the AustinMama.com Mailing List and receive occasional coupons,
promotions and invitations from select local businesses, announcements
of special services and events—deals
our readers have grown accustomed to seeing on the site, now delivered
to your door!
Mama will NEVER sell, abuse or divulge your information to other
entities. Materials to be mailed will be done so by AustinMama.com. This
is a private, complimentary service for our readers, run and operated exclusively
Just fill in your info below.
How can your business get involved?
Contact kim @ austinmama.com
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
pandora's moon is a mirror to the ripe full of this honey drenched pulse woe to the shining infamy of Artful Trysting... it's the age-old archetype of the lovers, the emperor...the ace of cups and Temperence beckons, a beacon on a far shore under the water, slow descent i cannot fight or break the surface grinding in these gears--what's it for if it ends in tears? a great bellow of hot root fire woven through and through the fibers like blackberry vines tangled in my hair i am sewn to the earth and i will wash Away! This longing! wash it away with dead leaves and dirt...
By the light of this honey moon I declare it so and so mote it be....a spell to bloom out of the invisible, by turns then to tremble under the weighty guise of surrender--yielding to the working worn hands so strong! to cry out and dance the subtle dances of moving clay under nimble fingers and eyes fixed with too much intensity to be gazed in the light, i'll hide them away from you and i'll hide my voice...for a little while a small bird in that hand, a tiny mouse i'll kill myself and live anew, phoenix again, rise pink and wet with the morning when i awake to the sun of your voice and i'll play that song again, again...to remember and wink, flutter, more!
these eyes, fixed upon what? this potential--a space to fill? running for what? headlong into an undesirable thing?
my box is empty but for hope--a tiny parcel i'll grapple with the burn that turns your poor boy rags to ashes smoldering while soot-smeared lips pass like the feathers of a thousand song-birds across every kissable part
slept a week in love-soaked sheets face down in the concavity that smelled of you for approximately 1.5 days
you are every bit as luscious as i'd thought and although i've got no time for tarrying...this heady preoccupation encircles me like a girdle with a built-in vibrator
it's a time for speeding down highways, for melting the miles like hot fat in a skillet, for laughing until we cannot breathe, stoned and happy with sweat between our bellies and hair in our teeth...first thing in the morning with heavy lids and heavier breath i'll still give as good as i take, maybe even better
meanwhile, those hands on these hips pushed wide from birthing, hips that sway easy from practice of soothing the pretty little savages whose coos came to bring down sweet honey milk from this same titty that fit so well in the cup of those hands that rushed from hither to yon and lingered just long enough to make me into a human viewmaster whose only reels are of these scenes grinding of gears and titilating in the way that playing cards attached to wheelspokes satisfies a child...
baby, i want an icecream sundae with cream and nuts and shaved chocolate and candy sprinkles...every bit of every thing that i can get, i want on that sundae and i like it that way because anything less than everything all at once makes the tummy ache afterward a vain pain to suffer.
i prefer full contact-sports to hoops. but that's just me.
[note, this is cross-posted over at my blog, www.haikuoftheday.com]
can't quite reach surface it's definitely there though least, that's what I hear
I often joke about being driven crazy. Right now, though, I'm beginning to wonder if it's actually happened. The crying seems to be a hint that maybe something's not OK. This constant, behind the eyes prickly feeling I have isn't a good feeling. Only it's not constant. Some days I'm great - a mama who's taking over the world. But other days all it takes is one thing and I have to chew on the insides of my cheeks to keep from completely losing my shit. Today is a shit losing day.
It's funny how, at about four months post partum, it seems like you're getting the hang of things. You kind of have a routine, you recognize some of your baby's cries, you know how to soothe her, you know ways to literally talk your older child off the window ledge (or the kitchen counter or the back of the sofa), you're getting the hang of it. But other people see that you have the hang of it and they think you actually know what you're doing. Offers of help don't come as often as you still need them. Your spouse goes to work early and comes home late because he sees the house isn't falling apart without him. But you don't have the control over everything like people think you do.
