Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"See you later..."

I got the text about twenty minutes before the end of my shift.

"My grandma just passed."

Instantly the tears welled up and with it a disgust that I didn't expect. Disgust over being tethered to a desk. I wanted to walk out. Unplug. Leave.

When my shift finally ended I got in the car and locked the doors and let out a noise that was foreign even to myself. A mix of a sigh, a scream, a surrender. A mix of anger and sadness. A slight sense of relief, for her.


You were one of the few people I admired. I can't explain why, though there are plenty of reasons but what are reasons if nothing more than a list of traits and you were more than that.

You handled me in a way that few people ever have. Sometimes, if the wine was right and we had just enough alone time, you would pull out of me things I would seldom talk to anybody about. My father, my parents, my fears about marriages and parenthood and sometimes my selfish disdain for both of those things. You pulled them out of me and didn't suggest a solution, only acknowledgement. And that was all I needed.

Few people know that.


I raced home as fast I could. I wasn't sure why I was pushing the speed limit, why my arms were going numb, why my hands were shaking. She was gone. There was nothing to outrace. And looking back on it this morning, I think I was just angry. I was so damn angry I hadn't been around more. Angry that I slept, ate, bathed, watched a movie, listened to music while she was a couple miles away. I was angry that life still relentlessly moves on while others simultaneously stop. Soon life will move on and I don't think I'll be as angry. This seems like something she would tell me, so I keep telling this to myself.


I'll always remember this one afternoon. You were feeling particularly well and wanted to take Jack to the zoo. I was slightly worried, I wasn't sure you would have the energy to fully enjoy an outing in our Tucson heat and Jack's sometimes juggernaut approach to life. But you maintained that all was well.

We walked around and took our time.

Before we left we visited the gift shop which I told you to ignore because it was overpriced. But you didn't listen. You were dead set on buying Jack not only a stuffed animal elephant but a giraffe companion for it as well as a book that made jungle noises. You have spoiled Jack since his birth. We have jokingly dubbed him "little prince" because of you. Because of the esteem with which you have held him since he was nothing more than holdable. The love that you have had for him is one of the things that I believe I'll miss the most.

We took a train ride around the park. Jack pointed out everything and we soaked in the spring sun. After we grew tired of the park we went to a Mexican restaurant downtown and I was so excited to bring you over to my stomping ground. Once again I was letting you in more than most people. The margarita was just right and the beer was to your liking and the afternoon, that afternoon, was perfect. It took weeks for Jack to stop talking about it. He still brings it up from time to time.


"Are you okay?"
"Yeah. You?"
"We just have to remember all the good things."
"I know."
"And this is a good thing. It would have gotten worse, harder, uglier."
"I know."

The last time I saw you was at Greg's birthday dinner. You were in the back. Your daughter was there talking to you and I came in to say hello. And as soon as I sat down that old familiar comfort set in.

"You look great."
"That dress is lovely."

I like that we can both appreciate the aesthetics in life. Even when life is not so grand. Some people would call us shallow for it but we know better.

"How are you?"
"How's the job? How are you doing, I know you don't like it very much."
"Yeah. It's tough but I guess that's being a grown up right?"

I think you smiled at that because you've watched me struggle so hard against the practicalities of being an adult.

"But, you know, I'd rather be busy than bored. It's better that way. Even though it's hard sometimes."
"Of course!"
"My mind gets too idle and I start to unravel..."
"I know."

And before we start to turn our quick "hello" into another therapy session the dinner bell has rung. You won't be joining us, you are not well enough. Knowing that made the walk to the dinner table one of the longest I've had in awhile. My boots clicking on the tile was an assault to my ears and the further away I knew they were getting hurt somewhere in my rib cage.

"Love you."
"Love you too."
"See you later."


Greg and Jack had their last visit with you a couple days ago. I was at work on a Sunday. Again.

"...even though it's hard sometimes."

I'm glad Jack got to see you. I wish I could have.

But mostly I wish I had gotten to say thank you.

Thank you for accepting me, even though there are traits in myself that are sometimes unacceptable. Thank you for refilling my glass and my hope. Thank you for having such good taste and for feeling the music and the nuances. Thank you for your children. Thank you for loving Jack.

