Tuesday, December 30, 2008

36x365x129

They gave a young mom a success label that was far too heavy to hold. Years went by, each with a growing weight of brokenness.

I clearly remember the sweet smile of the daughter she killed.

**********
I reconnected with a former colleague and friend whom I hadn't spoken to in about 5 years. We worked together in 2 different jobs in 2 very different industries. There was a young woman we knew- she much better than I- who graduated from a program which employed us. This young mom went through easily, learning what needed to be learned and experiencing a great deal of success in the process. She was a poster child. A success story.

Yesterday I learned that 10 years after I knew her, she poisoned and killed her 2 children and tried to kill herself.

Sick. Sorrow. Sadness. Oh, my.

Monday, December 29, 2008

36x365x128

Your burgeoning interest in photography is a beautiful thing, and your slide show warmed the wintry barn. It documented only the happiest parts of us.

You're close enough to fit, but different enough that you can't.


********************
Thanks for reminding me that I blog, Nance. Not sure what happened.

Over the past week I've spent some time with my family- my bigger family. There was a lot of goodness and fun in those moments.

Family members, like no one else, have the power and ability to inflict doubt and pain. It's a power that should be harnessed for good, not evil.

I know I'm not alone when I recount my mother raising us to the repeating mantra: If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. Does that bring up an internal struggle for you? Are we teaching the Punks to subdue their thoughts and opinions or are we teaching them to be thoughtful and kind when communicating?

What do you think? And how've you been?

Monday, December 08, 2008

36x365x127


When you were so small you laughed with my dad on the porch of your first house. You pointed, eyes on him. Erupting in laughter each time he responded. It's not a bee, it's a hook.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

36x365x126 and Last Night

You endlessly do for the ones that you hold. Searching for ways to strengthen and deepen and magnify that connection. I hope they can see what you offer and respect what you want most.

I do.

**********************************************************************

Last night Aidan and I attended our local Chamber Singers event. It was too late for the younger 2, and it's become a tradition for A and I to go. I love to watch him watch, and it is beautiful stuff. This video was from a different performance last winter, but you'll get a feel for what we saw and heard:



Capathia Jenkins also performed with the high schoolers last night. She was wonderful and what I loved watching most was the way she was connecting with the kids in the Chamber Singers. And the smile that energized the entire place.

Daniel Strange (2001 graduate) also performed, accompanying some of the songs and playing a captivating instrumental version of We Three Kings with other former graduates Adam Frederick and Andy Robbins. These guys come back to do this concert every year. I'm not sure if they've played every show since they left, but I believe they've been there for the past several years.

It's inspiring to see so many people- young kids (the Boy Sings of Maine also performed- youngest members being 8), older kids, younger adults, and uh, more seasoned adults, who are so driven by their passions. So much a part of the community. So talented and so dedicated to sharing their talent and spreading inspiration.

It was lovely.

Pictures- OPK

I took some pictures of other peoples kids today. A few came out pretty cute:

Jameson B&W

DSC_0090

DSC_0108

DSC_0102

ALG

DSC_0042

Cute kids.

Friday, December 05, 2008

36x365x125

I rode my big wheel down your practically vertical driveway. A precisely parked car prevented me from plunging down into the ravine. Ouch.

You were hard on your kids. Now, you display photos with genuine pride.

******************
Today is my father's birthday. I wrote about him already, and my rules are that I only do one x365 per person. I could write about my dad for x365. I wrote about him at GNMParents today, too.

He would have been 78. Wow. 78. The age grandfathers should be. The age dads should be. He should be grumpy and irritable and impatient and a big pain in the butt to deal with. He should be telling stories and making me laugh and making me cry.

My Lucy has my humor, which comes to me from both of my parents. Or maybe my mom appreciates my humor the way she appreciated his. In any case Lucy like to say things like:

Your dad died, right Mom? (giggle)
Papa's dad died too, right Mom? (giggle, giggle)
You're gonna die really soon, right Mom? (GIGGLE, giggle, giggle)
Aidan's gonna die before me! (Guffaw)


It's not freaky to me, although it is to many. She's been lucky- we've been lucky these last 4 1/2 years. She has no concept of death. This is part of figuring it out.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

36x365x124

You called my son "Little Bird" the day he was born. At 9' 11", "Big Bird" might have been more apropos. Did you think that then?

Your huge Italian name made you seem even more petite.


******************************************************************

I love and hate this time of year. I look forward to celebrating Christmas with my family while still dreading the travel and lists and many obligations that blanket us.

This is neither unique nor particularly interesting.

9 years ago this month I was expecting Aidan. I remember sitting on our couch, watching an MTV special about John Denver. Tears were pouring down my face and Rob was trying hard not to laugh at me.

We laughed a lot. We talked a lot. We walked a lot. Our anticipation simmered just below the surface. It was a quiet holiday. It was the only holiday I can remember not traveling.

And you? What's on your mind?

Friday, November 28, 2008

36x365x123


I imagine your loneliness as you talk of your computer and the games within as though they were your family. Never smiling, never extending beyond your reach to even learn my name. It's Megin, not Heidi.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Recipe: Fresh Cranberry Relish


Several years ago a friend brought this cranberry relish to our friend Thanksgiving party. Ah, the days of sweat lodges and bonfires. Anyway... this recipe has become a must have at Turkey day. It is a breeze and it pops the beige food the day is known for. I dream of this relish with a piece of turkey and a bit of mashed potatoes.


No cooking- no peeling- it takes 5 minutes to make:

2 Granny Smith Apples (4 if they are the small ones)
2 Navel Oranges
1 Bag Cranberries (4 Cups)
2 Cups Sugar
1 1/2 Cups Crushed Pineapples - NOT drained

Core the apples and cut into pieces that will fit in your food processor (leave the peels on).
Cut the orange into pieces that will fit into your processor and check for seeds - leave the rind on.
Process the apples, oranges, and cranberries until no large pieces remain. Transfer to a large
bowl and mix in the sugar and the pineapple. Chopped nuts can be added if desired.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours for best flavor.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

36x365x122


Did you really worry that your new puppy loved me more than you? Did it really make you nervous?

Man, I fell hard for that tiny ball of silky softness. I think he loves me best.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Another Meme


I did a 6 random things meme a couple weeks back. Then dear Chris Brogan was tagged by Dominick Evans to do a 5 things meme.

And then Jon Swanson twisted it up a little and I liked that idea.

So, you know the "rules" right? Someone tags me, I write and link back to them. At the end I tag you and you link back to me, and at the end of the day we know more about each other then we did when we started.

So here's a 5 moments (or memories of moments) that I love meme:

1. I timed it right and the wave has me and I have it and there is a moment of wonder. I wonder if I'll get spit onto the shore with a mouth full of sand and blood somewhere. Then I feel the sand beneath my knees and I know it was just good. I love that moment.

2. The boys watch their wave and I watch them. They turn at the right moment and dive into it and just before the water takes them there is shining determination and anticipation in their eyes. I love that moment.

3. I wake in a quiet house, the night dark, the clock early, the quilt right, the warmth of a leg against mine, and hours to go before I must rise. I love that moment.

4. Mayhem surrounds, and I sit with the warm weight of a nursing baby in the crook of me. I look down at rouged cheeks against my skin, long lashed eyes softly closed, mouth just slackened with an occasional leftover swallow. I love that moment.

5. I sit to write and the words come together in just the right way to convey my meaning. I love that moment.

And because a meme is like a game of idea tag, as Jon describes, I take this moment to tag:

Catnip- because she's signed on for nablopomo and I think twisting up this meme might provide good fodder for her.

Mrs. Chicken- because she's my hero and her words inspire me.

Nancy- (not sure if you want a link) because I like to witness how her mind works.

Kat- because I really like to read all of the things she chooses to share.

Ron- because he has fascinating stories and it's been too long since I've read one.

Matt- because he just found me on facebook and seems to be neglecting his blog.

Bonus: Steve because he needs to get that blog started.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

36x365x121


You speak with acute passion. With longing. With understanding. With adulation. With discernment. From a place where changing the world is a reality, and yet still a possibility.

Your large hands will catch so many more.

