a little new year’s music

I LOVE the new year switcharoo. Fresh. Clean. Kind of like my digestive system this week. Everyone in my family (with the exception, somehow, of my typhoid mary daughters) got the dreaded stomach flu for Christmas this year. Which meant first thing on my birthday (Dec. 27th) I watched the contents of my innards fly from my body. Really, how much could there have been in there? LOTS. But the freaky weird thing is, friends, that this horrific purging was just what the doctor ordered. Like doing the Master Cleanser EXPRESS instead of the 10 day lemonade fast. I’ve no tolerance for such things as fasts–like too much the snacks. Feel bad when I don’t eat. But who can’t lose a few around the holidays? Skin’s clear and glowing, stomach only likes small portions now. It’s all good!

Was that too much information? Sorry. Sort of. Not really.

This is my final week of unemployment before starting my new job next week. I’m ready. Mimi and Beenie’s schedule will not be changing drastically. They will be getting to school 1/2 hour earlier in the morning than usual, and collected a 1/2 hour later in the afternoon. Not too bad, right? And my job seems like it will be somewhat flexible with when I show up in the morning. I’m shooting for 8-4, maybe 7:30 till 3:30 in the summer. Being a gov’t job, they may actually try to work with me on this. So this week will be spent doing things I don’t perceive myself being able to do easily once fully and gainfully employed:

  • having lunch with a friend in my neighborhood
  • shopping for girls’ outfits for dance recital
  • figuring out where to send them this summer and fall before they start kindergarten
  • figuring out how to scour my house clean enough to show to prospective buyers
  • finding what remains of my self, what she might wear to her new job, possibly adding to this ensemble of uniforms

That’s enough to think about at almost 4 a.m. after awakening from a coughing fit. Yes, I’m back on the couch drinking tea. And considering visiting the doc this week to get something to help out my sore throat and endless sinus annoyances. Winter is brutal on this mama’s upper respiratory system.

I am feeling empty when it comes to creating art. There is so much else pressing at the moment, I fear there is little left for this part of my life. Which is depressing, but reality. Mathematically, that makes reality depressing. Nothing anyone hasn’t already figured out.

But I’m not feeling particularly depressed, probably because there is an air of chaos and the unknown floating around my house, and there’s not much I like better than not knowing the future. Upheaval is what I do best. After that, settling into a routine is what I do best.

Good, fresh, clean as a whistle 2011 wishes to you, fiends.

Pre-spring scourge? Check.


I thought for a few days I was in the midst of a strange allergy attack. Part of me still thinks this. Another part, the part that just woke me up at 5:50 a.m., hacking on my own sinus goo, thinks I just have a nasty little cold. Change of season, right? Who knows. It is seeming like the third sinus infection of the winter. Or not. On the couch, drinking hot tea to melt the goo away, writing on 20/20. Not such a bad thing. If I could get up at 5:30 every morning, there’d be no end to what I could accomplish. Maybe I could even start making art again. Get to the studio by 5:45, paint for an hour and some change, home by 7:30, when everyone starts stirring.

Work is still happening, which rules. I now have enough office costumes to wear so that nobody has to see me in the same thing twice in a two or three day period. The girls are now always staying in preschool from 9:30 till 3, three days/week. Beenie even naps there — she NEVER naps at home! The thing is, though, she doesn’t really need to nap. It’s just the culture of class that everyone passes out, so she figures she isn’t missing anything, and joins in. Makes bedtime challenging if I can’t get her outside running around somewhere, but I’m glad she can shut down for an hour or so during the day without too much hassle. Speaking of bedtime… 10 p.m. is an unacceptable bedtime for the little peeps, which is what it has become since daylight savings time kicked in. Need to trick their bodies into thinking it’s an hour later than it really is. Hopefully things will flow into a normal schedule by next week. Will try to wake them up early this morning to see if that helps.

