Sunday, July 31, 2005


For the past 3 days Beech Hill Preserve has had open picking of their blueberry fields from 8am-1pm. The first day i got there on a whim when I called my friend Cara to see if she and her daughter wanted to accompany R and I to the park. She countered with a blueberry picking invitation and i couldn't very well turn that down, could i?

If you haven't read _Blueberries for Sal_ by Robert McCloskey (who also wrote _Make Way for Ducklings_) you really must. It is a super sweet story of a little girl and her mother who go to pick blueberries at the same time a young bear and his mother go to eat up for the winter. The kids lose their moms and find the opposite moms and eventually get it all straightened out. It's a great story, and one of R's favorites. We eat blueberries off the page and feed them to Reggie. It's quite fun.

anyway, I figured R would be all excited to live out Blueberries for Sal for real, and she was for about 10 minutes. Then she wanted to wander far, far away. I managed to keep her in my reach for about an hour before the sun and my full buckets made us pack it up. That night i made a scrumptious (if i do say so myself) pie and we brought it over to my mom's to share with her and my stepdad and his older grandaughter.

note: blueberry pie and ice cream before bed do not a happy to bed toddler make.

I went back the next morning to pick alone with my friend and was quite a bit more productive. There was something incredibly calming and peaceful about sitting on the side of a hill, rolling plump blue berries off the vines and into my bucket. Kind of Zen meets Norman Rockwell....

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

back at 'cha

it's me again. you may have noticed that i am updating this blog quite a bit more frequently. my first reason is that it has come to my attention (not for the first time) that i tend to start new endeavors with gusto and then peter out after the initial excitement and motivation tarnishes. in an effort to try something new and different and perhaps stick with something, I have decided to put in a more dedicated effort. i hope you are pleased.

oh. and bartlebee needs some procrastination material, so there's a bit of obligation here too :)

it's late and I would really like to get to bed, but i felt the need to communicate a couple things.

first off, i had a mini-insight tonight in relation to the previous post about the mommy conundrum. I came to this conclusion after reading a particular post on another blog, Opinionista, a site that i found via Waiter Rant and also recommended by bartlebee. I read it a couple of times, awhile back and then never found my way back. In a recent post, Waiter Rant recommended this piece of hers about women and work.

Now, it's hard for me only to respond to one aspect of this because much of it cries out for some discussion, in my opinionista way. But, since it is almost 10 and i'm one of those women who has left my career for the dregs of home I have to get to bed soon, so I'll be brief.

Her post made me realize that part of my longings for the "other" life stem from the fact that in order to be a "good" feminist (whatever that is) I am supposed to feel that way. If i gave up (or even took a long family-raising break) from a line of work that i enjoyed and was challenging (though i'm not sure she would approve of teaching since it's a primarily female occupation anyway and doesn't really advance the cause of women, even if you encourage your female students to pursue their dreams- but nevermind that point) and- God Forbid- enjoy being at home and not working and thus earning my own money, than I am somehow erasing all of the sweat, tears, and sacrifices of my fore-mothers.


I'm sorry, but I am so sick of the requirements for being, or not being, a feminist. Now, I understand that the majority of her post was about women leaving their careers to be taken care of by a man, preferably a rich one, and Opinionista sees these men as lame and neaderthal. Fine, I can live with that. But- isn't it tragic when any woman marries a lame and neanderthal man? Why just the supposedly ambition, glass-ceiling breaking privileged ones? It's just another cause of feminism being about upper-middle class white women.

I hate that.

The whole mommy-career wars are old. And so are the judgements about other people's choices. But I guess I bought into it. I bought into the cultural conception that what I am doing is not enough. But you know what? I bet every working woman is thinking the same thing- whether it's because she decided not to have a family, or because she is choosing to be single, or because she is living in a gold cave with her rich neanderthal... I mean, the list goes on. Let's get out of the old feminism rut and start with some humanism and a bit more revolution on the foundation of our society which basically sends that message that You, as a person, are not enough.

So now I get it. I guess I found some of that internal water after all.