I hope that wherever you are going has plenty of pinot grigio and sunlight at your feet. I hope there are elephants with giraffe companions. I hope your son is there. I hope that you left knowing that I loved you. Always.

Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories; They're all that's left you

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In the blink of an eye...

It's shit like this that makes me feel incredibly old and incredibly panicked.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Jack and the Beanstalk

My son is growing marigolds...

Sometimes he overpours, flooding the tiny seedlings; creating a pool of drifting dirt, streaking the clay pot with water.

"Careful," I warn "you don't want to over-water them."
"Yeah," he says both concerned and yet unflappable. He knows what he's doing. Even if he doesn't, I must let him figure it out on his own. Let him color outside the lines. Let him spill and fall and piss and yell. Sometimes I have to hold my tongue, watch the dirt float to the top. Try again next time.

My son is growing.

It wasn't so long ago that I was growing a seedling of my own.

I wonder if he bites his tongue for me sometimes. Ignores the fact that I cry so easily, curse a little too much, let my head drift a little too far into the atmosphere because sometimes it's afraid of the cold, hard ground.

"Be careful" he says.

We keep each others dirt tended, cared for. And out of our eyes marigolds grow.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A lot

I've been swamped, stressed, down, up, every which way it seems these last few weeks.

For some reason the job has been grating all the wrong nerves and left me so worn and angry that it took a small breakdown with my coach, complete with tears and me having to run to the bathroom to wipe away the snot that was becoming very persistent, to set me back on my axis. My PMS runs wild and it runs deep. Or I'm just stressed the fuck out and have decided that blaming it on my womanly hormones seemed like an excuse everybody could agree upon.

The truth is, this line of work is just plain sad sometimes. I work in a call center and have to deal with A LOT of angry people. People calling in already filled with venom, people who tell me their life stories, people who have decided to purposely call in to make ME pay for their bad mood. Most of the time I'm good at separating myself from it all. But after awhile it got to where their bad moods started making me question what type of company I was in that would make someone so angry and then it spiraled into me vilifying the place on a whole and then getting jaded. Because I'm an idiot idealist and believe that everything should be fair and the world just doesn't work that way. Also, if I want to continue to be paid, biting that hand that feeds is not recommended. So now I'm just an idealist on the weekends.

Alongside that is the fact that Greg's grandmother is dying. How many weeks or even days she has left is unknown. It's been weighing on my mind a lot lately. Post to follow.

Jack is in his Tyrannous Threes, as I've dubbed it, and if you guys think two is bad....you had better stock up liquor NOW because at the end of the day you'll likely feel like a three year old is THE BEST birth control nature could create. And it is. I won't be removing the IUD any time soon.

I'm trying to stay focused and positive as best as I can these days because if I don't the level of depression I can fall into is hard to get out of without some sort of crisis.

SO that's where I'm at right now. Just a quasi-brief explanation of where I've been these days. Maybe now I can get to posting something of value.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Lullabies to better recognize!

* The following post was NOT sponsored. Sometimes I just happen to come across things that I love and figure I'd pass it on.

I'm a girl who tends to think about a budget. I don't like sticker shock and I hate being wasteful so when I find something that works well and is also fairly cheap, I'm pretty much sold on it.

Ladies and hair conscious gents (?), I present to you-

Organix Anti-Breakage Serum

I need a trim. I dye, or I used to dye (currently letting the locks grow au natural), my hair. I blow dry and flat iron. Needless to say, sometimes my hair needs some TLC. Usually I'm skeptical of hair products, it tends to be trial and error for me but man, this stuff was FINALLY a win! I applied about a penny sized amount (although you could use even less, and I'd recommend doing so) to the mane while it was damp, blow dried and straightened and my hair was salon soft. Softest it's been in months in fact.

Another perk of the product- it's cruelty-free!

Hair improving, cruelty-free, yummy smelling? Get on this. I'm smitten!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Friday Fondue

I wish I were writing as much as I have "ideas to write down". By the end of the day sleep is my siren luring me to the bottom of the ocean. The lack of posts here has got me down, the lack of vegetarian strictness in my diet gives me guilt and I'm fairly certain my caffeine to water ratio is a bit out of balance. But I figure if I haven't completely broken down yet, something is working. So I'll work it for now.

