For this author, creative endeavors have been sorely tested by motherhood. But also transformed, and in ways she wouldn’t have imagined – couldn’t have, without her life “rewritten” as it has been, by her children. So linger here, to read all things weaverly, writerly and motherly.


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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Welcome to Writer Wednesday Blog Hop!

Welcome back to Writer Wednesday Blog Hop! 
This is a hop where you can promote your blog and gain new followers; 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Once-Upon-a-Tale Tuesday: Snappy Turtle Momma

Good News! I got my car washed, and it's squeaky clean.

Well, maybe not squeaky clean....

My minivan gets disgusting. I have to clean it before going to the carwash: Pick up discarded cheese-stick wrappers and Goldfish bags, squashed Fig Newtons. Scrape up encrusted spilled coffee from the cup holders. Pry up from floor mats sticky candy canes or melted Gummy Bears. 

At the carwash, I can barely look those guys in the eyes who do the real cleaning; the ones who wipe down the dashboard, scrub out the cup holders and vacuum up crushed cracker crumbs and dried-up raisons. Other squeakier-clean cars can come and go, and these poor souls are still slaving away on my relatively repulsive minivan.

The boys were with me, as it was winter break. They more often frequent the carwash with Daddy, who has a very clean, squeaky clean, I might add, car.

There are "packages" I have to choose from and I always choose the cheapest, the "silver" one.

Kenny asked, "Mommy, arent you going to get the colored bubbles?

The what?

We were at the cashier. Oh, thats with the gold package," he said.

Daddy always gets the colored bubbles," Kenny said.

Daddy also will buy Glad garbage bags, name brands, while I'll buy generic. Call me a cheapskate. Though if you ask my mother, Im a spend-rift who doesnt understand the value of a dollar: Maybe youd have more money if you didnt waste it on things like aluminum foil.” My mother not only will buy generic, but reuse her own foil and run her plastic freezer bags through the washer (where they melt and get stuck to the blades).

Evidently, when Daddy takes our boys to the carwash, he also gives them coins for the motorcycle video game, and even for the massage chair (yes, a massage chair at a carwash) in the waiting lounge.

I don't like being a cheapskate. So I gave them each a couple of coins for the motorcycle.

Kenny's not great at counting change yet, but he knows how many coins one game takes, and evidently I only gave him enough for one game.

"One game is plenty," I snipped in my snippy motherly tone.

"Well, there's not even enough for the massage chair," Ryan countered.

Do 6 and 8 year olds really need a massage? Is their daily childhood that stressful? Please, Daddy.

"If anyone gets to sit in that massage chair, it’s me." Though as infrequently as I frequent the carwash, it never occurred to me once to waste two coins on the damn thing.

I thought Kenny would lapse into his soulful whining mode. He didn't.  "You should, Mommy,” he said. “You need it."

He held out his two coins to me. "It costs the same as the motorcycle ride," he said solemnly. Valiantly.

I looked at the coins. Kenny was giving me back money? I was stupefied.

But Kenny is also the child who has proven to be surprisingly intuitive, the one who best might be able to pick up on Mommy’s stress signals, as when she can snip for no fair reason really; snap really, a snapping turtle you stay clear of when she overreacts to a spilled cup of juice, as if it were a tsunami flood. Just because she might be feeling a little frayed after frame shopping with Gramma, making rounds of five opticians, in search of the perfect pair. Only for Gramma to have her license suspended, anyway, due to the fact that she failed the eye test.

So now snappy Mommy is chaffeur not only to her children but to her mother, though instead of tennis or music lessons, it’s now to an ophthalmologist, other doctors, haircuts, and to the grocery store. Or to pick up this and that, calcium pills, the exact clear brand of candelabra light bulbs she prefers, to replace the burned out ones in her living room chandelier. A different kind of terrain than Mommy had imagined, eight years back, cradling a new born, when balancing a family seemed as simple as nursing and changing stinky diapers.

