May 2, 2018


I dragged all those things I didn't need anymore to the curb in a futile attempt to beat the rain. That cool shower smelled like new roots and soggy worms, replacing an itchy day that wasn't ready and went nowhere. It made me lighter to let things go while wet drops hit my cheeks.

Feb 13, 2018

It's the Cops

Saturday morning I awoke to the persistent sort of knock on my front door that only police deliver. I pulled on whatever was at the top of the pile and ran down the stairs in a haze to in find one police woman shivering and pounding on my front door.  The city snow plow hit my car.  Broke the break light and then put a hefty gouge all the way up the length of the poor old Grand Marquis Mark. It still drives, but the window doesn't roll up or down at all now and it looks like hell. I'm hoping the city will send me a nice check in the amount of enough for a newer cruddy old car but this one with heated seats and blue tooth and front wheel drive.  Maybe even something that will fit in small spaces and not use much gasoline.

Jan 29, 2018

The Day After We Attended a Royal Rumble Pay Per View Party.

"Mom, if I was a wrestler I'd be Smacker McSmacker, and I'd just keep smacking people in the face" ...commence Jack pantomiming super fast face smacking.

Is it Summer Yet?

I'm longing for warm summer night.  There was this time when I was a kid and we lived on the south side that my Dad and his pals would play Frisbee in the street in front of our house.  They'd be out there with a beer in one hand and skipping that disk off the street looking smooth.  Mostly us kids would be catching lightning bugs or playing tag in the yard.  Sometimes I think I remember sitting on the curb and being super happy when someone caught the Frisbee under their knee.  I think there may have been a radio somewhere - in my head there's a soundtrack to this scene with maybe Slow Ride and Rocket Man and probably some Stones.  These guys with their messy long hair and cut offs, sometimes with a short cigarette carefully shifting from hand to mouth just long enough to take a drag and return the throw. 

Jan 15, 2018

Art Institute of Chicago

I took the kids into see art today.  We started in the modern wing - mostly because that's where the valet parking was but also because we've been interested in modern.  I've been participating in abstract night at the studio and the kids have done some at school and in an outside art class.  We all seem to be a little enchanted by it.  Piet Mondrain is near the top my list of very favorites but later in another wing I was reminded how much I loved Edward Hopper and then I saw all the Renaissance stuff and forgot all about abstract.  I could spend years there and just stand around loving everything the best, for a slice of time. 

Everyone at the art museum is pretty.  Everyone is dressed like they're going to something important, some folks are speaking other languages.  Nobody is yelling at their children, they are all leaned over teaching their kids about art and history and asking each other's opinions. A whole day of looking at art museum goers made me feel wretched in my snow boots and my smelly, stained up shirt.  My youngest got car sick on the way into the museum and I of course put my hands out and caught all the barfs instead of  letting is spew all over our driver's back seat.  There was no way to turn around and drive home so we pushed on, ducking into the bathroom right away and washing up and then standing under the hair dryer for a minute.  Then I went on to spend the day looking outward and thinking about technique and colors as well as being on high alert for more sickness that never came.  It wasn't until I was getting a little overwrought with all the looking at art that I turned my attention to the people and then lastly myself. sigh.  Then I just wanted to be somewhere else and that was perfect because we left.

On the way home we saw smoke on the highway for miles and drover past a semi-truck on fire, like 20-foot flames and black smoke.  No body barfed, some of the kids slept. It was a crazy grey and sleepy ride home. 

Jan 8, 2018

Half Way

Halfway Down
By A. A. Milne

Halfway down the stairs
Is a stair
Where I sit.
There isn't any
Other stair
Quite like
I'm not at the bottom,
I'm not at the top;
So this is the stair
I always

Halfway up the stairs
Isn't up
And it isn't down.
It isn't in the nursery,
It isn't in town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head.
It isn't really
It's somewhere else


About half way through every project, I hate what I'm doing.  It's not turning out how I had it in my head and I've looked at it too long, it's feeling overworked and I want to literally kick it across the room.  Once I let go of what I thought it was going to be, finish and fix what I have, it usually turns out pretty good.


Hello 2018!  Let's do better than last year.


Dec 26, 2017

Tuesday at the End of December Brain Dump

It's super cold today.  I never did get the storm windows into the house and so I really can't get the heat up over 62 today.  I'm pretty sure if I was a landlord I'd be getting yelled at about it, but the kids are visiting with their dad this week and I just put an extra sweater on until my dad gets here and we try to get the screens out and the windows in with our frozen fingers. 


I loved 2017.


I think I only saw one movie this year at the theater.  Wonder woman.  I loved it.


