Thursday, August 30, 2007


It's important too fall in with a good crowd, and make quality friends who will help you excel when school starts; it sets the tone for the whole year. This lesson is really hitting home since KindyG has started. I've hooked up with some other moms and we are all motivated to go walking every morning until the snow starts; and then we will be hanging with Billy and the like at the local church cultural hall. I might even get frisky and try some yoga. We have been hitting it like athletes this week.

I'm hoping Birdie and LaLa can swing some good pals too.

So, of course Birdie is home sick today. Poor kid, getting in her mama's way.


Last night Pearl had a straight up nightmare. She was sobbing hysterically, and I thought that she was hurt. I ran in to the girl's room to find her laying on her tummy, still mostly asleep. I patted her back to sleep; but something in me broke.

I'm telling you, I was wrapped in some sort of buffering material this May, that's the only explanation for how I survived the fear and pain my child went through. The closer we get to these tests, the more horrified I am getting. I have no way of explaining to her that these tests need to be done, and they won't hurt. Please, just hold still for a minute.

She is so afraid, and I am starting to question the necessity of these tests. If it were up to Dadguy, the answer would be a flat "no." And the only reason for that, is he doesn't use profanity except for when he's trying to make me laugh. Otherwise it'd be a resounding "____ no!" He supports my decision to do these tests to ease my mind, to wrap it up; but he doesn't think they are at all medically necessary. He has an uncanny sense of what is and what isn't; the man is rarely wrong when it comes to stuff like this. Sometime I wish he were the mom. If this had been up to him, it never would have gone on for so long; he would have pushed harder, made them look closer, it would have been found sooner.

...and yet, I still do need these tests. I need that stamp of approval. Fini.

Today I am calling the surgeon's office. I think we could manage to do one day of tests, but they are going to have to offer some highly compelling reasons to convince me that all of this must be done and split up into multiple days. Sorry to beat this horse to the pieces, but time has not eased some parts of the horrors of this spring.

Am horrified to make her do the tests... unable NOT to do them.

Monday, August 27, 2007

How She Sounds

My sister's cat had kittens about six and a half weeks ago, they are not gonna be hanging around her house for much longer. She hopes. Which, by the way, if you live in Utah Valley and want a darling wee kitty for free (even comes spayed for free)... drop me an email. There are two left. I promised the Sis, I'd do my part to find homes for the fuzzies.

That was my part, the end.

We will never have a cat, as Dadguy is horrifically allergic to 'em; we make do with visiting OPK. Other People's Kitties. So this morning the girls and I were all loaded in the van, flying down the freeway to visit the short-timers. I was trying to listen to my favorite playlist with the volume turn low, and only the front speakers engaged. I do this because Birdie loves my playlist and rock n' roll in general, and if she hears it, she will ask me to turn on the back speakers. But she insists on having it loud and LaLa does not approve. In fact LaLa will scream bloody murder that the music "HOOTS MAH EE-AHS!" The fact that she screams it five or six decibels louder than the volume of music, doesn't seem to make much difference to her. Logic and three year olds; or should I say logic and LaLa. Hmph.

To be fair, LaLa came out of the womb with a strong preference in music. Unfortunately, that preference does not include my singing. One of her first words ever was "No!" and it was in response to me singing. When that didn't do the trick, she moved on to "THTOOOOOOOOP!"

This morning though, Birdie was thinking.

"Mama.... I have two moms and two dads huh?"

"No baby, you have one mom and one dad."

"But I have two Grandma's and two Grandpa's?"

"Yup, one set's from Daddy, and one from me."

"But I also have Grandma Duke?"

"Yes," I said, "you have Grandma and Grandpa Duke, but they are your GREAT Grandparents."

"Oh. Yeah and Grandma Francis."

Driving and thinking how sad I am that my girls will never know my own Grandparents, especially my maternal GP's, Granny and Pa. My Granny died when Birdie was just barely two, and her sweetheart, Pa, went a short nine months later. I loved my Granny.

"Plus my Granny and Pa, and my Grnadma and Grandpa B, but they are all dead." I say to her.

