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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Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Kreativ Blogger Award

Thank you, Lisa, at lisagradessweinstein.blogspot.com/ for honoring me with this award! She's a real sweetheart and worth a visit and follow.
But to be "accept" this award, I must get up on a cyberstage and talk about myself. Seven points! 

BIGGEST #1: Coffee makes me utterly happy. Really. In fact, the best discovery I've made all week is that there's a Starbucks that has opened up at my local Target!


2: I love my time alone. I sigh a deep one once the kids are off to school. Though I do watch them walking away from me, the way a breeze can whip up their hair, and for a moment I do miss them.


3: I'm horribly impatient. I'm known for slamming doors. Probably why my boys slam doors.



4: I'm a published author. Yes! Two novels, one a New York Times Notable Book of the year, page 9 New York Times Book Review Section in 1992. These details I remember. My second novel followed soon afterwards and I think you can get it for two bucks now on Amazon.


5: I was a professor of creative writing for some years, before anyone was sucking at my now withered breasts (I meant my babies....) Before I changed out of my now outdated professorial blazers into slippers.


6: When I birthed my babies, I no longer remembered being a writer. So I became a weaver instead. Now that my children are in school and I'm able to think again, I'm remembering that I once was a writer. And possible still am one.


7: I can miss terribly, feeling professorial. But my children are my most ambitious and most beautiful creative endeavors. I devour every moment and regret nothing.


And to pay it forward, I have a special seven all of whom I keep wanting to revisit. If I could, I would knock on their doors and invite myself in for coffee (please, no herbal tea). These are creative, good, kind people and you might enjoy their company as well:


The Steady Hand thesteadyhandblog.com/
Natalie Whipple http://betweenfactandfiction.blogspot.com/

Crazy Life of a Writing Mom http://ecwrites.blogspot.com/
The World of my Imagination http://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com/
A River Runs Through it http://www.riverarunsthroughit.com/
My Unpublished life http://unpublishedworksofme.blogspot.com/
The Medicare Mom http://themedicaremom.blogspot.com/





Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I'm Featured on BlogHer.com!

Can't help it, like to blow my own horn. This is my second time being featured. My last feature:




was an entry into a BlogHer.com writing contest.
 I didn't win, but hey, I racked up over 2000 readers! 

Here's the latest to be featured, if you haven't already read it here, this week's Tuesday Tale:


Monday, March 26, 2012

Once-Upon-a-Tale Tues: Running Away

"I'm leaving," Ryan announced. With huge resolve. A politician announcing he is dropping out of a race.

But he stood at no podium – he was coiled up in a corner of his bed, an angry cat. The tip of his tail twitching.

He'd had a fight with his brother; for once, Little Brother, on command, hadn't felt like playing Legos or Beyblades. He'd actually wanted to play all by himself.

"Nobody likes me in this family," Ryan ranted from his corner. "And guess what, I don't like any of you back! I hate you all, even you!"

Me? I sat on the edge of his bed. I took a breath. Not so easy to breathe frankly, when my child can yell at me and I yearn to yell back, to lapse into the equally childish.

So before I could think of what to say, I said what I felt: "That's hurtful."

My son's anger turned muted. Tearful.

But he held his resolve. "I don't care! I'm running away! To California. The very farthest place on earth I can get from here."

Well, at least he had some grasp on the geography of our country, if not the world....

For the thousandth time, I was left speechless in front of my own offspring. As when recently over a bowl of Lucky Charms, he'd asked as casually as whether rain were in the forecast, how did God "come to be alive?"

When I'd birthed this little offspring eight years ago, my first mixed feelings had emerged soon after my C-section, when I paced my hospital room with him screeching on my shoulder. He'd been nursed and diaper changed. Why wasn't that enough to pacify?

After eight years of mothering, those feelings have only grown more mixed. The crying infant has morphed into a far more complex little being, who now can talk back and push and pull at no longer my sucked-worn breasts, but my whole being, at will. And in that push-and-pull arena, I long to uphold a harmonious stance; to say just the right thing in the moment, so I will have no regrets later. No picking at the scabby "should have would haves" at 3 am, when I should be counting, however restless, fuzzy cute little sheepies.

