Category: Lists & Fun

Calm Before The Storm


The prompt for today (or maybe it was yesterday?) is “calm.” Here is Columbus Ave on a clear Manhattan day straight out of a movie: people brunching at little cafe tables, walking dogs, perusing street vendors. Me, alone, no real agenda, wandering through it with the sun on my face. Noisy yet peaceful, the whole scene. It is as calm as I’m going to feel in the next weeks, given the move and work and everything awaiting me at home. Including some extra stuff re my commissioned project, which…oh, just ugh.

But a certain sassy, kissable boy is waiting for me there too, and I’m so ready to see him, I can’t stand it! I am itching to hold him and snuggle him and hear his voice. Mama’s on her way home.

Still Scribbling Away

Thank you for the birthday wishes! My celebration is extending, as I’m spending a long weekend in NYC for a good friend’s wedding. Yes, NY, NY, one week before our move, and all by myself, believe it or not. I’m flying solo as the trip was a bit much to swing for all 3 of us, and it’s amazing how easy it is to move through the world without a toddler. I am so efficient! Unencumbered! I don’t have to plan carefully re snacks, bathroom breaks, entertainment, or ways to wear myself out. I’m mama incognito. I watch the other moms sympathetically and then settle back into my work.

I’m lonely, too. I already miss my wife’s conversation, my son’s warm, wiggly body, the way he repeats everything I say. I feel a pang thinking that I’m missing story time. He’s had a harder time lately with separation when I leave in the mornings, particularly on days my cousin watches him, and it makes me crazy. He cries my name as I leave and I feel like quitting my job right then and there. First time I’ve experienced this, by the way, as it’s usually directed at Uno, and it’s definitely painful (if perversely reassuring). We haven’t been apart much in two years. This seems like both a luxury and a small miracle, on reflection.

And yet, I’m grateful for the independent time. As I wrote recently — and I know so many can relate! — it’s rare that I feel like I can access this part of myself. Rare to be alone, able to indulge in my thoughts. This trip is linked to other trips in my mind, my younger self off in the world, often solo. The photo prompt for yesterday was “something you wrote,” and I snapped a picture of my old journals, many filled in Latin American villages or small shared East Coast apartments. Hard to imagine all that time, now, and all that uncertainty and unknown. I like remembering it. I like feeling the space between then and today. I miss the adventure, but not the angst. I do hope we can figure out a way to go abroad as a family — possibly live overseas at some point? — but right now, life is about planting strong roots.

Today: airports, coffee, bad food, a good book, grading on the tray table, texting Uno when I can. Tomorrow: old friends! New York! A much anticipated wedding! Sunday: home again, my boy, my wife. I’m a lucky bastard, and I know it, and I hope I can keep remembering it through sleeplessness and stress.

Here are the journals. One of these was written in the nineties when I was a high school exchange student, one in Boston when I was temping and agonizing over what to do with my life, others when I backpacked through Latin America after college (lonely, amazed, sick, naive, bold, by turns). Now I suppose blogging has replaced all this scribbling. What will Jaybird write in, on, about? Hmmm.


15: Birthday (Dinnertime)


I missed a few days there, but I’m back and feeling festive on my thirty-first birthday. This homemade chocolate fudge cake was to die for. Jaybird kept yelling “Happy BIRFday MAMA!” and we had a small, warm dinner with good company. The best. I’m happy to be venturing further into my thirties: decade of greater confidence, of knowing what I want, of owning that.

Also: I found out today that I got a writing grant! It’s a small big deal, a local thing, great for making connections and building a new literary community. Plus I get office space, writer colleagues, workshop time…and I agree to finish my new novel in a year.

Because I totally have time to do that.

Er, well. This also happens to be my decade of makin’ it happen.

10: Emotion (Or, Pie)


Amazing how a challenge keeps you on your blogging toes. Day ten is devoted to emotion, which, in this case, is relief. I have a half hour between teaching and a meeting and I am filling it with asparagus pot pie and coffee. I’m happy, yes, but also relieved, relaxed. These moments in between job, house, parenting, are so few and far between. These little cracks in my day through which bits of myself seep – an independent self, or a reflective self, or just a Me. It’s so very lovely and peaceful, thumping bass through the pie shop speakers and all.

