Monday, November 15, 2010

Why is Heather Crying?

Fiona has not experienced any animosity because of the fact that she has two mommies. Both Laura and I have been involved with her school activities and the children in her class have accepted the fact without any judgement. They've asked how and why, and Fiona, very matter-of-factly, has answered, "I just do." And they went on with their lives. One child even claimed she had THREE mommies, because if two is better than one, then three is even "more better". Pretty sure that kid was lying, but whatever.

Now that she's in a big school, with older children, I'm hoping homophobia will not rear its ugly, stupid head. Althoug it's become much more common and accepted, same-sex parenting is still judged as an abberration. Something that is imperfect, lacking. 

The "Heather Has Two Mommies" types of books don't help much. They generally depict a happy child who suddendly comes to realize that her/his family is different and feels sad only to be told that ALL families are different, and it's OK.

But in reality, not all families are different. Most families include a mother and a father and a child or two and maybe a cat or a dog. Having divorced parents or being adopted, or being raised by a single mom is another type of family, but it's not the same as having two parents of the same sex. It's just not. It's not better or worse or the same. It's different. The children in these other scenarios aren't crying because their family is supposedly different. The boy who is being raised by a single mom has a father somewhere (presumably), but maybe he's a deadbeat dad who doesn't show up for soccer games and occasionally forgets birthdays. And maybe he's not. But that child's not crying. He doesn't need a book written about his family in order to make him feel that he's OK. He doesn't need a book to apologize for his family. 

I like the books "ABC A Family Alphabet Book, and "Emma and Meesha My Boy". These books just tell the story of a family, without the politics and tears. They portray kindness and parenting and  normalcy, mingled with love, and belonging. This is who we are.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

How to Waste a Perfectly Good Lunch Hour

I went to another doctor's appointment today. I'm certain my colleagues think I'm pregnant. Again. But I'm not. What I am, though, is tired.

Laura made me go to a sleep disorder specialist because I (allegedly) stop breathing when I sleep. She's apparently tired of saving my life several times a night.

As we were waiting for the doctor (for an hour and a half), we noticed a middle aged woman struggling to make it out the door with her walker and Laura said, "I'm so glad we can walk." This made us laugh, mainly because we were bored. But I feel guilty now. I think about her, dozing off in waiting rooms, living alone, struggling just to get from A to B.

The doctor finally came in. He asked a plethora of questions, which I had already answered when I filled out the VERY thorough questionnaire they sent in the mail (10 pages. I almost fell asleep filling the damn thing out. Ironic? Hell yes!)

This doctor was sweet, but weird. He smiled at inappropriate times. I felt like I was in an episode of Ally McBeal. As he explained PHP's new coverage laws for sleep disorders, in excruciatingly extensive detail, he broke into a gleeful smile. And his smile made me smile for no apparent reason, which made me seem just as crazy as he is. Plus, he had an accent and was very difficult to understand so when he smiled I was afraid I'd misunderstood him and he was actually telling an hilarious joke. But insurance coverage is not that funny, so I think he just had some sort of smiling tic. It was all very disconcerting.

He agreed that I needed a sleep study to diagnose my problem, but he couldn't schedule it due to the PHP controversy. It was obvious I had wasted two hours for no immediately evident reason. I was secretly hoping he would give me some sort of narcotic to help me sleep, but no. He gave me nothing. Instead, he stole my lunch hour (and a half).

So, in a nutshell, I'm tired because I die just a tiny bit every few hours during the night. But at least I can walk.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dinner with a Side of Art

We got a last minute invitation to go to the Art Farm for a harvest dinner in a barn. Hell yes, we can come! We almost forgot we have children for two minutes. We (Laura) called Fiona's favorite babysitter but she had plans to do something much more enriching and fulfilling than watching Cinderella 2 (which, by the way, sucks more than the original Cinderella, if you can imagine that). After a few more calls, our trusted friends, J and R, agreed to take on the task. Yeah! We get to go eat in a barn! With friends! Without having to ignore a baby slinking out of her high chair in the middle of the first course! No dessert negotiations or cleaning up spilled milk. Out with the whine, in with the wine!

Their place is in the country, where the Amish folk dwell.  We followed these people, knowing they would lead us in the right direction.

Once we got there, we were giddy with the realization that we had pulled this off. Just an hour ago, I was looking through the fridge, looking for something halfway edible to make for dinner. Now, we're in the midst of a full-fledged dinner party in the making. 

