Friday, April 30, 2010

Don't Make Me Go To Vegas

We had cause to drive to Longmont to look for homes.

All the places we could afford were sad looking. Crummy is the word. Someone had bikes on their roof. All manner of trash and debris in the yard. Mr. Vesuvius looked at me and I wordlessly shook my head. I pretended I was on MTV True Life. I could imagine the camera following behind us. Close up on the peeling paint and threadbare love seats sitting on the tiny porches. Then it would close up on my face and all the world would know my pain.

(That was me being dramatic).

Then we made a terrible mistake. I spotted some tiny but promising houses tucked behind the restaurants and shops on the cute Old Town street. We drove back for a closer look.

Cheery homes, yellows and greens, a park, an abundance of flowers. Women with babies in bjorns and golden retrievers trot trot behind. Everything gleaming in the sun. Shoot. I began to cry.

Then I told myself I was being silly. Who is completely happy with their home? Who wouldn't trade up, if they could? Even the rich people there would probably trade up for a Villa in Italy. Which just shows you how ridiculous it all is.

And yet.

Mr. V steered us toward a little bungalow. "Is it yellow?" I said.

"I don't know if it's yellow. What does it matter if it's yellow?" said Mr. V

"I keep picturing a yellow house. I thought maybe if it was yellow it would be a sign. I believe in signs now. It's my new thing."

The bungalow was not yellow, but it was perfect. Sweet block with sweet little homes and massive storybook back yards.

No longer available.

There was nothing else to do. We hit the road. Took a spin through Lyons where everyone looked up to see if we were someone they knew. Kept going straight on to Estes.

Estes. There were elk in the park. We had a look. Walked to the river. I thought of my dad. The girls bounded about on the boulders. Such an excellent and satisfying exercise. Brain plus body. The mountains surrounding were all snowy and cloudy. All pre-Aslan Narnia.

We procured ice cream. We headed for home. The gas tank warning light ding-ding-dinged. I told Mr. V to stop for gas. Surely there will be a place along the way, he said. I raised my eyebrows.

There wasn't. But you know what?

We made it on empty, all the way down that mountain. Made it exactly as far as we needed to go.

--Over and out.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ole! Ole!

This is Part II to the story I began yesterday. The one in which it was clear to me this all went down last year, but not at all clear to you.

I began to have this nagging feeling.

I imagined this book I had written being published. Going out onto shelves. Being read by approximately fifteen to twenty people somewhere.

And I felt uncomfortable.

I was like some heroine with rosy skin and a lot of gumption who, for a ride out of town, goes to bed with a man she thought was a cowboy--but he's got a trunk full of jewelry and this weird black bandanna and boy, does the drawing on that Wanted poster look a lot like him.

The outlaw may have gotten her out of Dodge, sure--and she may have picked up a few things about shooting and cattle roping along the way--but now she's in Tucson, and who wants to stay in Tucson the rest of their lives? The goal was San Fransisco.

I realized that if there was going to be a book out there with my name on it, I didn't want it to be this one. This book was the outlaw. And I didn't want an outlaw out there calling himself Mr. Vesuvius. What I wanted was to own a brothel. Down by the bay.

It wasn't that I was hung up on all the outlaw's imperfections--his sometimes clumsy prose, his awkward pacing, his penchant for cliches. I just knew the outlaw wasn't for me. I had used him to try to impress Mary-Alice, down there in the shade with her white skirts and her parasol, and not to do my soul work.

I can say this now, but at the time I resisted these feelings. I resisted my gut instinct because it was not what I wanted to hear.

Then, a few weeks after sending off my manuscript, an email popped up in my inbox. From the agent. That agent.

And while she had good things, encouraging things to say about my little outlaw--who truly I was fond of, despite his shortcomings--she ultimately did not feel it was ready for publication.

(I was not expecting this to still hurt now. But it does!)

I gave myself a few weeks break. I was hurt. I knew enough about publishing not to be too hurt, but it was hard.

And then I started writing again.

I could say it like this: I felt a little bit broken, like the fallen woman I was, but I knew I must be strong. Therefore I gathered up my calico skirts in mine own two hands, slammed a glass down on the counter and demanded Mr. V fill it high with moonshine, and did a right Scarlett O'Hara.

God as my witness, I'm going to start writing again!

