Friday, December 22, 2006

Oh, It's a Jolly Holiday

Monkey Boi is in da house. And suddenly Mojo dawns his mantle of Papa-dom. It is an interesting twist on being a parent and I love to see it in action.

Monkey is a typical about-to-turn-13-in-three-weeks boy and has the selective hearing that seems to come with the age. That and the fear of showering. He is fond of stewing in his own musky scent and will do so as long as he can get away with it.

My self-appointed task during the summer was to have him showered and washed every day, along with teeth, and I am proud to say I was rather successful. Of course, he still needed to be reminded numerous times ("Turn on the water, get in the shower, use soap...") on a daily basis before the event actually took place.

As a parent, one can shout "Get in the shower" until one is blue in the no avail. Mojo has a finesse to which I can only hope to aspire. To whit:

"I'm a good natured fellow, a happy-go-lucky scamp. One might even go so far as to describe me as 'jolly.' But if you don't get into the shower right now, I'm going to strangle you with your own large intestines."

Works every time.

God, I adore that man!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Still Here...

...just sick with the norovirus-y thing. Been doubled up in the bathroom or curled under two down comforters in the living room all day. I had to call Mojo to come home when he was barely half way to work, it came on so suddenly.

It was a horrific comedy of errors: my being violently ill in the bathroom and trying to occupy the kidlet and keep her safe and from getting all into my sickness. I had to jump in the shower to clean off and she just climbed right in after me, wearing all her clothes and her cool new ladybug galoshes.

My mom came tonight so Mojo could go to do the radio show, thank the gods. She made dinner, fed and bathed Arabis, tidied the toys littering the living room and rocked the girl to sleep. Me? I just laid on the day bed and moaned. Pathetic!

Mojo was not pleased about having to come home today. I don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow, with him at work, Mom at work and me barely able to move and completely unable to eat. One minute at a time, I guess.

To top it off, Mojo's son, Monkey Boi, is flying in from Ohio on Wednesday night and the house looks like some terrifying space monkeys maybe got loose.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

In Which Our Author Crumbles

At last. I have been desperate to write all week and the time to do it has eluded me. Arabis has hit a new high in teething misery and hasn't been sleeping at night. Therefore, neither have I. She's been napping during the day, thank the gods, and though that is an opportune time to write I find myself joining her in the land of dreamy dreams instead.

So now I sit here and stare at the screen with my lids getting heavier and heavier. It's cold and rainy. Has been all week. I've got bread dough attempting to rise in the kitchen and I am praying it will do so though I am beginning to have my doubts. It's too damn chilly in this loft.

I have stopped counting the deaths that have occurred this year. I can't keep track. On Friday I learned of the death of another close friend by drowning. His name was Jorge and I worked with him for many years teaching sea kayaking. He was killed in a kayaking accident in Mexico and his body was never recovered.

Learning of Jorge's death stripped me of any last vestige of "strength in the face of adversity" that I had left. I broke down over the weekend. Called my director at the Dickens Fair on Saturday morning and said I would be unable to make it this weekend (something I have never, ever done {i.e.: not honor a theatrical commitment}). I spent the weekend with my little warped family, cuddling with Arabis and Mojo, watching telly, eating soup, regaling Mojo with stories of kayaking exploits we (Jorge and I) had shared and crying. But it was what I needed. The world had suddenly become sharp and painful and I needed to retreat to a place of greater safety.

Come Monday morning I felt almost human again.

And the irony of this all? All week I have been frantically searching the time to sit and pour my little dark soul out into the ether. So here I am, having achieved my goal of the time to write, and all the words that I had been forming in my head are gone. All the witty stories and pithy sayings I have been mentally composing to get me through the lack of sleep and frustration of being unable to provide long-term relief to my miserable toddler: gone. I have nothing left.

I guess sleep it is for me.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Another Rule Bites the Dust

I've long held an unspoken rule that this space would be meme free, however with the approach of the holidays I felt an exception could be made for this sweet little piece of self-aggrandizement. From the ever-charming Boogiemum.

1. Eggnog or hot chocolate?

Eggnog, please.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree?

Presents wrapped by me. Santa doesn't do squat. I mainly bake for everyone anyway. This year this a lot of knitting being done as well.

3. Colored lights or white?

None for a long time. I like strings of one coloured light, though. May do something this year.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?

Never. I have a cat of very little brain who will eat anything green.

5. When do you put your decorations up?

Haven't decorated for years. That's going to have to change now that I have spawned. The Evil Dwarf will be expecting it.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?

Lamb. (We're Armenian. It's what we do. Although we did upset my grandmother in years past by teasing her about eating the lamb of god at Christmas {the lord is very tasty with pilaf}. She was not amused.)

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?

Lying on my back under the baby grand piano at my grandmother's house while my mother played Chopin. Also going down to Union Square, San Francisco, with my grandmother to look at the holiday windows in all the big department stores. We'd do that every year.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

Santa was never a big deal. I think I always knew. There was a different one at Emporium every year we went to have photos taken, so that was a dead giveaway.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

We open all our presents on Christmas Eve. And then have a second Christmas gathering (sans gifts) on Armenian Orthodox Christmas (6 January)

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?

I haven't had a tree in years. It's the cats, see. Again, we'll have to change this soon, what with the Sprog and all.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it?

Love it.

12. Can you ice skate?


13. Do you remember your favorite gift as a kid?

A six foot tall, styrofoam, assemble-it-yourself tyrannosaurus rex skeleton from my Uncle Ben. I *LOVED* that thing. Eventually the pieces disintegrated.

14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you?

Family. It was really horrid for a while there, but as time passes and people as well, it's getting nice again.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?

Bourma, khadayiff and kurabia (Armenian, remember?) . Also, my mother's peach pie rocks!

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Dickens Fair.

17. What tops your tree?

No tree.

18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving?


19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?

Carol of the Bells
. Followed closely by The Holly and the Ivy and The Wassail Song (I love the pagan symbolism and origins of these carols).

20. Candy canes?


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Quick Update

I feel the need to shout out to the world that I live still. I breathe. I eat. I sleep (albeit not nearly enough as I'd like). I had the intent on the first of December to keep up the discipline of daily posting that NaBloPoMoFo gave me, but that quickly fell by the wayside due to lack of practicality and content. There are definitely enough subjects and thoughts carousing in my brainmeats to make for interesting writing (and I hope reading) on a daily basis, but the truth of the matter is that the time to really sit and explore them is severely limited. The best time is when the Teething Terror of Toddler-Town naps, but I have been so exhausted that I have taken to napping with her. At night I have been so tired after the evening tasks of dinner, dishes and bathing the above mentioned Terror, that sitting at the computer is the last thing I want to do.

But after a discussion with Mojo last night (which I will delve into in greater detail on a later post) I have reaffirmed the need to be committed to writing. And this journal is a good practice for me. A place to show up on a daily basis and just write. If it's important, and it is, I need to make the time for it in my life. I'm not sure how this is going to work, or when or what it will even look like. But it's necessary for me to get serious about writing again. As necessary as breath.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Day Thirty

I am sacrificing my computer time and the brilliant farewell NaBloPoMoFo post that I have been composing in order to allow Mojo to finish his NaNoWriMo.

Because he got a paid writing gig after he committed to doing NaNoWriMo, he let it slide. Now that the paid assignments have been completed, he has decided to finish his novel. The boy wrote 32,000 words in the last 24 hours. He has a little over 7,000 words left.

I think I hate him.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Public Service Announcement

Today's half-written post (in draft form) is being preempted to bring you the following message:

We are sick. Or getting sick. Or just getting over being sick. Three people. Three states of being. All of them crappy. Or pukey. Or just feeling "blah."

We now return you to your regularly scheduled internet surfing.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Eight Random Facts About Me

  1. I was born in San Francisco at St. Francis Hospital on the feast day of (you guessed it) St. Francis.
  2. I have never owned a lava lamp.
  3. I am a published poet.
  4. English is not my first language.
  5. I love roller coasters but am deathly afraid of ferris wheels.
  6. I have a clavicle rib. I am a throwback to when humans were aquatic.
  7. I can wiggle my ears.
  8. I am afraid of fire...which is one reason I became a fire performer.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Challenging Day in the Life of a Teething Toddler

We did not go quietly about our day. The child is hell bent on destruction. She is fine, but she is not happy.

She only napped an hour today.

She is not eating. She refused lunch and fought getting into her highchair. I finally gave up and took to slipping her bits of food during the day when she wasn't paying attention, then making sure she actually ate them and didn't stash them anywhere.

She has taken two tumbles, one bad(ish) one not so much. She is still trying to climb despite the aforementioned tumbles. She has taken to emptying shelves of books and using them to construct ladders with which to climb on things hitherto unavailable due to their height.

We're really not very happy today.

