Friday, May 17, 2013


A fresh sleeve of saltines
The last cup of coffee from the pot
A stack of poetry books on the living room floor that need shelving
Laundry unfolded
The word "fold" appeared about 1,187 times in my thesis manuscript
OK, that's an exaggeration
But it turned up a lot
and not in a good way,
sort of in an "I've run out of words that are kind of like 'fold' so I'm just going to keep folding myself over railings into plastic bubbles around trees, into drawers....."
I submitted my thesis and supporting materials to the Ashland MFA administrator last night
It's out of my hands now
I hope my committee chair and the third reader don't hate it
Neither has read any of the work I've done in the past almost two years
What have I done with my periods?
The punctuation mark, not the cycle
The cycle vanished three years ago or so


I have promised a friend that I will visit today or tomorrow
I want to help her with moving things
It's approaching noon
and I am still in my pajamas
Submitting the thesis and supporting materials
seems to have exhausted me
I don't know if I can get there today
I have to fold (!!)
and launder
and pick up the house
and buy cat food
and pay that bill
and exercise (I have to exercise)

This post has no purpose
and no conclusion

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

window writing

Girl at a friend's
I made a grocery run
tomorrow, I bake meatballs
Thursday I make sauce
tomorrow, I finish thesis introduction
whether I'm ready
or not
tomorrow evening, we attend
an awards ceremony
for seniors

(I am too fat for nice clothes
and too cheap to buy anything bigger)

Girl is receiving an art scholarship
also, 4.0 Club
something else
who knows?

This evening
my Girl and two friends
stood on my patio
talking before going off
to shop for a shirt

My yard guys were mowing
and edging and trimming
it sounded and smelled like

The kids told me
about the bad behavior
of a dear friend's father

I cringed

I have not
been an easy companion
for the past two weeks
stressed over introductions
and money
and pulling out of parties
and joining others

but I listen
to these not-quite-adults
talk about their families
and I understand
that my Girl
is one of the lucky ones
despite my clutter and messes
and tendency not to cook
when I'm studying

I love her friends
I want to adopt
all of them
but there's no way
I could afford
to put them through college


Sunday, May 12, 2013

on Mother's Day ...

... I woke up at 5 a.m. drenched in sweat following a dream about a car crash. No one died, but my daughter, her dad and I were injured, daughter the worst. Blood in her mouth.

I couldn't go back to sleep. Worry about graduation party fiascos, money, my thesis introduction that won't write itself and that I can't seem to write, though I must by Friday.

My daughter and her dad are taking me to dinner, and her papa baked me a Devil's food cake just because, you know, I like chocolate cake. No frosting. We never do frosting.

I'm not always sad on Mother's Day, but this year, and I think last, I've been blue and contrary and grumpy. In December of this year, just before Christmas, I'll make note of the 20th anniversary of my mother's death. Can she really have been gone that long?


I am glad that I had her for 35 years. She saw me through some difficult times when I was young. She triggered some difficult times when I was less young, but we got through them. I loved her. Memories of her still make me laugh, cringe, cry. She was funny and eccentric, smart but denied it, loved my father more than she loved breath.

I miss her, and that's a simple enough reason not to like the incessant barrage of Mother's Day messages that are everywhere, everywhere.

While I do love, love, love being my own child's mother, love being extra-mom to several other teens, I don't need a special day to celebrate this role. I'm one of those disgusting mothers who has loved every second of my daughter's childhood. I should be taking HER out to dinner, not the other way 'round.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

the one where I think about endings as I type directly into the window

is my daughter's last high school

For four years,
she's played percussion
in marching band,
percussion and piano
in wind ensemble,
this year and her first year
piano in jazz band.

For four years,
band has owned us,
not just her,

and after school rehearsals.
Wednesday evening rehearsals
on the field
away games and contests.

I've chaperoned
the kids to every contest,
most away games.

I've pinned up hair,
bandaged cuts,
hemmed pants,
taped up flags with electrical tape,
safety pinned jackets,
sold white gloves,
hauled percussion equipment,
baked cookies, served cookies,
fed judges,
handed out tissues,
hugged, comforted, shushed,
accompanied girls to the restroom

My tiny girl has played
marimba and bells, cymbals,
a ratchett, bass drum
tenor quads,

She's marched and marched,
stood in icy rain
in uniforms that could never
keep her warm enough.

The band has been
her family, dysfunctional
at times, but family.

Tonight, I will cry,
probably harder than I'll cry
at graduation June 1.

I'll cry because it's not just my girl
who is leaving me, it's all
the seniors,
and I know she/they
leaving me,
they are growing away,
evolving, maturing,

Endings are always beginnings.
Is that right?

Sure, sure.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

the one where I breathe

My daughter
went with her father
to the eyeglass shop
clinging to my old
the ones I wore
when she was seven months
old, huge, sturdy.

She wants to put
her prescription
in them, will call
them her "art
glasses," wants
them because
they are mine.
Her father
never liked these glasses

on my once narrow
now fat and saggy
but he approved
the purchase
for our girl,
and now
when I see her
in my old glasses,

I'll wonder where her mother
has gone.

Friday, May 3, 2013

It's complicated

My daughter is off for the night, staying over at a friend's with a bunch of other friends. She left her wallet here, hidden under something on the sofa, so she stopped by a little while ago to grab it, left her friend in the car ("She wanted to declare her undying love for you, but I wouldn't let her in."), hugged me and - poof - gone again.

Lately, it feels like we're closer than ever, but I don't see how that's possible. Maybe our relationship is shifting, and what feels like more closeness is more like ... recognition or something. I see the adult in her; she sees the interesting person who is more than mom in me.

