Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bull-headed little monkey... wonder where he gets that...

Oy. The Boy was truly amazingly stubborn today. He was sooooo cute in the doing of it though. He finally spilled his little dudely guts to Papa once Papa got home. It was all cool, though not as minor as I would have hoped...

So, this afternoon, I'm sitting on the couch after working on Mom's book for a while. Connor, who has been hanging in the dining room with some Johnny Test on Netflix, comes slinking through the living room, in monkey print footie jammies and his silky blue cape, looking much like Rilo does when she has pooped in a carpeted closet. Seriously. We have two carpeted areas in the house; Connor's room and my closet. Those are the only places in the house she ever poops, and damn, can you see it in her little doggie slink. Anyway...
Here comes Connor all slinky-ass. He says,
"I need to go to my room." This is completely out of the ordinary, other than when he is trying to avoid getting caught at something, for instance, cutting all his shoelaces up with my kitchen scissors, or having taken my Blackberry apart and put the battery, cover and base phone unit in three different places. Argh...
Me: "What happened, sweetie? Why don't you show me?"
Him: "Nope. You won't like it."
Me: "Ummm... well, why don't you show me anyway. I'm not going to get mad at you, but I need to see what happened. If you spilled something, or broke something, it needs to get cleaned up."
Him: "Well, you won't like it. I don't feel like telling you."
Me: (Internally) goddammit kid, what the fuck? really?! what the hell did you do?
       (To him): "Okay. I'm going to go in the dining room, and see what it looks like happened."

There is nothing obvious in the dining room. My computer is not wet, it is not sticky. Connor suggest I look near the drawers, in which are the electronic gizmos like chargers and cords, and various and sundry other things... not all electronic, but... lots of stuff. I look under. Can't see anything that would for even a moment cause the cageyness that he's demonstrating. I think. I check in the drawers. I check Papa's guitar, which is leaned against the pass-through. All fine. I check the bookshelves for damage or missing items. Nada. Holy hell! What has gotten him sooooo knowing that I will not like whatever it is that a) he's willing to go take himself to his room to be alone and b) I can't fucking find whatever it is? Like, this should be something major, and I'm just not seeing ANYTHING!!

Okay. So, Jim calls, we go pick him up at the bus stop downtown. We go pick up pizza, and I tell Jim about this most confusing behavior, and that after many attempts, we have decided that Connor will hang out upstairs until he is completely ready to tell Gramma what happened that he is so worried about, and to trust Gramma to not lose her marbles IF he provides the information, and Gramma doesn't have to have any, ahem, nasty surprises. We've traveled the 'nasty surprise' road. Blech. He played in his room for like 2 hours, coming down for a hug and another couple minutes of talking every 15 or so. He would come down, get real snuggly, tell me he was ready, he thought, to talk to me about his worries. I had to close my eyes and my mouth, and hold him, and he put his fingers IN my ears, and told some truly imaginative stories.
"I was drinking icicles." (Yeah, no. I knew for a fact he hadn't opened any doors, and besides, he can't reach the icicles yet. They aren't that long. Not to mention, who the hell d'ya think showed the kid that icicles are yummy? That's right... that would be Gramma.)
"I was climbing the highest tree. With all the ice." See above re: sliding door.


But really, it was kind of awesome! He played really happily, and very creatively, and I hung on the couch at the bottom of the stairs, waiting, and reading, and kinda vegging, which is pretty much my MO this winter. Really, if fear of getting in trouble is all it takes for him to take himself upstairs to his room and not even want TV, we should do this more often. No. Wait. Kidding...

So, we get home, having told the tale to Papa, and I swear, about 5 minutes after coming in the door, and finding absolutely nothing of concern in the dining room, Papa looked at Connor and said,
"Was it IN the dining room? Or where you downstairs?"
Holy shit. Duh!!!
"I was in the basement... Sorry Papa."
"Let's go take a look. It's okay."
*sigh* "Oooookaaaaayyyy...."
Resignedly, Connor follows Papa downstairs.

Turns out, the little mongrel, for whatever reason, decided he felt like he should climb up on the washing machine, and had used the door to the dryer as a step. It apparently made a noise that freaked him out, and he hightailed it upstairs and slunk through the living room on his way up to his bedroom, at which time he ran into me.

So, no yelling ensued, it appears the dryer still functions, although I won't know for sure until I run a load tomorrow. Hopefully, we don't have to add 'dryer' to the list of things in need of replacement when we leave...
And most importantly, hopefully Connor will be a little more willing to tell us what's up, and also develop an awareness that he cannot slink past Gramma without her noticing. I didn't just fall off the turnip truck, as it were.