When I sent off that manuscript, I was sure I wanted it published. I wanted it so badly it ached. But in the weeks that followed, as I began writing other things, I felt like I got my sea legs. I learned, first of all, that I could write other things besides that one book. I felt initiated as a writer. The story of being a writer is the story of facing rejection. And that sense I had had, that nagging feeling--the one they say in Babe should never be ignored, remember? Changed from a sense of unease to a sense of confidence, of purpose.

I didn't get what I really really wanted. Or what I thought I really wanted. And I was ok. In fact, I was a little relieved.

During those weeks of disappointment, I had to go to a place in my soul that I didn't want to face. I had to recognize the truth: That some people, some talented people even, write all their lives, write very beautiful works, and never get published. And that it was possible that I could be one of those people.

This is not pessimism. It is only the truth. I had been ignoring this truth all along. The Indians were riding in with their arrows raised and I was saying, 'Look! Ponies!'.

But the curious thing is, the disappointment gave me strength to face them.

"My outlaw is not so very shiny. He is swaggering and spitting and not showing a lot of the truth. And now look, I've got Indians coming. At least I can shoot my own gun. "

I had to write for me. Because it was what my soul wanted to do. It made me happy. It gave me a sense of purpose and accomplishment and peace. Whether someone wanted to publish it or not.

Money, success, achievement, the approval of others--those things are all out of my control. If I place my happiness there, I am literally giving my happiness away for others to use as they will.

I think when we create we are honoring the divine within. Even more than that: I think creating can be entering into a communion with a divine presence. But you can't find that tender place if you're writing to impress your parents or Mary-Alice or Michiko Kakutani.

You do it because you have to. You must. And it is a reward within itself.

For anyone who writes or creates art, I highly recommend this Ted talk by Elizabeth Gilbert.

So thank you, my little outlaw. Now when I ride into San Fransisco, I will do it knowing how to shoot a coyote from a moving horse. Dodge will be but a distant memory. You took me as far as you could.

It was far enough.

(I am sorry for those of you he swindled into thinking I may have been offered a book contract. I thought I had made it clear, and I did not intend to trick you. I blame the outlaw. He's always sneaking something).

And: I cannot rightly publish this post without giving thanks to my Dear Mr. Vesuvius. Writing books costs me many hours away from home on the evenings and weekends, and them children never did tend themselves. Mr. V gives me constant, unwavering, unimaginable support and encouragement. He pours me the whiskey and offers his words of simple wisdom, and then I can get back on the horse. And I am so incredibly grateful.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Author Would Like To Thank Lactation

Someday, if I have a book published, I will have Ayla to thank.

Ayla's birth upheaved and confounded me in ways that I still fail to find adequate words for. The birth, and being a mother at 23, left me desperate to reclaim some territory for myself. I felt like when the baby came out, someone had dressed me in a 'Mother' costume. And now I was wearing something that wasn't me, but was supposed to be me. I couldn't get out of it. I was lost.

So then I started writing again.

It took me four years, but I wrote a book.

I am a little bit embarrassed to tell you who I wanted to write like, but I'll tell you anyway.

I wanted to write like JK Rowling. Not because she is a billionaire, I swear.

Ok, a little bit because she is a billionaire. But mostly because I love her books to the depths of my soul. And because the waves of emotion I experienced--suspension! thrilling joy! oh noes Harry might die! Mrs. Weasley said BITCH--stirred the dormant writer in me back to life.

I needed to claim something for myself. I needed to put a stake down in the ground of my being and say 'this is mine. this is not mother, nor wife, nor poor lady on medicaid with a screaming baby and leaking nipples at the grocery store'.

And all I had to do that with was my writing.

So I wrote. I gave myself a five year deadline to write and publish the book. Looking back now, this seems ridiculous and arbitrary. Did I really plan on giving up after five years? 'Well, I'm 28 now, and it's time to put these ridiculous dreams aside. What is fitting in our youth is unfitting in our later youth, and no one should ever attempt to write after they've hit not-yet-thirty'.

I think I was trying to protect myself, in some abstract way. Five years, and if you haven't achieved your dream, you can politely move on to a different endeavor. Like ladies switching from embroidery to the pianoforte in the drawing room.

After four years, I had a book.

It sounded a little bit like JK Rowling, and a little bit like me. Only a little bit. I was proud of myself that I had done it.

And then began the part that was so infinitely harder than writing a book. Which was writing a one paragraph Query.