It's a precarious hold I have over my household and myself right now. Sure things are messy, but the kids are fed, clothed and happy. The bills are paid, the budget is kept, the sheets are washed, the floor is cleaned, the dog is alive, birthdays are remembered, Christmas presents are bought, books are edited, new books are written, the car has gas, the pantry has food, hair is washed, underwear is cleaned, batteries are replaced, plastic is recycled, frogs are fed, eye doctors are visited, well child appointments are scheduled, school is arrived at on time, as is dance class, old milk is thrown out, dishes are cleaned, clothes that are too small are replaced with clothes that are too big, prescriptions are filled, lullabies are sung, knees are kissed, tears are wiped away, snot is wiped away, wishes are made from tiny little eyelashes, and sometimes, every now and then, mama gets to take a nap.
Mama does a lot these days and she misses herself. I miss having dinner together as a family, too. I miss having a husband to wake up to in the mornings instead of a hurried kiss as he leaves the house at 4:30AM for work. I miss going places. I don't go places very often, other than taking the wee one to school and dance and the occasional visit to the library. I could go places when he's at school, but I don't have the energy. I've been too busy being mama from 4:30 AM to 7 PM every day. Even if I COULD get out, it wouldn't be safe for me to drive because I'm so tired.
And that is why I have the prickly feeling behind my eyes. I'm tired. I'm a little overwhelmed. I need my partner to be my partner and not a visitor the family gets to see for a hour and half everyday before we go to bed. I need a break, a vacation, a shoulder, a good cry. And I need to not feel guilty for needing that. Because I do feel guilty for needing it. I HAVE a partner. I HAVE great kids. I HAVE my writing. I do not live in Darfur. My husband is not in Iraq. I do not need the food bank for my holiday dinner.
Along with welcome gusts of cooler weather, this week brings Thanksgiving, and the gates to the holiday season swinging wide on noisy, well-worn hinges. So...
to the many of you out there who are observing Thanksgiving this week, who may look upon this time as exhausting, exhilarating, frustrating or invigorating...
to the nervous new-to-this who accidentally roast the bag of organs inside the turkey...
to those who sponge the dishes alone to the sounds of distant football games and snoring relatives napping from abundance...
to those who order-out, have it brought in and make no apologies...
to those who are guests for the first time and really, really enjoy it...
to those who find themselves crying briefly in a closet...
to those whose family members will take this time to come out of the closet...
to those who purchase the cluster of gear and attempt to deep-fry the turkey this year, and to the emergency crews quick to respond as a result...
to those who will look around the table and wonder what they did to be so blessed...
to those who will clench their jaws so tightly during dinner as to lose teeth but who will refuse to acknowledge the verbal barbs because they're above it now...
to those who will witness a newborn's first gathering of family and will take pictures because the new mama is sleep-deprived and completely overwhelmed...
to those who silently swear they will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever do this again...
to those who've said that before but show up next year anyway...
and to those who stick to their words...
to those who feel it all goes too fast and could someone please just slow it down and wait...
to those who make homemade gravy...
to those who stayed up till midnight the night before chopping vegetables, and who are up at the crack-of-dawn making biscuits...
to those who feel like ancient, jaded adults until they cross the familiar threshold of their childhood homes...
to everyone out there to who takes the time to reach out and connect with others during this time; to those who choose to commemorate our human bonds in any way, their own way, at this time; to those who use food as the great equalizer ("never mind politics, have you tried this pie?"); to those who have much to grouse about, but choose not to, and to those who work their asses off making sure others feel a belonging that, really, is already there.
You know how there's a regional thing with the name for carbonated beverages? In the South you say Coke for everything, in the Northeast it's what... pop? Midwest is soda? Etc.
I'm wondering if there's the same type of thing for the words we use for pee.
I grew up in the South saying tee tee. My grandmother - so deeply southern she sounds like she's making fun of southern people when she talks - still says tee tee. I've taught my son to say tinkle. I don't know why we've stuck with tinkle but it works for us. I've also lost my southern accent and become more generic sounding when I speak. Is saying tinkle a function of this universal voice I have now?
