Saturday, January 29, 2005

Well, its been awhile since I've stopped in, so I thought I would use the Tubby Time (aka, Raelin and Papa tub, Mama ignores the dinner dishes and surfs the web) to catch up a bit.

For those that follow the weather and other fascinating things that like that, you might have noticed that it's been FUCKING FREEZING here. Many a days it has barely gotten into the double digits. The blue skies are a bit of a tease, but I'll take them over FUCKING FREEZING and FRIGGING CLOUDY all at once. Take note: this blog may often be about children, but its certainly not for your children. Today, however, was a balmy 25! Yes, that's 25! And if you don't live in a place that gets colder than, say, 45, you think I'm off my rocker to use balmy and 25 F in the same sentence, but it's true. Once you've lived through a winter here you would be amazed at how your body adjusts and it becomes quite conceivable to go out and get the mail in slippers and a t-shirt when the thermometer budges over 30 F.

If you don't follow the weather you're probably a bit bored by now, so I'll move onto more exciting things. Like... um.... what we did today in the weather!

I have discovered that I get pretty grumpy about the winter when I'm inside. But once I am bundled up and working up a sweat lugging Raelin and all of her bundles around outside, it's actually quite pleasant. No matter that sometimes the wind feels like fingernails raking across my face. The air is fresh and I'm alive!! I'm serious. I could quite happily tromp around our frozen lake and snowshoe the golf course in the single digits for... well, as long as Raelin will stand it in the backpack. Winter follies are fun and not for the feint of comfort, but invigorating none the less. Next weekend are the Toboggan Race Championships at our local ski hill. They have an actual wood toboggan run, and folks spend valuable life energy creating toboggans to race. It is said to be great fun and merriment, and you can catch all the icy details here after next weekend, as it is a big event on our calendar (nudging out spending yet another weekend sucked into the West Wing and changing the sheets).

In other news..

I spent 3 hours today doing my monthly co-op hours. I moved from a city that practically has as natural food grocery store for every household to one where there are 2, each of which is scarcely larger than my house. Shortly after we moved here, the closest one, Good Tern Coop finished a pretty new building just a 5 minute drive from our house. And for 3 volunteer hours a month, we get 15% off. Considering that I manage to do 90% of our shopping there I have figured that I make the equivalent of $15 an hour. Not bad!!

I love our Coop. I know all the employees (i think there are 6) and they know me and Raelin. I love that there is a small sunroom with tables to have soup or a sandwich, or browse their lending library. It's a place to sit and nurse your baby or toddler, or chill while your child plays in the kid's corner, a large mural-painted walled off area with a little wooden kitchen, basket of books, box of donated toys and occasionally a random box of cereal pilfired from the shelves, undetected.

(actually, I've never seen a pilfired box of cereal in there, but I like the image of it and hey- I'm not there 24-7 and given that I have first hand knowledge of toddler behavior and inparticular Purley O's addiction, I'd say it's a likely scenario.)

But you know what the best thing is about the Coop? It's that for 3 uninterrupted hours I get to do mundane, yet productive and necessary tasks and- get this- finish them.

No! you say, I can't believe it!
It's true!! I assure you.

And not only that, some of those tasks are cleaning- like wiping off shelves, or arranging things in neat rows. And when I'm done? you guessed it! They stay that way.

Please believe me when I tell you that this is valuable and purposeful time for me. I talk to adults in complete sentences that rarely repeat what has just been said to me AND I finish multiple tasks all the while drinking a free cup of organic decaf coffee that is mine, all mine. It's almost too good to be true.

This might come off in a way that leads the reader to think that I am looking down on the opposite, which is my daily reality: rarely finishing a task before being pulled to do something else, talking in short phrases that usually end as a question and more or less mimics the one who is talking to me, and trying desperately to guard my coffee. But, you have it all wrong. I do not look down or begrudge these things. Instead, I have cultivated a deep- nay- spiritual appreciation for all that is simple and uncomplicated: bagging bulk dates, weighing out chunks of feta cheese, pilfiring chocolate covered ginger nuggets from the bulk bin. These are simple gifts from my Coop that are lovely indeed, and in some ways, more valuable that %15 off.