The best way, most agree, to publish a book, is to procure an agent. No, I am afraid you do not wrap up your entire manuscript in brown paper and tie it with twine and stick a rose in there and send it off with a hope and a prayer directly to the publisher, who immediately recognizes its brilliance and sends you a letter that you take from the mailbox after gathering flowers in your white frock in the rain decrying your brilliance and begging you for the honor of publishing it.

To get an agent, you send a one page query. You spend one paragraph of your query describing your book.

You have spent four years writing 130,000 words (what was I THINKING), and these words, clumsy as they are, are the blood and the sacrament of your life, your force, your very spirit. And now you must distill your spirit down into a one sentence hook plus five or so other sentences.

Oh god, oh god, why hast thou forsaken writers?

It was torture. It took weeks. I did it. I mailed them out.

And then the rejections started coming.

The awesome thing about the times we live in is that now we can receive our rejections both by email AND by snail mail. Because some agents correspond by one and some prefer the other. This means that sometimes you can get as many as four different rejections by two different formats, all in one day!

I had known they would come. I had picked my top five, my dream agents, and queried them first.

No bites.

So I queried the next five. And then the next ten.

At this point, I felt like that scene in Harry Potter when letters from Hogwarts start flying down the chimney? Except they weren't invitations to a school of magic. They were letters from busy people in mostly New York, but some in LA, telling me that based on the one paragraph summary they had read of my book, they would not at all like to publish it.

I knew this was part of the bargain. I didn't flail and weep and gnash my teeth.

But I was most discouraged.

And then--a bite.

An agent had read the first five pages of my book and wanted to see the first fifty.

And after reading the first fifty--be still my soul--she wanted to see the whole thing.

So I sent it off.

And then I had to wait.

For tomorrow, Part II: In Which I Dirty My Petticoat, Muster Up My Courage, And Learn To Take Stiff Drink.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Spiritual Journeys Undertaken In Red Carts

We just returned from Mom Mecca (otherwise known as Target), where the goblins humiliated me so badly I almost cried.

They can be so naughty and I needed to shop for sunglasses and I couldn't--because of the screaming and the kicking and the stroller tipping over backwards. And everyone else staring. Sorry. I realize that my children are the first children to ever have a tantrum in a grocery store. I know it's truly an original sight, and terribly fascinating. But maybe for the sake of the poor mother you could just. . . avert your eyes? Just for a minute? And not stare at the breaking down mother the way you stare at a car accident? Because you and my girls are embarrassing me more than I was embarrassed during my Most Embarrassing Moment--the one that occurred in college speech class and involved a naive parochial-school raised me and a sex toy. (No I am not at all joking about that). (No, I will not tell you the rest of that story. Still embarrassed.)

I walked home glaring into the sun. And onto the heads of my misbegotten offspring.

I have been looking into books involving spirituality and motherhood, but they all read to me something like this:

Are you the perfect mother? No? What is wrong with you? Try to be the perfect mother. Feeling better yet?

I wondered aimlessly through Barnes and Noble on Saturday, feeling unmoored and empty and then I found this book by Sue Monk Kidd. So I ordered me an iced mocha and sat down and read the book and after an hour I felt like a brand new person.

Seriously. I felt like sunshine. I felt so good that when I went to meet back up with Mr.V I knew he was absolutely going to see my inner radiance beaming like El Dorado and fall to his knees praising my beauty and asking me to bestow my newly gained wisdom upon him.

And when he saw me coming he said "Hey. What do you want for dinner?" Which you may not know is IN FACT man's way of saying "Oh ye embodiment of every goddess of wisdom, oh ye who art beauty incarnate, allow me to worship at the altar of you and bring you offerings of goodly iced mochas and the richest red wine, which still is not richer than thou wisdom and beauty ."

It's true.

Now if only SMK (as I like to call her) would write a book on finding some zen when your children go all zany in public areas and not reaching down into the depths of your humiliated soul and finding your inner devil mommy that screams things like "STOP WHINING OR I AM SELLING YOU TO THE GYPSIES!" or "STOP THAT KICKING OR I SWEAR TO GOD I SHALL UNHINGE MY JAWS AND SWALLOW YOU WHOLE".

Did you get that, Sue? Could you manage?

Stop by tomorrow. (You, that is. Not Sue.) I would like to tell you about something I once wanted, and did not get, and have since become very grateful that I didn't get what I thought I wanted..

And no, it's not about wanting this.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Excuse Me

The rain always reminds me of the five days I spent in Paris, which doesn't make much sense as I think it was only rainy for one morning when we were there. But so it is.