My mother even wanted to take us out to sushi for dinner tonight and I said no. Mojo was shocked when I told him. Just the thought of trying to wrangle her in public in this state was too much for me. Plus, mom wanted to go to Costco and pick up our new cards and I just couldn't see the double excursion ending well.

Instead my mother came over for her regularly scheduled Monday night dinner with the granddaughter (a standing date since Mojo has his radio show on Monday nights). She brought me some staples from Haig's in San Francisco (buglar, mahleb, gorgod [barley], lokum, lavash hatz) and we had a nice and simple dinner of steak, mushrooms in butter and asparagus. I had made the pilaf prior to her arrival so it was perfect when she got here.

I managed to manhandle (literally) Arabis into her highchair and she actually ate a couple stalks of asparagus (which she adores) and a healthy dose of pilaf (my blonde, blue-eyed Armenian daughter!).

Got her happily scrubbed and clean in the tub without getting drenched myself and she slipped off peacefully to sleep about 20 minutes ago.

I will be delirious with pleasure once these teeth come in. She is having such a rough time and is obviously in pain. I do everything I can (Tylenol, cold things, etc. [Hylands doesn't work for us]) but it is still the most horrible thing to watch your child suffer and be able to offer only so much relief.

I am going to sign off the computer and read a two month old New Yorker. These days that comes perilously close to the height of decadence for me. Isn't that pathetic?

Sunday, November 26, 2006


I'm beyond tired, beyond spent, beyond knackered even. I am what my friends back in England would say: utterly shattered.

My internal censor just punched out once she found out I couldn't afford overtime, so here I sit, brain (such as it is) to fingers to keypad to screen and out into the ether. Maybe some of the invisible people that live in my computer will leave me comments. I like comments.

See? I've lost it. I'm exhausted. Three days spent walking more miles than I care to imagine on concrete in Victorian-inspired boots; projecting past hundreds of customers, booths, parades, other actors; on my feet with my brain engaged and going at 110% for nine hours a day for three days running. And all done wearing a corset and a Yarmouth accent. Well, there were clothes on over the corset. Obviously.

Today was the day of melt-downs. Of sick children (our young David Copperfield was feeling poorly), people with short fuses and actors with failing voices and aching feet. This third day of the three day opening weekend is always hard, but from a customer and theatrical standpoint came off without a hitch. Personally, I'm barely alive and glad to be back to my poor teething toddler and messy home.

I spent the last few days on my perambulations looking for a friend who I've known for 20 years and is one of the best stage managers I've ever worked with. I finally found him today, not doing his usual job. He hugged me and took off his hat, to show me his bald head with whisps of hair. My smile faded slowly as I realized this was not a fashion choice.

"I have lung cancer. This is from the radiation and chemo," he told me.

I was shocked. His spirit is strong and he says he is doing really well. But I came home tonight and melted into Mojo's arms and cried the tears I could not shed in front of my friend. My friend, who has managed more stages that I have either danced or acted on than I can begin to count; who shares my birthday (though he is ten years older); who has always provided me a place of safety to retreat to in the crazed world of the theatre and the insane world in general; the friend who many years ago wanted to be something more and I kept him at bay; the friend who remained a constant and true friend.

I can't write anymore or make heads or tails of the world right now.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Almost Forgot!

I'm almost through the entire of month of NaBloPoMo without missing a post and just now was about to slip into the land of dreamy dreams when I awoke with a start. I'd forgotten to write! I'd of kicked myself if I'd drifted off and missed a day so close to the end.

I'm tired. Beyond tired. The Dickens Fair is off to a rousing start. We opened on Friday, so for the last few days I have been on my feet from 10:30 in the morning to almost 7:00 at night. I'm exhausted and sore yet having a lovely time. And we have one more day of this weekend to go.

I've forced myself to slow down today and pace myself a bit more, not take that extra street improv gig, be sure to go into the green room to rest, warm up my voice and get plenty of liquids as well as get some down time between scheduled bits and the more spontaneous theatrics that also happen.

I'm staring at the words on the blank screen before me and they begin to swim. They look like ants, indistinctly scurrying on away on some important errand. I think this is a hint that I am in no shape to write. The exhaustion is complete.

Be in suspense for a few days more. Hopefully on Monday (or at the latest Tuesday) I will be in better shape to write and explain more about what I am doing and my own history with the institution known as the Great Dickens Christmas Fair and Pickwick Comic Annual.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Here's Where I'll Be Every Weekend 'Til Christmas

including the FRIDAY after Thanksgiving,
and the SATURDAY before Christmas!
Fri. Nov. 24 through
Sat. Dec. 23, 2006
In San Francisco's Cow Palace Exhibition Halls
Celebrate the Holiday Season in Victorian London!

The bustling streets of London, immortalized for all time by the mighty pen of Charles Dickens, form the living backdrop of your excursion into Christmas Past. You are a living part of a Victorian Christmas card come to life!

A Bay Area tradition for 27 holiday seasons, the Great Dickens Christmas Fair returns to the San Francisco Cow Palace Exhibition Halls for five weekends , including the Friday after Thanksgiving and the Saturday before Christmas in 2006, from Friday, November 24 through Saturday, December 23, from 11am 'til 7pm.

Created in 1970 by Ron & Phyllis Patterson, the fair is now produced by Kevin & Leslie Patterson and Red Barn Productions, who continue the family tradition of theatrical excellence through authenticity, participation, and playfulness.

Come wander the lanes of Victorian London, as the glow of twilight settles upon the city. With the scent of pine boughs and freshly baked scones floating in the air and the sound of carolers and holiday merrymakers accompanying your stroll...
  • Visit shops bedecked withChristmastime finery and filled with unique treasures.
  • Stop in for a hot toddy or a pint of Boddington's at Mad Sal's Dockside Ale House, where the low-life hang out and the high-born drop in.
  • Raise a champagne toast to the holidays at Fezziwig's Warehouse, the most cheerful spot in London.
  • Enjoy rollicking entertainments on four stages and in the streets.
  • Feast on fine foods from the British Empire and beyond.
  • Rest a spell in Cuthbert's Tea House, for a sip of hot tea and cucumber sandwiches or scones.
A holiday adventure into Victorian London, celebrating with hundreds of costumed players in 90,000+ square feet of theatrically-lit music halls, pubs, dance parties and Christmas shops on winding lanes. It'’s a twilight evening in Charles Dickens'’ London Town: a city filled with lively and colorful characters from both literature and history. Enticing aromas of roasted chestnuts and hearty foods fill the air. Cries of street vendors hawking their wares ring out above the bustling crowd. Dozens of lamplit shops are filled to overflowing with Christmas presents.

Experience the joys of Christmas past at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Baby Shiva, Mini-Goddess of Destruction

Thanks to all you mamas out there for the teething advice. There is always the worry that she is actually physically sick instead and I am pleased to announce she is not. On a psychological level...well...let's just say that her behavior of late would send any psychiatrist in their right mind running for the straight-jacket.

The teeth. The gleaming ivory fangs that will one day completely adorn my toddler's gaping maw, truly rendering her the most horrific beast in the World Monster Almanac, have still not made their appearance. I can see the canines hovering just below the surface and judge by her behavior (sticking her fingers far back in her mouth, rubbing and then crying) that her second-year molars are coming in six months early.


Last night, at 11:30 PM, Arabis wakens with a start and begins to scream. And scream. Did I mention the screaming? Raving shrieks of unholy infant terror that could not be calmed. She wants Papa. Okay, that's good. Then, the breathing becomes more rapid, the face reddens, the mouth opens, sound bursting forth unremitting. Not Papa? How about Mama? Yes. That's the ticket. We want the mama...or DO WE?

Back and forth for half an hour. Is it the diaper? Change the diaper. Contrary to the sounds being emitted from my baby's mouth, this did not involve in any way, shape or form hot pokers.
Okay. Diaper is changed. Is she hungry? Get the bottle. Obviously the bottle is filled with acid of vitriol, or so her howls would have us believe.

Is is the teeth? It must be the teeth. Where's the Baby Orajel? Okay, can we get it in her mouth? How is she managing to yell without opening her mouth? Do we have pliers around here anywhere? Get the Baby Tylenol in at the same time.

Phew. Baby Orajel rubbed on the gums. Mama got a little in her mouth too, that's why we're both drooling. The screams have abated and we are left with a red-faced, watery eyed and runny nosed being who vaguely resembles our daughter.

Papa puts a saved version of Bear in the Big Blue House on the telly, then calmly announces that he is going to bed. Good night.

The sound you now hear is me, breathing heavily through my teeth like Darth Vader, plotting Papa's demise.

She was up until 2:00 AM. I don't know how we finally managed to fall asleep. I remember there was much singing in Armenian (one of the few things that almost always works to send her to sleep). But I am so sick I sound like a cross between Carol Channing and Bea Arthur. And whenever I say a word with a deep throaty guttural sound I end up hacking like a three-pack-a-day smoker. And where was Mojo? If we are very quiet we can hear the gentle snores wafting down from the loft. He is upstairs. ASLEEP.


