Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I had big plans for some studio work this morning- Both H and S in school for a few hours, I was going to do nothing but immerse myself. Except we were out of food, again, so maybe I'd do a quick jaunt to the grocery store. Even though I know there is no such thing. I was almost done with the groceries and my phone rang. It was J with a message from S's school- they called to say "come get your child now because the amount of diarrhea she has been having since the second you dropped her off is spectacular." Last week at school she emptied the contents of her stomach all over the lunch table. I'm sure they're loving her- and me- at the school these days.

All these bodily fluids are putting a cramp in my creativity. So I decided to bake bread. What I really wanted to do which is dye yarn, but I am not allowing myself to pursue that at the moment. I need a new craft like a hole in the head, I haven't begun to knit through the surface of my yarn hoard. Bread I can allow myself.

While the bread was rising, I suggested to S that we go up to my studio and paint. She was game, as always when it comes to painting. We went up, I got her set up- assured her five times that it wasn't really that the white wasn't working, just that its hard to see on white paper. Maybe she should use orange. It worked, today, there have been many flip outs as a result of the white not showing up. Yes, I've used multiple colored paper- she wants to see the white on the white.

I sat down with a scrap piece of rives BFK and some black ink- the closest things at hand. I brushed a line on the paper- and it lifted something in me. I have had this revelation so many times in my life- how I can possibly forget it as often as I do astounds me. This is the pull to the studio- I need to do work so I can live with myself. I am guilty of repeatedly trying to understand the why of it, and telling myself I don't really need it.

S and I were only in the studio for about 15 minutes. She needed scissors, which were downstairs. She paints and then cuts her painting apart into tiny pieces then tapes them all to the wall. I'm working on getting her to collage her pieces, mainly to contain the scraps of paper. Its a colorful hamster cage around here. It was a great 15 minutes. Tomorrow we'll try again, with scissors.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Its raining. There are things I want to print. There are things I want to knit.

I am instead being whipped in the face by a monkey blanket and peed all over by S who is trying to remember to use the potty but too busy elbowing me in the ribs to remember. She rolls on me, causing typos, knocking everything over. Demanding a band aid every time she bumps herself. There aren't enough bandaids in the world for this.

There are meatballs are in the oven for lunch- S's idea-" I want a meatball in my HAND", she said. They're taking some time to cook- she asked indignantly "What those meatballs DOIN in there?"

I sit- frustrated, hating myself for complaining, but wanting a studio day.

S pulls her chair up to a giant water bottle- her car. Tells me "goodbye, I'm going to my tude-tude" (studio)

good luck with that, I say. Lets go have some meatballs.

Maybe we'll go up to my tude tude after lunch.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Misadventures in rabbit ownership

H had a stomach bug a few days ago. The quick kind, here and gone in a day. I made a valiant attempt to keep her home from school yesterday- she was feeling better but seemed tired. She fought me and tearfully begged that I let her go to school. Hasn't this kid read the manual, I thought? But I know from experience, no she has not. She had a great day, as per usual, and came home with the desperate need to have a rabbit.

"Can I have a bunny? A white one with black eyes. No, with black spots. No, all black, No, maybe brown. If I get a white one I'll name her Snow. Can she be a girl? If shes brown I'll call her Coffee." That was our ride home from school. Here is the dilemma, something H can never know- I am the biggest sucker for any animal, and the mere mention of a rabbit has me building hutches in my mind. But I say no. For now. Seeing if its short lived, this bunny love.

I do the stereotypical 'we'll talk to your father' thing. J says little to H, but once she's in bed he looks me square in the eye and says, "No." Because he knows he'll have an easier time calling H off the rabbit idea than me. Then J goes through all the logical reasons we shouldn't have a rabbit, really. Because we have dogs bred to hunt rabbits, for one thing (but they're not terriers, I argue, they'll just point at it, not rip in apart. Although I know this isn't necessarily the case) "Who will feed it when we go away?" He asks. The same people who feed the fish, and the cat. Of course. "I don't want to look at it!" He says.

When I was a kid, we had a revolving door of animals. The quantities changed, but at one time it was: 5 dogs, 4 cats, 2 chickens, a duck, 2 doves, I think it was 92 quail, a guinea pig, a hamster, 2 mice, a snake, 2 turtles, many frogs, a fish, a parakeet, an opossum, and 2 rabbits. I am probably forgetting something.

I had 4 rabbits, altogether- the 1st two, I thought were both female until one fateful morning we discovered what I thought were tomatoes all over the floor of the garage, where the rabbit hutch was. Turns out the rabbits weren't both female after all, one had babies, and the other one ate their heads off. Its true what they say, the males eating their young thing. We were late to school, by mother was annoyed, I cleaned it up quickly, tried to save the few live babies put them in a cat carrier with their poor bunny mother who was understandably traumatized. I rushed into the car to get to school on time- got there and cleaned up in the school bathroom.