But the apt words weren't there.

So I asked: "Can I call you a cab? To the airport?"

"I'm going on foot. I just have to pack."

He pushed past me off his bed, to find one of my old bags, even though he worried they're just for girls.

I left him alone to pack. I quietly shut his door. I went downstairs to finish the dinner dishes. Feeling stupid for being angry and hurt by by a little boy who doesn't yet even know how to tell time beyond half hour increments.

Then I heard Ryan calling down the stairs: "Mom?! I can't find Bunny. OR Lamby."

Ryan would never run away without Bunny and Lamby whom he's slept with since he was a baby. He used to suck on Lamby's ears. He sometimes still likes to stroke Bunny's silken worn torn tag.

"Look under your bed," I called, wondering at my sharp tone. Or what kind of tone I should have at all.

"Well, they're not there."

"They're your responsibility."

He slammed his door.

I seethed. I hate when my kids slam doors (even though I don't mind slamming them myself).

I turned on the dishwasher just as he yelled something else down the stairs so I couldn't hear him. I yelled back, "Can't hear you!!"

A moment later, he appeared on the kitchen, lavendar handbag flung over his shoulder. A couple of nerf guns stuck out.

"I said, if you really want me to stay I will. But only if you really want me to."

Here's the "should have would have" part: I should have said something simple and ended it there. Why yes, of course, sweetheart, I love you and would miss you so very much! But my feelings were mixed up to the point of a messy muddle.

Instead, I stooped to the level of bratty. Or at least that's how it sounded to me (feel free to disagree). "Fine. Stay. whatever. Go take your shower. Now."

This only pushed him an inch closer to California. He stomped back upstairs, slammed the door again, this time the bathroom one. So hard, all the nicely framed wall photos, our grinning family in all those unmixed perfect moments, clowning in some pool, Grinning through the wood hole of a pumpkin, were sent swaying. Madly.

And then I heard him press in the door lock.

Ok. I can take a slammed door or two.

But our boys know they're not allowed to lock the door.

And the little wire key we keep perched on the doorframe ledge wasn't there. He'd slammed so hard, it must have flown off, into the hall rug, quickly lost in the dizzying tangled vine pattern.

I told him to open the door.

He didn't.

I scrounged through the vines, scraping my fingers through the fibers.

I was panicked. I couldn't get to my son. Not quite the more serious panic of losing him in crowded mall, but one that closely resonates.

"Open the damn DOOR!"

I'm sure it was the "damn" that got to him. A curse word! Or maybe it was that he knew he'd finally pushed-and-pulled at me enough to break my harmonious stance.

So he opened the door. Enough to peak out.

And enough for me to push past him.

Now I stood at the podium: "When you're 18 you can run away to wherever you want. But until then, you abide by the rules we live by under this roof. Understood? Which includes not locking the bathroom door."

The anger was gone. His eyes were wide. He nodded. He shut the door quietly as a little mousey.

A moment later, the water was running. Then I heard him singing one of the silly rhyming songs he'd made up, "I sat on a rat who ate my hat then sat on a fat cat...."

As quickly as that, we were back to normal. He'd tested my limits, broken them, and now he wouldn't be running away to California.

And then I wondered. Maybe it was meant to be this way. Maybe this is the only way a parent and child can truly connect. In the push-and-pull arena, in the battle of wills.

Though I still haven't found the key. Will probably vacuum it up later this week.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I LOVE Lucy!

I'm honored to have been asked to guest post on "Closer to Lucy."

And I LOVE Lucy, ever since I was a child and would watch it with my Dad, on our black-and-white TV (ok, so date me). My father was very professorial, so it was a delight to hear him laugh at Lucy's antics. She was so funny but so human all at once! You can't not love Lucy if you can laugh at yourself. (Let's hope – if I'm not laughing at myself, I'm probably crying).

