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Ain’t No Fever Quite Like Bieber Fever

March 1, 2012

If my childless self circa 2000 was to be told my two most popular Pandora stations of late have been Justin Bieber and Kidz Bop, I would have have (wondered “what the hell is Pandora” but indulge the hypothetical ) rapidly searched out voluntary tubal ligation.

But baby, baby, baby, oh baby, baby, baby here’s a little secret… it ain’t that bad.

Lately our musical mornings means we invent elaborate interpretive dance moves (some i have coined, others are pure Jarah, I’ll let you determine which is which):

throw the magic sprinkles like it’s going on pasta 

broken butterfly wing

goldilocks getting eaten by the three bears

the cheetah eating gazelle roar

the zebra tunnel

elusive kitchen table face collision

mama tolerating smash mouth head bob

bronte barbells

rib smusher

But younger cooler self, you use to subsist solely on Lipton Bags of Rice meals, beer and bagels so perhaps coolness walks hand in hand with severe vitamin deficiency. for god’s sakes, eat an orange-it won’t kill you.

Right now Jarah’s singing “Three Little Birds,” and that’s pretty awesome, (even if it’s along to Alvin and the Chipmunks and not Bob Marley.)

I could dig out our American Apparel and pretend we are just super ironic, but let’s be honest…I feel kinda like I’m in 7th grade and that kid was  assuredly NOT cool.

Exhibit A:

The mullet and third ear (look close at those coke bottles) are gone, but let’s be honest. I’m still this kid. I’ve just learned to embrace it.

And as such I gotta go cause Shawty fire burnin’ on the dance floor, whoa

On the Santa Cruz Savannah

February 1, 2012

(Racket behind couch: growling, chomping, faux belching)

“What’s going on over there?”

“I’m just a little cheetah eating a gazelle.”

“Oh right. How’s it taste?”

“Pretty good. I’m chewing an artery right now.”

32 looking at 22

January 4, 2012

To Travel Hopefully is a Better Thing than to Arrive  -Oscar Wilde

I have had a fridge magnet bearing those words for nearly a decade. It’s followed me across oceans from house to house. I look at it everyday while grabbing milk at breakfast or preparing dinner. I read the words frequently. And  ignored them only in the way you can to something that has grown so familiar that it’s…well…overgrown. You can’t actually SEE it anymore.

Last night while putting my daughter to sleep I wandered back through old photo albums. Journeyed on epic adventures in the Tasmanian bush, paddled around in the Patagonian fjordlands, soaked up the rays of our first spectacular months in Kauai.  Marveled at the face of my early 20 self.

Wow. I saw someone who was beautiful. Not in a vain, physical way. But in the starry-eyed just on the precipice of adulthood with the world ready to be laid  at your feet way.

Me. 22. Fresh from taking a leap of faith and landing on an island off the bottom of Australia desperately in love with the guy who is now my husband.

But rather than reveling in my endless possibilities I remember being so freaking insecure. I had no idea what I was doing with my life and made the assumption that everyone else must be making more clever decisions. I decided to write a book. I stopped writing the book. I started another. And another. And never finished a damn thing. I was scathing on myself. It my work wasn’t going to be revolutionary awesome, I didn’t want to do it.

I got a job I liked but didn’t love. But having a title, working in an office, having something to tell people i “did” felt like a relief. The organization achieved important, vital things that I believed in. So I let my creative side dry up while I focused on meeting key performance objectives and plotted a career path. And without love and attention my will to write died a quick, furious death.

I look at this person above and in that youth I see time. So much freaking time at my disposal. So much time to make, create, try and fail.

We moved to Kauai. I landed a cool  job that did work I believed in.  Rinse. Repeat.

There is nothing wrong with this. Except I hated that my husband no longer encouraged me to write anything. One day he mentioned maybe I’d take it up again in retirement. That struck me deep in the guts. He meant well but I  looked around wondering “How in the hell did I ever get here?” Here is cool. I mean my desk overlooked the Pacific Ocean and I had acres and acres of magical, tropical gardens to explore as part of my job. But I really want to be doing something else.  I remembered my old dream of living a creative life. It looked like a scar. Nothing left. It truly didn’t seem possible.