In the meantime...links!

* Chelsea gave birth to a lovely little girl. Check her out and read her birth story here!
* Cool site for lunchbox ideas. I am allllll over this!
* Love, love, love!
* I'll never look at rogue cinder blocks as worthless again! I want to do this!
* Great post over at A Cup Of Jo on how to talk to little girls. I can't wait to try it!
* Want to make.
* I think this is my favorite maternity pic ever! It's so playful and doesn't scream just maternity.
* Dream loft.
* Tattoo lust! I've been wanting to get a Ferdinand the Bull tattoo for awhile. It was my favorite book as a kid and Ferdinand reminds me of Jack.
* Thanking about saving up and splurging on a pair of proper, classic flats (sick of replacing them every six months or so, quality over quantity!)- these two are the top contenders.
* This article cracked me up (although pretty much everything at This Recording tickles my fancy on the regular).

Music Of The Week

* "Foolin'" by Devendra Banhart (though probably NSFW, it still cures my road rage, funk moods...I also have a wicked crush on Devendra).
* "Oh My God" by Cults. Saw them at Congress last Saturday and it was one of the more fun shows I've been to so far this year (Fitz and the Tantrums would have been a good one but my getting nauseous and claustrophobic inhibited my good time) and singer Madeline Follin was a sweetheart. And...
* "Resolution Of One" by Guards...who opened for Cults and made me swoon like a teenager.
* "Zebra" by Beach House
* "Down Boy" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

My grandparents

When I was a little girl I spent a considerable amount of time with my grandparents and I was endlessly fascinated with them.

If I spent the night I woke as soon as my grandfather's foot hit the floor, stood outside of the bathroom door and waited for him to finish what he told me were "the three S's- shower, shave and shampoo"(he omitted the more crass word for my delicate four year old ears that would soon be sullied by his future grandsons).

My grandmother was a smoker. She never did so in the house but the smell of tobacco had penetrated some things, namely this panda figurine she had sitting on the windowsill above the sink. I would ask her to take it down for me and I'd hold it in my hands and smell it, inhaling the danger of nicotine and loving that it came from her.

They lived in Show Low, AZ, for most of my young girlhood and I spent my visits creating adventures in the woods. Running up the road to greet the cows that I loved just as much as any animal that had been drawn in a Disney movie. I'd eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and talk to them, wishing that I could stroke their ears and kiss their eyelashes while resenting the barbed wire that separated us.
I adopted my grandmother's friend's wolf hybrid dog as my faithful companion in pine cone collecting. Lobo and I spent long afternoons under pine trees. He was the first creature I loved with everything I had inside of myself.

That wolfdog would wait for me at the door like clockwork.
"Amanda, Lobo is here!"
And I'd run out of the door as if somebody was waiting for me with sacks of gold.

I digress.

My fascination with my grandparents still hasn't waned. There is this intense love that runs deeper than the marrow in my bones.

I loved the feeling in their kitchen where the sun glowed around my grandfather reading the paper, drinking his black coffee. Always black coffee. This was a man who had been to war, who had worked in Detroit, and watched his sons be possible casualties in Vietnam. Who had lost friends and had the steely silence of his Swedish blood and yet, when his granddaughters came calling--there were no grandsons until after the '80s-- he was a dollhouse, a storybook; a daisy blooming through the concrete.

My grandmother raised five babies. She lost one son, watched one almost die, watched her daughters get their hearts broken, watched them lose future grandchildren in that bloody silent violence that is a miscarriage. And none of this shows. She nurtures us in a way that doesn't come off as maternal. She just believes, with all her might, that we are really capable of all our dreams, even though she's seen her own come and go.

She wanted to be a writer and when she caught wind of my aspirations she became my biggest cheerleader. Every visit she asks me if I'm "still writing" and when I say "yes" or "meh, here and there" or "I wish," she is still there. She hands me things she's written asking me what I think about them and I adore that she thinks I have any sort of skill in which my opinion really matters.

I love them.
For the days they've seen and lived through.
For setting the stage for a childhood made of wonder and adventure.
For the fact that no matter what, after being a teenager, after having my own child, I always feel like a four year old girl, filled to the brim with fascination, watching them drink that black coffee.