Sunday, May 31, 2009


fiery intangible images swirling,
only nothing is on fire, nothing burns.
rewind. repeat. the hope for a different
outcome is complicated by new variables.

if the problem is the place, avoiding
should be the answer. only it turns
out the place has no significance,
and providence turns the tables.

it's like the man who after rolling
his car three times, survives, crawls
onto the tracks, meets a train, is sent
into oblivion without a word. Unbelievable?

perhaps the solution is in running
straight for the flames. avoidance? Spurn
it. fight the urge to flee. look askance
at escape. run into the eye of the inevitable.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Baseball Experience: The American Way

So my friend, Chi, invited me to go to a baseball game last night with her, her children, her sister in law, and her mother in law. Oh, and little poet #2 went as well since Chi's daughter and my daughter are best buddies.

For starters, the seats were great - right on the first base line. And even though we were watching a triple A team play, with all of the vendors milling through the crowd and the between inning entertainment, the venue had a Major League feel. Right away they noticed that the chairs came equipped with cup holders. "Americans prepare for food and drinks for every activity," they giggled. "It's the American Way", I sarcastically assured them. Throughout the game, I explained some of the ins and outs of baseball to Chi (baseball is not as popular in Nigeria as it is here). Then Chi bought a round of nachos and hot dogs for everyone after the fourth inning (which, she was surprised to discover, ended after the third out...and it was taking forever to snatch that third out). I could not convince the sister or MIL to take a bite of cheesy nachos - which I assured them was also "the American Way." Chi noted that the nachos were a little spicy. "A little?" I puzzled. "You Americans don't know spicy," she giggled. And I know from experience that she wasn't kidding. Between one of the innings, the mascot shot hot dogs from an air gun into the crowd. Chi's oldest son caught one!

We left before the game was over. It was getting late, and it was a school night for the kiddos. On the way home, little Chi rode with me. The whole way home, all I could hear was giggling. Good times!

BTW: Anyone know how to fix my "Read More" widget? I'm not a JS pro, and even though I've had a looksy, I don't know how to fix it!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Post Mother's Day Run

flutter, flitter, flyby
ladybug fanfare!

I went for a long run yesterday - 12 miles. I didn't really intend to run that far, but I kind of got lost. Even though I ran quite slowly (I averaged 12 min miles - boo!), the great news is that my hamstring held up well. :)

While I was running, the ladybugs were out in full force. I was worried for a while that I might accidentally eat one. Next time I go for a run, I'll take a bandanna and use it to cover my mouth.

Ladybug beetle - public domain image
(from Free Public Domain Photo Database: Ladybug on a leaf)

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Who knew that a ladybug would be source of my undoing?

When it comes to allowing my children to explore the world around them, I am a champion of that. When it comes to my children bringing bugs into the house...not so much. Unless it is a ladybug, because those are relatively harmless. As long as they stay in the ladybug container/makeshift house, that is... But you know I have an over active imagination that tends to jump off of the cliff of "worst case scenario." So when Gracie decided to bring a ladybug "pet" into the house, within a few days, I had to put an end to that...

It was a Thursday evening when I suggested that Gracie consider letting her ladybug go.

"But mom, I love Roseycheeks. She is the best pet ever! And I promise that I will feed her and take care of her foreverrrrrr."

"There is no doubt that you are a great pet owner, Gracie. But don't you think that Roseycheeks will miss...flying? That box is kind of small, after all." Then I went in with the hard sell, "And she might miss her family."

"Well, I could go catch some more ladybugs. Then she won't be lonely."

DRATS! "Um, no, don't do that, Gracie. I'm concerned, though, that you are too attached to this ladybug. You've named her, and really she is a wild animal. You wouldn't bring, say, a fox, into the house and name it, would you?"

"I could find a fox around here?!"

"That's not the point, Gracie. Put the fox out of your mind. A ladybug needs to have space to fly around. She is used to being in the wild. And she has a mom and dad and maybe children out there that she could be flying around with outside."

