Sunday, November 30, 2014

Deep Thoughts, Chapter 7

Shit...ake mushroom.
Mom, we don't say shiitake mushroom. It's not nice.
Actually shiitake mushroom is okay to say. But sometimes when I say it, it means something else, which isn't so nice.

Let's have ice cream for lunch. (said cousin H)
We don't do ice cream for lunch. As long as we've known each other, have I ever given you ice cream for lunch?
Mom, we could try it.

Mom, you see my eyes? There's no tears in them. I'm not crying.

I'm wheel swallowing.
What's "wheel swallowing"?
Wheel Swallowing. (with circular lip movement)
Yeah I get that. What is it?
W-H-E-E-L  S-W-A-L-L-O-W-I-N-G.
Gotcha. What is it?
Say it with me; "Wheel."
Wheel Swallowing.
mmm kkkkk.

Woken up one morning to this: Mom, can I ask you something? How do lion's fly?
My Answer: They put on little helmets and climb in a plane and turn on the ignition...
D's Answer at the breakfast table the following morning: I don't think lion's fly.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Deep Thoughts, Chapter 6

How about you buy rainbow cheerios?
They're called Fruit Loops.
How about you buy Fruit Loops? They're yummy and they remind me of rainbows.

If I knew you guys would have eaten eggs, we could have had breakfast for dinner.
Then we could have had lunch for lunch.

Can you make me an english muffin just like A's? With the peanut butter and jelly?
With the peanut butter? You sure? You don't usually like that; but it's good isn't it?
Yes it is good. I like that. Can you make me one more? But can you make it without the peanut butter... and the jelly? And can you put butter on it?
That's what I thought.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Scholarship

We met tonight, four years since my dad's death. It was more light, a moment I had been wanting to come to. Still there are days when I can't believe he's gone, or I wish I could hear his thoughts or look in to those eyes. The weight of his death has become familiar, though I'm still not happy to know it.

I was watching a movie last night, The Stories We Tell. It's Sarah Polley's attempt to unravel the truths behind the many lenses a story takes on when told by all the people affected. It's been on my watch list for a while and having time alone this week has made it the perfect choice. The story itself is heartbreaking and alive in so many ways. The documentary is okay but there is a moment at the end where she shoots each of the storytellers sitting with the reality of her mother's death. And in each face I recognized a familiarity: a silent knowing and a wordless pause that gives way to pain behind the eyes and deep-throated breaths followed by the stagnance only death can encompass.

We met tonight and there was little talk about the sadness behind the reason. The weather was rainy and fall was in the air. The place had a nice pub feel thought the 80's music was not setting the mood I anticipated. It was impossible not to be light with the music in the background. In fact we were quite funny about the whole thing. The only thing denying my perfect experience were the fruit flies. Still we sat talking about life and joking about things, as we always do, as we always will. Drinks in hand and wit flashing from our tongues.

Towards the end of the night a I decided to be brave and suggest my silly thought that came to mind on my way over in the car. It's versed in good tidings to a stranger and not really something my dad would do, though he probably bought his share of drinks in his day and would like the lightness of it. Nancy called it "the scholarship" and I thought it suiting for a nickname though not as intense or serious as that and possibly falling short of a true tribute a group of girls would want to send their loving father.

This idea is light in nature. It's about pushing a little positive in to some one's day, while breathing life in to the memory of our dad. For a moment, RAC's spirit could be at the bar while some lucky soul enjoyed a gin and tonic on his dime. My first attempt to describe this to the bartender was uncomfortable at best. That's why I prefer to write. I've got it down now: "With the cash we're giving you, we're remembering our father. Please tell the first person who orders a gin and tonic that Dick Cornish bought them a drink."

I left the bar soon after; I had to get home to the kids. On my way home I imagined years from now, when one day we might fall privy to the person at the bar getting the drink. I thought it might be fun to experience that moment. Nancy texted soon after I got home saying they met the guy who ordered the drink. She said it was a really cool experience. I have yet to hear the story but I like to think the world, for one more day, felt my dad's energy.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Giving Back

It was great to have miss M come with me to do Day of Service with Delta Dental. She wasn't the best helping hand but she provided the much needed charm and charisma only comedic relief can provide. It was a beautiful day and all our hard work was quite impressive, though the lesson might have gotten lost int he mix of mac and cheese and a cupcake at the end.


