Archive for June, 2009

just like a first grader!

That’s the mantra chirping ’round the house in these parts. It’s the kiddo’s “moving up” ceremony today. I’m not so sure she’s excited about being a first grader so much as she’s excited about summer off. We both gleefully tweet “…five more days…(or four more…or three more, and so on…)” and the other will finish, “and no more school!”, practically whipping our hands together and rubbing them maniacally. “And then, ” the kiddo adds, “We’ll be TOGETHER!” Ahhh. We’re just happier that way. Together, all of the time. For awhile longer.

First grade. She asked me what it was like last night in bed, and I didn’t know what to say. “It’s just…more, I guess”, said I.

I wasn’t crazy about first grade. It was a big switch from a tiny schoolhouse with grades k-6, to a big, big building that sheltered k-12. I had to ride the bus. I hated it. I remember, on one of the first days, seeing poor little T., who’d just started kindegarten, getting beat up outside the bus in the afternoon by Beth Disotoll, who was the same age and twice her size. The damned bus driver wouldn’t let me out of the bus so I could clock her one. Can you imagine the frustration of being stuck in a box behind a window, watching your kid sister getting thumped? I was seething. But anyone who bothered us inside the bus got theirs. I was a ferocious kid.

Anyway, on the first day of first grade, I ran to someone who I thought was good ol’ Jaime, my best pal at the old school, but wound up being someone else. I had to eat in a big cafeteria with kids I didn’t know, and without dear Mrs. Thoma, the lone cafeteria lady, who sat right next to me at lunchtime, coaching me to eat more, while wincing at the huge globs of mustard I’d pile on my hamburgers. It just wasn’t the same. It got better, but it was never the same.

I don’t think the kiddo has to worry about anything like that though. For at least one more year, the school will be in a tiny building that it shares with a Montessori school. She’ll still be in the highest grade level the school offers. And Mommy will still drive her to school. We can wait for the new school year, though. We’ve got stuff to do.

Have a happy summer, peeps.


Better than pizza. Better than spaghetti…

For me, Fellini is the finest of all Italian imports (oh, and then, thanks to him, there’s also Marcello Mastroianni). So, I hope Nine is good. The trailer looks fucking awesome. 8 1/2, which Nine is based upon, is my favorite among many Fellini flicks (I think La Strada would come in second). My only quibble with 8.5 is that Federico’s amazing wife, the great, great actress Giulietta Massina (pure poetry in motion), does not appear anywhere.

I love Fellini because  like Pedro Almodovar, Fellini loves women. He acknowledges and delights freely in their power over him, whether as his mother, lover, or wife. I admire the way he depicts conflicting desires and rationales (love/lust, flesh/spirit, innocence/sophistication, art/commerce…) without judgement. I like the way he embraces excess. Even his failures (due largely to excess), have density. Never tire of him.

I think a flick with Daniel Day Lewis and Marion Cotillard has a shot.

kid stuff

My kiddo is obsessed these days with sports cars. Sports cars. I’m not horrified;  more mystified than anything. Her father once owned a Porsche for a year without his then wife knowing. Isn’t that wierd? Anyway, I think she has maybe a bit of his need for thrills (ok, Mama has some degree of that going on, too). Mama likes motorcycles, not moving boxes on wheels. Mama likes the wind in her face, and the feel of the two wheels careening curves on the road. But Mama’s not telling her that. Yet, anyway. I remember the closing shot in  one of my favorite movies, Orlando (whatever happened to Sally Potter?), with flame haired  Tilda Swinton astride a motorcycle, kiddo  in the side car. And I thought, “That’s it. I want that.” And maybe, sometime, we’ll do that.

The kiddo has a favorite pair of pants. They are black sweat pants that she insists on wearing exclusively. It’s apparently a comfort thing. She likes the elastic legs. Because, the bottoms of one’s pants are not to touch the ground (even Mama’s, though Mama likes hers that way. Mama, she counseled, needs to get a belt. Because leg bottoms are not to touch earth. Right.). Shoelaces are not to touch earth, either. They are to be tripled tied, or more, because she can’t have that. Anyway, she likes the black pants so much, that she hides them from me, lest I, gasp(!), wash them. For only the third time this year, I’d managed to get her into a dress last week. With the pants underneath.