"Oh! Yeah, I remember Granny!" she squeals.

"You do?" This surprises me. Thinking she has a specific memory I ask, "what do you remember about Granny?"

I remember how she looks and I remember her voice when she speaks!"

"How do you remember that?"

"The Holy Ghost helps me to remember how she sounds. I remember her!"

"That's wonderful baby... I am so glad you can remember." I swallow past the tight spot in my throat; I blink rapidly to see the road. I miss my Granny, but I can remember too.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Freakout Post Advisory

In early September I take Pearl back to Primary Children's Hospital for a couple of final tests. Unfortunately, it will have to be over the course of at least two days... they won't do the various CT scans and the Esophagram on the same day. Something about the radiation and the putting under, and the swallowing of stuff, and the needing to be fasting, and the blah, blah, blah, medi-yakkity smak... the nurse who set up the appointments wasn't 100% sure. I have been calling these tests the "glamor shots" for the surgeons portfolios; and it may in fact be just that. But it's also a true follow up that will give them the (hopefully) final look at the healing of her throat. I don't think anything is wrong. It helps that she has been growing like a happy little weed.

I don't think anything is wrong. Still, I worry. I cannot help it. I worry.

There has been none of the stridor (noisy breathing) that had us tap dancing for a year. Ummm, except for the cold that she has right now. I actually resurrected her nebulizer three days ago, to help with her breathing. But I think that it's just the cold. I think that it is just the cold. But I have thought a lot of things through this pediatric extended episode of House M.D.

I want this to be the end.

Worry: The last time she had CT's done? She was one sick-sick-sickity little girl. She was having her allergic reaction to the drugs, but they thought that her surgical site was infected; or worse, her esophagus. When they put her under
(she was screaming and flailing) for the CT's she stopped breathing twice. They were ready for it, and had a nurse standing there with one of those squeeze-bulb masks that forced air into her lungs when she couldn't do it herself. While I know that she is better, and I know that even if it happens again, they'll be ready like they were when it happened... there is something uniquely horrifying about your child's breathing being compromised like that. Heart-stoppingly horrifying.

It has been months since we were there in the hospital for the hard stuff. I don't want to go back. But I don't dare NOT take her back for this, and both tests suck. They suck big time. Anesthesia for the CT's, and strapping her down with a feeding tube down her nose for the esophagram. Screaming and fear involved with both, and no, I don't think that I am borrowing trouble when I predict this. The girl screams and cries piteously when she sees someone wearing scrubs.

I wish we could just do it all in one brutal day, and have done with it.

September 5th... September 10th... you'd think this would be a cake walk after what we have been through.

She's going to be fine. She's going to be fine. We are all going to be fine, we just need to finish this. She's going to be fine. Of course we are all going to be fine.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


They say that memory is strongly linked to the olfactory unit. The sniffer, the snooter... your nose.

I'd buy that.

I am the queen of disorganization, and this year has been the worst; nothing like a big old medical thang to knock a girl off her stride. Combine that with the all-new-to-me jumping of hurdles and hoops of getting my eldest signed up for public school, and you have about nine trips to the elementary school in the past few months. I have walked those halls without a single twinge of nostalgia or weirdness.

I thought to myself, "La! There will be no problem with the letting of the Birdie to go offa to the schools!"

This morning school started for all of the district, except for the KindyG's, they started assessment testing. Birdie had her assessment test with her darlingdarlingDARLING KindyG teacher this morning at nine. Walked into the school... functioning and filled to the classroom gills with kids; the SMELL.

The smell. Gaghk! There was something about the smell of that building during an actual school day, that took me back and stopped me dead in my tracks. School. Really and for truly... going to school.

She starts next Tuesday, then LaLa starts pre-school the Tuesday after that.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunday Pic: Pony and Cat

Birdie requested I draw a picture of her stuffed kitty Garfield the other day. At some point it disappeared along with a piece of tape. Yesterday morning there was some sort of kerfuffle in the toy room... mostly wailing from LaLa, but I don't tend to run and police every single little dust-up that the girls have. I try and step in if it gets out of hand, or they don't seem to be able to settle it out themselves. I DO keep a general ear on the proceedings. I gathered enough to figure out that it was to do with there being no equal space for LaLa's pony. Birdie suggested something, and then they galloped off to the kitchen to draw.