Everyone gathered in the kitchen to finalize their epicurian delights. We brought a bagette and wine (it was last minute plus we have kids - don't judge us), so we were off the hook, unlike those other poor fools who had to braise, chop, slice and broil.

The hosts are artists who remodeled an old farmhouse and adjoining building into an art resort. Their personality and talent is injected into every piece of furniture and every stroke of paint. 

When we felt guilty about watching everyne slave over the stove, Laura and I decided to have a little fun in the shower.
We don't normally do this sort of thing in other people's homes. I was obviously drinking, which helps explain the behavior. Laura, well, that's just how she is. In our (her) defense, the shower was unlike other people's shower. It was designed and created by them. There's even a little seat:
Photo from
After the shower shananigans, dinner was served in the barn. But this is the Art Farm, so a barn may be a barn, but it's a different kind of barn. And as expected, the table was immaculately set:

The food was fantasic. Photos cannot do it justice, plus, my camera ran out of juice right in the middle of dinner. Nonetheless, here's a sampling:

We like these people. Not because of their food, or their barn, or their art. Well, actually, kind of because of their art, but mostly because of their genuine natures and their love of life and all that is beautiful. And for their kindness and open hearts.

Their work, their life, is their art. They are creating their own existence. I have tremendous respect for this self-sufficiency. It seems natural and idyllic to be able to so effortlessly merge what you do with who you are.
Just being on their turf reminded me how generous the universe is when you are open to its abundance. It reminded me of simple pleasures, like the beauty of flickering candle light and the pink of dusk.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Almost Died and/or Had Brain Damage Today

I've been coughing for almost a month now. After the pneumonia diagnosis and the Redimed prescription, I felt ok, and then relapsed, with an acute ear ache and continued coughing. I've had enough. I went to a new doctor who came highly recommended. I was the ONLY person in the waiting room, which to me is equivalent to reading an obscure Russian novel. Nobody else will come here only because they have not yet been exposed to the brilliance.

I love my new doctor. And by love I mean I forgive him for his tresspasses.

He came in all cool and hip and smart and proceeded to trash French people after he found out I was born in Paris. He went on and on about how French people are so rude when Americans don't pronounce words correctly and went on to talk about Air France and how the French pilot completely butchered the English language and no one cared about that but when he, the doctor, pronounces "mange" slightly incorrectly to a french person, he gets corrected. This is a man who is not used to being wrong. Well, Dr., pronouncing "mange" is almost blasphemy to french people. This is what I was thinking, but instead I said something stupid (because I'm naked and vulnerable and not in the mood to defend the French as I'm wearing a flimsy paper gown), like "well, I don't know what that's about. You were pretty close." And by that, I meant, well, your accent is sucky, but I'm almost naked, so whatever. 

He proceeded to check my blood pressure (rocket high!). He couldn't believe I'm not on meds. My former doctor is a quack. I knew this already, which is why I'm here. 

Then he looked into my ear with that scope thing and almost jumped back in horror. He even made the nurse look. This is very rare. This is the worst case he's seen in a long time. Only once a year, tops, does he see something that bad. What is it. Meningitis. Laryngitis. I don't know what he said, but it ended in itis. He sent me on my way with my prescription. And gave me the peace sign. Really. For a very obviously smart guy with a bad French accent, he's pretty charming. 

When I called Laura, I told her it's Meningitis, because that's all I remember. After the French bashing and the complete surprise at my inner ear, that's what I was left with.

After a few google attempts to diagnose me and determine my life expectancy, Laura learned that I may experience brain damage from the infection and worst case scenario, I had about three to four days to live . Well, I didn't feel THAT bad, I tried to reassure her. Though both my ears were throbbing. Damn. I'm dying.

She called me later (20 minutes), to tell me to call them back and find out if that's really what it is. Turns out it's "myringitis". Very different. Life expectency-wise.  

Saturday, September 11, 2010

It's a Chuck Taylors and Soup Kind of Day

Another Saturday upon us and we had a LOT planned: Chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, farmer's market, downtown Art Fest, naps for the children, grocery shopping for me, soup making later, laundry and cleaning the house and fixing our screen door for Laura. Yep, she got the raw end of the deal.

We decided to all wear our respective Chuck Taylors. For just a few minutes, before Fiona had to change to her princess shoes because she can't be seen in such boying shoes, even though they're PINK. She has standards.