Ok. Okay. You'll see I adapted some of my "Momma Meltdown" to make it fit Lucy. But it was a must do, as meltdown Momma kinda fit perfect as a pretty shoe!

Anyway, You can read my post at:

http://www.closertolucy.com/2012/03/featured-blogger-writer-weaves-tale.html

 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tale Tuesday: My Son's Reflection


My 8 year old son stood in front of the living-room mirror. "I don't like my face."

The mirror was a dusty one, and with the sun cast diagonally across it, we were a mirage. "I love your face."

He frowned. "I look like a girl."

Second grade has been one of great sensitivities, and I asked, "Did someone in school say something to you?"

He grimaced at himself. "They don't have to for me to know it."

The truth is that he is beautiful. Delicate features, the biggest, deepest sunlit-ocean-blue eyes. He is truly my beautiful boy, which I do tell him, at night when we cuddle after reading in bed, when he can be open to that adoration and comfort.

Though standing in front of that mirror, my voice full of subjective love wasn't what he needed to hear.

He needed the objective. So I asked,  "Well, what kind of face would you like?"

He turned this way and that, lifting his chin to drop it, looked at himself out of the corner of his eyes as if watching someone else. Then he turned and addressed his reflection point blank:  "Not this one."

It was not the first time we'd stood together in front of that mirror. When he was an infant and I'd been up nights nursing him, my son's self-awareness had been a delight; he'd stare at himself, at us, as hypnotized as when he'd watch our beta fish swim circles. The first time he'd realized it was actually himself he was looking at in the mirror, he had given us both a big gummy toothless grin.

Of course that infant self-awareness, and later the toddler and preschool one, when he'd make faces at himself or try to touch his nose in the mirror, were quite different from this new self-consciousness This was an awareness of self that I wasn't prepared for. I saw reflected in the mirror his loneliness he would tell me about, out on the school playground, when the other boys would be tossing a football and he would be jealous of a girl who everyday at recess, could play with her stuffed monkey unabashedly.

It is not that Ryan isn't into the boys things, casting wizardly spells or training his invisible dragon, if not slaying the bigger meat-eating ones; and sword fights, or the latest boy craze of Beyblades, Pokemon and Nintendo Skylanders. But he's also not into sports – more into stuffed animals, a menagerie of giraffes, cats, dinosaurs and rabbits he arranges on his bed.  As he once delighted in his own reflection, he can delight in the sentimental, his displayed bottle of pure Vermont Syrup his God Father sent him that is too "special" to open; of unwrapping Christmas ornaments every year, clustering them together on one weighted-down branch, so that they could all "be friends."

And he can be into the "cute." Recently, I came across my old childhood curio cabinet. I'd forgotten what was actually displayed on the little shelves, and Ryan and I sat together going through the tiny things: a ladybug holding an umbrella, a paper angel, things I didn't remember and others I did, the ceramic cat drinking spilt ceramic milk.

Ryan set up the little cat with the spilt milk in his palm. "Oh, it's so cute!"

When I told him he could have it, he tried to hide his delight.

But he couldn't suppress a smile. "Really?"

"Really."

He was as delighted as at Christmas when I took him and his brother to pick out their yearly ornaments, and Ryan chose a stuffed Christmas bear. But he was also embarrassed, so he concealed it in his coat. It is this embarrassment that I've tried to address reassuringly, but which only can make him pull himself more deeply into it; he'd slunk down in the backseat of the car, surreptitiously taking the bear out to play with it, on his lap.

Watching him in my rearview mirror, I had hurt for him. As I did when he had come home one day crestfallen, to announce that the girl he'd had a crush on since kindergarten "likes" this other boy in class more  the same boy who one day told Ryan, "You think you're cool, but you're not."

And I hurt for him as we stood there staring at our mirage. I longed for the right words. It had been so much easier when he was that infant, when I'd pace back and forth in front of that same living-room mirror, and comforting words could be little more than half remembered lullabies.

