Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The course of a lifetime

Gus is comfortable with his conservative views. At first I thought he may have been joking, or at least not very serious regarding his oppositional viewpoint. He's not. Gus is concerned with order and has a bit of the ocd, just enough to keep him out of our usual not so committed to anything like school or work mode. If I have to garner a guess, he'd be a compassionate conservative if there were such a thing.
We are more than what he calls us. He has said that we are liberals and I at least, am not even close. I'm going more for the anarchist in the Mother Jones school.
I have a great distaste for arbitrary authority and the like. I've always questioned the validity of our system and state of things. Try that at 10 when you're reading 1984 and people think you're having them on. This is why I've finally realized Gus is for real. When I was ten, I knew exactly how I felt and how I perceived politics and social consciousness. It was branded into me by genetics, professorial parents, and my individual nature. I also wanted to please my folks so they might pay me a bit of attention.
Gus is going up against our machine of conspiracy minded, dissolutioned and cynical repugnance. He's not doing it for attention because he knows where he stands. He's loved no matter how stupid he is.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

spread the love

Why is it that when we remember events, the smells, tastes and hurts remain the easiest things to conjure up? There is something so vivid about even inconsequential experiences when it has to do with say, the smell of lilacs or greasy food.
My Grandmother had very few possessions, in fact, most of what she did have had to go to the place where she had been living. There was however a tin can that held some costume jewelry. I open it rarely, because it still after 21 years, smells like her. Jack had wanted to open it and I explained to him of the value and complexity of what was inside. The thing about Jack Henry is he got it immediately and that can became sacred to him as well.
When my kids were little and I had to leave them to go somewhere, I would say "I'm always in your heart. As I age, I understand that what I was saying is actually true in the most literal sense. And according to my explanation of this to my son, it's cool, but gross too.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Johnny 99

Bruce Springsteen's first two albums were fantastic. After that it is all shit, though many would disagree and abuse me for the comment, but I'm allowed so I deserve my props on this one.
I guess he came to a crossroads with Born to Run and the devil won out. Here's the thing or the point if you will. I still sing the songs when they come over what ever system of music relay I'm being subjected to. I continue to know all of the words, to the one album that's ever played and it's not even stuff I like, but I sing nevertheless , and don't miss a pause or an utterance after 20 or more years. Sad. But cool that we, so many of us can do that without thinking about it, because once we do, then we get self conscious about singing shit songs and stop and hum or internalize the singing process.
I lament, and perhaps many of us do, my participation in stuff that I judge harshly. Last night Eamon wanted to eat out and won out on the choice. I am not a fan of chains or themes, but I am a fan of my marriage so there at times must be a compromise because baby we were born to run.

Friday, May 26, 2006

It's tricky

You know perhaps starting a movie related conversation moments before your husband jumps into the car to get to work is not the best idea, though it did help me to coin a new phrase; mid-movie critique step-away. He was warbling about some aspect of The Dying Gaul, of which I'm sure I agreed, and then he started off to the drive. There was a lot to love about this movie, it's good to have a new John Malkovich cause we needed one bad, and Campbell Scott is most excellent at his job of smarmy movie exec. Then comes the jump the shark moment and it's all over xept the eye roll. There is a shortage on good endings. I think the end for all of us is a big question and that kind of transcends into the written word with crap endings galore. I hope it's not a trend to the end.
I had to watch a movie last night. My family was doing that thing where they interact in a negative way, get me involved, subsequently I engage Eamon, we get all crisp and taught with each other and then the kids start to knock on the door as if they were Larry, Curly and Mo and they're all better. Yet the Ol man and I are wrecked .

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I will argue with you

People are starting to look alike. It's not even about conforming anymore, it's a prototype ascension. I've examined this thinking, it's not off the cuff. Trying to look, smell and think alike. It's all about fear baby. I'm always scared so I know. I don't think however, that if I get what everyone else has I'll be less scared. My fear used to be when I was a wee lass, that I would be late on getting a joke out, usually a self deprecating one at that.
Now I watch as my two teens attempt to pretend that they are not with me when we are out in the public venue. So, I usurp them by doing the same and that kind of confuses even the people we are around so I guess it's successful endeavor.
I come from a volatile family who came from a volatile place. I think the echoes of that are so everlasting that communication became stifled and abstract, never really honing down to the issues and the differences. So, we skirt; hurt, fear, old news. Yet, we cross into deeper places and experiences which I'm grateful to be a part of. And unfortunately, we all look alike. Yay.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