The Workout of a Parent with Two Small Kids

I envy adults with older kids. I know it sounds funny (and truth be told, I detest when someone says, "I'm jealous..."); but often I find myself longingly looking at them in the grocery stores or at the park or driving. Last week at the pier, a man waited while his son rode up on the jet ski to pull it out of the water. He caught my eye while he was waiting, he looked so relaxed. I could tell as he was watching his kid, he was also watching our scene.

Our scene included three young kids I was hoping wouldn't fall off the boat, D holding the boat to the pier while Phil ran to get the car and me, literally covered in pee because miss A had a swim diaper on (those things do NOTHING). I was headed straight for the car with her...and UBER-wet pants. The others would come in their own time. The man with the Jet Ski had long since idled off.

Lets be honest, they best thing to do is laugh. Small children naturally supply more physical humor because they're wholly unpredictable with their own bodies. Just the other day, Miss M was stuck in a shirt around her waist because she was curious about getting it on her body by stepping through the neck hole (I'm sure I've been there before). I can't tell you how many times miss A has stood up into the kitchen table.

Parenting little kids is like a workout regime of it's own, like Crossfit. It requires a constant commitment to not being committed to what you are doing at any given time so that you can sprint to catch whatever is about to hit the fan. This means the days are interval workouts of sitting down to dinner and popping up to catch a kid about to fall off the bench. It's dead weight lifts when they breakdown and flail backwards as you walk them to timeout. It's sprinting in the fun game of, "Come here." "You can't catch me!" Some days I do justify in my head that even if I didn't workout, I still worked out.

This is why I look longingly at parents of older kids. They have gotten they're real workout for the day, one they planned on a treadmill or a trail. They've had an entire meal sitting down and probably some time to check e-mail in front of a computer without some baby tugging at their leg. Sure I bet they're living some dramatic thriller with a horrid teen, but at least they can do it from the comfort of a lounge chair.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Say Cheese

Nevermind miss A's smoker's cough; she's starting to talk (term used loosely) and she starting to understand what we say to her - it's a pretty cool experience!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Deep Thoughts, Chapter 5

When "A" grows up we can change her name to "M".
Well that would be awkward and confusing. We already have one "M". 

That was one of the best, biggest kisses I've ever received... in the top 5...
- Another big, long, slightly hard kiss follows. -
That was great too. In the top 3.
"How about top 4."
OK. Top 4. (she's nothing if not a master negotiator.)

I love you. I love you. I love you more. I love you more. I love youest the more.
(I can't compete with that).

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Long Awaited Lunch

A coworker had been talking about the Queiro Arepas Food Truck for a while. What luck on our way back from the Children's Museum we stopped to catch Civic Center eats and to my delight, a new love affair was born.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Pirate's Life for Me

one of my favs these days

Did I mention we got a boat? Yeah, I probably didn't. Guess who's idea it was?!

The last days of summer have been fun at the reservoir. Sunday nights seems less painful.
It's a quick jaunt over for a nice  ride in to the sunset.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


Grammy Pam and Grandpere sent the cutest little witch costumes for Halloween. Miss A was an absolute delight. I couldn't catch M in the photo.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fresh Cut

It's amazing what can unfold in a year's time. These two keep getting funnier and sassier. 
I love every minute of it. I know they'll put me through my paces like an good comedic genius would.

too funny...

The tomatoes were on autopilot once we got them in to the ground. I know I posted it before but once they started to bloom, each day felt like a scavenger hunt of flavor. I'm so sad to see the cold set in. We have so many green ones left; miss A still tries to make a dent in them.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Breakfast is a Hoot

This is one of my favorite "homemaker" things to do when I have the time and inspiration. If I've learned nothing else from the Andy Maillet Cooking School, it's that presentation is everything.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day Montage

There's something about an oversized baby in an undersized house 
(dig miss m in the window upstairs).

