Friday, July 30, 2010

happy birthday,blog

Ramona and Her Mother is a year old.
I have no ambition for this blog, but I am happy to write and I'm proud to be getting better. It pleases me to have readers.

In the beginning, it was the best I could do to get a couple ok posts out a week. Sometimes I can't even do that. But, the thing about practice is that it is the only thing that will fix us. After a year of writing, I'm a writer. I have returned to the practice of keeping a daily journal. I write every day. I keep notes on my family and on my heart.

from my journal:
There is a lot more to me. But, aren't I hoping for there to be a lot less?

When I hold a pencil in my hand, these little thoughts rise to the top, a poem peeks from the margins. I've spent pages and pages trying to separate truth from myth.
I feel like it's very important for me to have unpublished writing again. To have a place unpolished.
I hope this time next year I have another 100 posts to re-read. Because, honestly, I'm this blog's biggest fan.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

she speaks!

I'm going back to work next week. In the span of two months I have, like always, completely forgotten about my previous life. The life of a teacher. The life of a working mom.

I'm here to tell you, this stay at home mom business is not cake. This is real work! First of all, the job is never over. Second, every day is pretty much like the next. I get this serious case of the blues around 3 o'clock. It happens every day.

But, there are amazing things about this job. You get to watch your daughter grow! You get to be stuck like glue to her and be her most important person. It is lucky to be with Ramona right now, because she is growing and changing so much.

She has hair! And a little attitude and all kinds of goofy facial expressions. And she talks! For posterity, I'm going to tell you some of her best words.

Hi! (This is way cute. She says this when she's doing something naughty and has been caught. Also, to be used at the bank when she needs everyone to become her friend.)

Bubbles (This is probably her best real word. She says the entire thing and says it when she sees or wants bubbles.)

Mama (This is only to be used either when mama isn't around, or when she is repeating it like a parrot for mama. I was harassing her so bad to say mama one day that I said "Ramona?!" and she answered back in a tired, bored way "mama".)


Shoes (this sounds like Shoo!)

Outside (Sigh!)

Sophie (So! She says this to mean any dog and also this is what she thinks a bark sounds like.)

Happy (I know, strange word. It started out like a nonsense word *yobby* and we helped her turn it into happy. If anyone says anything about being happy, she will repeat it over and over again.)

Note that I put exclamation points at the end of the stuff she says? Well, she is just that kind of girl.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

my first Saturn Return

I declare the reverie complete. I allowed the letters and pictures to tumble out of the boxes. I sifted and sorted, did a lot of throwing out and airing out. Now the artifacts of my past are neatly stacked and sitting in the deepest closet under my stairs.

Why all of this? Well, I'm experiencing my first Saturn Return. I'm turning 30 in a few weeks. I won't have time to ponder it all later, because it will be the start of school.
I have time now.

Of all the things I came across in my reverie, the artifact that moved me the most was a project I did for psychology class during my senior year. It was a large goal setting/life inventory project. You know what my major long term goals were?
1. To be a librarian.
2. To be a mother.

Isn't that just the darndest thing? Honestly, I swear to you that I stumbled into both of these things. These were the things I became almost by accident, by luck. They were the things that came easy. I did not spend very much time lamenting or worrying about becoming either. Sure, I did stuff so the path could align. I got pregnant on purpose, I applied for the job I have now. But, these things came easily. Everything else was incredibly hard.
So, should I do it again? Set another two goals, secret goals, and put them at the bottom of my side table drawer. Do I look at them again once I am 60?

I feel like, for me, goals are a thing of the past. My greatest hope is to have a stable mind, to see the world as it really is, to ease the suffering of others, to pay attention. This is what I work for right now.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

college poem

I loved college so much. I did a lot of pinning and made a lot of very questionable choices. I also wrote this poem:

Tri Sigma

On this day, even very old I be
they've been there and they've frightened
but in my divided time
in that baptized blue Olympiad,
my likeness has been absorbed,
and at once a member
of which I have never been before.

(I have to tell you, this poem is about liking the sorority girls in my water aerobics class. Cute, huh?)

love poems

There is nothing more deranged than a teenage girl. During this drawn out reverie, my mind keeps coming back to Ramona. My baby who is a girl. Someday I'm going to slap my hand to my face and say, "what the hell is wrong with that girl?".
I just hope she never discovers Sylvia Plath.

So, in honor of that. In honor of being sick with love and very young; some love poems that are only slightly deranged:

coming clean

On a clear day you come pretty clean
and I can see you for miles.
Going north
I found tides of you
and boats white with destination.

I've found you
and you are lost again,
you do this easier with the cold.
I bought a big coat
to not think of you, it is not of you
that I teach school; I've buried myself
with books of penmanship, I can hide
from you while grading,
grading him, grading math.

