bringing a Brussel's sprout sandwich to the middle school lunchroom. I was so uncool.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Anni's Letter

One day, Anni, you will be through with all this. It will be a distant memory, like a childhood song whose words and melody come to you only in fragments. You will roll your blue eyes when your mother asks where you're driving, who will be there, call if you go anywhere else. "You're so over-proTECtive," you'll call over your shoulder as you head through the door, a flutter of blonde curls. Because your mother has kept such good notes, you may know the details of your story better than many people who have traveled roads similar to yours. You're lucky for that, and I hope you thank her one day. Your story is her story, too. And your father's and your sister's. The scars you own are their scars, too, and they represent all the worst fears and best cases and burning questions and and lost sleep and lost sleep and lost sleep. One day, you will help your own daughter or son climb the ladder on the small slide at the park, and you will realize that your child is the same age you were when you had your second transplant. You'll take her corduroy jacket off because she's gotten too hot with all her playing. You'll wipe her face and her hair, sweaty and damp around the top of her forehead. You'll wonder how your mother got through it. You'll wonder how you got through it. These years will be fuzzy memories one day, but your scars will stay with you. Maybe you'll hate them for a while, and wish they could just disappear. Maybe you'll forget you have them, and remember only when a new doctor asks. "What? These? Oh yeah..." And maybe you'll look at them one day, and whisper "Thank you," because you have absolute, undeniable proof that you are strong, that you can fight, that you can do anything. I hope the day comes soon, Anni, that all of this is just a memory.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

All associates

All associates are currently assisting other customers. Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold and your call will be answered in the order it was received. This has gone on for, oh, about 45 minutes now as I have waited to speak to someone at my bank. Apparently home equity lines of credit are HUGE just after Christmas. I suppose that's not surprising. The holidays were just fabulous here. Christmas Eve found me serving chalice at our church, where roughly 75 percent of the regular parishioners fled the city for Yuletide. This left our very sweet, very dottering supply priest and me (also dottering, though less sweet) to do midnight service as a two-person show. Little secret: I don't know how to acolyte - which is a big requirement if you're the only other person up there with the priest. But Fr. Dotter is a quick thinker, so he quickly pulled someone from the congregation who has experience with liturgy. Unfortunately, that person was a gentleman with what seems to be some developmental challenges, which include voice immodulation disorder. I AM WHISPERING. He also has some personal frangrance challenges - so much so that half way through the service I started wondering whether the frangrance was actually coming from me, since it seemed to be filling the air around me. Then I realized it had filled the entire sanctuary, rising like incense and prayers through the rafters up to God in heaven. The comedy was truly worthy of a special holiday service. Fr. Dotter and the Conscripted Acolyte - neither of them blessed with good hearing - stage whispered in loud (and since the priest was miked, amplified) voices throughout the liturgy. "GIVE ME THE WATER." "THE WAFERS?" "NO, THE WATER. HANDLE SIDE FIRST." "HANDLE WHAT?" "HANDLE SIDE FIRST" "WHAT PURSE?" My husband told me afterward that the congregation could hear every word. Fr. Dotter also cut short what had been planned as three communion hymns played by a guest musician on acoustic guitar. Halfway through the first song, Fr. Dotter abruptly launched into the post-communion prayer. If he is found strangled with a guitar string, we all know where to look. Now I must be off. My phone took matters into its own hands and disconnected itself from the neverending holding pattern. Tomorrow - Christmas pictures!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

We eat the weak and broken

Dear Mom~ Remember those spritz cookies you used to make every Christmas - by which i mean "every Christmas before the divorce, when our domestic life sort of went to hell'? Do you? Do you remember the silver metal cookie press with the copper ends that you used to pipe wreath and candy cane shapes onto the cookie sheet, and how the candy canes were especially prone to breakage, and our standing rule was that we got to eat all the broken ones? Remember? You do? Well, can you tell me exactly how the fuck you made that dough? Because I have tried this Christmas, and it just didn't work out so well. That's what mothers and daughters do, right? And now that I have a daughter - and one who is so incredibly keen on kitcheny things - I thought it would be a good idea to continue a family tradition. I even bought a fancy electric cookie press that looks like it could have been Julia Childs' vibrator. But the results were just ... eh... First, I didn't have your recipe. I know, I know - there were almost 35 years there in which I had you as a real, living parent and plenty of opportunity to ask for things like that. I dropped the ball, admittedly. The recipe I found formed into the consistency of thousands of tiny, dry dough balls that would never have joined together. So I added more butter, and I got a dough that almost worked. Almost. Of course, by the time I adjusted the recipe and figured out how to detonate, er, assemble the hi-tek cookie press, it was several hours past Buttercup's bedtime, so she was fast asleep and cranking out all those cookies was much more an exercise in endurance (and alcohol resistence) than of celebration. All in all, the cookies are passable. Particularly to anyone who never ate the cookies we made. Although they taste similar, I know they're not the same. Only one of them broke.

Monday, December 19, 2005

What else is new

I'm tired of this blog sitting here all the time making me feel like a bad person for not updating more often. I have so many other - BETTER - reasons for feeling like a bad person, that I hardly need this one. I also have so much to do, and so little inspiration that this is about all I can manage to get out right now. So in lieu of actual content, I'll give you photos of my beautiful children: Thanksgiving05 Mmmmm, gravy! My two

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Acreage is the new bungalow

This is our new place. It's the one at the bottom of the photo, outlined in blue. aerialhouse The major portion of the house was a one-room schoolhouse built in the mid-1800s. Other rooms were added in the 1970s (aw yeah, baby, converSATION pit - come on over to Bettie's and we'll play Ice Storm!) and the 1990s. Stretching behind the house, and behind the neighbor's property, are 15 landlocked acres. JC pointed out to me yesterday that we are undeniably hip people. It's true. We have jobs that are the perfect mix of artistry and altruism. We live in a restored 1918 bungalow on a street with sidewalks where parents walk their kids to school and to the half dozen parks that are within a mile radius.We have the Mommyvan and the two dogs and the surfing teenager and the adorable toddler. We've got it going on. And what do we do to take it to the next level? We buy a 19th-century schoolhouse on 15 acres in upstate New York. Acreage is the new bungalow. Just you wait. Here are some other shifts you'll see in the hip paradigm: Out: Coffee drinks prepared by baristas In: Coffee prepared in the fireplace because a blizzard knocked out the power. Out: Stopping by the Whole Foods to pick up a salad. In: Stomping into the garden to pick a salad. Out: Vespas. In: Four-wheelers.