Saturday, April 18, 2009


My memories of moving out here, within a month of Kirk's disappearance, are split. I have the calm, reasonable moment to moment memories, the ones where I could line up the next hour and walk through it carefully, eyes on what had to be done, looking only as far as the thing directly in front of me. Eventually that stretched to a day at a time, still with a stolid interior dialogue that recited a litany of what would happen next. It kept the rest of it firmly at bay, the roiling, desperate misery that would have swallowed everything otherwise.

I have no memory of that - or rather I have, but I still can't visit it. There isn't anything to look at anyway, nothing like ordinary memories you can shake out like last year's summer clothes and look at the cut and the color and catch a whiff of sun screen and camp fires. Instead I acknowledge it's there, a sort of respectful nod to it, neatly boxed up: it's there, it's not the memory of Kirk himself, it's the memory of that pain and it's a part of things, that's enough.

Still those first months, the first year, was split like that, the practical, divided precisely into ordered pieces of time: school schedules, soccer games, meals that all subdivided and labeled the day, and under it the constant, howling, almost featureless awareness.

Eventually perspective shifted somehow and the daily things became easier to focus on, the rest of it more compressible. It didn't threaten to swamp me any more and I only felt it flick on the raw a few times a day.

What I hadn't realized was that through the years that became, rather than a method of coping with the unbearable, a way of life. I still start each morning focusing firmly on a list of what has to be done: what will I wear, what needs packing or signing, meetings and deadlines, errands and reminders. I have an inner voice that chimes in whenever there's a lull with, "right, there's still that data to get sorted and analyzed and what about finally deciding on a palette for that project?" It's just that there isn't, really, anything to cover any more.

I still miss Kirk - I miss him daily, but, somehow in the last six months, without my really noticing when, it's become, yes sad still, but acceptable. Perhaps I've finally grown myself enough to fit it.

And, for various reasons that may or may not come up here on the blog, I found myself being still for the first time in ages, letting the next moment simply arrive.

I found myself, to my great surprise, comfortable.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Child 1 is studying for an anthropology test. I am being Helpful.

Child 1: Dating methods,

Me: [avoids talking about chat up lines and clubbing. Am very helpful]

Child 1: Radiometric

Me: That's where they check out their Pandora stations

Child 1: [natters on about something anthropologic]

Me: If it's mostly classic rock they're probably in their fifties.

Child 1: [natters rather more loudly]

Me: Hey! Child 3! I'm helping Child 1 with its studying!

Child 2 enters and proceeds to point out all the snerkable words there are in anthropology - surprising how many there are. Child 1 bravely soldiers on, substituting Homo Ergaster for Homo Erectus.

Child 1: ... [anthroisms] ... Oldewan ...

Me: [delighted] That sounds like a Jedi!

Child 1: ... occipital bun ...

Me: That's where they liked to pile their hair!

Child 1: [patient explanation of occipital bun. Which I ignore]

Child 1: Out of Africa... no interbreeding...

Me: I don't think that works. I think we would have laid everything that came across our path.

Child 1: [with enormous patience] I think I'm done being helped with now.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Child 1 is scheduled to work all day tomorrow and, being a-religious AND rather an idiot I hadn't realized it's Easter Sunday until about two days ago. Quick talk with Child 1 to re-schedule traditional family activities to today plus even quicker run to the store to procure the necessary supplies and ka-bling, holiday saved!

So last night we had the Traditional Tossing of the Jelly Beans (all-time high score for getting beans down one child's shirt, but disappointing on the bounce-em-off-the-male-child's-head round. Still, Child 1 continued to make entertaining whooping noises and diving for cover so, all in all, a great success).

This morning we had to cancel our hike due to wind, rain and hail (and Child 3 even more disappointingly wasn't able to go on a training flight) but made up for things with an excellent omelet and rather a lot of giggling.

In the afternoon the Children were all shoved out the door and the Hiding of the Easter(ish) Candy was accomplished. This year I did break with tradition and actually write down the hiding spots - good thing too as the Children were only able to find about 1/4 without hints (apparently the ones taped to the inside frame of the kitchen cabinet and stashed deep inside the sheets of foil were particularly nasty).

While the Children replenished their mental stores with large amounts of chocolate and gummy bears I made some rather nice marinated lamb, potatoes and a salad (because nothings says Happy Fertility/Return of Spring celebration like eating the flesh of sweet cuddly animals, particularly if it's been well seasoned with cumin and allspice).

Amongst all of that we STILL managed to clean the refrigerator, vacuum pretty much anything that seemed even moderately floorish and get those surfaces that hadn't been thoroughly swept over in the candy hunt well and truly dusted.

Now, replete and beautifully virtuous, we're lolling around following Child 3's suggestion of having a Jackie Chan-fest (at this very moment the evil Eagle Claw school is trying to wipe out the Snake-something-or-other school. It's all very exciting).

Child 1 had a moment of brilliance and coined the perfect name for this faux-Easter holiday we've had all day.

