Friday, December 3, 2010


I am happily pet-free at this time, and with the crushing loss of two family dogs over the summer I plan to stay that way for a while.

We live in an apartment, I love not dealing with pet hair, and I have my hands full keeping up with my crazy three-and-a-half-year-old and getting my own hair washed. Pets are not for me right now, although I have loved and lost and my heart is kind of too tender right now emotionally to take care of a pet.

I lost my sweet Betta fish just three days before Liam was born, and I had watched the little thing suffer for a while before Gabe euthanized him for me, and it still hurts.

Liam loves animals, and I support his interest by talking about different species, reading about them, pretending to be them and slowly adding to his collection of animal toys. In fact, he has a set of felt animal finger puppets and we've gotten into the habit of, every time we play with them, they talk in either deep deep or high-pitched voices back and forth about where they live and what they eat. He knows we don't eat animals and we occasionally talk about the horses and pigs we'll keep for pets on our future farm.

Today while waiting for a set of prints at the Walmart photo lab, I tried to make a beeline past the pet food aisles, holding my breath as usual. I think one of the most disgusting things on this planet is the smell of hundreds of square feet of pet food.

But I was distracted by the new tanks of fish, which are cleaner and less jammed full of little fishes than the previous pet section Walmart tanks. I stopped and peered through the glass with Liam, pointing out bright colors, long fins and bulgy eyes. And then I saw them.

The fiddler crabs.

The cute little fiddler crabs with their asymmetrical claws and sideways underwater shuffle. I don't know why it happened but my heart grew three times in size. (You can call me the Pet Grinch.) I told Liam I want to have pet fiddler crabs with him someday. I told Gabe about it when he got home. I had fiddler crabs on the brain, which was weird because I am so anti-pet lately.

And then? You guys! Wonder Pets came on and it was the freaking Fiddler Crab on the Roof episode!

It's a sign! I'm destined for fiddler crabs, OBVIOUSLY.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


To fill you in on the past 2+ months, I'll just tell you something cute Liam said tonight.

He was lying in bed and I told him good night, I hope he sleeps well. He shivered, clenched his fists and said, "Shimmer me timbers!"

Then, after our official good nights were said he turned over, squeezed my hand and whispered, "I love you."

Monday, September 27, 2010

paths colliding

I just had a pretty exciting weekend, and my weekends are full for all of October- I am actually using a planner to keep it all straight. This is totally exciting since I am a stay-at-home mom sharing her car with her husband in a city that is not incredibly pedestrian-friendly.

There was the Yo Gabba Gabba Live show, a fun day spent in Portland with my dudes, a marching band show, the season premier of Dexter! and all kinds of awesomeness, to be followed up by playground playdates, pumpkin carving and Halloween parties, apple picking with a new friend, the Fryeburg Fair, etc etc etc.

(So far this autumn is amazing.)

Yet, YET, among all this awesomeness I half-witnessed something that was greatly disturbing and that will always stick in my mind when I recall this weekend.

I saw a bicyclist get hit by a car in the Old Port.

**cue stomach churning**

Before I tell the story I'll first say that no one was hurt badly or killed.

Gabe, Liam and I had spent a couple hours on the East End, sitting in the grass first on the hill overlooking Casco Bay and then I chased after Liam while he explored dandelion puffs, rocks, dogs, and the scenery. He made a fast friend in an 18-month-old girl taking a walk with her dad. They followed each other, picked flowers for each other, took turns hopping and petting dogs. It was a gorgeous early autumn day in Portland- warm sun, cool breeze, puffy clouds. We headed closer to town for some ice cream and it was while we were walking down Commercial Street that we heard it.

It was a quick yell, echoing of surprise and distress, then a sickening plastic-crunching sound. I turned my head just in time to see a car screech to a halt and a bicycle flying into the air.