*****************

The world is all a twitter with hope and expectation and full possibility. These are trying and very frightening times and so many of us are resting the substantial weight of that possibility in one man's hands. It's a burden. If, in fact, it takes a village to raise a child (Rob hates when I use this- but Hillary didn't coin it- it's older than that- it's about family and extending community- so deal with it,), then it takes more than a city, more than a state more than a region to save the world.

But it's happening. People are saving the world. Lots of people.

Geoffrey Canada is doing it at the Harlem Children's Zone.

Dan Pederson and Susan Buffet are doing it at Educare.

Dr. T. Berry Brazelton and all of the people at the Touchpoints Center are doing it.

These are a few of those people who have surrounded themselves with people who propel their ideas.

These people have long arms and monumental vision. They know that "investing in our children" is not a political buzz phrase. It is all of the hope and all of the possibility to start our kids lives with opportunity. They will grow up with opportunities to influence those who need influencing, to negotiate with those who need negotiating, to love those who need loving, to reduce what needs reducing and expand what needs expanding and most importantly, follow in the steps of dedicated people, like the ones mentioned above, to inspire those who need inspiration.

That opportunity, that hope, that possibility will assuredly change this world.

It will.

Who- who inspires you?

I'll leave you with this:

A SMALL ARMY OF LOVE

Heard the news yesterday,
And today, mothers cried.
Our children by tens of thousands
Have died.
And for what?

What will stop this madness?
The eternal sadness
Of small little caskets
Filled with dreams never had.
Are we mad?

We need a small army of love.
And no thanks:
We don’t need any rifles,
No guns, and no tanks.
Just love, and help from above.

Our army will be small,
Diverse, and unique.
Little soldiers in braids,
And some with sneakered feet.
All marching for peace,
And an end to the war,
That has claimed little soldiers
As they open their doors
And romp in playgrounds.
Can we stand anymore?

We need a small army of Love.
Start today.
Sentries on guard,
Keeping danger away.
While our young go to school
And play on our streets,
A small army of us
Standing guard while they sleep.
Can it be done?

And the love of our army
Will always sustain us.
When others disdain us with laughs,
ridicule,
Our love keeps us fighting.
Yeah, we’re fighting fools.

So I know what’s been whispered
and what some said aloud.
“Those fools with their pipe dreams,
Their heads in the clouds.”

But when you love all the children,
There’s nothing to do,
But start a small army of Love,
Me and You.

by: Geoffrey Canada

Watch this-

I went to a symposium yesterday and had the privilege of listening to this man speak. It changed me- more to come-

Thursday, November 13, 2008

36x365x120

I expect that there are many who don't care for you. Wry and sarcastic, direct and sharp edged.

But it's working for us and he's responding to you and I expect we're lucky to have you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

36x365x119


In a kindergarten coatroom we accepted each others dare.

In 5th grade we passed notes and maybe held hands.

In high school your parents hosted a party which possibly prevented peril.

Memories of smiles and uncertainty.

*****************************************************************************

So, how do you feel about purple? I've never done a banner before but this is my all-time favorite photo and memory of my punks.

I'm trying to get back into the daily writing but... ain't happening so easily. Thanks for coming back, anyway. If you'd like you can use the subscription options in the sidebar. Don't worry about the submitting your email- you won't get spammed.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Dear President Elect Obama:


Dear President Obama,

Hello, my name is Aidan Hatch. I am 8 years old and I wrote this letter to congratulate you in winning the presidential race.

I'd like to tell you that the war is really bothering me because lots of people have died since it started. This makes me feel scared, upset, sad, and angry all at the same time.

I think you can negotiate with the government of Iraq to fix the problem! After that hopefully there will be peace.

Thank you for reading my letter!

From,
Aidan Hatch

P.S. I don't mean to be selfish, but it would mean a lot to me to have a signed photograph of you. My mom said she would get me a special frame for it. Thank you!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

36x365x118


You kept hundreds of girlie magazines side by side on a low bookshelf. I imagine they were chronologically arranged. You must have really liked the articles a lot.

Your decidedly young children passed the display often.

********************************************

I've born witness to more examples of racism since Wednesday morning than I have in many years combined. It's so very sad that this blatant stupidity passes down from generation to generation and that people are open and willing to accept this ignorance as our reality.

Gross.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Witnesses

Well, of course I am going to write about the election. I'm a follower like that.

I brought my kids into the gym today after school. We went right up to the "H" line and proceeded to the voting booth. It was quiet, with only a few of the many booths in use. We went to a far corner where I could squat down and explain the ballot and show the kids how to fill it out. Then we walked to the machine and submitted my vote.

I felt the tingle beneath my eyes and was more than a little surprised. I stopped and looked down at the kids and just felt it. Then I signed some petitions regarding things like health-care, a new town park, and same sex marriage.

And then we bought nut-free goodies at the bake sale.

By the time I reached the car my fallen tears had left paths on my face and my eldest, mouth full of cupcake, looked up at me in bewilderment.

I tried to explain that I felt privileged, and fearful, and lucky, and more than just a little hopeful. That I felt the possibility of change. That I believe that our next President might literally change the world, and I was ever so pleased that they stood beside me as I cast my vote.

I'm not rich and I'm not poor and it's not about taxes for me. It's about possibilities.

Then we figured out that in 10 years he'll be voting. In 11 years his brother will, and in 14 their sister.

I started to say, "I know you 3 might not realize how important that moment in the gym was..." But my eldest interrupted with, "Oh, I know it's important. I'm just not crying about it."

Monday, November 03, 2008

36x365x117


You coached boy's soccer at school. Before- I was one of a few who played with them. Then- I was supposed to switch to skirt and stick. But I made your team.

Happy eyes. Easy smile.


**************************************************************************************
Of this, I remember boys being mad that they were displaced from the team. I remember shaking as I dressed in a silent empty locker room and having to go into the boy's locker room for the pre-game team meeting. (Oh, I remember the smell.) I remember part relief part disappointment when we faced another team with another girl. Part pride part fear at being the only one.

I remember this kind man's easy and generous ways- his crows feet and almost the sound of his laugh.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

36x365x116


You made biscotti for me when my father died and abstained from rent raising through an engagment, a theft, a sickness, a wedding, and a series of deaths.

You're talented and interesting and I enjoyed seeing you.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Meme for a Change


I haven't done a meme in quite some time... but my new friend DAG tagged me and so I thought I'd comply.

The rules are simple:

  1. Link to the person who tagged you.
  2. Post the rules on the blog.
  3. Write six random things about yourself.
  4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
  5. Let each person know they have been tagged.
  6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Please note that it says "random" not "interesting"

Here we go:


1. I have 22 nieces and nephews. All but 1 of those comes from my own brothers and sisters. I am the youngest of 7 kids. Rob is one of 2. The kids range in age from 4- 25 and I joined Facebook so that I had an easy way to connect with them. They are convinced this makes me a weird stalker Aunt. Truth is, it freaks me out a little to be privy to the information they share.

2. My greatest heartbreak hit when my dad died in 1997. This loss was devastating and it took awhile before I could function normally. The heartbreak renewed when I had children- the loss was magnified and the pain reborn. I miss him madly.

3. And old beau wrote and recorded 2 songs for/about me. As he puts it, one worked and one didn't. It's strange to know those words are still afloat in the universe. We're Facebook friends now and I recently received disk after disk of his complete works. It's fascinating to hear the progression of his music over the past (gulp) 22ish years.

4. I am passionate about the idea that women need women. As I'm writing this it becomes pretty clear that this is tied to the fact that I have 4 sisters and while there is lots of love there, I don't connect with them in a way that I have always thought that I someday would/should. It's easy to gather with groups of women and have hours of laughter punctuated by moments of connectivity. It's easy, but important. It's more challenging to sustain relationships on a day to day week to week basis. Lives are busy and it's easy to not allow time to reach out to give and get support. When the path is open and clear it makes it easier to be a better mom, wife, daughter, sister, person. More challenging, but important. Women need women.

5. My kids are convinced that no chocolate is safe when I am near. They might be right.

6. Rob and I rarely celebrate our anniversary with gifts. We do, however, try to get away every so often to be together for a night or weekend. In 12 years of marriage I can't ever remember a time when we didn't have a great time. When we met we were in the same literary club in college. We both wrote poetry and stories. But not about each other. This year, on our anniversary he wrote me a poem. It tied together the past and future and I read it often. Often I'm amazed by the passing and growth in these 16 years of friendship.