This morning? She goes back and forth. The cursed fangs are right there, so close to the surface I can *see* them, but they stubbornly refuse to emerge. Does the damned thing want a marching band, because that can be arranged. I have not dressed. Nor brushed my teeth nor put in my contacts. My hair is still in its braid from last night, much of it now come loose around my face like a Halloween fright wig. Mojo actually had the testicular fortitude to *LAUGH* at me this morning. There is a special circle of hell for him. Unfortunately he is such a sweetheart most of the time, he really doesn't deserve it. Plus he's working this extra contract writing job so we'll have a nice holiday when his son comes out in December, so I can't be hard on him at all.
Oh, and my fever's back. Can you tell? Am I delirious? I *hate* being sick. I am a horrible patient. I revert to being a petulant eight year old.

They say Shiva is the goddess of destruction and renewal. The destruction is self-evident. The renewal I will gladly accept in the form of her learning that the toys go *in* the box when we are done playing not *out* faster than mama can shovel them in.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Brevity is the Soul of Wit? Really?

Another truncated post. I'm tired and fighting a bug. The kid is cutting four canines and appears to be working on her second-year molars six months early. I only just managed to get her to sleep and I am quick to follow.

NaBloPoMoFo is kicking my butt right now.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sunday Night Update

Arabis has been asleep for half and hour. Merciful deity of your choice, thank you! The poor child didn't go down until 10:30 PM last night, then awoke screaming and inconsolable two hours later.

We offered milk, we walked, we bounced, we sang, we cuddled. We tried lying on Mama's chest. We tried lying on Papa's chest. We hit the Baby Tylenol. We pulled out the frozen teething rings. All to no avail. The wailing continued for three hours. We ended up taking her downstairs. I curled up on the couch and Mojo tended to her all night long on the day bed. I think they ended up getting a few hours sleep between 4:00 AM and 8:00 AM, but it was a long, painful night.

It's the teeth. I believe the canines are coming in. All four (of course). Possibly a molar, too, but it's hard to say because she won't let me look. Mojo thankfully wrangled most of the night, as I had a long day of dress rehearsal looming.

Dress rehearsal? What's this you say? I've not mentioned this year's theatrical endeavor? No, I don't think I have. And, quite frankly, I must leave you all in suspense a little bit longer. I'm tired. I'm cranky. My feet hurt from walking around and standing on concrete all day. I am a tad headachy and tired beyond belief.

So I'll leave you with this thought:

"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm. "

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Thought for the Day

Suppose you had to describe your life as if it were a journey, then what would you say about it?
Charles Palliser
from The Unburied

Friday, November 17, 2006

Grover Is God

This has made my day. Arabis and I have been watching classic Sesame Street on You Tube. She is feeling under the weather and refusing to sleep. So here we are. Because of the Sesame Street: I am in heaven.

Sad? Bluesy? Life got you down? Grover can make it all better.

Remember this one? Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep!

I'm going to watch more for as long as Arabis fights sleep.

Elmo's got nothin' on Grover.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Gone Already

So much to write and the day ends in ninety minutes. My eyes are heavy and struggle to stay open, much less focus.

Arabis is a little under the weather. We've been up since 3:00 AM with a few pockets of sleep. So please forgive my brain for not showing up today.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

What the Drums Gave Me

Inspired by San Francisco Taiko Dojo performing "Tsunami."

I am in the water. Alone. Facing into the setting sun. One of the joys of surfing is the wait; sitting on my board in the swell.

There is a wave. I am momentarily blinded by the sun's rays but I can feel the pull on my legs and know the power of it. It's big. Bigger than I am comfortable with. There isn't enough time to paddle into the sun and past the wave, avoiding it. It's coming for me and I am alone.

I turn my board into the twilight and, glancing back over one shoulder, start paddling to shore. I paddle hard, harder than I've ever paddled. I dig in with both arms and feel the wave lift me. Pressing up with my arms, I pull my legs beneath me and spring to my feet. Crouch. Grab the inner rail of the board. I am flying.

I creep up the board to compensate. I am aware of the power of the ocean, the sun painting the foam before me, the beach almost black. This is more wave than I have ever ridden. This is more than I can handle.

Don't think. Just feel. Feel the water, the heat of the sun, the solidity of the board. Breathe. There is a moment of tranquility and I am filled with a sense of exhilaration. This is freedom!

It vanishes suddenly. I feel myself floating. There is no wave. I step back and crouch down, reconnecting with the water and slide down the wave's face. It is bigger than I am.

At the bottom of the wave I turn back into it, try and cut up and over, try to keep standing. This is too much wave and I am insignificant. I am nothing.

Back up the face, white water chasing me. It breaks to the right, and as I surf goofy-footed my back is to it. I can't fully see the monster. At the top of the wave I turn back down, aim my board, head down, breathe a sigh. I am okay. I can ride this.

That is when my board disappears. That is when I see my feet before my face and realize they are not under me where they should be. I have barely enough time to thrust my body away from where my board should be and twist backwards into the deepest part of the wave. Instinctively my arms cover my head. I feel the impact of the board, the violence of the wave, the water churning. I don't know which way is up.

The ocean surrounds me, presses me down, compacts me. My lungs scream with heat but I don't open my mouth. Try to stay calm. I struggle to reach my left ankle and fumble for the leash that is attached to my surfboard. Follow it hand over hand. The board floats. That is up. Find the board. Hand over hand.

My head breaks the surface and I take great gulps of air. My hair has come loose from its braid and is plastered to my face, obscuring my vision. But I don't need to see. The wave has passed. Another comes.

I scramble quickly onto my board and lie on my belly. Hanging on, I let the white water push me to the shore.

On the beach. Darkness. Moonlight. Vague phosphorescence. Crash of waves. All I hear is my heart, in my ears, in my chest. My whole body throbs. I can feel the dull ache of what will later be horrific bruises on my forearms, from where the board hit.

Today, I felt that same intensity in my heart, the same rhythm as the drum. It fills me. And I remember the water. The moment in the darkness, not knowing surface from ocean floor. The moment of choice.

The drums bring the water and I feel Robin, diving down.

For R.W.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Special Quote and an Ass Kicking

This is especially for Boogiemum. I thought of this quote as I read her entry today and wanted to share it.
If you meet a woman of whatever complexion who sails her life with strength and grace and assurance, talk to her! And what you will find is that there has been a suffering, that at some time she has left herself for hanging dead.
Sena Jeter Nasland
from Ahab's Wife

In other news, NaBloPoMo is officially kicking my butt. Here we are at the 14th day of the month and I sit becalmed, stuck in the doldrums.

Is it that I am constantly interrupted and never have enough time to form a cohesive thought? Or could it be that I am afraid to give myself the time necessary to actually explore some of the dusty, cobwebbed corners in the back of my brain? Is this just a middle of the month slump?

I fear I am sacrificing quantity for quality.

How is everyone else overcoming this?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Quote of the Day

"As a confirmed melancholic, I can testify that the best and maybe the only antidote for melancholia is action. However, like most melancholics, I suffer also from sloth."
Edward Abbey

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Dragon Tales

Mojo brought home a fresh, massive bag of cat food that we have yet to put in the cupboard. Wolfie lies sprawled on it like some great dragon guarding his horde. I swear, if I look closely, that cat is smiling.

Wolfie in the Sun

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Arabis and Layla met for the first time when they were less than a year old. Being three months older, Layla was already pulling herself up to a standing position while Arabis was just beginning to really explore the world of the floor.

At a party with friends I've known for more than half my life, I sat in the living room, my daughter on my lap, chatting away happily. Layla was brought in and instantly squealed in delight at the sight of another small human. Her mother (my friend Michelle) put her down and she balanced by holding onto my knees, cooing at Arabis and bouncing in that bow-legged, bent-kneed, in-place monkey dance that toddlers are wont to do.

Without warning, Layla reached up and grabbed Arabis' pacifier out of her mouth and put it into her own. My girl looked down her nose with disdain at the thief, then firmly turned her back to her.

Move forward nine or ten months to last evening. We arrive for dinner while Layla is in her high-chair, her Papa-rah feeding her the last of her dinner. She waves hello and then demands more guacamole (I'm still in awe of a 20 month old with clear command of a four syllable word). Arabis is enthralled by the new toys; toys that blink and light up and make noise. She barely notices Layla in the chair.

While the adults sit around chatting and Arabis explores the world of someone else's toys, Layla finishes her dinner and is released from the chair. She dances around excitedly, showing off for company and being a joyful imp. She wanders over and selects a pacifier from a small pile in the corner, then resumes her play.

Arabis eventually deigns to notice Layla, strides up to her and snatches the pacifier out of Layla's mouth. She pulls out her own and uses Layla's instead, walking away defiantly. Poor Layla stands in shock for a moment, before tottering after Arabis, shaking her finger and admonishing her to "Be nice."

