The glass shoe guy


Mimi and Beenie sat in the tub the other evening, next to one another, quietly. Beenie chatted on a fish phone to the dude in charge of glass slippers at the ball. She said he said he had lots of glass shoes at the ball, but she didn’t have any.

The girls have been having kind of a hard time lately. Mimi is emerging from a somewhat submissive role in the twin interplay, and it is ruthless. She demands respect. It’s mind-blowing, actually, to witness this chrysalis — the never meek, but usually slightly overpowered child is NOT HAVIN’ IT anymore. Poor Beenie. She’s so fantastically bossy and cursed with large scale vision, it’s hard for her to keep it to herself. Who can blame her? But, also, who can blame poor Mimi? She has many huge talents, too,  and a fantastic sense of humor and compassion… it seems like she is going to have to shove her sister around for a few months to ensure some kind of new dominance.

I am having a hard time. Do you know why? These strong girls need to be left to their own devices to work this shit out. Unless, there is serious psychological damage happening, which sometimes there is. There must be consequence to pushing, shoving, hurting, and general denigration toward one’s sister. There will be consequence. Time outs for everyone! Time outs for all my friends! I will put you on the blue chair, I will put you in your room. For three or five minutes, depending on how freaked out I am when you hurt your sister. Mimi, you know who I’m talking about. Yes, your sister used to bite you unmercifully. For almost two solid years, so, yes, I understand where some of your pent-up fury is coming from. You have been cut a respectable amount of slack. But it’s over now, this slack. If you want respect, which you completely deserve, you must give it. To Beenie, to me.

There has been discussion of strengths betwixt these twinsies of late, also. I’m sure Mimi’s self esteem is also wrapped up in this little issue as well. I addressed this in the car on the way to summer school yesterday and actually think some of it sunk in. Everyone has different talents. Mama is good at doing some things, Dada is good at doing other things. Beenie can draw fantastic jelly fish and Bugs Bunny and knows about skeletons and bones, and Mimi does complicated puzzles in two seconds and can button buttons and do summer-saltz. It wouldn’t be fun if everybody was good at the same things. Siblings are competitive and there’s nothing I can do about this. It is frustrating. And inevitable. Like parenting in general. Just ask New York Magazine.

My paintings have gone the way of the unofficial drought in Baltimore. Sandy beige grass, dusty hard ground. Alone and untouched they sit, in my good friend’s studio. I want to work on them. I have zero time to do so. Hopefully this weekend will expose an hour or two for me to sneak away to pigment-land. I miss it desperately. It being non-verbal brain time, contemplating color and edges and sometimes subject matter.

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Again?

Wolf Moon, 2010.

Really? Is it winter again in Baltimore? This is usually such a temperate climate. But for some reason this winter is especially cold and snowy. Which, frankly, I could do without. Anything that prevents me from going to the painting studio gets put on the shit list. Plus, from what I can tell, winter = scourge of all sorts. Every few weeks, without fail. Bullshit. Maybe Arizona would be a good state to move to next. New Mexico? I actually like Baltimore, tho. And my parents live near here. And they need their granddaughters, and the girls LOVE their grandparents. We’re staying put. Besides, who has money to move? Not me. Not us. Bleech.

I am at once inspired and completely without energy. How can that be? I’ve had a number of ‘occultish’ messages over the past few weeks from various sources. Astrology, Tarot, channeled dreams told to me by a person. Weird shit. All of the messages have been quite similar, also freaky. Apparently, my summer is gonna be OFF THE HOOK! Better start training now, now that I’m trapped in my igloo hibernation compound. This confinement is worse for the girls than for me. They actually require quite a bit of physical exertion, unlike me, who has all too easily settled into a completely sloth-like existence. As a result, they have covered their weird, oversized stuffed horse in blankets, put him on a large pillow, listened to his ‘heart beeps’ with their stethoscopes, and packaged all of their puzzle pieces in brown paper lunch bags. You gotta do something whilst trapped in the house on a freezing cold day, right? The best thing, the coolest thing that happened today, was ROCKING OUT in the basement with the ladies, both singing into microphones, while I played along on my bass. I can’t even tell you how mind-blowingly great it was. They sang at the same time, but complementing one another perfectly, blending Beenie’s constant Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer abstract nod with Mimi’s Mama Sez-type rap, both naturally falling into what was a serious performance. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by this song, actually. Children are so naturally good at so much, it kinda breaks my heart how much we are forced to let fall away once shame comes into play. I must capture this perfection before they realize how brilliant they are. Next time, I’m bringing a recording device.