There you have it- and I'm tagging ITFL, Catnip (when sh'e back), Velma, Dawn, Mrs. Chicken, and YOU! If you don't have a blog and want to play just leave a long comment...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

36x365x115


When I remember you, you're mid-story at my dinner table, telling us about peeing your pants during a t-ball game. Then I remember later, watching you drive by while I stood waiting for the school bus.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Smiling

I was playing with Picnik- fun!

36x365x114


You opened the door to a community within the magic box that I didn't know could exist. You encouraged and explained and engaged- because that's what you do and who you are. It's really helped.

Thanks.
**********************

Have you noticed that the gaps in my posts are expanding? This is the 1st stretch that I've had trouble deciding what to say about whom. So I stare emptily. I just finished reading a GNMParents contribution written by Double Agent Girl. (DAG has a swanky new look at her place. I had a drink or 2 with this lovely lady at Blogher Boston. She's energetic and fun-ny. And she's got talent- the photos I've seen are so pretty and the words flow like smooth melty chocolate. Mmmmm...)

Why mention DAG? Today she wrote about someone who saved her. And I got to thinking about saving and what that's looked like at different stages in my life. So I wrote this one. I don't pretend it's the same level of rescue- but this is where my brain went.

Winter is long and can be so isolating as my real life community goes into hybernation for months and months. The discovery of this active and supportive, interested and interesting community in the blogosphere has impacted my reality is a largly positive manner.

Saving? It might seem like a stretch (and again I say I am not pretending to be recued in the rawly real way that DAG was), but it's real in a different way. To those of you who doubt, I'll ask you to spend a winter in my shoes, er, boots.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

36x365x113

You ask a question that's puzzled you; eyes widening and smile flashing as clarity comes.

You're silly, generous, smart and creative.

My mystery boy. Don't let the shadow fall on you.

I love your crazy hair.

********
Happy Birthday, Clay!

You are something else- a fascinating enigma. Small bits reveal themselves and I treasure that understanding.

A triple layer birthday cake is coming your way, son!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

36x365x112


You say you still see me sideways, and I am still in that pub watching you look at me.

Though now the Punks are by our side, it's still you and me.

Still a deep flutter.

***********************************

Thank you, Rob, for not dying yet.

I love you so.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

36x365x111


Your powers of explanation and persuasion are developing strength. The proof? Your swiftly passionate negotiations that accompany every exchange.

You ask compelling questions. Your latest: who the heck is Jesus Christ?

We think you're pretty great.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

36x365x110


Your arrogance was evident in your opening sentence. Your anger at Boston's male social media elite seemed designed to forge or widen a chasm of resentment.

If you'd like men to come, change the conference name.


******************************************************

BlogHer Boston was my first experience at a blogging conference- and only my second social media conference. By and large I found the environment to be engaging and passionate and welcoming and open and interesting and interested and helpful. Only one exchange (of many) left me feeling blech.

I'm a fan of Girl Power. I loved my experience at the Danskin Women's Triathlon for that very reason. Women supporting women. Strengthening bonds and foraging friendships. RAH! RAH!! I am woman... and all of that.

Don't get me wrong, I was fine with a few men participating yesterday- but if there were a whole gaggle of men it would've changed the experience for me. I've written a lot about moms needing moms and women needing women. It's a passion of mine.

I went because of GNMParents. That's the place where I invest energy in effort to really develop community. Because women need women and parents need parents. Because I admire the contributors at GNMP who lay it on the line to share and grow and learn from and lean on the other great people who hang out there.

I wasn't promoting this space. Here... this is different. It's not for promotion. It's for me and I am completely fine and almost always comfortable with my small but loyal following. I like knowing you're here.

You are here, aren't you? (That's your cue to leave me a comment- just tell me one thing you've done in the past 48 hours...)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

36x365x109


When I called to speak to a nurse you asked what happened and berated me for not bringing my son to the hospital. Receptionist roles have expanded I guess.

I was scared enough to begin with.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Aidan

It's day 2 and he's almost back to normal- some swelling still in back but much better. I wish I took pictures yesterday. It's amazing the difference only a day makes. He was hamming it up for the camera today- yes, in fact that is a wife beater t-shirt he's sporting. It's his preferred pj attire.



Sunday, October 05, 2008

36x365x108


Your utility trailer's ramp crashed down on Aidan's head. He lies on a bag of peas to calm the enormous swell, his face cut and burned by pavement.

You're more like a dad to your grandson.

***************************************

Aidan looks like he got run over by a truck. He and his younger friend next door thought it would be a cool idea to bring the ramp down on their utility trailer so they could ride their bikes up and down the ramp. It's a heavy duty trailer used for hauling heavy equipment.

Cool idea.

Unfortunately, it was so very heavy it hit Aidan in the back of the head throwing him face first into the pavement. Enormous swelling in the back of his head, road rash on his forehead and temples... it was a long day snuggling on the couch with bags of frozen peas and broccoli and washcloths and lots of being hurt and afraid.

We're pretty sure he's fine. We'll wake him up a couple times during the night as recommended by his doc, and keep him home tomorrow because it hurts so much to touch. Then he'll be fine.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

36x365x107

I imparted injury when you left. I called, went, sat, told, listened and tried to answer questions that YOU should have answered. It hurt us.

Respect far lost.

Now, dust settled, I like your young wife.

Friday, October 03, 2008

36x365x106


I haven't seen you in a couple of years, but I can conjure your smell with no effort. Lotion. Powder. Spray. Covering the scent of... age? Make-up? Self?

You were a saving grace, but now?

Removed.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

36x365x105


I might've been too young to babysit, but I did while she went to the local bar and drank and smoked and somehow made it home.

The 1st alcoholic I ever knew. It killed her early.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

36x365x104


You told me I should add more bananas to my bread. Today, I did. It's mushy and won't soon (if ever) cook through.

You're the most competitive person I've met. Insecure beneath, and not often kind.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

36x365x103


We played match after match of scrabble for hour after hour when it rained. We sat surrounded by places and things which held tight to the moisture. You held tight to the dictionary and regularly prevailed.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

36x365x102


No, you aren't charming exactly, but magnetic.

You took on as patriarch, trying to save and pull us in. So like him.

Your kindness can be overwhelming, but still and always defined by your burpist history.

888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888

Lucy- My foot sure is asleep.

later

Lucy- Accidents sure aren't what my new bed is for.

8888888888888888888888888888888888888

How are you today? Rob and I are celebrating our 12th (gulp) wedding anniversary on Saturday- if his plane will take off and land in the monsoon that's approaching. Parenting together is infinitely more pleasing than going solo.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

36x365x101


At the reunion I was touched by your sincerity. By your energy and interest and kindness and easy smile.

It's like your mother- I hear her voice and see her smile when I think of you.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

36x365x100


You got fired for being inappropriate. It was easy to understand after witnessing your dance moves post-beach party in the Bahamas. Were you channeling Patrick Swayze?

But before that- you alone tried to boost morale.

Monday, September 22, 2008

36x365x99!

We share the burden of family secrets- because the weight is heavy alone.

I think if a secret weight fell to me I would share at least with you- I think.

On you- I wish love-

Friday, September 19, 2008

36x365x98


You talked about writing a book about Fenway. You chewed gum in class. You looked at us with light and saw us and made efforts to distract us from note writing with the great Annie Dillard.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

36x365x97


There's a snapshot in my head: you, opening up a brown bag covered text book looking at a faded dog-eared black and white of your late mother. Embracing sorrow.

Now you help grieving children. Perfect.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

36x365x96

One- actually two of my x365s have hurt someone's feelings.

I feel sorry about that.

36 words are so few to adequately encapsulate a memory or a relationship. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes the words string together nicely and with ease, sometimes it's a struggle and I feel limited by the snapshot I'm challenged to provide, and sometimes it's boring or severely lacking.

This x365 is equal parts pulling pieces out of the trap of my memory and trying to craft them in an interesting way from a writer's perspective. What I write is true- but only true to me and only in relationship to the snippet that I've pulled out.

I only ever expect the people who are reading these to identify a few of the "subjects," and only a few have I written expecting the person to read it. I don't use names intentionally (though if you think you know or want to know I'm happy to discuss).

Pssht. Anyway:

x96

Before you died you took a comprehensive inventory and gifted treasures to us. Mine you gave to me while you were still able.