The adults, of course, erupt in gales of laughter. It is only this morning that I remembered the incident at their first meeting and Mojo and I chuckled.

"Boy, that kid can hold a grudge. She sure doesn't get that from me."

Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday? Yeah, Friday. Oh Good. It's Friday.

Home late from a lovely dinner with friends, something I rarely get to do and that Mojo and I almost never do as a family. There were six adults and three kids (ranging in age from six months to 21 months).

It was just lovely and comfortable. I've known all these people for more years than I care to mention and one since high school. Says Mojo, "It's a little like picking up a novel in the middle." But he, too, was relaxed and personable.

All in all a wonderful evening.

I had a beer even. One beer. Not even a full beer. Mojo and to help me with it and I don't think we finished it between the two of us. But it was nice and had a tranquilizing effect on me. I am almost asleep at the keyboard.

Thus ends one of the roughest weeks we've had in quite a while. This will be a busy weekend, with auditions and rehearsals for me and Mojo wrangling the Weasel Grrl during the day. I am looking forward to it, but need to sleep, else I will be in no shape to do anything remotely entertaining tomorrow.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Day Nine. Move Along. Nothing to See Here.

I just got Arabis to sleep and am desperate to join her, though it is not yet 9:00 PM. This has been a long and difficult day. We've been up since 5:30 AM, an ungodly hour and not one that any reasonable person could enjoy.

Bit has been my little barnacle, attached to my hip or clinging to my leg and not wanting to let go. She has a new trick. If I have her slung on my hip and am toting her around the house and make a motion to set her down she has developed a nifty new way to express her displeasure. As I begin to lower her to the floor, she will reach out and grab my left nipple and pinch. Really hard. I am trying to put a stop to this new habit quickly as I am developing a bruise.

I think she may be feeling a little under the weather, but it's hard to tell with the pre-verbal set. She's only actually been sick once, with a cold that she caught the day before her first birthday. She's been listless and seems to bore easily these last few days, not content to play but rather to just sit curled on my lap or leaning against the back of my legs if I dare do something like the dishes.

I actually nixed her bath tonight and let her just hang out and cuddle with Papa and then me until she fell asleep. She feels a little warm but not feverish. I'm hoping there is nothing really wrong, since we are actually going out tomorrow night and I am looking forward to it. Nothing fancy, just a nice dinner at some very dear friends' house whom I don't get to see nearly as much as I'd like. They have a daughter a few months older than Arabis and I've been wanting to get the girls together for a long time. Mainly so their mothers can hang out. But we've had a hard time getting it together. I'm not sure if Mojo's going to make it or not.

This has been a rough week on so many levels. Mojo's taken some contract work writing a series of articles so he's been working into the wee hours of the morning after getting off his regular job. We need the money but it's been a struggle on all of us; him for the lack of sleep, me for the lack of parenting help and adult conversation and Arabis for minimal time with Papa.

And I still haven't gotten my filing cabinet excavated.

No gems, no literary pearls in this post. Just a really tired woman with a damaged left nipple who never bothered to get out of her pajamas today.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

One Rule Broken (Kind Of)

Everyone has a Peanuts character they identify with. For me it was always Linus. From the time I was a little girl, Linus had my heart. He was smart. He was sensitive. He was good in a tight spot. He carried a security blanket. In short, he was my childhood ideal. As an adult, I can appreciate his wisdom and compassion in a way I was never able to as a child.

One of Linus' wisest sayings is from It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and is one that I have agreed with and followed most of my life:
"There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin."

While I know there are a slough of post-election day bloggers waxing poetic, jubilant or irate, I will not be one of them. I was raised by my mother that voting was a private act and not something you discussed wantonly. I still feel that way and know that I am in the minority in this day of frank confessions and "too much information."

But I have to draw your attention to Jill over at Securely Fastened. Because if I were to ever write a political post, this is the post I wish I would've written.

Day Eight

I just realized I posted twice on 3 November. A strange part of me feels cheated. I could've saved one, held it in reserve for the day when I have no time and no brain cells left to compose something even vaguely legible and interesting.

Or I could just bitch about it and thereby have a built-in topic to warble about for a few paragraphs and satisfy the day's requirement.

What would Dickens do? What would Proust do?

Heh. They were both men. They actually had time to write and synapses nicely firing due to adequate sleep and regular meals.

Besides. Dickens got paid by the word. I can only imagine the stuff I could crank out if I got paid by the word. Or paid at all.

I promise there will be actually interesting content here soon. What with teething woes, sleep strikes, sentient laundry piles and battling felines, I'm a distracted little mess these days.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


With the baby down early for her nap, I am feeling a little dangerous. Venturing into an unexplored corner of the studio I discover an old, dusty desk organizer. Within I find:
  • My passport (good until 2009-woo hoo!)
  • A British Metropolitan Police whistle on a leather lanyard
  • Two calligraphy nibs
  • Two strands of gold Mardi Gras beads
  • My social security card
  • A credit card that expired in September 2000
  • A very tiny (one inch round) globe that still lists the USSR (this shouldn't be surprising based on the date of the credit card mentioned above)
This excavation was an attempt to see if I could access my two-drawer filing cabinet. I have some older writings in there (musings on family, notes for a novel unwritten and other random miscellany) that I'd like to dust off and explore during NaBloPoMo. The file cabinet is firmly blocked by Mojo's card catalogue, so there is no way to get into it that doesn't involve major furniture moving. With the baby dozing on the day-bed behind me, this is obviously out of the question. At least for right now. Perhaps this evening I can get Mojo to pull it out for me.

We shall see...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Did Andy Warhol Start This Way?

I don't know why people bother buying loads of plastic toys that require batteries for blinking lights or shaped like trademarked television icons. My kid loves the contents of my kitchen cabinets. The pots. The pans. Their accompanying lids. Wooden spoons. Even the colander seems to hold a special place in her heart.

Now that a chill is in the air we here at Chez WTF have been stocking up on soup, in anticipation of a cold winter. This has caused no end of fun, as shown below.

Folks, she's been playing with these cans all week. I've been finding cans all over the house. I found a can of tuna in the bathroom and one of condensed milk under the sofa.

Today we have been working on returning the cans to their proper home after play and have been mildly successful. Or were. Until she found the bag of walnuts.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Bonfire Night

Guy Guy Guy
Poke him in the eye
Put him on the bonfire
And let him die

I have the urge to burn things tonight. To light a fire and cleanse myself of the debris of my past that hangs from me like barnacles on a ship too long at sea.

This is a difficult post to write. It is 11:00 PM. The baby is asleep, albeit quite fitfully. I told her a tale tonight to send her on her way, about a girl called Arabis who lived by the shore, with hair the color of sand and eyes like the sea in a storm. How she smiled and the weight of the world was a little lighter on those around her. How her laughter was like the gentlest of rain on a sky-lit roof, crystalline and pure. I told her that her mother loved her. And her father did as well. And we lived with the cats, Isabelle and Wolf, who kept the night terrors at bay. Wolfie must have been sitting nearby, listening, for he came and curled up at her feet. They sleep peacefully now, both snoring softly.

I told her we were all happy together. That is how one can tell it was a fairy story.

It's quiet and dark and I sit here smoldering, unsure how long the fire will continue to burn buried so deep. It will either erupt into flame and engulf me or burn out all together and I'm not sure which one I fear more.

We are all traitors in one way or another.

Remember, remember the Fifth of November
The gunpowder treason and plot
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot

Friday, November 03, 2006

Day Three

So tired this evening. It's late and I have an audition tomorrow that I am totally unprepared for.

Today was a hectic day with bright spots within and this evening gave me the brightest of all. Arabis and Mojo, post bath and just prior to bed, watching Pingu and laughing hysterically.

This is what makes it all worth while.

All Hallow's Eve

Arabis has slept for three nights in a row and I am in heaven. I am almost giddy with sleep.

She was an adorable witch on her first actual trick-or-treating excursion and got lots and lots of candy which I am now munching on as I sit and write. A few people looked askance and asked how old she was. "Seventeen months," we proudly proclaimed. We could easily read the thought process on their faces. Is the candy for the baby? She's too young for candy. Am I giving my chocolate to the parents?

We did visit one house who had Playdoh for the non-candy-eating set, which I found wonderfully thoughtful. She gets to play with that, with supervision of course. But the door-to-door begging? That all goes to mama and papa.

Last year, Arabis' first Halloween, we stayed in the building and celebrated Halloween with the two toddler hellions, Viggo and Avo, by running up and down the halls and harassing tenants (who are generally unprepared for this sort of thing).

Here's Arabis and Papa last year.

Halloween 2005

This year, Mojo and I pondered what exactly to do with the Bit on Halloween, only to come up short each time. At the last minute we decided to trick-or-treat in Albany, where Mojo works.