I missed a whole movement of new music during the last decade, that I really like and as a result I'm consuming it as fast as I can with ferocity.  It's been loud at my house for the last few months.  I don't know why I wasn't listening to anything.  I'm surmising the part of my brain that liked music was numb, I thought it was all over, everything good had been sung and listened to ad nauseum. Most of the things I liked had been abandoned after my divorce, literally and figuratively.  This year I discovered new things I love.  It's so good and unexpected and powerful.  Sometimes I have to turn a song off because it makes my chest hurt, other times impromptu dance breaks.  Welcome back to the music lobe in my brain!


Thomas bought me a turn of the century upright grand piano. I like to sit at it and pound out melodies on the keys in a super monotonous way.  I'm sure the neighbors are horrified. 


I'm going to make some paintings on black velvet in January.  I hope the technique isn't that different from starting with a black canvas.  I'm super excited - I'd like to start today but need to get wood and velvet and it's -17° today and I haven't started my car in three days.  Soooo, maybe I'll get out after we get the windows in and get supplies.  It's actually an idea time to stretch canvases - when the kids aren't here. 



Aug 24, 2017

Stranger Danger Online

When I got home tonight the kid had left the computer on while logged into her e-mail.  I sat down and before I could log her off I did a cursory scan of the subject lines of the emails looking for red flags, sex, drugs, and general teenage stupidity.  I saw something about a hotel and of course clicked it.

Aunt Lauren was inviting the kid and 15 other people to stay all at the same hotel for the wedding last spring.  And then Harvey invited the kid and a bunch of other relatives to Easter dinner. Next was a bunch about Esther's 90th birthday and who was going to fly in for that? Lastly there was a bunch of e-mails containing corny jokes about electricians from cousin Eric. I rolled the mouse back through a couple of years of correspondence from people I've never heard of.

Let me be clear, we are not related to an Aunt Laren, Harvey, Esther or Eric.

I called the kid downstairs to explain.

"Do you have a second family you've been hiding? Who are these people? Do you have a Grandma Esther I don't know about?"

"No!  I don't know who these people are but they keep sending me emails and photos! I don't even read my e-mail unless I see it's from myself!"

Apparently this is how she moves artwork from one account to the desktop computer but her account has been infiltrated by a very nice family who would like us to know that Shirl's baby is getting baptized and Uncle Carl had a very nice time at the Lake. I clicked though a few more and they're sent from people's work complete with job titles and companies and phone numbers to perfectly normal occupations, so I think it checks out.  It's not some weird roll playing fan fiction world the kid and her hipster pals are playing where peach jello molds, mom jeans and ridiculously boring puns are all of a sudden cool.

I'm not even sure how to feel about this. It occurs to me that the family might think that one cousin who never replies is a "real wet rag". I'm pretty sure that's how they'd say it in hushed tones.

Anita MacRae Feagles and The Tooth Fairy

Anita MacRae Feagles wrote and illustrated The Tooth Fairy.  I checked out the little hard cover book from the Rockford Public Library more than any other book.  In my thirties when my first child lost her first tooth I became obsessed with finding this tiny book again and hadn't a clue who wrote or illustrated it I just remembered the fairy illustrations and how the book made me feel all happy about loosing my teeth.  I google searched through thousands of images over several weeks until I found it.

I get that little book out and read it on the very night The Tooth Fairy will visit our house, just before bed.  We'll read it tonight.  It's simple and charming and it's The Tooth Fairy I've always known my whole life.  She's a city fairy.  She has a house and a job and throws parties and I imagine she drives a little hatch back car when she's not traveling by magic.  Some of these facts weren't in the book they were just part of what I imagined in my head.

"Anita MacRae Feagles, of Vero Beach, Fla., and Fishers Island, N.Y., died on March 14 2008, with her husband, Robert Feagles, at her side.

She was born in Chicago, the only child of Cuyler and Anita MacRae. She was raised in Chappaqua, N.Y. She received a bachelor's degree from Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., where she was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority, and an master's in education at City College of New York. She was a member of the Junior League of Mt. Kisco, N.Y.

Following her marriage to Robert Feagles, an international banker, she lived for two years in San Juan, Puerto Rico, before they returned to Chappaqua. She had four children and became a prolific writer, publishing 20 books, mostly for children. She accompanied her husband on numerous international trips, and was able to do research in Mexico, England, Spain and Iceland, which led to books set there. They lived in London for two years, and later moved to Hartford. They have also maintained a residence on Fishers Island for over 25 years.

She is survived by her husband and three children, Cuyler, of Freeport, Maine, Priscilla Hammond, of Lyme, and Patrick, of Vero Beach. Her oldest daughter, Wendy Harwood, predeceased her. She also leaves behind seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. In addition to writing, she worked as an ombudsman in the Connecticut prison system, as instructor in English at Indian River Community College, and as a Guardian Ad Litem in the Florida 19th District Court System.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Humane Society of Vero Beach, PO Box 644, Vero Beach, FL 32961 in memory of Mrs. Feagles."

the tooth fairy by Antia Feagles