We found a new farmer's market today.  It was indoors, a plus since it was raining this morning. This place was huge. When we first walked in I spotted these luscious yellow peppers, of which I needed six for my soup. That booth only had four and I felt guilty buying all of them. Perhaps this guilt was misplaced. Right next to the peppers were some lovely tomatoes. I needed those too. Laura was getting concerned that we were stocking up at the very first booth when it was obvious that this was a 5,000 acre market. She let me buy the yellow peppers. She must have known how important (and obviously scarce) these were. So we all agreed to scope out the place before randomly buying produce like crazy people. Fine.

We scoped. They had everything there. Except for the additional two yellow peppers I needed. Sometimes, scoping is a waste of time. Just sayin'.

We got our vegetables for the week. Laura sneaked in an acorn squash. I have no idea how to cook this freakish vegetable. "I'll cook it," she said, when I complained. I'm such a pain in the a** sometimes.  I just hope this squash will not end up rotting in our potato bin  like it usually does. I can't handle any more fruit flies.

I don't understand squash, or zucchini, or pumpkin. Don't even get me started on desserts using these veggies. Desserts, by their very nature, should not be made out of vegetables. Even pumpkin pie is wrong. Call me un-American. If anyone (the two of you who actually read this blog) has a trusted recipe for acorn squash, please let me know. I'll cook the damn thing and I'll throw in a little love (for Laura-Jo). Maybe that'll make it taste better than chalk, with cinamon sprinkled on top.

Speaking of food, I made a Roasted Yellow Pepper and Tomato soup tonight that was, quite frankly, exhausing. It turned out beautiful and delicious. Look at it:

Pretty, right? But it took so long to make. I was almost too tired to eat it. Everyone loved it, partly because it was almost seven by the time it was finished and the troops were starving.  Fiona loved it so much she gave it two thumbs, plus 10 toes up. She's my favorite daughter.

It was quite an endeavor. Between the roasting and the chopping and the pureeing and the straining and trying to keep one soup hot as I made a whole different soup. Well, I was so worn out from the ordeal I had to retire to a bubble bath. My back hurt! That's how hard this soup was to make. I had to detox from soup making.

Then, we went outside to walk barefoot in the freshly wet grass and dance to Prairie Home Companion music and finally, crashed to PBS Kids cartoons. I'm tired, people (the two of you).

Monday, September 6, 2010

Saturday is an Asparagus

It's the perfect day. It's cradled by Friday, which is a great day because it's right before Saturday, and followed by Sunday, which is a great day in and of itself. But Sunday has a dark lining, when you're not in the moment. Sunday thinks about getting up early on Monday. But Saturday, has no such worries. It's perfect.

So we celebrate with chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and we wear happy clothes. Laura goes to work and the kids and I go grocery shopping.

I love groceries. The endless possibilities of gourmet meals to come. Although I have the menu for the week somewhat lined out, I will sometimes stray in the presence of luscious, under appreciated vegetables. Brussel sprouts, for instance, don't always come to mind when planning the week's meals. If Brussel sprouts were a day, it would be Monday. Icky, by nature, through no fault of their own. But they look so cute, their tiny little cabbage selves just crying out to be loved, and smothered in bacon fat. Because who doesn't like cute cabbage sprinkled with bacon?

Well, I thought about you, brussel sprouts, but the asparagus looked so freaking good that I could not resist their allure. Asparagus do not need bacon. They are happy naked, steamed or baked. Plus, they are one of the ingredients in tonight's dinner.

Fiona could care less about produce, but she likes the bubble gum machine. She brought her purse with a million quarters in it.  She stood in front of the colorful machines for several hours and finally decided to spend one quarter on a bubble gum ball. And two quarters on a tacky temporary tattoo.

Cyd sat in the cart, saying "hi" to everyone who walked by. She was happy in produce, gleefully pointing at the bananas and mangos. She was happy in the cereal aisle and happy in the wine aisle. If I'd thought of bringing a cork screw, I may have stollen a sip in the frozen food aisle, which is where Cyd finally decided enough is enough.

With Cyd crying, I rushed through the dairy section and ignored the "oven thermometer" item on our list. We don't have that kind of time. Walnuts were on the list too, but really, walnuts are irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Walnuts are a luxury. It isn't an ingredient in any of the meals I have planned. F*#ck the walnuts. We're checking out. Old ladies were staring at us, their smiles laced with a hint of disapproval.

We hurried home. The kids shared a mac and cheese bowl, which was redeemed with a few fresh blueberries and yogurt.

