Thursday, February 28, 2008

I'm Around. Just Not, Like, Here. So Much.

"Dalton Howard stands, sometimes shakily, sometimes with brazen confidence, between the carefully rendered line and the paint drip, between geometry and the doodle."

A new art review. Whoop.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Ode to Four and Three Quarters

[I'm stealing this idea, blatantly and with no remorse or apologies whatsoever (although I will cite!), from Notes from the Trenches--and from a writing prompt I used to give my seventh grade students.]

I want to remember how you demand oatmeal for breakfast. Followed by Cheerios. Followed by a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that you end up eating in the car on the way to school.

I want to remember the peanut butter kisses that you then smear on my cheek as I drop you off at school.

I want to remember how you used to cling to my leg and beg me not to leave you.

I want to remember how you used to catch my kisses and put them on your heart--and how now, instead, you eat them.

I want to remember how you now stride off eagerly, confidently, almost forgetting to blow me a kiss goodbye.

I want to remember your curly toes and your adamantly straight hair.

I want to remember how your head smells like roasted marshmallows. And I want to remember how you bust me with, "Mama, are you smelling my head again?" but then sit still and let me inhale those last notes of your babiness.

I want to remember your fake burps.

I want to remember how your giggle lights up the room.

I want to remember how your fingers like to flirt with the holes of your mank and the edges of my ponytail.

I want to remember how you love lip gloss and fingernail polish.

I want to remember how you found your funny in all things that rhymed with "poop."

I want to remember how you turned down soda because your tummy didn't hurt right now and how you'd eye-patch before we could even change the channel.

I want to remember how, at Four and Three Quarters, you fell in love with your mama again, giving me spontaneous hugs, jumping on my back, bestowing your fake burps full in my face, and telling me that you love me more than I love you. Even though, my widget, that's not even possible.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I Googled You Yesterday

I don't know what made me do it or what trip down memory lane I felt I needed to travel, but I googled you yesterday.

Is it because I miss you or that I miss the life I had with you (which in my narcissism could amount to pretty much the same thing)? Sure. Is it because I wonder what you're up to and what you've been doing since I left? Sure, that too.

I found out, though, that you're much harder to google than I thought. I had to plug in quite a few search terms to get to you--your full name in quotes, where you live, where you work. I didn't find any kind of personal footprint that you've left behind--no personal Web site, nothing that at least I could find on MySpace. Which doesn't mean you're not there. It just means that I, 37-year-old mother, doesn't know how to find anyone on MySpace.

(And I could be okay with that.)

But I did find out that you've been doing good things. You've won awards. You've been caught on the edges of someone else's photographs. And you look good. Still young. Still spunky. Still sporting that sardonic grin.

(I always hated that grin. I think you could outgrow that now.)

You know, I felt comfortable with you. I felt like I belonged, like I knew what I was doing, like I was some kind of worthy. And I felt like you accepted that, saw the best bits of me--and the rest you just laughed off or slapped straight with a rolled up L.L. Bean catalog.

(That did hurt, by the way.)

It was too easy to leave you. Somewhere, in the back of my mind, I always thought you'd be there, waiting, captured in some kind of snow globe, ready for me to shake when I was ready.

Not so much, huh?

When I left, you went on doing your thing. Without me. And apparently you picked up some new tricks. And I suppose that I moved on too.

But still, thoughts of you make me pause. Make me wonder what my life would have been like if I hadn't left you.

Would I be happier? Would I have already lost these 20 pounds I've been trying to outrun for past four years? Would they have found me in the first place? Would I have ever discovered the pleasures of the Italian Cream Soda or running my hands through a field of lavender? Would I have fallen in love with Jonathan Safran Foer or Michael Chabon? Would I have found my cancer sooner? Would I even have kids?

Would I have laughed more?

I know I need to let you go. To let that piece of my past go. Because it--and you--have already let me go.

But I do have to wonder, even though I shouldn't . . . I do wonder if you ever think of me.

Sleeptalker, Part Deux

Last night, I went in to Finn's room to check on him, restoke his "fire" (re: humidifier), and clear off the 17 books he had collected on his bed while he was "going to sleep." (Yes, I counted.)

He was rolled up in his comforter, his mank (re: blankie) tucked under his head. As I restoked and cleared off, he woke up for just a second, to give me, with just one word, yet another peek into his dreams:


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Stepping Out

[Joe Jackson should be providing the musical backdrop to this post. I don't know how to so much make that happen, so please furnish your own score, if you would. Thanks. The MNGMT.]

I have a new post over at Art Motel and a new review over at the Kansas City Star.

Like, finally, dudes.

Wanna check them out? Of course you don't. Let me reposition the ask. Check them OOWWWWT!

