Archive for November, 2008

“You have to help me!”


“But you have to! I can’t take it! I just can’t take it!.”

“I said no.”

“But I’m dying!”

“Well, at least pick up your crayons, then.”

And she does. Fini. The worst thing in the whole world that I can do to her, apparently, is to ask her to  pick up her own damned stuff. Cuts her deep, it does. But the entire living room looks like the bins have violently vomited up cars, trains, markers, crayons, little people, blocks, lincoln logs….ugh. I can’t take it anymore. I just can’t. Doesn’t she know I have cleaning issues? Or maybe she does. Maybe she’s seeing something I do…or don’t do….and is just copying what she’s seeing. Well, that’s not giving her a free pass. No way. I’m not picking up her shit. N-uh.

I’m stubborn. She is, too. Her friends have begun to notice. She has ideas about how everything should be….the Christmas tree, the obstacle course they set up in the backyard, and which movie to watch, of course.  I’m really looking forward to the holiday weekend together, but I think of the future of us, and I see us fighting like cats and dogs; a collision of wills drumbeating against each other. As long as she knows I always love her, anyway.

The baby birds are doing very, very well. They are twice their original size now, and their previously naked wings are sporting tiny feathers. I don’t think their eyes have opened yet, and they still kind of resemble aliens. Their beaks are black, and will remain so until the first molt, when they’ll become either orange if they’re female, or red if they are males.  The parents have been doing a great job. I can tell every time I look at them, by observing the crops along their necks, which are little sacks stuffed with seeds and greens. The first time I saw this yellow bulge on my birds, I thought it was a tumor. But it’s actually a very, very good sign. They are developing right on que and moving around more and more.

It’s all particularly exhausting for the parents, who need all the extra protein they can get, in the form of mashed eggs. I recognize that weary blinking of the eye I catch in Miles.

How far we’ve both come.


“Tell me a story, Pew.
What kind of story, child?
A story with a happy ending.
There’s no such thing in all the world.
As a happy ending?
As an ending.”

-Light Housekeeping, by Jeanette Winterson

I was in the children’s room at the library in town with the kiddo, when I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was my former neighbor, Anna. I was happy to see her of course, but she was supposed to be in Georgia, where she’d moved with her young son to live with her love after three years of long distance courtship. That was in the summer. I’d thought of her every now and then, and imagined her in the warm winters, working at a school, taking care of her son, who’s autistic, and singing beautiful notes to her love with that strong, melodious voice of hers; the one I’d hear in unexpected places, like the afternoon in RiteAid when the kiddo was roaming the aisles singing the Carpenter’s “Close to You”, and suddenly, Anna’s familiar voice joined in. Or the afternoon after school, out on the steps of my apartment, when she’d sung a rendition of “You Are My Sunshine” with such a warm arc of power in her voice, that I’d gotten goosebumps and tears in my eyes just listening. We were very sad to see her move, and the kiddo looked for her for months afterward.

She was supposed to be happy in Georgia. Fulfilled. The end.

But it’s true,  stories never end. Not with new locations, characters, and scenarios. They just move on. Detour. Or turn around. Backward. Like hers did. The man in her life hit her. And she did the right thing, and fled. Now she’s back in town, with no job, few possessions.  And her deep faith. I feel sad. But I’m still happy to see her. And it’s going to get better. It will.

That’s what I tell the people in my life who ask me how I’m doing since I made my decision a little over a year ago. “It gets better and better. All of the time.” I can say that with conviction now, but I couldn’t imagine it during the bleak and desperate days at the shelter, where I’d had two months to find a place to live, with no money and no job. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what was out there. I was safe, but I was not at home. There was no home.

The beginning of that story was the hardest part. Everything—finances, school, job hunting, apartment seeking, court appearances, therapy appointments for both of us—all happening at once. So many forms to fill out. Overwhelming.

I plowed through it, took deep breaths, and trudged along. I felt angry sometimes. Resentful. My confidence is still shot, and I have trouble silencing what I call “the tape” of various putdowns and cutting judgements I’d shook off for years and years that are still hardwired into my psyche. But there is so much to be grateful for, too. Angels are the humans walking among us. It’s true. They’re around. I met many. Couldn’t have come this far without them.

Anna will meet some too. It’s that time of the year, and she deserves them.

no cigars

Millet sprays, anyone? I have chicks! Like clockwork, two weeks after eggs first appeared, both sets of finch eggs hatched this weekend. The chicks are tiny, pink, and translucent, sporting huge purple eyelids; resembling embryos with tufts of white down here and there. They are honestly among the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I’ve been floating around on air all weekend. Amazing.


What color are you? I am purple sage, need to know the reason behind things, have an innate desire to learn, my mind is deep and penetrating, and I’m not satisfied with superficial results or people. Ok, I’m not satisfied with a lot of people, but the rest I’ll take. What’s yours?

thoughts and notes

–The hosts of the local radio show this morning invited callers to describe, using one word, how they were feeling this morning with regard to the election results. Depressed. (cautiously) Optimistic. Relieved. Hopeful. Deflated. I feel….inspired.

–The kiddo spotted turkeys on the morning ride today. Her reaction: “We have to catch them and eat them!” Gas is my second biggest expense with this commute to school, but the quality time we have together on our commutes is priceless.

–Not to be outdone by my finch Prudence, little Stella is expecting. Her eggs are different, not ivory white like Prudence’s, but more of a faint grey-greeny color. I suspect its all the spinach she scarfs down. She’s kookoo for spinach. I’m thrilled for Miles, and for Stella. I should have just named her Queenie. Every time I look at her, I see an imaginary crown atop her little head.

–Yesterday, when I arrived to pick up the kiddo, she was deeply engrossed by some magnetic building toy. She apparently didn’t want to leave and told the teacher’s aide that I wasn’t her mother (!). Crafty.

November 2008
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