Found this in the toy room later, and I understand now.

Apparently Birdie drew this for LaLa's pony. A space of it's own, and I don't think a mama could be prouder than I.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Now With 40% Less Angst

I was having a conversation with Elizasmom via email the other day. We were discussing some of the books we have been reading, and she dropped a line that really resonated with me. It captured into words, an idea that I had been trying to understand. She described a sense that one author had captured.

..." teenagers' sense of the world as this perpetually near-apocalyptic place."

Growing up, I certainly had that sense. It felt like society was absolutely on the brink of collapse, thermonuclear war was tomorrow, and the world's inequities and injustices were so horrifying that everything just had to STOP.

Oh... it FELT. Everything felt so horrible and so much was hopeless, and I was positive that the adults around me had gone numb. They couldn't feel anymore and had shut down into the little niches they had carved for themselves... like they had created these identities as a protection, but then forgot who they really were and started to cling to the persona's out of habit.

Heh. ahem.

First I'd like to acknowledge that I may be a person who is a bit... mmmm, oversensitive? There is this little personality test thingy that is making the rounds of the bloggernet. It's a personality test that gives you the straight dope on who you really are, in terms that are not so flattering. Like Borefest, Scumbag, Crackpot and Loser. It's based on the four main Jungian categories of personality... and I have taken that sucker five times trying to see if I could jigger that thing about to get a different result than the one that I got. Every question that was not an absolute, I tried other answers... and yet every single out come had me labeled as an ESFJ. A Sap. A Crybaby.

Excuse me... I had to go blow my nose.

Just last week I was out to eat with some friends, one of whom was my own sweet sister. For some reason I informed my friend sitting across from me that I could take her out (beat her up) if need be. First, it should be said that there is no question in my mind... I really would win if it came to throwing down with any of the women who were there that night... with the notable
exception of my sis, and then I think it would be a pretty good fight. I made my statement for a laugh, I like to clown around a bit, but my sister started snorting, and informed me that I was a sap, and couldn't hurt a fly!


I'm thinking that it may be true, and I am a sap. I have vivid memories of crying a lot as a kid. One time in particular was when I was about six or seven, sitting on the lower bunk in the room that I shared with my brothers. I was, of course, crying... and I was trying to remember a day, any day, when I had not cried, and I couldn't recall one single day.

But then, how clear are the thought processes and memories of a kid that age? I don't know, but I was probably just feeling sorry for myself. In any case, I have never been suicidal. Although once after my divorce, I had a moment or two when I felt bad enough that I admitted I could understand why some folks DO consider it.

Wow... this is a whole load of introversion for a supposed extrovert! Is that a bit of lint in my navel?

This whole post is a lead up to informing you that you may be subjected to some poetry soon. I can't help it, it's on it's way... it's bubbling around in my innards and it will come OUT! I figure it's best to give in to the need to poetry in small doses, so that it doesn't all come spewing out on some poor, unsuspecting soul. Take comfort in my adulthood and deadened sense of near-apocalypse, hopefully it won't all suck too bad. And if it does? There is always that little red "X" you can click.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Rejoice, Mourn or Puke?

Coming up on the end of an era; this time of my life that I have had all of my children, all to myself. I could hold onto this time and home school Birdie for at least her first few years.... but that's sort of where the "rejoice" portion of this whole "era" bit kicks in.


I was fairly sure that I would not get maudlin over kindygarten, and indeed, I may not yet. But I'm feeling sort of odd about my eldest girlee being in the "system." They have her inoculation
records and have inspected her birth certificate. I am a card carrying member of the local PTA. That odd feeling that I am feeling? Could be me mourning, but I will admit nothing.

They are growing up.

