Thursday, March 25, 2010

On the road again, U-haul, and a Birthday

We stuffed the car with birthday presents and luggage and zoomed off to explore the DC area, and to wrap our minds around yet another
Big Daunting Move.
Moving is usually rather traumatic for me.
A snip snipping of ties, a fare thee well to new friends, favorite restaurants, local libraries and parks, a tree we planted, a front porch, a hammock, ghosts of our younger selves that we leave behind.
For a year or so after we moved to NY from CA, Michael and I would cringe and shudder every time we saw a U-haul- I would actually feel nauseous- our moving experience was that awful. We broke down in the hot summer, our baby, two cats, and all our worldy possessions melting beside the road. This was in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone coverage. We hitched a ride with a kindly trucker. Instead of U-haul repairing our blown tire, they sent another U-haul over a day later. Poor Michael had to unpack the first one and repack in crazy Tetris Master style in 100 degree + stifling heat. Meanwhile, the cats are a'yowling and Noah's a'crying and we're all stuck in a flea-bitten motel room watching the weather channel. And we were traveling with the grief of Michael's father's death, which had just occurred two months prior.
Yep, U-haul evokes a deep nasty sorrow.
Anyhooo- this move is different. Michael has a sweet absent-minded professor job lined up. We're looking forward to living in a more diverse urban area so close to DC, and all the opportunity that brings. We will be situated between my family and friends in FL, and Michael's family in NY. It seems like a good fit for us.
But it's still a leap into the unknown. And I have to summon my strength to surrender control, to let go.
Who knows what paths we'll travel, who we'll meet and befriend, what we'll learn, and how we'll grow?
In fact, we are all transient in life, just passing through.

Oh yeah, so we had Noah's 4th birthday On the Road, and he really loved being stuck in the car with his mom and dad and nana. He really did. He chatted and chatted and sang and laughed and found pleasure in the smallest of things; the hotel elevator, a bridge we drove over, spotted cows in a field, sun peeking through the murky clouds. So lucky he's here to remind us of the important things in life.
Here Noah stands with the awesome Marble Run he constructed in our hotel room. He holds up his fingers and says, "I'm 4 now!"

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Artisan Bread

I haven't tasted these yet. But I like their looks.
Their exteriors are delightfully crispy and crackalacking.
Their interiors are supposed to have a custardy crumb.  
I checked out this book from the library,
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,
borrowed a baking stone from my mother-in-law,
and tried out the authors 'master recipe.'  

I'll sample these, gladly, and let you know my results.
I just wish I still had some Nutella to slather on these babies.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

If Only

Another poem from today. Just a rough draft.
All of my poems are rough rough rough drafts.

If Only

If only, if only you could tell me
Bluntly, the way I don’t fit
Why the knobby imperfection
Has grown around that hole

Remove the splinter now
That it’s firmly wedged
Now that I’ve spent so long
Polishing this great flaw

Turning it over and over
Searching for significance
Why a fragment, rejection
This path instead of that

A restless, painful curiosity
Magnified by time
And the mind’s trick
Of projecting beauty onto loss

If only, if only I could build a bridge
Gnarled wood for you to burn to the ground
The crackling dissonance
Could maybe loosen your hold on me

Mr. Carrot, the Herald of Spring

I had to pull my car over today and pen a short poem.
I had just driven by an obscene snowman. He had a huge carrot erection.
After the initial blushing, I felt a bit angry that someone had
perverted the sweet, innocent, familial pleasure of snowmen.
It was almost blasphemous.
Then my anger turned into sadness.
Sadness for the loss of innocence in general.
Finally, though, after imagining that it was
probably the prank of teenaged kids,
all hormones, pimples, and awkwardness, I was able to laugh
at this lusty snowman,
and look at him as the
Herald of Spring!


Spring, I reckon, is around the bend
Teenaged, neighborhood boys

Have plucked the Snowman’s
Innocent carrot nose
And arranged it, suggestively,
On the Snowman’s lower half.

The snow will melt soon
And all that will remain, besides puddles,
will be the carrot’s bawdy
salute to procreation.

