Feb 26, 2013

My Last Whopper

When I was in third grade my mom was pregnant with my littlest brother.  Being the oldest and already jilted from hogging all the attention by my middle brother, I enjoyed the audience of my peers at school.  I think it was the first time I worried about being cool or belonging to a clique.  Plus there was a new girl in class who was uber cool with her carmel blond hair and tan skin, she was bilingual and super tall, and everyone wanted to hang out with her.  Suzie didn't like me.  I don't know why, maybe because I was bossy and bull headed and a bit of a rough and tumble kid, maybe I talked too much or maybe I was just annoying, or maybe she just didn't.  I actually got into a fight with her once during recess.  I cried.  Mostly because she wouldn't stand close enough for me to do some karate punches on her face, instead she stood far away from me and kicked with her long legs.  Pretty much she was the coolest person in class.

I loved show and tell that school year.  It was a chance to stand in front of the class and star in your own show about whatever you wanted to tell about.  I signed up every week.  But pretty soon after a few months I was out of stuff to show or tell about, the show got stale as I was standing in front of twenty-five of my beloved peers trying to make my yellow number two pencil sound interesting.  Finally the teacher stepped in and very diplomatically announced to everyone "If you don't have something extraordinary to share, please don't sign up for Show and Tell."  I signed up anyway.  It came to my turn and I had nothing.  My mind raced.  I walked to the front of class and blurted out, "My Mom is having a baby."... I meant in general.  She was about eight and a half months pregnant and she was going to have a baby but how it was interpreted was she was having a baby that day, that morning, right then.  The kids in my class went nuts. The teacher hugged me.  I went with it.  It was exciting.  Everyone was all smiles thinking about little babies.  I felt like a million bucks.

The following day people wanted to know if I had a little brother or a little sister. I had a fifty-fifty shot at guessing right so I wished my baby sister right into existence.  Then I wished my baby into the Hall of Cool by telling everyone we had named her Suzie.  Then I changed the subject. We went on Christmas break and my brother Joe was born just before the new year.  In January I forgot about baby Suzie until Anita confronted me at lunch, "My little sister is in your younger brother's class, and he told her your mom had baby boy and his name is Joseph." I denied my brother Joe.  I denied my brother Andy's story.  I may have even made out like my middle brother Andy was kookoo.  I pretty much betrayed my whole family right then and there to keep face.  

The rest of the school year was followed by me spinning stories about pink frilly baby things and begging my parents to not come to school events.  This all culminated in a parent teacher conference my mother had to bring the baby to.  I was in knots thinking about being busted.  I may have even cried while begging for us to please leave that baby at home.  I imagined my teacher taking one look at that cherry-cheeked baby, dressed in corduroy blue overalls, and marching me in front of the class the next day to spill my guts. I was dying inside.

It never happened.  Mom went to the conference, with my baby brother Joe.  I sat in the hallway trying to stretch my ears into the room to see what was said and to my astonishment, they just talked about school stuff.  I waited for Mom to bring it up in the car on the way home, she didn't.  I waited for my teacher to pull me aside the next day for questioning, she didn't.  In later years whenever somebody mentioned Suzie again, I remember throwing out random little lies to keep up that first whopper and somewhere in maybe sixth grade I started saying I had another brother named Joe and soon people didn't care anymore.  I was relieved to go off to junior high in a different district and reinvent myself; a cool kid with long bangs, lots of eye-liner and a family who was none of your business.

Feb 20, 2013

Stopped On Wheels

She's skating straight at me and at the very last moment before she hammers full force into my sternum she turns her hips and her wheels make a great breaking screech and she's standing there blinking smiling like she's waiting for a bus.  This is the hockey-stop I've been working on for two years.  It's taking so long because I had excuses.  My excuses were; I had an ACL surgery, a divorce, a move three states away, and a new derby league.  Now I am out of excuse.  I do them at the end of practice and when we're doing foot worky things but it's slow going.  I hesitate. I question.  I over-analize.  I forget to work on them.  I feel like I kinda have it, sometimes I make that great scritching noise with my wheels but I don't yet have the nerve to try it going full blast with someone standing in the way yet.  I will though.  Then I will hockey stop all over town, screeching up and sliding in sideways like the Dukes of Hazard announcing "I could have plowed into you with everything I have, but choose not to."