I have been busy reading fiction these past few weeks. Chomping down book after book. Slurping, relishing and hoarking down whole. It's a combination of things that fuels my literary consumption, this slight bit of freedom that starts to happen as your kids get a little older. Pearl is starting to be a fully functioning agent of Chaos, and is accepted into the ranks of destructo girls, and their play. And instead of getting a handle on the household everything that I am, as "the Mama" ostensibly in charge of.... I have been playing too.

In my defense: we are trying for our fourth and final kiddo, actually HAVE been trying since the beginning of the year. Well, technically trying. There was the whole "pneumonia" debacle, followed by various less-than-fetus-friendly medications that went on for a few months. Then the part where I hung out at the hospital for a month with the youngest. But all the fun times are over and I have been feeling a pregnancy in the air.

no... not right NOW! Soon.

That's why I read now, because once I get pregnant? It's all over for me. Everything, and I mean everything shuts down for the Mama when she gets knocked up.


I know that it is all at an end for me, just by virtue of the fact that Dadguy and I went on two dates together this week. Two. Dates. Like, without the kids. PLUS, he got to go see The Simpsons Movie with a buddy, and I went to the Eclipse book release party on Monday night. This all happened this past week. It is so very OVER for me.

But then... I think I feel a similar set of feelings about being pregnant to those of sending the Bird to KindyG. Confused.

Do I rejoice, mourn or puke?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Sunday Pic: Photshoot Progression

Grandma P wanted to get the two older girls a pair of school shoes each. These suede confections were what they wanted so badly, they nearly wept for joy when they saw them. They have pink pom poms on them.

I thought they were so dang funny looking, I got Pearl a pair as well. No one is allowed to wear them until school starts (that's why they are still with their tags), but I wanted to take a pic to try and justify my own purchase, as well as letting Grandma spend perfectly good money on such an item. Pink overload, and I don't care. The photoshoot disintegrated in such a typical fashion.... I had to include all the shots.

In my defense, I have discovered that I will get every dimes worth of wear out of shoes the girls love. Not so much when I insist on a style they don't love. So yeah, I'm being "frugal."

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Art (Continued)

Part of my problem with Art and the Art world, was the nasty shock that I got when I realized that I would have to get out there and peddle my biz in the real world. The real world, as seen from my admittedly limited student eye view at State college in Albq NM, was not pretty. First, I was active in AA almost my entire higher educationated career, and the bulk of the profs handing out the A's, holding the hands, and coddling the careers of students were doing so primarily... with those they socialized with.

And by socialized with, I really mean partied with. As a recovering alky, I didn't party, and I didn't get the A's except for the ones I eked out with sheer guts. (please note: it couldn't possibly have anything to do with me sucking at art. No problem with ego HERE!) Nobody held my hand, and when I ran into a road block, I don't recall any one but my parents even blinking when I dropped out. At the end of my Junior freaking year.

Add to this, the semester that I found my "voice."

Remember last post, the Advanced Painting instructor? He was the MAN according to everyone who was anyone, and when I started that semester, I kow towed to the "process" the man preached. And I got "A+'s" on my first three paintings. BUT, then I took to heart his preaching about finding my own "voice" so I started looking for it.

What I found, was my original palette, and my first instincts. The way that I first painted, before my "education". There was not one single prof at that school ever even talked about glazing, or realism, or master studies... or anything classical. If you figured out how to make a human being LOOK like a human being, you lucked into it or found it somewhere, or from someone else. Maybe from a book. A portrait? It was too passe- what were we? Some bunch of "hack portrait artists" sitting on a sidewalk, trying to swing a buck? NO! We were ARTISTS of HIGH ART. At least that seems like the subtext, between what was taught and what was notably absent from the curriculum.

In retrospect, I went back to my first instincts, because... why the crap not? It's not like I had been taught anything better. It's not like I had anything like a honed craft, or any craft at that point. Art was purely a mental and verbal exercise for me by then.

So me with my "voice", thinking I'm all that and a bottle of Liquin, hits my final critique. Which is funny, because I don't have any recollection of the critique going south. I recall the prof not saying much, I recall it was a pretty cut and dry affair... and I recall thinking that I had done "A" work straight down the line. And then I got my grades. According to the paperwork, I'd pulled down a "C" in that class.