We wandered for about five or six blocks down residential streets adjacent to the main strip. Arabis started out the journey on Mojo's shoulders but decided after about a block that she would much rather walk.

Mojo and Arabis

She was happy, climbing steps to stranger's houses, clutching her pumpkin in hand, thrusting it at the poor person who answered the door. She stared down kids in ghoulish masks to climb stairs (a favorite pastime that she doesn't get to do nearly enough of in her opinion) and shaking down hapless adults. When someone would drop a treat into her bag, she would look at it, grunt and climb back down the stairs.

First House

Scary Skull Pumpkin-Closeup

We saw great pumpkin art and chatted with other folks out with spawn of various sizes. It was lovely to walk in a neighborhood, so different from industrial West Oakland, where we live in a warehouse across the street from a steel mill and the mournful cry of the freight trains lulls us at night. There were lawns. Gardens. Lovely cottages with overgrown wild yards. Something in me wanted this life. Arabis went wild whenever we saw grass and wanted to roll in it.

After an hour we headed home, stopping at the Emeryville Public Market for cheap dinner to go.

We all changed into our pajamas and curled up on the day bed in a big pile to watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." Arabis was fast asleep within ten minutes. Lovely.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Dia de los Muertos

A grey, rainy day. I used to love this weather and would find an excuse to bundle up and venture out into the world. I loved the smell that comes with the first rain, the deserted streets, the windswept trees.

Today my mood has been as grey as the day. I've wanted nothing more than to curl up in bed with my Dickens and tea, the cats cuddled up around me, to alternately read and doze. Life with a baby means those lazy days are long gone. Though the cats thought it a capital idea, Arabis would have none of it.

So we played with the blocks on the floor and had races between the kitchen and living area. She emptied out her dirty clothes hamper and put all the soiled sleepers and shirts and pants back into a drawer with her clean clothes. She wore the colander on her head and beat on the pots and pans while sitting in a big plastic tub. Good times.

There was a long and luxurious nap in the middle of the day. Both cats and the baby huddled in a pile on the day bed for three hours. I napped with them for the last hour, which was bliss but the two baby-dozing hours leading up to it were restless.

Today is Dia de los Muertos and for the first year in many, I have made no ofrendas for my ancestors or fallen contemporaries. I have lost so many people over the years that this ritual has become an important way of remembrance and honoring those I loved. I place photos, small keepsakes, flowers, water, salt, candles, bread and anything else that strikes me as being appropriate. The house is cleaned and incense is lit. It is a welcoming, refreshing feeling, the building and cleaning, the tears and joy that come with memory.

This year there has been much death and no time to ritually mourn. I cleaned today. Not as extensively as I once would have, but cleaned nonetheless. Arabis helped me with her little broom that my mother bought. I told her stories of our past and her ancestors, who were a beloved and integral part of my childhood but will be only tales to her.

I have been making a list through out the day, in my head, on scraps of paper. I will think of a person and remember a moment in time that once we shared. As I sit here I am trying to remember them all and I am forgetting. There are people missing from my list. There is too much in my head...or too little, I can't remember which. I write their names and bring them to me for a moment in time. And send them on their way.

Bob Thomas
Dave Ricker
Robin Wadsworth
Michael Hefflin
Mary Movsesian (Auntie Mim)
Maxina Danner (Snookie)
Jennifer Lee
Patrick Lee
Jerry Lucey
Mace Hanley
Rose Rushdoony Deovlet (Grandma Rosie)
Rose (Vartoohi) Mahdesian Deovlet (Grandma Darling)
Benjamin Deovlet (Grandpa Darling)
Rose (Vartanoush) Rushdoony (Grandma Rushdoony)
Y.K. Rushdoony (Grandpa Rushdoony)
Shelly Munge
Dan O'Brien
Ricky Paul
Skot Travis
Spurgeon Avakian (Uncle Sparky)
Ruth Avakian (Auntie Ruthie)
Barbara Rose
Ronnie Geoffrion
Auntie Margie
Evelyn Cooper Smith (Grandma Evelyn)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

National Blog Posting Month

Okay. What the hell. I'm doing it. NaBloPoMo.

I made the commitment and sent an enrollment email to the Powers-That-Be. The internets now know that I am a crazy person with too much to do who just gave herself something more. But I know that deep down it will be a gift to myself. I hope. There is within a desperate need to get back into the habit of writing and I have been lazy and lax.

It took me forever to realize that in order to write I just have to turn up at the desk every morning at 9 A.M. and do it. I can never convince kids of this. Faulkner said something wonderful about it when somebody asked him, 'Mr. Faulkner, do you write by inspiration of perspiration?' He said, 'I write by inspiration, but fortunately it arrives every morning at nine o'clock.'

--Reynolds Price

Monday, October 30, 2006

Nothing To Fear...

...but toddler terror!

Nothing to Fear? Try Toddlers!

Arabis obviously prefers Danny Elfman's later work to his earlier, more punkish roots.

I'd had this cassette since high school. It survived the funky after-market cassette player in my 1970 Dodge Dart Swinger. It could not survive my daughter.


In other news...

Sorry for the long absence. Things have been tough around here lately and I've had little impetus to air my mental trash for the world. Not that I don't adore you all, because you know I do, but because I can't make much heads or tails of anything myself.

I am about this close to signing up to do NaBloPoMo, but I seem to have serious commitment-phobia. I hoping that by spilling my beans to the Interschnitzel I'll have to just suck it up and do it.

And I still owe Daring Young Mom a tattoo photo. The tattoo is under a magnet of Cactus Jack on my fridge. Just gotta do it.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Excuses, Excuses

I suck. I know I suck. Suckety suck suck.

It started like this. Daring Young Mom put a post up on her blog asking if anyone wanted any tattoos from the BlogHer convention. This was two months ago.

"Pick me! Pick me! Nobody ever picks me!" I begged in an email. (My comment on the actual post is a little more restrained.)

I received the tattoo during the last week of August. My mission (which was accepted {and no, the email didn't blow up}) was to photograph said tattoo and send it to her.

Easy. No big deal, right? One would think.

Life, it is never what we think it is. Stuff happened. I'm not going to bother to relate the stuff, 'cause that's just whining and it doesn't matter now.

I haven't put the tattoo on my body. I haven't photographed it. And now I have been listed in the Daring Young Mom's "Hall of Shame" (read down to the bottom of the post).

I've just gotten out of the shower. The baby is asleep. (Two hours too early, but it's been a long day and I am thankful for the respite. When she wakes up at 5:30 AM tomorrow, then I'll bitch.) Once my hair dries, I'll have Mojo take pictures. The photos will be posted tonight.

I don't want DYM siccing the internet on me. I know what she can do.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Of Hockey, Pretzels and Cows

Arabis and Mojo are sitting on the couch eating pretzels and watching the Sharks decimate (EDIT: Um, not quite.) Edmonton (that's hockey for all you people with lives). Mojo decided before she was born that she would be his "hockey-baby" and set about a concerted effort at birth to convert her to the cause.

The poor kid never had a chance. Every hockey game that came on he watched with her (and since hockey can be found on the telly about nine months out of the year, she was exposed to a lot of it). She loves hockey. It calms her down. Seriously. And they bond in that special way that sports fans do.

Today she is cutting her four canines. This has been a horrible day, hands down. Not much sleep, much consternation and pain on the baby front, and lots of chewing on cold, damp things. I struggled through the day with a very miserable little girl, pretty much handing her off to her father has soon as he came home.

Mojo gave her a bath while I cooked dinner and afterward they settled down to their game. I hear a suspicious crunching from the living room.

"Are you feeding that child pretzels?" I ask.

There is a defiant affirmative. And the evidence to prove it is before me. She is on his lap, both faces turned toward the television, bits of pretzel clutched in their paws, chomping away. (Yes, I took a picture. No, I'm not posting it. They both don't look their best.)

She wriggled out of his grasp and was off like a shot through the kitchen and toward the front door, where Mojo's street bike is leaning against my kayak. We both jumped up to get her (since we had forgotten to re-erect the blockade after her bath and dinner) but were too late. There was a thud. A crash. And silence. That dreaded silence followed by a hollow howl of pain. She tripped on the bike and crashed her face into the fork that holds the front wheel on.

After an application of ice and much cuddling by Mama, she has a nice sized, almost ovate welt covering her right cheek. It looks nasty. Poor kid.

So now she is back on the couch, cuddling with Mojo. He is reading her "Where's My Cow?" by Terry Pratchett during the commercials. Complete with voices. I sit and listen, smile silently.

This is one of those "life is good" moments. But I swear, if one of that child's first words is "buggerit" I know who's to blame.


Late yesterday afternoon, after two days spent lolling around in pajamas feeling (and looking) like something the cat spewed on the carpet I got my ass dressed, donned the bra of office, slipped some Toy Dolls on the CD player and got to work in the kitchen. Spent a good 45 minutes scrubbing and cleaning while dancing with Arabis (she loves "Nellie the Elephant" and "Spiders in the Dressing Room").