I froze, afraid to see A Body. You know, A Dead Body. I stood frozen in place in the sidewalk, a parked car blocking my view from the fallen bicyclist. My heart had stopped and my breath was stuck in my chest. One hand was holding Liam's, the other had traveled unknowingly to my mouth.

I couldn't move, couldn't look, afraid of seeing something I could not unsee.

Then, he popped up into the air. Literally. Like a jack-in-the-box, the bicyclist moved from the ground to his feet, unharmed. He shook it off. He held up his hands to show everyone, probably mostly the driver of the car, that he was ok. He checked out his bike, checked out the car, spoke calmly with the driver.

I almost threw up right there, partially because my mind was still in a dark place and partially from relief. Everyone in the immediate vicinity crowded around, wanting to help, and I just stood there until the ability to move returned to my frozen body.

Even though he was ok it took me a while to regain a regular breathing/ heartbeat pattern. I ate my ice cream in near-silence, staring at Liam's smooth face and the cleft in Gabe's chin. My cone was stale and the ice cream was too chocolatey. I watched the street through the shop window, wondering DID ANYONE KNOW? Did anyone else around there know that someone almost DIED on Commercial Street just five minutes prior? That you can't guarantee your own safety, your own little bubble of your silly little life?

Did anyone REALIZE??!

Now, three days later, I am able to NOT think about it. For the first day all I could see when my mind wandered was a bicycle flying into the air. I kept hearing that yell, and the sound of the bike hitting the car. I'm past that, back into the normal routine of my weekday life.

That doesn't mean I'm not saying a few extra prayers at night.

Monday, August 30, 2010

How did I get so weird?

A few nights ago I had a dream that I was dating twins. They were tall, strong and beautiful blond men who were both crazy about me but I preferred the company of one over the other. The one I liked less wrote me a letter inside of an old children's story book about why I should choose him; his brother found it and scrawled his own rebuttals into it.

Note to self: don't date twins because even in my dreams, it's complicated.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

soy sauce

The summer I graduated from high school I got a job as a waitress in a Chinese restaurant- "the best buffet in town," the customers always said.

I was 18 and hadn't had many jobs at that point. I filled out the application and less than a week later someone called me and asked if I could start work that day. No interview, no mental preparation, just, "WHEN CAN YOU COME IN, PLEASE HELP US!" Kind of like that.

And my training was just as thorough as the interview process. "Here, take a quick look at the menu and then watch this one girl take one table's order, then you're on your own, one two three GO!"

I got the hang of it, I made pretty good tips and my co-workers, all gravelly-voiced waitressing vets, loved me. They'd stick up for me when the owner or manager got mean or if the cooks yelled random syllables at me if they didn't understand my order slip.

There was this one cook who was closer to me in age and smiled at me a lot. You know, uncomfortably a lot. He'd try to corner me at the tea machine or the time card puncher to flirt with me, but here's the thing! He barely spoke English and it would take him several tries to communicate to me that he thought I was cute, or wanted my number, or was asking me where I was going at the end of the summer. And you know how when two people who speak different languages don't understand each other, they just talk louder and try a stab at useless hand gestures? It was really awkward- so much yelling and flailing while I just stood there with a smile/grimace.

One time he was asking me to go see a movie with him but with his ineffectual English and thick accent he actually said, "I'd like to see your boobies!" instead of "I'd like to see a movie with you." I almost died.

The only woman who worked in the kitchen was the dishwasher, named Ho. As you might imagine, the name Ho does not go over well with uncultured Americans so someone decided to call her Princess, which I thought was ridiculous. She had to be in her 30s. Anyway, she did not speak any English. Not a word. Her husband was one of the cooks and did some translating for her if the waitresses were loading the counter the wrong way.

One day he caught me by the arm and said, "My wife think you are beautiful!" I turned to her, where she was smiling at me from behind her counter and she gave a timid wave. "Thank you!" I said to her, and her husband proceeded to say, "I think you are too. Very pretty." He gestured to his face, meaning my face. "Very beautiful!" He patted my cheek. And that was a little awkward too, because he started telling me this every time I came into the kitchen. "Very pretty!" Pat, pat.