While the kids napped for two luxurious hours, I made the dough for dinner. I love the process of dough, the kneading, the rising, the baking, the silence. Tonight's menu: Flatbread with Arugula, Asparagus, Ricotta, and summer veggies.

Laura finally came home and built us a beautiful bonfire.  We roasted gigantic marshmallows, which mysteriously materialized in our cart this morning. And by mysteriously, I mean by Fiona. These marshmallows were the size of apples. Really.

We ate by the fire. We roasted. We entertained the neighbor children.

We are happy. Crazy happy.

(Note: the kid on the right is our neighbor.)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"This Will Make You Sleepy"

I hoped the pharmacist could not see my eyes light up at this side effect declaration. I'd been waiting for over half an hour for my prescription. The idiot RediMed doctor (IRD) wrote the prescription wrong so the pharmacist had to call to clarify, as minutes were ticking more rapidly than time should, and RediMed was closing in seven minutes and I was NOT leaving without my Codeine so they'd better hurry the hell up.

I had pneumonia in my right lung. My temperature was 104.8 degrees. I was coughing uncontrollably and nervously drinking from my Evian water bottle, which had been empty for 20 minutes.

"This is a controlled substance," I heard the pharmacist tell the IRD. "You can only prescribe this for 30 days. Your script lists 34 days." Five-hour pause as the pharmacist, who is getting visibly irritated by the obvious incompetence, listens to the idiot. Tick, tock. "Most other pharmacists wouldn't notice this, but I will not lose my license over it." Another pause. I'm still drinking the phantom water, trying in vain to quench the fire burning beneath my skin. "You're welcome to call this in tomorrow when another pharmacist is on duty."

NOOOOOO! (Did I scream this out loud? I don't think so.) I need it now. Please give me my controlled substance! I was sweating profusely now, nervously looking at the clock, resigned to go home with just my stupid antibiotics, which are useless except to cure the infection brewing in my lung.

Finally, the pharmacist, who I suspect was sent from heaven (I heard celestial bells ringing and her face glowed like an angel's), called my name and gave me my stuff. If it hadn't been for the pneumonic germs spewing from my every pore, I would have kissed her right then and there.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tangled Apron Strings

My belly button has been tender and sore all day.

On an another note (a coincidental one), this is Fiona's first day of Kindergarten. She has been a nervous wreck for weeks, but this morning, in her new uniform, she seemed OK. She was ready to jump that hurdle and get on with it. There was no angst in sight. Was she holding it all in, like she usually does? Yes, most likely.

Laura was in charge of getting her on the school bus. Fiona insisted on riding the bus on her first day. Mainly because her friend, our neighbor, was going to sit with her and hold her hand. Which she did.

I went to work, nervous for her, but confident that she would be safe. Man, was I ever wrong.

Look at her, getting on the bus. The safest place for a child, even though they are not equipped with seat belts or over protective mothers.

The bus was hit by a FREAKIN' CAR! On her first day. Police was called. The kids had to board a different bus, even though we told her to NEVER get on a bus if it wasn't bus #58. Her bus. Well, her bus is no longer safe.

Laura was going to meet her at the school. So she waited. And waited. And talked to the principal, because she's friendly. And waited.

The bus finally arrived, at 9:15 a.m. School starts at 8:55 a.m. Fiona seemed OK, but in a daze. The school greeters were offering doughnuts (because that's a healthful way to start your first day of school).

She made it through this day, despite the unforseen mishap and nerves and excessive sugar. She made three friends. Her only complaint was that her clothes are too slippery. She kept sliding off the bus seat.

And so, with this momentous milestone, I feel a shift. As though a part of me is slowly detaching. And along with this feeling of separation comes a mysterious pain in my belly button.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Six Years Old and Stressed

Fiona has a week off before she starts school. Real school. Kindergarten. In a public school, that is real and that is certified. Did you know that not all schools are certified to teach kindergarten? Don't get me started.

So Laura took her to visit her classroom and meet her teacher. It went well, from what I could tell, from the phone call right after. Which I picked up after one ring because I was dying to hear how it went.

We got the best teacher, whom we had requested. Only the best for our sweet Fiona. She has been very nervous about this upcoming transition. She has regressed. i.e. has peed on the floor and has thrown tantrums and has transformed into a child I barely recognize. Plus, she's become very itchy. Mosquitos? We don't know.

But now, she's on vacation for 5 days at her grandparents' farm. She LOVES it there. She loves her grandmother, who plays with her and focuses on her and is, frankly, the most perfect grandmother you could hope to get.

