Saturday, December 09, 2006

Holiday cheer

I had to get that depressing piece moved down. I mean come on, it is the time for festivities and good cheer and rum laden egg nog. But I haven't even decked my own halls yet this year. I'm behind and just can't seem to get the decorations up the stairs from storage and flung about. You see it's been a bit of minor remodel hell in my house since before Thanksgiving. Nothing gigantic... well gigantic to the pocket book but not monumental in the Extreme Home Make Over way, just new carpet and some tile. This weekend is the weekend. It's the weekend that finally all the carpet repairs are done, the tile sealing is finished. Now I can move my furniture out of my dining room and back into the other rooms of the house. I don't know if it was the twenty-three boxes of books, three bookshelves, a couch, TV, and over various bathroom supplies in baskets or the inability to find a square foot on my dining room table to actually eat at that caused me to breath into a paper bag. But the thought of adding tinsel and lights to that caucophony was enough to send me into a full panic attack and make me want to run down the street screaming and pulling my hair out.

I'm breathing. In/out...In/out...

Ok, I'm better. Baby steps.

#1 move the furniture back into rooms... then put up the tree.

The tree. The Christmas tree, that is what I really wanted to blog about. One of my favorite things at Christmas time when I was growing up was the fresh pine tree decorated in my mom's forbidden living room. As a kid you were sure that if you dared go in that some silent alarm would go off alerting your mother and resulting in a boomerang shoe coming around the corner to knock you flat in your tracks. If the silent alarm didn't go off then the carpet would give you away because of the perfect vacuum lines in the shag carpet any trespass would leave the trail of your footmarks that wouldn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure out "Who done it". Except at Christmas time, then you could step into the gold speckled living room and even though I always expected to hear a heavenly host sing as I crossed the threshold it never happened. At Christmas time the silent alarm was off and the carpet well traveled, my brother, sister and I would go in there to stare at the kaleidoscope of colors and lights that seemed to mesmerize you on the tree. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of Christmas time, sitting in the forbidden room.

Though I can't think of one room in the house where my children don't crawl, climb or reside I still want them to have the magic of that Christmas tree. I guess because my kids only have one childhood and I want to provide them lots of opportunities for memories besides ones of me asking 1 billion times if they've brushed their teeth or aimed in the toilet.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Mourning a friend

I was sitting here at my desk looking out the window,watching the frozen leaves try and resist the wind. There wasn't anything in particular that reminded me of my old friend. I think it was just the dreary weather and the reminders of death, with all of the signs of impending winter and the dark cold days ahead. I don't have time anymore to indulge my meloncholy in the ways I used to when I was younger and single and childless. I'm sure when I'm older, and single and childless I'll find too ample the time to nurse the saddness that companions the long winter months... years.

Depression and regret are the flypaper of feelings, once you land there it's near impossible to pull yourself away. But, I knew as soon as the feelings bubbled up to the surface they would not be quickly quieted until I gave them their due. I hope I can pay the emotional toll with a few sad songs and memories and a few "what if's" and "if only's" and maybe those feelings will release and let me flit about my day.

I'm thinking of my friend who always reminded me of the poet Charles Bukowski.My friend with whom I almost shared my life but then did not.My friend whom I had not spoken to in years and learned of his death by chance when reading a random blog. I never met Bukowski but his writing has such a raw but rythmic edge to it... the tragic lost genius who laughs at the rest of us taking life so seriously. I wonder what would have happened if Hank and Charlie had ever met. They probably would have sat down in a dive apartment on broken furniture with cockroaches and drank beer talked about women and monumental bowel movements or they would have pitied eachother or maybe all of that and something else. They were kindred souls and of course I get to make all the predictions of what could have been because I'm the only one of the three us still able to use a keyboard.

the crunch
by Charles Bukowski

too much
too little

too fat
too thin
or nobody.

laughter or


strangers with faces like
the backs of
thumb tacks

armies running through
streets of blood
waving winebottles
bayoneting and fucking

or an old guy in a cheap room
with a photograph of M. Monroe.

there is a loneliness in the world so great
that you can see it in the slow movement of
the hands of a clock.

people so tired
either by love or no love.

people just are not good to each other
one on one.

the rich are not good to the rich
the poor are not good to the poor.

we are afraid.

our educational system tells us
that we can all be
big-ass winners.

it hasn't told us
about the gutters
or the suicides.

or the terror of one person
aching in one place

unspoken to

watering a plant.

people are not good to each other.
people are not good to each other.
people are not good to each other.