Keep raging on
Youth and Humor and Hormones

And with the green breath of another dawn,
Help us forget the hollow raggedness,
The death of winter,
The crushing ache of a long, memory-filled night.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Class, Race, Gender, Werewolves, and Gynecology

Arriving in the mailbox a few days ago was just another thing to add to the list of
 "Creepy Things I Never Wished to Hear/Read."
It was a reminder letter from my OB/Gyn.
It stated that the office was "really looking forward to my upcoming visit."
As if ever since I made the appointment, the friendly Doctors and Nurses of the Nether Regions have been in a state of restless anticipaction and excitement about the viewing and groping
of MY nee nees and naa naas. Yikes. Much clenching ensued.

So it was with great trepidation that I arrived at the Ob/Gyn yesterday.
It has been 3 years or so since my last breast exam, pelvic exam, and pap smear...Triple Threat.
And it was the first such visit in the fair city of Syracuse.
And the first time using our new insurance from Michael's employment at SUNY Oswego.
I think all of the paperwork and questioning of my medical past is a close relative
to the legs up in the stirrup experience. Just as Bare All.
I guess I don't understand why the doctor needs to know how many sexual partners
I've had in my lifetime. That's really personal. Is it medical?
If so, why not also ask how many people I've kissed, held hands with...
also communicable activities.
And may I ask how many nee nees and naa naas you've examined, dear doc?
Do MEN ever have to answer that question at the doctor's office?
Are they patted on the back when they give their answer?

Funny to me also (or maybe very sad), a nurse spoke to me in a quiet, conspiratorial tone
about how this particular medical center serves more of the 'medicaid crowd,'
and how I would want to find another Ob/gyn in the suburbs for when/if I become pregnant again.
Of course, she would have no clue about my background of economic disadvantage,
that I'm a child of the 'medicaid crowd.'
I know she was trying to be helpful, but I wish I would have spoken up and let her know
that the 'medicaid crowd' is more diverse and complex than she realizes,
and that we all deserve quaility, caring Ob/Gyns regardless of the color of our skin.
But instead,  I was shocked into silence.
And  honestly, more than a small part of me was relieved that I 'passsed' as middle class.

The Triple Threat (exam, exam, smear), is never very pleasurable.
However, out of an excess of nervous energy,
yesterday I discovered a strategy to help.
Humor! Grin and bear it, while baring it.
It may not work for you.
Maybe you prefer prayer in situations of discomfort and humiliation.
But for me, joking around in a self-deprecating manner about my bodily flaws, aging, (and even laughing at my fears!) saw me through it to the end.

By the way, my doctor said it's perfectly normal that
I have a single, weird, bristly, black, werewolf hair that sprouts
from my neck once every full moon.
Nothing strange about that at all, apparently.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Snow Days and Ways

The three of us were snowed in on Thursday.
Michael and I shoveled and shoveled. And shoveled some more.
We have a very unfortunate driveway.
It slopes steeply down from the road towards our house.
As if our little dwarfish house were built inside a hole.
Even if there's just a small bit of snow or ice, we have to shovel
or we can't get out of the drive.
On the other hand, this steeply sloping drive makes a nice sledding hill
for 3-year-olds like Noah, and chickens like me.

And even though we received a ton more (about a foot)
of the white stuff by Friday morn,  
Michael's classes were not canceled.
So, at 7am Michael and I descended upon our drive
like heavy-duty snow-removing professionals.
I really have mastered a certain technique.
Rhythm is everything. Well, rhythm, warm gloves and boots.
Anyways, we managed to dig his car out
in the nick of time so that he could stand before
a bunch of surly students
(who were also disappointed that they weren't enjoying a snow day)
and lecture on Dante's Inferno. Snowy day in Hell?

Meanwhile, Noah and I have been playing a new game
called "Pretend Sleep".
For "Pretend Sleep," Noah gets to pretend he's the parent
tucking me- the child- into bed.
This is a pretty good deal for me since I get to lay around
and pretend to sleep and be generally lazy.
But lately, Noah has been pretending to be a mean parent.
On Friday he told me,
"Hush your little mouth, close your little eyes, and cover up your teeny tiny head! Go to sleep, mama!"
I can assure you, he did not learn that kind of parenting from me.

Gray Sea

Gray Sea