This was TEN YEARS AGO, kids. I just ran into this guy at Walmart the other day, which has happened a few times but if I see him in advance I can steer my cart away before he sees me. This time he saw me first. He threw up his hands, said "Ahhhhh!" and tried to cup my face but I managed to lean back. He gave me some of the loud talking and flailing, asking me about Liam and if I was married, which has happened every time I see him. He just stands too close and stares too much and rubs my arms, STILL! Like he recognizes me ten years later because I'm That Girl Who Lets Him Get Away With This Shit. Liam always gives him the stink eye and leans away from him too, which he does to everyone in public who has no concept of personal space.

As usual I, too, leaned away, wishing Gabe was with me, and I asked him about his wife. This seems to break him of his trance. He gestured that she was elsewhere in the store with her kids and I said, "Ok, gotta go, see ya!"

Just a few minutes later I passed him and his wife and kids, and he saw me again, like Nora Radar. Again he threw his hands up and said, "Ahhhh!" And he tried to touch my face YET AGAIN but I ducked. I said hello to his wife and she fawned over Liam for a few moments and she patted me on the shoulder.

I walked away feeling conflicted- I'm not trying to be a douche about non-English speakers but I would not mind it if that man could possibly interact with me without touching my face. Ho, a.k.a. Princess, was one of the best things about working at that restaurant so many years ago because of her smile and how excited she'd get about trying to talk to us waitresses. Her husband, however, constantly reaching out for me and telling me I'm pretty, still makes me cringe.

The other night I was mixing up a concoction to attract and trap some pesky bugs in my garden, and the mixture contained soy sauce. Almost every time I cook with soy sauce I toss a splash into a hot pan of garbanzo beans, so it's been a long time since I've smelled it all by itself. The aroma of the two tablespoons I measured into a bowl for the garden really struck straight up my nose and it nauseated me.

It brought me right back to the slow summer afternoons when I'd be cleaning and refilling the little soy sauce bottles at the waitress station- and I'd hear the kitchen door creak open, see arms flail from the corner of my eye, and I'd hear "Ahhhhh!" and feel him squeeze my shoulders, pat my forearm and eventually go for my face.

There has GOT to be a better way to say hello.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


From my very own garden, early July 2010.



Saturday, June 26, 2010

The scream to prove to everyone that I exist

Hey, so you know how I like Frightened Rabbit? Like, a lot? A lot, A lot? Well they came to Boston in April! Since they are one of the two bands I vowed to go see even in Boston if that's the closest they came, I headed down by myself to see the magic.

So, I was pretty close on the side of the stage, but I haven't mastered my camera yet. Let's pretend that instead of blurry, these photos are artsy.

They were amazing. There's no other word. They blew me away and they changed my life. I mean that.

Yes, that's a pretty halo right 'round Scott Hutchison's head and that's because he's kind of angelic. And yes, I mean that too, just not in the conventional angel kind of way. They were all glowing with something I can only think to describe as kindness or purity. Something really special, and I know that sounds cheesy, but these guys... I mean, have you HEARD them?

There was an epic sing-and-clap-along at the end of "The Loneliness and the Scream." Do you know the song? If so, you'll know which part I mean. It was one of many moments during the show that gave me chills. (If you don't know the song, you can hear it below- pay attention at 2:40.)

It makes you want to sing WHOA-OH-OH and clap like crazy, right???

It took me a very long time to get home because I may have gotten lost trying to get out of Boston, then it took me forever to find something to eat on the way home. For the 4+ hour stretch I was blasting Frightened Rabbit on my car stereo and singing at the top of my lungs. The early, early mornings in Maine are foggy so the moon and rising sun and skyline of trees were hazy, whispering, nodding.

It was all so pure.