Ooooooo!!! Turnips!!! I should get some turnips...
God I'm easily distracted these days... someday, my brain will figure out a way to ooze back into my skull. Like, when Kindergarten starts next fall? At least maybe it can ride around on my shoulder then, rather than having to be hunted down every. damn. time. I need it?

Friday, December 3, 2010


I have a friend, a single mother, who experienced a journey through breast cancer a few years ago. She's actually still dealing with reconstructive surgeries. During this time, the father of her very young (then) son came back into her life to 'help' with their son. Daddy was an abuser. She's also still dealing with the fall-out of him breaking into their home and physically attacking my friend. In front of their boy. Dickweed.

Anyhoo... as I go through this treatment with interferon for the Hepatitis, I find myself thinking about her quite frequently. I am having a pretty hard time with this. I feel like crap. I am tired tired tired. Some days I am sitting on the couch, and I hit the wall and literally fall over, unable to stay awake, getting Connor to come climb up on the couch with me, sitting behind my folded knees to watch some Nick Jr. or a movie. If he's behind my knees, I'll wake up if he goes wandering about. At least to a point of consciousness that I'm aware of noises he's making, and his general whereabouts in the house. This is absolutely nothing in comparison. She was single, with a really small kid, not a big ol' boy who's going to kindergarten next fall. She was on chemo, recovering from a double mastectomy. With an abusive asshole to boot. I really have a deep admiration for her fortitude. I'm struggling, and I haven't needed surgery, and the hair I lost recently I paid someone to cut off.

I miss my friends. I know it's been years and years, but I miss my friends. I miss my shared life with Alana, and Lisa and Andy, and Bonnie, and Zanana, and Becky, and the passel of kids that were in that life... My own darlings, Jesse and Willow and Rhia and Tehya and Tatiana and Amber and Justin and Mariah and Jarrod and Olin...

I have some good friends here. They have assured me that I can call if I need anything. But I'm not likely to call. Truly. I have a super hard time with that. And the one thing I really really really need help with? The one thing my friends don't do: little kids. Connor is totally alone. We have no friends from the preschool after 2 plus years. All of my friends are my age, with grown kids. Barb has the youngest kid, at 13, almost 14. I miss the house full of kids, I miss the watching of each other's kids while various permutations of us did stuff, whether it was homework or cleaning the house before the parents came to visit. Or just going to the grocery store without kids. I still remember after one of my kids' birthday parties, Lisa said to Andy, I'm going to run to the co-op. I'm leaving the girls with you. Alana and I looked at each other, and both of us looked at Jim, a gleam of hope in our collective eye. "Go chicks. We've got it. The dads are on." Alana and I were absolutely giddy! Which sort of scared us, but we had a good laugh over how excited we got at the prospect of a grocery shopping trip sans littles. And the big big big upside? We had loved and trusted friends when we needed 'couple time'. Now, with our lack of social support, we have to find a sitter who will stay with Connor out of their love of us, and the goodness of their hearts. Mostly, our wonderful youngest kid. Primarily, though, we switch off, and do nothing together. One of the things we were most looking forward to when the kids got grown. Didn't expect do-overs.

And support in illness. Whether mine, or that of the kid, or Jim's, or worst, when both Jim and I are sick, and Connor isn't, we have no-one who has our backs. Connor has an immune system of steel. Jim and I can be totally out of it, and Connor is in the fullness of health and 4 year old energy. Holy crap. Seriously?! If there were justice in the world, adults would have the energy of 4 year olds! How the hell is a 40 or 50 year old supposed to even begin to keep up with that?

I miss my friends. I miss my community. I am hopeful I will be able to build community again in my life. I am super duper hoping that I manage to make it through the next 3 months of this treatment without losing my mind, without succumbing to the irritability or the depression. Without losing my patience too often with my sweetness and light.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It never rains...

So, my daughter, my lovely wonderful smart funny thoughtful daughter, is imploding again.

The phone calls apparently started around 8:30 on Saturday evening. Usually this means she wants a ride, or me to bring her something. With the current state of things here, me being on the icky medication and tired tired tired all. the. time. and her being 20, I am not down. So, I ignored it, and turned off my ringer so I could go back to sleep. Apparently, the calls didn't stop.

Around 2am Jim comes up and says, Cassady is calling again. I ignored it. Was that bad? My response? No! It's fucking 2am!!! Not cool, not okay, she's not 15, she's 20. She's chosen to be a party girl despite everything, we have other things to think about, like, who's getting up with Connor (HER son!) in another 3 hours. She makes her choices, she has to deal with her consequences. And we parent her seriously major life choice every day while she continues to flail. Then, a bit later, 2am again, only 3 to our brains as the clocks had JUST gone back that hour, our son calls. He is with his sister. She is not in good shape. She is covered in blood and cuts and bruises, and is high as a kite, and has just seen a friend completely freak out on acid, smashing all of his material possessions and putting his arms through his bedroom window, resulting in life-threatening arterial slice to an arm. Jorma asks if we want him to take her to his house for the night, he's got her out at the 24 hour diner having coffee, and she can crash on his couch, but can we please come get her sometime on Sunday? Holy hell. Oh. My. God. Yes, please, and of course we can.