First ride on the KTM.

our view

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Deep Thoughts, Chapter 4

That dark is dark.
(There's been a lot of using a word to describe a word)

Mommy, your air smells like beer.

Mommy, I've been thinking about Bruno Mars.
Me too.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Zoo Tour with Thoma

It's always great when Emily comes to town. A zoo tour with beer please and Cards against Humanity? The day really couldn't get too much better for me.

Choose Wisely

We create ourselves by our choices.


Friday, August 29, 2014

Garden Variety

The tomatoes in our garden this year have really been amazing! Miss A loves to pick and eat as many as she can; she prefers the green ones. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Oh! Sweet Nuthin'

The Velvet Underground

"Say a word for Ginger Brown..." 

I have few quiet moments in my life these days, so I have to steal away the time if it appears. Right now is not when I want to write about the beauty of my best friend, Ginger. Right now, I just want to hole up in some quiet time and fall asleep. I could even curl up in a ball on her dormant bed, seemingly so quiet and lonely now. But if anything would make me return to this blog, it would be the memory of that dear dog and wanting to catch whatever pieces remain in this physical world.

(This post is disjointed and from multiple sittings)

I left the house this morning hoping not to incur a crazy vet bill. Really though, I wasn't facing the reality about what I was walking towards. Gingy knew. She knew she would come out from under the stairs in the basement and never return. In that moment she looked at me and I guess I knew too, though I hoped I was just being dramatic. We looked at each other, I sighed and promised her it would be okay.

The past few days she had become so sallow; her breathing labored and her belly gone. I woke on Wednesday night wondering who was sawing something outside at 3 am only to realize it was Ginger breathing in her sleep. This morning, when she wouldn't take bacon from miss M, I knew I had to bring her in to get checked out. As I sit here now, I wonder how blindly indulgent I was being with her health to keep her in my days. I also wish I would have taken more time leaving the house this morning. I wish I would have laid down with her last night and cuddled one last time.

We walked into the clinic and almost immediately Ginger was rushed away from me by the vet tech listening to her breathing. The receptionists knew. I caught them eyeing each other, one shaking her head. I started to cry and went to the bathroom to get some toilet paper.

Later after I was alone in a room waiting, the Vet came in to tell me she called off the rest of the tests she ordered once she saw Ginger's chest x-ray. She knew. She said it was a really ugly form of cancer:  Hemangiosarcoma. I had her write it down so I could look at the word on paper. She said her dog died from the same thing. She said it was invasive but fast; and ultimately it meant Ginger was bleeding pretty badly internally.

I'm still unsure if I realized the gravity of the situation at that point. I asked the Vet if I could bring her home and bring her back in an hour or two - just so we could say goodbye in our own space. She said she had to be an advocate for Ginger and she thought it would be too traumatic. Ginger would probably collapse in front of the kids. An advocate? (I appreciated her saying it and hated thinking I wasn't being Gingy's advocate at that moment).

There I was, living a day D and I had talk about for years; living a day I didn't want to live. Ginger and I would not be leaving that building together.

I called D to come over with the kids. It was not how I wanted it to happen but I didn't want her to be in pain any longer. I sat with her. My sweet friend on one side of glass, getting oxygen piped in to a kennel so she could breath easier, me trying to pet her as much as I could through the little arm window. I wanted to hold her in my lap and remember all the times we had together. I wanted to apologize for drifting from our relationship in the wake of kids. I wanted her to know how much I loved her, how much joy she brought in to my life, and how lucky I felt to have her love. And I wanted to say a million apologies for failing her in her final days; for not paying attention to her pain, and possibly making her suffer.

D came with the kids and our blood shot eyes met. How could we already be "here"? As with all things related to death, it felt too soon and way too fast.

Coming home was a sad, silent let down. I took her collar out of my purse. The heart of the tag clanked on the counter.

Ginger has been in my life for almost eleven years now. I don't remember a time when her sweet way wouldn't greet my days. I don't want to wake up tomorrow without it. I told miss M now she lives in our hearts but the truth is, Gingy has always had a deep place in my heart even when she was standing right in front of my face.