Feb 19, 2013


When asked what character from a work of fiction I would like to be, I immediately opened my Good Reads account to review what I've read over the last few years.  Apparently I love sad epic dramas, because all the ladies in these books live hard and rough lives and some of them die at the end.  Then it occurred to me I could pick a man, and I went back again thinking about what the men in these books are and again I say nope, too dramatic, too self absorbed, too TOO.  It's all too much life to live on top of the life I'm actually living, so I thought about the books I've read my babies.  Olivia is a pig so that's out.  The Seven Silly Eaters have SEVEN children... nuff said.  Going on a Bear Hunt sounds tiring.  The Little Prince is lonely.  Suess - too trippy.  Though I love Alice in Wonderland, it's just too creepy. The Princess Bride is agonizingly frustrating.  A Series of Unfortunate Events is too unfortunate.  Charlie and Chocolate Factory was a possibility and the I remembered a classic adventure story with a swashbuckling girl, pirates, mermaids, fairies, flying, and a very happy ending.  That's for me. I'll be Wendy Darling in Peter Pan and Wendy.

Feb 18, 2013

Do People Count as Items?

Name 5 items you’d demand to have everywhere you went if you were famous enough to do so.

1. Super fast wifi, because I love me some internets and even now, everywhere I go, I'm all "Does the internet work here.... in the waiting room of the doctor's office/parking lot of the grocery/school gym during rec night?"

 2. Kid safe kick butt play area for my kiddos because of course I would bring my children with me and of course they'll need a cool place to play.

 3. A Mary Poppins type person to hang with the kids while I go do whatever it is I'm famously doing so that my mind can be totally focused on famous-ing.

 4. Organic fresh snacks and beverages for everyone in the entourage, including a decent coffee.

 5.  A masseuse, because.

Feb 17, 2013

Vertical Lawn

I saw a man nearly chop himself in half while driving down Riverside Blvd.  With four lanes of traffic whizzing by, I think I was the only one in the world to notice the whole ordeal.  The homes on Riverside face the inner street exposing back yards to all of us who are trying to drive forty-five through town getting some place way more important than any place you are going.  I was hurrying from the store straight to the bus stop to meet the kid after her first day of school.  I saw him trying to push that lawn mower up the steep embankment.  His crippled left limb hung off to one side and his leg limp just seemed extra cruel in the afternoon heat, but that lawn mower piling it's weight down on him, at that angle, was absolutely scary.  I slowed the car, full knowing I couldn't get out fast enough, and wondering what sort of reaction a young man would have to an old lady pulling her car over, in the middle of four lanes of traffic, to ask if he needed help mowing.  I watched his scrunched up face turn red with effort just before his only good arm gave out and the large cutting machine rolled backwards, grass clippings flying every direction.  I held my breath and watched him jump out of the way while the machine hit the bottom of the ditch and sputtered out into a pile of sharp smoke.  He shook his head and leaned over to catch his breath and I drove on to the bus stop and thanked the Universe.    

Feb 16, 2013

The Dark Side

We're moving again.  I found black mold in the basement and I suspect it's on the outside of the wall, the side the painters can't paint over, the side that is in next room over from the furnace, the side that makes us sneeze and cough as it's particles filter up through the whole house pushed up through the heat ducts, the side that reminded the landlord he can't just buy $30,000 homes that are falling apart and rent them out to people  for insane amounts of money because he thinks they don't know any better, the side that got me out of my lease much earlier than expected, the side that allowed me to rent a three bedroom, hundred year old foursquare-crasftman house in a historic district, the side that has me cleaning house and packing again.