What’s been happening? My mom is feeling better after about 6 weeks of shingles misery, so the girls and I traveled down to suburban D.C. to visit for a day the past two weeks. They love their grandparents. My mom’s illness came at a time that the entire Mid-Atlantic was shut down for 5 weeks anyway, though, so the timing was at least not entirely inconvenient. It is hard for me to believe how much snow was on the ground three weeks ago. Mountains of the stuff. I thought it would be May before it all melted, but I think most of it is gone now. Just the rain remains. And memories of being sick and cooped up with three other people in the exact same boat. Our little row house boat. There was only one day of real *lose your shit and kill everyone* mania, where I wasn’t sure all four of us would make it through The Shining, but here we are, somehow still speaking and interacting with each other. Amazing. We survived the BLIZZARDS OF ‘OUGHT TEN.

I have two paintings that sit in my friend’s studio, untouched for months. The Puddle painting and the Octopus painting. The Octopus is a commission for my sister-in-law’s cousin’s wedding present. I believe if the piece gets to the newlyweds by May, it will be within the good taste range of not later than a year after the blessed event. I’d say the painting is 95% done. Needs some color tweaking, but I think that could be accomplished quickly. If I could ever break away from my familial and job duties long enough to do anything. The puddle painting has less of a deadline. This piece started out as one thing and has become something very different. I like the transformation, but really, it needs some attention. I’d like to finish it in the next few months and ship it west. Hell, I’d like to ship myself west.

Chim chim cherrie.

calculatus eliminatus


Everyone loves you when you’re a freelancer. Or temporary. There’s a certain Je ne sais quoi about someone who isn’t in the office from 9-5 every day, won’t always be available for meetings unless you give them lots of notice. I’m still the new girl in town. I know it. I see the tired eyes of the full-time office workers. My eyes are tired, too — not from sitting under florescent lights all day, knowing there is no end to this existence — but from being woken up two times every night to get certain 3 year old ladies to the potty. Still, though, I am not yet a known entity. In many ways I don’t want to be known, or owned, as the case may be. I like being hourly. Some weeks I can make lots of moolah, hopefully balancing out the weeks I just can’t do anything because my girls have infected me with numerous illnesses. I like not knowing. As long as I complete my projects when I say I will, I hope things will continue to run smoothly.

That’s what I’ve been up to, ya know. Working. The ladies have been going to school from 9:15-3, MWF. That gives me four solid hours to either go into the office to work, or work from home. I like both. What has changed is this: time they are spending in school has transferred from time I spend cleaning the house, or going grocery shopping, or writing my blog, to doing web stuff, trying to make a buck. Attempting to appear bona fide. For real.

I miss this, though. I miss having an hour or two, once or twice a week to tidy up, drink a cup of coffee, think about stuff, by myself. I lost this part of my life this past summer when daily naps disappeared, then again, when I started working more and they started staying in school longer so I could work longer, so they could stay in school longer… uh oh.

Nothing creative has happened in weeks. Nothing creative will happen again, until it does. Until it must. I’m going to go downstairs, get a big glass of water, take the last pill of my latest course of antibiotics, and lie in bed. No cocktails, no stretching or thinking. Just laying down on my bed. Waiting for someone to wake me up to piss. I am happy last night/this morning revealed nothing more than a light dusting of snow. Thanks, mother nature. And I am also glad my daughters are healthy again, back in school, and generally wonderful. Both stripped five minutes before we went upstairs for the bedtime ritual tonight, ‘swimming in the pool’, which meant jumping naked off the purple chair in the living room, onto a pile of pillows they set up as ‘slides’. Brrrr!

Alone again, naturally.


Yes. It has finally happened. After what seems like months, but in reality has been about two weeks, I am ALONE. Quietly, sweetly, unbelievably alone. It is fantastic. It is incredible. Silence. The fact that my left ear is still clogged is enhancing the silence. All I can hear is the clickity click of my fingers hitting the keyboard. Just unscrewed the top of my desk so dear husband can whittle down the side a bit to accommodate the new, LOCKING file cabinet we got at Ikea this past weekend. For over two years, since the ladies became mobile and huge enough to rifle thru the shit on my desk, I know where absolutely nothing is. Especially important things that I should know about. But after today, I’ll put important things in my new locking filing cabinet, then LOCK IT UP. The next step to regaining small portions of my sanity will include keeping the keys in one place and not losing them. It is so easy to lose everything. I do it almost every day.