Angle + Red


From a mama vantage point: scooter abandoned near the last of our tomatoes. We had a bumper crop of heirlooms. Yet another thing I’m sad about when it comes to moving: we put sweat, cash and love into creating a veggie garden in the backyard. But the new house has built-in beds and a veritable orchard of fruit trees, so I know we have more gardening in our future. We signed the lease yesterday! Jaybird will have plenty of room to scoot or trike around, I will have a double oven (!) and we will not have a flooding basement or broken heater.

Yes, our heat is broken here. And it’s freezing at night. I suspect it’s contributing to J’s sleep issues.

I’m so ready to be out.

I’m Thankful For…

¬†¬†There are so many things I’m thankful for: my wife, my son’s sweet grin, my morning coffee, my new job (er, mostly), grandma childcare, new boots, Grocery Outlet wine and frozen potstickers, sleepy weekend mornings, friends near and far, political satire, camping gear, a working car, novels, slippers, Moleskine notebooks. Nice to make that list. But right now I’d say what I’m most grateful for is our new city. Our old-new city. I grew up nearby, coming into town for shows and cool thrift stores and Culture, but never actually lived here until this year. And I love it. There are so many things to do with this wild boy, and we can take the bus to most of them. Plus, every reads and votes for the Democrats.



Day five of the photo challenge: shadow. In this case, our baby monitor. Oh, my frenemy. This shadow looms large over our lives. It haunts my dreams. It strikes fear in my about-to-go-to-sleep heart. Will it be a good night, or will I be up from 3-4 am with a clinging toddler? At what point will that crackling fuzz erupt with wailing and shake me awake? Will he fall back to sleep quickly, or scream and pound on his door? Will he resettle just as I touch his doorknob – to my relief – or will he take an hour to get back down? Will I resort to a yogurt snack at 2 am? Will I stay calm? Will he make it all the way past 530, at which point he gets to join us?

When I saw the word shadow, this piece of humming plastic came immediately to mind.

What I Read


Yogi’s Mama and Pom pointed me to this October photo challenge. Since I didn’t get it together to participate in the other one, though I’ve enjoyed everyone else’s posts for that, I’m hoping to take part in this edition. The documentary aspect appeals, plus I can post on my phone. Loved seeing the reading material. Yes, today is about books. My current pile is part work related: textbook, research for commission, part Mama (J lives for nursery rhymes – I have Mother Goose memorized), part fun. For the latter, a literary sci fi novel I am often too tired to read but am enjoying, and the NYer. Helps me feel a bit connected intellectually.

Here is the challenge! I’m only a few days behind…

What’s In A Name?: Days 2 and 3

I started blogging on a whim after we’d been TTC for some time and I’d been reading several blogs on the topic. I wasn’t sure where the blog would take us, or quite what tone I’d adopt. Confessional? Silly? Mostly focused on medical stuff? The title just came to me. We wanted to be mamas, we needed some good karma in that department, and I liked the repeating sounds. It rolls off the tongue, no? Harder was coming up with blog identities for ourselves. I chose the none-too-exciting “Mama One” and “Mama Two,” albeit en espanol and francais. Now I wish I’d done something different, because we’re all about equality over here, but it doesn’t bother me enough to change. I HAVE thought about masking baby J’s name (as you can tell, I’m not using the full version in recent posts). Although I reveal so much on here, I’m sure an intrepid Go.ogler could identify us. Maybe anonymity isn’t so important, after all? Then again, as a teacher, I don’t want students finding me, and because the blog did become confessional, I’m not sure I want professional contacts finding it either. Well, hmmm.

Day 3 – technically, that’s today – is supposed to be about first love. I don’t know that I want to get THAT confessional! Though if we’re keeping the definition loose, I’d say it was probably one of my adored camp counselors, back in the day. I’d return home each summer and write long letters from the depths of my adolescent angst to whoever had been my cabin leader then. When I ran into one of them at an In.digo Girls concert the fall of my sophomore year in high school, I about died of happiness. We hugged and sang along together during the encore. I’m sure it was Closer to Fine. Can you believe I didn’t have an inkling about my own sexuality at the time?