This moldy side of drywall is something I think about late at night lying in bed, it something I stress about, it's something I blame.  I'm actually a little obsessive about cleanliness though still a bustly and cluttery person.  I like to save things with ideas for art projects, I like to look back on a bobble and remember that time.  But I can't stand filth.  If something is sticky, dirty, stinky or moldy I get the heebie-jeebies.  I can't actually rest my mind until I have cleaned it.  Having a two year old in the house, you can  imagine, sometimes I step in something sticky.  It short circuts my brain.  I can't handle my feet being even too dusty, much less sticky and knowing it could get stuck again because there's juice on the tile makes me literally loose it.  I can't even function until the sticky is washed, dried and order is restored.  I know this is irrational but really to properly heed the five second rule, keeping a clean floor is imperative.

I watch the show "Hoarders," it's one of my favorites.  If I were ever on that show, I'd be the lady with a million scraps of memories in containers stacked to the ceiling.  Though what actually happens is every few months I get fed up and need to rearrange the house.  A great sorting always comes with it and after the many moves I've done over the last three years (six in total) I have learned to let go of things.  I actually hear the doctors' voices from the show "You will always have the memory, the item isn't the person." I also ask myself  "Can I replace it for less than a dollar?" This keep me from filling my desk with old menus, bits of ribbon, greeting cards and every scribble my baby ever splotted on the back of an envelope.

This weekend, as I sort through clutter I could love, the mold in the basement whispers "Get out."  I intend to listen.  I'm packing boxes, tossing broken toys, sorting clothes that don't fit, and re-reading greeting cards before they go in the trash.  I plan to move the small stuff during this week and big things on Saturday with a moving truck.  It's supposed to snow that day, but the mold doesn't care. It creeps and whispers, blackening any sense of comfort I have with spores set forth on the wind currents of this old house. It haunts the place and soon it will own it because I'm moving on, cleansed of all the broken, useless and hurtfull things. I am moving in to a sturdy old healthy house with enough room to think.

Feb 15, 2013

Disappearing Ink

When people hear I play derby they assume I have tattoos.  In fact my skatey ladies have even turned and asked me "where's yours?" The truth is I'd love to get one, I just have never been able to decide on something I think I'd like to wear on my person forever.  I have a hard time keeping the same art on a wall for more than a year.  Lot's of times I've wished aloud for some ink that would fade fast and completely.  I'd have tons.  I'd have my derby number tattooed on my arms in big bold Helvetica "OO" so that I'd never have to scrub the marker smears off again.  I'd have some black star earrings put on my lobes and maybe some wings on my feet.  I'd have stars up the backs of my legs and maybe some cat eye eyeliner put on, I'd have my babies names across my chest in their scribbly handwriting and maybe Opus the penguin from Bloom County on my butt.  I also want one of the Sergio Aragones tiny-in-the-corner-cartoons that you find in the margins of MAD magazine hidden in my armpit.  

Feb 14, 2013


Once you fall in love with roller derby it's hard to not want to put the uniform on every day.  Most skatey ladies I know would if they had the time.  I've been skating now for seven years and every where I've visited we all wear the same thing; skates, elbow pads, knee pads, wrist guards, mouth guard, helmet, the need for speed and the indelible habit of getting back up when knocked down.  That last part of the uniform most of us wear for the rest of our lives, right along with whatever ink we had poked into our skin and scars we earned from getting broken and the friendships we forged from the shared frustrations of it all.