If I only had a brain

A huge portion of my life is taken up with trying to get people to do things they are not so inclined to do. Getting up in the morning, doing homework, letting the dogs out. We all do this in our daily stuff. I am someone who really hates to tell people what to do, and am even hesitant to give advice unless asked. So probably I should have thought this parenting thing out a little more thoroughly before jumping off of that precipice. But like so much of youth, I didn't consult anyone or anything about making these choices. So here I am getting up at 6am to make everyone miserable except for Griffin who always is happy to see the morning.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Coffee with sprinkles

When I was a child, we used to spend a good portion of the summer on the Jersey shore.
We would stay with my grandparents who lived across the street from 2nd Ave beach. I imagine the landscape looks nothing like it did when we there last, over 25 years ago. My Papa was a wheel of fortune caller inside of a part of the park called the palace. There was a merry-go-round, tunnel of love and haunted mansion type of thing. The highlight of the summer besides for a visit to Carvel was a free stuffed animal from my grandfather's booth.
We'd go to the beach every day and after the sunburning process was completed it would be mostly swimming and watching the older ladies with their eastern European accents and swim- dresses hold on to the massive ropes that cordoned off our part of the Atlantic.
My parents never swam they played bridge, slept, and read.
Up until we moved out and back from the country, my kids and I spent part of every summer at a local public pool they took lessons in the late afternoon and we'd spend most days swimming and then waiting for the adult swim to end. Most moms don't swim. They have in numbers, said that they don't like to swim in public. I swam all the time. When I walked around I covered up the goods with a sarong, but nothing stopped me from getting into water. For some reason, it suspends my self conscious nature. It's liberating and gravity free joy. And, it's where you can play with your kids in a very physical way that makes them both feel safe and a little scared simultaneously. They're all too big to play with me in the water now, but I still swim with them, as if I were a teenagemom.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

slave to love

There is no greater meaning to almost all of the things that I thought had a little more going on under the hood.
I'll start with when I was a young girl and somewhat overweight. With that went the requisite barrage of abuse from peers. For a long time I took some comfort in the hope that grownups where not going to participate in the shitload of nastiness. Alas, I remember the day when that was dashed.
Then, in college I had lived with the knowledge that higher thinking had very little to do with commerce and the baseness of capitalism , but it did infact. And that kind of ruined that component of me, realizing that the institution was actually a business and little more than that for some.
And I shall move quickly on to now, skipping vast numbers of events and situations that killed so many naive ideals, to; music being some sort of esoteric and multi tiered representation of wishes and dreams and unnamed tones and values. But, really it's about fucking or not.

Friday, May 19, 2006

marcel marceau

Perhaps somewhat lumpy teenagers who are participating in a choral concert should not have to wear ill fitting white shirts and black pants. The spectacle was something to behold but it was a little easier on the eyes than when Jake had a concert in 8th grade and the "girls" chorus walked out with their individual ideas of appropriate concert wear and it was like an episode of any late night hbo show.
Gus was one of the featured singers last night he had this line; "cause there may be times when you think you lost your mind" from the song Ease on Down the Road , and he did a fine job of it. Oh, but the commitment of the choral instructors, faced with the two toned bored looking adolescents whom at the beginning of the year thought choir was a good idea, and by May were a completely new species . Performance is an odd structuring of relations. Okay I'm up here now on a stage which separates me from ordinary people, until the lights come on.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Among us

Gus wants me to buy normal food like gushers, captain crunch and 7up. He's sick of me buying the "hippie-soy-organic crap" I get all of the time. The thing is I totally understand his place and position. Therein lies the quandary. I do buy more of the type of food that these fellas like than I'd rather, but it will never be enough. He also wants to buy all of his clothes at American Eagle outfitters, the patriotic clothing emporium. When I was in the land of junior high the store was called JP Snodgrass, and I begged my dad to drive me out there so I could get my Levi's at the place that would make me normal. How's that for heartbreaking.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

And the rest is history

I'm in no way whatsoever prepared for the future; as in twenty years from now when I'm supposedly going to retire. Apparently I am not alone in this situation. But, there is one percent of the population that should have no trouble heading south. What a relief as the rest of us eat Friskies those who are deserving of the good life shall vanquish us with their suv walkers.
My biggest fear however is that I will still feel like a teenager when I'm sixty and that will truly suck. I'm already forcing myself to stop trying to engage young men in conversation about music and movies, to not shop in juniors and to pull every single grey hair that I catch a glimmer of in the sunlight. Aging is weird and no one tells you about it until you're in the process. It's like so many things that have been circumnavigated but people hold the process close unless they write a book about it and thusly making a buck out of something that should be posted up on telephone poles.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

hello it's me

There is nothing like seeing your handiwork. Jake started a job today, he's working serving food at an assisted living facility. He has said that he works well with "old people". I've not seen this but I'm willing to suspend my disbelief if it gives him some joy, responsibility, money and time away from here. He came home from school in a flurry, Jack and I had prepared by setting up some strategies and role-playing how we were going to act and what we would say to certain remarks, none of that worked. Anyway, he started to toss things about looking for his shoes, yelling at me about where they were, going up and down the stairs, slamming, swearing.
Now I know exactly what I look like when I'm anxious about going somewhere. It's a good lesson in humility .