Plus, Fiona gets yogurt and M&Ms and pretty much whatever her stomach desires. She loves her grandfather also. Although she's afraid of him. Because he's large and has a large voice and growls sometimes, but he's sweet. She's just not used to the growling.

If they didn't live 3 freakin long hours away, we would ship both Fiona and Cyd over there on a regular basis, not because we don't want to hang out with our children, but because they have a better house and wide open spaces and dark skies and a creek and deer and beautiful sunsets. And they don't have neighbors that like to blow up things just to hear a loud noise. In fact, they don't have neighbors. Period.

A few hours after the drop-off, Laura's mom called saying that Fiona's itchiness had gotten worse. She had large, red welts all over her body. Betty (we call her Grandma Betty, a retired nurse and long-time family friend), came right over. This was an emergency. Fiona had hives. Stress-induced hives.

When I called the doctor on call, he was so very bored with my very boring and non-life-threatening medical emergency. This is very common with children, he said, in such a monotone voice I wanted to slap him through the phone. My heart was racing with worry and separation anxiety.  Well, it's not common with our perfect, happy, carefree, precious child. (Speaking of which, I was watching the movie "Precious" at the time, which heightened my maternal pangs.)

She was fine the next day.

And tomorrow is the first day of school. I wonder if I should just inject her with Benadryl now, to keep the hives at bay.

Friday, August 20, 2010

An Overflow

It feels like honey
Dreams together
The stickiness
In its confluence

I am full

Barren of the heaviness
Of ashes
That stiffle

As light swishes
And floods
Deep, precious spaces

No longer ticks

But is spent
On living.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Here's how it went:

1. Laura had yoga, so I was  a single mom for 2.15 hours.
2. Fiona didn't feel well and just wanted to sit on my lap and watch cartoons.
3. We turned on Bugs Bunny.
4. Cyd was grouchy and whinny and wanted lap time too.
5. Sammie, the kitten, put both children on edge with her razor sharp claws and unpredictable kitten craziness.
6. Cyd was unbelievably cranky and hit me when I told her not to eat Fiona's bracelet.
7. I firmly told her "no hitting" and she burst into tears.
8. I didn't even yell!
9. I took Cyd outside, in her element, and decided to move our tent, which we set up just for fun, and to air it out. I'm afraid it will kill the grass, so I moved it.
10. Came back inside because Cyd, unlike herself, was bored with outside
11. I found Fiona in very serious tears (screaming), "Why did you leave me?!!! I was so scared!!! Why?!! I thought you were LOST!!!!!! WHY??!!!!!!!!"
12. I am not exaggerating. Fiona was freaked out, crying REAL tears! "I thought you were LOST!"
13. I apologized 107 times and carried her around, as Cyd cried, for no apparent reason.
14. We decided to have a picnic.
15. Everyone chilled.
16. Fiona had a freak accident where she accidently stuck the end of her very sharp headband into her ear.
17. Screaming ensued.
18. I worried she may have damaged her ear drum.
19. Ice cream made it better.
20. Took Cyd to bed 15 minutes early. She fell asleep right away, after our little lulaby routine, which, I admit, I cut short.
21. Fiona sat on my lap, wrapped in a blanket even though it's 90 degrees, and watched a Tom and Jerry cartoon.
22. Her forehead felt hot.
23. I kissed her compulsively.
24. Laura came home.

There's more, but I'm exhausted. Sammie is sitting on the arm of our chair, purring. Laura is reading Fiona a story, and Cyd is sleeping.

I'm worried about Fiona. Because this is what I do.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Finally, the First Tooth!

My baby lost her first tooth today. Finally, the loose tooth saga is over!

That thing has been loose for a century and a half. Her mature tooth is almost fully grown behind it. We were so excited! She saw the blood and smiled instead of screamed. We've had at least a couple of firsts tonight. Welcome to our house, Ms. Tooth Fairy. Fiona wanted to warn you that we have wood floors, so be careful about splinters.


Doesn't this fire look like a giraffe? Coincidence? I don't think so.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The End of Summer

We've tried to pack in a lot of summer fun this weekend, since it's our last weekend before school starts. We went to the zoo yesterday, which is fun in theory. We brought the stroller, mainly to keep Cyd contained. God knows she would prefer to walk than ride, unlike her sister Fiona, who (in her non-sensible shoes), wanted to ride instead of walk. She we're trying to corale a 1-year-old in a very crowded zoo, and push a heavy almost-6-year-old in a stroller. There was some whining (me) and some screaming and kicking (Cyd, refusing to sit in above mentioned stroller). But there was also some oohing and aahing and some river boat riding and some giraffe feeding. All in all, we had us some summer fun.

