Monday, February 28, 2011

signs of life; or, what i think love is.


tim went to the library and brought home three gigantic, wonderful books on the history of photography. for me.

i made chana masala tonight and (almost) everyone ate it so voraciously i got a little antsy, thinking there wouldn't be enough left for lunch tomorrow. and when you go into the kitchen, even now, hours after clean up, it still smells spicy sweet amazing.

callie and lindsey are hanging out in their room and laughing and trying on clothes and they were so loud with their giddiness that i had to yell at them.
it's been a long time since that's happened.

i can look over and see tim working, and look up just to think for a minute and see him reflected in the window without even turning my head.

i love it here.

enjoy tonight.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

some other sunday morning.


and some other saturday night.


just because.


we're pretty ambivalent about leaving the house.
thinking about a drive,
maybe a walk.
sunday sauce.
waiting for friends to land.
back to school tomorrow.
almost march.
lots of good light coming in the house this morning
might not promise warm air outside.
soon, though.

enjoy today.

Friday, February 25, 2011

how about a little friday happiness, shall we?


:: sleeping in.
::cold rain washing away winter's dirty fringes.
::and pancakes.
::at about 11:45 in the morning.
::my white knight taking the kids to the library.
::little cat paw prints across my desk that don't bother me one bit.
::a walk in the rain; a gentle suggestion to learn how to use the light meter.
::knowing he's right.
::switching the slipcovers back to the white ones.
::(prematurely, i know. but even so.)
::making sushi tonight, to celebrate that it's friday.
::feeling like a champion, just for making it through the week.
::love, and all its messiness.

happy weekend. thanks so much for coming here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


when anna was little-which of course was about six months ago. a year, three years ago.-and i would leave her at nursery school she would say to me "are you going to do three things?"
and i would say "yes, i'm going to do three things and then come back and get you."

we haven't said that in so long, and then tonight;
"three things?"
three fingers up and looking at me with those big eyes.


it got me thinking;
when callie was little-which of course was a long lifetime ago, it seems.-she would say "just one more song."
and again, and again.
and i would stomp my foot at the end and say "no more songs!" and be so genuinely frustrated. it seemed to me that she needed me to get mad to end it.

i had a hard time when i had my first.
i felt so alone and it all fell to me.
and callie was so good. so good.
but still, it was hard for me.


lindsey was so different. than her sister before her or her sister after, or her three (3!) stepsisters in between.

i always said i could look her straight in the eye and we were completely connected, but that i never really felt i had any hold over her, the way i did callie. i could always expain to callie : you need to do this so that we can do this; or whatever. but she got it.

lindsey really always had her mind set long before i even saw what she was looking at.


and so it goes.

i've said it before and i'll say it again:
this parenting gig is rough stuff.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

these are a few of my favorite things; or, it's my blog and i can do what i want.

i've begun to call the cats "soft thing" in place of their actual names.
i haven't had a functioning radio in my car for over a year,
and so when i'm driving i often sing, loudly. often johnny cash.
i do not sing well.
nor do i speak french,
or knit well,
or play the guitar well.
i am continually tortured by these personal shortcomings.
i am over-particular about neatness on the first floor of our house,
but my own room is often quite messy. i'm not happy about it, but it is so.
when my brothers call our house and leave a message, i will keep it on the machine for a very long time, so i can listen to their voices whenever i want.
this does not translate into my always calling them back, however.
i eat lemons whole; or squeeze lemons, freeze the juice, and eat it like ice cream; almost every night.
i rarely sleep through the night.
sometimes i let the laundry sit for days, and then i have to run it again because it no longer smells so good.
sometimes i switch it into the dryer anyway, and then tim calls me on it, and i have to start from scratch.
i have always wanted to have one meal i can make that will comfort loved ones and strangers alike, and now that i make the best tomato sauce in the world and can make my own bread, i feel confident that i have met that goal.
it's a good feeling.
i am ridiculously physically needy. i think one of the best things about having children is that you always have other humans who you can hold and touch and smell without much ceremony.
i would prefer to stand in the woods, in heat or rain or bitter cold, than pretty much anywhere else, ever.
i love that tim knows, respects, and agrees with that about me.
i just love tim. end of sentence.
i feel that i was pretty much the most boring person in the world in college,
and while i'm still pretty boring to most people now,
i am endlessly fascinating to myself,
which is a nice change.
although come to think of it, i bore myself quite a bit, still.
i think boring is underrated.
one of my most prized possessions is a cutting board in the shape of a pig that my grandfather made.
i never met him.
sometimes when i can't sleep so well, i look at the clock and can barely wait for the new day to start.
i feel without thinking too much about it that it may be my greatest gift, my best trait, my luckiest straw: i truly relish each new day starting. i don't know where that comes from or what that means. but oh! to feel that bit of hope and excitement every day.