I even managed to get dinner started before a somewhat shocked Mojo walked in the door. The three of us were actually able to eat dinner at the table. We even bathed the baby together and he cuddled and lulled her to sleep for the night.

We spent the evening working on our own projects, he to work on his new secret passion and I to holiday knitting.

Today, I have showered, dressed, fed and dressed the baby, driven Mojo to work and gone to the grocery store; all before 10 AM.

Fear me, for I am mighty!

I started taking vitamins again, along with my increased anti-depressant dosage, and I'm hoping the combination of the two is working its magic.

Monday, October 09, 2006


Can't seem to wake up today. Mojo is sick of me complaining how tired I am. My mother is worried about my health. I'm just...tired.

Is this supposed to still be happening? I haven't slept since my second trimester and Arabis is 16 months old. I am even tempted to try and transition her into the crib (which she's never slept in since we co-sleep). I am aware of her movements at night and so sleep very lightly as a result. I am even thinking about going back on the Adderall (ADD meds). Although with my chemistry, I used to be able to take a 30mg Adderall tablet and go to sleep, so I don't know if it'll help at all.

In other news, Arabis is turning into a St. Bernard puppy. She drools constantly and has taken to biting my shoes. I'm not kidding. I have teeth marks in the heels of my flip flops. This morning she took a healthy bite out of one of my plastic Halloween skulls. And she's begun chasing the cats. If she starts to sprout a tail, we're doomed.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Once Upon A Time... (A Photo Essay)

On Sunday, Arabis, Mojo and I met my friend Lisa, her husband Evan and their fabulous son Blue for an afternoon of fun at Children's Fairyland in Oakland. As I am thoroughly knackered and not feeling at all erudite, I am going to cheat and regale you with a photo essay of our day.

Apologies and a warning to any dial-up users out there; this post is image heavy.

We arrive.


Mojo, Arabis and I look for Lisa and her family. This gentleman is no help.

A Tweedle

There's Lisa and Blue!

Blue and Lisa

We are ravenously hungry so search out the "Johnny Appleseed Cafe." It is neither a cafe, nor does it have apples. It doesn't accept debit cards either. Lisa generously treats us to a gourmet lunch.


This is Arabis' new favorite toy. It goes everywhere with us.

Arabis' Current Favorite Toy

Arabis and Papa descend into the whale's maw. And quickly come back up again. Krill makes for some unpleasant dental hygiene.

Mojo and Arabis in the Whale's Mouth

Arabis climbs back and forth over this little bridge. It requires much concentration. She loses focus for one minute and skins her knees.


Total melt down. Must be worn by the mama NOW. "Don't you DARE take my picture!"

Just after she skinned her knee

Lisa takes one too, for good measure. Arabis is not a happy camper.

Cranky baby

After a snack and some cuddles, Arabis is feeling better. She discovers the Owl and the Pussycat's boat and runs up and down the gang plank, over and over again.

Arabis walks the plank

Blue comes to play, too.

Arabis and Blue

Back on dry land, the pair attempt to make a break for it.

Arabis and Blue Make a Break for the Border

The Crooked Man watches from the yard of his crooked house.

Crooked House

Meanwhile, Mojo caddies the strollers...

Stroller Caddy

...and tries out his "mean" face.


Arabis climbs.


The genie waves us on our way.

Genie Hand

Until next time...

Thanks to Lisa for many of these photos. She took over 200 shots compared to my paltry nine. I think Lisa is a ninja paparazzi in training.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

How I Amuse Myself At My Child's Expense

I've been having to pull the Arabitty's hair back with barrettes for quite a while. If I don't it hangs in her face and she resembles Shaggy from Scooby Doo.

Mischevious Morning Hair

She's short. I have big furniture. Big antique furniture. Furniture that is older than all of our ages combined (I'm including the two 13 year old cats in there too). It is tall furniture. Especially my dining room table, which used to belong to my great-grandmother. I *still* need a phone book to sit on when I eat at it.

I have cleared space around the dining room table and that now serves as a little race track for the Evil Dwarf. The only problem is that I can't always see her when she's on the other side. And there are many places for a Girl of Small Proportion to get lost in this space. I panic.

"Arabis? Arabis? Where are you?" is a plaintive cry heard often around here. Nine times out of ten, she is on the dark side of the dining room table (I'm not mentioning where she ends up the tenth time for fear of CPS).

The solution?

Top Knot

Now I just look for the top knot. I need to get her a little plastic samurai sword and teach her old John Belushi routines.

Friday, September 22, 2006


I just sent an email to a local Taiko Dojo. They have their new student orientation in October. Just...a feeling I had today...don't know if I'm going to follow through...don't know if I can...don't know if I can't...

So much has been mulling about my tired and foggy excuse for a brain and between Mojo's feeling unwell and the normal baby wrangling, I've not had time to sit and write. There is much I need to write about Robin, memories that pop up at unexpected times. At Robbie's memorial last Sunday, the Taiko drumming gave me something and I need to transcribe the cathartic scribbles of that experience.

The drums filled my chest. It was an amazing experience. If I sit quietly they rise again through my body like the beating of my heart. They took me to a place that I had forgotten about and never wrote of and the words came pouring out like a flood. But I'm not sure I'm ready to reread and transcribe that yet. It's really very raw. And I am starting to feel somewhat human again.

I got an email from his mother that is sweet and searching and I've wanted to write her for days but have been unable to. There is something in the way and I don't know what it is. The lack of time to grieve, to rememeber, to laugh.

Being a mother now, I can't imagine what she must be going through. I can only hope to raise my daughter to be as present, as gentle and as aware as Robbie was.

Shit. That was hard to write. That was. The tense is just wrong. So now I'm crying and my daredevil daughter is trying to climb atop the refrigerator.

Perhaps tonight I will have the solitude and space to really write.

Oh So Serious

Photo sent by Robin to Eelia Goldsmith-Henderscheid. Photographer unknown.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Blue Day Book

Just for Boogiemum, and her fabulous idea for a pick me up, the "Blue Day Book" I give you: The Waffle Head.

Waffle Head

I swear I'm going to post some actual content here soon, but lack of typing time without my 16 month old weasel climbing all over me is scarce.

I also have so much to write about Robbie and the memorial that is skittering around my brain.

How do all you "Mommy Bloggers" do it? Where do you actually find the time to compose those witty morsels of everyday life complete with profound insights? And does the sleep deprivation ever really end or am I going to feel this cloudy for the rest of my days?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Good Morning

This is what I discovered on opening my refrigerator this morning.

I left her in there. She looks so "perky" (as my friend Anne exclaimed). And she's obviously there for a reason.

Life with my child is *never* boring!

My Refrigerator

In other news, there is much to write about and update. I've been neglectful of this forum the last few weeks, but I hope I can be forgiven due to the circumstances. There has been so much death this summer that I pray the Reaper gives us all a break.

Friday, September 15, 2006

A Query

Do Tootsie Rolls go bad?

Arabis just unearthed a white plastic skull full of little mini Tootsie Rolls. I don't know how old they are (last Halloween?), I don't know where they were hiding and I'm not sure how she found them, but they're here and they're singing to me with their little tempting Tootsie voices.

And I waaaaant them!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

On a Lighter Note

In an attempt at levity, I will try to relay briefly last Saturday's adventure of meeting my first out-of-town "semi-famous" blogger, Wannabe Hippie. Arabis and I met the fabulous Miss Elaine and her friend Allyn (who, coincidentally, lives in a warehouse not far from mine) at the Bittersweet Cafe in Oakland.

Click the link. Go on. Do it. It's a chocolate cafe. A chocolate cafe. Everything has chocolate: classic chocolate, spicy chocolate, white chocolate, chocolate chai. I was in heaven, yes heaven with a hint of hell, because what kind of impression do you make on someone you're meeting for the first time when you stride proudly up to the counter and state "I'll take one of everything, please" and you're not kidding.

I was good. I got a mocha. I did not get one of everything. But I may have to make a weekly foray to try a different menu item each visit. Then go on a long walk with Arabis afterward.

The cafe is very small and table sharing is a must. There was much chatting with strangers, cooing over the baby and comparing baby stories (Arabis and Elaine's youngest daughter are six days apart). I imagine this is what happens when old war buddies meet years after the fact. They reminisce about the shared horrors experienced with a humor brought on by time and distance. Thus it is with mommy bloggers. We know each other's lives vicariously through our writing and can joke easily about teething trauma and sleepless nights.

We strolled through the neighborhood, peeking in thrift stores for an elusive 50's housewife blouse to no avail. We even ran into Mojo briefly, on his stroll back from the bike shop, clad in black and striding down the street under the Bart terminal. "I wasn't sure whether I was supposed to admit I knew you or not," he confessed later.