But only on clear days
your house stands white.
And your brown smokestack
navigates me,
knows that I step on snowy steps,
on broken boxes to look deeply into you.
This morning, found
and found to be lost again,
I found a great land in your
deep wide steps.

you love others

You love others
and this drops me into a deep draining pit,
my neck is gone,
my toes went long ago.
Water stole my face and my name,
and it can not matter because you might be in love.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

more "uncollected" works

I wrote this when I was about 19. I shared it with my dad because I had a desperate need to communicate to him how worried I was for him. How sad I was that he and my mom had separated. I gave him several poems, and then left him alone to ponder what the hell I was about. Then a week or so later, during dinner, the stack of papers came out of his pocket. Along with his reading glasses. And we really talked about what I had written. This conversation made me feel heard as an author and as a daughter.

I apologize for the violence in this poem. It was reality for me at the time.

traditional hanging

It is sick and unnecessary
but I am always scared to open
closed doors in our home
because I fear I would see
your body hanging,
hanging on the last thread of the house,
hanging mute with mistake.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

reverie week - short story

This is a very short story I wrote during a really hellacious breakup during the early 2000's. I had a nice boyfriend in high school. But, eventually it was just time to move on. For both of us. Nothing has ever broken my heart in quite the same way and honestly, I'm still not over losing that friendship.
This is a breakup story. Plain and simple.



You can haunt the halls, but you can't ask me to make you feel at home.
- Liz Phair

I've always liked the idea of the young widow. The tight lips and the extreme lack of sun in the skin. I've always liked the idea of forced mourning. Wearing black for a prescribed amount of time. To be grieving a boyfriend is entirely different. You feel like you should be drinking a malt with his letter jacket around your shoulders. I knew a girl in high school who made t-shirts to honor her boyfriend when he died in a car wreck. Really, you just have to keep quiet and pretend that it wasn't all that serious.

But the truth is, we felt pretty serious, and it's been months and I'm still not okay. During lunches with friends I sit nervously in my chair, because I'm waiting for the inevitable sentence to drop, "I know this great guy, and you really deserve to be happy."

I feel pretty crazy lately. See, he's a ghost in my house. I'm not speaking of a listening to sad records and drinking wine haunting. I'm speaking of the real thing. At first it was the mirror sightings. I'd be plucking my brows and I'd see the zipper of his backpack darting through the door. Then he began hiding things. Normally I loose stuff,but this paired with the zipper gave me the idea that I was in a scary movie.

I've never been a brave person, but I handled it well in the beginning. I slept with the lights on, but I stayed home more than ever. When I was little I devised a plan that I would go hang out at the mall if I ever experienced a ghost invasion. But, when it first started, I stayed in as much as I could, because I didn't want to miss what he would do next.
We never lived together when he was alive. I never felt comfortable bringing it up because he was very afraid of being stuck in an apartment with me forever. Now I realize that he was smarter in life than in death. We were not meant to live so close. I'm a lot less full of love now and we don't even talk. I feel like the sister of a deaf kid, always interpreting what he wants. "My Ghost needs more room on the couch" or "I'm sorry, you can't come home with me because My Ghost likes to watch "Seinfeld" and he needs to be alone when he does that". I've moved my belongings, because he needs so much room. I miss having the place to myself, I liked it better when I was just sad and wished we were still together. Sometimes it's less like a fun joke and it gets prickly. The lines of reality get really light and for a few hours I can't move from my chair by the door.

This morning I woke up and read two People magazines. Finding this totally satisfying I went back to bed for an afternoon nap. Now I'm laying here trying not to hear him turning the pages of my magazine beside me on the floor. He gives each page one minute, and then swish, on to the next. His human laugh of disdain is nothing compared to his ghostly one. Full of knowledge of the beyond, and now totally sick of me. I could handle the midnight clangings, but the mockery is just too much for me.

After the magazine thing I was so pissed that I went to the mall. I've always really admired the way crazy people talk to strangers and report on the things that are bothering them. Inside the Gap I am joined at the sale rack by a woman who looks quite understanding. I have not really gotten to the point where I can do truly insane things, so I don't tell her about the ghost in my apartment. But it is tempting to turn to her and say, "hey, you know how sometimes you have a really terrible break-up and it hurts so bad if feels like someone has died?".

But, I didn't tell her. I did not tell her about how my ex-boyfriend could be in two places at once. At the same time he was in my apartment looking for the extra syrup, he was also across town playing video games with his new girlfriend. I didn't tell her, "My boyfriend isn't dead, he just doesn't want to be with me anymore. I think I'm going nuts."