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.

NORAD tracks santa


Shouldn’t we, as a country, be a bit more concerned about this Santa thing? I mean, S.A.N.T.A. What does that stand for? The fact that NORAD is tracking it should tell you something. I, for one, will not be letting this tipsy, fat, white, bearded man dressed in red felt, edged with white cotton balls in our house or ANYWHERE near my children. I’d rather have the Grinch himself over to steal our two foot tall Charlie Brown Christmas tree, covered in ornaments made of snack boxes and tin foil and roast beast. Santa gets weirder and fatter, more drunk and unpredictable by the year.

Today is day, what, day four? of house arrest by various scourges and the most recent blizzard. Luckily I had a shift in my brain yesterday morning. Where I would usually be yelling at the girls for any number of heinous toddlerish acts, yesterday I found myself, to my own surprise, reasoning with them, staying calm, coming up with solutions rather than just getting really pissed off. This is gonna be THE BEST CHRISTMAS EEEEEAAAAAVVVVVVVEEEEEERRRRRR!

Eight nine ten

gyard_trees

October 25th was the last moment I had enough uninterrupted time to write here. I have a feeling even this post will be cut short due to a certain Beenie, who, in her troubled sleep is hacking up a lung as I type, which is quite distracting. She fell out of bed a half-hour ago and didn’t wake on impact with the ground. Poor sweet sickly thing. She’s had big gooey snots for the past week and now is choking on them, and Mimi is in and out of two days now with her second mystery fever of the season. I suspect this won’t be the last one. She’s not particularly sickly other than becoming quite hot in the evenings, and is now displaying lesser snots than her big sis, but snots nonetheless. Of course, this means I, too, have contracted some form of their hybrid scourge, leaving my right lymph node swollen and sensitive, as well as my left sinus filled to the brim. Damned viruses. Nothing quite as dramatic as to bring me to the doctor, but certainly tiring and uncomfortable, getting in the way of autumnal fun. At least we didn’t miss out on Tricks or Treats. The ladies donned flamenco dancer outfits imported from spouse’s old friend living in Spain. Extremely cute. I took the ladies to Michael’s, the hideously fantastical craft mecca to pick out the obligatory fake long stemmed red rose and acquire deep pink fake blooms to attach to headbands, completing the practically perfect Halloween costume. Despite traveling no further than two blocks from our little row house in Baltimore, the girls somehow came home with TONS of candy. Much of it to my liking, some of which I threw in the freezer, especially the copious M&M’s, some which I sent with my husband to his job. And there were a fair amount of Dum Dum’s lollipops left over from the candy bowl, which I now whip out when it seems like nothing else could help. Lollipops are the candy of choice by the resident three year-olds, with plain M&M’s coming in at a close second, though nobody sings an M&M song, which is not the case for lollipops.