What kept us in our house for so long? No school, no work? The scourge. You know the one of which I speak. I was chatting with my doctor Monday as she faxed in a prescription of antibiotics for my ear infection, sinus infection and pink eye… she said when her now college aged twins were in their first year of preschool, they were sick EVERY MONTH for a year. But then they didn’t really get too sick afterward. A whole year. My girls have been sick pretty much every month since they started school. We get a week or two break here and there, but it’s been constant since September. And they infect their father and me. I can’t remember being this sick on a regular basis since I was a chain smoking, drunk 20something person, staying up all night doing god knows what, working shitty jobs by day. But damned if I didn’t look gooood! Skinny, spiky red hair. Somehow the sickness rarely got in the way of dragging my sorry ass out of the house to have some fun. Oh thin, glamorous, well-lived youth. I’m glad I had one! A nice long one, too. Makes me not resent the insane responsibility that has been thrust upon me (that I unwittingly thrust upon myself) and my husband. I’m too tired to be resentful. Besides, I’ve had some great years. And these child-full years are great, too, in their own way. Just different. And endlessly, germoriffically ill.

Now we’re all just hangin’ out, waiting for the 6+ feet of snow that have been piled onto every corner just to clear off the streets, to melt. I figure a few 70 degree days will take care of it. So we’ll be clear, when? Mid April? Maybe May?

Frigid


I’m having flashbacks to my five years spent in Chicago lately. Today wasn’t too bad, probably because my body temperature is elevated due to a certain monthly visitor… speaking of which… shouldn’t that just go away after you have all the kids you want? There is no longer a biological necessity to menstruate, and shit, I’m 42 years old. Why bleed? It is the stuff of teenagers — Stayfree, BabySoft, LipSmacker. Free me from this tyranny of tampons! I AM FINISHED! The days are hard enough without having to worry about bleeding through my jammies. TMI, eh?

As I was saying, cold and windy. S’posed to snow again tonight, too. Strange for winter in Baltimore. Usually there aren’t any noticeable snow accumulations, maybe a week or two of coldness, some rain, then it is springtime. This winter has been snowy and really cold for almost two weeks now. The sun was out today. It felt good on my face as I strolled in Fells Point from my car to my job. I love typing that I have a job, even though it doesn’t crack ten hours per week usually. I’m still happy to put on grown-up clothes one morning a week and try to be a part of an office culture. Trying to find outfits that don’t give me away is hard. Most of my clothes have permanent stains of some sort, small holes, or are just shabby looking. This has been a fine costume for the past three years, running with wolves, aka toddlers. But I should have a separate, locked-up pile of clothes I can slip into and appear to the outside world that I belong, even if I don’t entirely think it in my head. Packaging is everything in this instance. Today I discussed content management systems, WordPress, canonical header tags, and broken links with my supervisor/friend. Delicious.

I got home from work, changed, then after the girls had eaten they started fighting on our tall, hardwood staircase, at the top of course. I walked over to yell at them for fighting on the stairs, and Beenie let go or Mimi let go of the ribbon they were fighting over, then Beenie did a SOMERSAULT down a stair or two and because I was there yelling at them, I happened to catch her as her head bashed into the side of the staircase. Big blue goose egg over her forehead. Ice pack. Bring it. She and her sister are now sitting on the couch with their Dada, watching The Simpsons. I think she will live, and I think I may survive this spill, too. It is weird how much this event DID NOT freak me out. All those years of babysitting when I was in my teens and 20’s showed me many a goose egg. Beenie’s was a very small lump compared to the doozies I’ve seen over the years. One instance where being old and experienced benefited parenthood.

My scourge is essentially gone. No cough drops today, almost done my anti-biotics. Lots of good cough medicine and no reason to take it. Still have a day or two before I’ll feel up to drinking booze. Maybe I can have a thimble of scotch before bed. Medicine. Right?

