Friday, October 29, 2010

Also I Enjoy The Kit-Kats

Indy Halloween

Ayla Halloween

Vesuvius is looking forward to Sunday night, about 10 pm, when I can pry the goblin's Halloween buckets from their exhausted sticky clutches and steal all the Twix. And the Snickers.

And the Milky Ways.

We will be going to the Dia De Los Muertos festivities at the Longmont Museum and Cultural center. Then my children's training up as pagans will finally be complete.

(Indy: Mom, god wears make up and makes me feel cozy. Mom: No honey, that's your Aunt Sophie)

Indy also thinks God needs to get some more Halloween decorations.

(Please resist your temptation to comment on how the leaves are God's decorations and all that jazz. We are not writing for the Christian Jack Handy here.)

Lastly, today I got to blog for MOPS International. I remember my mom taking me to MOPS meetings. Those were the ones where they fed us those cheap fake Oreos and grape kool-aid. Or maybe the ones in that smoky restaurant with the basement, where our parents gave us money for Pac-Man and then we could never find them again for three hours.

Wait, what?

Check it out here.

Have a Happy Halloween and remember: If your kid doesn't like Crunch bars or Junior Mints, I do.

I am Vesuvius and my favorite Halloween candy is wine.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Love / Money

May I be honest for a moment? I can't decide which is more important to me: Following your dreams, or making money.

Everyone out there is telling us to do what we love and the money will follow. But no one has instructions on how to carry on when 'what you love' turns out to be writing and brewing beer. If you want to make money, you know what you don't be? A writer or a brewer. It turns out that no money follows. At all. Unless you count free beer (I do, but only a little).These are probably two of the most unlucrative (nonlucrative?) careers out there. Because guess what? There is one J.K Rowling and one Adolph Coors and we are not them.

We made this move, this 'career-change' as I am fond of calling it because I imagine it makes me sound less insane, almost exactly a year ago. And while I wish I could sing to you ballads of our triumph and bravery now at the first annual, I knew all along that wouldn't be the case.

I'm not complaining. I went into this with both eyes open. We did this because we believe in dreams, we believe in risks, and we didn't want Mr.V to work for a few more years at a job he hated and then one day wake up and we own a house and two cars and are used to living in a level of comfort that we would have been much, much more hesitant to leave.

O magazine lands in my mailbox every month telling me to follow my north star, or my bliss, or my passions. And it's not just the big O telling me this--it's our entire culture. The Dream Machine. Heavy in the ether is the idea that if you are brave enough to do what you truly, truly love--happiness will follow.

I'm not saying that isn't true. It's still too soon to tell.

But there we were, my husband and I, walking to the car after our first 'date' in months. The date was going around to breweries where they feed us free beer because we bring it to them in return. And it hit me that I just don't know if it's worth it.

I really don't. I'm saying this to offer it up for your consideration. There is another side to all this. I believe you should follow your dreams but what if your dreams are careers that earn basically no money? Mr. V has traded in that awful soul-sucking job for one he enjoys. But it has been a huge, huge sacrifice and I'm not saying it isn't worth it. I'm just telling you, I don't know yet.

There are times I wonder if we should throw in the towel and go take the highest paying jobs we can find. Work up from there.

All of this may never, ever pay off.

But you see, it might. And so I just keep going.

I am Vesuvius, and I will trade you beer for sweaters.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Feminine Divine

"I've always loved strong women, which is lucky for me because once you're over about twenty-five there is no other kind. Women blow my mind. The stuff that routinely gets done to them would make most men curl up and die, but women turn to steel and keep on coming. Any man who claims he's not into strong women is fooling himself mindless: he's into strong women who know how to pout prettily and put on baby voices, and who will end up keeping his balls in their makeup bags." --Tana French, Faithful Place.



I have this memory of gazing down at baby Indy, all fat-cheeked and sweet smelling, deeply peaceful in her sleep, and saying to her, "You are a reflection of the Divine."

I had been reading--here she is again--Sue Monk Kidd's "The Dance of The Dissident Daughter". It felt like healing. Like balm on a raw soul-wound.

This was during the pregnancy when more than one person saw my swollen belly, my little daughter, and said to me: "This next one's a boy, I hope!"

The pregnancy of seeing the slight hitch of disappointment in strangers faces when they asked what this one was and I said, "A girl".

A time when I almost--almost--learned to say it apologetically.

"Another girl." Sorry.

Strangers faces saying: Too bad.

Then there was Sue, telling me that if the Divine could be male, it could be female too. That women are as capable of understanding, comprehending, interpreting, and communicating with the Divine as men are.

And then I looked down into my female child's face and saw Her: Divine.


I am in awe of the women around me. Women who are incredibly, divinely strong. By 'incredibly', I mean they are strong through times and situations they should not possibly be strong through. Things that rightly should make any person crumble. It might take a woman years to find her voice but once she does, I don't think she ever stops listening.

That's what I can't get over. These women I know, or know about, who find themselves in terrible situations: terrible marriages, terrible poverty, terrible illness or violence or circumstances--and somehow find it within themselves not just to keep going, but to evolve. To start over. To reach down to the bottoms of their very selves, take stock of what's there, and then leave things in the dust: Parental expectations. Societal expectations. Bad husbands, bad jobs. Bad turns of luck.

They go into a sort of hibernation and then they emerge: beautiful winged creatures. Free and lovely things. Things that show me what sorts of strength I may be capable of, if I had to be.

I am so honored to watch.