The Coop keeps me connected. I meet people in the community. We chat. We bag and weigh. We say good bye, and perhaps not see each other again, but perhaps we do. It's easy- no commitments, no weird vibe or expectation. Just 3 simple, uncomplicated hours that finish where they start, everytime.

Friday, January 21, 2005

a funny... if you like potty humor

we are in the very beginning stages of Potty Learning (which used to be Potty Training, but now it's very UN-pc to train your toddler). This means that Raelin runs around without a diaper in the house, and usually without pants either, and I clean up after her with a rag when I hear the requisite, "Peeeeeeeee!" in a high-pitched voice that is decidedly, cute. You might think this is disgusting to be swabbing pee off our nice hardwood floors, or blotting it off the carpet,
but after washing cloth diapers for a year, its no big thang.

Poops on the other hand....

Now that our young Callahan is of the toddler variety, she poops less. Like an adult (thankfully, not taking after her father)- like once, maybe twice a day. And they are your usual garden variety breastmilk/solid food consistency, unless she's teething, and then there is always a diaper on. The parents in the audience are nodding in understanding. The childless are trying not to lose their last meal out the wrong end. Just wait!! It gets better.

So, this afternoon while working on my own poop (properly and sitting on the toilet, I might add), Raelin was chatting it up with me from the doorway (no, no privacy for the weary). Until I saw The Look- wide eyed, a bit shocked, and then a gutteral, "mooooommmmmmyyyyy!" as her face turns a few shades darker.

"Raelin, honey? Do you need the potty?" no matter that my pants are around my ankles and her potty is in the other bathroom. oh, and that she's never pooped in the potty before. or that there is nary a stitch between her bottom and the loose fleece pants she's wearing.

here we go again..

"Mooommmmmyyyyyy! Urghh!" and with a defiant grunt the yet unseen turd exits and I watch as my daughter lifts her right leg and gives it a little shake. By now, i'm off and buttoned up and pulling her pants down, just in time to keep a perfect golf-ball sized poop from rolling out her pant leg and plopping on the floor. I gingerly carry the pants to the toilet and shake. Flush. Scoop up now naked and legs-smeared-with-poop child under my arm like a book and make it to the other bathroom and into the tub without a smidge of poop anywhere but where it belongs.

Ah! These are the moments a Mom cherishes.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


so, its been really cold. if you looked at the crystal blue skies, devoid of clouds, and failed to notice the low arc of the sun, you might almost think it was over 10 degrees F. But, alas, i think the high today was 9. But, that's ok. We got our boiler cleaned and serviced probably for the first time ever (including when the previous owners who built the house lived here) and we're holding steady inside at 67 degrees. If i haven't already mentioned that Portland Jetport is only 90 minutes away, let this be a reminder to you all.

I've had blogs brimming all week but couldn't remember my damn password to access my account. Until it turned out that I really couldn't remember my username. i finally broke in yesterday, with nary a minute to actually write. But no worries. It's all still up there, though perhaps a tad stale, I'll see what I can do to rekindle the creative flame.

In keeping with the Brrrr.... theme (written Tuesday, 1/18):
On Sunday we took a family walk down to the lake. We've seen the yahoos and their ice fishing huts out there in the middle for weeks, so we'll assume the ice is safe, though you still won't catch me walking out there in the middle. I'll circumnavigate Lake Chickie within 50 feet of the edge, where I know if I break through its only thigh deep.

The sky was right out of Gotham City and the snow crusted ice not much different. Walking west into the wind was not particularly inviting, although watching Jasmine scamper across the ice and run with both back legs hopping like a jackrabbit to try and find some purchase was enough to keep us going for awhile. But Kevin's glasses were becoming uncomfortable on his face in the cold and i began to fear that the wind tears running down Raelin's cheeks would freeze in their tracks. She's a trooper in almost any weather, but she wasn't down for that. Except for my face, I felt fairly toasty so I decided to keep walking while Kevin and Raelin headed back up to the house.