Friday, February 22, 2008


Tonight as I walked by Finn's room on my way to bed, I heard him call out to me.

"Yes, Finn."
"Can I get an extra water bottle because I'm still very dirty."
"A water bottle?"
"Uh huh."
"Because you're dirty."
"Uh huh."
"I'll get right on that."

So this is what Four and Half dreams about.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Today Is Thursday . . . Thursday, Ninth Circle of Hell

Really now, snow. Again? Are the masters of weather unaware that we've already had snow. And lots of it? That snow Has Been Done. A lot. That snow is so very last year?

I don't know if I've mentioned it readers, but I'm over it. Winter. As a whole. And I don't believe I'm judging too quickly. I've "done" winter since 1999. A good, wait, let me tease out this calculation, is that eight? Yes. Eight. Eight years of my life. Eight winters, my people.

And this is the worst. Of the winters I've had. At least.

The first seven winters were enchanting. And the snow, even the one today, still holds a certain wonder and promise. The world completely and utterly transforms, hides, retreats, under this shimmery, pure blanket that at once comforts, smothers, haunts, forebodes, and promises.

But man, my toes. And my hands. And Bears bloody noses. And my toes. We just can't seem to shake the chill. And that's without even going outside.

Kansas City also has the nasty habit of laying down a layer of ice before it brings on its blanket of snow, so that when you clear the drive or the sidewalk, you're met with a rather butt-busting surprise. And I mean butt-busting in the not good way.

We're supposed to get more snow tonight. So I figure you'll either read more whiny posts from me in the next couple--or I'll suck it up and sled out my frustrations into the whirligig of this Dantesque (yes, I just -esqued and made a literary allusion) winter.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Finn has found great humor and wonder in the fake burp.

He'll bring it out any old time, after we eat, when I'm giving him a bath, after a particularly good story. Somehow, he knows deep down that it's a gesture of appreciation--a job, a moment, a reading well done. I don't know if he's been hanging with ogres or folks from cultures who revere the burp, but Finn has adopted it as his own calling card and sign of approval.

He enters and exits the day with a belch.

This morning, Bear and I were arguing over who knows what. I've been in a perpetual bad mood for the past four days. Ever since I pulled in all-nighter to finish up a freelance job. Or maybe the funk travels with the nasty little piece of yucky I have to finish for tomorrow. Anyway, I've been bitchy and this morning, I found ample opportunity to let it out on the first person I saw, like some opposite-world love potion.

And Bear was game. He doesn't tend to let me ride through my fits, but to challenge and even CALL ME ON THEM. That bastard.

So today we rumbled over fiber content in my Kashi cereal or if he was going to do this Master Cleanse with me because I know he said he would and he knew he said, "Like hell" or something something, and we hit an awkward moment, where I realized I was being a Master Poo, but refused to admit it. Or speak.

Yes, I pulled out the silent treatment. Because I am 37 and mature.

And just then, when I was still on fumes and Bear was about to revel in his moral rectitude, there came from the peanut gallery a righteous, BEEEEEELLLLCCCHH. Followed by an assortment of bubbly giggles.

I tried so hard, dear readers, to glare, to visually condemn the insolent little muffin who had interrupted my mood.

But all I could do was laugh.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Resolutions: Revised

1. Workout every day every week when I feel guilty about not working out like it.
2. Blog every day more often. Than I did before.
3. Call my sister every Sunday sometime soon.
4. Don't work on every weekends.
5. Eat more fruits and vegetables chocolate.
6. Be kind and generous. Every week. When I feel guilty about being mean. More-ish.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Remember Me?


So much for that blogging every day.

Right when the proverbial poopfest hit the fan, I cowered, slinking behind my broken desk chair and just watched the days tick by, without so much as a post or thought or even scribble toward the blogosphere.

I do have some pics to backpost, so I'll "cheat" (allowable cheat, by the rules) with some photo documentation of how I spent my days. But if I'm truthful there, most of the photos will depict the scene I'm looking at right here, minus the blogger template: a pile of fall-colored file folders, a Moleskine tantalizingly left open, and Wonder Woman and Rogue action figures, hovering on my periphery, contemplating whether they should jump and make a break for freedom while I'm not looking or if they should whip my sorry ass toward a bubble bath and margarita.

Because 36 straight hours in this chair don't do much for my "aura."

(Stop and listen to the toys, Sarah. Listen.)

Thursday, February 07, 2008


Apparently, if you whine really hard on the 'nets, the voice of Blog hears you and makes things happen. I am living testimony to the Power of Blog.

Complain that your candidate didn't take your state on SuperTuesday? Whoosh bam. The Power of Blog gives it to your candidate two hours later.