This was the culmination of a couple rough weeks for her... stress with a straight job, a boy doing the 'it's not you, it's me' thing, too much alcohol, checking herself into a mental health crisis center for a week, missing all the Halloween parties. Gotta make up for missing those... yeah. How'd that work out for ya'?


So, she got sent back to California, back to her grandma, aunt, uncle and cousins, where she usually does well, where people get her, get us, get her life history, and adore her in all her crass, loud, emotional, creative, brilliance. By the time she gets to her usual desire to split from there, we'll be gone from here, so if she wants to come back to the cesspool again, it's all on her. She'll be 21 in March. I'll be in Montana by mid-June. Her brother will likely be in Ann Arbor. No family to come back to. If these people she thinks are her friends are enough to pull her in again, well, nothing I can do to stop it, but for sure nothing I'm going to do to facilitate it. I'm quite sure she can and will eventually pull her head out of her ass and be just fine. Just hoping that can happen without prison or death coming first.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I am LAME!!

Oy vey, am I lame! I really had excellent intentions of writing regularly when I started this, but I quickly let it go by the wayside as I often do with well-intentioned projects.


Well, we'll give it another go, shall we? And see what perhaps I can come up with to yakk about.

Okay, quick update...

Jim sold his motorcycle, and we headed back to Montana. I am no longer employable at GVSU as I never actually finished my MA (damn life! had to keep happening, no respect for a girl's plans...) and Jim's contract is up at the end of the school year, so we're finally able to say 'good-bye' to Grand Rapids! Oh, happy dance! Anyway, we'd toyed over the last few years with Yellow Springs, Ohio... But you know what? Too small. 4000 people. It's adorable, and lovely for a weekend getaway, but for a relocation, meh. I know that we would go wackadoo there in short order. So then last summer when we travelled, we randomly happened into Missoula, Montana when Jim really needed a short break from the road and the restrained just-turned-three-year-old. And we LOVED it. And after all hell broke loose in California (a story for another time), we decided to go back and check it out further. And it was rainy, and we were crabby, but we had a pretty good day. Didn't camp, didn't try kayaking, didn't do a lot of things, but found the best. beer. ever. So, points! Then Jim took me to Traverse City finally this year. Oh man, it is gorgeous up there! And we were just about ready to pack and move north, for many reasons (most of which have completely lost significance in the months since) when he sold the motorcycle, handed me a pile of hundreds and said, "What do we do with it?" I said, "Let's go to Montana. I'm not at all sure that's not the right place."

So away we went, on a whim. Money on Tuesday, on the road by Friday, with car repairs done and packing on the fly. Drove the north route most of the way... seriously, if I never have to drive through Chicago again, I can die happy. Pulled into Missoula on Sunday the 13th of June, and headed straight downtown to the Dragon Playground. Connor had remembered that playground since last summer! Crazy! The Made Fair was happening in Caras Park, so Jim went to look around, I took Connor to the playground, then we switched off, and by the time we'd been in town for half an hour, I'd made a friend who offered us her yard in which to camp and Jim had made a friend who gave him directions to the regional Rainbow Family camp-out. That was like 90 miles, though, so we stayed in the yard of the awesome artist woman I met. And so went the week. We got pretty familiar with the city, I hiked up the M behind the University of Montana, we went to the waterpark, we hiked in the Rattlesnake, we found the Zootown Arts Community Center (I think that's it's name), we met amazing, friendly, open people. We had the best coffee!!! Seriously, Moose Drool is the shit. We shopped every day at the most wonderful food store I've been in since leaving Seattle. Everything in the universe is available in bulk, including Goddess dressing, Veganaise and Crofter's Strawberry. And flour. There are bins of wheat, and you put a bag under, and push a button, and voila! flour. Believe me, after almost 10 years in Grand Rapids, where finding coffee beans in bins is an accomplishment, this was a huge fucking thrill. Then we spent a week camping out at a small lake about 35 miles east of Missoula. Jim and Connor both tried fishing, and had a way good time. Connor ended up catching dinner one night at the children's fishing pond in town. He was sooooo proud of himself!