Hmmm...I guess I couldn't not address the whole post, huh?

Ok, on a different note, the second thing I wanted to communicate is a full-on brag about my daughter who is showing some Dj leanings and some pretty amazing recognition skills.

For various reasons, our CD-Rs of MP3s have migrated from an over-the-visor respectable organizer into a shallow, Ziploc reusable container. Raelin has taken to playing with the CDs and to make a long story short, she now- from the backseat- hands us the CDs she wants us to play.

It gets better.

She can distinguish between identical CD-Rs, which are hers with the kid music, and which are ours ("No kid songs"). There are several that are the same color, with the only difference really being what is written on them. She isn't reading them, but clearly she has a way of recognizing them and is never wrong. It's mind boggling. I spend my entire drive ejecting and playing, and skipping to requested songs from my 2 year old.

There's a Dj ROCA (Raelin Ocean Callahan) in the house... and it's been over a year since her last rave!

Makes a parent proud :)

Sunday, July 24, 2005


Raelin and I returned this afternoon from an quick overnight trip to Bar Harbor, of Acadia National Park fame. A good friend of mine who I have known since middle school (well, actually, I think we may have even met as early as 3rd grade but a friendship didn't actually begin until highschool) is spending a month there at the College of the Atlantic. COA is a small (as in a couple hundren undergrads) private college where the only degree offered is Human Ecology. Sounds limiting until you check out one of the potential dorm rooms- in the corner of a huge home on the ocean's edge with 2 outside walls of windows overlooking a most breathtaking view. One could make some academic sacrifices for such accomodations.

My friend is there participating in a couple of teaching workshops as a result of a grant from a large teaching endowment. These past 2 weeks she spent learning about geology and cruising around Acadia, in addition to cultivating a (potential!) new romance and doing some incredible rock climbing in the park. You thought climbing on ocean cliffs was as far as Thailand? Not so- the thick, chunky verticle Otter Cliffs offer a pretty amazing stateside alternative.

Not that I'm doing any climbing, or will be any time soon. Sigh.

It is always interesting and fun to visit with this particular friend, because our lives are *so* different. She is single- mostly- living in a city with a vibrant and well-knit social life. She took up climbing a few years ago and now makes a practice of going at least a couple times a week in the city and outdoors as often as she can in New Hampshire (her abs prove it). She teaches in a great, social-justice focused school with a diverse population and is quickly becoming a respected senior teacher. I listen wistfully to her adventures and dependent-free lifestyle and try to snuff out the glimmer of envy that starts to burn within me.

It's the mother conundrum.

There's no fixing it or changing it or even a strong desire to do so. It's simply the unavoidable reality that That is not my life, as enticing as it may be. And it isn't even necessarily *her* life- though I would love to be climbing regularly and have the opportunity to teach at progressive school- but those seemingly endless hours of indulging oneself in... oneself- and not someone else.

I adore my daughter and my husband and in many moments, both long and short, the daily ins and outs of being a stay-at-home-mom. I have let go of the intense need to be productive that plagued my first year of motherhood and have slid quite comfortably into the rhythm of days that are not punctuated by alarm clocks and deadlines, but making a worthwhile appearance at a playgroup and getting through the day, with lots of play and a few loads of laundry inbetween. Perhaps I have even swung a bit far on the pendulum of productivity, because certainly my house could use a bit more producing- like, producing a few more clean surfaces. But, whatever. Clean is ephemeral.

No, the thing about spending time with a friend like this reveals more of the career vs. home issues (one that will most likely never go away). Especially since the more I am home and away from a regular 'job' the less likely I am sure I even want one, though I still envision myself teaching and want to achieve some competency at a chosen line of work at some point in my life. Being that I am 5 months from 30 and there's no imminent disaster, I have some time. But I am an endless seeker of new opportunities and am fickle- drawn to many paths, but pretty unfaithful to the finish. This applies to household chores and finishing drinks as well.