Roller Girl 

You're all elbow 
 And hip 
 And heart 

 A blur and a 
 And a booty 
 Block into 
 Love's suicide 

 By - T.L. Vaultonburg

Feb 12, 2013


My son loves a train.  When he was about one I decided to give him one of Ella's old dollies for the sake of nurturing his pink toy-isle side and he promptly drove it down his toy train track.  Among his first twenty much anticipated words were "woo! woo!" and every time we cross the river near our house he's yelling "Train tracks!" as we we pass the yellow octagon sign with the big X.  I'm not sure how kids seem to be born loving a thing.  For Ella it was fashion and for Jack it is wheels and especially trains.  So this summer when the IL Railway Museum was doing their annual Thomas the Train Engine Party, I figure it was my duty to take this baby to see it.  The same way when I was little my Dad felt it was his duty to take out to Cottonwood airport and get us a ride in what I remember as a VW bug with wings.

We woke early and as we pulled into the museum this is what we saw.

Oh yeah, this was the right place for us.  As we walked in we saw a bazillion little boys in striped Osh-Gosh overalls and old fashioned conductor hats chased by doting parents pushing expensive strollers of gargantuan proportions.  It didn't matter, we were all so excited, I couldn't even get annoyed with all the privileged suburbanites.  I'd never really taken a proper train before, sure I'd ridden the El in Chicago and the trolley in New Orleans and some zoomy things at lots of airports, but wowzers this was the real deal.

Each train had that same machine shop metal and grease smell from my childhood, and the you could see where the patina of a million hands had rubbed off the enamel of the hand rails.  It was easy to get lost in time imagining commuters in the same seats with far more etiquette than I'll ever see on public trans.  

We spent the whole day riding grand old trains around in circles and smiling. We did do some of the the other activities; mini-putt, scavenger hunt, tattoo tent and half a magic show.  We must've stopped to eat at some point but really, it was so fun I don't even remember the snacks.    

We were almost the last kids to hobble back out to the parking lot at the end of the day and we'll certainly go back again next year. 

It has me thinking though, about summer vacations.  It would be nice to get to a place without having to drive, to enjoy the country side going by and the rocking of the tracks.  I've looked at the "family car" on Amtrack and it's a regular little cabin, much like I imagine they are on a cruise, though I don't really know.  The biggest ship I've ever been on was a ferry where the passengers only get their own car to sit in.  I think me and the kiddos could like hanging out in a little family car, politely playing cards and eating string cheese at night, wandering out to the riding car in the day and playing I-spy.  Funny how imagining us on a train naturally includes imagining us all being polite. 

Feb 11, 2013


I can't tell you if the most pivotal years in my life were the ones jammed packed with graduations and marriages and babies, or politics, roller derby, and moving homes.  Perhaps the most important year of my life was the year I spent sleeping in trying my hardest to avoid cleaning and making a renewed effort to chase butterflies.  Perhaps that was the year I staved off a nervous breakdown and lingered at the green light long enough to miss the deadly car wreck ahead.  It probably contained a day I lolled about in bed so long I imagined the most amazing masterpiece painting, the one that would hurtle me past fame and into history books, and allow me to never worry about money again.  But then I rolled over with a morning sun beam and forgot what it was instead choosing to scratch my butt and see what it would be like to snooze with one foot out from under the covers.  I'll have to consult angels to know if blowing on dandelions or finishing this post is better.

Feb 9, 2013

Overcast and Grey

The whole city a large, grey, well-used machine that never stops grinding and turning.  Cogs and wheels fueled with blue collar sweat and a nuclear plant whose base the city's dark navy river flows quietly past.  Yesterday's shop-grease hangs in the air, washing the vibrancy from the face of each home with it's thick blanket of white cloud, horizon to horizon.  When I think of Rockford, it is always overcast in my mind, the same way my little brother is forever fifteen and seafood is always decadent.
Photo by Lance Wells
NWI-NRHS Photographer of the Year 2012 

Feb 8, 2013

A Theme Song

My marriage fell apart on a Friday.  My dad begged me on the phone from three states away, not to drive anywhere for the weekend but I promised the children we'd go to the Bayou City Art Festival.  I didn't want to sit home a mushy mess letting the children have the run of the house.  I insisted we proceed as planned.  I packed a diaper bag; five diapers, wipes, three waters, a few gold fish snack bags, a couple of match box cars, sunglasses and sun screen and we left. It was 90° at ten in the morning when we parked the car at an outlying mall in the suburbs and got on the shuttle to the down-town festival.  I wrestled an umbrella stroller, a diaper bag and two children onto the bus filled with families and did my best stiff upper lip for the kids.