Complain that the winter weather is leaving you dry and near despondent? Whoosh bam. You shall be rewarded with business and school closings and all the sledding your cracked epiderm can handle.

The world, says Blog, is yours. Write it.

Coincidence, you say? Shot o' luck?

Oh, you blaspheme, you doubter of Blog.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Again with the Snow?

Missouri is really chapping my butt.

One, it's snowing. Again. Okay, maybe that doesn't bother me as much as . . . two, the state was called for not my candidate. Happy camper I am not.

Especially since my buttocks and other parts are literally chapped, in that curious scaling that happens when dry heat meets 30something aging skin and cannot escape, but must burrow and ferret and claw its frustration into your very flesh. Yes, the air does this. And then the butt and fingers and knees crack and, wait till you hear this, BLEED.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Tuesday, circa 1988

That was my first year in college and the very first year I voted. My options: Bush Senior, Ross Perot, and Dukakis (who is not in spellcheck, by the way).

I think.

See I'm not sure who the Democrat was. Because I didn't care. About the Democrats.

I was voting for Bush.

I was a Young Conservative, bordering on Libertarian, steeped in Ayn Rand and objectivist philosophy, and a rather ardent proponent of nuclear energy (in that apathetic, "Oh yeah, that could be cool way," but a supporter nonetheless.) I was studying physics! and living in a co-ed dorm! and using exclamation points with nary a second thought! (and because emoticons weren't quite in full use) and eyeing the, uh, "shapes" my roommate was snorting off my chemistry textbook!


So, yes. I was one of those folks who started the dynasty. And why? Because of some passioned conviction in the Republican ideals? Because of Bush's stand on . . . uh . . . oh . . . right . . . busted.

Okay it was Walter. A short but very cute boy named Walter. Motorcycle-riding, Italian, Young Conservative, Bush-loving, strapping Walter.

He used to tell me, like every time I got on his motocycle, that it was the safest thing I'd have between my legs.



Maybe I misunderstood his, uh, political persuasions.

Monday, February 04, 2008

13 Things I Could Give Up For Lent

  1. Red meat.
  2. All meat but fish.
  3. Meat.
  4. Caffeine. (Now, who's talking silly.)
  5. Sweets. (That would be me. Hello!)
  6. Beer.
  7. TV.
  8. Craziness. In general.
  9. Not calling my family. (Which would probably mean more 6, 7, 11, and 12?)
  10. Leaving bitchy, whiny comments on people's blogs.
  11. Bitching.
  12. Whining.
  13. Whoring.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Puttin' on the Cheese

Have you been to Chuck E. Cheese?

No, you haven't. And for a variety of good reasons. Like, it's magnet for thwarted adolescents, suspicious childfree adults, and snotty children (as in actually full of snot, although there's quite a bit of haught dripping from their sweaty heads as well). And the cheese? Maybe a little too chucky.

And good for you. You keep on keepin' on. And don't you even pester your pretty head about the cheap treats and animitronics you might be missing. You just keep kindling the fond memories o That Other Goodtime Pizza Place of Your Long-gone Youth, of gentle camaraderie and competition for plastic toys that wouldn't even survive the car ride home, of childhood aggression wielded on a subversive mole, and don't even think for another second about reliving your past.

Trust me.

Last night, we and crew of Finn's closest visited The Cheese. It was a reward for meeting his responsibilities (re: child labor). It is not, and I repeat, not payment for said chores. We don't believe in paying for chores. They are part of the family fabric and you must woof and weave with the rest of us.

But we do believe in rewards. Which aren't the same as payments. (No. They are not. Stop it. Are not. Are not. Are not.) Rewards travel as movie nights, as special trips to the museum or zoo, as a Night of Endless Books, sometimes as a toy, and on this occasion, as a trip to The Cheese with some friends.

This was all done in good will for work well done. (And not for extrinsic motivation.) But when we arrived at the first Cheese at about 6 p.m., we quickly realized our mistake. There wasn't a game that wasn't overtaken, a child that wasn't running and screaming and snotting, and no chance in the land of double hockey sticks that a Brobdingnagian could squeeze through the dense forest of Lilliputians to track and trap their kid.

So after waiting in line for 40 minutes, we left. For another Cheese.

Yes, what were we thinking?

Mainly that we love our child so much that we are willing to endure any hell. And that night, hell was populated by a whiny rodent and an 80s pop queen. Pat Benatar's Hit Me with Your Best Shot was on heavy rotation at The Cheese (one of only four songs that The Cheese played over. And over. And over again. My Guitar Hero playlist will have to be amended).

Let me tell you, my people, after 2 hours of that, I was ready to take her up on her offer.

Friday, February 01, 2008


It's nice to see someone get diverse about diversity.