I'd like to think we would have talked and listened and known.

p.s. tell me: what's the last song you listened to? Friend of the Devil is playing on iTunes right now, and before that it was The Cookie Bakers of the Night by Laurie Berkner. You have to love the party shuffle...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

36x365x95


You've cheated on your wife of many years, your son, and your daughters. What did you say to yourself to make that bitter betrayal less real?

Will they know?

Can she heal?

Can he repent?

Fool.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

36x365x94


Your style is diametrically opposed to "helicopter parenting." In public, when the kids warrent even a word, you're proud to roughly rebuff and belittle them. I wonder if they are already learning to hide the truth.

Friday, September 12, 2008

36x365x93


At a family party my playful young son raised the hose towards your car- "HE JUST WAXED IT!!" and towards you. You grabbed and if you'd gotten him you surely would have smacked him. You're mean.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

9/11/2008


I won't be here tomorrow. I won't be at GNMParents, either.

Unlike most days when I am away, tomorrow's absence is intentional.

I've written a bit lately about living intentionally.

I am accepting Jon and Cathleen's invitations to not blog, tweet, or facebook tomorrow.

That will free up a little more time for listening and for being with.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

36x365x92



From our first meeting I remember the (exact) Tupperware you left behind.

From our second meeting I remember a late departure due to unexpected ease.

On and on I remember understanding inappropriate humor and voluminous vomit.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

36x365x91

You were crisp, clean, dry-witted, and read; all juxtaposed by cigarettes.

I was learning to write. And love.

One product of an opening sentence assignment stuck:

My brother hasn't died yet, but the process has begun.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

36x365x90


I barely remember your roundish preteen face. I looked for summer "love" in our awkward exchanges. I hadn't thought about you in decades, until the moment she told me you'd taken enough drugs to kill yourself.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

36x365x89


Once at school, you discarded your mom approved collared shirt for a self approved concert tee. Hardly hard core. We walked to Indian Rock together, holding hands, but what on earth did we have to say?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

36x365x88


You surprised me when we met. I expected next to, I found (very much) with. Interested and dedicated, invested and willing to comfort and clean up vomit.

I look forward to sitting around the table again.

Monday, September 01, 2008

36x365x87


We learned that you were the youngest victim on September 11th.

I'm brought swiftly to tears imagining the loss of you.

You played with my son at daycare, then suddenly (and still) the world grieved you.

************************************

Christine was 2, and I don't pretend to be qualified to talk about her, I have only been remembering her.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

36x365x86



You thought that befriending me might improve your relationship with my brother. He did his things in spite of me; our friendship gave you no advantage. But it did calm the waters for this freshman swimmer.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

36x365x85


One summer, you and me and she and him and some cockroaches lived in a sublet near Sorrento's in the Fenway. I was proving brief independence. I don't know what the 3 of you were doing.

Friday, August 29, 2008

36x365x84


My father tackled house repairs with you by his side and scotch in his glass. Our plumbing was wrapped in electrical tape.

At every party you fell asleep with your glass perched on your belly's roundness.

36x365x83


In the cold green night grass of the backyard, we watched and listened to the game of tag. Waiting, unsure and waiting for first contact. Finally, a dry peck on the cheek before joining the game.

***********************************************************************************

There are moments when I wish I hadn't already written about someone because they are in my mind and I've more to say about them.

Rob is a poet, and that piece has lain dormant for years. Yesterday, he wrote for me and it was lovely and easy to read- not rusty and not the poetry of a boy who struggles or shocks or grieves.

This is a poem Rob introduced me to about 15 years ago.
I gave him the persimmons, swelled, heavy as sadness,
and sweet as love.
Phrases still run through my mind and I think it's delicious:

Persimmons
In sixth grade Mrs. Walker
slapped the back of my head
and made me stand in the corner
for not knowing the difference
between persimmon and precision.
How to choose

persimmons. This is precision.
Ripe ones are soft and brown-spotted.
Sniff the bottoms. The sweet one
will be fragrant. How to eat:
put the knife away, lay down the newspaper.
Peel the skin tenderly, not to tear the meat.
Chew on the skin, suck it,
and swallow. Now, eat
the meat of the fruit,
so sweet
all of it, to the heart.

Donna undresses, her stomach is white.
In the yard, dewy and shivering
with crickets, we lie naked,
face-up, face-down,
I teach her Chinese. Crickets: chiu chiu. Dew: I've forgotten.
Naked: I've forgotten.
Ni, wo: you me.
I part her legs,
remember to tell her
she is beautiful as the moon.

Other words
that got me into trouble were
fight and fright, wren and yarn.
Fight was what I did when I was frightened,
fright was what I felt when I was fighting.
Wrens are small, plain birds,
yarn is what one knits with.
Wrens are soft as yarn.
My mother made birds out of yarn.
I loved to watch her tie the stuff;
a bird, a rabbit, a wee man.

Mrs. Walker brought a persimmon to class
and cut it up
so everyone could taste
a Chinese apple. Knowing
it wasn't ripe or sweet, I didn't eat
but watched the other faces.


My mother said every persimmon has a sun
inside, something golden, glowing,
warm as my face.

Once, in the cellar, I found two wrapped in newspaper
forgotten and not yet ripe.
I took them and set them both on my bedroom windowsill,
where each morning a cardinal
sang. The sun, the sun.

Finally understanding
he was going blind,
my father would stay up all one night
waiting for a song, a ghost.
I gave him the persimmons, swelled, heavy as sadness,
and sweet as love.

This year, in the muddy lighting
of my parents' cellar, I rummage, looking
for something I lost.
My father sits on the tired, wooden stairs,
black cane between his knees,
hand over hand, gripping the handle.

He's so happy that I've come home.
I ask how his eyes are, a stupid question.
All gone, he answers.

Under some blankets, I find three scrolls.
I sit beside him and untie
three paintings by my father:
Hibiscus leaf and a white flower.
Two cats preening.
Two persimmons, so full they want to drop from the cloth.

He raises both hands to touch the cloth,
asks, Which is this?

This is persimmons, Father.

Oh, the feel of the wolftail on the silk,
the strength, the tense
precision in the wrist.
I painted them hundreds of times
eyes closed. These I painted blind.
Some things never leave a person:
scent of the hair of one you love,
the texture of persimmons,
in your palm, the ripe weight.

-- Li-Young Lee





Thursday, August 28, 2008

36x365x82


You took a cab home alone while I stayed behind for the very first time. But, I paid your way.

Later, I was all wrapped up and cut myself off. I've since tried to find you.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

36x365x81

We were joyriding near the shore on the Cape, beach bound. Rounding a corner, with music and voices blasting, a burial was underway. Still, I wonder what it meant to them to have their somberness interrupted.

Monday, August 25, 2008

36x365x80


You joined with my brother's abuse. Whipping me with a beach towel- a fish hook snagging my inner thigh.

Even now, when a towel whips, alarm is immediate, "There could be a fish hook in it!"

Sunday, August 24, 2008

36x365x79

You invited me to the prom, but I brought an era defining date from away. You were shyly funny and we might've had awkward fun. Once away, I sent you a birthday card and we wrote.

***********************************************

I was all about the letters freshman year. I got to know people I hadn't known though I'd seen them every day for years. I got to break away a bit from who I was in the hallways.

And it's a little bit like my relationship with social media now- getting to know people through GNMParents that I've never met. Re-connecting with people on Facebook that I've known in other lifetimes. "Talking" on the (severely neglected) wiki with newish friends (who, by the way, I miss).

Bits of all previous relationships have rolled into the snowball that I am now. But I am different then I was and the same as I was and my relationship with the world- in and out of social media- in and out of previous relationships- in and out of my current reality- help shape my outlook.

***************************************************

What website were you at prior to coming here today? Or, what's a must read for you?

Thanks for popping in today.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

36x365x78


Dear young lifeguard,

Thank you for reaching Lucy a moment before I did.
She's a good little swimmer, but she strayed too far and panicked.
She clutched me and I her.
Shaken.
And then- we swam.


*****************************************************************

*sigh*

Friday, August 22, 2008

36x365x77: the cheating verse

v.1
You. Driving to the Burning Man as I write.
You. Thought you'd be dead by now.
You. Full of passion even when it's disguised by the weight that can't define you.
You. Always our best man.