Today, we went to Fox Island, a local park with a nice lake for swimming. Cyd still clings furiously when around water, but enjoyed playing in the sand.  Look at this happy little family:

We were out of swimmer diapers, so within 2 minutes in the water Cyd's freak of a diaper grew to such an unnatural size that she looked deformed. So, because I cannot have my sweet, sweet little Cyd looking deformed, I took her diaper off and noticed it has some crazy gel inside the material of the diaper. Pampers, what the hell are you doing to your diapers?  I wish we were hip enough to have our babies in cloth diapers.

Cyd walked around, sans diaper, with her cover up, happy as a clam to be 10 pounds lighter when lo and behold, she squats and poops. Did we bring another diaper? No.

After an emergency trip to the bathroom (I will spare you the disgusting details), we went back into the lake to watch Fiona's synchronized swimming. She's very talented.

Tonight, we're having a bonfire to close the weekend. Hot dogs (Kosher, at least) and maybe smores. And a little wine for the adults who have had to put up with all this summer fun.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bye-Bye Cable

We cancelled cable. It's been a long time coming. We don't watch it. Well, except for the Food network and Jon Stewart. I miss Jon Stewart. I love that man. He is the personification of hilarious brilliance. Now, I have to get my news solely from NPR. And they're not as funny. Though they have better accents.

It's amazing how little we miss it. Laura defintely doesn't miss it, mainly because she is more evolved and is whole without needing needless broadcast television blather to mend or fill or satiate. This is one of the reasons I love and respect her.

I, on the other hand, got attached to a few programs, but with two kids to run after, frankly, who has the time? Can my mind find its drug elsewhere? Does it still need this numbing? Not really.

Plus, I think I'm saving about 48 minutes a day not having channels to flip through. 48 very precious minutes to play Elefun with Fiona and her friend. We had so much fun tonight, I forgot to take pictures. Damn that living in the moment thing!

What we have, though, is Netflix and its companion, Roku. We get our movies, our hip TV shows, our kids programming, delivered to our TV whenever we want. It's freakin' fantastic. And freeing.

But mostly, we have quiet, and Go-Fish, and laughing, and reading Beverly Cleary to Fiona, and singing "Do Do, L'enfant Do" to Cyd, with an extra verse, because we have extra time. And we get extra smiles and twice the giggles. This is what time gives.

It's a lot better than anything on cable.

Sorry, Jon. But please know I still love you.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


So we went to Pride Fest this weekend in an effort to remain part of the community, and because we don't get out much. It was different this year. We got there late (i.e. after 6pm), which meant we had to pay a cover charge of $10. What? You have to pay to be gay?

We're towing the two kids with us, the stroller is blocking the way of the fabulous, glittery gay men trying to get through, and here we are, two very mainstream lesbians with children, entering the pride fest tent and being completely out of place. Why? Because we are 1. Not single lesbians looking for a date; 2. Not young punk rock tatooed lesbians with guitars and killer hair cuts; 3. Not gay men; 4. Not pierced; 5. Have children in tow. 6. There's more.

But we are all the same. And it felt good to be there.

Though I so yearned to chop my hair off and get a tattoo or a piercing of some sort. But let's be realistic, I can't do short hair.

Fiona got her rainbow slushie and was happy. Cyd was loved by everyone, including the slushie lady (who gave her a tiny strawberry slushie sample) because, well, I believe she is magical (Cyd, not the slushie lady).

I watched my peeps, my family, and felt grateful for who we are. Despite our lack of piercings and purple hair, we are happy. And full of love and more.

So we left to go to the splash pad for even more fun. As the transvestite boy/girl in his white bikini (with the essential skirt) splashed around with unabashed glee, I thought, good for you, for being you. For being so full of life and happy. And so confident in your self-defined body. And I was thankful that she could be there with all of us and be safe and free. I don't think it could have happened so gracefully any other time. I wanted to talk to her about what it feels like to be so comfortable in your skin. And the irony of gender.

Really, I wanted to stare. I wanted to see if (s)he had surgery. I wanted to watch him (her!) with her boyfriend. I wanted to understand.