Then I had my first child. And another. Moved across an ocean. Found a new community. Bought a house in desperate need of renovation. Never slept. Spent most of my waking time caught in the wonderful gulag. The only way I can think to truly describe how parenting young children feels like.

Somewhere in the rare two seconds of quiet it hit me. I’m in my early 30’s. I’m not young. I’m not old. But I can see my mortality in a way that 22-year-old girl  couldn’t grasp. I could see it reflected in the faces of my children. It should sound morbid but it wasn’t. My truth was essentially this:

I’m going to die. It could be in fifty years. It could be in fifty seconds. I’m going to try to live a creative life. I’m going to make lots of mistakes. I’m going to suck a lot. But that is the beauty. That is the experience. Get Brave Girl. Get Brave.

And then I saw it. My magnet. My old friend Mr. Wilde. He’d been there all along waiting for me to realize. Why not try to write a book again? I only have quiet between 8.30pm-12pm? Why not use it? I only write around 134 words a day? Yeah for me! It’s not the next great American novel? Who cares? Surprisingly…not me. Not anymore. I felt older yes. But more grounded, understanding and wait for it…wiser.

To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive. That’s it. My deep thought for the New Year. And my motto for 2012. And hopefully beyond.

Where do you want your path to lead you?


Why I Support the Occupy Movement

October 11, 2011

…because I’m a college educated, middle-class, home-owning, voting, taxpaying, non-cop-hating, mother of two who drives a station wagon and doesn’t think 911 was an inside job. AND I still think we live in a plutocracy, not a democracy.

…because I’ve voted in every election since I turned 18 and frankly, I’m sick of choosing between Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb, both funded by wealthy special interests.

…because i’ve watched the best minds of my generation beaten down by school loans and the worst job market in decades.

…because i spend over 50% of most days preventing my bigger child from picking on my smaller one. If sharing, fair play and cooperation are good values for the home, why are they framed as zany socialist policy by FOX?

…because i want you to make a living wage and have adequate access to health care.

…because if I am losing track of the times I’ve gone to the library only to drive away with my son sobbing in the backseat because the branch had to add another closed day or shorten hours.

…because when I call to pay off my Bank of America credit (which I do, every month) the prompts are so insidiously geared toward preventing me from paying the full balance I  want to throw my phone out the window.

…because I’m not against profit, I’m just against profiting by exploiting others.

….because I don’t think it’s mooching to want those earning over $1 million a year to pay their fair share in taxes. A 5.6% surtax on those who have much of their income taxed at lower capital gains rates rather than those for regular income — is vastly preferable to raising taxes more broadly. It would take the top rate for the super-rich to near where it was during the Clinton years. It’s not class warfare, it’s asking those who can afford it to  support getting the country back on track.

….because an organic, multi-faceted movement not beholden to any specific special interest or organization is exactly what we need to start a national conversation.

…because I’m not a left-wing revolutionary or a right-wing reactionary but just another hopeful citizen who wants my kids, and their little pals to grow up with a chance of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Right now I see no other options than to throw my efforts here as a more mainstream supporter.

Only So Many Words…

September 22, 2011

Guess what I’ve learned the past few months? I only have so many words in me.

This may come as a surprise to my family who I know breathlessly await my scintillating telephone calls where I divulge juicy tidbits like the texture of my children’s bowel movements and how I shall cook the wilted broccoli rediscovered in the veggie drawer. Calls usually peppered with side comments like “Sit on the couch not your sister.” or “Chew your food, not the back of your sister’s neck .”

Our lives have been full and busy.

I completed my 32nd tour around the sun (don’t write “and boy are my arms tired.” Repress the impulse. Or just put in parentheses if you really have that little self-control).

We flew kites in Oahu and drank Keystone Light in my sister’s garage with a 92-year-old Japanese man. Bronte and Jarah rediscovered the thrill of tropical water and Auntie Mimi’s jewelry box. Jarah learned “elephants have BIG BIG butts” at the Honolulu Zoo. And now feels called to regale this fact to strangers. Usually in grocery store check out lines.