It was a simply lovely trip. We took 90 most of the way back, but bumped up to the UP at some point. Came back down through Petoskey and Traverse City. Man oh man, I am SO glad we went back to Missoula before we moved to Traverse!!! Tourist mecca. Traffic?! Guerneville is the same thing... summer tourists, one main street, nowhere to park, packed everything everywhere. So, Missoula it is. Having actually been there 3 times now, having actually spent 3 weeks there this summer, I am as sure as I can be. Another big plus? All my west coast friends are now a 2 day - max - drive, as opposed to the 4-5 days currently. More really, if we're being responsible. Speaking of which, Jim pushed to the point our first night back on the road heading home that he totally didn't see the mule deer that leapt out onto I-90. Now we know that he has the early stages of cataracts, it makes even more sense, but he'd pushed for almost 800 miles. We got seriously lucky. No mechanical damage, but my Taurus is two-tone now. Replaced the rear driver side door, the front left quarter panel and the side view mirror. Amazingly, no broken glass even. Although we have a permanent imprint of the old mirror sort of carved into the driver's window. The antler smear came off the windshield. Yay.
Anyway, I made sure we didn't do that again...

Good trip, fun times, cannot freaking wait to be done with Michigan and heading to the mountains. Boy, do I miss the mountains. Like, really a lot.

So, now we are back in the swing of school (for Jim), hanging at home with the boy most days (me), and gearing up for the winter. I canned this year for the first time! Shout out to digthischick for that inspiration. It feels awesome to open up the cupboard and see a shit-ton of jars of fruit that you put in the jars! I think pear-blueberry is my fave. I have it on toast most mornings when I take my pills. I have finally started the interferon treatment for the Hepatitis C, and that, my friends, is not so fun. I will tell you all my woes, try to update more frequently... it really should be a no-brainer, because you know what? My ass is IN BED 2 days a week at least, and laying around for a good portion of the other 5. But, this too shall pass, and I fully expect a clean bill of health at the end, which will mean that I can go drink that best. beer. ever. in Missoula, and be a happy healthy gramma-lady. 

Okay. Good enough for a quick update. Imma see if'n I can't make this thing a part of my life. I have some time to make new habits, that is fo sho.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Some small accomplishments, and small big things

I got some stuff planted! Yay! After the whole leg injury fiasco, I feared I would have to live yet another year without even really attempting to grow food. But! I got some herbs planted, some strawberries planted, some zucchini planted. I know I know... zucchini grows crazy amounts of veggies! I like zucchini bread though, and it freezes really well, and I learned a couple years ago how to make double batches of muffin batter, pour it into paper-cup-lined muffin tins, and freeze the batter unbaked. Then you pop those babies out, put them into a ziploc, and when you want some fresh muffins, just put the cups back into the muffin tin, and put it into the oven. Don't even have to adjust the bake time or temp. Maybe just a hair, but it's then 17 minutes instead of 14 or something. So, lots and lots and lots of zucchini muffins all winter! Fillin' the deep freeze, yo!

Let's see... other small accomplishments... got the big book of my mom's memoirs transcribed. While this is actually fairly monumental, it is a small thing in the big picture. Very happy to get that done. Just two small books and the stuff Hannah's working on, and I can put the whole behemothic thing together! I think I may have to print it to proof it effectively. Ack! It's gonna be almost a freakin' ream of paper! Not really even kidding... solid 350-400 pages. And then standardizing the format... not really sure how one goes about that, but I'm going to try to figure it out. I'm sure I have a Word book somewhere around these here parts...

And, most awesomely, one small big thing is that Cassady will be here in ONE WEEK!!! You know, seeing your 20 year old daughter is a small thing, it would seem, but it is HUGE here in our house. We haven't seen her in 7 months. Connor has grown and changed, she has grown and changed (differently, but, well... you know...) and, she had her 20th birthday far from home. The day after she gets here is her brother's 18th birthday, so I get to perform a small gesture for them that is a big deal for me:
For perhaps (quite likely) the last time, I will get to prepare my traditional birthday breakfast for my kids. Hers will be late, but they will be together in my house, and they will get pancakes, with the number of years they've inhabited the planet placed carefully in chocolate chips, fresh strawberries circling the edge, and whipped cream surrounding the whole shebang. I am giddy! It's such a little thing... strawberry-chocolate chip pancakes. It's so huge... I'll be putting a '20' on one and an '18' on the other. My last baby enters adulthood in the legal sense. It's a huge day. I'm feeling it. Even though he's been on his own almost a year, and she's been coming and going for several years now, the reality that Jorma is a legal adult, he needs my permission for nothing, is responsible for his own self, can vote, can get his own passport... it's just really a turning point, a new place in our relationship, a new place in his life.