I wanted to know how there could be such joy, which feels much more like sadness.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I've become addicted to the so called "mommy blogs". Small things, minivans, suburban musings, uncensored. I feel so connected to them. Every pulse of my life is touched by my family, my children, my partner, my home. My facebook status is usually about the children, or food, or home. I am seldom inspired by work. Though I enjoy parts of it. The people, the ideas, the brain waves, even the numbers. But I could live without the work. I could never live without my people. Many of the bloggers I read are stay at home moms. I am especially addicted to "Enjoying the Small Things", written by a mom with a 3-year-old and a downs baby. That baby sucks me in. Her almond eyes and beautiful face often makes me shed tears. Happy ones.

(Photo by Kelle Hampton, from her blog "Enjoying the Small Things".)
Usually these blogs include photographs of the people involved. Many of these blogger moms are photographers, some professional, others amateur.
We are all connected by this vast and wonderful common ground.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Parenting 100001

I've had to re-analyze our parenting strategies since Cyd has come into our lives. She personifies the perfection of instinct and honesty. She is. She never pretends to be. She just is. Because she is still a baby, so fresh and new, her instincts are primitive. If she is angry, she will strike out. If she doesn't want to walk, she will throw herself on the ground. When she is done with a toy, or a book, or anything, she will just throw it on the floor and walks away. When she wants to go, she runs. Also, when she feels slighted or angry, she will give you what we have come to refer as "the eyes." They're squinty and mad.

Her instincts are also sweet and endearing. She learned to kiss early. She kisses her mommies easily. She kisses Fiona compulsively. She kisses her dolls. She kisses pictures of babies and animals in books. She gives the most honest, powerful hugs of any baby on the block. Her tenderness fills me with such love. She is loving. Her heart overflows innately. She is pure.

That being said, she is very spirited. This is a gentle way of saying she can be a handful. She doesn't aim to please, as some children do. She is just an outpouring of raw self and energy. In a nutshell, she doesn't "listen". She doesn't come when you ask her to come. In fact, she often runs the other way. She is going through a phase of refusing to sit in her chair for dinner (or lunch, or breakfast), of taking her diaper off when it becomes accessible, of hitting her sweet, sweet, sister for no apparent reason. She has issues.

As a parent, this is unacceptable. We used the "naughty chair" with Fiona when she did not obey. This worked well. She had to sit in the corner, on our little elephant bench. She cried. I wrung my hands, nervously, as the minutes ticked, but Fiona learned how to do what we wanted. She was easily tamed.

Cyd is a different story. She will cry on the so called "naughty chair". She even has the nerve to get off the chair (Fiona would never have even thought of trying that.) But this form of punishment hasn't worked so far. Cyd is still the free spirit, who ignores her parents' requests if there is something more interesting to do.

So I got to thinking. And with thinking comes researching.

And I found this: "Unconditional Parenting", by Alfie Kohn.
I haven't read the whole book yet, but the premise is that punishment (time out) and rewards (praise) are not beneficial. And can be detrimental. Children need to know you love them unconditionally, even when they're throwing a tantrum or not acting as you would prefer. They are not objects we can manipulate. They are not meant to be tamed (OK, so we've made some mistakes.) We need to use reason and love instead.

I am starting to use this general idea with Cyd (and Fiona too) and there has been a shift. The behavior hasn't changed yet, with Cyd, but there has been a lot fewer tears. It's OK if she doesn't come when I call her so I can change her diaper. I get her and kiss her and she is happy. Before, I would reprimend her for not listening and she would throw a fit and be recalcitrant as I changed her diaper. With this new attitude that it's OK, that I love her unconditionally, she is happy and calm. The feet kicking and shrieks have been replaced by smiles and giggles. She must sense that she has regained the power that is inherently hers.

My love for both of my daughters has always been unconditional. But a piece of me has tried to mold them into what I think they need to be. This is selfish and unfair. They are what they are. All I can ask of them is to be true.

I like this theory. I will expand on this once I actually read the book.


There are simple pleasures
Like the disheveled naked chef
Carving avocados
Drenched in lime and dancing
In cilantro

The spooning
Of our limbs just before the end
Of sleep

The leisure
Of slow, Sunday
French onion soup
Simmered and touched
With a sprinkling
Of Chardonnay
And freshly chopped
Garden parsley

After 60 Minutes,
Six Feet Under
And sex
On the couch.