Ryan was a bit less intuitive. He grabbed his own coins and headed for the motorcycle.

"And would you like a drink?" Kenny asked, pointing to a little counter. 

Coffee! A fresh full pot! How could I not have remembered that they also served coffee?

Yes. I did want a cup, but when I went to pour it, Kenny said, "The chair kind of wiggles a lot. You maybe don't want coffee in the chair."

"Wiggles?" I looked at the chair. It actually frightened me. It was awfully big and dour, with a ton of buttons, like an aircraft.

"I'll just take the coffee."

After being so magnanimous, Kenny tried to suppress a delighted toothy grin. "So I can keep the coins?"

Keep the coins.

He went off to wait his turn behind Ryan to virtually ride the video motorcycle.

I took a seat with my coffee on an unwiggly comfy couch. Really, who needs Starbucks? I wondered if they had a good internet connection. I should have brought my iPad! I could have been working on my next blog post!

This must be what it feels like for the snapping turtle when she finally reaches her preferred habitat, that of a cool stream or pond. Did you know snapping turtles are really only cranky out of water? Maybe that is true with mothers as well; we are cranky outside our original expectations of what mothering meant, when we realize just how many people rely on us. Need us. And as much as we love them all, it is not so easy, always, simply to give thanks. Sometimes, selfishly, it takes an escape – for some moms, the snapper’s escape into cool waters is a pedicure. For me, it was this. A still moment, with a cup of coffee and sitting on a comfy couch, gazing out a big glass window as if at a serene wooded lakefront.

In reality, I was gazing out at the poor souls slaving on my car.

And then they were waving their rags at the window, signaling that my car was done. They looked defeated and forlorn, but I tipped them well, as what's worse than cleaning my car? My bathrooms, where toothpaste adheres to the walls and is harder to scrape away than the old candy canes. 

But maybe I actually would get my car washed a tiny bit more often. Maybe I would indulge. Because I can get snappy. Just don’t prod me with a stick.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Welcome to Writer Wednesday Blog Hop!

I'm again co-hosting this Weds hop, and looking forward to more great link-ups this week, along with Bugs:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Once-Upon-a Tale Tuesday: The Perfect Pair

We were at the optician's, and my mother was trying to decide on new frames. She tried on a Batman-like pair.

"What do you think?"

"I like them," I said, brightly. They were awful. I didn't call her attention to the little rhinestone curlycue things on the arms.

I was ready to like anything. Any pair.

She turned back to the mirror. "They're hideous." She took them off, glancing at me behind her own reflection. I was not enjoying how I towered over her shrunken frame. And didn't like how well she could read my impatience: "These may be my last glasses. I want ones I like,she said. 

This reality can make me feel as small and scared as a child, as this past September, when I realized that, at 93, her birthday could be a last one as well. So on her special day, I hadn't pressed her about what exactly had happened when she'd slammed her car into the wall of a carpet store evidently, the day before. As I tried not to press her to finally decide on some, any, frames.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Just finished this shoulder-wrap, handwoven on my triangle loom. I'm particularly struck by how well the lavender angel hair complements the rustic, nubbier purple wool. It's a gorgeous wool, handspun (not by me!) with very subtle color gradations of purple, lavender, and rose tones:

Friday, February 17, 2012

My good news this week is I entered a writing contest, and I am featured on their site!

 The topic we had to write about is becoming a mom. It took a lot of thought, so I'd be pleased as punch and more, if anyone took a moment to actually read it. It's not too long
Click on its rather strange but truthful title below:

"My Miracle Met My Limits"

As always, I appreciate your comments!

And if you like what you read here, would really appreciate your clicking on the picket fence button above! Thank you. Big time.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Welcome to Writer Wednesday Blog Hop!

This is my first hop that I've been invited to host, and I'm so honored! 