I've never been one to dread the empty nest. In fact, I was looking really really forward to the empty nest. I got Connor, so the nest had to quickly be rethatched, but I am so proud that I have raised independent, competent young adults. And yet... the passage of 'children' is a profound moment in parenting. Small... just one day turning into another. Huge... they are now truly responsible for their own actions, the consequences, and off in the world, traveling, finding their own joys, experiencing their own sorrows, not coming home to share their triumphs and tragedies. Dealing with adult life, as adults in the world.

Wow. Just... wow.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter weekend

This weekend was a trip. I was late in starting projects, so, though I got eggs dyed (used beets and onion skins! It was awesome!), I didn't get the little thingies to put bits of candy in, and I didn't succeed on the first round of nest-making. So, we have lovely eggs and extra dye in the fridge, candy in the cupboard (YAY!!) and little nests on the counter.


I'll get it more together next year.

In other news, I turned 44 on Saturday! Jim pooped out on me, the result of the major painkillers he'd taken on Friday for a tooth extraction. It was all good though. I went to Founder's, saw some good friends, heard some good music, and had a great time!

I also finally took the leap and covered my gray hair. With purple. The first round, I used a dye I was not super familiar with. Cassady had gotten this particular type during her last round of color-dying. I think she had some bright blue and some green maybe. It didn't take all that well, and started out looking faded and sorta lavenderyish rather than PURPLE. So, yesterday I picked up the old standby Manic Panic Purple Haze, and lo and behold! The gray is PURPLE! Yay!!! Stoked!!! Connor wanted his green. Good ol' food coloring for him... he's looking adorable today... crunchy curls where we didn't rinse out the color, which has a good bit of vinegar, and he's taken to my hair clips, so he's got silver grabby clips on either side of his curly green head. Now I'm gonna put him in some jeans and some Converse, and go out shopping, and cause the general public to wonder why that darling little girl is dressed like a boy. LOL! I gotta get his Easter gift clothing from Gramma Julie and Grampa Ed in the wash. What a great Target shopper Grampa is! Awesome black Shaun White skateboarder t-shirt, jean shorts, and a Shaun White flannel, gray and purple plaid. He looks uber cool in his duds with his black high-tops, and his long curls. As Connor puts it, "Just like Shaun White, but his curls are red, and mine are golden." Yes, child, they are, as golden as your personality. So, I totally have to get him all skater-boy dressed, and put the clips in his green hair, and get him out on his board. He can actually kinda flip the thing! Fearless...

So I was checking out Good Eats last night, late o'clock, and Alton MADE garam masala. Soooo going to go get some more whole spices and make that! Chicken Tikka Masala on Basmati tonight! Oh yeah! Next time, if the whole sauce thing works out, I'll do it with tofu maybe. For Jorma's birthday feed maybe... I can use soy yogurt, and his vegan friends will swoon at my feet. Yeasssssss.... 'tis goooood....

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Early spring in Michigan

It has been soooo beautiful here in West Michigan. Barely spring, and the trees are leafing out, flowers are blooming, and we haven't closed the windows, even at night, for 4 days. Connor has spent hours and hours in the back yard, and the block is full of kids and dogs that we'll be meeting this spring and summer.

And yet, yesterday was totally one. of. those. days. And I'm aggravated and frustrated in a very general way. Why? I can't go enjoy a leisurely walk in this gorgeous weather. I can't take the dog for a walk, I can't take Connor to the park, and Connor is suddenly an obstinate little turkey. He is simply ignoring every. word. out of my mouth. At the height of my frustration last night, I asked Why? Why are you not listening to my words? His response? I just do whatever I want to do.

Great. 15 should be super fun.

So here we are... me in my boot, dog freshly spayed and a little wonky, Jim with a sore mouth from a tooth extraction yesterday, a boy who 'just does whatever he wants', and today, my 44th birthday, I woke up with a screaming headache (love the spring, hate the pollen) and my period. Happy birthday to me.

Yawn. I wish to go back to bed.

But what I'm going to do is try to find my kitchen again today, boil some eggs, make some dye (onion skin and beet), put the purple in my hair (I finally have what I deem to be enough gray to make it a worthy endeavor), put some food color dye in Connor's hair (he wants it green), make some felt egg pouches, and go out to hear Ribbons of Song at Founder's tonight.

And try really really really hard not to trip over the dog, lose patience with the boy, or get bitchy with the hubs. We'll see how it goes.....

Monday, March 29, 2010

It was 20 years ago today...

... that my beautiful daughter Cassady Rose was born.

Just a few hours old with her very smitten daddy

3 months

TWENTY YEARS. How can that be? I can't imagine that I am actually that old, even as my 44th birthday rolls around next Saturday. The Saturday after, my eldest turns 25.  TWENTY FIVE!!! And 2 weeks after that, my youngest, my sweet baby boy, turns 18. EIGHTEEN!!! My youngest, an adult. And another 3 weeks after that, my beautiful grandson, child of my beautiful daughter, will be 4. FOUR!!! Birthday season is upon me again, and I am once again amazed at the passage of time.