Monday, May 15, 2006


Grandma got run over by a reindeer, yes, well not really but I did sit in an audience with the astounding writer of that song. Somewhat non-descript he was. I had read about a showing of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Did I need to add Disney to that title? Anyway there was an ad in the paper that it was showing at one of the more regal theaters downtown, and it was to be an event. There were local celebs, the aforementioned pensmith and Dirt Devil giveaways. This was when Jake was around 4 and Gus 2, Jack was a mere quark on the horizon. It was a cold November night... It really was cold and my husband dropped us of in front of the marquee with the lights and crowds. The night is vivid.
Yesterday I was in a store returning yet another ill fitting skirt, and the song "The Happening" started to play. Herb Alpert did an instrumental and Diana Ross did vocals for the movie version. I was immediately on the tarmac getting into a TWA plane on my way to Turkey, and I was wearing a white newsboy cap and checked culottes. Jealous! 1969 it was. That's what a vivid moment in a song or a visual can do.
So, what I do know is that when my boyos see a dirt devil vacuum they'll be watching out for those reindeer.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Little green apples

Jack Henry made me a stepping stone for Mother's day. It's got shiny rocks and he used some of them to shape his name and a heart. When Eamon and I were courting, we lived in a sort of unique urban community. Down the street was a bodega that we would often visit for fresh bread in the morning and the PD. One day I was at home and he went shopping, when he came back he had bought some candy glasses; they were plastic and filled with those lovely little colored candy dots . That was around 19 years ago. My kids ask me what I would take if there were a fire in the house, or if we had to leave really quickly what would I grab besides for them and the dogs. I've always said, and I mean it that those glasses go with me wherever. These little talisman that we're given in our lives, they have value because they make us feel safe and seen. They give us a context to define that we mean or meant something to somebody.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The empty

Jack Kerouac's book of Sketches had me enthralled last night. I love to be reminded of why someone is fantastic . I also watched the movie Thumbsucker and of all things Keanu Reeves brought a thought-line I was having to some sort of completion.
I was thinking about how for so many artists and other "artistic types" The emptiness has to be filled with output. Of course other things temporarily fill the void, drink, drugs, sex, movies, books, food, therapy and on and on. But producing work is the only answer to the unnamed question. Keanu said something like we're all carrying a burden and we all deal with it in a different manner. To be in touch, as we grow older, with getting closer to an understanding of what that burden is, that's better then a UFO sighting any day.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Down in the Valley

Even if it's full of cheese, if people on tv start to talk about what a mother has done to help her kids, or sacrifices she has made to enable her kids to function in the world, especially if they are somehow challenged, I go into weep fest mode. I was merely doing my pilates so I had turned on the telly to distract my busy mind, and Regis and Kelly were on talking about mom's whose daughters had written letters regarding their role and influence in the lives of others. It was a power house of a show. I hate when this happens, I get sucked in and that's why I watch movies and not shows that will make a mess of an attempt at not being manipulated by the media. So much for that intention.
I think what the program, if I see beyond the obvious, I think what is was doing was saying that we all wish we had someone who could and would do it all for us. But most of us don't and that's where that teary stuff comes in. It's mourning for Amaterasu the O. G. of moms .

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Old Tricks

I'd have to say that one of the most frustrating things about parenting is not being able to relay that the events and environments that kids are entrenched in will eventually show to be somewhat meaningless. Jack and Gus have both been going through hard times, Gus socially and Jack with school-work and his teacher's expectations.
What I really want to tell them is to just say fuck it and in a few weeks we will be on to other things. I've tried to do that in a more motherly way by sharing my theory on institutional friendships; In prison and in school you align yourself with people that you normally under any other conditions would avoid. Just another simple lesson that adds a little perspective.

