December Eve

Time keeps moving. Not sure if it is forward or backward. All I know is there are still little lines around my eyes, a few more than there were six months ago, which is when I last posted something here.

Yes, I am certain I will retire 20fingers20toes. Its time came and went, pretty much tied to when I was home full-time with my once small, non-English speaking toddlers. This went on for 2-3 years before I shipped my little ones off to pre-school, then elementary school and I started working a 40 hour per week job. I am glad to have a job. I was glad to have had the time to work with my growing children when we were running the marathon that is very early childhood. But those chapter book reading, amazing art creating, singing, fighting, drama filled 8 year-olds don’t need me writing about them and their trials and tribulations. There aren’t enough hours in the day for such things once homework and dinner and baths and books and all of it must be completed. And I am not desperate to connect with the outside world regarding child-rearing and the collapse of my identity like I was back in 2008. That old identity is dead — long live whatever seems like the current one until something else changes the trajectory of this one. Control is an illusion, and I have no illusion of being in control of anything. I’d say there was a solid three-four years of focus on 20/20, here with you. I’m okay with that. Thank you for that connection.


The Second Half


My old pal Damon refers to middle-age as “The Second Half”. It certainly feels like it’s later in the game than I’m used to. At least mid way through. Some days more than others. When my knees crack and I can no longer sit for long periods of time (which is really bad for you, anyway!) without my hip hurting, I am reminded of how long I’ve been around. I’m not really old or anything, but I am definitely not young. AARP is tirelessly whittling away at a plastic log as I write, carving out my discount card for the next three or so years. A visit to Chicago last fall had another old pal, Wayne, reminding me that I no longer walk around saying… “but Wayne, we’re still really young! We have so much time!”, referring to us, like I used to, back when we were young.

I accidentally just found out that Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are together… expecting a child no less! How did I not know about this already? I think it’s been going on for a while now, at least publicly. But I am really out of touch, apparently, with popular culture. I am not certain it is such a bad thing. Speaking of which, I had to shut down that nasty Facebook again the other night. I really hate it. I hate the time I allow it to take away from me actually doing something. Not that I spend that much time on it, but recently it seems like any time in that place is too much.



Four Hunnie

gouache painting

Supposedly this is the four hundredth post for 20/20. I just realized I’ve been doing this since 2008 — six years? I can’t remember what I’ve been doing for the past six years. I mean, sure, I had some kids. But two gigantic pre-tweens ate them and stole their bedroom and all of their stuff. They’re trying to pass for my darling daughters Mimi and Beenie, but they’re not fooling me.

I’ve been contemplating the inevitability of the “Birds and Bees” speech. I’d like full diagrams for this presentation. Don’t want to be accused of leaving anything out. Just when I think they’re too young for it, I’ll get asked a question like “Do you have to be married to have a baby?”. The answer was “No. Absolutely not.” But that kind of question deserves elaboration that for some reason I am not ready for. Because what information I share with these curious youngsters is guaranteed to be passed on to their school chums, and I don’t want a bunch of pissed off parents blaming me for corrupting their innocent offspring. I’ve already heard pieces of some nasty shit a few of their friends talk about, and would kinda rather be the voice of science and reason on this. But they’re not even eight. And yet, people who joke about boobs, penises and vaginas as much as they do should probably have a solid foundation in this mess. Glob help me.



Grant Rant

Camera Morte speedometerI’ve come to the realization that since I don’t hang out with a lot of actively showing/exhibiting/art worldish peeps these days, that it is actually up to me rather than random coincidence/occurrence to make this happen. This is how I use to move artwork. Opportunities frequently presented themselves. People I hung out with knew so-and-so who was organizing a group show or knew about a cool space to show in that was looking for artists to work with. This kind of thing made it all seem very natural and possible.

But I am no longer floating in the sphere of the art person. I’ve moved into the realm of the human who can almost pass as a normal person who goes to work in an office full-time and cares for her family outside of work hours. I am desperate not to have the act of creating art disappear from my life completely. Which means that the art that is once again piling up in my studio needs to leave. I need to marry these pieces off.

2014 will be the year of moving art. Mark my words.

Germs Suck

Olive cat
Olive Cat sitting up against the wall.

Haven’t had a marathon sick-fest in a few years. Sure, people get colds, fevers, broken arms, lice. But not the current, virulent scourge my little snotty family has withstood for the good part of a month.