A TSA employee made me cry en route to Kauai. No, sob. Mmm, blubber is more like it (BUT FEEL OH SO SAFE AT THE SAME TIME).

Bronte turned 1 and face ate her slice of chocolate buttercream birthday cake. Jarah spread a terrible virus to the friend who let us crash for a week in his living room. We feasted on apple bananas. Made new friends and reconnected with old. Chased chickens. Strolled the sticky aisles of Big Save. Ran into acquaintances who thought we still lived there. Watched a full moon rise over the Pacific. Splashed around the stream mouth at the base of Makana where over 3 years ago I asked the universe to PLEASE DEAR GOD LET ME GET PREGNANT AGAIN. And poof…here I was with 2 babies. One beating me in the leg with driftwood while the other attempted to shove a ridiculously large piece of coral down her gullet.

Flew back across an ocean. Grocery shopped with stoned college students post-midnight. Started our eldest in a co-op nursery school the following bleary eyed morning. Noted our four happy pumpkins. Marveled at the fact our kale and chard is only now putting in an appearance. Greeted the hummingbird in its regular perch off the deck in the high branches of our neighbor’s maple. Found fresh coyote scat next to driveway. Savored the sunshine and cozied into the fog. It’s nice to be home again.

Each of these snapshots is worthy of a blog post. Or 10.  But like I said. I only have so many words. And Mama is real busy writing a book right now.

Here’s the sexy view from our bedroom each night. Snapped care of my husband. (And check out the gnarled hands. I should be all set to scare off the kiddies come Halloween!)

There Will Be Pie: Summer Update

August 8, 2011

So words are scarce in these parts of late. Apologies. I think it’s because I’ve allotted all possible spare vowels and consonants at my disposal to writing a book. Because really when I looked at our house under construction, wayward jungle garden and two children under three I thought…”you know, I REALLY need something else to do.” But those are the apples. And speaking of apples, how do you like THESE bad boys hanging out on our backyard tree…

They send me into wild imaginings of apple pie, because if this writing career falls short I believe I have a future in pie and crepe making.

So here’s a look to see how August is finding us:

This first sunflower shunned us by giving it’s glory to the neighbor’s yard over the fence. Happily, the others are a bit more cooperative!

Sighing at enthusiastic garden gnomes that green romas want to stay on the vine a biiiiit longer.

Confluence of Big Creek and Devil’s Creek down Big Sur way. Jarah loved the word “confluence” and I loved hearing him talk about it the whole ride home. And doesn’t Bronte look like Yoda’s wise little sister?

Our days are full of fog than sun.

We have learned much this first year as Garden Virgins. Having wins and misses but fun throughout.

And of course there IS pie. lots and lots pie. some looks perfect but tastes less so…other’s like this messy little wonder look like hell but taste like the ollalieberries that grow in sweet fruit heaven.

Now I have to go read my favorite patient little boy a story. Happy Summering!

PS. Stay tuned for updates on finished first drafts (end of August, pleasepleaseplease), dangling plot lines, rewrites, etc.

Support the Watson Family

July 26, 2011

Last Wednesday evening Christian Cameron Watson, the beloved nephew of my brother’s partner, died in a tragic accident, just two weeks shy of his 6th birthday.


While I never actually met the little guy I’ve heard so many sweet stories about he and his older brother that I felt  a real affection for them. I’ve loved seeing the pictures of them cheering on my brother at his races or grinning cheekily from their proud aunties’s frames. As a mother, such a loss feels incredibly disorienting and I feel such an instinctual compulsion to help this  family. We live in a world that balances on a knife-edge of joy and sorrow. Please help tip the scales today in the positive by giving here to offset the costs arising from such a terribly unexpected situation. This family has a heavy load to carry and doesn’t need one spec of financial stress hindering their healing.

And please send prayers, blessings, mantras, thoughts (whatever your preferred method) up for this bright little spirit.

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? –Kahil Gibran