Starbuck plays with the sink incessantly. If I forget about her for three minutes, I know where to find her. She will be at the bathroom sink with the water running and cups at different levels of fullness decorating the counter like altar candles. Water everywhere. Possibly toothpaste squeezed out.

The doctor told me Starbuck is the kind of person we will someday call determined and tenacious and I know in my heart this is true.

At the playground, a little girl tells Starbuck she can't play with them and Starbuck leaves and plays by herself just fine and dandy for about three minutes, before bursting into tears.

But this is the same child who lowered her body so she could get right up in the face of the neighbor girls' sitting mother, ,and point a finger, and yell "Your honey's not being very NICE".

And after I recovered from my faint of mortification the neighbor mom said "that's ok, I have a five-year-old and a three-year-old too."

Ayla and I watch two little baby blue birds bouncing around against the gray sky. "They're not very little," Ayla sniffs. She is sixteen in her soul.

Indy tells a story: When I was a little girl I had a tiger. I got it at the pet store. And my mom and dad let me pick it out. But not you. I had another mom and dad.

She walks up to strangers. "Excuse me, I like your pretty dress!".

"Excuse me, I just want to pet your dogs!"

"Excuse me, it's raining outside!"

(The 'excuse me' is a total ruse. Her tone is all command.)

We are still waiting to hear back from Arizona. (Sorry mom). They want to know salary requirements. Whatever. (Yes, I did just say whatever on my blog). (I did it to prove to you how over it all I am).

Ayla is sad she doesn't have a nice bed. I watch her playing in a cozy, quiet corner of the library. The world all gray out the windows behind her. I wish she had a home with a cozy, quiet corner just for her.

Ayla knows my back is sore and begins to rub it.

Last week when it rained I made sure to enjoy it because I thought it might be the last time we'd see rain in awhile. I took my cup of tea and sat by the open window and closed my eyes and breathed up that scent.

Now I just wish we knew so we could move on with our lives.

But it's Friday.

Mr. V and I do well. We almost always do. I am grateful for that.

It is Friday, and Little Starbuck has a joke she would like to share with you.

She would especially like to share it with you when your pastor is over, or your grandma, or maybe your new boss:


"Who's there?"


"Girls who?"

"Girls have vaginas."

Yep, Starbuck.

Isn't it wondrous, how we get exactly the right ones?

I've said it before: Without Ayla and Indy, I never could have survived motherhood.

"Excuse me, girls have a--"

Just kidding.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bad Seeds


Last night I did a little trick I like to call "eating four chewy chocolate chip cookies right quick in a row". This trick is also known as "countdown to Shark Week".

Think about it.

I had just been to Daz Bog where a barista once--I am reasonably certain--stalked me. This time the overly chatty barista--and they are all overly chatty at Daz Bog--was a cute college boy with whom I accidentally flirted and who told me my husband was lucky.

He was impressed that I like to drink beer and watch football, see?

At which point I asked him if he would like to see my lovely soft belly that I have acquired through birthing babies, drinking beer, and watching football. He wanted a look so bad that he turned rather pale and couldn't meet my eye.

Oh well. Next time, college boy, you shall not let opportunity slip like gold dust through your fingers, shall you?

I had taught him a valuable lesson.

True to their natures of undistilled evil, the girls sensed that T-minus 24 hours to Shark Week would be an ideal time to wait until I got into the shower, take the six rolls of just-bought toilet paper, and unravel them in their room.

Kali is a demanding goddess. The goblins dare not disobey.

I sent them in to clean up their mess.

They figured throwing all their toys on the floor and tearing all the sheets off their beds would be a suitable offering for their pagan lords.

Then they did something else that I don't want to repeat. But it involves bodily fluids.

I'll tell you what. At this point my mascara is running from tears of frustration and, I am a little ashamed to admit, my throat is raw from screaming.

The wisdom of my body said "cookies!" and also "spinach salad!"

(Ok actually it said "WINE". But this was 9:45 in the morning).

It also said, "Text Mr. V repeatedly while he is sick and working an 11 hour day and whine about the depravity of your daughters!"

Eckhart Tolle once said that being a parent to young children is the only spiritual discipline you need and that's about where I am at this point.

So now we come to: Devil Mommy has removed herself from evil's presence long enough to stop crying and screaming and now she is getting a little bit--it must be said--giddy at the thought of the punishments she is about to dole out.