But today, today is my daughter. My girl. My heart. The one I totally get, as hard as she is for others to grasp. My mother and I, we GET her. She is a free spirit. She always has been. She's flown by the seat of her pants, and lived by her own rules since before she was conceived. I was sitting with my husband one evening, looked at him, and I knew... my daughter wanted to come to me. Six months later, I learned I was pregnant. And I knew, knew I would have a girl. And then I woke up one morning knowing her name. She picked us. She is us. She is amazing. A wild, wooly girl who leaps weeks to months prior to looking. She speaks with conviction prior to thinking. She has paved her own way her entire life.

She was born almost 3 weeks late. I woke up in labor on a Thursday morning after learning of the sudden death of a dear friend the evening before. For some reason, she held on until he left. I knew the moment I heard of his passing that she would come the next day. I knew I wake in labor, and I did. Our midwives came early, and passed a long hard day with us. I was sleep-deprived from the previous day's news, and my energy flagged. I heard whispered discussions of transporting me if I didn't start making some progress. One of my midwives, Luna I think, went for recharge, and a friend made miso soup. My energy picked up, and we made it through. I rocked on hands and knees for what felt like forever to get her to flip head-to-back so that she could make an easier passage. Jim below me, talking to her, Michelle behind me, giving counter-pressure during contractions.

Oh man, that was a long day

I was almost fully dilated and pushing. My water broke, she flipped, Luna I think gave the order to lay down on my side NOW. From there, I remember just fuzzy voices of Luna by my feet giving direction to Michelle, who passed it on to Jim, who guided me. My very pregnant friend C'Dale, she of the miso soup, was in the fridge with the Ben and Jerry's when my dear friend Francine said, "Look at that face!" The BnJ was thrown into the freezer, "Face?! Where's a face?!" And my daughter was born. She was born with her eyes open. She looked around the room at her audience while her little wriggly body was still inside. Once she was out and on my chest, she looked around, stretched, sighed deeply and contentedly, and just snuggled into my shoulder. My daughter. I didn't even need to check... I knew. My daughter had come through to me. The first place she went was to our dear friend's funeral service in San Francisco. She was 3 days old. It was April Fool's Day. The irony; it burns.

Her first year flew in a dream-daze of nursing, and cuddling, and playing, and basking in mommyhood as I'd been unable to with my older son, now 5, who'd been born just a week after my 19 birthday, in a crap-ass relationship with a crap-ass 'man'. This was completely different.

She was a bright, bubbly, outgoing and fantabulous little being of light. She loved her Daddy beyond measure, even though I had the boobs! Sheesh!

6 months - mohawked little dumpling

                                                                                          First birthday

Her second year heralded changes brought incredible advances in language and sociability. She was talking in articulate, long sentences by 17 months. "Daddy, I believe I've left my doll in the car. Do you think you might be able to get her, please?" Too soon, her son would mirror that exact skill.

Second birthday with her beloved aunties

When she was two, she got a brother

His story next month... what a cute little monkey! I very carefully coordinated us. We are rockstars! And young... jezuhs, so young...

Two and a half, Redwood Park, Arcata, CA

She sang, she danced. My friend Tyme called her the humming baby. She was always always always always moving through life skipping and dancing and humming to herself. She NEVER simply walked. Her son mirrors this as well. She loved to be center stage. Loved loved loved attention, brought joy and consternation wherever she went, entrancing and frustrating, in the most charming and disarming way, any and all who crossed her path.

Seventh birthday. What a goofy frosting princess.

We had some serious fun in the 5-9 years. God, how I love those years! Such wonderful little loves they are! Connor will enter those years in one more year. Not to minimize the adorableness of 4, but man, 5! Sooooo helpful, so generous, so funny. They get jokes, they tell actual jokes, they just are so... big. Lovelovelove... She's certainly opened unexpected musical doors, and I learned all about swimming, a skill I never mastered. She swam like a fish. She sang like a goddess, she loved all kinds of music. From the Backstreet Boys to The Dresden Dolls, my musical horizons have been tremendously expanded by her. And we've always been advocates of going to live music. The girl was at 25 Grateful Dead concerts by the time she was two. 

Dancing with Sarah, who was in C'Dale's belly at Cassady's birth, thus why C'Dale was in the Ben and Jerry's. Last shows we saw before Jerry's death. Eugene, OR, 1993. Sarah's brother Ben in the foreground. Ah, good times with logical family.

And then, yeah. Backstreet Boys. She was almost 10.