I tried to run it out today. I went over to the High Line Canal, where we took our family photos, and I tried to get all the horrible dead energy and heartbreak out of my system. It didn't work. I was running and crying an listening to music and stopping and sprinting. In a brief moment of sunny comfort, I was thinking about how cool it would be if Gingy was "out there" somewhere, catching up with Roxie and Sadie, Whiskeydog and Daisy; meeting Leroy, Mukluk and old Bailey Padden. Anchorage came on my play list.

Later in the run, I broke down by some trees. I was alone in the open space, off the main canal trail. I was standing in some shade trying to cool down, trying to keep my wits. A dog came running across the trail and I started to pull myself together to move on. The owners came up behind him. They caught me crying too as I walked away. The dog followed me and I finally bent down to say hi. He gave me kisses on my cheek and ran away. I was craving that energy, that dog energy (dogs bring a certain levity to it all that is irreplaceable). The owners said thank-you, as if I had been kind to them. They didn't know.


People talk about how their pets are their children. I appreciate that reference because it encompasses how much love they have for their animals, and I get that. I just never personally resonated with that statement because I considered Ginger my contemporary. I literally considered her an equal and my best good buddy. Hell, she took care of me in some of my darkest times.

We were kindred. We communicated well together. I knew she would eat a cucumber but only if the slice was cut in half. She talked to me like Chewbacca (but she would do this to anyone given the right food situation), we howled together, I trusted her implicitly with my kids. She was the friend who was always by my side even if I wasn't always by her side.

This might have been where I failed her. She was a being I said I would take care of and I wasn't listening to her, paying attention to her pain like a caregiver. D and I both had moments where we stared in to her eyes yesterday and she knew. We knew. Later last night, I told him I felt like we lost our best buddy - she was practically there for our whole relationship and clearly now a chapter ended. I felt like a third of us was gone.

This day was a beast of it's own making. I thought I had bridled the pain but every day life and schedule left me feeling the echoed silence at a heightened level. Finally talking on the phone to friends and crying as I walked in to work. I couldn't find a way to tell them what happened. The words would not come out of my mouth all day. I look like a truck hit me. I was quiet for the most part; kept my head down. D was having a hard day too. We would eat dinner out; the house was too quiet to go home to.

Miss M cried to me tonight about Ginger. How can a 3.5 year old come to terms with death when a 38 year old can't. I cried too. We talked about good memories and how great Gingy was. We talked about how she was our best friend. We told each other how much we loved each other too. Because if death is good for anything, it's good for making people present and filled with gratitude for what they do still have in their days.

I touched her bed before work today. There was no warmth from a prior night's sleep. The front door was open when I pulled in the driveway at the end of the day but no one came out to greet us. The back yard seems menacing. I look out the back window and something is missing. The space is hollow and I can't really be back there right now. Cody was out barking, running back and forth along the fence waiting for his friend to come bark back. The silence hung in the air. How will he know?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Deep Thoughts, chapter 3

"But I want some of something."

"(Popping) Popcorn is like basketball."

- deep inhale - "This is some good air."
It is. (on a crisp early spring evening while riding the tricycle)

"Can you get froggie? ... He's green."

Monday, May 5, 2014


Inertia keeps most people from living the life they dream. It's just safer to keep to the same path you've worn smooth.
- Rick Reilly

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Picked for You

This is the time of year when tulips are blooming like crazy. I point them out to miss M, I love this time of year. She has a tendency these days to rip them out of people's yards and bring them to me as a gift. It's funny and endearing and a little awkward at best. I joke with the neighbors that it is how I will landscape my entire yard. The other day she crossed the neighbor's yard with the most beautiful long-stemmed pink tulip, bulb and all. I didn't know what to do so I just planted it in our box on the porch. It wasn't happy and miss M was sad to see it wasn't growing after we replanted it. Still though, tulips make everything a little more delightful.