I had told him he was beautiful then too. The only other thing I could think of to say instead, was that this too shall pass. The kind of advice that however true, can ring hollow in the moment.

So I said what I swore I wouldn't, in broad daylight, into the mirror, into our reflection: "You're a beautiful, beautiful boy." It was at once both subjective and objective, and I knew not enough to mute the hurt. All the same, he did linger, as I held his face in my hands, forcing him to see himself as I did. Before he was pulling away. 


Tale Tues Question: How might you deal with your own child's hurt?






Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Writer Weds Hop!

Welcome back to Writer Wednesday Blog Hop!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tale Tuesday: Momma's Meltdown

Well, guess what. I've had just a little, itty bitty, momma meltdown. Or maybe it was a daughter one. Because I can be as impatient with my own mother as with my kids, longing to shove her arthritic feet into her shoes rather than wait out her act of independence as she struggles with the long handled shoehorn; we can be as late for another doctor appointment, as I can be late getting my boys to school when they insist on tying their own shoes. I mean, of course they should tie their own shoes. But which can take hours....

And what mother-slash-daughter has hours? I don't, not when, after toppling the boys out the car door at school, I have the hour drive out to my mother's, to take her, after doctor appointments, slow-motion food shopping, as she can spend hours in front of the cat-food shelf ("They won't eat anything with chicken, and they don't like Friskies...."); before I can unload her groceries, bags of cat litter and Cat Chow, to then drive 80 mph to pick up the kids from after-school care without being charged the $15 late fee penalty.

But as mothering as I can be around my mother, I can be childish around my own children, as on the brink of my itty bitty meltdown; I had just called my mother as I do every day, always grateful that she actually answers the phone so I don't have her fallen, immobile, staring unblinking up at the ceiling.

Then she started to complain about her new eye-glasses; she wished she'd gotten those other frames, ones she'd left on hold at a some other optician's....Thankful she's upright and mobile, I want to hang up.

And I did. To pick up beside me an abandoned pile of knitting-in-the-round, a tangled mess that I proceeded to rip off the needles. My breathing was as shallow as when the boys fight and I'm trying not to yell.

But no one was fighting. The house was calm. Peaceful, actually. You could have heard a my $5 CVS fountain trickling if the batteries hadn't died.

My 8 year old was nibbling a cheese-stick. He took up my tangled discarded knitting clump, saying, "Hey, this is really cool." He'd never seen me knit before. Probably because I don't.

"No, it's not," I pouted. "It's stupid."

He looked shocked and confused. "Stupid" is a word he loves and I  discourage vehemently.

I wasn't kidding. I stared him down, daring him to challenge me, as only he would ever dare me.

He gave me one last look before going out the door with Daddy and his brother to Home Depot for a fun wood building workshop. Not the more typical daring or defiant look I am more apt to get. A quizzical, even frightened, look. 

That did it. Instead of cleaning out the refrigerator or putting the laundry in the dryer, instead of changing the bed sheets as I hadn't in two weeks, I crawled into the bed myself, trading my sneakers for comfy fleece socks in  the company of my beloved iPad (if only it had fur and purred), a bag of chips, and a martini with five olives. So you should know, it was 4 o'clock, near cocktail hour, if there is still such a thing in the real adult world, when you sip cocktails in cushy swank cocktail lounges, if not amongst dirty bed sheets.

So I munched, sipped, nibbled olives, surfed, Pinned, Twittered, and plugged my ear pods into Prince "Purple Rain" came on. It sent me reeling. Back to college where, with a good friend, late one night after a party, drunk, we lay out under a cherry blossom tree.

I could feel the dew in the grass seeping through my shirt. The tree had been in full bloom I was staring up through those pink petals, a brilliant, iridescent contrast against a pitch black sky, and thinking the big questions my boys now do, about what lies at the edges of that great expanse. What might be the biggest and what is the very smallest thing in the whole universe?

Back then, unhindered yet by any real responsibilities, I'd been free to indulge in such unanswerable questions and in the crazy of lying under a cherry blossom tree until we were shivering with cold. I'd been free to be careless. Carefree.