Jasmine and I switched directions to go with the wind and we glided across the ice. I had an indescribable urge to have ice skates; to just cruise across the ice and live with and appreciate what cold creates, rather than curse it. We passed houses on the lakeshore that I hadn't seen before, since they aren't visible from the road and we haven't been out on the water much in the summer. Ahead I saw a man walking down from his house with a dog. Jasmine immediately tried to take off and looked a bit like a cartoon character running in place before going anywhere. He waved hello as he sat down on the bank and started to put on skates. We chatted, or rather, shouted, across the ice to each other. I suppose I could have gotten closer but I was attempting to keep Jasmine from fully harrasing him and his dog which was a completely unattainable goal.

He told me the ice was a good 5-6 inches thick and the skating was great. He'd been out earlier that day and was going out again to get a little exercise. (Exercise? what's that?) A few more pleasantries, and off he glided. I called Jasmine and made a half hearted attempt to get back the tennis ball she absconded from his retriever- yet another unattainable goal. it was a ratty ball. oh well. we headed back to our side of the lake.

I glanced back before stepping off the ice and watched my new acquaintence cross the center of the lake. His dog snarfed around closer to shore. Farther off toward the other side of the lake, an iceboat took advantage of the wind. Like a small go-cart with a sail, it tacks across the ice. I gotta get me one of those. Jasmine and I leave the lakeshore and head up the trail toward our little house, in the woods, on the lake, in the great state of Maine.

Friday, January 14, 2005


this is the sound of me drinking my morning coffee without dodging Raein and her 'poon, intent on stirring...

this is the sound of me sitting down at the table and eating my entire breakfast.

this is the sound of me anticipating a morning of cleaning and organizing without interruption.

this is the sound of me wondering what they are doing at school this morning and maybe i should have gone too....

No! this is the sound of me telling myself to relax and enjoy my free morning.


Thursday, January 13, 2005

the "real" world

So, blogging is a little bit un-nerving. All day i think, "is *this* blog worthy?" "wait, maybe I should write about this!!" There' s nothing like a good session of self-scrutiny to keep one on one's toes.

Perhaps i should just write about what's around me... like right now, the sounds of my 2 favorite voices float down the hallway- Raelin and Kevin singing an "old Donald" duo ( that's Old Macdonald for those that don't know our toddler speak). They make up funny bath songs, like "Do it Hunca Munca! Oooh! Oooh!" (how do you write that noise that is the ubiquitous whoop that goes along with dance music?) you have to be here.

So today we went to our knitting/playgroup. About 6 moms and nearly twice as many babies and tots under the age of 4. We knit, drop stitches, eat, break up fights, temper tantrums, pick up dropped stitches, and snack some more. Some of us are closer than others, but really it's all about getting ourselves out of the house to have some adult conversation, even if it is about our kids, the vaccines we are or are not getting, and how irritating doctors are and how great our midwives are. No offense to any MDs in the house. And then there's the occasional non-child centered conversation. Today we actually ventured onto something rather.... thoughtful. I remarked that I had just turned 29, and started wondering, when does one actually feel like one's age? I think i stopped identifying with my age after I turned 25. I mean, once you can legally rent a car there's not much else to shoot for. The oldest mom in the group, who I learned today is 36, said that for her it was 35. When she hit that number, she really felt it. Hmmmm. A couple of us who are around 30 remarked that we had already begun to feel the difference in our bodies from just 3 or 4 years earlier; it's not as easy to get back into shape. There's no "bouncing back" after a 2-3 week exercise slump. Let alone a 9-24 month exercise slump. And there the conversation dwindled, because a cute young thing needed a boo boo kissed and another needed a diaper change and it was almost noon and time to help clean up the house and be on our respective ways.

But, that's the way it is as a mom. A deep (or, maybe just a little bit deeper) thought enters your head and then- boom! One little monkey just fell off the bed. But this mama doesn't call the doctor, she just puts away her grown-up thought and runs to scoop up the tearful monkey and make everything all better. The thought is gone. Perhaps indefinitely.

While we were in Santa Barbara last week visiting Kevin's family, his uncle remarked to me that he had a friend who said that she felt like she was "out" of the world until her youngest kid turned 11 or so. And then all the sudden she realized there was a world out there, full of happenings, and started to tune back in. He asked me if i felt like this, that is, tuned out of the "real" world. I said no, in fact, I am very aware of the world out there. I am a news junkie, and one of the best things about being up with Raelin at 6am is that if i so choose, i can catch the whole 3 hours of Morning Edition and end it with something intellectually stimulating from Garrison Keilor and The Writer's Almanac. To clarify, this is not because I actually listen to the whole 3 hours, but due to the fact that they loop their stories, I can catch most of the good stuff between reading stories, changing diapers, taking a shower, and various other domestic goodies.