I had a friend tell me lately she went through a number of turns that left her, as she put it, reduced to her core. And there she was, just her and her center. Not ravished like a wind stripped tree, but raw like a thing just starting to bloom. Such pretty wings, flapping slowly. Waiting to sense what's on the breeze.

I had a friend tell me "I'm a proponent of marriage, but I'm not a proponent of amazing women being stuck with shitty husbands." This woman who works, raises children alone, goes to school, dreams beautiful dreams of making life better for others.

I had a friend tell me that one day a switch turned off and she couldn't stay in her old life another minute. A woman whose core has proven to be built of stronger stuff than her sweet demeanor would ever betray.

I thought I was a strong woman. And then I see these people. Adversity hits, and what do they do? They push back their sleeves. Dirty their hands and scrape their nails against the absolute bottom of the well.

Their hands come up clutching bounties of stars.


I was thinking of this last night as I fell asleep. In the Bible, the wisdom of the Divine is personified as female.

They call it Sophia.

That girl-child in whom I recognized the presence of God: her middle name is Sophie.

When I tried to conjure up a symbolic image for this point in my life, I kept seeing darkness all around. But I was holding a little light. I could see more in the distance.

Last night, thinking about these people, I finally saw what was beneath me.

Wild waters. An ancient, living ship. Carrying me home.

I am Vesuvius, and I was afraid but I wrote this anyway.

**Credit for the above photo goes to Lady Cierra Lorenzen, who probably needs a website; to "the timer on her camera"; and to the general awesomeness of all the Lorenzens for probably generations back, but specifically to Kiah, Cierra and Lucy.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Blasted Pumpkin Fest of Damnation and Rain

Ayla Birthday 2010

I keep trying to figure out a way to not have birthday parties for my kids without getting handed the worst mother of time and all eternity award.

There is not one aspect of birthday parties that don't send me into basic paralytic shock. Just the mere thought of 'party games' or 'invitations' is enough to knock me fetal. Do French people do birthday parties the way they do Christmas? When their daughters turn six, do they simply breeze down the rue to the local patisserie and select a chocolate torte or a plum and honey galette? Do they gift her a tragically vogue bottle of rum raisin nail polish, a darling pair of tights, a sweet little tutu, and smile mildly as their daughters declare it bien fait, mama, and suggest you adjourn to the cafe for chocolat chauds?

Because that is how I want to do it.

Ayla Birthday 2010

We took her to Whole Foods to pick out her birthday dinner, because she had requested fish. And while I know that money does not buy happiness, I hold firm to the belief that if I could afford to shop at Whole Foods every week instead of twice a year and even then only for seafood, I would be happier. She selected a red snapper. Ayla wanted a fish with the head for her birthday dinner, and when you know your daughter is going to be putting the fish head in her mouth and sucking it, you buy that fish at Whole Foods because of the belief, however illusory, that their meat and seafood is less toxic and your daughter is only going to be eating fish brains, and not brain tumors.

So Noah fried the snapper and served our girl the head. Our girl popped the eyeball out with her fork and stuck it in her mouth. And this is how we know that red snapper eyeballs are not as tasty as trout eyeballs: she made a face and began to laugh in this delightedly disgusted way. We asked her if it was gross and she nodded vigorously, laughing. "Uh-huh, uh-huh!" Everyone laughing. We told her she could spit it out and she did.

She loved every minute of it.

Happy Birthday Ayla. Six years ago you were born in the morning. You had a dainty cry. You looked like your dad. Outside our hospital room window the trees were changing. You were hardly ever any trouble. Except those times when you were a whole lot of it.

Ayla Birthday 2010
Noah and I were snapping at each other when this photo was taken.

I am Vesuvius and I would rather get a pap smear than plan a party.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Help Me Help Me

So I'm reading this new book by Martha Beck.

It's a self help book really, and I just want to say to all the people in my life: I'm sorry.

I read self-help or spiritual books from time to time, and whenever I do I get all super annoying. Seriously I'm unbearable. I mean, I feel really good inside so I just keep doing it, devouring Martha Beck and Sue Monk Kidd and Pema Chodron and once I even read The Secret. But then I start saying things to Noah like, "Do whatever makes you feel most liberated!". Or I tell my family, you know, the fact that you have that giant oozing growth on your foot isn't really the problem. The problem is that you THINK it's a problem.

You see?

The book isn't about housekeeping really, at all. I mean not even I am lame enough to read books about combining your true self with your lemon Pledge. But towards the end Martha Beck says that you should mentally walk through your living space and note any area of it that you don't like, that makes you uncomfortable.

So I'm like, ha! That's my ENTIRE HOUSE. Gotcha. What now, Martha Beck?

Eat that.

But she was prepared (damn you Martha Beck, you sly lynx). She knew I would say that so she told me to think about the place that makes me feel the most icky. And I thought: the bedroom.

If you are hearing flashing red sirens now, well, so was I.

If there is one thing you need your bedroom to feel after 8 years of marriage, I don't know what that is but I'm sure it isn't 'icky'.

So then Martha Beck told me to visualize getting a million dollar check in the mail that I could use to redecorate--

Just kidding mom.

She said to put one thing I love in my bedroom and take out one thing I hate. So I'm working on that.

Now all I need to do is figure out 1)How to get Nathan Fillion into my bedroom and 2) does anyone know how to wash brain matter out of sateen sheets? What is a spin cycle? I don't get it.

Just kidding.

No seriously though. Do you?

I am Vesuvius and one day I will have the better of that insufferable Martha Beck.

Just kidding, Martha Beck.

(no, seriously.)

link within

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