We walked among the arts and crafts and paintings and sculpts and pottery, the sun beat down on us, the stroller kept getting stuck in the cracks of the walkway, the baby kept trying to crawl out of it, the kids were simultaneously bored and wanting to touch everything. They were unhappy and I didn't have enough arms.  We were all thristy and hot and everyone was in our way and we didn't know which line was for tickets or how many we needed for ice creams and water and chips. Happy couples with no children in tow filled the walkway sipping wine and avoiding our stickiness, but not so much as to make an extra inch of room for us on a bench or a side-walk and certainly not in the shade. I reapplied sunscreen and forced myself to eat two bites of the sixteen ticket gourmet macaroni and cheese I bought for the kids, that they hated.

Then the children were doing crafts under a bustling tent with a hundred other children. I started to think of all the days ahead of me with not enough arms to hold the diaper bag and stroller and shaving cream on a paper plate, and waters and a toddler.  It was hot and I was hyperventilating and the children were glitter gluing things with some lady and I was was on the phone with a friend who was reminding me how to breath and then I realized I was in the middle of a crowd in the middle of the fourth largest city in the nation with my entire family standing inches from me and my best friend on the phone and I felt alone.  I wished I had listened to my dad and not driven anywhere.

I packed all the crabbiness and glitter up into the diaper bag and a random plastic bag I liberated from on of the craft booths and started towing the children back across the span of the festival back to the shuttle bus.  We had to pee.  There were only the squat, green, plastic boxes of portable outhouse to be found.  I slogged on to the least used box and parked the stroller along with everything I had, next to the outhouse.  I put the baby on my hip and went in to the small space with the kid while bellowing "Don't touch ANYTHING!" and "I know it stinks, but it's this or pee your pants!" and "Don't open the door now, my pants are down!" and "I know you're hot, I am too!" We made it out relieved and surely covered in a bazillion germs of hauty art patrons' piss. While I was trying to wash it all off with the trickle of portable sink water pumped by my foot, the baby stood up in the stroller and everything tipped over.  The bags emptied onto the pavement, the baby went face first into the back of the stroller the water bottle rolled down into a gully and people gasped and looked towards the horrible crash.

I grabbed everything in my arms, stroller, crying baby, child's hand, diaper bag, plastic bag, sparkly crafts, sunglasses, all of it.  I held it all together weaving through the crowd faster yet, towards the shuttle buses.  I was looking for a first aid tent.  The world was spinning, I was going to go down and be laying on the ground while my one year old ran crying into the sunset and my eight year old cried her legs hurt and the art lovers would drink their wine and discuss the merits of Mark Ryden's pop retro influence on the festival. I couldn't find any first aid tent.  I walked on.  We finally rounded the last mound of sculptures and tents and I saw the line for the bus snaking back and forth between long ropes.  The sign in my head said "Your wait is now 50 mins."  I just stood there, not knowing where I was going to get the energy wondering if we could even survive the wait.

From nowhere a man walked up to me and asked "are you going to the mall?" I nodded.  He held his hand out to me and said "Here take this over to the line on the left."  I took the small ticket and read it "fast pass."  I looked back up to thank nobody, he had already walked away.  We walked up to the line on the left where the bus driver swiftly folded up my stroller, stowed it and offered me an arm to steady myself as we quickly boarded the bus.  We plopped down; a glittery, sad, sweaty mess in the second seats just under the air conditioning vent.  I pulled the last bottle of water out of my bag and Alabama Shakes came on the radio.


Feb 7, 2013

It's a Tie!