Starting to get a little angry. I'm fairly sure that I would have left it, except I had a scholarship to keep, and that semester, I was walking a fine line with my GPA... I needed a "B-" to hold onto the scholarship. I went to the profs studio to talk to him about the grade. First I asked him about his grading scale... seven paintings, I knew the first two were "A+'s", the next was an "A"... what the CRAP went on that I limped in with a "C" after grades like that? Why hadn't he indicated to me that I was blowing the course?

He told me it was just a judgement call, and that if I disagreed, he'd change the grade. Please imagine my horror and how furious I was when he handed back my "change grade" slip, to find that he'd written in "B+." Judgement call? From a "C" to a "B+"? I was so angry I started crying, and then I was so mad I was crying... I just left. Truly, the beginning of the end for me.

Since then I have learned more on my own, and through books. I have started working from a bit more of a sophisticated palette, and I do what I do for a reason. Or... rather, I DID, before this child induced hiatus. But I can tell you for sure that I will never get my sorry can out there and peddle my biz. I'm lazy, plus I really don't feel like I have much of anything original to say with art... and what I DO say don't sit so pretty over the sofa, if ya know what I mean.

Reading back over this, it seems like I am saying that I was done dirty... and yeah, to an extent I was. But I also know that I was the one to walk away, and that I did not have to. The fact is... it was a choice. There was simply not enough in that version of the world of art to hold me there. The world of Academia and University Art Departments are hardly the be all of anything, no matter how mucho serioso everyone involved seems to think they are. Today there are so many outlets for my creativity, brains, and sense of humor; not the least of which is in the raising of three little artist girls of my own.

Birdie has entered into a stage of progression that is far less about observed reality than it is about the story aspect of art. Her figures have reverted to a simplified form, the expression of the face usually being the only detail given notice. Her drawings are the vehicles of speech and thought bubbles filled with laboriously spelled out words. Although she has decided that eyes are not just round circles... she says they are pointy ovals, and she fills them with irises and pupils, giving them a fringe of lashes. LaLa has started into people and ponies with teeny heads and colorful bodies... sometimes twelve legs, and Pearl is all about the process of sitting down in LaLa's booster seat, and calling out "pih-tuh!" until I fetch the paper and crayons. She will then go through every color she can get her dimpled hands on, and color every square inch of her "payy-puh" a muddy rainbow. When they crayons go in the yap, we are done.

The many daily drawing sessions with Chaos are such a frenetic affair, with the fetching, sharpening, the spelling, and admiring going on all at once- I never get past sharpening a pencil for myself before it is done. But I really cannot regret where I am right now. As y'all have pointed out, I get to quilt and make cakes and garden... these things scratch the worst of the itch,and the rest will wait till later. And the rest that waits? Who knows whether it will have much of anything to do with paint and brushes?

Cause, I am thinking about that novel... and for some reason, the idea of peddling my writing biz does not turn my stomach the way that peddling paintings did. So yeah... fie upon Art.

Friday, August 03, 2007

My name is bon...

...and I am a recovering artiste.

Twenty years ago in High School, I was all about art. I was good at it, enjoyed it, and I defined myself with the term of "artist." I took art classes at the community college because I disdained the calligraphy heavy art courses the HS offered, and was a little creeped out by high saturation of Wrestlers and Stoners who took the Crafts course: essentially a ceramics class taught by the wrestling coach (although I gutted it out for a year and learned some interesting vocabulary). I hung out with kids who called themselves Punks, Wavers, and Mods and I knew that was "who" I was... an artist.

I don't do that much anymore, label myself as an artist.

People who knew me then are always surprised, when they meet me nowadays, to find that I have very little to do with the visual arts any more. More than once, I have felt that I have let them down. The feeling doesn't last long, but it's not fun while it's here.