Hooking up with some other writers, but this hop is open to all. We're all just looking to meet up with other interestingblogging folk, and blogging, after all, has an awful lot to do with the written word!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Once-Upon-a-Tale Tuesday: Death Questions

It was only when Ryan turned seven that he figured out what exactly a graveyard was.

It was the one behind a Catholic church we always drive by on the way to the grocery store. We'd passed it countless times, as it was on the way to just about everywhere we went; besides Stop & Shop, we passed it going to school, to tennis lessons and to their pediatrician for every nasty "pinchy" they'd ever had.

Yet, not once before had either of my boys ever remarked on the funny oblong stone things sticking out of the earth. And I'd happily never drawn their attention to them, as otherwise I love to point out egrets on the local pond or funny dogs people walk.

But Ryan had been in a thoughtful mood when we'd left the house, as again, as I can do, I'd set off all the fire alarms by burning breakfast. Ryan had flown out of the house crying, to stand on the lawn, even though we've had so many false fire alarms, his brother doesn't bother to move from where he's glued to the TV. Ryan was as afraid of dying as he was of throwing up, his most vivid memory of six hours in the emergency room after taking a single bite out of a peanut butter cookie.

Mom, what are those stones? He asked me now.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

New Shoulder-Wrap, Yum!

A new item listed in my Zibbet Shop!

One of my best-selling angel hair shoulder wraps, that can be worn scarf-like as well:


Would stick around, but there are dragons to feed and Ryan is running low on their gooey sticky purple lava treats:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Good News Friday!

Linking up with my fave lady/mom Grumpy Grateful again, who her sweet self, is all good news. 

So MY Good News this week is that it was my BIRTHDAY!!!

And that's what I yelled at people all day long, when Kenny beat his fists into the couch because his Harry Potter DVD was due back at the library; you would have thought we were casting out his best friend.

But then there were people yelling at me as well: "You HATE me!" Bigger brother Ryan screamed, when I chastised him rightly, I think, for risking cracking Kenny's head open by pushing him down the front steps, just because he didn't want little brother tagging over to a neighbor's house. Who, inconveniently, happens to be HIS best friend.

"I'm leaving! I'm running away!" Ryan yelled dramatically from the street. I knew he would take a walk around the block, get hungry and come in for his afternoon snack of Oreo cookies.

Still. I was cranky. So I yelled after him, for the whole neighborhood to hear, "It's my BIRTHDAY!"

Monday, February 6, 2012

Once-Upon-a-Tale Tuesday: This Too Shall Pass

"This too Shall Pass"

I felt it to my core: We were going to be late for another doctors appointment. Again.

I peeked in on my mother.

"Oh, dear, I can't find anything anymore...." She was moving around her room in circles. Like the frantic minnows Kenny would keep captive in his beach pail.

Your shoe? I looked where I knew Id find it, under her bed.

She sat on her bed, and out of habit with my boys when they were running late for school, I started to put her shoe on myself.

"I can do it, she said, bending down in that way I hated; I was afraid shed pop out the artificial ball in her hip. Don't rush me.  Everything is rush, rush, rush."

The fact is, even with rushing, we're often late. I've traversed this doctor terrain enough times to know that I needed to count into the actual travel time how long it would take her to navigate down the front steps to the car, then to settle into the front seat so that I could shut the door without slamming it on her feet.

This time we were going to the hand doctor, a good forty-minute drive away. My mother was going for cortisone treatments for arthritis in her right hand, and last time we'd arrived five minutes late five short of the ten-minute-maximum-late protocol. I'd had to bang on the beveled glass window only to have a young girl open it to point to the sign announcing: This window is made of glass. Please do not bang on it. We know you are waiting. We will be with you in a moment."

It was painful to just stand there and watch as my mother struggled with her shoe until she got it on. "I'm not rushing you," I lied. "We actually have a good half hour before we should leave," I said cheerfully, anxious to pick up the clutter on her bed, newspapers, to rehang blouses she'd taken out but decided not wear.