The teen years frighten me a little bit on the rare occasion that I think of them. Fast cars. Willfulness. Yikes! But I fully expect that, like her Mama and her Aunty, she’ll do an about face and completely girl out, and embrace all feminine accouterments, and we’ll someday have a good laugh about those pants. I can wait. For now.

it’s really April…

That’s what I say. My garden thinks so too. I don’t know about you guys, but here in northwest Connecticut, sun has been scarce. Rain, rain, rain. And then I looked at this. Ok, she lives in Oregon, but don’t they have a lot of rain, too? Well, at least I don’t have to haul water out. I recycle dish water…perfectly safe, and green. Probably good for the plants, too. And maybe a little eccentric of me. My neighbors take it all in stride. They think I’m brave and a little wierd for eating buffalo meat, but actually, it’s far superior in taste to beef.

My early planting of peas stuggle. There’s just no sun. They look so….leggy. I have only recently gotten my nasturtiams to sprout. And my catgrass. Finn will be pleased. And probably gack it up onto my nice big desk calendar, as usual. My cats like to lounge on paper. And there’s plenty in my house. I have spinach and a couple of tiny plumes of California poppies in the converted gas grill container I made. But not enough for the birds. All I wanna do these days is stare at my birds. Though I have spent a lot of time cleaning and polishing a website. Is anyone else out there just kind of floating around in a slow motion fog of, I don’t know….boredom? Like, you’re doing lots of stuff—tae bo! pilates! yoga! hiking!–and yet…feel not energized, but kind of ho-hum. Boredom sucks.


it’ll be strange to watch one of my all time favorite movies, Kill Bill 2, now that David Carradine is really gone. I have his tai chi workout video, too. I’d read that Warren Beatty was considered first for the part of Bill, but nixed the opportunity. I thought David was perfect. Slow, quiet; a bit understated.  Exacting. Spiritual, but with a dark, venomous side. Eastern zen, but with a smidgen of a Western cowboy’s reckoning. Spooky. He really sold the part. Hate to see him go the way he did.

new breath

For the first time ever, in memory, my palms were sweating as my fingernails dug and scratched along their shallow planes. Not quite zen cool. “After awhile, they all start to look the same, ” my lawyer mused, as we sat on the bench outside of the clerk’s office in the lower area of the tiny courthouse. She was right. I’d thought I’d seen him at least three times out of the corner of my eye during the short walk to the aging courthouse.

I had been to court many times during the past two years; had  gotten used to it so much, and so accustomed to his late arrivals, that usually, I barely glanced around for him anymore. But today, my head darted up and around at any sound of a door opening and then shutting. Because today, if he didn’t show up, I had a near certain chance of winning all that I had been fighting for during these past two years, and finally ending the dread and tedium of appointments, terse words leveled at me from him in dimly lit hallways, and late night hours of anxiety and uncertainty over a future I couldn’t even begin to plan until this matter was resolved.

And it did get resolved. He never showed. I was so accustomed to his dramatic appearances at the very last minute, that I could barely breathe in front of the judge…I was as nervous as a bride at the altar, tensely half expecting that rare protester at the eleventh hour (the kind seen only in movies) to barge in and call the whole thing off. “I wasn’t expecting this when I woke up today,” I kept numbly repeating to my lawyer as we lunched afterward.

I felt happy for my lawyer, who’d been through a leave of absence during our association, and was now planning to transfer to juvenile court related matters in the near future. “I get so frustrated in seeing justice denied for you guys (meaning women, actually),” she sighed “that when I get home, I just want to pop someone.” I nodded. I could write a book upon what I feel are inequities and oversights that I saw routinely and dismissively leveled at women in situations similar to my own–women emerging from violent situations who seek to protect and rehabilitate their children— during these two years. Maybe I’ll at least write an article. Because if I ever hear that “a bad father is better than no father at all…”, anytime soon, I may feel like popping someone myself. I prefer a nice sharp pen to a fist.

I don’t know what else to say—I’m still a bit numb—except that I can breathe differently, feel lighter, and finally, complete. It’s just a piece of paper–nothing much else has changed—but I’ll take this paper, over and above any others.

interesting read…

about literature and sex. I believe it’s from The Pillow Book, which is a movie I come back to every now and then. Disturbing, beautiful, and never boring.

June 2009
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