They were actually soooo good that I bought her the coolest, most expensive shirt, and made her daddy take her back the second night. They had a great time. Even Dad. LOL!!!

She's gone through several incarnations in the years since. She's loved punk, she's loved indie, she's loved alt-pop. She's cut her hair almost off, she's bleached it, dyed it blue, purple, green. She's pierced lots o' body parts. The nipple was the hardest for Mommy to contend with. Lips, tongue, nose, belly button... I'm completely inured to face metal these days, along with gauged ears. 

Funky glasses, and funkyish hair

Happy and breathtaking

Weird anti-mullet and super-sweet frames

Pixie and faux fur

Momentary interest in fixed-gear bikes at 18

Brief flirtation with "I am an anarchist punk"

Nineteen -- yeah, that's my kid. No doubt about it

She loves her boy. She was barely 16 when he was born. He entered the world on Mother's Day 2006. She had a natural birth, with midwives. She caught her son herself. He was 8lbs, 12 oz and perfect.

Brand new boy

She loved him and nursed him, and tried to deal with the trauma of Connor's father simply vanishing when she was 8 and a half months pregnant. He'd been solid all the way through, and then, BAM! New girlfriend, totally absent. As he has remained. She started sort of coming and going. She went to family in Washington to try and get her feet under her. Connor stayed with us. He was 5 months old. She came back, and tried some more. She just simply couldn't do it anymore by the time he was 20 months. She loves him, she spent time with him almost every day. But the day-to-day ins-and-outs were just too much for her to manage. She did the hardest thing, and the truly good-mom thing; she admitted her limitations, and asked us to care for him. That had been part of the deal when she chose to have him. We'd be here, no matter what. She went to Portland to try to make her way. She came back after 3 months, and tried to get herself together here. Michigan is just not a good place for my darling. Too much yuck. Too small for such a decent-sized city. Too much history. Doesn't matter what she does, to many all she'll be here is 'that dumb bitch who had a baby at 16'. Not fair. My poor girl.

Last fall, after a horrendous summer, she went to California. She went to find her way among family, and lifetime friends. She's found a way of living that is meaningful to her, that allows her to be exactly who she is among people who love her for just exactly that, where here, she is denigrated and demonized for being exactly who she is, and thus has not been her authentic self since she was about 11. Her authentic self is emerging strong, she is competent, she is truly finding her way. The one thing that keeps her from being totally whole is that her boy is still here in Michigan with us. But she knows that it would be selfish to try to take him on as her own again at this point in her life as well as his. For her birthday, she asked for a ticket home for his birthday. I'll be purchasing that gift tomorrow. Connor is beside himself. We haven't seen her since September 4th...

Birthday last year! Three! He's three!!! She had just turned 19.

Birthday ice cream. 

Last trip to the park before she left.

The boy she left...

... the boy she's coming back to...

... and the Mommy that's coming back to him. 

My daughter. My one and only baby girl. Truly a young woman, strong, self-directed, breathtakingly beautiful, and as an old, dear friend commented to me after meeting her for the first time since she's been in CA... "... a delight. A whimsical delight."

What more could a mama hope for? She is the girl of my dreams. Good dreams and Mommy-nightmares alike. The girl of my dreams. More my girl than I ever could have imagined, or believed possible. 

Two decades I've been her mama. What a wonderful ride it's been...



My darling Cassady, 

"Faring thee well now. Let your life proceed by its own design. Nothing to tell now. Let the words be yours I'm done with mine, done with mine..."

Love you more than words can ever, ever convey. Happy twentieth birthday. Next year, the Meanwhile!


NOTE: This should have gone up yesterday, March 29th... took me that long to figure out how to correctly insert photos.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Whew boy...

Holy cats people! I tell ya'... This whole walking boot thing for 6 weeks is not amusing me. Nosiree bob. Not a bit. Thing is a pain in the ass an the most pain-in-the-ass way imaginable. My hips are so gonna need an adjustment when I get to ditch the hardware. Doesn't matter which shoe I choose to slide or buckle onto my right foot, I have some major length discrepancy going on here. Owowowowowowowowowow.


And, I have come to the definite conclusion that my small-person noise tolerance is low having a) been there done that, and b) that it's the end of winter. I got a couple days when Connor could go run amok in the backyard. Then it got chilly and windy again, and his clothing aversion has kept him in this weekend. It's supposed to hit the 70s by Wednesday, however, and out he will go!!! He did get himself dressed this morning, and went outside, where he proceeded to crow. Like a rooster. Before 9am on a Sunday. Oh bless his adorable curly-headed little heart... He's such a damn cute little bugger! Yay Mother Nature! Cute was a stroke of genius, man. He's so stinkin' cute it's too much to bear. Truly.