The other 2 rabbits I had were babies bought at a market in Mexico City. I think they were too young to be away from their mother- in any case they died not long after I got them. I had an idea to memorialize them by keeping their skins. Our neighbor was a chef, had his own restaurant. I asked if he'd help me skin them. He agreed on the condition that I watch. I agreed, mostly out of being stubborn, and not wanting to look like I couldn't handle it. I regretted it soon and still see the rabbit nailed to the tree in his back yard.

These are two of many experiences I had growing up that seemed quite normal to me at the time.

This I promise- only one rabbit at a time, ever. And no skinning them. For the love of God.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Have you any Hay-re


Lessons in taking down the Christmas tree

I took down the Christmas tree today. Finally. I was determined to recycle it, as it tears at my heart to see the used up abandoned Christmas tree corpses all over the street starting the day after Christmas. I did some research and learned that it was possible to recycle the tree when I live, but I'd have to drive it somewhere. I groaned, but it turned out the somewhere was close, I knew where it was, and the tree was small. And its the right thing to do.

To recycle the tree here, I only had this week to do it. This was stressful to me since I have applications for financial aid due, and taxes needing to be completed early for said forms. No time for anything else- I am squeezing the number crunching in between some strange places.
I try to break things down to get them done, and so I got all the ornaments off the tree, and thought for a minute that I'd leave it at that. Do the rest tomorrow. I am working so hard on training the part of me that puts shit off until tomorrow, so I was very pleased when that very part of me said, albeit meekly, you could do it now. I was fired up. I am going to take the WHOLE tree down AND recycle it! This is the problem with everything I do! I told myself. You only do things to a certain point and then you stop. I saw it as a break though. I compared my life to a tennis swing. I have no follow through. I will get some follow through. I had solved the mysteries. I was thrilled.

After wrapping the tree in a sheet and dragging it outside, pine needles everywhere, a bucket worth of spilled tree water spilled on the rug- how and why so many needles when the tree actually had water? No idea.

Recycled the tree on the way to pick H up from school. I felt so accomplished. So followed through.

H climbed in the car, I told her proudly how I had recycled the Christmas tree. (She is miss ecology these days- the recycling police. She picked up a plastic fork the other day setting the table and asked if we could use the "wasteful ones") Well. She freaked out. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, she had been waiting "all day! Every day!" to take the tree down.

I remembered being upset at this very circumstance when I was probably about H's age. My mother told me that I didn't really want to take the tree down because it was very depressing. My mother, as I probably have mentioned, takes Christmas very seriously, and I believe taking the Christmas tree down for her is one of the most depressing things she does in the year. She convinced me though- that it was this horrible thing to be reserved for grownups- children shouldn't see the dismantling of Christmas. I adapted that sadness, that aversion to things passing that I've noticed lately.

In my guilt, my feeling horrible that H was so upset, I found my mothers words trying to get out of my mouth. The "no, you wouldn't want to- its too sad" Instead I apologized, told her I had no idea she was looking forward to it. She cried most of the way home from school and we talked about how we could make it right. We agreed (thank God) that it would be silly to cut down a tree from outside, bring it in redecorate it and then undecorate it. When we got home, we shook hands and I promised to decorate AND undecorate with her in the future.

Sometimes we don't follow through right away for a reason.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Nothing with a face

H is going to make me a vegetarian.
We do a lot of cooking- she is always game to try what we're making. Tonight I am making seafood paella which we will enjoy with some friends who will get here after the girls are in bed (Ahhh....)
The girls are having a dinner of left over meatballs, some string beans and some of the cooked shrimp they saw waiting to be incorporated into the paella (is it bad that I tried to hide it? I needed some left for dinner)
H sat on the stool in the kitchen where she likes to interrogate me as I cook.
"Mom? are those shrimp dead?"
"Uh... yeah."
"Do shrimp have hearts?"
"Uh... not exactly.. "(I don't know!)
"Mom? The shrimp I just ate? Was it a girl or a boy?"
"I'm... not sure"
"Do shrimp have blood?"
"Let me find out..."
"every animal has blood, Mom." Sheesh. I don't start talking about insects, because it really grosses me out to think about insects when eating shellfish.

I went to get my laptop to google shrimp and answer all these questions once and for all. All I could find were articles about keeping shrimp in aquariums (no thanks) and a lot of "whats the deal with shrimp and high cholesterol anyway?"

I still don't have the answers.