I look slim in black, so I keep wearing it even though I'm trying not to indulge in the whole mourning thing. I'm keeping the lights blazing, and I'm not letting myself see him dead in my bathroom anymore. It wasn't really all that crazy, it was just something that got away from me and ran far and fast.

deep cleaning and reverie

The show Hoarders, the mountains of old baby stuff, and the fact that I never properly moved into this house has led me to a massive reorganization of all closets. It's also probably because I "work from home" right now. If you stare at the stuff long enough, you want to do something about it.

So, I've been emptying closets and bins, boxing up old books and clothes for Goodwill and we have made some major progress. I'm a get rid of stuff person. I've been working on Brian all week to do the same. It's been a slow process; we both have countless boxes of love notes and old journals, mix tapes, and weird collections of small, strange trinkets.

This big house project has inspired another project. I declare the rest of this week, Nova Retro Week. This means that I will be airing out my old boxes. I will be slapping up some unpublished works of Nova. Some very old, pre-Internet publishing stuff that has had me in reverie all week. It's not good stuff! But it's young and sweet and sad. So, if you want to skip reading for the rest of this week, I will understand.

My first act of retro week will be to put up an entire short story, so you were warned.

Monday, July 12, 2010

retreat number 2

You know what attachment is? It's going to a meditation retreat and being pissed because they aren't running it "right". I wasn't going to write about this. Mostly because I thought it would be me tattling about the bad behavior of others. Now that I realize it's my own bad behavior it's open season.

I've been going to little summer half day meditation retreats. These are small things, just three hours. They have been like little life rafts for me this summer. Small places of refuge every month.

Something has happened to me recently. I've lost my beginner's heart. The retreat wasn't run the way I prefer. The teacher said things with which I disagreed. It didn't fit with my beliefs about retreats and the purpose of meditation. And I was actually pissed. I pouted instead of meditating on the last sitting!

I was right. I really was. Meditation should be done sitting on a cushion or sitting in a chair. We don't meditate laying down with our eyes closed, because we don't meditate to go to sleep, we meditate to wake up. I don't mediate to relax. I do it because it's the only way to put out the 20 foot flame atop my head.....

But I was wrong, because we meditate to see the world as it really is. We go to the retreat we are at, not the one thirty days ago, and not the one 10 years in the future.

I love how this life is practice. You know why I was angry? I was angry because I had not done my daily practice that week. I was counting on that retreat. I was greedy for it, because I was counting on it. Do not waste my time, I'm a harassed wife and mother, I don't have time to do anything but my practice at this retreat.

Being blessed with a great retreat is good karma riping. I should have done my daily practice all week. Expectation is attachment, and it's what causes our suffering.
How do you keep a beginner's heart? How do I get mine back?

(on a side note: this was my 100th post. Was it worth the wait?)

Friday, July 9, 2010

the old college try

Yesterday, Brian and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary.
Brian was in the third grade class next door to mine. He was the first boy I ever kissed. He is the person that held my hand tightly when I gave birth to our daughter. I can't hide a thing from him. That's why I married him.

He was also the first boy who ever gave me a gift. A cassette tape of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. This was in eighth grade, when he was just a friend. He was a sweet and unassuming boy, kind and smart. The perfect catch for a geeky girl like me. Brian was my first kiss. But these things don't last, thank goodness.

About 6 months before I graduated college, I put it all on the line. I had been pinning for an absolutely ridiculous and make-believe love affair. It ended, leaving me a mess. Brian was suddenly there. We drove around in his car, late at night, with friends. We sat in his cul-de-sac talking. He adopted me. He brought a sad, friendless girl into his life of friends and good times.

I remember telling a friend, "okay, here's the thing. I want Brian to be my best friend. And I don't want him to be friends with anyone else, oh, and I would like to kiss him". I deduced that it was turning into a crush. We started making out at parties, but kept flaking out on turning it into something. Then Brian said the words that meant more than his wedding proposal several years down the line.

He said,"hey, let's just give it the old college try".

Let's try. He had me. I wasn't afraid to try. I was afraid of everything else. But I wasn't afraid to try.

We still try. Through everything, we are still just giving it a try.

Monday, July 5, 2010

buying a car and two other things

I've been quiet on the blog and also twitter because my car broke down beyond repair and then we started looking for a new car.

I hate to be all woe about a car, so if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.....
Anyway, I don't like the idea of spending a lot of money on a car. I also don't like to get all caught up in letting a car (or any purchase) symbolize who I think I am. Also, I don't like to be extravagant. All of this makes me just hate the process of buying a car. However, I am coming out of hiding and am shopping for a new car. Hopefully a car with a big enough backseat for diaper changing.

Hey, two more things:
I noticed today that Ramona's fingers are getting long and slender. Like a little girl.

Second, I finished Brooklyn by Colm Toibin, which I read on request of a friend. I love how sometimes reading a friend's favorite book can give you a glimpse into their heart.