And Devil Mommy comes to Little Starbuck and tells her that she is not allowed to watch tv or be on the computer for two days, and she will not have treats, and what is more, she will NOT have CHOCOLATE MILK for NIGH-NIGHTS.

Somewhere in my heart a tiny demon is rubbing its hands together and gleefully anticipating tears. At fist the umbilical cord will not abide tears. Then you hit the point when it thirsts for them. You've turned a corner.

And Little Starbuck, all sweet as a tulip, says: That's ok. I don't like chocolate milk anymore. I just want water.

And Devil Mommy poofs into smoke and I--this bewildered, scoured out, raw heap of what remains--shake my head at her and admit to both of us that she is truly a master of her craft.

-Vesuvius in Peril, signing off.

Ayla,powdered sugar,mess

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Looking Up


This is a post that is not about me.

This post is about you.

You are an amazing group of people out there. Those of you I know, and those of you I don't. (I thought about calling you magnificent but I didn't want to overdo it.) (Or embarrass those of you who are easily embarrassed).

I wanted to remind you, in case you had forgotten--

--for a while, or maybe just for the moment--

how full of possibility you are.

You all out there. Look at you.

You are writing books. You are nurturing passion. You are nurturing children. You are inspiring creativity.

You are growing babies. You are growing businesses. You are on spiritual journeys. You are appreciating beauty. You are making beauty.

You are beauty.

You are encouraging your friends. You are blessing others. You are learning new crafts, new recipes, new languages, new ways of thinking. You make new discoveries. You plant things, and they grow.

You are loving, and you are learning to love yourselves.

You are dreaming of a better world. You are taking steps to make it so.

You are wandering. You are traveling. You go head first into a dark unknown with a courage that is nothing short of miraculous.

You are pursuing knowledge. You are pursuing pleasure. You are pursuing the divine. You are finding hope.

Little stars, fragrant buds, life you create, beauty you craft with your hands. Hold in your hearts.

You are making possibility as you go along.

You are making music. You are making art. You are bohemians, artists, scientists, brewers, dreamers, crafters, bloggers, mothers, fathers, daughters, businesspeople, holy people, idealists, realists, pessimists.

I know there is darkness out there. I'm not naive. Though I will cop to being an idealist.

But the dark is only half the story.

There is light on the horizon.

Talk to me about the depravity of man, and I will tell you other stories.

I believe in goodness.

You all are my best proof.

Other proof (for you doubters):

Apne Aap


Women for Women International

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


It is rainy and gray today which seems appropriate as everyone is sick (except me) and Mr. Vesuvius and I are sad.

I have realized that some of you are reading this blog and don't know that Mr.V and I are living with Mr.V's mother.

You read that right: This stay-at-home mother is staying at home with her mother-in-law and her brother-in-law and her sister-in-law.

So you see, we are not just anxious to get out of Fort Collins, we are anxious to get our own home.

I mean, don't get me wrong. It's totally rosy and bloom here with the old in-laws, and I'm sure they'd agree.

Who wouldn't want to live with their grown children and their two granddaughters who are both, we have actual proof, living reincarnations of Kali, goddess of destruction.

Grammy LOVES the way they get drunk off the blood of their victims and dance victory over the fields of slain neatness and gutted cereal boxes and dismembered dresser drawers and bottles of expensive shampoo and lotion poured on the ground and offered up as sweet libations to the minions of chaos and carnage.

Wouldn't you?

We can't move out until Mr. Vesuvius finds another job. He's been trying since January so don't think we're just sitting around waiting for something to happen.

And then this happened. I haven't been talking much about this because we were so hopeful, and hope is tender.

Hope is tender, and you have to keep feeling it anyway.

Things were looking really good. Calls were made and interviews were arranged and everyone sounded very excited. And we were imagining ourselves loading up our car and driving out of here in two short weeks. Driving far away. If my mother knew the place, she would cry. It's a place I've mentioned before.

I don't want to say the name of the place because we're still feeling raw. But it was west of here, and south, and not as far as California. And it was a city by a big lake. And it was not Salt Lake City.

We were picturing this life and then: Suddenly Noah can't get the people to call him back and these things happen and it's nobody's fault.

The worst thing is, we still don't know. We were supposed to hear last night, and we didn't. I think the universe is having a good joke on me.

You want to dwell in possibility, you say? Here you go. Five long days of living in maybe.

I picture cactii on my back porch. Ones that bloom pink flowers.