** I have to pause for a moment… I really have so much I want to jot down, and it is just freaking me out now that it has taken almost ten days to to come to a place where I can sit down in solitude, at 11:34 p.m., listening to the clunky dishwasher half-wash the dishes (better it than me), listening to Beenie cough and cough and know there isn’t much more than what I’m already doing that is going to help her out. How is it possible my life has been so hectic that I can’t even write a blog post?**

You may be interested to know my brother got married this past Sunday to his Rebecca, who I wholly endorse and am delighted to have absorbed into my dysfunctional but creative and honestly strange and great family. Well done, young peeps! Okay, not that young, but younger than me, which gives me the right to say ‘young peeps’. Love love love. I offered up to do the flowers for their intimate event, a wedding bouquet for bride and boutineer for my bro, the groom, as well as random other arrangements dotted throughout their house, where they held the ceremony and reception. In case you didn’t know, it isn’t weird that I did the flowers for the wedding. I was a freelance floral designer for over ten years, in one of my many pasts. From my early twenties through my early thirties, up until I got suckered into learning how to make websites once I moved to Baltimore in 1998. I am old enough to have had two completely unrelated careers, if they can actually be called careers, both of which have exceeded ten years in length. If that doesn’t make me feel old, I don’t know what will. Anyway, I had two anxiety dreams over the course of the week I started thinking and discussing what kinds of flowers Rebecca wanted. My husband hit it on the head: I don’t have any sort of outside demands in my life, only internal to the house and people in the house (and don’t you worry, all of this is plenty demanding), so when an outside act that would require some sort of work and exposure to unknown people came about, it was more than my little pea brain could handle. It automatically went into potential failure mode and I started worrying about all the things I worried about when floral design was the way I made a living. Funny. It all worked out in the end, tho, you should be glad to read. The bride loved her bqt, groom was fine with bout, the flowers all looked great in their house for the excellent happening. Whew! Now I can go back to worrying about what preschool to send the girls to next fall, where my identity went, how in tarnation I’m going to squeeze out some artwork so that I don’t have to go into therapy for lack of creative expression, despite the fact that THERE IS NO TIME FOR ANYTHING. Breathe. Breathe from the belly.

Oh, and I think I’m going to start working soon. Like in the next two weeks. I got through the nine pages of paperwork required to start the process, then today had blood drawn to check for strange diseases floating around, and peed into a cup for a drug test. I felt a little bit violated, though understand why it is all done… I’ll be working with a hospital, in their marketing department, building out websites through a content management system, ten hours per week. If it all goes through, which it should. I never in my entire existence thought I’d agree to a drug test. But today I did. And lived long enough to tell you all about it. Someone said this sounded like a “Gateway Job”, which I thought was clever and accurate. It could possibly lead to bigger, more addictive employment. We’ll see. I can’t imagine being able to hold down a full-time job when both my daughters are sick. How do people do it? You can’t take ’em in to school when they’re sick. Reinforces my conviction that you should find the cheapest preschool available, that treats your kid/s well, but doesn’t have too many bells and whistles, because in the end, they won’t be there much in the first year or two.

Oh boy I’m tired. There’s more to write, like about me moving my petty art operation into a corner of my friend’s studio. Hoping to start work on a few commissions, get the turpentine flowing. Maybe that would clear out my sinuses. Can you neti pot with solvents?

On my way home from my pre-employment screening, the sun was beginning to set for the evening. The quality of light was something glowy and cool and warm. I drove by a nearby graveyard and snapped some pics. I find old graveyards to be grounding. This graveyard in particular has the most gigantic fabulous trees. The trees look like the sum of all the dead people was concentrated into growing these ivy covered mammoths.

Discount preschool

gate

It doesn’t matter where you send your kid to school for the first time, because half the time they’re gonna be at home with you working through a variety of disgusting sicknesses. As long as the teachers/caregivers are kind, don’t hurt or let your kid get hurt, seems to me you should go for the cheap-o, bargain basement situation. Why pay for a school they won’t be attending, anyway?