I suppose they never will be.
I don't ask them to be.

but sometimes I think about

the beads will swing
the clouds will cloud
and the killer will behead the child
like taking a bite out of an ice cream cone.

too much
too little

too fat
too thin
or nobody

more haters than lovers.

people are not good to each other.
perhaps if they were
our deaths would not be so sad.

meanwhile I look at young girls
flowers of chance.

there must be a way.

surely there must be a way we have not yet
thought of.

who put this brain inside of me?

it cries
it demands
it says there is a chance.

it will not say
-Charles Bukowski, Love is a Dog from Hell (1977)

Charlie, I always did think your existential arguements were crap it was all for show. But I did love you and I hope you are more than dust.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Beggar's Night

Personally, I love Halloween. In fact, Halloween is my favorite holiday or celebration or whatever. So, I guess it always amazes me that there is a growing number of people who not only dislike the holiday but actually campaign to end it. Scrooges. Oh, I understand their backward and faux raputuresqe bible thumping reasons. Well, as much as one can understand babbling in tongues... and by the way isn't that the way the demons talked during the exorcist?

Anyway I digress.

Halloween is a fun holiday. Come on... seriously you get to dress up and eat bite sized snickers and milky ways until you burst while slurping down hot apple cider or cocoa and don't forget running around the neighborhood with your friends. Maybe people don't like having to shell out the money for the candy. I think I just read that now there are more people with out children than with children in the United States. Maybe we as a society are becoming less tolerant of childish fun. And for those who are going to jump in with the "Devil's Holiday" bull, I say to you "pppbbbppt" I have not seen a six year old sacrificing goats on Halloween... ever. In fact Halloween at this point and for the general public is no more symbolic of a ritual anymore than the wedding march is associated with a rape in an opera. Yes, the traditional wedding march was from an opera and the score for a rape. So if everyone is going to take everything literally from it's origins then we all better buckle up for a bumpy ride.

Adults make things difficult. The kids do not care nor do they link Halloween to a growing interest in necromancy. They care about how much candy they can get minus the yucky peanut butter chews in a few hours. I love Halloween but this state has figured out a way to squash my love a bit. The moved trick or treating to a Beggar's Night. No trick or treating on Halloween is allowed. Nope, you have to trick or treat between 6pm-9pm on the night before Halloween. I've lived here for seven years and I still do not understand the rational or logic behind the rule. Eh, whatever. This year I'm dressing up on Beggars Night and Halloween more fun for me! And guess what? I'm not dressing up as a hero or athlete nope!

I'm dressing up as a witch; I bought $40 worth of the good kind of candy; I'm giving out handfuls of it instead of one piece to make up for all the self-rightous stick in the muds that are hiding behind their darkened doors muttering gibberish about satan worshipers and hellbound toddlers in superman outfits. Then when I'm done handing out all this wonderful stuff I may go in my back yard and dance around under the moon and sacrifice a goat.

Really, adults need to get a sense of humor and pull their pious little pin-heads out of their sanctimonious asses and realize they are killing the innocence much faster than anything they oppose.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


When I was in college we used to go on leadership retreats. Which when translated meant "Drunkfest with little supervision at Beaver Creek ski resort". My goodness the things that a good Catholic College will teach you. Sure there was plenty of alcohol, but there was also a lot of talking and debating and joke telling and laying around in your PJ's and just being... you. I think about those times and truly miss my leadership buds, but especially my girlfriends.

Recently I met up with some of my girlfriends. We laughed and cried and seemed to regress to about the age of 16. I've lived away from home and my home state for 13 years and as a result away from a good portion of my friends. But this was a chance to hang out with friends and be someone other than a role of mommy.

It's easy to get swept up into the everyday responsibilities of chasing three children and a husband (and yes at times I do raise the husband too) and a dog and trying to maintain the illusion of a career. Then of course there is a house. A house that I'm grateful to have but it is like everything else it requires constant attention. I probably sound a bit ungrateful. But really, I think I'm suffering from some sort of re-entry-into-whatismylife-itis.