"But I LOVE Roseycheeks, Mom!"

"I understand that you love her, honey. If you really love her, though, you would do what is best for her."

Gracie sullenly took the box outside, and then returned in a few minutes with her face contorted and on the verge of tears.

"What happened, honey?"

"I opened the box, and Roseycheeks crawled away without even saying goodbyyyyyyyyye!" And then Gracie dropped to the floor in a heap; the total meltdown began.

I cradled Gracie into my arms, wiped away her tears, and tried to explain that Roseycheeks was a wild animal. Maybe if Gracie went outside tomorrow, I suggested, she would see Roseycheeks again.

Between sobs, Gracie managed to squeak out, "How will I know it's her, Mom?"

"You could call her name?"

"How will she understand me, Mom? I dooon't speaaaaak ladybuuuuuuuuug!"

It's sad to say that until that moment I had not realized what I had done. It was just a dumb ladybug, for goodness sakes, and the kid clearly was attached to it. Even thought we all know that I'm only doing the best I can, I had to make this right - quickly. Gracie had to get to bed!

"I have an idea. Why don't you and I make a new, more secure ladybug house tomorrow and see if we can't find Roseycheeks and a friend to keep her company?"

"Really, Mom?"

"Really. But you have to promise me not to get too attached this time because ladybugs are meant to live outside. If the ladybug escapes, you have to be okay with that."

"I promise!"

It was almost ten o'clock before the entire ladybug saga played out and I was able to get Gracie to go to bed.

The next day, as promised, we made a new ladybug house and easily found two residents. The house sat on the kitchen counter for a few days.

After that, Gracie didn't pay too much attention to the ladybugs. The next week, though, her sister made a terrarium for ladybugs. While the colony receives little attention from the kiddos, it is prominently displayed in our living room. Just knowing it is there is enough for them, perhaps. And what do I care if they all escape and leave staining ladybug scat all over the house? We are only renting, after all.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Happy Mother's Day?

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree... So I shouldn't have been surprised when I opened the hand crafted Mother's Day card from daughter #2 and found it double dipped in sarcasm.

It looked so cute - a red heart that opened up to a pop-up heart nested in another heart. The inside of the card read, "You are the best mom in the universe..."

"sort of"

And then nestled in a pocket in the top left corner was a smaller heart emblazoned with the words, "You did the best you could."

My daughter laughed hysterically as I read the card, overwhelmingly pleased with her perfect execution of a joke she once heard a comedian say.

She slays me!

Really, I have to blame my dad for this one. Grandpa is notorious for being a joker - it's his love language (am I right, Jane D.?). You know you are part of the family if he infamously greets you with, "Why are you so ugly?" (which was completely ironic before my dad finally had his nose rebuilt a few years ago - he unfortunately shattered it as a teenager when he ran face first into a bridge pylon while he was frantically trying to save his little brothers from being swept out to sea).

So however the message is delivered this weekend, I hope you feel loved, moms. Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Welcome to the wolf pack

"What do you need, Gracie?"

It was our typical Sunday morning routine. We stood shoulder to shoulder in front of my bathroom mirror; I put on make-up while she rummaged through my jewelry for sparkly or pink baubles to borrow that coordinated with her outfit. Then the seven year old looked at me and paused thoughtfully. We proceeded to carry on the most thoughtful and calm conversation I've ever had with this child - as casual as if she were merely breathing.

"What is that green stuff under your eyes, Mommy?"


"Yes. Those dark green patches under your eyes. Did you grow up in a wolf pack?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, your eyes remind me of a dog's eyes. You know, all droopy under there and dark looking. Did you used to be a dog?"

"Oh. Well, no, I was never a dog before. I've always been a human."

"You should put on more make up, then, if you don't want to look like you grew up in a wolf pack."

"Thank you, Gracie. I'm working on it."