The boy is a dork. Pure and simple.

I was in a daze for most of the visit (due to just having received news of Robin) but it was really fun and I hope we can play again next time she comes for a visit. If only we could get the kids together!

Next time.

And now, the obligatory photo:

With Wannabe Hippie

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The River is Wide, The River is Deep

I spent a long time sitting on the floor with Arabis just watching her. The pants which were last week too long and required rolling up a few times now fall just where they should at her ankle. Her hair seems to have had another growth spurt as well and is beginning to wave slightly away from her head and behind her ears, like a strangely winged bird. She looks like a little miniature human now (not that she didn't before).

She is her own person, my daredevil daughter; climbing up the dining room chairs to stomp on the table. Other milestones include:

  • Opening the bottom storage compartment on the oven to play with the pots and lids.
  • Getting into the bread crumbs and spilling them on the concrete floor where she proceeded to make snow angels.
  • Climbed out of the restraint system of her high chair, then climbed the rest of the way down while I was doing the dishes. I admit, I stopped to watch her do it, only intervening at the last minute to prevent her plummeting to the concrete floor.
  • Has completely rearranged my tupperware drawers. I found a rubber penguin bathtub toy in amongst the lids this morning.
  • Once again got into the croutons and fed them to the cat.
  • Walked to the refrigerator, opened the door, took a sip from her bottle, put it back, closed the door and walked away.

The weasel's getting clever. We're doomed.

Today has been a strange, quiet day. I am tired and feeling anti-social. Not that I don't want company, but walking out amongst the people is a feat too daunting for me.

Mojo also woke on the wrong side of the world this morning. He was visited by strange dreams. He said I tried to push him in front of a car. I'm not even going to hazard an analysis.

My forehead aches. I have a piece of brain stuck there. And it hurts.

Ari came over for dinner last night and we looked through her photo albums. Memories of a shared past, people we both knew, others who I didn't but were central to her life, we all had such a wonderful upbringing at the Faire. And then, in amongst the myriad of faces, Robin's would appear; here as a teenager, there as a man. And we would be quiet for a moment in grief.

My daughter kept turning back to one page in Ari's book, with a particularly striking photo of him. Over and over she would turn back and there he would be.

Sigh. No point to this post, other than grief. Also joy. A strange dichotomy.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Trees, They Grow High

Got to meet with a fellow out of town blogger yesterday for hot chocolate but the day was clouded with the news of the morning: that an old friend whom I'd known for 26 years died. I will write about the enjoyable parts of the day in greater detail later. For right now I just want to share a photo sent to me by Eelia Goldsmith of Robin.

Meanwhile, I spent last night lying in bed, hearing Robbie's voice singing to me, songs he sang when we were young. Other people have had this same experience, of hearing his voice singing in the night.

Photo sent to Eelia by Robin. Photographer unknown. Companion unknown.

Robin Wadsworth (drummer, taiko drummer, morris dancer, singer, musician, truly Renaissance man) died in a swimming accident while on vacation out of the country.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I'm Feeling A Little Verklempt

I know I've not done a proper update in quite a while, but things have been proceeding at a whirlwind pace and to be perfectly honest, I know of no way to comfortably share with the world the poo-flinging currently going on in my personal monkey hut.

We've been on the see-saw: up and down, up and down.

But I want to give a huge thank you to Daring Young Mom for her shout out to the Interschnitzel and to all the folks who stopped by throughout the weekend with little bits of cheer. You made me laugh, weep and even (dare I admit it?) guffaw. Thank you. It was the simplest kindness, but the one that I needed the most.

Right now, here is what gives me the greatest joy:

Who's the Rockstar?

Monday, August 28, 2006

These are the Times That Try Women's Souls

We're having kind of a rough week here at Chez WTF and I need some cheering up.

Please leave me a comment with something that makes you happy, no matter how sappy, silly, mundane or profound. Even if you've never left me a comment before, show me that you're out there lurking in the ether and my ramblings are not just the literary equivalent of wanking into the void.

Go hug your kids and tell them that you love them. Go do something nice for a stranger: pay a toll, open a door. Go be kind, because today the world feels like a wild and wayward place and we're all needing some love.

Friday, August 25, 2006


One of the mothers in my online community of babies born in May 2005 lost her child the night before last. I find myself crying in grief for a woman I never knew and a child I never heard laugh. I couldn't imagine what life would be like without Arabis now. The thought of losing her, of my beautiful Evil Dwarf actually dying is unbearable and has been an impossible concept until now, when it has been brought painfully home that it could happen.

She sleeps on my chest, contentedly sighing in her dreams. Wolfie sees I am upset and has come to drape his massive bulk over my shoulders and purr.

I am going to put Arabis to bed and try to get a little work done around the house, but my heart is heavy with love and pain. Mothers weep in solidarity.

As my friend Adrienne always so touchingly says: May his memory be a blessing.

Monday, August 21, 2006

An Artist's Dilema

Last year, the warehouse where I live inaugurated an annual Holiday sale showcasing the artists in the building. I am trying to get a jump on this year's show and making lots of stuff now for selling in December.

At the last minute I laid out a table with odd bits of knitting I made rather quickly (mostly kid's hats) and my origami boxes (I'd been making them for years and had a stash of easily a hundred of differing sizes just sitting around). My neighbor watched over my table, since I was also performing in a production of "Macbeth" and couldn't be there.

A few hats were sold, but the surprise of the day were the boxes. People bought them in droves! Without my even explaining their history or delicacy (modular origami, no tape, glue, or staples, ranging from six to 16 pieces of paper to make up one box, imported papers from Japan, etc). I put them out as an afterthought, and even though they are by their very nature expensive, people gobbled them up.

Mojo and I were talking last night and I mentioned I was getting a head start this year. I'm knitting lots of hand/arm warmers (people love them around here) and probably some toys and sculpture. Mojo is encouraging me to do more boxes and he is absolutely right.

The dilemma is how to do this with a 15 month old hellion running loose in the house?

I can knit around her with no problem. I've been doing it since she was born and she has a good respect for the needles and yarn (although the row counter is another story as she thinks it should be her special chew toy). But modular origami? That is another beast entirely. The papers are delicate, even the thicker ones, and expensive beyond belief. Often I only have a few sheets of one pattern with which to work and if one is crushed or wrinkled it ruins the entire piece. And Arabis *loves* to eat paper.

I've also converted my work table to her changing table. The irony of living in a work/live warehouse and being unable to work is not lost on me.

Hmmm, what to do?

Right now, off to be mom to the baby. Journalus interruptus, yet again. But today she has been such a charmer that it is a joy to be with her. She is much like her old self (pre teething hell) which is a great relief after a weekend of pure and unbridled demonic rage. I did meet a doula yesterday who gave me a few more teething tips (frozen blueberries) that I'd not yet tried, and I thought I'd tried them all.

Monkey Boi goes home to his mother in Ohio on Wednesday and we are all a little sad. Mojo's taking tomorrow off work so we'll do family stuff, laundry and pack in the during the day.

Arabis and I have been invited to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium with my friend Lisa and her son who is only a few months older than the Bit. We will drive down with her on Tuesday night and look at the fishes and stuff on Wednesday, which is a far better plan than sitting around at home moping while Mojo takes Monkey Boi to the airport (since we can't go back to the gate with them).

So away we go to run errands and play out in the world: the Weasel Grrl, Monkey Boi and me.

Friday, August 18, 2006

New Name

Okay. This is it. This has been weighing heavily on my mind for the last few days and I realize I need to do it. It came to me in a dream, and I am from a background where you don't ignore the messages that come to you in sleep.

I'm changing the name of my blog.

The current name is a joke anyway. Originally I got a blogspot account so I could leave snarky comments on the blog for my boyfriend's radio show. Since I have two other blogs that I use regularly, I needed a third blog like I guessed it...a hole in the head.


But then, I didn't expect it to become so important to me.

I am a big Jack Kerouac fan. Have been since I was a kid (yes, I read Kerouac as a child). It's a little like reading about my dad. You see, he did the whole Kerouac/Cassaday thing at the exact same time they were doing it: hopping freights, working as carnies, selling blood to live, listening to lots of good jazz. I believe he was also at the first reading of Allen Ginsberg's "Howl."

My dad rocks.

I also think the name embraces the spirit of duality that exists within that I am struggling with, that of being a mother and an artist, an actor, a surfer, a sea kayaker, a fire performer, a fight choreographer, a knitter, a writer, a shit-disturber...we seem to be drifting out of the realm of duality and into multiple-personality disorder. Perhaps "Sybil's Blog" may be more appropriate?

But no.

So in homage and solidarity with all the other Dharma Bums, I give you:

Dharma Mum.

(Besides, you'd be amazed at how many hits I get from people googling for info about "babies with holes in their heads.")

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Need. More. Sleep.