When you are in the full rhythm of the daily grind and shake it's easy to forget that you have friends or that you had a life before you had a husband, dog, kids and house in whatever order. And it's easy to forget how much you need friends. Sometimes you convince yourself that you don't have time or that your life is full with soccer games, company dinners, school functions, and a pile of laundry threatening to raise the ceiling. Then there are those quiet moments when you feel the nagging edges of nostalgia for a life before.

My friends are all incredible people who inspire me. They are strong and insightful and wicked smart with the wit to match. My jaw still aches from laughing so hard. We giggled and danced and some even sang. For awhile we were all free to just let go and be irreverent and not worry about judgment or measuring up to an invisible standard that some demand of mothers and that we nearly kill ourselves to reach. But it is a phantom, a mirage that no person can attain. We need friends to help remind us that our worth is weighed not in hours volunteered or cookies baked or miles driven.

Reconnecting with friends or even meeting new ones seems to blow away the fog of illusion that mothers’ don't need their own social circle. We do. I do. Going out with friends, besides being an assault on my liver that reminds me I am not 23 anymore, recharges me and helps me remember “me”. I am more than a chauffer, maid, dog walker, grocery gathering matron, and private detective for every misplaced item. There is more to me. I am an artist. I love to write. I like photography. I enjoy telling stories. I cook for fun. I like to be silly. I like to sleep in past 6:30 AM, damnit! It's always a little humorous when I rediscover parts of me that I didn't even realize were missing.

Here's the thing, I don’t think that I’m alone or the only mother/woman who feels this way. I think I saw the same thing in my girlfriends; little moments when you could see the flash of self recognition as we reconnected with each other and ourselves.

I came home to a sick child, husband and dog. I opened the refrigerator to find every brand of take out in a 30 mile radius and a house that looked like two tornados had hit. As I started to clean up, make soup and serial call for doctor’s appointments, the inner 16 year old in me said, “Ah, yeah… gotta split. Have fun and next time you hook up with those friends of yours give me a call." She can be such a brat but she and my friends gave me a gift... I am writing again.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Love Thursday

From the blog Chookooloonks : We can all use a little more love in the world. Chookooloonks started "Love Thursday" and here's how it works.

1. If you have a blog, post a photograph, or a painting, or an image of art, or a story about love on your website today. Remember, it doesn't have to be romantic love -- it can be love of family, love of friends, love of pets, hell, love of a good meal. It can even be a deformed Cheerio that looks surprising like a heart. Seriously, anything -- so long as it brings to mind love.
2. Once you've posted your image or story, feel free to return here to Chookooloonks (or the site of my Love Thursday Partner-In-Crime, Irene Nam) and post the permalink to your post in the comments. And by the way, if you post a photo or other image, please consider adding it to our Love Thursday Flickr Pool. It's a wonderful place to visit and see real evidence that love is, indeed, all around us.
3. If you don't have a blog, don't let that stop you from sharing -- feel free to post your story about love in the comments here.
And that's all there is to it -- a simple way to spread the love!

Here's my contribution to feel the love:

Can't you almost feel it?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Summer Movies

With Roger Ebert recouperating, I thought I'd give my version of thumbs up/down for a few summer movies.

An Iconvenient Truth

It's been described as one of the most important movies of our time. Personally, I believe it is one of the most enlightening, frightening, and paradigm shifting movies you'll ever see. I give it a definite green thumbs up!

Who Killed the Electric Car?

Holy conspiracies batman! The oil and auto manufacturers are actually in bed together? These titans of industry huddle together on golf courses and club houses to figure out ways to make more money? No, come on that's just pure paranoia. Right? They don't really care about profits just making sure you and I have safe affordable clean transportation and save our limited natural resources. Well if you are wondering why technology in computers and every other industry has advanced, yet we have done little to change the combustion engine. Why have cars gone from 40mpg down to 16 mpg over the past 20 years? If you watch the film be prepared for the backlash of advertising and media rebuttals from GM. Thumbs up!

Disney's Cars

Eh. My thumb is some where between up and down. I really like Pixar films so it is difficult for me to bag on this movie. However at times it felt hypocritical that Disney, the king & kingdom of commercialization, was giving a lecture on the evils of commodifying. That said there were definitely cute moments and you couldn't help cheer for the heart string pulling moments. It was worth an afternoon matinee ticket price and the bucket of popcorn I shared with my boys. They loved it.