When we visited his other grands in St. Paul last month, they were none too thrilled with his long hair. Connor informed them that, "But everyone loves my golden locks!" Yes, dear child, that they do. Mostly. Except those that don't. But we will ignore them. When his other grandma asked me if his hair was for me or him, I told her that keeping those long wonderful curls definitely is in his best interest, I explained this by saying, "No matter what shenanigans he gets up to, his hair makes me happy. And that is a benefit to him for sure." She accepted my argument. Not that I should need to justify myself, but it's true! His hair makes me happy, even when he's being a defiant little almost-four-year-old mongrel of a boy.

He's such a sweet little mongrel. I'm pretty much a captive audience right now with this foot-boot thingy, and my bear tattoo just got blessed with multiple Toy Story stickers. My little bear now has Jesse on one ear and a toy soldier dude on the other, and Bullseye over her little face, and another toy soldier dude stuck on her belly. Did she look to be in need of decoration? Lonely? Who can know... Connor thought sharing was called for, so sharing commenced.

What a nifty little dude.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Spring has sprung

Oh yay! Spring has come to Michigan! There are crocuses and little cute dwarf irises in the yard, the ivy has been mostly cleared out of the beds, and I'm ready to embark on an almost-first... growing food! I've tried a couple times... like in Arcata. But that was lifetimes ago, and it kinda was an epic fail, so I don't really count that. This... This will be different. This is going to have some actual, idunno, THOUGHT put into it? And I'm really really really hoping that Connor will eat something of a vegetable nature if he has a hand in growing it. He wants to plant beans. He wants, specifically, a bean stalk. So, a bean stalk he shall have!

Of course, the universe being fond of me as it is, on Thursday, when I was just about ready to leave the house for a seed-purchasing mission, foiled my plans. Seriously? Give a girl a break!! There I was, putting up the crock pot after the week's round of bean preparation, and I was then planning to rid the counter of lunch crumbs, and we were off! Stroller out of the garage, off to the the lovely neighborhood market with the lovely produce and what appear to be lovely seeds. Don't really know, but they look lovely. BUT... as I stepped off of my kitchen stool there was a crazy-ominous POP, what felt like (and proved to be) a tear in my calf muscle, and POOF! Just like that... all my lovely plans scrapped. Thankfully, I managed to get to all the various and sundry folk that needed to inspect said calf muscle yesterday, established that it is the muscle separating from the tendon (ooooooo! sounds soooo fun! I know you're jealous!) and not the achilles tendon (YAY! No surgery!), and got my fashionable walking boot to complement my ensembles for the next 6 weeks. Upside: I'll be fully mobile pre-beach season. Downside: dancing on my birthday next Saturday looks unlikely.


Just noticed that the grandboy is outside without pants on again. Good thing his shirt is really really long.  Not that we care... but our neighbors might be offended. Don't know. But this is Grand Rapids. Land of the helicopter parents and super churchy folk that view nudity as next to depravity. Never mind that he's 3. His penis is flappin' around as he leaps from the deck. Ack! Evil! I expect the stake-burning is imminent.

Meanwhile, I've been daydreaming and researching and planning how to manage a relocation to Missoula, MT. Fell in love last summer, totally surprising myself. Montana?! Are you freaking kidding me? But no. No kidding. Love that town! Has everything I want in life and then some. And we are tired beyond measure of living by anyone's terms but our own. Soul-crushing. Screw that. We're both at the age where we're needing to take the leap, or cash it in for this life. Forty was kinda pushing it when we tried this 9 years ago, but now Jim is pushing 50! November! I want to take the leap. I've never lost the desire to sell everything, and move to a place I can live in relative peace, more in tune and in touch with the earth. So, dammit, I'm gonna! Only, a little more responsibly this round I think. Like, ummm, plan? Go there a few more times? Make some friends there maybe even? Oh. And save some money for the transitional period. But it's much closer to family, most especially Cassady. She and Connor are just too far apart.


Somewhere along the way of my research I found the most inspiring blog. Dig this chick. What a great site! Gives me the actual idea that I can in fact find a way to do the things I've longed to do for what? Decades? Yes. Decades. Jezuhs. Two year plan probably.  Yeah. Sounds good. Or maybe 15 month plan. Yeah. Sounds even better!

So, I'm going to hopefully keep this blog updated and current, and use it to think about this whole Missoula thing, to document my process, to share my muddling through this parenting a grandkid thing, and to hopefully get some stuff out of my head so my brain can work a smidge more efficiently. I ain't expectin' nothin' big, but maybe it'll give me something of mine mine mine all mine.

Oh! And to journal all my gardening and preserving foibles and failu... I mean, epic successes and magnificent pickles. Yup. That's what I mean.

Peace, Old friends and New.