*********************
v.2
Today is my good friend Matthew's birthday. He is an integral part of my life. I hold him dear. I hope for him, worry for him, pray for him, but mostly I am thankful for him.

*********************
v.3
You made Lucy a beautiful quilt. The kindest thing you could have done. Your warm embrace holds our family tight and neither time nor distance will ever diminish that. But we miss you just the same.

*********************

Happy birthday, Maffy. xoxo



Thursday, August 21, 2008

36x365x76


We stayed up all night after graduation talking, listening, leaning, sharing. Freshman year we wrote and you called. Just before electronic mail.

Now your face is a vague blur and your last name is completely faded.

***********************************

Email me if you can help out with a name here. Next stop? The dreaded yearbook. Please save me from that. Please.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

36x365x75



I cannot imagine your day to day. Though married, I think you parent alone. I don't question your desire to work outside your home. Is it nature or nurture? All of your children are simply exhausting.

Monday, August 18, 2008

36x365x74


On the narrow roads winding around Depot pond (near the Lapidary), you let me drive your old Mercedes. You said if I looked at the side of the road I would steer there. You were right.

***************************************************************************
I saw Mamma Mia tonight. It was the hokiest of hokey and Pierce Brosnan... eschh. The pain.

In the hours leading up to the movie I was on the beach in Scarborough. I swam, walked and read a book that was mostly about girlfriends. I was alone. The sun was warm, the water cool and the people fun to watch. Did I mention that I was alone?

So, I think about friendships. About building and maintaining them. About bridging distance and time and connecting in an honest manner.

And I think about mothering. About building bases and maintaining them. About allowing distance and taking time and connecting in an honest manner.

And I think about spousing. About giving and taking time. About giving and taking and connecting.

What's the last movie you saw in a theater?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

36x365x73


Can you be light and airy all of the time?

What happens at home when life is heavy?

Who do you call on when you seek support?

Have you completely recovered from being hit?

Eat, eat.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

36x365x72


You scooped up my 12 pound month old babe, saying, "We'll be back." You brought him to meet other nurses. Only slightly freaked, we loved you for it.

Later, we saw you at the Statler Brothers.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

36x365x71


You have the pitiful potential to become an utter jock jerk. Displaying your strength and your abilities at the painful peril of your opponent. I hope you won't be the one shoving freshman in the lockers.


*******************************************************

So, how are you? What's new in your world? What did you have for dinner tonight (last night)?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

36x365x70



Everybody's friend, everybody's (drinking) buddy. Late to bed and early to rise- you worked hard and lifted your full glass often.

You were not partner material and left broken spirits and deflated confidence in your wake.

Monday, August 11, 2008

36x365x69

You kick my ass at the gym.

Aidan said: Mom, next time I want you to snuggle with me after you've been to the gym remind me to smell my dirty socks.

Other workouts seem silly.


***************************

Tonight I didn't want to go to the gym. I was in a beaten tired wasted stupid mood. I sweat a lot of it out and only a shadow remains. Only a shadow.

Tomorrow will be purposeful.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

36x365x68

We're joined by marriage not blood, we choose friendship. Sharing, helping, leaning, asking, offering. understanding, doing- for each other.

I'm protective and sometimes pushy because I hate that you hurt.

Because I hate that you hurt.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

36x365x67


We lived together at the start of 2 years. Friends.

You married to live on an army base.

Later you divorced.

You remarried and I met him.

Later still you divorced again.

You're working on 3.

Friday, August 08, 2008

36x365x66

You pulled strengths from an insecure freshman, said things to ignite the flame. I was suddenly a writer and smartly insightful.

I wasn't uniquely talented, but one of many.

You were a great coach.

Thank you.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

36x365x65


Though you were a good friend, you wouldn't come to our wedding without a date.

When I announced the birth of my first boy in an email, you replied to all referencing the size of Rob's-

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

36x365x64

Though he's the "life of the party" I look for you now and am never disappointed by the softer humor. You're kind, controlled and careful in your manner and I'm so glad to be your neighbor.

**************************************************

Do you ever wish you could sit with the girl you were before you were a woman? Or even now, to sit across the table and listen to the answers and watch the language and provide comfort? To offer guidance and answers and an occasional smack in the head?

Did you think that this is where you'd be and this is how you'd feel about it?

I didn't.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

36x365x63


I had a one of a kind haircut in high school and you asked who had done it. You walked out with the same style and I was crushed. Still the best cut I've ever had.


************************

I just looked at the 10 day forecast and all but 1 day calls for rain. Rain is to August what snow was to February. Blech. I am bummed. This will call for some serious creativity to enjoy such a dreary almost end of vacation.

Pshhhht.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

36x365x62


One warm hug stands out. And the way you sat in English, long lanky limbs folded tight. I was looking for sadness anger and angst; you often were sad. 14 years gone? I always Google you.

36x365x61



I swam. You dove. We wrote notes to each other during classes. I stopped swimming. You seemed only to dive. The closeness sank. Neither now are who we were but we've taught our kids to swim.




***************************************************

Today, I took the kids to Sebago Lake State Park. We've enjoyed the park for the past few years and we've been a few times this summer. Today was great. We went after lunch and stayed until dinner. We were in the water almost the entire time.

My kids are more than comfortable in the water. They are deeply in love with it in all swimable forms. I get that. I love that. I really love that.

We all swam together and the kids each had mini lessons with me individually. Aidan is learning breaststroke, Clay's working on freestyle breathing, and Lucy is figuring out what to do when she's in over her head. I saw things clicking today. They practiced and were feeling good about what they learned. Lucy went too deep 50 times, took a big breath and swam under water until she was able to stand up.

I think the kids learn more in 10 minutes in the water one on one than they do in a series of formal lessons. My kids take lessons, and I hope they'll continue to take lessons until they start swimming on a team. I want them to learn proper techniques and I want them to swim on a team for at least one season.

Rob's grandmother used to say: you can want in one hand and sh*t in the other and see which gets filled first.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

36x365x60




Your daughter tricked you, pretending the working Christmas lights were broken so you patiently puttered with each bulb.

We worked together transcribing your patient notes from braille. I learned about broken children. And about sustainable strength.


******************************************************************************

Joop. I am on day 73 and post 60. Oops. Life.

Summer speeds up each year. When I was eleven the days and weeks were longer.

My favorite summer days are long ones on the beach. In the water and on the shore. Playing and watching. I'm craving more of these days.

What are you going to do before September speeds in?

Monday, July 28, 2008

36x365x59


When you were a boy I babysat for you, and you wrapped your small frame tight around me in unfamiliar situations. Now you have a boy, but it's not as you planned. I am still here.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

36x365x58

I held fast to your waist when I was 15 on your forbidden motorbike. Funny and flirty and confident you weren't quite arrogant and you weren't quite a jock and we weren't quite connected. Simple fun.


********************************************************************************

Facebook bring people back into focus when your mind blurs them. I still don't know how I feel about re-connecting with these folks who (in some cases) were initially unconnectable.

Jury's out.

So, what's you favorite dessert of all time?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

36x365x57

I supervised your barely contained hostility, and your severe sense of slight. Your longtime boss (and my new one) was deeply afraid of confrontation. We worked unhappily on a carnival ride of dishonesty and undefined expectation.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

36x365x56

You sent a sweet sympathy card when my dad died, although we hadn't spoken in years. I still hold your kindness close and try to remember the living when death comes.

You've found me on Facebook!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

36x365x55


Your skin was dark your sister's milk light, joined in adoption. Your parents divorced and you moved away. When I visited we'd sneak peeks at your mom's "special" book, full of pencil sketches we couldn't understand.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

36x365x54

The weight feels heavy and it's not my child. I imagine your thoughts and prayers as you lie in bed each night and I am scared and sad and lonely for you. I am right here.



***************************************************************************

Today was stranger than strange. For months I have been occupied by a sad scary personal situation many of the people I love have been working through. I think about them often and worry for them and while I do not know how to help, I try.

Today, I learned of a sad and scary and secretive personal situation that's different and yet peripherally related to the first. I'll try to help ease the burden, if I can.

On a not scary or sad but maybe a little bit bizarre note, there's Rob's long overseas conversation with the ex. (Speaking of which, it's 11:25 pm, in case you were wondering. And, btw, it's relieving to know I was right, because seriously, it's a little freaky to think about who else would be Googling my name? Nice to end the mystery and Nice to know I'm not alone in the curiosity that brings me to the Google page from time to time.)