Pirates of the Boxoffice... I mean Caribbean II

The movie title is actually Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. But not only did I feel that I was rooked out of $25 dollars to see this dredge, after watching 150 minutes it felt like I trapped in a Deadman's Chest. This movie at best was a nearly 3 hour long teaser for Pirates of the Caribbean 3. At worst it was as if the cast was set before the script was then hastily written over too many mimosas. Trust me there were no rum drinks that inspired this movie. It was pure hollywoood, self-importance isn't this so cool with this special effect and this name, crappola. They opened so many plot lines and introduced and reintroduced so many characters that you were left wondering, how are they going to tie this all together? The answer, they didn't. They just shut off the camera and called it a movie. I didn't even find Johnny Depp's performance redeming. I felt like I had been held up at sword point and then told to walk the plank, actually that would have been at least heart thumping. There wasn't one bit of heart in the entire movie... not even in the Deadman's Chest. Thumbs down.

DVD Rental recommendations:

If you want to see a feel good movie with great acting but not a bunch of sappy formula writing, definitely pick up The World's Fastest Indian. Sir Anthony Hopkins was absolutely brilliant in this movie and I hope that at 80 I'm as spry as the character he portrays.

My second recommendation may make you feel like you just flashed back to a wild college party where someone passed around a funny cigarette or may make you want a funny cigarette. Either way it's one of those movies that will leave you thinking for days, What the Bleep Do We Know Anyway?

Okay, that's it for me and my movie reviews. I'll hand this back over to Ebert because, sheeesh I've got other things to do besides just watch movies all summer!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

My Big Fat Italian Wedding

Ten years ago today, I walked down the aisle of Immaculate Heart of Mary church, looked at my smiling bride groom and wondered, “How much longer until we can split for the honeymoon?” I also was wondering why in the world I let my mother talk me into a long-sleeved completely beaded wedding gown, that made 100 children in Asia arthritic, in July… in the desert.


Because my wedding was the “Big Fat Italian Wedding”.

From the moment my future husband proposed I wanted to elope. I begged him to just elope with me. Attempted to bribe him with every naughty sexual favor I could imagine. But, he wanted a traditional wedding. He still seemed to get the naughty bribes though. ;)

He has a very large and close extended family. I have a very large and complicated extended family. Everyone seemed to push for this traditional wedding and I wanted peace and for everyone to be happy. So I was a flipping pushover. I caved and agreed to just about everything for the sake of peace among the families. My biggest mistake? Me living in Kansas at the time, but planning a wedding to take place in Colorado, the state where my family lives.

From the huge beaded dress, to the flowers, to the colors of baby blue & peach I had very little to say about how the wedding would proceed. Remember, I wanted to elope. When asked what wedding colors I wanted, I said “Navy and cream”. Everything showed up as baby blue and peach. My mother went to the bridal shop and changed the dress order for all my bridesmaids from a dress in navy crepe to the baby blue silk ones you see above. I have never worn baby blue or peach in my life and never would have asked my friends to either. The required printed napkins and all of the other wedding paraphernalia arrived with out my knowledge of it ever being ordered. Then the guilt, oh god, the guilt. “What? You don’t like it? Oh, I guess that’s just $500 down the drain.”

Sure, I can laugh about it now. Kinda.

But, if I could go back in time, I would say to myself “Elope!” Then I would tell myself, it doesn’t really matter what kind of wedding you have or what you or anyone else wears. And that, she’s right, he is the *one* and there is nothing to be nervous about. I would also tell her, in ten years you will love this man more than you ever thought possible. And that the love drunk giddiness will ebb and flow but there is a deeper more sustaining current of love and respect that will carry you forward. She might not see it or fully recognize it yet, but it is there. The disagreements and difficult times aren’t something to blaze through, but will test, change and pull at the bond and when you want to push further away that’s exactly the time to cling on tighter. She would probably tell me to shut up and quit talking so much or maybe she wouldn’t believe me because at the time she cannot understand that her love could be any stronger, any more passionate, and any deeper. But it will be and does exceed her wildest dreams.