My kid doesn't like to compete.  She hates the idea of pressure to win and the possibility of someone feeling bad because they lost.  She kicks butt at chess club, she's been asked to be a math-leet, and there are karate tournaments galore, she has signed up for none of them.  I understand not being able to enjoy something because someone you care about is having a crummy time.  And the kid is pals with everyone, but I hope she finds a way to be joyous about winning.   I want this for her for all sorts of reasons; selfish ones (inwardly I'd like to say "Yay! I knew my kid was the best kid in the history of ever!")  also winning is fun, plus trophies, and prize monies!  But really I cringe to think she'd hold herself back for fear of hurting someone's feelings.  I want her to be comfortable being the best kid in the history of ever (a title, of course, she will have to share with her brother.)

Feb 6, 2013

No, I like LIKE you.

Standing in the front hallway of my parents house I threatened Chris Gravano "I am totally going to kiss you."  We were waiting for his mom to come pick him up.  We'd be going together for a whole week, which started with a carefully brokered agreement through our mutual agent Tim Raymer, who ultimately employed the time tested checking of a yes or no box as a legally binding contract.  This was followed by sitting together in the lunch room discussing our mutual love of AC/DC and hate of Mrs. Beard's Social Studies class, four ridiculously quiet phone calls, lots of blushing and one awkward afternoon sitting on the couch in my parents living room.  It was the perfect.  Finally his mom pulled up in front of my house.  I leaned in and kissed Chris so hard he fell off his crutches and into the hall tree.  I happily helped him back up and out to his mom's car.  Our mutual "like-LIKE" wouldn't last the length of his broken leg.

Feb 5, 2013


"Gratitude" came out in 1992 and was on heavy rotation in my truck. I took my boyfriend and my little brother to Lollapalooza 94 to see the Beastie Boys and when P-Funk rolled out on stage I couldn't dance hard enough to honor the joy in the music, but I tried.  I spent the whole decade trying to dance enough to honor myself and the music, and the people who didn't make it to the 90s.  The whole decade before I spent attending funerals. There were suicides and car accidents, illnesses and a murder.  When I finally reached my senior year, I'd been to six funerals.  These were people who were close to me. People who's middle names I knew, people who's front doors I no longer knocked on but just walked through while yelling out "It's me!" That was the 80s; frantic feelings, funerals and loss.

The 90s I spent living loud and knowing death is a moment away for any of us.  I went to Mardi Gras, I bought an old victorian church and lived in it, I got married and spent the bulk of the wedding budget on open bar inviting everyone we knew.  I worked back stage at the theatre.  I gave my husband a mowhawk.  I filled the house with friends and cooked dinners for twenty.  I quit jobs.  I went to concerts. I tried to do something good every day.  The 90s actually bled right into the next decade not really ending until 2004.  That was when Ella was born.

Having a child showed me a new quiet and patient gratitude.  The kind that isn't dramatic, that doesn't feel like Robin Williams standing on a desk yelling "Carpe diem."  The kind of thankfulness felt when a fussy baby finally falls asleep.  Or the kind of appreciation you have when you trip on your platform clogs while holding the baby, go down hard and but manage to hold her up in the air, unscathed, while you take the brunt of the side-walk to the knee-cap.  The kind of gratitude you have all at once for your parents and all that they do for you and how you feel like you will never be able to thank them enough for taking the bruise on the kneecap.  There just aren't strong enough words.  I think maybe the only way to thank parents is to live well; the same way I want my children to go out into the world and live happy, rich, full lives.

Though it never hurts to say thank you anyway, so;
Thank you Mom for cleaning up the kitchen that time me and my brother "made breakfast" by dumping the entire contents of the refrigerator on the floor of the kitchen.  Thank you Dad for teaching me how to handle driving on ice by letting me do doughnuts in a parking lot on a snowy night. Thank you Ron for being cool about me coming in for the evening at the same time you are getting up for work in the morning.  Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for always being a place to "escape to."  Thank you my children for showing me quiet gratitude.