Any misconceptions of "normal" have been laid to rest today.

R.I.P.

Next up: a few photos from the amusement park, in part to explain my absence, in part to lighten my mood:

exciting

boarding


Disappointing 2




Wednesday, July 16, 2008

36x365x53


You are simply stunning, even more than when you first walked in. You have changed the working title of your book several times in these 15 years. I've read the reviews, your story is complexly compelling.

Monday, July 14, 2008

36x365x52

When my father died you called though we'd never spoken on the phone. The bond was formed and I understood it completely. I'd joined the club that you'd been part of for years. Thanks for calling.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

36x365x51

Seventeen years ago I cut your hair with scissors from your desk drawer. No 2 strands were equal. You're a mom across the sea and I haven't seen you in years. Now we exchange Christmas cards.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

36x365x50


We used to "talk" often and share and bounce ideas off each other many times a day. Now we don't but I can't understand or explain why. If I hurt or offended you I am sorry.

Friday, July 11, 2008

36x365x49


Once I knew you well, but was embarrassed at the reunion when you said hi and I stared at you- blank. You became a teacher and lived with our former teacher. What did that teach you?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

36x365x48


Loud and screechy, snuggly and smooth, full of vim. A vital surprise, you made us whole.

Just yesterday I brought you home from the hospital, and painted your mouth purple.

Suddenly, you are 4.

*****************************************************

Happy, happy, happy day after your birthday, Punk. I love you dearly.

Monday, July 07, 2008

36x365x47

We partnered at a weird wedding and bonded by being dates of the guests. We laughed and watched and walked together observing them. I didn't see the brokenness that lie beneath, but you chose to die.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

36x365x46


You're softly sweetly squeaky and have found a friend in my babe and she clearly thinks you are the bee's knees. You run to each other and away from the waves dancing jubilantly. Covered in sand.

Friday, July 04, 2008

36x365x45

When your kids were young you left (and compromised) too often.

I watch you with my kids with your grown kids with all of the kids with joy. Pure interest, energy, effort and care.

**********************************************



Vacation officially started today and we spent a long day on the beach. I played with the new camera and got a very different view of my family and their interactions- through a snappy telephoto lens that brings those far away images, glances and sun smacked faces front and center.

A lot of the kids really like each other.
A lot of the medium kids are flexing their muscles with their younger cousins.
A lot of the bigger kids are making time and space for the small ones.
The 2 smallest ones are thoroughly joyful.
A lot of the kids are awkward in their skin.
A lot of the adults don't know how to talk to the not-quite-adult-kids.
A lot of the kids have stories that they want to tell.

These opportunities are meaningful.
They mean different things to me than to my 74 year old mom or to my children. But These Days on the beach or at a back yard BBQ are infused with connections and desires to connect.

It's exhausting and we pay the piper when we tuck our kids in 3 hours passed their bedtimes and we tell each other it's an investment.

I'm deep in processing.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

36x365x44

We don't have much to talk about, but I want to know you again. Ill sit with you tomorrow, on the beach, with our family all around us bocceing and body surfing and screeching about crabs.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

36x365x43


See what happens? You all ignore my plea for a tiny little ity bity comment and I miss a day. By mistake! I still don't believe I didn't post yesterday. I guess it might be because I went to sleep before my kids, but really? I blame YOU for not leaving me a comment. *sigh*

*x43*

We dated briefly, our lockers side by side. You seemed quietly straight. I was so sick and you brought Pooh videos we sat while my mother futzed in the kitchen.

Once we danced. It was nice.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Nikki- yes, I was talking about you, email Rob...

Monday, June 30, 2008

36x365x42

I guess it was disloyal when I showed him my support. He opened and reached and engaged before and after you awaited the engagement.

I don't know the answer. But I hope you find it soon.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

36x365x41

You are warmly witty. Friends follow for a taste of your exuberant energy and sometimes a succulent sun dried tomato spread. You draw out bent-over-pee-my-pants laughter. When you move I'll miss you.

**

I almost took today off, but look: I didn't. You know what that means? It means you have to leave a comment. Uh-huh. Does to. Mooooom...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

36x365x40


Haiku for you:

We met at eighteen
freshman initiation
before school started.

We lived together
and walked through the Boston streets
meeting the people

We sat and we wrote
rambling lines of poetry
colorful and new.

Friday, June 27, 2008

36x365x39


I think you are crazy, not in the "haha how silly" way, but in the "hold my children close so you won't make them eat Chef Boyardee" way. Though smiling, you never ever meet my eye.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

36x365x38

We met during your last Boston visit. Almost 2 decades later I imagine you across the ocean "precariously perched" on curiosity. It took time, but we popped the bubble of perceived perfection. You should call him.


***
Really, you should.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

36x365x37

I think you skip school and smoke more than cigarettes. I think you're alone often and fall squarely into the "at risk" box. I think you'll get into life changing trouble. I pray that you won't.

Monday, June 23, 2008

36x365x36

By day you taught 5 year olds in my daughter's school. One night your husband discovered you in the darkness kissing a man and a woman. I hope your own daughter has strong sober role models.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

36x365x35

I sit outside stealing your wireless because ours is down. But I'll tell you when I see you and you'll laugh. You lend your things and offer help with practiced ease. A good and generous neighbor.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

36x365x34

We sang the Violent Femmes so loudly- and The Police. Odd pairing. We didn't fit in our skins so we were mean. Not usually to each other. We were close but now are not. It's okay.

Friday, June 20, 2008

36x365x33

Is it wrong to question your motives? You stand by cleaning up her messes and reformulating who you are. You've made your share of mess, both full of fault, it's hard to imagine happily ever after.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

36x365x32

Friend I've yet to touch, I drink your words.

You mourn your dead dad with painful eloquence and expose your vulnerability with grace.

We'll meet on the Cape and our kids will play at the beach.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

36x365x31

Dear friend, years pass between hugs and weeks morph to months without any contact. But my core knows that I can call you to give and get support. It's not enough. Separated, we can't really know.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tangent: Consciousness


I feel like this place is for 365's now, but that leaves a space where I should be writing more that I'm just not. So, here it will be. Hodge-podge is fitting, no?

Remember the miracle of turning the water into wine? When Jesus told the servants to "fill the jars with water" the servants (without question) filled the jars to the brim.

And a friend has me thinking about what that means, what it can mean, to fill a jar to the brim. Because the jar isn't always a jar. Sometimes it's helping your sister or tucking in your son. Sometimes it's listening to a budding reader make sense of the letters. Or listening to the far off lyrics of your daughter's made up song of the day. Sometimes it's cooking dinner and calling your mom and making time to talk to the guy you married. Sometimes its completing a proposal or planning a trip. Sometimes it's a swim or a water balloon war. Sometimes its connecting with old friends and reaching out to new ones. And yes, sometimes I guess it must be laundry and bills and sweeping and folding and the monotonous tasks that make life smoother when it needs to be.

And what would change if I were doing those things that I do "to the brim?"

Am I the only one who needs constant reminders to live consciously and celebrate what I have?

Just thinking.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

36x365x30


No one deserves the pain you face. It started so long ago, not fitting right, not trying, not knowing how to try. I am so scared for you and for your family. I'm sorry. So sorry.

Monday, June 16, 2008

36x365x29

The boys in child care asked about your mustache and smiling you said someday they'd grow one, too. I wanted you to wax, so they would stop asking. You worked too long and saved too few.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

36x365x28

Dead dads are not much fun. Less today.

He was life and strength and devotion, so full of shit and laughter. He raised me to know what lies in the center.

Faith and Family, ever together.

36x365x27: Saturday's on Sunday

My husband tells me stories of respect and of passion. Of commitment and of the extreme sport of dedication. You write your 365 of goodness and positive influences. And sir, you have made him a collector.

Friday, June 13, 2008

36x365x26

Your generosity of time, energy, affection and gifts gave focus to a hollow time. You brought a ham dinner (with wine) for 20 to the ICU the night before dad died. After, you faded into black.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

36x365x25


A life juxtaposed by the mother you deeply want to be, and the reality of your troubled life. You need to hold your children far too close. I think you are paralyzed by fear of loneliness.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

36x365x24

At 14, I smoked and wore a pin that read "Make Love, not Smoke," not knowing what "make" meant. I pointed to it when you told me not to smoke. Silent dear friend of my dad.