that is my favorite thing.

more soon.

and then the polaroids.



i guess i took many of the same photos with a few different cameras.
so. you'll be seeing the same images again and again from me for a while,
in various formats.

wow, the excitement never ends around here, huh?


Monday, February 21, 2011

where i've been, what i've been doing; which is different than where i usually am, what i'm usually doing.


nothing all that dramatic, actually.
i went away, by myself
for a day or two or three.

i walked and walked and walked
around the lower part of new york city.

i took lots of pictures,
drank lots of tea.
a little bit of wine, too.

i slept in a bed that is not mine,
and drank from a tea mug that is not mine,
and looked out a window different from mine
to see what the weather is,
to see what is happening outside.

i was not as bold as i wished to be.
i can not even remember what it is i took all of those pictures of,
but they will tell me a story of my time there
that is different, perhaps,
than i remember now.

i remember being a little scared.
i know that's lame.
but that's the truth.

i remember being a little bored.
lamer still,
but again,
the truth.

i missed tim. i missed just the him of him.
i rely on him so very much for so many things.
he is supremely competent.
he makes me feel

i didn't really miss the girls all that much, really,
but not in any mean way.
it's just that i spend some time away from them
each day as it is, now.
it did feel strange that people who saw me had no idea
that my whole world is wrapped up in all of those girls.

but at night i did certainly miss the closeness, the comfort
of being a part of the sum of their day;
and also,
in bed,
of another's breath and weight to press me down into my sleep.

i guess i just spent a day or two or three
away from my family.

not so dramatic.

but i'm home now.
and i'm glad,
and just a little bit dreamy
about the next time
i can walk for hours
on my own.


Thursday, February 17, 2011


coming back across the park tonight in darkness
i heard their voices
but could barely see them.

we weren't wearing coats but still needed our boots.

there was more laughter than shouting
and i felt that everyone fit together
all so well.

i also feel now that spring fever is going to hit this family in a big way.

holding on tight.

more soon.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

having a crappy night?


here's what to do:

first off, put on some al green. if you don't have any al green, well...
wait a minute? why don't you have any al green? send me an e-mail and i'll send you some al green.
in the meantime, you could pull up al green radio on pandora.
even better, actually, because then some barry white will slip in, and that can't hurt any.

next, take all of the leftovers out of your fridge, toss what's dangerous, and heat up the rest.
because that's what the kids are eating.
also? slice up all of the vegetables you have in the fridge and roast them in the oven, because that's what you're going to eat, later.

then, don't be so bothered that all of the girls-even the big ones-are glued to the portable watching little house on the prairie episodes. that's a good thing, for now.

pour a glass of wine for you and your husband who thinks seven p.m. is still part of the workday.

sit on the couch with him (dragging may be involved here. don't worry. he's been dragged worse places in his life...) and talk about anything other than the crappy day you've both just had.

or better yet, just shut up and listen to al:

oh baby, needing you has proven to me, to be my greatest dream.

at this point, the kids are done with the leftovers, done with the little house video, and looking for some loving of their own.

and at this point, you're most likely ready. or asleep.

either way, your crappy day is a thing of the past.

so get up, wake up, go love those girls into bed, and then proceed with your evening.

try it and let me know how it works out.

see you tomorrow.

Monday, February 14, 2011


happy valentine's day from our house to yours.


Sunday, February 13, 2011


hi from sunday night.

there's sauce simmering away
and the girls are home.

the candles are lit and the laundry is done.

there are twenty six cut-out hearts
with little girl writing on them
waiting at the door
to go to school tomorrow.

it's supposed to reach fifty degrees here
and i am letting my mind wander places
i would prefer to stay out of right now.

thoughts of things that are so far off
as to make one entertain the possibility
that this year
they may not come.

but things will change.
things are changing every day.

even tonight,
it was light out when the girls came home,
and tim and anna saw a bat on their walk back
from the salt bin at the corner of the big road.

every day.
just little things.

best wishes for a good week.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


i am on a journey.

this is such a cliche that it
pains me
to type these words.

what sort of person feels they are above
and beyond

apparently i am that sort
of person.

and yet,
i am on a journey
into myself and
into the world
and i have been launched into feeling
and living each thing
each day
in a way
that i did

i am on a journey.

aren't you?