What about the people who say number one, or those who stick with pee or pee pee? And does anyone other than a nurse say urine?
What do you think? Speak up, mamas of all regions. Inform us of your urinary vocabulary preference. Inquiring minds want to know. (Or at least inquiring minds want to procrastinate a bit longer and write inane blog posts lacking all the proper punctuation.)
"Volunteer like a man." That's what Going Back to Work author Mary Quigley said in an interview on CNN's In The Money back in 2004. Offering advice to on-ramp moms she continued, "A man doesn't run a cookie sale. He runs the fund-raising drive to raise $10,000 for a new playground. "
Volunteer like a man. Career columnists, job coaches and other back-to-work advisors have since echoed her words. Ugh.
Do they also suggest doing manly things like stopping to scratch your crotch as you unload heavy boxes of frozen Market Day foods? Or leaving a copy of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue in the PTA office?
No, what Quigley meant and later said was, "Volunteer in areas where there are measurable results." So let's change that to Volunteer Like A Professional. For example, if you're a writer, or an aspiring writer, volunteer to craft press releases, write grants or help with the school paper. Take on meaty tasks that build up, and on, your professional experiences. Use your volunteer time to make contacts, develop skills, and work on projects that make an impact.
Good enough advice, but let's get real. Does heading up a $10,000 volunteer fundraising effort stand out on a resume? And if it does get noticed, will it lead an on-ramp mom to a job offer or even an interview given the bias against hiring moms?
The fact is that schools need volunteers for the "gruntwork." Usually there is much more work to do than there are volunteers to do it. Sometimes the work can be done from home, some can be done at night or on weekends, so it' may be working-parent friendly, but it's not all high-profile, fun, growth-oriented, or interesting. In fact, most of it isn't.
Professional backgrounds or aspirations shouldn't serve as an excuse to avoid lunchroom duty or cleaning up after Bingo Night. Despite Quigley's take on this type of "women's work," I've expanded my network by rubbing elbows with other moms and dads doing these things. But instead of counting them among my "contacts," I tend to call them friends. You can really get to know a person in the time it takes to mix up 60 gallons of lemonade.
Lest I sound too self-righteous, though, I must admit that for me, the volunteer line is drawn at counting up the Campbell's Soup labels. Even contemplating serving as the label program coordinator makes me anxious and depressed. Damn it, Campbell's, I will not be your whore!
I started thinking about the concept of volunteering like a pro because I'm currently helping with our school's largest fundraiser- a silent auction. When the chairperson told me that I was an account manager for a select group of prospects, I suddenly felt so important. I no longer saw myself as an underachieving mom begging for donations. Now, I'm a hotshot account manager, cultivating relationships with qualified donors in order to increase revenues by 50%. How great will that look on my resume?
I don't care if you volunteer like a man, a 50s housewife or a chimpanzee. But please, please get involved in your child's school even if it doesn't add umph to your resume. And if your volunteer experience helped you land a job, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share your story with others.
My 20th high school reunion is this weekend. While I've gone from class president to first-class temp, I just learned that my friend, the student body president, was the lead prosecutor in the Martha Stewart trial. He put Martha Stewart in jail and I can barely follow her recipes!
But I'm not the only one who can't live up the standards of the domestic doyenne. My friend, poet (and again poet) and working mom Angela Allyn shares her Real Life entertaining tips:
The ten laws of modern entertaining--things Martha Stewart and RealSimple will never tell you because they have stylists on payroll.
1. Carry out served on good china is suitable for company, any company from your boss to the Queen of England.
2. Carry out served on paper plates makes you a "spontaneous hostess." I like to buy pretty paper plates at the dollar store to "spice it up."
3. She who dies with the most yardage wins. Collect patterned fabric, tablecloths, paisley sheets and schmata wherever you can find them--they cover a multitude of sins. If your fabric is not machine washable, throw it away when you spill on it or dye it to match the stain. You can find these miracles at thrift store, rummage sales, and the dollar bin at Walmart.
