Sometimes I still get crafty.

I wanted to make Steven a Spiderman cake for his birthday, and I was about 55% sure I could pull it off, never having decorated a cake before, but having witnessed my sister create several of her own masterpieces. I borrowed a cake pan from Aunt Lecia and gave it a go...and it turned out marvelously! I must admit, I had help on this. I don't think I would have gotten through the entire process without my BFF Tracy, who was also a cake decorating virgin up to this point. We managed to pull it off quite nicely, and Steven and his friends were properly dazzled and impressed.

It was really kind of fun to make, and now I'm looking forward to making a birthday cake for Eliot next year. I guess I better be on the lookout for tractor pans!

 In other birthday craftiness, I bought a super cool book recently, Simply Sublime Gifts, thinking the comic book wallet project would be the perfect gift for Steven.

Part of the fun was working on the project together--Steven chose pages with the images he wanted and figured out how to work the folds so that the images would fall in the right places. I ironed on the vinyl and sewed the edges. It turned out to be fairly easy to make.

Now I'm all flushed with the excitement of actually completing projects! :)


In the blink of an eye.

"I deleted my Facebook account yesterday, an electronic version of crawling into bed and pulling the covers over my head. I was in a weird place emotionally, and my response when things get too confusing and convoluted and heavy is usually to pull away, disconnect, and hide. I get overwhelmed. I reach my limit. I fold in upon myself, like a botched origami shape resembling nothing."

I began this post last week, and couldn't find what I needed inside of me to finish it. That same day, I was having lunch with a friend, and we were walking back to her car afterward when we heard a thump and a woman screaming. We turned to see an elderly man lying on the ground beneath a sleek black Mercedes convertible that had just started to pull out of a parking spot. Tracy, who is a nurse, thrust her purse and cell phone at me with terse instructions to dial 911, and without another second's hesitation, ran toward the fallen man.

Tracy has a big heart. Like me, she feels each emotion so passionately that sometimes she just aches. Like me, she can't stop herself from empathizing, even with those who hurt her the most. She didn't know what she was going to see when she reached that man. We were only yards away, but we couldn't immediately tell how badly he had been hurt. It was obvious that the car had struck him and that he was on the ground. Tracy didn't know what she was running towards. She didn't know whether he was dead or alive, whether his body was broken or intact. She just immediately and automatically ran towards him. She didn't stop to worry about what she had to offer and whether it would be enough, or what it would cost her to give. She ran towards him, a total stranger on the ground.

I dropped our purses and other belongings on the pavement and my fingers blundered, stabbing numbly and unsuccessfully at the numbers on her phone. I looked up to see a small crowd gathering, more than one person talking into a cell phone. Someone yelled, "I'm on the line with 911! Ambulance is on its way!" I exhaled and dropped the phone back into the open purse, glad to be relieved of that duty. I picked up our things and slowly moved toward the small gathering of people near the car, which was stopped haphazardly in the middle of the parking lot, angled out from its space. Tracy was down on her knees on the ground next to the man, speaking to him in a strong, calm voice, telling him to stay still, not to try to move, that the ambulance would be there soon.

I was in shock. I stood there on the fringes of the situation, watching, worrying, standing, shifting my weight, using the toes of one foot to intently scratch the top of the other. I saw Tracy on the pavement, letting the man relax against her, touching his arm, talking reassuringly, but not condescendingly to him.

She was amazing. I stood there dumbfounded, purposeless, tears welling up in my eyes, not so much out of concern for the stricken man, but out of overwhelming love for my friend. I was a witness as she did what she was born to do. Even as I was pulling away, Tracy was running towards.

Tracy touched more than one person that day. She brought comfort not only to the man on the pavement, but to his harried, frantic daughter, and to the obviously distraught driver of the Mercedes. As the ambulance pulled away and the driver of the vehicle stood, uncomprehending, trying to stop herself from shaking, Tracy spoke to her too. The driver stuttered, "I could have killed him." And Tracy replied, firmly and calmly, "But you didn't." She didn't attempt to assure the woman that she wasn't at fault, for she was. It was this woman's negligence and carelessness that caused the accident. Tracy wasn't going to lie to her. I don't remember her exact words, but Tracy said something to the effect of "You just got to see how life can change in the blink of an eye. That's true for all of us. But today, everyone is going to be alright." (After all, as the paramedics lifted the man onto the stretcher, he began complaining that he hadn't gotten his lunch yet. He'd been crossing to go into the restaurant.)

Human connection is fraught with difficulty. We are complicated beings, full of contradiction and subtle nuance. Sometimes we lash out at one another. Sometimes we grasp. Sometimes we push and shove. I think of myself as a sensitive soul. I bruise easily. Inviting connection opens me up to potentially getting hurt. My sometimes bravado is merely the thinnest protective shell around my vulnerable pink squishy insides. Touch me, and I shrink away.

I have to remind myself that I do have reserves of strength, coiled inside me somewhere, just waiting to be called upon. I know I do. I only hope that in the blink of an eye, in a split second, when it really matters, I will run towards rather than away.

And yeah, you'll probably see me back on Facebook before too long... ;)



...is pure, unadulterated evil.