When I was in labor with Gus (it was back labor and it was 24 hours and it was at home) My midwife had a gal come with her whom I named Brenda and she let me, though that was not really her name, but who was going to tell me anything. As I was in the midst of some other-worldly pain, she shared what has been obvious to many but was way new to me. This too shall pass. Perhaps if I'd had a religious upbringing I'd have been familiar with this concept. But I didn't so it was all news to me. Albeit re-hashed and old news for many, it changed my chant of "I'm leaving now" to a much more appropriate "I'm leaving when I'm done with this next contraction". See how that works!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Find your way back

I've got a laptop now, so as a meta-thinker, I have to write about it on it. The thing about technology and me is that I don't really like to buy things because I know there will be a newer version available tonight. Yet, I know that this sucker will come in handy and I've named it Abby's bang-up. In other words I hope to do a bang up job while I'm smashing into walls or nearly dropping it as I go along my merry way. I went out to Buehler's today, it's a long haul.
When we lived out in the country it was a short ride away, but today It was a road trip, worth it because there is no other store that compares. They actually sell local farmer's product along with the other stuff. That makes it down home.
I jest. I used to go out there and have breakfast in the restaurant and read the New York Times. That is so sad and lame but boy was I well informed for the hostess.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Hot Spice

When we arrived in Japan ( in 1990) we had to get from Narita to Ube, so we got to take the fabulous Shinkansen. It's a surreal experience to be traveling at speeds of over 200 mph. But of course there, it was 330 km/h. In other worlds it was really fast, and you kind of buzz the entire ride.
Needless to say, there was food, women in uniforms pushing carts along the aisles with obento and beverages. Just the pushing carts down the aisle part had me transfixed for a good while. It was all bright and very THX 1138. As I got my train legs I got the notion to ask for something to drink. An extremely obliging gal handed me a can of Fruipy and I drank up pausing only as I swallowed the round slippery object that hurled itself down my throat at 5000000km/h. It was a peeled grape I later found out. And a fast one at that.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Justify your love

My husband knows me well, even when he barely knew me. When I first met him, he was a friend of a friend. I was going on about music or some such and I mentioned how taken I was with Robert Palmer's Addicted to Love especially of course the video. He thought to himself (and wisely said nothing) that if I liked that song so much, surely I would be a fan of Bad Company or Free. Well I fucking didn't even know who they were so if he'd said that and revealed his love of 70's cheese rock, that would have been the end of that. I've also had to put up with him being a fan of Rush but for some reason, almost every significant other I've had loved Rush so that Prog-o-mania I'm used to and, I do a good/bad Geddy Lee to balance things out. If the Odd Couple was based exclusively on music, our early life together could be accompanied by the easily recognizable theme song. Fortunately over time we've gotten to be more alike in our tastes and as history will often show to be an accurate measure of the future, I've all of a sudden become enthralled with Paul Rodgers and Queen's collaboration, thusly his unstated thought from long ago has been justified!

Sunday, May 07, 2006


I went to Chuck E. Cheese yesterday. And I can attest that indeed Chuck E. is in love, but it's not with me, it's with the good old american dollar and there are lots of those dollars at the home of the rat. Not only is there fantabulous food and bev, but the games are more than galore. Then, there are the prizes. Is it me, or is the ridiculousness of this lack of fair trade apparent to the public, yes we all buy into getting fun stuff going for our kids, and I was one to take my young children anywhere on a cold winter day, but yesterday it was sunny and lovely outside why were we in C.E.C jello-ing our lives away with whizzing beeping and bell ringing abandon? In my case, I was there to do a crossword puzzle with my friend who's daughter had been invited to a birthday party extravaganza. Yet another large warehouse like building transformed into a mecca to the public's desire to spend massive amounts of money on shit we don't need. Pass the Parmesan.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Double Dutch

There have been some dark days, and of course it's music that brings them right up to the window. Liz Phair's Whipsmart. I heard the song Cinco De Mayo this morning on the drive to work, WRUW was being timely and though the DJ knew it was a rough road playing someone who's gotten to be so passe and all; he fessed up to still liking her music and played that and the title song, Whip-Smart . Both still good songs, yet really bittersweet in that I was going through midlife crisis number one around then, which was the mid-nineties. A lifetime ago, none of the angst of those years hold true for now, it's all new and pop'in-fresh and so in a few years when someone plays Neko Case I can share a entire new set of experiences.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Brimful of asha

Jake had his tonsils out at when he was nine. He'd been sick with throat and ear infections at least once a month from around the age of four. It was not an easy decision but he has really never been sick like that again, so I reckon we ended up doing the right thing on that one. Unfortunately, he had secondary issues after the surgery so he was really a mess for almost a week. The vivid picture of when things began to turn was when he was resting on the couch and I had turned on a Cornershop CD. I was going about my business, and the music was playing with the afternoon sun. I walked back into the room that he was in and saw that he had fallen asleep and his face wasn't all scrunched up as it had been for so many days. Of course I attribute that result to the music, just as I do for Gus who is full of allergies. Yesterday he was miserable, nothing was working from a medicine approach and he was not going for my neti pot . So, I had him come into my room and was telling stories and reading aloud. There was a pause in the action and WCSB was on in the background playing Early Buzzcock singles and various other British bands that had a nice edge and lots of vim when they were young and it was all so new. It was fast and loud and Gus fell asleep in the daylight hours for the first time since he was two.