I was walking after a Yin Yoga class, when all my senses were heightened and the world seemed entirely magical. I came across this tulip and figured I would "pick" it for miss M. Back in college I had a friend who told me here and her boyfriend would point flowers out to each other and say, "That ones for you" so they could delight in it, without picking it and ultimately killing it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fool For Love

Sandy Rogers

My April Fools:
The fish eye lens creates little hands, BIG head
Retired prom queen?
That's OK, she's still got it...
Behind the scenes it's crazy round here
This is my favorite.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sissy Walk

D and M were at the reservoir and I really wanted to get out. Tricia ditched brunch and came over to walk with me on the Highline Canal. It was a gorgeous day, the kind that feels unbelievably fantastic at the beginning of Spring. Tricia pushed miss A and I manned Gingy on her leash, to the disapproval of my sissy - an advocate for bicyclists everywhere. We talked shop and we talked non-shop, it was my favorite part of the day.

I like to consider this my Vivian Maier moment...
I was inspired by discovering her that morning.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

I'm Sorry. I'm getting older.

The photos above almost shocked me out of time and place, as if an old friend was sending me shots of her kids and I felt the passage of years since we last connected. It's not completely like that but I do still catch myself waiting for life to return to how it had been. Then pulling myself back in to my new reality, so seemingly alien still and yet so much like a well-worn sweatshirt at the same time.

When I say I miss my old life, it really is an aching for youth. I'm aching for an innocence I can't regain. I'm craving the indulgence of time and the freedom to act however - wherever - whenever. I feel old even typing this but I'm not saying that I'm old; I'm saying that now it's too hard to ignore the passage of time. I see my kids grow daily - literally developing skills that will carry them through a lifetime of experiences. I see my mom's strong, able body folding after a lifetime and I find myself in the middle of it all. I'm in the thick of the human experience and yet I still feel like a young girl at times... but I'm not anymore. There are days when that pill gets caught in my throat.

Then there are moments that make the present entirely worth forfeiting the past. These moments can be planned, like an egg hunt on Easter morning, but they also arise entirely unexpected and remind me what is good and true and worth it.


Today was a beast. I had designs to go for a walk after getting blown off by a friend. It wasn't a big deal except I had already told my toddler that friends were coming over. Given that scenario, times can get tough (which is why I usually wait to tell her anyone is coming over until they are parked outside our house) and so we hit the road for some fresh air.

To be honest, I was bummed about the blow-off. I found myself waking up from a walking daze to a toddler screaming and crying for her daddy while riding her tricycle up the street. It had been three blocks of sheer torture, moving at the speed of 3, and I was using a complete and utter ignoring philosophy when it occurred to me that dogs were barking and she was probably torturing other people, inside their houses, as well. I told her she had to stop. She didn't. We made it home painfully slow in not the best light. My increasing frustration became obvious to my counterpart, who, after a nice snack, hugged me and asked in her own delightful way what was wrong? That was enough to pull me out of my mood. I explained (that I was crazy about my toddler screaming all morning, that I missed me and my old life, that I had too much time on my hands to think about things I would otherwise not even worry about, that I felt beaten today) that I was sad my friend didn't come over. I thought that was a fair lesson and good compromise for my internal monologue. The funny thing was, she already knew that's why I was sad, hence the hug, and I think she also advised, "sometimes that happens." 

I read somewhere that kids worry as much about parents as parents worry about kids. It became true to me that day. It made me realize how quickly my little M was growing up. It made me remember how our time here is so brief and, even more so, how life stages are so fleeting. Sure we carry friends in to new phases and at times we break under the burden of something, but ultimately through it all we are lucky to have the emotional connections, good or bad, for as long as they last. Those pieces weave in to our story and carry us to the next moment. 

M woke up from her nap that afternoon and said to me, "Mom, I'm sorry. I'm getting older." Anyone who knows the old girl, knows she continued into a diatribe, seemingly cognizant until I realize a few sentences later she was referencing a part of her current favorite movie and the initial thought had been derailed. I told her, "Don't apologize for getting older. It's something we all do; it's a good thing. That's how we grow and learn and love."


We do it alone and together. We do it with family and friends; happily and begrudgingly. We surprise ourselves and others. We carry on our backs the history we have created while we step in to the future with perpetual hope. There is no other way.