That's the thing about parenting. Fickle is not an option. It's good for me. Maybe my wistfulness of my friends life are because that's my out, my imaginary out, from a thing that I cannot leave. It's like People magazine. It's such a silly brain drain, but I browse it voraciously in the store and occasionally bring an issue home (that kevin reads as well, i might add). Do I really care about People? No. It's just fun- an escape. Do I really want to be back in the single life, looking for love with endless hours to myself? No. It's fun, but not nearly so satisfying as being Raelin's mom.

You would think that coming to this conclusion once would be enough. But it's not. It resurfaces in various forms, instigated by different experiences and interactions, kinda like trick candles. They always come back. Someday I'll find the internal water to just drown them out.

At a midwife (for an annual exam people, I'm not pregnant) appointment a month or so ago, she said something quite off-hand, but quite wise to me. She said, there is no point in your life when it is ever the same as another point, is it? can you ever remember reflecting on your life and thinking, wow, this is just like it was 3 years ago! it's always different, so there' s no point in pining away for past times.

too true.

Friday, July 22, 2005

midsummer night

A word to the wise: having animals and small children at the same time will drive you insane.

When you and your other are pre-children, taking care of your animals is second nature. They are, after all, your first children. Of course you respond to their barks and meows most promptly and take care of them properly. Add a small human to the mix and well...

last night I didnt' get much sleep. Jasmine has this thing about the wind. Actually, Jasmine has a thing about most things. She has issues. Not that one can blame her, I mean, she was abandoned as a puppy and left for dead but she's like 42 in dog years now. Don't our last 4 years of steady care for her equal canine therapy? If we haven't let the wind get her yet, it's unlikely it will happen. Those I suppose uprooting her from #1 to #2 after Raelin arrived was a bit jarring, to say the least.

But i digress.

So, she has a thing about the wind. If our windows are open at night and there's a breeze (thank god, because it's been non-stop hot here) she hangs out by (my, i might add) side of the bed and pants. and pants. and clicks and shifts her claws on the hardwood and pants some more. Excessive commands to lay down only intensify the shuffling. So, swearing profusely, I close the window and throw off the covers. ( i need covers, regardless of the heat. even a sheet will do. it's a thing with me.) so Jasmine finally calms down and then Raelin wakes up. I'm on night duty now since kevin has been working like 25 hours a day. so i go and pat her back and she goes back to sleep. i return to bed.

i notice that jasmine is not in the room and figure that perhaps she got a burst of courage and is actually lying down by herself in the living room. i fall asleep.

I wake up abruptly to the sound of Jasmine barking. outside. ugh! fucking dog!

She is not in the living room. her burst was not of courage but of mischief. She went down to the basement and nosed open the slider. I stumble outside, in the buff, and whistle several times. Nothing. I hiss her name. Nothing. Swearing more, i thump to the basement and call her name and whistle out the slider. Crashing throught the woods. Yes, that would be her. I whistle a few more times. By the time she is in my line of sight, she is slinking. i all but kick her through the door. She follows (I can practically feel the satisfaction of her midnight romp) obediently and collapses on her bed.

It's 2:30. I manage to fall back asleep.

Oh, and have i mentioned that my husband is a gimp and so through all of this he is in bed with his foot elevated?

Raelin wakes up again. i trudge to her room with my pillow and crawl into bed with her, or rather around her since she's lying horizontal.

Just as i am falling asleep, the other starts. Not jasmine- reggie. Meowing- loudly, beseechingly- from the now shut basement door.

Fucking cat!!!

I get up to let him in. He doesn't want to be let in, he wants to be fed and the crumbs from the afternoon snack are not good enough. I shake some kibble into his dish and shut the door.

As long as I am up- now at 3:30- I drink some water before going back to bed. I manage to sleep about an hour and a half before Raelin begins to stir and begins the morning nursing marathon that allows me to doze to the blessed hour of 6 am when she starts dragging toys and books to the bed and suggesting that i get up and make pancakes.

I am still doing the dishes from dinner when a nurse from our insurance agency knocks on the door- 30 minutes early, i might add- at 6:20 am to get blood draws from kevin and i.

the animals continue to sleep, crashed out on the livingroom floor.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Crazy shit...

I just found this link