So, yes, I am very aware of what's happening in the world, I told him (well, as much as an American is who depends on public radio). I added that I thought it was a pretty bad example to set for your children to check out of the world. I intend on being a vocal parent on issues that are around us, particularly living in this bubble called Maine where its quite easy to check out, if one so chooses.

What is more challenging, is to be aware of what is going on in my real world. My inner world. Those deeper thoughts that manage to break the surface of the endless mind babble of Sally Go Round the Sun and Sit Down Please, Raelin. I used to walk on the beach after work and think about my day and my relationships and how things were going and how I felt and what was nagging at me and what issues i needed to work on, etc.. etc... etc.. Now I heft 30 pounds of chub and layers down to the lake and maybe think about what I might make for dinner and when there's a window in the day when I might change the sheets. I feel busy, but I feel busy with what is happening right now and less projection. less obsessing. and lest I start to tread into deeper waters, I have a great distraction who keeps me in the moment more than any yoga class ever did.

so maybe I dont' really want to know what's going on in my real world. it's usually serious and self-probing and sometimes irritatingly esoteric. Building a creative block tower seems far more zen and authentic, and not only that, I have become exceptional at being unattached at any point, because Raelin is the local demolition contractor, and she does not play favorites.

yes, a few months ago when I read an email from a friend who shared that he was working on keeping his heart open and being open to whatever might come to him, I thought longingly for those times of self- reflection and discovery. When will I ever have that time again? I wondered.

Silly me.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Ok. I didnt' mean to start a blog. Seriously. In fact, I had been thinking that everyone has one which is a good reason why I should hang onto my rebellious 20's (being that this is my last year of being in my 20s. I'm 29, in case you didn't know. And, it has been less than a month since my birthday, so if you didn't send me a card, i'm still accepting :) and *not* have a blog, like everyone else. So you might wonder how does one end up with a blog if one is so against them. The thing is, I was reading my friend Madhavi's new blog and wanted to make a comment. Seems that you can't make comment unless you have an account. Does anyone else think that the world is requiring far too many accounts these days? Jesus. thing I knew, I wasn't commenting on Madhavi's blog, I was choosing my template and naming my own blog. Huh. So it goes. But, that's life I guess. I learn this more and more every day, that plans? Fuck 'em. Pure sitcoms for God.

So, a funny thing happened on the way to the potty. I got a blog.

It's that time in Maine, when we get a ridiculously early sunset, like, 3:30pm. but, that's ok, because the light is rich and golden and it almost makes it look so warm outside you want to pad out barefoot and breathe deep. Except, if you did that, your bare feet would freeze to the ice that's outside our door and your lungs would feel like they were on fire- and, not the hot kind. Its cold out, folks. The Lake (Chickawaukee Lake, for those not in the know of our locale) is frozen and some obviously deranged locals have set up shacks on the lake, aka ice-fishing huts, where they will pass many a cold-ass hour waiting for a fish. Portland Jetport is only an hour away, folks, you can be here to get started by dawn!! No kidding!
Pardon my sarcasm. Its fun to make a thing out of the cold. But, really, its fine. It is beautiful, and we love it here. But, you wouldn't, so dont' even think of moving here to buy a nice house under 300,000, and where we have the 2nd lowest crime rate in the country and all of our middle school kids get laptops. Stay where you are and read my blog :)

But, I digress.

We got home from California last night where we were witness to some of that great weather ya'll are having. That was some serious rain. Raelin is napping, and I should be (in no particular order) napping also, loading the dishwasher, unpacking, petting the cat, clearing clutter, napping, making some decision about what to cook for dinner, cleaning the house for the appraiser who is going to determine our happiness for the rest of the year, and, napping also. Hmmmm, good thing I'm working on that list. Like I said, a funny thing happened on the way to the potty.

So, that's what you can expect on this blog, my find friend. Ramble, rant, and rave and no uncertain amount of references to cold, the potty, my daughter, and how the hell I got here. Should be a fun ride.