Christmas tree came down Monday or Tuesday. I can’t really remember which. It had solidified into a large, dry piece of firewood, so I carefully removed the cardboard ornaments and paper chains, threw the worn ones into the recycling bag, kept a few, bagged ’em up and put into the basement for next year. A real tradition started, for my own little family! How exciting! So not the trauma, crying fit Christmas season I’m used to. Kind of festive despite the month long scourge and no money. I suspect no money took the pressure off buying things. Yeah for no money, in this one instance.

I went to the studio and painted for about an hour and-a-half Wednesday morning while the girls were in school. It was tedious and fantastic. Greens and yellows. I’m gonna be ready for a loose painting experience once I’m done the big flower piece. Maybe some Camera Morte based paintings are in order. They tend to be in an abstract vein. It seems like a month since I was able to get away and paint. One day maybe I can spend a few days a week painting. Visualize this, along with the piles of money required to achieve this goal. Happy New Year.

It’s all part of my rock and roll fantasy


Two a.m.? Check. On the couch? Check. Hacking cough? Check. Post nasal drip causing cough? Check. Cough medicine? My special, takes care of cough and all my immediate problems cough medicine?! Where the fuck is my COUGH MEDICINE?! The only good part about the scourges that like clockwork invade my aging body for the past two winters is the revelation of a special cough medicine that actually shuts down the hacking machine in my sinuses and chest and lets me sleep. It lasts for 12 hours, and I only have to take one little teaspoon of this liquid heaven. Really. Where the fuck is it? When I called my doctor last week, whining about the never ending goo in my head and chest, all she did was give me a prescription for antibiotics and said to call her in a week if I wasn’t feeling better. It’s almost been a week, I’m not feeling better and I can’t sleep. She’s getting a call Monday morning. Poor Beenie was whimpering about 20 minutes ago as I hacked in the bathroom upstairs, cursing silently my reflection in the medicine cabinet mirror. Said my coughing was driving her crazy. It’s driving me crazy. And it is completely undeserved. I quit smoking in 1997, and have not touched a drop of alcohol for over a month. I am not doing self-destructive acts to induce this cursed curse from hell. Go to some other undeserving sucker, scourge. BE GONE! I loathe thee!

Have, once again, had not a moment of silence to write. My last post was trite. Yes, the holiday crap is gone for yet another year. Woo hoo, right? Well, frankly, this Christmas was different for us here at the old row house stead. We had, and continue to have a teenie Christmas tree. Never in my life did I guess that I would have one, much less leave it up beyond the new year’s arrival. But here it is. I can’t think of any reason to take it down. It still smells good, looks nice, and isn’t shedding too many needles. The girls and I will have to make its dismantling a group project, pack away the cardboard snack box ornaments I made and they painted. It is a little tree. Strange. Having two small and important new-ish people in the house makes the whole experience so different. Thanks to Mimi and Beenie for unwittingly healing my stagnant, old holiday wounds.

Yesterday definitely felt like the start of something. Nothing big. Just clean. Went to a good friend’s annual New Year open house in the afternoon. Was having a total freakout (a quiet, internal one) over the lack of babies. I remember being there two years ago and all there were was babies. The place was awash with babies. This year, I looked around to see only one baby and the rest of the children were HUGE. Including my own children. Just gigantic. And I’m unsure how it happened, but think feeding and nurturing the babies may have something to do with it. Next year they’ll all be driving up in their own cars, sneaking into the back yard to smoke pot and the parents will be complaining about how they miss how easy it was when they were little, how you at least knew where they were at night, how simple their needs were. I am overwhelmed by the intensity of being a parent. And this is just the beginning.


No time to paint. No time to write. Seems like my workload at my part-time job will be picking up in January. I look forward to focusing on this skill that I was certain I had forgotten in the last three years. And making some money. Since I have no vices anymore, maybe I can also make some early art time somehow and sneak out at ungodly hours of the morning to paint. I still want to, you know. I find no solace in a total acceptance of my current situation. I still want to do all kinds of creative things that have nothing to do with my home life. It’s all part of my rock and roll fantasy.