Monday, June 25, 2012

she knows how to dance

She dances to anything
the cardinals conversation in the treetops
a firetruck's warning cry
The Dog's wagging tail
She dances on tiptoes
on window sills
on table tops
But she especially knows how to
d  a  n  c  e    o  n   m  y   l  a  s  t    n  e r  v  e
She wakes earlier on the days
that she knows
her father and oldest brother are away
and I am shorthanded for help
She wakes in an ornery state
She throws her toys
before the first bite of breakfast passes her lips
She asks for cookies
I tell her, No.
She yells, Stop being a crabby. Stop being a brat!
and she falls to the floor
You go hos-pit-a-bal! she demands
I'm not that far gone
No hospital, I deny the suggestion of emergency help
No!! Hos-pit-a-bal! she insists, louder this time
I let the word seek a spot in my mind that is not simmering
and when it cannot find a place to take purchase
I know
that my brow has been too furrowed
my teeth are grinding
my shoulders are tight
We have a staring contest
She knows how to dance on my last nerve
but she is also gifted in dancing back into my good graces
She cocks her head to the side
assessing my countenance,
Her eyes brighten and she says...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Give a kid a cardboard box or a puddle (in this case a 12 ft x 30 in. quick set pool) and he will be thoroughly entertained for hours.

When I saw Henry lifting The Baby out of the pool and holding her over his head, I swear I heard:
Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba
Yes, our little quick set pool is the circle of life.

Despite students' learning recession,
school is still in session. 
Popsicles do not stand a fighting chance
when into the 90's temperatures advance.
It's better than snow- now that would be a bummer.
Wishing you all a Happy First Day of Summer!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

fatherhood is kid lickin' good

my brother grooming his son at a family picnic

my father attempting to groom my first born son at the same family picnic
There are exceptions, of course. The Mr. would never lick one of our kids- not for a trillion dollars. That's probably why, when I asked the girls what they wanted me to illustrate for their Father's Day card, they came up with this. 
Of course, they wanted it to say I Love My Daddy. But I kept thinking about this t-shirt. Anyway...

The Mr. is the yin to my parenting yang. 
If I am the Wang Chung, he is the Wu Tang.
He is the yes to my no. 
If I am the stop, he's the go. 
When I am the ebb, he is the flow

My kids are so lucky that he is their dad.

Have a kid lickin' good Father's Day!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

plumber's crack

We knew it was going to be one of those days when we woke after a night of steady rain to find our laundry baskets and hamper floating at the bottom of the basement stairs. It was the kind of day when you have to make a grown up decision to deal with a problem that has been going on far too long. Hello, subtle whiff of sewage seeping up through the house? Over the past few months, you all could probably smell the sulfuric stankiness through your computer monitors; but, you were too polite to say anything to me about it. We ignored it, too, and blamed it on the dog.  And when the dog was nowhere in sight, we blamed the putrescence on the kids.  It just isn't very fun to spend a few hundred dollars on plumbing of any sort- even if it permanently puts an end to the game of, "What's that smell?" But, Mother Frickin Nature and a nearly century old house teamed up to give us a wet wake up call which revealed that our drains were backed up to the street.

Let me tell you, at the end of it all, we felt truly relieved. I now know why they call it plumber's crack. No, it's not the exposed split moon of your plumber peering out of his pants. It's the fact that the work he does, when done just right, makes you feel like you are on crack. We were giddy with grown up excitement. We took care of bidness. Who knew that having your drain snaked could feel so good? I do. And, I'd do it again.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Humor, Mamalode, Love

From Mamalode Summer 2012, Cover photograph  by Scott Hevener
Humor, the Summer 2012 edition of Mamalode magazine, is being distributed as I type. I just received my copy today. I am in love and I've only gotten a chance to briefly browse through it. Subscribe today and you, too, can have a little Humor in your mailbox. The editors have kindly included my essay Hair do hair don't (originally titled Hair Empathy on this blog) along with two images I worked on. I am so grateful and proud to be a part of the Mamalode family of writers and readers.

For subscription information, click here.
For more great writing, visit the Mamalode blog here.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

coming into focus

We were walking on the beach at sunset. The sky was dusky. You broke off ahead with your brother. So fast. There is an end to the beach, I told myself. They will not disappear. But as your figures diminished and you became a pebble on the shoreline, a leaf on the trees of the cliff, the subtlest ripple in the water- I thought that maybe the beach had lied. That you could run on forever and I would never be able to catch up to you. In that moment, my distressed heart tried to break free from its stockade of ribs and rocket blast to you. 

You, your brothers, your little sister have always been within reach. There have not been many moments when I've faced the great divide, worrying over the canyon I must traverse to find you. Fragile fish bones which littered rocky sand posed the question, "What if?" 

In an instant, you whipped your head around as if you heard me call your name. But, I had only sung it in my head. You circled back- like a Labrador with a stick, happily bounding back to his owner. 

I was a pebble on the shoreline, a leaf on the trees,  the subtlest ripple in the water. You could not see the stitch in my brow- the troubled lines on my face. 

You burst forth with unbridled joy- arms outstretched- running toward me. 
I love you! I love you! I love you!

The flash of your smile slowed my breath and settled my heart. 

With each step, you grew. And you grew. And you grew. Until you looked more like you.

Coming into focus.

The child I will always see. The girl that you are. The woman you will become.

Friday, June 1, 2012

friday fancy

A rainy day and too many photographs from last weekend's visit to my parents' cottage in Hanford Bay inspired a mirage. I wish there were oversized leafy sea dragons swimming in the lake. In June, the shores are still littered with winter's debris. My feet are haunted by the very decayed deer I stumbled over when chasing the kids down the beach last weekend.  By this time next month, the beach will be clear- the only remnants will be the drift wood fashioned into teepees for Independence Day bonfires.

Happy Friday! Happy 1st of June! It feels more like the 1st of October here. I hope wherever you are, there is warmth whether it be from the sun or in the smile of someone you love.