Feb 4, 2013


We sit behind the glass watching our hearts out on the smooth wooden floor moving in a choreographed blur. Holding our breaths with every feat, attempting to will perfection with our gaze, knowing we have no control over the lump-dove lump-dove of the shifting movements. We smile and nod through tight teeth at each missed beat, nearly the same way we smile and nod through tight eyes with every perfected measure.  Soon the wooden floor is empty and there is a whirlwind of children all around us, everyone talking at once, getting their shoes and coats, and asking about dinner. Our instructor smiles and waves us on, until next week.

Feb 3, 2013

My Ideal Place to Write

My favorite place to write is on a graffiti-ed bathroom wall.   In every purse I carry a black permanent marker, mostly for writing my number on my arm before a derby bout but secretly it's to draw Kilroy Was Here, or for a Good Time Call..., or to correct other defacers' spelling and punctuation errors, or just to tag an unsuspecting wall.  I've never shoplifted, I don't cheat at games, I'm that person who tells the bank teller she gave me too much change back, I've been accused of being a goody-two-skates on more than one occasion, I'm a middle aged mother of two with a bum-knee who likes historical fiction and the Home and Garden channel, and I am a vandal.  I've carved on public picnic tables, I've written on bathroom walls in at least six states in the last three years and once I even took a can of spray paint to a bridge.  I don't have a message, I don't have any reason, I just like to do it. Shhh!

Feb 2, 2013

Three Names

I'm named after the floaty hippy song "Jennifer Juniper" by Donovan.  My Mom thought it sounded unique and fresh. It turned out to be neither that year.   The Melissas and Jennifers and Michelles of the world understand what it's like to have a single letter behind your name for twelve years of academia.  When I entered college I tried out "Jenna" instead of "Jenny" for a semester and it was a horrible catastrophe.  I wasn't used to it and so people would chase me down the hall yelling "Jenna!" at the back of my head while I meandered on to my next class.  I had to give it up.  I'm Jenny, that's the name they gave me.

The last decade I've been "Mom" a name also neither unique or fresh.  This time it doesn't bother me at all to be called the same as women all around the world, in every family, all the way forward and back through time.  It's a name I'll love forever even when it's howled from the sticky back seat of my car, during heavy traffic.  Call it out into a crowd and I along with all the other women who's children are near mine in age, will turn around and look.  I am Mom, that's the name I earned.

My first baby had an imaginary friend she used to call on the phone and blame things on.  Bombadee broke it, colored on it, cut that doll's hair and ate all the marshmallows.  Bombadee did whatever she wanted.  It's her garden we played in and her feral laughter we chased all those young summer days with my first baby.  It's her name I took when asked to pick a something for the back of my roller derby uniform. It's sometimes shortened to "Bomb" by my skatey sisters and thus never yelled in a crowded public place.  Now if you google Bombadee it is my own garden and feral laughter you'll hear.  I am Bombadee, that's the name I took.

Feb 1, 2013


When you're getting a divorce after being married a very long time, all your memories, even the really good ones feel like walking through a cactus patch.  Though some have flowers and look beautiful, you don't examine them up close and breath in the sweet smell like you would with lilacs.  Some of them may even be nourishing, but most days it's safer to keep a distance lest you end up sitting on the floor trying to extract nettles from your skin and move on with the day.  It causes me to very carefully walk my path in life, never veering too deep into the thicket, never watching certain movies, or reading certain books, tossing out a whole decade of music and avoiding whole regions of my brain, only peering in slightly when the children ask.  It's a delicate and absurd dance living in a cactus patch.  It's why I returned to the lush grass lands of Illinois where the oaks have deep roots and the rich black dirt will nourish just about any seed you can plant.  I think eventually I'll have enough new growth to roll among the violets and keep my cacti in bell jars next to the pressed funeral flowers and childhood rock collection.