4. If one plate is not going to match make sure none of them match. Same with glassware, etc. It's called an "eclectic table setting."
5. If the bathroom, the room you cook in and the room you are going to eat in are clean you can have company over. (This could mean you are having a picnic in the living room because the dining room is full of some project like taxes or your work-at-home job). Only light the pathways to the rooms you want people in. It's okay to disconnect the light bulbs of any rooms to don't want anyone to see.
6. You are allowed to only serve dessert. Or only serve hors d'oevres. Just make sure your guests know beforehand so they don't eat your centerpieces from hunger.
7. If the house is a total disaster and its above 55 degrees Fahrenheit, you are allowed to serve an "al fresco" meal. If it is below 60 degrees, though, I would burn something. Bonfires are "quaint."
8. If the house is a total disaster, turn off all the lights and only use candles. Claim a power failure and call it "atmosphere."
9. If you are not going to have time to change between meal preparation and the guests' arrival, wear all black to cook in, and add a dashing accessory when the doorbell rings. Scarves are not a good choice unless you find one that does not show stains. I am partial to metal myself.
10. Don't do it if you can't have fun. Life is too short.
I kept trying to tamp down the temptation. I distracted myself with Corrine Bailey Rae. I dabbled in some old, old, old Butthole Surfers. But after today I couldn't stand it anymore. I downloaded Justin Timberlake's SexyBack and I'm not nearly as ashamed about it as I thought I would be.
When I was growing up, I always thought I'd ultimately be one of those moms who listened to the same cool music their kids did. I was never going to let myself get trapped in an era of music. You can probably guess what happened... my CD collection is a Lollapalooza heyday hit parade. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Primus, Alice in Chains, Tool, Stone Temple Pilots.... if it can be associated with plaid and Docs, it's on my iPod. I've tried to branch out, I really have. But I just can't do the American Idols and the Beyonces. I can't. So when I was accosted by SexyBack on the radio and I found myself doing a little overbite head groove thing I thought, "Holy shit." I didn't know if it was a good thing or a bad thing.
Growing up, there were those moms who were stuck in their own special era and there were the cool moms who listened to MudHoney. And then there was the group of moms who thought they were cool. They thought they were listening to hip, young music, and they were really just embarrassing everyone with Savage Garden.
Is that me now? Am I the Savage Garden mom?
No, no, no! If I want to bounce my big ol' nursing boobies and jiggle my rump to some J.Tim. then I'ma gonna do it whether I look like an idiot or not. Eddie Vedder can have a rest for a little while.
I'm bringing sexy back, dammit, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.
I was on my bike, about twenty blocks from my house. My bike is frumpy. I'm mad at it. I was in a lovely neighborhood, biking home from the consignment shop where I had bought some really great designer clothes. I was on my bike because a friend had borrowed our van to move some furniture to his girlfriend's apartment. I was unreasonaby mad that he had not returned the van on time. The anger was escalating and I was trying to get a handle on myself. I felt hurried and frustrated. The hills frustrated me. The bag of clothes banging against my knee as I rode into the wind frustrated me.
The clothes had made me happy, sort of, but the process of choosing them had been arduous and I had had to face once again the fact that I'm the age and shape that I am now, not the age and shape that I was, when I used to ride my bike everyday because I didn't even have a car.
But I had found good clothes, at reasonable prices and I had made good choices. The thing that was so frustrating was that I couldn't get a handle on time. I felt like I was "losing the day" by biking up these stupid hills, with the stupid clothes bag banging against my knee. I needed to get home to my work.
I work at home, in a little office off of our bedroom. I keep myself in there, in the pleasant little space of that small office, for most of the day each day. I love the work. I love talking on the phone and pitching my ideas and hearing stories from other moms and editing the sound files that I record of the interviews I do for MOMbo.