Another night of no sleep, flippy floppy baby, teething pain, screaming and blood. I'm not kidding about the blood. There was blood.

Arabis delivered a Samoan Headbutt to the Mouth on the Mojo Man last night. Around 2:00 AM. He woke up screaming. And is now sporting a fat lip.

To get revenge he ignored the cat puke at the top of the stairs this morning, gingerly stepping around it, while I, in my sleep-deprived fuzzy brain trod right through it, baby in tow. Ewwwww.

Thank God for Monkey Boi, who is entertaining the Evil Dwarf as we speak. This teething thing sucks. And now, thanks to another mother's travails, I am fearing the eventual pacifier separation and the transition from family bed into own crib.

One trauma at a time.

We are going to the grocery store today. I need real fruit juice. For the rum. That I still haven't drunk, but sounds better and better every day.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Believe Those Who Are Seeking the Tooth...

Believe those who are seeking the tooth; doubt those who find it.

--Andre Gide (whose wisdom of teething knows no bounds)

I started writing an hour ago and only managed a fraction of a sentence. Now it is all lost in my brain and I've not the mental capabilities to reconstruct it.

Arabis continues to be miserable and I do all I can. This multiple tooth cutting business is hell. The doctor predicted months ago (when I lamented the fact that my baby had no teeth) that she'd probably get them all at once. I, in my naivete, had no clue what that would actually mean.

It means discomfort. Of the extreme variety. And pain. It means nights of no sleep and days of getting nothing done. It means grasping at every possible remedy to relieve the discomfort. It means screaming and crying and gnawing.

She is cutting four teeth currently. Two of them molars. I suspect a fifth tooth of the molar persuasion to be lurking just beneath the surface. I do what I can and it is never enough.

I have no brain and very little time when the child is not clinging to me for comfort or wailing at me in pain. So forgive my absence a bit longer and commiserate with me in spirit. I'm still here. Just busy doing my Mama-act.

I promise, once this instance is past, I will write a long and witty post wherein there will be no mention of teeth whatsoever. Maybe it will even be baby-free. I am beginning to feel like one of those women who can only ever talk about their kids, but she takes up all my time. And I love it. know...I don't want to bore my friends.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Long and Drawn Out Silent Scream

We are awake and have been for the past hour plus. Because teething sucks. But molars? Qualify as torture under the Geneva Convention.

So we sit wrapped in a blanket. Arabis has buried her head between my breasts and has one hand laying against my neck. I have her completely covered over with a soft, fleecy blanket and she is moaning softly.

Teething sucks. That is all and that is enough.

I am beyond tired.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Eeny Meeny Greeny Beany

"Eeny meany greeny beany. The green beans are about to speak!"
"Are they friendly green beans?"
"Friendly? Juuuuust eat 'em!"

(With many thanks to Jay Ward and Rocky and Bullwinkle)

Green beans are Arabis' faaaaaavorite food. I cannot begin to express the joy of this child when presented with green beans. We have just started giving her actual pieces of green bean to eat, rather than feeding her the mushy baby food stuff. She has been in green bean heaven. Greeny beanies for breakfast. Greeny beanies for lunch. Greeny beanies for dinner.

Is it possible to get too much of a good thing?

Yes. Yes it is.

I can illustrate why with four words: explosive green bean poop. With little green chunks of bean.

Can I hear a collective "EEEWWWW" from the congregation? Tell it to me, brothers and sisters!

Which, as soon as I removed her diaper, she proceeded to roll around in whilst attempting to flee, sending green poop flying in every direction.

I decided to put her right in the bath. It was the only way to deal with the mess. Since her previous bath time accident I have been waiting until after she's defecated before giving her a bath. I mean, she's pooped three times today. What are the odds?

After giving her a quick rinse under the running spigot, I filled the tub and jumped in with her.

This isn't quite going where you think it is.

She peed. Now, had she just sat in the water and peed like any self-respecting baby would do, no one would've been the wiser and the bath would've continued just fine. Not my daughter. She had to stand up and face me. Smiled the most beatific smile in the world, bent her knees slightly and peed like a race horse. Grinning the whole time. Did I mention the grin? Like the Cheshire Cat meets Sardonicus. Like she was saying "Piss on you, Mom."

I drained the bath and we finished in the shower.

Mojo is home and watching the baby. We all (Monkey, Weasel and I) had meltdowns just about as soon as he walked in the door. I managed to make a decent dinner. The Weasel Grrl has been an Evil Dwarf all afternoon until I realized it's the four damned new teeth that she's cutting. So she's been dosed with both Tylenol and Baby Orajel and is finally sleeping contentedly.

I'm drinking fruit punch flavored Kool-Aid with a shot of rum in it since that's the closest I've got to a fruity rum drink around the place. Now, if only I had a little paper umbrella...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Random Ramblings (or "Two Posts in One Night? Holy Guacamole, Batman!")

Sunday night and it is blissfully quiet. There is not much traffic outside. The baby is held fast in Morpheus' loving arms and Monkey Boi is at one with his Gameboy. Mojo is at his normal Sunday night gaming evening, getting his geek on. And me? I'm bloody exhausted! There is so much to do that I indulge in the mental equivalent of standing in one place and spinning round and round until I fall down where I am, overwhelmed by the dizzying enormity of it all.

I want to write about our trip to Santa Cruz to be with my cousins. Of having reached a place within myself and with Monkey Boi where I am actually enjoying his company and we are getting along *really* well. Then I glanced at the calendar tonight and realized that he goes home to Ohio in two and a half weeks and became overwhelmingly sad.

I want to write about the ongoing dreams that haunt and sometimes torment me at night. And how I will occasionally have a grandmother walk through them to set things aright if I get too upset.

How I noticed tonight that Arabis has three new teeth that have just poked their way through her bottom gum. The child now has 11 teeth. All grown in the last five months. Nine of them in the last three.

I composed journal entries in my head as I watched her playing with her cousins in Santa Cruz. She is officially a toddler, walking confidently in the world. I would let her wander around the balcony, among the safety of the 20 or so relatives scattered about, her small form receding in the distance as she explored, not looking back to see where I was. Then she would suddenly be there, throwing her arms around me as best she could and burying her head in my lap, grinning her goofy smile at me before wandering off to play again.

She is talking and signing more and more. Today she even climbed the entire staircase to the sleeping loft, all 16 steep stairs (I was right behind her the entire way, of course). Up to now, she's only gotten about half-way up.

She loves to play in the cats' water dishes. The swimming pool at the motel was an unheard of treat. We didn't get to the beach, unfortunately, as it was too cold.

And the 200 photos on my camera! All need to be downloaded and sorted. Then the gems of the lot must be edited in Photoshop for uploading onto Flickr, to you all to a photo montage of our trip.

How to write about my family? To find time to transcribe Auntie Mim's tapes and find my research notes (Mojo moved all that stuff somewhere).

How do I do all this and the dishes? Take out the garbage? The laundry? How do I be a mother and run a household and still be a woman and a writer?

Where is the time to be me?

Sweet Respite

Eight-thirty and the baby is blissfully asleep. I've put her in Monkey Boi's bed downstairs, not wanting to take her up to the sleeping loft until I retire for the evening as well.

"How is that big old bed working out?" I hear you asking.

Mojo enlisted Monkey Boi's help to bring it in from the hallway and haul it up the steep stairway to the bedroom while I entertained the baby in the living area. I studiously ignored the bangs, swearing and occasional cries of pain and let the boys do their thing. (The fact that I grew up in a furniture store and can move furniture like a pro is often lost on large men intent on "Doing Things Their Way" so I am content to sit and giggle if the situation calls for it.)

After the bed was set up, the bedding had to be laundered. Once again, I let the boys do their thing, only asking that they put an extra quarter in the machine for the bonus wash, since the sheets and comforter had been sitting in a storage shed for the last two and half years.

Eventually I cuddled up with the baby on Monkey's twin bed and fell asleep.

"Wake up." Mojo is shaking my shoulder. "Bring the baby upstairs and come to bed."

It is past midnight, but the bed is finally assembled, made and sits in splendid glory waiting for its occupants. And glorious it is, a lovely rosey-hued wood with four tall posts that taper gracefully at the top and head and foot boards with clean, arched lines. The bed is tall, almost three feet off the ground. I actually giggled climbing into it.

"I feel like the princess and the pea," I told Mojo.

The mattress is a delightful change from my ten year old futon and 22 year old metal bedstead. I sunk into its pillow-top and sighed. Mojo settled beside me, the baby in the middle.

Cut to the next morning. I am on the edge of the bed with my butt hanging out in the cold. I spy Mojo across the immense landscape of the bed, mirroring me. Arabis has moved herself sideways, her head under my chin and her feet in Mojo's armpit. Both cats have joined us and take up prime real estate in the center of the bed.

But the creme de la creme? It's Monkey Boi. Wrapped in a fleece blanket and stretched out at our feet.