(who lives in North Reading?)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

36x365x23

You shared your family's recipe for rice and beans and your baby was sweet and happy. Her father hit you and you got pregnant again, but you didn't have that baby. I cried when you graduated.

Monday, June 09, 2008

36x365x22


You found your father dead in the car when you were 6. My mother said I was drawn to troubled kids. I was and you were. We talked for hours in the dark of the stairwell.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

36x365x21


I couldn't figure out how to let you go, so I held fast for far too long. Now, I Google you and seek some silly sign of who you became. I'd like to meet your wife.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

36x365x20


We leaned against the yellow walls in AP English. And you, with your wide comb over and subtle smarm sat among us. Teaching. I can't believe she fell for you, lived with you or loved you.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

36x365x19


I knew when I spoke to him over the bonfire in October that he was he and that you were you. Better together. I wept at your wedding. Watching him watching you. The past only ashes.

36x365x18

Smoking day care lady, playing favorites with the children. Criticism lies always in wait on your lips.

And yet you are kind and dependable with your neighbors: offering to care to tend to help.

An oxymoron.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

This Seems Perfectly Reasonable to Me.


36x365x17

I judge you: selfish, shallow, disloyal, dishonest, and mean. You took the love of my people and you shit on it. You are broken but I am sad and angry. I cannot forgive you yet. Prick.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

36x365x16

Tired teacher taught for too many years. You seemed twice your age. Then I saw you with your grandchild at a concert and you were full of vim. I wonder when you started longing for retirement.

Monday, June 02, 2008

36x365x15


It was absolutely no surprise when you passed out during a party in 1993. As promised your friends shaved your head. 10ish years later you walked out of the closet and ran back to the army.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

36x365x14


You really did walk into the party like you were walking onto a yacht. Rock star in your mind, you played the harmonica and played the girls. Handsome and talented. Fun to watch but decidedly insincere.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Subscription Options

I hope I didn't just blow up my blog. I noticed that my daily visitors are hopping up a little bit and so I added a "subscribe by email" thingy on the side bar. And don't worry about the spam thing, it's all automated.

So, now you can use an RSS reader or get posts via email. Because really, who would want to miss this magic?


Ok, and also: who keeps finding their way here by Googling my name? Because you should really say hi. Especially if I haven't seen you in awhile.

36x365x13


I cried at a dance when you played the theme to Say Anything, avoided your eyes during
Is she really going out with him? You played and wrote and made music and I loved you first.

Friday, May 30, 2008

A related to but not x365 post

I am getting a lot from this writing project. It provides an opportunity to reflect and remember and connect. It's short and usually very quick. The challenge is in writing about certain people. In some cases too much to contemplate. Sometimes a great temptation to say more. Knowing just what to pick out from either years of stuff or a brief foggy moment. So it's not always simple, but I think it's good for me.

My list can use some editing and I've been doing that a little. I was admittedly scraping the bottom of the barrel (not with Ron) but with the waitress at a restaurant I go to with the girls.

I love reading what others are making or made of their projects. The original x365 is Dan's and he paints a pretty picture. You should read his words.

And here's what else I am thinking about: Judgment: a seemingly constant struggle. Kindness: too often a struggle. So there is that.

36x365x12


Your married boyfriend hit you often and hard. You lived with me with black and blue pride and a bleeding sense of self. I called an abuse hotline. You came home with flowers. I was 20.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

36x365x11


You married your husband in your apartment wearing your pajamas. I don't know why. Your father wore a suit. We talked about the children you might have and the word divorce was always prefaced with if.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

36x365x10

I walked in to see you, your thinness heavy on the bed. Closed down for days you opened and spoke and held my second son in the cradle of your limbs. A day later you died.

Sometimes there is so much more I want to say about a person.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

36x365x9


She made you pee on your young son's leg because it's said to take the pain of the jellyfish sting away. And on our wedding day you drove alone and arrived late but not too late.

36x365x8

I missed yesterday, but technically I didn't because I thought about this in the ER:

I was embarrassed with and for you and the young religious educator when you asked what it meant that Mary was a virgin. I knew just enough not to ask. But now I await the question.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

36x365x7


You walked in to the party like you were walking onto a ya-

kidding.

You wore black and white garb in a black and white kitchen and I stood behind you in the buffet line. You fit in, but when I pointed it out they gasped. Because nuns shouldn't laugh.



36x365x6


A severed life of troubled sadness. Marked by ink and drink and cigarettes. Less than handsome, more than light. Feigning danger. Your aunt found me in Boston on a warm spring day because you were dead.

Friday, May 23, 2008

36x365x5

We met in 9th grade, my first high-school crush. We flirted boldly in civics class, even after the teacher separated us. At our last reunion you were neither handsome nor tall and you bored me.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

36x365x4

Gray haired volunteer of kindness, leaning in welcome, meeting his eye with warmth. In a voice thick with years of tar and maybe gravel you said, "You must be Clam." But my son's name is Clay.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

36x365x3


You found your voice in Pennsylvania, overcame the common grunt to speak with clarity, confidence and humor. Now you're unpacking a suitcase of hangovers from 4 years in college and looking for a place to fit.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

36x365x2


The bad ass who came to the beach at night with Marlboro Lights and a sweetness undisguised. I was drawn to you. Then, when I was gone you lost a brother. I never found you again.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Focus: x365


A comment link at GNMParents led me to a new blog, Carolynbahm.com. Carolyn is doing a project whereby for a full year she writes a short vignette about a person each day. Her project led me to x 365 and I began my list.

So, here begins my own 36 x 365 whereby I will attempt to write 36 words about 365 people over the course of the year. I am doing this because reflecting is good. Because focus is good. Because daily writing is good.

36x365x1

Before you died your breath was heavy. In a half embrace, I needed you to feel me. My mother held your other half, and guided my good-bye. Her mother, her daughter, herself. Her last great loss.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Webby Fiction


There's a girl who lives up the block. She wears a lot of purple. Purple socks or a dress or a t-shirt or a ribbon in her hair. She passes by our house on her way to the bus stop. She's in second grade. When she climbs on the school bus she sits in her assigned seat and stares out the window singing purple rain.

I made that part up. She's far to young to know Prince, or even the "artist formerly known as." But she stares out the window and her lips move in song.

When she gets to school she walks in a line and writes on the lines and colors inside of the lines because she knows how to follow those rules. She is quiet and neat and never silly. Her teachers pass by, smiling in her direction. Because she does what she's told.

She's a good girl. And a good girl she'll stay. She won't drive without her license or smoke behind the backstop. She won't date a troubled boy or ever cut a class. She'll be polite to all her family and never say a swear. She'll apply to community college and excel in all her classes. She'll add up all those numbers and remember all the dates. She'll hand her papers in on time and a typo won't be found.

She'll do what she does because that is who she is.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Clutter


I haven't been writing enough. Hell, if I am honest I have not been doing enough of anything: writing, sleeping, thinking, pausing.

I won't pretend that it's because I am always running around tending to others.

It's a lot because my mind gets so cluttered that it's hard to pick out what needs picking. Like the meat tucked into the belly of the lobster. When you can extrapolate it the reward is sweet and tender. But sometimes it's too entwined with the cartilage and you end up chewing the plasticy parts. Completely unfulfilling.

I am very cluttered right now.

Unable to pick out any of the good stuff.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Politics and Kids and a Great Giveaway!


In case you missed it, GNMParents is hosting a book giveaway for my friend Sue's new book See How They Run.


Great book, great timing. Leave a comment at GNMParents today (please and thank you!)!

And, if you have a school aged kid please ask them to complete her quick KIDS SPEAK OUT survey.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Library


I don't know that many people who blog. Well, I know a lot of people who blog but I haven't met them face to face. And the few people I have met in real life who blog, began blogging after I knew them, or I met them in real life before I knew them through their blog.

Still, there are people that I've come to know, people I'd love to sit with and drink wine with and bake cookies with and walk with and most enjoyably talk with. Because this blogging thing presents us with a library. A place to browse and open to random pages, reading thoughts and stories and life philosophies. We crack the binding looking for words to pull us in and help us to learn and connect and grow. We look for words that allow us to spend time with others who inspire and entertain and comfort us.