So I was unreasonably mad as I pedaled home. I wanted to already be there. I wanted to already be writing the things I was supposed to write and calling the people I was supposed to call. I was all worked up, pedaling furiously.
I think because my days are bookended by my motherhood I feel an essential urge to always make the most of my time. I think most mothers feel this way. I see us, working hard to stay on task, working hard to "get things done." The mothers I know who have jobs at offices and restaurants and schools are focusing, focusing to get their work done in order to be able to get home to take care of their children. Their children have all kinds of needs. So the work life of the mom extends far into the night, as she prepares dinner or goes school supply shopping or answers questions about math homework or holds the baby who has a fever.
I calmed myself down by thinking of all the mothers I know who were meeting deadlines at that moment at their jobs. All the moms I know who were hustling the food to the table at a restaurant or pouring batter into pans at a bakery or typing their final draft of their report to their manager, or giving a lesson, seated on a little chair in front of small students. I thought about how lucky I was to have the job that I have. I thought about how good the new clothes were going to look on me and how I'd probably look better in these clothes if I biked everyday instead of driving around in my van.
When I got home I checked all my voice mail. I checked my email. I made a big list. I ate tortilla chips and drank a huge glass of water and put my clothes on my bed to put away later. I had a big slice of chocolate cake. I crouched over my computer and tried to catch up, catch up... looking at the clock. I have an hour til the girls get home from school. My cheeks feel flushed from the cold clear air. I have to get on the phone again. I have to edit one more piece.
this morning i came to terms with something that has been brewing under the surface for quite a while. i love mr. noodle. i love his putty knees and his curly wig and his giant nostrils and his remorse and his introspection. and i want him to love me back.
i have a history of fierce and burning crushes. ask around, but i'm pretty sure it's a scorpionic tendency. my first had to have been bastian from "the neverending story". ahhhhhh barret oliver. where are you now? i know where he is. he's teaching photography at UC Irvine. and why do i know that? i googled him a few weeks ago, because my heart leaps to my throat each time he wakes up with a start in the opening scene. and when at last, he dares to "do what I dream!," i weep for joy that my childhood sweetheart, so deep and so strong, will realize his potential.
he was the beginning of a long career of attraction to underdogs. elliot with his doe-eyes. waxin' for daniel-son. and, oh, sweet zombie jesus when duckie sings otis, i'm pink all over. that skinny redheaded whore doesn't deserve him anyway. you know it, i know it. EVERYBODY knows it. so why's he still chasing skirt?
the worst, by far, was the boy who could fly. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boy_Who_Could_Fly jay underwood pretty much could call me up and i'd probably leave my family for him, just like that. ooooo, and the 21 jump street that he was on... johnny depp and jay underwood, together at last.
i've never been limited to live action, either. i remain indignant that after presto pulls something immensely useful out of thin air twenty billion times, the rest of the dungeons&dragons crew still roll their eyes when he says that he'll fix things. he just needs a woman who'll appreciate what he has to offer. i think it's sam cooke who dares his wife to throw him out and see how long it takes before another woman snatches him up. hmph. what about prince lear? i mean, he can't sing, but he can write beautiful poetry, and that "unicorn" or whoever she is just USES him. a girl stays human for a man like that, i'm telling you, even if her body is dying all around her.
and on that note... just who IS this miss noodle? yes, the muppets involved would have us believe that she is his sister, but i saw her trying to dance with him, and there is just a little too much tension, if you know what i mean. and she's all trying to impress him with her shiny coiffure and her jaw-buster smile. he hates her, i can tell he does. but a man has needs, and i know that even the best of them will stoop to the level of a common floozy if she throws herself at them enough times.
hey, i'm not gratuitously jealous. i actually liked milly, who the flying boy loved. if she's worth it, then he has my blessing. andie was not worth it. annie potts would have been worth it. and, if you'll recall, she knew what duckie was worth, too.
AustinMama operates on a shoestring budget, which is often untied
causing us to trip a lot. Our noses could probably use a good wiping,
too. But we are decent people who will never be too proud to accept
charitable donations to our cause. We promise.