I'm going to be ok. Eventually we will move out. I'm not suffering. I have so much I am thankful for.

I have two bright and beautiful daughters. Even though they are Kali, Kali destroyed but she also rebuilt. It was all part of the cycle, see?

I have an amazing, kind-hearted husband. Who supports me and encourages me and tells me I'm pretty and brings me treats.

I have a family who loves me even when I am being insufferably sure of my own opinions.

Most days I can get out and feel the sun and the wind and hear the birds and look at the clouds. I drink a lot of good beer and a lot of good wine. I eat good meals all the time. Once in awhile on a Sunday afternoon I get to sit in the sun and eat pizza and drink beer.

My body is strong and capable. It does what I need it to do.

At least twice a week I get to go out and write.

I think this earth is a beautiful place. I'm happy in it.

Even though the in-laws.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Wind of My Soul


In the morning we set out into the storm.

Oh, I am being unbearably dramatic, aren't I?

I have been walking about two miles round trip to Target every day. In the wind.

Don't worry. I'm making sure to drink lots of iced mochas with whip to keep up my figure. We mustn't let everything go to pot, must we?

The wind may be the greatest spiritual test I have faced to date. I hate it. It makes me bitter and angry and I can't change it and I can't accept it either.

Then I decided: I don't like the wind. And that's ok.

It was eerie out there, in the wind. When the gusts stopped, it fell unnervingly quiet. No other goblins were out. Quiet in the country is normal but quiet in the middle of the city feels like a Coen brothers movie. I imagined the Apocalypse, as I am wont to do.

Once I woke up early and Noah was not in bed. He should have been. I believed he had been raptured. I laid out my plan in my head: go to the garage. Get all the flashlights, oil, tools, batteries, and beer. Come inside and board up all the windows. Seal up the door gaps with duct tape. Put on the DVR and watch Bones while the world burns.

I think also I had planned to grab an axe with which to defend myself.You know. From the Reavers.

The wind blows opportunities around us in a great bustle. Chance swirls like leaves in the fall.

A job interview for Mr. V in Oregon comes and goes before we can grasp it.

Next there is Lake Havasu. Here today. Gone tomorrow.

I realize we have taken a passive role. We are wanting to be like wind blown things. Bumble up like tumble weed to some small town in the desert or the Pacific Northwest. Get caught along a fence and decide to stay awhile. If things don't go well, we can blame the wind.

Or the patriarchy. That's usually first on my list.

Maybe we should just pick a place and move there, I say.

(Somewhere in Littleton, my mom just put her hand over her mouth and screamed).

We're just waiting for things to happen. We're just waiting to see where the wind blows.

The Hippies of Rock may have written romantic things about rolling like stones. But it's kind of like living as one of those--what were they called? French wives?

No. Those were the ones that don't get fat or acne or cheated on. . .

Surrendered wives. Take a passive role. Let other things decide. Have no volition. Take no blame.

I would rather take the steering wheel.

Do you hear that wind? I'm screaming it at you.

Yep. I'm doomed for sure.

--Over and out--

Why Does She Keep Calling Herself That?

Things I stole from Emily:

Volcanoes be in Sicily
And South America
I judge from my Geography--
Volcanoes nearer here
A Lava step at any time
Am I inclined to climb--
A Crater I may contemplate
Vesuvius at Home

--Emily Dickinson

I promise, no more poetry. Starting tomorrow.
(Don't let the hyphens upset you. She's just giving you rhythm.
And she liked a funky beat.)

I dwell in Possibility--
A fairer House than Prose--
More numerous of Windows--
Superior--for Doors -

Of Chambers as the Cedars--
Impregnable of Eye--
And for an Everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky--

Of Visitors--the fairest--
For Occupation--This--
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise--


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I Love Lulu


I would like to dedicate this blog to my sister-in-law, Lulie.

When I met Lulie she was seven years old. Shy as my girl Emily Dickinson. Sweet as a tulip. Steel up the center like a warrior queen.

Nut brown from all that desert sun.

Lucy told her teacher she had three sisters and was very put out when her mom, who birthed three daughters and not four, didn't realize that the third one. . . was me.

Lucy made sure that there was a stocking with my name on it at my first Tuttle Christmas.

The goblins used to call her Doodoo. Now she is auntie Yuyu.

She is going to be something fancy one day and make a lot of money and take us all on cruises. And you know what? I believe her. And I am stating that here because someday, when she actually does make all that money, I can hold her to her promises.