And back then as well as now, there of course had been people who loved me. And their love has made them need me, for which I am grateful. Who doesn't want to feel needed?

But as a mother, and now as a daughter to an ailing elderly mother, I am needed in ways far more fundamental; there are the very young and the very old now, who depend on me for their daily survival. As empowering as that needing can be, it can be constricting. It can leave me breathless even in a quiet house where the otherwise meditative of knitting can make me as tense as tackling tax forms.

That night of lying out in the dewy grass, as daunting as the future might have seemed, crazy had been a rite of passage. Twenty-odd years later, that cherry-blossom-tree crazy for me has morphed into retreating between dirty sheets with a bag of chips, a martini and Purple Rain, a deviant from the expected no longer a rite of passage, and the reason later, my concerned husband stuck his head in the door.

He took in the empty bag of chips and the big water goblet that had to serve as a martini glass since we didn't own any. "You
 . . .ok?

"I'm good," I said, plucking one last olive from my empty goblet. I'd sipped slowly, enjoying how the olives bobbed around, faceless fish oblivious to the dry world beyond their watery sweet martini one.

Hubby wasn't quite convinced. "Really?"

"I'm great. Really."

He didn't venture any farther into the room. "Feel like takeout tonight?"

I find comfort in how well after eleven years of marriage he is able to read me. That for the most part, at least my role as wife seems clearly defined, though I wonder what the heck I must look like to him at the end of some days, in stained shirts (no longer from newborn spit-up but my own sloppy dribbling-toothpaste-coffee-and-cookie-crumbs ways). Then I remember what he can look like to me, in his "comfy" clothes of torn T-shirts and twenty-odd year old ripped college sweatpants.

For what it's worth which finally is quite a bit I woke up the next morning feeling like, if not quite a new, at least a better, person. I was happy to cuddle with my children on the couch in that snuggling sleepy quiet time. I was happy to finally put the molding laundry into the dryer. I even anticipated changing the now crumb-filled bed sheets.

And I was happy to call my mother and assure her that she had made the right choice with her frames. Because although I am mired in responsibilities I certainly didn't have back then lying under a brilliant pink tree, my responsibilities now I would never renounce. I couldn't even if I wanted to. They are as ingrained in me as my own need to kiss my boys behind their ears as I have ever since they were babies. As my own need to reach out and kiss the top of my mother's head, her hair thinned, when I must leave her sitting on her bed to take off her shoes, before my long drive back home.


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Sunday, March 11, 2012

New Shoulder Wrap for Spring

Fresh off the loom. Perfect for spring or summer, lightweight with an airy open weave:


You can find it now in my Zibbet shop!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Writer Wednesday Blog Hop


Monday, March 5, 2012

Once-Upon-a-Tale Tuesday: Baby Teeth and Dragon Fire


We found a tooth!

Though to whom it belongs, we're not sure.

I thought it was Ryan's. One had fallen out the night before while he was eating a bowl of ice cream.

"Where's my tooth?" he asked, politely handing me his empty bowl rather than taking it to the sink himself.

"It's your tooth, you should keep track of it," I said. Though the truth was, I'd had it last; he'd handed it to me to store in a plastic sandwich bag for safekeeping, until he could find the tiny plastic tooth box the school nurse had given him for his first tooth.

He'd never given that first tooth to the tooth fairy. "I love my tooth," he'd cooed, having cradled it in his palm as he would a baby chick at the local farm every spring. Only my son would cuddle a tooth if he could.

And now not only had the plastic tooth box gone missing, but so had the tooth baggy. I searched the kitchen where our baggy transaction had taken place. I looked under the mail Daddy had just plopped onto the counter, under dishrags and dishtowels.

Ryan watched my frantic searching. "You actually lost my tooth?" He sounded as devastated as when I confessed to having flushed his fish down the toilet rather than  burying it in the backyard.