First the ladies busted out with twinsie fevers after running around a little too long in one of the hundreds of snowstorms that have dumped on the Mid-Atlantic this year, then Mimi went on to a week of on and off fevers coupled with chest cold, nighttime hacking, antibiotic delirium, a rare ear infection and the beginnings of pink eye. Then husband got a very nasty bronchitis that has dragged on for at least five weeks and lots of weird medication.  Then I got an unsavory sinus and ear infection coupled with, yes, pink eye. Antibiotics have actually helped me over what was a never ending situation. And then, of course, Beenie was like a 102 degree zombie when I picked her and Mimi up from school yesterday. Home again home again, jiggity jig.

I’m reminded of the bad old days of non-stop coughing, angry infants who would not, could not sleep a wink. Which meant I didn’t get to sleep either, which in the olden days didn’t matter as much as it does now — now that I am supposed to appear to be a coherent person at my job. I can’t imagine how horrible going back to work after having the girls would have been. I would have been such a useless employee. I don’t know how single parents do it, goddess bless them.

InterplanetaryA cavalcade of illness like this, dancing from one unwitting host to the next under the same roof, causes a shift in normal operations. I am the mobile device, nighttime checker of fevers and deliverer of liquids and liquid cough and fever remedies if need be. I check regularly to make sure the children are alive. I assume the husband is alive if he’s made it this far. As for myself, I believe I am still alive, though a variable volumed left ear sometimes causes me to wonder if I’m floating in a nocturnal plane. I am, actually. I set up a small pull out futon in the office, which during these times of duress I refer to as the European hotel room. Jokingly refer, with some wistful sense of lost youth, because I did get to stay in small European hotel rooms when I was young and unencumbered by things like other people’s health. I like my single lady’s servants quarters. I stay up extra late on the computer even though it makes waking up the next morning terrible. But you know what? I don’t give a shit.

Finished a new, small map. It took a ridiculous amount of time to complete, but I kinda like it.


peaches and handI’ve been doing a little thinking. Only a little, don’t worry. About a lot of things. About this space here. About why I started writing like this and so publicly. It started out of necessity. To find some kind of community in a particularly alienated-feeling time of life.

20/20 ended up being such a great way to process becoming a parent to two people at once, to weather the mania and magic of toddlers, to watch the rubble of my old identity tumble to the ground and then, miraculously reassemble in some freaky, adultish way. This, here, just made sense.

I am not completely sure it still makes sense in its current state, as the basic premise for starting it has gone. I am no longer alone with these tiny babies, I’m now working a full-time job and hanging out, doing homework, making art and music with my insane seven year old daughters. It no longer seems right to talk about them or even my interactions with them the closer they become to actual humans — wait! I think they are actual humans. It seems not right in the same ways it doesn’t seem right to put pictures of them on the Interwebs. They have as much right to privacy as anyone else — more even — because they don’t know about the rotten things that can happen with their personal bitness online for review. Nope, not interested.

Do you see my conundrum?

If 20/20 isn’t about twin toddlers and their exhausted mother’s struggle to hold her shit together while also trying to be a creative person and connect with humanity, then what the eff is it about?

Until next we meet, Slinky Cat


Slinky cat passed away a week ago. Her passage toward demise was swift — she seemed to be quite piglett-like around Christmas time, then within three weeks had lost almost half her body weight. We didn’t notice the rapid weight loss since she was the fluffiest cat ever to walk the earth. Layer upon layer of thick black fur.

Slinky was adopted a few months after my second miscarriage and the death of the illustrious Morticia cat. My husband and I were completely traumatized, and that rabbit hopping, one white whiskered cat at the pound seemed ethereal in her fluffiness. She was insanely attached to me for a year or so, then I became a mother to twins and couldn’t deal with having her so jealous of the babies and still so desperate for my attention. I fear she became less than she deserved to be for a while. I’m so sorry about that.

Luckily, she and my husband bonded as I jumped ass-first into motherhood. She was totally in love with him. Slinky greeted him at the door when he came home at night, walked him upstairs to change clothes, sat on his lap. She never clawed furniture or ever went to the bathroom where she shouldn’t have (unlike some cats I know, Olive).

That cat loved to be warm and would crawl obsessively underneath our covers while we watched TV. Slinky was definitely an important member of the family. I miss her freaky squeaky meows and seemingly senseless howling in hallways in the evenings. Au revoir, Slinks. Safe passage over the sacred cat river to the other side.