The steel. You are wondering about the steel.

Little Lucy once tackled a boy on the bus who made fun of her older brother and threatened to put a knife through his throat.

We like our women strong.

The above picture was Lucy 10 years ago, with Sophie and some dog who probably died a traumatic death and I am probably inducing further trauma by showing it.

And here is Lucy now:


Oh wait. Here is Lucy now:


I love you Lulie! Happy Birthday.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Universe Provides An Answer

Perhaps you remember awhile ago I wrote about a lady at the park, and about my strange guilt over not befriending her and going over to her house to eat lemon bars and listen to her speak sweetly about. . . I don't know, decoupage and diets and how she gets the stains out of her husband's shirts.

I felt guilty because I hadn't. . . well I hadn't really liked her, but I had fretted that I had hurt her feelings or missed some sort of opportunity.

Behold: McDonalds. 6:46 pm. Noah is "brewing beer" with his "friend, Aaron Galuzzi" and I am bribing the girls out of mutiny with ice cream sundaes and red box.

And who is sitting at the table in front of us?

Oh yes. Silly talker mom.

And do you know what she did?

She witched and moaned to her friend about how the kids at the playground are destroying the equipment that is paid for with her tax dollars. (Presumably by, you know. Playing on it.)

She said ". . . girls are just so dainty. So much more fragile".

It's true.

She embarrassed my Indy by staring and saying "that little girl has chocolate all over her mouth".

(Lady, did you see my three-year-old pointing to you and saying 'that lady is wearing a wind-breaker outfit from 1984'?)

She mentioned Glenn Beck.

I kid you not.

Ok, ok universe. I get it. I have never forgotten the time I dropped my mom off and drove away, and argued with a voice in my head for the full thirty minute drive telling me to go back and get her.

And when I got home, having not obeyed the voice, she was on the answering machine saying she had had a car accident and I had her proof of insurance in my car, could I please come get her.

So, I get it.

I will do my best never to ignore my instincts again.

If instinct says, sweet-talker mom is not appropriate friend material, I will listen.

And hey, if instinct says 'you must but a new pair of butterscotch colored leather boots', well, we wouldn't want to upset it, would we?

Right now instinct tells me to eat chocolate bunny. And so, I obey.

Over and out.

Ps: I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all of you sweet people who have said sweet things about my red hair.

Thank you. You are too kind. Reward yourself with a chocolate. My instincts are telling me you need it.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Everything Is


We have to see this time of upheaval in our lives as a time of opportunity, I said.

Opportunity to kill ourselves? Said Mr. Vesuvius.


We never
should have moved, said Ayla.

Her small hand is like a dove in mine.

You're right, I said. But we can only go forward. We can't go back.

We can't go back to our old house, Ayla says, and in her voice is calm acceptance. More than that. She has found that old comfort. She has accepted what must be.

We consider moves
: Portland, California, Montana.

Ok, I consider Montana.

This is the place of indecision. Of possibility. This is the place I like the best.

It's not that I don't like what is. I work very hard at liking what is.

It's that I have always loved what could be.

With the feeling of possibility, my sadness begins to ease.

Can I remain in possibility forever? I hear it's endless. Is it a place I can learn to dwell?

Every day has possibility, every moment. It's difficult to remember, because remembering what might be requires action.

We always could have one more baby. I imagine waiting to find if we're having a boy or a girl. Either way, we know its name. This dream child that will likely never be.

In the dark, Noah rolls over. Asks me if I'd consider something. A private possibility. In another life, I say. In the dream life.

In the life of our imagining, I would do this thing. This, and many others.

Tori sings, somewhere someone must know the ending.

I smile. I imagine this is my job.

I can do this. I can guide you along the journey. That is the space I hold.

But only in my writing.

Our children, our unformed beings. Children are the embodiment of possibility. Our job is not to limit any of them.

A song on the radio says, you have control. You can steer.

I think , Can I?

I read a beautiful quote in a book. Some poetic person wrote it in a card to their friends upon the birth of the new baby. I was saving it for such an occasion, but perhaps I can share it here more authentically. Less of a dramatic re-enactment.

Everything is possible again.

Everything is possible.

Everything is possible.

**quote from Jonathan Safran Foer, quoting an unnamed friend, in EATING ANIMALS

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Easter Wink Wink


On Easter my friend Dalley made these amazing technicolor dream eggs. The technique is a secret her family closely guards and passes down only to the females, after they have proven themselves worthy by sewing the perfect shirt dress and crafting the perfect egg salad.