"You hated that tooth," I said. Well, he did. He always complained of how the kids would tease him about how ugly and grey it was. A tooth damaged at age four when he thought he'd attempt to fly like a cardinal off the front steps.

 "Not after I told the truth about it," Ryan said.

"About how you tried to fly?"

"No," he said rolling his eyes. "About how it was burnt by dragon fire."

Now it was me who was feeling sentimental about this particular baby tooth. It wasn't his first one, but it was his most notorious one. On the day he returned to the dentist for a recheck two weeks after the fall, as soon as we walked back in the front door, he fell smack on it again. An hour later we were back at the dentist who asked in all sincerity, "is this an April fool's joke?" It had been, actually, April 1st.

I told Ryan the baggy would "surface" and thankfully he moved onto something else; after your third tooth falls out, the losing-teeth event isn't so phenomenal.

So he forgot all about it in fact, until I had to remind him the next day when I was sitting on the toilet, and there, nestled in the rug was a baby tooth.

I was gleeful.  "Look what I found!" I said, bursting in on them where they were playing Legos.

Ryan wasn't as gleeful.  He examined it, poked at it now, less like a chick than a fossil.  "It's not grey."

I'd been too excited to examine its actual color  or to rationalize how it had escaped from the baggy downstairs to wind up in the rug upstairs.

He handed it to his brother. "It's Kenny's. It's not mine."

Kenny's? I felt my face flush. It was Kenny's. Because Kenny would actually give his teeth to the tooth fairy. He'd only lost one so far, one that actually had been extracted due to an infection the reason this new-found-in-the-rug tooth was so squeaky clean; the dentist had shined it up for him.

And the night I'd snuck this squeaky-clean tooth out from under Kenny's pillow to replace it with a quarter (Yes, our fairy is cheap, won't leave bills), I was probably too tired to to think about safekeeping; I'd placed it on top of the medicine cabinet.

Where just that afternoon, I'd actually decided to run a duster across it. Thus, how it had fallen into the rug.

Ryan smirked; this ate at me. I didn't like how ready he was to disbelieve in the unbelievable of tooth fairies, as well as of Santa. Though perhaps rightly: Christmas morning he'd opened stocking presents proclaiming their price, as having wrapped in my sleep, I'd neglected to peel off the stickers:  "Oh, neat! a Yoyo! Only a $1.99! Thanks, Santa!" (On the extreme other hand, he's a firm believer in dragons having actually existed, just before the dinosaurs.)

"Well, we don't know it's Kenny's tooth...." I fumbled. As much as Ryan had his doubts, Kenny at age six remained a firm believer, and I did not want him to piece it all together to ask me point blank, well if the tooth-fairy really had taken his tooth, how did it wind up in the bathroom rug?

Thankfully, Kenny displayed no doubts, saying,  "Well, whose ever it is, I'll take it," he said, and disappeared with it into his room.

What I didn't realize was that he'd actually put it under his pillow.

Which I didn't know until the next morning when he came downstairs, and crestfallen said, "The fairy didn't come."

"You said you didn't know if it was yours."

"But wouldn't she know?"

"She has a lot of teeth to keep track of..." how dubious can one mother sound?

He pouted at the tooth in his little open palm.  Fact is, Kenny really likes finding coins under his pillow, cannot understand why his older brother would forsake real money to keep a stupid old tooth.

Now I don't know what has become of that tooth. But I'm certainly not going to open another can of teeth by asking what he did with it after he'd finished pouting.

And the baggy tooth still hasn't surfaced.

And to add tooth insult to tooth injury, on our last drive out to visit Gramma's, Ryan lost another tooth in the car.

"What should I do with it?" He'd asked, holding it up to me so I could see it in the rearview mirror.

Well what do you do with a baby tooth when it falls out in a moving vehicle? With no plastic tooth boxes nor baggies to be found?

You put it in the carseat cup holder. Which is what he did.

And then I got the car washed. And those guys are really good at scrubbing out those dirty pretzel-and-teeth filled carseat cup holders....


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