What a strange place I am in, and in some ways it makes me a little sad; this diffident relationship I have to all things "art" these days. We are strangers, but for the love of crayon and glue that my girls have. Strangers, and I was not even aware that we had slipped completely out of touch until I read a recent post on Feminist Mormon Housewives the other day. The post was regarding balancing the love of art and still keeping to LDS standards. An interesting read, and something pertinent to my life... but HOO! The comments started to get off into the realm of "what is true art" and some commenter's started labeling the bulk of mainstream LDS art as "propaganda" and "cheesy." If your interested, go read the comments for yourself... for my part, I started to feel annoyed at some of the dismissive and arrogant stances some of the folks were taking about "art". Attitudes and ideas that I suspect a nineteen year old "bon" might have subscribed to.

On many levels... art annoys me. Especially art that considers itself ART, and I am trying to figure out how I ended up here, and how long I'm a gonna stay at this point in my relationship to (esp.) the visual arts. Visualize the face a two years old would make upon biting in to a piece of baking chocolate.... expecting sweet-yummy, getting bitter-yukky. THAT'S the state of the relationship.... on my side at least, because ART, and the art world? Could not care less that I no longer love it.

There have been specific points in my road to disenchantment with the art world, and I may catalog a few in a different post, but mostly I am sick to death of the elitist attitudes that so many involved in art seem to sport. The idea that all real-and-for-true art must "challenge" us and make us "think." The dismissal of beauty for beauty's sake. But mostly the dismissal of people... any people who do not get it, or do not care for high ART.

Perhaps it is sour grapes from hour long critiques, and long winded and blatantly BSed discussions on the artistic process.... maybe it was the gleeful, half-ironic attempts of my fellow students in trying to start the UNM Eff-You-ist movement. Perhaps it was the semester I learned that the Advanced Painting instructor, who was ostensibly trying to get us to find our own "voice" and "expression," really only wanted wanted us to do it within HIS version of the artistic process.

And then a few years later while working at the local art supply store, assisting that same instructor and coming to realize that the man knew jack about the chemistry of his own craft, and was barely cognizant of archival issues. Teaching. Advanced painting.

I learned almost nothing that I wanted to in school.

(2 B continued)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Head Cold and Trivia

I keep thinking that this cold has to let up some. I came down with it on Saturday night, and the snot is still taking up so much room in my head, that I haven't thought coherently in days. Add in three little girls at varying stages of the same cold, a week tardy, but finally arrived set of menses, and regular life STILL happening? It's a freeping party, I tell ya.

Ummm.... hence it's been a little light on the posting around here.

I have a series of posts about "art" that I have planned, but before I can even dig in, I have to declare myself unable to complete any and all memes I have been tagged with. Can't do 'em. Don't know why. Mental block? Sorry.

Finally got Birdie signed up for Kindygarten, which is great on one level, and sort of a joke on another.... two and a half hours a day? Puh-leeeeze.

We got to meet her teacher yesterday. Once again, it was great on one level, but I wasn't planning on meeting anyone.... I just had to run in the to office and pick up some paperwork that I had accidentally left the day before. This was yesterday. Please to envision: no shower, sick, bleeding, no make-up, ratty clothes, kids with ratty hair and outfits they had chosen themselves (think clown princess). Ah well. At least her teacher will have no over-inflated expectations to disappoint.

Am a little sad that there is no "school supply list" to fill, just a $20.00 fee to pay. Reminder to self: go buy supplies anyway, nothing compares to scent of Elmers paste and a Big Chief tablet, and perhaps a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils.

Dadguy got his birthday present a few weeks early this year... a GPS. We have been Geo Cache-ing a bunch this past week. I think we might, sorta, maybe suck at it. We have not, in any case, experienced much beginners luck. Pretty fun anyway, just need to remember to wear good shoes. There are a few drawbacks to Geo-Caching with little kids in a van... strappy IN, strappy OUT, strappy IN strappy OUT, ad infinitum.

According to Dadguy, this past month was the hottest in recorded Utah history. I have felt every last blistering degree of it. Or yeah, I would have, except I have been cowering in my house, hovering over the AC vents and snacking from my hoard of Otterpops.

tired. must nap.