I'm starting to have little meltdowns when I think about her leaving us for college, but I'm also so happy for her, so excited to watch her grow out there on her own, though most of what she's accomplished, she's accomplished because of who she is, not because of who raised her. (I was never a helicopter mom, though I was involved.)

I will be bereft when she leaves.

She is my heart, my center, my purpose.

It's good no one reads here because this kind of post is likely to get the kinds of comments that mostly make me feel ridiculous. "Look on the positive! She's a beautiful, talented person! You did a great job raising her. Now you're free to become anything you want to become."

"Read books. Go to school."

ahahahaha (graduating in August)

"Find work you love."

Of course, of course, of course.

But this life I've been leading for more than 18 years is the best life. Really. It's been a magical journey and she's the magic.  ("Her magic will stay with you even when she's at school. And she'll come home to visit and you'll be even closer! It will be AWESOME!")

(Bite me.)


Change of subject.

I was thinking about my Lily novel today, the one I started a decade ago about the woman who discovers that...well, no, no spoilers. Lily is not Elizabeth. She's sassier (that's a word we've been tossing around a lot lately). She's braver. She doesn't know the meaning of passive-aggressive. I want to go back and start working on her story again, but when I dive back in, I'm going to make her more of a bad ass,  more willing to confront, less freaked, at first she needs to be freaked out.

Oh dear. I'm doing that boring thing where I write about process in public.

Well, whatever. This is what I wanted to write today, right now, in the moment before I leave the house to run some errands.

Bye now.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

a moment

I used to have a Wordpress blog called "Ordinary Moments." I still have it, but it's private now. Sometimes I miss it. I wrote there so easily, like I was sitting with a friend in my messy house sipping coffee, just talking. Here, I sometimes feel like I have to cover myself in a blanket in summer to hide my terrible flaws or amazing gifts.

I hope I get over this soon. Being skittish is exhausting even if I have my reasons.

A few minutes ago, I had an extraordinary ordinary moment. My daughter was using a newish website called vine (not linking) to create a video loop of herself playing a certain piano piece she's been working on for weeks. She plays it beautifully when she's live and not recording, but recording herself makes her nervous and she kept screwing up. At one point, a hilarious pseudo-expletive exploded from her mouth as her fingers screwed up, and the voice was like some kind of cartoon demon or something.

It was hilarious.

She sent that version of the video to her lovely friend who was on her way here with another lovely friend, a friend I love already for how much my kid likes him but hadn't yet met.

When the two friends knocked on the door of my cesspool of a house, I was laughing when I let them in because the girl was still playing this gorgeous piece and snarling in her demon voice. So her friend who hadn't yet met me got Mama Christy laughing so hard she(I) was bent double.

They are beautiful people, and even 10 minutes in their presence makes me feel as if I've learned something new, grown wings, gotten smarter.

I love moments like this and will miss them so much when my Girl is off at college. I know we'll have similar moments in the future, different ages, but still that wonderful energy that my child's friends always bring into my house whatever their ages.

But this age, older teens. God. I love them so much. I must figure out a way to work with them on my own terms. I will. I just hope I can make enough to pay my mortgage with whatever I end up doing.

And, hey, maybe I'll take in an exchange student or something. Of course with my luck, she'd decide for a year to join the marching band and I'd be a Band Booster mama all over again.

There. Done for now. I have a kitty to visit, and we are nearly out of red grapes.

random things and silence

- Just as I turned from Bell onto Taylor, I saw that two-headed street lamp in front of the old beauty shop, one bulb missing. The bald, white bulb looked like a man's bald, white head, the lamp stem like a skinny body. I thought I was watching some poor, old guy trying to cross the busy street.

- I sat on the floor in my friend's condo so his kitty had easier access to me. The kitty is too polite or skittish to join me on the sofa. He misses his human.

- I'm reading and rereading Galway Kinnell's "Farewell" from When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone. Earlier, I listened to the Haydn piece he wrote the poem after, "Symphony in F-sharp Minor, "Farewell."

"Now all the players have gone but two violinists,/who sit half facing each other, friends who have figured out what/they have figured out by sounding it upon the other,/and scathe the final phases."

He dedicated the poem to his friend, Paul Zweig. I want to write this poem. I want to dedicate it to Karen or Kevin. Or maybe Bill or Cat or Laura or Siva or Carol. The first two are gone from me. The others? I have time to write different poems to them.

I have time.

- My street is quiet. Normally, cars, cars, cars, roaring. And at this time of year, power tools. All I hear is the hum of electricity, my fingers on the keyboard.

- The top of my left hand itches. I am allergic to something in my friend's house, and it's taken root in my skin and lungs.

- Today, I'm changing myself back into what I never was.

- To do: pay that bill and that one, work on book list, fold clothes, vacuum (I won't), listen to daughter when she speaks.

- Confession: I am timid. And cowardly. And bitchy.

- Confession: I am brave. And kind. And open.

- Sudden surging of mother missing. Ah. Yes. Mother's Day approaches.

- Yesterday evening when I returned at twilight to my house from watching kitty and other errands, I saw a burgundy  sedan parked where my daughter parks her blue Avalon when she is home. Engine was running. Two young women sat inside. The driver glared at me as I turned toward my garage. I wanted to go up to them and ask them if they were waiting for someone, but their anger shook the car, so I went into my house, locked my deadbolt and scooped up my own kitty, who has been lonely for me.

- There is nothing to see here.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Time to stop muzzling myself

Or it will be when I'm finished with some projects and remember how to blog publicly on my own terms. In the meantime, I am so proud of my daughter. She's a great role model for me. I'm going to miss her when she heads for college in the fall. But her absence will force me to find my next purpose. I know I have one. Whatever that purpose is, I'm not going to keep it hidden. Not any more.