The only thing worse than not having the girls signed up for preschool is having them signed up and not being able to take them because they’re sick sick sick! At least the place they go is relatively cheap, esp. compared to some $15K-25K preschool programs at elite private schools around town. Baltimore city is oozing with extremely good private schools that are utterly unaffordable for regular people yet has almost no decent free public schools, with the exception of a handful of decent public charter schools that have huge waiting lists and you have to win a lottery to actually get into them. I’m not 100% sure the lottery applies to all of them, actually, just the few that are in our area. I want to know why any kid in this city can’t go to a safe, free public school and graduate ready to enter decent-ish society, whatever that is. As I’ve heard many adults say, “Isn’t this what my taxes are supposed to pay for?!” God. I have been thinking lately how this type of conversation, the where is my child going to be able to go to school conversation, is one I never thought I would be having. Me. Do I have children? REALLY?! Geez! When the fuck did that happen? One minute I’m living in an apartment with a bunch of art students in Chicago, boozing it up, going out every single night to see bands play, smoking cigarettes, working a shit job for almost no money, painting all the time whenever I wanted, having ‘boyfriends’ (but never really considering the idea of reproducing), traveling overseas; the next minute I’m having the school conversation with other parents in Baltimore, Maryland. What exactly happened between 1995 and 2009 other than fourteen years of aging? How did this all come to be? I CAN’T REMEMBER!!!

Boy I’d be pissed if I’d saved up a bunch of money, put the girls in a shi-shi private preschool then had what’s happened to them, which would’ve happened to them anywhere anyway, happen, causing them to miss over a week of school from illness they procured at school, all after I’d become gainfully employed full-time. What do people do who start a new job, stick their kids in daycare or preschool, then their kid/s get sick? How do you explain that to your new boss? I can’t come in, sorry. My kids are sick. Is that what a person says? How in the world do people do it? My kids are actually recovering well from their first courses ever of anti-biotics, for different illnesses. But it truly took at least one week of us holing up in the house making sure everyone got all their medicine, fever reducers, pain killers, etc, as well as keeping everyone rested and hydrated. And this started after one week of school. I’m glad they’re experiencing this now, because it would be worse if it were kindergarten and I was a full-time worker and they’d never been exposed to this germy mess and built up their immune systems. They will be five or six by the time kindergarten happens. Two years of the snots and myriad scourges should make them superhuman, right?

Caring for sick little children is utterly exhausting. I am utterly exhausted. I wish I had more to report on the artistic/writing side of things, but I got nuthin’. I’m gonna floss, brush, rinse my aging skin and throw my tired self in bed. Nighty-nite.

Here’s your hat… what’s your hurry?

hat1
Nobody tells you what a pain in the arse potty training is going to be. Yes, I have two toddlers doing it at the same time, and like with every other milestone, that simple fact indicates my own work is increased at least by one million percent. If you have a singleton and sarcastically are thinking to yourself “really? ONE MILLION PERCENT?” Yes, that’s right. If you doubt me, have some twins and try it out for yourself. But consider yourself warned.

With that said, the girls and I are still plugging away. Hardly suffering. Both ladies refuse to use public restrooms, and this is where the pull-out insert to their potties comes in handy. The nasty little plastic thing, size of half a cantaloupe, fits into my backpack and I whip it out when we go to bathrooms other than our own and they squat and that’s that. Works remarkably well. I have half-complained to other mothers about them not wanting to use public restrooms and have received no sympathy — NOBODY wants to use public restrooms. At least Mimi and Beenie know who has been using their personal porta-potty. HA!

Things really changed this summer, the summer of 2009. The babies became little/big girls. No more cribs, no more naps, no more diapers. All within the span of two or three months. Mind boggling, truly. I think I am more fazed by it than them. They take it all in stride. I’ll be lucky if I can make it through next week, with one parent orientation for preschool followed by the actual preschool beginning Friday. I wonder if they pass out anti-anxiety medication at this orientation. If not, I think I have some random pills left over from the girls birth I have yet to ingest. Or maybe I’ll go into this sober, open eyed and awake, like Mimi and Beenie will have to. I will be driving them to and fro, after all. I’m so nervous and excited. Who will they become and who will I find is left of myself? Oh the mysteries abound.

It is 1:10 in the a.m. The house is sleeping. I am somehow staying up watching travel shows, crocheting my first item* (see image above) in over fifteen years. Considering starting the dishwasher, then flossing and brushing my tooths. Considering mindfulness and not wanting any part of it.