...emanates straight from the cold black, insidious heart of Satan himself.

...kills kittens.

Me no likey the Zumba.


The circulatory system: demystified, but still kinda gross.

I love driving the car when Eliot is with me. If he doesn't fall asleep, leaving me precious time alone with my thoughts and my choice of music, then he's always asking wild questions and leading us into the most interesting and memorable conversations. I always know he's deep in thought when he gets quiet for a few moments, and then hesitatingly asks, "Mommy?"

What comes next is bound to be thought-provoking, or hilarious, or both. Past favorites include "Where do hotdogs live?" and "Do babies like to wrestle?"

Yesterday evening, on the way home from visiting family, Eliot asks, "Mommy...me and you have blood, but do ALL people have blood?"

Me: "Yes, all people have blood."

Eliot: "Well...what IS blood?"

Me: "It's a red liquid inside your body that takes food and water and air to all the parts of your body."

Eliot: "Like my feet?"

Me: "Yep. Like your feet and your toes and the tips of your fingers and everywhere."

Eliot: "Huhn."

*Quiet, thoughtful pause*

Eliot: "Well, how does that blood go around?"

Me: "That's what your heart is for. It pumps the blood all around."

Eliot: "Oh. Well. That sure is weird."

Me: "Yeah, kinda weird."

Eliot: "So...if I eat a really big ham swamich (sandwich), it will shoot down my leg?"

Me: "Um...not exactly."

Eliot: "What if it shoots down my leg and out my leg and lands on my head?! Then I will have cheese on my face! That will be funny! That will be gross and funny!"

Me: "Well...that will be something, anyway."

Eliot: "Mommy?"

Me: "Yeah, bud?"

Eliot: "You know when you get a ouchie and blood spills out? I don't like that."

Me: "Yeah. I'm not a big fan of that either."

Eliot: "Okay,  let's not talk about blood spilling out."

Me: "Agreed."


Saturday, September 4th, 2010.

I've been silent here for much too long. It isn't that I have nothing to say, but rather too much. There are so many ideas and words and images spilling out of my mind that I don't have the time to capture them. I'm wild with pent up energy. I think I may have to go run around the house a few times before I can sit down and write a proper blog post.

For now, I'll try this. Just record the day. This day. Right now. Before I sneak off to bed and pull the covers over my head and say goodbye to it forever.

Today I...

had a picnic brunch in the park. Steven and I took Eliot and grabbed some McD's breakfast and sat and enjoyed the cool air. I love that it's beginning to feel like fall. I can't wait for pumpkins and crunchy leaves and sweaters. We pushed Eliot on the swings, raced around the park, and slid down the highest twisty slide. One of the highlights of my day was watching Eliot ride back to the car on Steven's shoulders, both of them grinning madly. 

ate sweet potato fries. Yum. 

milked a cow. Yep. Seriously. I milked a cow. My BFF Tracy and I and Eliot all went to the Cheese Festival. At one of the booths, there was an Amish man with his cow and her calf, and for two dollars, kids could pet the calf and milk the cow. Eliot wanted to do it, but then backed out, so I did it to show him that it wasn't scary. Let me just say, that was one patient cow. I kinda wanted to take her home with us. 

took a nap. We were both exhausted after walking around the festival all afternoon, and Mog fell asleep in the car on the way home. To my surprise, he stayed asleep when I pulled into the driveway and shut off the car engine AND when I carried him inside and tucked him into bed. I made a beeline for the couch and we both sleep for an hour. A chorus of angels quietly sang, "Hallelujah!" 

let Eliot paint my face and leg with acrylic paint. (Again, this was a Cheese Festival inspired activity because we stood in line earlier in the day to get his face painted and when it was his turn, he quickly changed his mind. Apparently he hadn't realized up to that point that getting his face painted would involve a STRANGER. Looking at him. And touching his face. Oh, the horror.) He wanted to make me into a pirate. When I snarled, "Ahoy matey, I'm gonna capture your booty!" he frowned and pointed a finger at me and said, "Mommy, that's not nice. We don't talk about people's butts.") 

had a couple of semi-serious conversations with my son. We talked about bravery. Someday I hope he feels confident enough to forge ahead and do the things he's afraid to do. Someday I hope he bounces up and down inside the inflatable palace with abandon, unconcerned about the movements of the other kids. Someday I hope he gets his entire face painted to look like Mickey Mouse or Elmo, smiling the entire time. Someday I hope he milks a cow. The only thing worse than spending most of my life hanging back, loitering in the dark corners and watching other people do the things I only dreamed of doing is watching my son follow in my tentative, unsure footsteps.

We talked about plans. On the way home from the park this morning, Eliot says, "But Steven isn't in our plan!" I can't remember what exactly spurred that comment, but it made me laugh. I said, "Buddy, Steven was NEVER in the plan. But that's the thing about plans--life usually doesn't turn out the way you expected. And sometimes the best things weren't even in the plan at all." Sure, he probably had no idea what I was talking about. But someday he will. Someday when he's doing something, going somewhere, with someone that he never could have imagined, he will know...and then it will be his turn to look in the rear view mirror and smile.