Friday, September 28, 2012

Over Time

before it was the softness
of skin
and sex in the sink
and how your kiss lingered
longer than most
before it was the calm
tremble of your wink
the inevitable appetite
eight hours after breakfast
begging for more
than butterflies and butter

now it's how you smile

to ease the crazy
and clothe me
with a tender gaze
when i'm afraid to speak
now it's the way your body listens
when i ache and question
and how your cool hand softens
as it drinks the warmth
of my palm

as the shock of this love pounds
in my blood like the rage
of a blooming orchid
i feel my restless heart breathe
settled firmly

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Life, Death, Darkness and Joy: A Spectrum

Lately, I've felt an uncharacteristic joy.  A sense of stability, sanity. The past few years have been darkened by the painful loss of both my parents. The dread that came before, combined with the grief that inevitably came after, became a heavy shadow enveloping the joy and love that surrounds me daily. This shadow seems to be lifting and I feel able to begin to see, with better clarity, the beautiful life we have created with this family. The feeling of being alone, cut off from the history of my early existence is still lurking and frightening. But, for the moment, I'm working on being here. Being present. It's all we have.

That's not to say that I've come out of this period as a new person filled with hope and joy. I will never be that girl. There is still an inherent darkness that will always be a part of me. I have not, and cannot, let go of the Sylvia Plath within. Mingled with a drop of Dostoevsky. I could not be myself without the feeling of impending doom. There is something satisfying, fulfilling, about the knowledge of both ends of the emotional spectrum. Neurotic tendencies are here to stay, thank you very much.

That being said, life is good. (Clichés, on the other hand, are bad.)

We grew a butterfly this month. We were given an itty bitty caterpillar by the great folks of Little River Wetland Project. This thing was so tiny when we got her that we often could not even see her as she munched away at her milkweed leaves. The kids enjoyed being part of the metamorphosis, especially Cyd, who insisted on buckling her up in the car for a weekend getaway.
We came home one afternoon and she had transformed from her chrysalis stage...
To this!
It was exciting as hell! Still, we waited for Laura to get home so we could release her together.

Oh, the joy! It was magical.

There are no photos of Fiona with the butterfly because she was afraid of it. Yes, she's afraid of a baby butterfly. Afraid that it was going to fly in her face. 

I totally believe that her fearful nature is due to the fact that she was forced into this world before she was ready. To make a long story short, my doctor secretly induced my labor. Secretly. Without telling us. On my due date. For no good reason except that it was convenient for her. Anyhoo. I have one daughter who's afraid of things and another who is fearless. They balance each other out beautifully. (But I'm still totally pissed off about it.)

On Sunday, we took a scenic drive to visit our "pumpkin lady" to get our annual fall goodies. This year, all the pumpkins and vegetables were inside the barn, so I didn't have much opportunity to capture the quintessential kids with pumpkins photos. I was heartbroken. But then, I noticed a very photogenic tractor.
I still made the kids pose for a photo, even though it lacked the glory that a field of pumpkins would have provided.
They put up with me and my compulsion to capture every moment.

For lunch, it was Pissaladière, a french creation, featuring caramelized onions, anchovies, nicoise olives and, since we had some, tomatoes. I love french food and it will always remind me of my father.

In the words of Sylvia Plath: "I have the choice of being constantly active and happy or introspectively passive and sad. Or I can go mad by ricocheting in between." The most natural option is to ricochet. And it's OK. This is my truth.

I can't think of a Dostoevsky quote to tie this all together. But I'm sure he had something very profound to say about this whole thing.

Peace and love.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


every morning she wakes
with the requisite need
to feel
to the pulsing marrow
of tenderness

by the warped, blue ache
of being

pain crosses her mind

with quiet compulsion
she waits
for the clock
to equal nine

she stumbles

right foot always first
just in case
this day is not her last

there are smiles
to kiss
and tears

to swallow

not to mention
the forgetting

Monday, September 10, 2012

Butterflies, Art, Lunchbox Treats and the Happiness Found in Predictability

This weekend, we went to the Eagle Marsh Monarch Butterfly Festival. It was a fun festival, with great activities for the children and a very well thought-out schedule of events surrounding the sustainability of our ecosystem, with a focus on the lovely butterfly. 

It was a beautiful day on the marsh.
 The girls got into the spirit of things, adorned with their butterfly wings.
 For some reason, getting your face painted never gets old.
 We even spotted a few monarchs.

 Some strange woman turned my babies into chrysalises.

 Finally, the butterflies reached their destination: Mexico.

Baby butterfly got tired of walking.

Later, there was West Central Art Fair craziness.

Laura was going to try the gourmet hot dogs by Bravas for the first time, but when we got there, they were sold out of the guacamole, their chili sauce, and their specialty Bravas sauce. Instead, we got the girls each a plain hot dog with ketchup and it was a damn travesty. Especially since little miss vegetarian Fiona only ate the bun.

The Beard and Mustache Society, a philanthropic group, were giving out free mustaches. You can find out more about this group by searching for them on Facebook.
When we headed home after the art fest, we talked about how nice it would be to live in such a close-knit community, which the West Central inhabitants seem to enjoy. There's a sense of solidarity. A feeling of belonging.

Then, we came to our senses, acknowledging that we really want to be hermits on a 50-acre farm, raising chickens, growing vegetables, and making goat cheese.

Sunday, we spruced up our landscaping, planting some more butterfly food. It's our current life theme. Fostering beauty and flight.
 Fiona and Cyd decided to start a worm colony. I overheard Fiona tell Cyd: "Let's teach them how to fly!" Cyd was totally on board: "OK!! Fly, little worm!" Perhaps they were a little too carried away with the life of caterpillars and butterflies. But I never question their quests. You just never KNOW.
 Fiona helped me make what Nigella Lawson calls "Lunchbox Treats".
It's kind of like a Rice Krispies treat, except without the dreaded marshmallow.

Here's the recipe, in real life:
1. Melt 1/2 cup of rice malt syrup with 2 oz. of milk chocolate and 1/4 cup of butter. (We didn't know what rice malt syrup was, so we substituted pure maple syrup. Also, we used dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, because that's how we roll.)
2. Combine 2 cups of crispy rice cereal, 1 cup of cornflakes, 1/2 cup of quick cooking oats, 1/2 cup of sesame seeds. (We didn't have cornflakes, so we used 3 cups of Rice Krispies - Gluten Free! We also didn't have enough sesame seeds, but we threw in the entire canister that we had in our pantry, which amounted to approximately 1/4 cup. Close enough.)
3. Shape into balls. (Our mixture was too loose to form into a ball, probably because we didn't use the rice malt syrup. What is that, anyway? So we decided to make these into bars instead. We are very flexible bakers, Fiona and I.)
4. Let them set in the fridge for an hour or so and enjoy!

 5. Lick the spoon.
 They turned out just fine, despite our rebellious revisions to the recipe.

When Cyd woke up from her nap on Sunday, she said, "Maman, you know what I want you to make for dinner? The french soup that I LOVE!" It was 5:30 p.m. by then, and I had already been simmering my french onion soup for a while. Because we're as PREDICTABLE AS DEATH, that's why. And if you're going to be in a rut, it might as well be a french onion soup rut.

Peace out.

Friday, September 7, 2012

brain storm

sweaty and silent
she walks into the room
her hands swollen and wet

around her fountain pen, her blood

against them, in the brain room
and their eyes
slight in their glance
wait for her to speak

she is crushed

by the weight of her pause

when they ask her about purple
beads and mardi gras
she can see
are shiny, gentle women
in masks