She looked at her watch. "The appointment's at one, isn't it? Why do we have to leave so early? It's only ten."

"It's eleven thirty."

"Oh, my watch. It's stopped." She leaned over into the amber light of her bedside lamp. "You're rattling me. Don't rattle me," she said, close to tears. 

It didn't take much for me to reduce her to tears these days. Could be just in the way I loaded her dishwasher, neglecting to separate out the forks from the knives in the utensil compartment. "You make it so much harder to put them all away!" she'd cry.

I went into the kitchen to wash her breakfast dishes, carefully separating out the forks from the knives in the dishwasher, to feed the cats, organize piles of half-opened charitable solicitations she would leave on every available surface of the house. 

My own nerves were already frayed from a bad morning with the boys. They'd been scrimmaging over a tiny Lego treasure chest so that I had to intervene. And in the midst of my intervention, I burned the bacon, so that all the electrically wired fire alarms in the entire house went off. Which bolted Ryan out onto the front lawn screaming "Fire we're on fire!"

"It's just the alarms, Ryan!" Kenny yelled with great satisfaction; he likes to accuse Ryan of being afraid of even a mailbox.

We were late getting to school. Which meant I had to walk them to the front desk for late passes.

Just like doctor office receptionists, the woman at the front desk had a sliding glass window. She barely glanced up from her Late Book. "Reason for lateness?"

We all looked at each other accusingly.

It was Kenny who piped up, always the little tattle tale: "She burned the bacon."

The lady seemed used to poorer excuses, quickly scribbling the burned-bacon one in her book.

She issued each of my boys the dreaded pink late pass which they waved accusingly at me as they moped down the hall toward their classrooms.

I headed to Starbucks. I needed their extra strong coffee to put me in a more joyful mood before the hour drive out to my mother's only to spill the entire contents when I was backing out of the parking space; as I was clearing out the cup holders of older coffee cups, I'd placed it on the dashboard momentarily. In the space of two minutes, I'd actually forgotten it was on the dashboard. My short term memory is that of pebble.

My mother had still not emerged from her bedroom. I looked at my watch (which had the correct time). Panic set in.

I found her sitting on the edge of the bed, transferring all her stuff from one purse to another.

It was one of her "good" purses, handwoven with ceramic beading she had only ever used when dressing up to go out to dinner.

"We're only going to the doctor."

She looked at me. " And where else do I go these days?"

Now she wasn't just transferring things   she was cleaning out her wallet, sifting through her cards.  "What is this AAA card? Do I still belong to that?"

"Mom, can you clean out your wallet another time?"

She looked at her watch again. "It's only eleven thirty."

"It's noon, Mom."

"Noon? How can it be noon?" She put aside her emptied wallet to reset her watch again.

"You may need a new battery."

She laughed. "And a new body."

I wasn't laughing.  "We need to leave in ten minutes."

"Well, I cant be ready in ten minutes. Why didnt you tell me what time it was?

I reminded myself not to clench my teeth as my dentist would have; I only wear a night guard but am beginning to think I need one for waking hours.

Along with all her wallet cards, my mother had spread out her purse clutter across the bed, face powder, old tissues, key chain flash light, crumpled super market receipts. A small note pad decorated with kittens.

"We can't drive forty minutes to miss an appointment by five minutes. I said,  scooping up her purse contents as I would my boys' Legos if left scattered across the living room too long.

I stuffed them into her evening purse. I'd done it. I'd crossed that fine line I can teeter on too precariously, that line between being the daughter she still expects me to be, the one who still needs to be told it's time for a hair cut or a girdle; and that version I'm far more accustomed to, full mothering mode. As I am in most mornings, trying to get my boys out the door for school, even if it means I have to actually put their shoes on myself.

"My cane, my cane...." My mother could hardly keep her voice even.