Heck, not really. But the eggs were amazing. I doubted Dalley when she told me what she was at, and yet, she prevailed.


We were at Dalley's house because this magnanimous housewife declared it necessary and proper for Mr. Vesuvius to be allowed to visit his brewery in the garage, first thing on Easter morning, before any talk of eggs or baskets (or mimosas, I might add), and. . . preform some task related to brewing beer. Transferring the fledgling beer from one keg to another? Mr. Vesuvius swears this is necessary. I have just now begun to wonder if this is Mr. Vesuvius' clever plan to spend an extra night here and there down at the Fierce Bad Brew Co with the other males of the pack.

"Really honey, the beer has to be moved, I swear. Yeah and it's proven that if you don't smoke both meat and cigars while moving it, the beer gods are displeased and will mash your wort and not your tun. Exactly."

"Hey Aaron? This is Noah. We must 'transfer the beer' on Easter morning in order to keep up our ruse."

Yes, on Easter morning, all in dresses and hankering for ham, we first brewed beer. I do believe that was most noble of me indeed.

The Easter bunny came through. I called it a she and everyone rolled their eyes.


I guess you didn't know that my dad is, in fact, Ernest Hemingway. Here is Hemingway in the spring.


This, my friends, is the only shot of the three cousins in which two of them weren't flashing their drawers.






My poor dear mother once again failed in her lifelong endeavor to get a decent picture of the three of us together. It is all she has been asking, these last few years, and we have all tried gamely, to various disappointing results. I blame my sister, who pulls faces and rolls her eyes and proves herself most uncooperative, and totally not myself.


Not my fault at all.

--Vesuvius signing off--

Monday, April 5, 2010

Lovely In My Heart


On Sunday, Ayla handed Indy a flower. Indy clutched it to her chest and said "Thank you Ayla. This is lovely in my heart."

That is one of the endings to this story.

Good Friday brought Noah and I to a new low.

I don't mean that we found ourselves scamming money from blind elderly people who volunteer with children. I mean we felt depressed.

I feel sort of guilty saying that. Like I'm comparing our pain to that of Jesus on Good Friday. I'm not.

A strange thing happened, in the midst of this pain. I found myself returning to the religious rituals of my childhood. Rituals I have mostly abandoned, for a reason that was valid to my spirit. There were things I needed to abandon so that some day, if I was to claim them, I could claim them whole-heartedly and for myself, and not because I had been taught to do so when I was small.

But that's a whole other post.

I found myself on the bottom of the bathtub with the shower on (we are really being honest here, yes?) repeating:

Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for thou art with me.

I repeated, Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.

I asked a question.

Sometimes when I ask things like this, something in me answers back.

I don't know if it's God, or if it's my soul, or if it's my mind saying what it wants to hear. I don't know, and I've decided it doesn't matter.

I asked where my blessings were and I thought of my daughters.

I asked for help and I heard something say that if I can learn that happiness is a choice, happiness is a state of mind, then I have earned a blessing nobody and nothing can take from me.

Not nobody not no how.

I heard a voice telling me to choose to be happy through this, and good things will follow.

And if you believe that the Divine is in you, then maybe you hear the Divine, and maybe you hear you, and maybe the divide is not as great as you imagined.

I'm not expecting: Learn to be happy, get a book published, strike it rich, buy a home in the country, take many vacations. I know better than that by now.

I'm expecting this: Choose to be happy. Learn to keep choosing it, over and over again. Like a child from a fairy tale, take that precious gem. Tuck it in your pocket. Refuse to surrender it. Carry it with you through the dark and wicked forest. The wind will howl. Remember it's there. Feel it in your fingers. You don't have to look at it. It is something you know by heart. And then--

In the light you will ever remain.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Half You In Gray

I love my in-laws, every one. I am so lucky.

Here is one of them. He may be visited here, along with his other half.

In this case, I am not referring to his wife Mermee.

Happy Easter, lovelies. I wish you eternal spring in your heart.

If that last line was super cheesy, I blame the Gubna.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Noah didn't get the job.

We aren't moving.

I am sad.

Going to spend the rest of the day writing sad haikus:

Dear rain, if only
You knew the pain in my soul
You'd rain wine instead


Dear Fort Collins, I
Love you about as much as

And feeling like this:

link within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...