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

and each night.


each night the windows turn black and become mirrors.
i light candles. now just small votives here and there,
maybe the big pillar on the table in the hall.

there is usually some music playing and if the kids are awake
there is much noise;
shouting, fighting, laughing, falling, furniture being shoved around on the wood floors.
i can tell who is jumping down from the top bunk,
who is stopping on the landing and checking themselves out
in the mirror at the bottom of the stairs,
just by their footsteps.

if the kids are asleep or away,
then it's very quiet.
i can hear when the teakettle clicks off two rooms away
and when the dryer is done down in the basement.
the kitten can reach up and ring the prayer bell on the door
to let us know she wants to go out.

once it's dark i keep the cats in.

each night i look forward to the quiet settling in,
the darkness coating the windows,
the kids settling down and curling up into their own selves,
the cats curling up and staying in.

i look forward to each night
just as much
as i look forward to morning.

sleep well

Monday, February 7, 2011

every morning.


every morning the heat comes on at six.
so it's warm on top of the radiators
and the cats and the kids perch there waiting to be fed.

every morning the very first thing i do,
even before i feed the cats,
is put on the water to boil
and make myself the stiffest pot of black tea

i don't share.
i'll make you tea if you'd like,
but that first darkest pot is just for me.

every morning one of the girls gets up like a shot,
one of the girls can literally not open her eyes,
and one of the girls wakes up with a smile and a song.

every morning there's some nagging and some bickering
from the one who is ready to those who are not.

every morning i vow to stay calm, to coddle and gently prod.
i don't succeed every morning.

but this morning
i did.
and this morning we made it up and out
with nary a snicker.

off to a good start.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

sweet little chaos :: a bunch of random information about our weekend. (and some nice pictures from a few weeks ago.)


hi from sunday afternoon.
this has been quite a weekend,
equal parts mellow and lazy
and festive and busy.

we started out with a big family dinner on friday night
in which the girls made us laugh over and over.
tim has started to make little movies about our days and nights,
and when we watch them it reminds us just how often the girls say or do something that surprises us: smart, funny, irreverent, fresh. and a few other words not (perhaps) quite so complimentary.
they sort of amaze us, these girls.

on saturday, one of us woke before the heat came on and went skiing on a school trip.
the other seven of us made an exodus to, of all places, the mall, to get lindsey's ears pierced.
it had been her birthday request last week, and she blew me away with how composed and confident she was.
she had to hold my hand so i could handle it.

saturday night we had a big feast of long-cooked italian food with friends. perhaps one of my favorite nights.
this morning, walking around the house straightening up, i could hear snippets of last night's conversations in my head. it felt like a little bit of the warm feelings from the party still filled the rooms.

and now we're off to a big football party. we're not any of us particularly sports fans, but tim likes to get into the super bowl, and if i know my best friend, the food will be fantastic. any excuse for me to sit on a friend's couch and eat and drink and talk is ok by me. and any excuse for anna to put on a party dress is ok by her.

ok. well, i did go on a bit here,huh?
enjoy your evening!


Thursday, February 3, 2011



my friends molly and emily asked me to join them at habit again, for the month of february.

i've put my 365::a picture a day project on hold, but you can follow along this month at habit, instead.

hope you do.

more soon.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011


it was not really an ice storm.

there was little noise, nothing fierce.
no branches snapping tearing down power lines,
as had happened last year.
it came in quietly in the early morning,
making a slight rustling sound as icy flakes and brittle rain
covering it all.
coating everything
first in inches of slush,
then in a shell of cold glass.

so much snow.
now ice too:
sharply beautiful,
but menacing, still.

we all sat together eating lunch across the street
and a great dreadful sound shook the house,
and i was sure it was a tree;
was bracing for a splintering roof,
the dog barking and circling.

but it was just sliding sheets of icy snow
thundering down.

and we turned back towards the room,
and went on with our talk.

we're getting used to this winter.

take care.