I found her cane in plain sight, hooked on her chair. "We can go now," I said, directing her toward the door. Just like I'd direct the boys.

"It's just noon," she said, her voice warbling like a wounded bird's.

"Your battery is dead!"

Her cat glared at me (I drew kitty with my new iPad pen):

My mother didn't didn't say anything. I'd rendered my 93-year-old mother speechless, as I directed her arms into her coat. Always directing. I'm a director. A nagging, sometimes biting, director.

Once on the road, usually she would be fiddling with the mirror on the overhead visor, fretting that she'd forgotten her lipstick or a comb. She'd be rooting through her purse forgetting what she was looking for.

On this ride, she was stoic. She sat with her hands folded motionless over her handwoven beaded evening bag.

On the expressway, I drove 80. My neck craned, hands white on the wheel, like some lunatic cab driver with a woman about to give birth in the backseat. But there was only my mother in the front seat though she can be a terrific backseat driver, alerting me to when I'm five miles over the speed limit or tailgating.

I was risking a ticket to go to a hand doctor. What would I tell the cops if they pulled me over? That my mother was in labor.

She didn't backseat drive this time. The faster I drove, the calmer she became. As composed as she used to be  when I had rebellious teenage tantrums and slammed doors.

It was the calm of a very resolute love and understanding.

We got there. I pulled into the handicapped spot.

"So what time is it now?" She asked, having given up on her own watch.

We'd actually gotten there fifteen minutes early.  I felt foolish. And exhausted.

She unfolded her hands from over her purse.I recognized it as a purse I'd always loved. One I remembered from my childhood. One whose beads were made of actual glass, the blue of pool water. But as special as the purse had always been to her, she'd entrusted it to me for playing dress-up. I had modeled it in front of a mirror. Pretending that I was her. 

It was me now who was almost reduced to tears.  I wanted to lay my head on the steering wheel and blubber like a baby.

And she knew it.

"Take a breath," she said.

Last year, when I'd had to rush out there after she'd been admitted to the emergency room after a fall, she had been the one to say she was sorry. Sorry for the inconvenience, for how dependent she had become. I'd told her not to be sorry. And I'd meant it.

Now I was the one who wanted to say I was sorry. But I was too busy feeling young and foolish, embarrassed by my own dramatics as I had been as a teenager. I couldn't say the sorry word.

And I didn't have to. She accepted my apology without my having to offer it.

"You have a lot on you," she said. "Two little boys, a family...." She laughed.  And your decrepit mother.

She took out a lipstick. She folded down the visor mirror. She quickly applied it, but not liking what she saw, snapped back up the visor. This too shall pass.

Those words have always been a solace. As when she'd been diagnosed with breast cancer a good fifteen years earlier, caught early and with no reoccurrence, but when I'd braved my fear of losing her as I brave that fear all the time now I can still feel as afraid as a child waking from a nightmare and calling for my mother. I can still long for her to stroke my forehead, to sooth away my fears as I now do with my own children when they wake from bad dreams of dragons or being chased. When it is only their mother who can assure them that nightmares aren't real.

I  do not believe that my mother any longer feels that all this "too will pass."  But she can still say it. For my sake.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

You know that last shawl I told you I finished?  The STUNNING one pictured in my last post? The faux fur one? (SO it's faux. Still furry and sweet against the skin. Or NOT against the skin! Over a turtleneck! However you want to drape or twist it!) 

Well, it's listed now in my Zibbet shop, if you just can't resist, with all that spare cash this wonderful economy has made your wallet fat with.

I mean, LOOK how cozy and irresistible it is on me:

Don't you just wish this were YOU? Don't answer that.

 But if this faux one isn't for you, there will be other nonfaux but equally furry or fuzzy soft shawls to be listed (reasonably) soon. Now I need a clementine break. Posting makes me yearn for something fruity.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I'm stuck.

I've cleaned up my weaving table (as clean as it can be):


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