Her eyes are throbbing
Deep to the marrow of me

My hands are slick
With longing
I wonder how she doesn't die
From the succulence

Her body slinks
A careful curve
Twisting to capture
The girth
Of our mingling breath

Wine and wasabi
The memory of chocolate
Swimming in our veins
And just then
As the smile sinks to a wink
I think
Of the first word
Between us.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Compromisingly brash
And brilliant
She owns the air
Around us

With the laughter
Of her
Rummaging mind
She questions quickly

Hovering just above

To catch the winks
And nods
Of awe
Not to mention
The smallness
Of our silence

As the graceful
Of her question

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

When Truth Is

I aim for tolerance and love. Yet I understand the lack of. I understand when some people fight for their beliefs even if their beliefs are not my own. Even if they're fighting to keep minorities from getting the same benefits (rights) as others. I understand them because being on the other side of the proverbial fence, I am struggling just as they are. I am struggling to make peace, and to understand. We are all the same. I sometimes think less of them and see the parallel. It bugs me.

We are all the same.

In 7th grade, we were asked to choose a controversial topic and pick a side we were passionate about. I chose illegal immigration. I suppose I was drawn to the topic because I felt like a French kid on American soil, even though I was legal. My stance was yes.

I belong here. They belong here. No one is illegal. It is not something a human being can be.

I'll never forget this moment. Our teacher came around to each of us to get our topic and our position on it. When I told him I thought illegal immigrants should be given a chance, the girl next to me said something to the effect of "Why? They're not allowed to be here?"

It seemed obvious to me that I was right. I felt it as a truth. The teacher said, sharply, "Let her talk". I was, at that tender moment, given the right to speak what I believed was true, in my own words, from my own mind. I was certain of it in my heart. And from the understanding in my teacher's eyes, my certainly was validated, solidified.

This shaped me. Mainly, because it was important and I had verbalized it, despite what I believed was the societal consensus. It was mine and it was innate. I didn't run it by my parents. I was sure of it all on my own. And it was true. Proven, in part, by the "A" I received. But, mainly, from the extra something I didn't quite understand. Yet.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Memory of Paris

I have crisp, happy memories
Of strolls in the streets of Paris
All six of us
Bound and scattered
Hand in hand
Sometimes I ran ahead
Momentary freedom
And turned back
Unsure of what I felt


We walked
To our favorite restaurant
It must have been Asian
Because they served us
Chips made of air
And seafood
That magically melted
In my mouth

I always wanted more

I have no recollection
Of anything else besides
The air
And the happiness
Of Being
A part.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


It has become obvious
There is a line
between us
A maze
We can't quite coordinate
Between co-friends
And fear

It is the strangest
Most deafening
I have ever felt
And I aim
To love

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


There was a gritty pleasure
Lips thirsty
For the mouth
Of black rock

Crisp and sober
She slipped
Soft and precise
Like a butterfly to nectar

The etchings of my palm

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sylvia Plath

We ache for the complex
Of her pauses
And the sighs of eyes
Silent in their verse
Glimmering with insolence
Or guesses incapable
Of knowing
The difference between ashes and
And what comes

The ordinary
Was instructed
Into our malleable minds
Like the hum of a stalker
Silent in its terror
She is laughing at us.


I wanted to live a normal life
Without the loss of breath and heart
But there is too much
The brittle skin
Of me

Each tearing
Sticks to my ribs
Shredding the tissue
Of my thoughts

Even the cats
Stare at me
As though I am plural
Into a different direction.


But I liked being sick
In the south
Of France, loved
Even after I'd stolen
Five francs to buy a frozen
Milkyway after school, and friends
Were water to wet
The hard skin
Enveloping my angst

I wanted to be a stone
To kill
The cancer flaring
In my mammie's lungs
But there were always

With darting eyes
And sharp claws
To doubt

The balcony
Was too high
The air too thin
To catch
Falls after dinner.

I always thought I knew
The white rain I bathed in, soft
Soapy words from the AM radio
At one o'clock
In the morning.


She lives to nibble
At the core
Of sharp, polished curves

Each bite,
Is a morsel of soft lust,
First fissures
And ample harvest moons

Surprising revelations
At the center
Of her

Like a cliche
In the dark crevice
Of its cave

The nimble rummaging
Becomes desperate
For the hearty bite
Of a corner.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why do I keep using the word "drench"? I am drenched with that word.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Quantum Thoughts

The unknown
Is opening a piece of me
A potential rising
Just right
Of my left brain

I ignored the ripples
In philosophy class
Consumed instead with matter
And letters

That chair exists
I am a person

But now
My incertainty fills
The balloon of doubt
With a nihilistic knowledge
I/it can barely contain

There are facts,
In unproven absolutes

I am drenched
With the possibility
Of nothingness.