But blogging offers us something library books don't. We have the opportunity to turn from page to page and not only read the author's words, but we're also allowed- no- invited to reflect and share and add our own words to theirs. Yet, I haven't spoken to most of these people. We haven't sat together or just been together.

But that's about to change. In two weeks the Honorable Reverend Swanson is bringing his bride for a visit. And so I will put a voice and a bunch of expressions to the words and photos I've been reading. And with a little duct tape to keep the kids in line we might even be able to have a "real" conversation. And I am looking forward to that. Although that implies our online communications are less than real, but that is not the truth.

We'll be reconnecting with the beautiful Brogan bunch as well, who we always enjoy seeing. We'll talk and eat and watch and listen and walk and who knows what else?

Or that's the plan.

I wonder if it will be at all awkward when Jon learns that not only does Rob not exist, but that I also made up all 3 punks and I am actually a 78 year old man living in Duluth. We shall see.

In other news, I took this photo of a big fat bee on one of my bleeding hearts today and the imaginary kids and I really liked it:



Monday, May 05, 2008

Almost


Yesterday I was killing time waiting for a prescription to be filled for Lucy's ear infection. I decided as a treat I'd zip through the Dreaded Donut line for some tea for me and sugar for the Punks. Typically, it was a very crowded poorly planned parking lot. And, tossing the donuts back to the kids, I had to stick the snout of my car out around a van that was parked on the street right next to the parking lot exit.

But the exit was a little hill and so I went out a little farther than I should have. And when I did, I stared into the grill of an enormous Mack truck, and a quick glance in my mirror showed with another car on my bumper, I had no room to back up. And the truck, close and fast, was set to hit my door. And then I would die.

And while they took me to the morgue, or the hospital or wherever they would take me, I was overwhelmed with fear for my kids. Because if I was dead and Rob was away would my kids sit, scared and on an adrenaline and sugar high in the back of a patrol car for hours until they found someone to come? And could 8 comfort 6 and 3? Would they huddle together or sit in silent terror?

But by the grace of God the driver was aware and reacted and stopped just in time. The truck jerking still. And by just in time I mean that if I rolled down my window I would be able to touch the truck's grill. With ease.

And I sat with my hands tight on the wheel and my eyes stuck on the truck. With the clouds reflecting on windshield I could not see the driver's face. And we sat until I pulled out of his way, and so I could park on a side street, repeating a prayer, shaking, reassuring, and crying with fear and relief and whole hearted gratitude.

And I shook for hours.

And at night, when I tried to sleep I couldn't breathe and I dreamed I got run over by a little white car.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tightening

I am looking at efficiencies still. Yesterday I reduced my blogroll from 100 to 62. My goal is to have it below 50 by day's end. It's not easy and it doesn't really make me feel good. Except that it does a little. Because regularly I have 683 gazillion unread posts glaring at me. And so while I enjoy stopping in from time to time to see what's new, I can not maintain connections with so many people.

So, last night I read a lot. I caught up and I made choices about who was adding what to my online time. It was a good process and I remembered why I blog-rolled a lot of people to begin with. And I remembered why I started this blog and how uplifting and inspiring the running and tri connections that I made were. And then I was overcome with a sense of failure because I stopped. And they didn't. And when I "knew" them they were learning to run 5ks, like me, but now they are running half marathons, marathons, and Olympic distance triathlons. And they ROCK. And I can say I knew them when. But my goals have changed and while I am again working on becoming fit, I do not feel compelled to compete or write about it.

While I kept some of those feeds, I got rid of some, too. And that feels right.

And speaking of write. I know some talented folks who offer inspiration and example and I want to know them better.

While there are many, I'll offer just one example: Kate knocked me over with her love letter to her niece. And I completely relate to her less than appropriate sense of humor. I love the way she recounts conversations and I appreciate her writing skills and style. A lot. And so she stays and I look forward to spending time with her. Because if I reduce and tighten my blog-roll I can actually participate in the community.

Theoretically.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Reflections


I am inefficient. I spend too much time turning from task to task to task and at the end of the day I've done nothing extremely well. Every day. Online and off. Work and recreation.

The less structured summer is coming and when I woke up this morning I was listening to my son sing along to Crocodile Rock on his new iPod Shuffle that he bought with his own money after depositing an equal amount of money into his savings account and the problem with that is that he shouldn't be old enough to do it.

But he is.

And so I am looking at my scheduling and my growing time markers that live with me and I am afraid. So, I am focusing my energies on simplification. Reduce. Reduce my beloved blogroll. Reduce objects. Reduce wasted time and energy. Reduce incessant email surveillance. Reduce piles and stored objects.

And instead of focusing on expanding, I need to focus on tightening. Tightening my community circles. Tightening my obligations. Tightening my faith. Tightening my abdominal muscles. Tightening my time.

It's spring. Time to wake up.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Vacation

We're in a house that's not ours to clean.
The 3 are asleep.
The wine is fine.
The view of the ocean is clear.
No one is sick.
The tvs are off, and now so is this machine.
Enjoy.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Waah...

I am trying to get my groove on- or back- or whatever.


I, like the 3 small ones in my house, am sick again. It's viral pharyngitis. A sore throat. Which describes perfectly the fire that has been burning in my throat for the past 5 days. Who names these things? If it were me this would be double diagnosis of viral throatonfiritis with a little can'tstayawakus. The kids are just wrapping up some spring colds, and they each have a lingering cough. No Big.

On another medical front I have been preoccupied by the idea of living without a uvula. A possible treatment for sleep apnea involves a
uvulopalatopharyngoplasty. Now this sounds like a great way to spend a day, no?

The real question is, can I lead a long and fulfilling life without my uvula?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Disclosure


My father died 10 years, 11 months and 17 days ago. I remember it and sometimes feel it as though it were a month or 2 or 3 ago.

In the past few months I have been thinking about writing in a different way. And in the past few weeks I have been thinking more about writing my stories. My mother wrote her autobiography for a college course when I was 13 and she was 50. I just finished re-typing it and having it bound and copied in her honor for her and my siblings.

So, here where I used to talk about my fitness efforts (which I still think about), I am now recalling stories from the distant and recent past. Maybe it's a step towards an autobiography of sorts. Maybe its a series of writing exercises.

Thanks for your thoughts and condolences on what I wrote yesterday. They soothe in the same way they might if this was a more recent loss. Fact is, my father's death is neither recent nor distant. It's constant and permanent. So, thank you.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Just After


I called my sister in the middle of the night, on a wire stretching from one coast to the other. I stood in the dim hospital hallway leaning against the ICU nurses station, not looking back into the room I'd just left.

I told her that he died. I don't recall telling her that when we got the phone call at home we crammed in a car, flying over bumps and though lights, never seeing another vehicle. I don't recall telling her that we pulled up to the emergency room entrance, abandoned the car, doors ajar, and chased each other at full speed up two or maybe three flights of stairs.

I did tell her that he was still alive when we got there. I did tell her that we stood, touching a part of him- foot, shoulder, arm, hand, head. And that we prayed the Our Father for our father until he was done breathing.

I don't know what she asked, but I offered her what I thought I'd need if she were there and I was not.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Walking

When I was very small I walked with my mother. This was before every family required 2 cars. We walked to the JCC, where my Catholic mother taught Jewish customs in my nursery school. Most days after school I took swimming lessons and played in the water while my mother swam a mile. It took her a really long time and so I became quite a good swimmer. Our skin was wrinkled when we toweled off. And the soap could not remove the lingering smell of chlorine.

Then we walked the mile and a half home. We used to pass an ugly little ranch style home, and I remember telling my mom that it was my favorite house in all the world. It was the brightest red paint that I had ever seen.

I am so anxious to move my body. The days are longer and the snow is melting and I want to walk again.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Skipping Hippos Giveaway!




I'm sorry, I just can't resist. Mom Views is having a poncho giveaway. The ponchos at Skipping Hippos are painfully sweet. Check it out:



I don't spend $46 on myself let alone my 3 year old... but heck these are unique and handmade and just freaking adorable- and you might not be as tight fisted as I... but if you are, it's a giveaway! So, spread the word, enter the contest, and support a mom.

Good Luck!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Signs of Spring


I've been sick. So sick. But today offered signs of healing and of spring:


I'll be back soon. I have naps to take before I sleep...