Happy Feaster everyone.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Early morning conversation with Child 1 produced:

The invention of the Chastity Quarter (you had to be there)

Declaration of the need, at least locally for "What Not to Wear" for transvestites (no really, you had to be there)

Concise and fascinating discussion of the cultural revolution among modern humans 30,000 years ago and how the increase in trade would have produced a need for changed/increased altruistic behaviors.

Excellent start to Friday

Well, until I glanced down and realized I'd been sitting at my desk for an hour with my fly down.

Oh well.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


In relation to the previous post - having spent a few minutes walking the aisles of a well known store I would like to request the following:

Dear little-girls's-clothing-manufacturers:

1) "Little" girl also implies young. As in not 20. Or 30. Seriously.

2) Please cease instantly producing a) anything sporting the words 'foxy,' 'sexy,' or 'hot.' I would personally prefer to add 'princess' but that's just me; b) shorts or trousers with ANYTHING written across the bum - anything at all; c) belly shirts, micro-minis and short shorts for the under 18 group. I'm a mother so honestly I'd like to make that ban universal but having worn all three in my rash and splenitive youth, the God who Smiteth Hypocrites would probably wallop me.

3) Bratz. No. Not ever, not at all, not remotely - NO.

4) While I recognize that Disney Poplette's sell items, the number of tweenlings baring their teeth at me from t-shirts etc is giving me nightmares of being gnawed to death by miniature plastic people who, strangely, keep breaking out the jazz hands. You just might be held responsible for the therapy bill.

5) Please explore the amazing range of colors beyond your current palette of 'light pink,' 'mid-pink' and 'dark pink.' In particular consider the vibrant possibilities past the pastel line. Blue, green, it's a whole world of Barbie-free opportunity.

Yours sincerely etc.

Friday, April 03, 2009


Dear Women's Clothing Manufacturers:

In the current economic crisis I'm sure you're aware that it's your responsibility to encourage customers to return to the market-place and spend their money, increasing consumer confidence and hopefully speeding the recovery we all hope for. Isn't it nice when patriotic duty and innate greed coincide so beautifully? As a concerned citizen and an (occasional) shopper I feel it's important that I share the following suggestions with you. I hope you receive them in the spirit in which they were given.

1. I am not a piece of furniture. Please stop trying to upholster me.

2. Nor am I a toddler. I require neither extreme ruffles nor enormous bows.

3. "Fit" is an important word. I suggest it does not imply either bulging flesh or billowing, tent-like fabric. Perhaps a happy medium?

4. "Waist-band," another interesting word, actually gives a subtle hint as to its meaning. I have no desire to hear the come-on line tried on a friend of a Child's, "you have the nicest plumber's crack I've ever seen!" Really, an inch or two, it's all I'm asking.

5. "Classic." Please investigate the implications in fashion. I think you'll find that it does not refer to the more extreme and less salubrious trends of the 80's.

6. Bold color, bold pattern or bold cut - choose one. At a pinch, choose two, but only very, very carefully.

7. Leggings are vile. They will always be vile. Even on the twiggiest of pop-tarts or starlets they are STILL VILE. Just stop.

8. Reworking your sizing system so what was once a six is now a four does not, actually, make me believe I'm a size smaller than I used to be. Nor does it flatter me into thinking I have to buy, for example, a lime-green pair of cotton pedal-pushers patterned all over with yellow smiley-faces simply because they say "4" on the label and they fit.

9. There are out there women who are a) not 18, b) not interested in the fashion "designs" of Lohan, Hilton, Simpson et al and c) more than willing to pay for clothing that fits and is flattering. Look into it. Could be the next big market for you.

Most sincerely,


Wednesday, April 01, 2009


We welcomed the Superior Aunt and its Superior Offspring with a cold front that dropped the temperature down about 25 degrees. The nice thing about living here is that you can get temperatures chilly enough to produce goose-flesh and yet still get sunburnt if you're rash enough to wander around outdoors for any length of time (we did. However I'm not an idiot and thus was well sun-creamed. Didn't protect against the sun-induced exhaustion though!).

So, we admired a large selection of aquatic things (once spending several minutes staring at a rusting shrimp boat in a disturbingly green "pond" and trying to see something, anything larger than a minnow), including petting some rays and almost-but-not-quite petting a very small, very wary shark. We then wandered around some gardeny type things and correctly identified: roses, cacti of various types, grape vines, several sheep, a cow and two very large horses. Then we headed home and collapsed for the rest of the evening (well, the adults did. The broods were removed to a distant location where their exuberance wouldn't spill over onto those collapsing).

Also, chile rellenos were successfully located and consumed (so I hear. Darn work) and sopapillas filled with honey so as to ensure the greatest possible spread of stickiness.

However yesterday the Superior Aunt and Children and one grandparent folded themselves into the rental car and took off south with the intention of seeing: a) some observatory thing of some sort b) White Sands [where there is Natural Beauty as well as a missile range] c) Carlsbad Caverns and d) Roswell UFO museum. I argued passionately for them to stay at The Little A'le'Inn but was ignored. If they survive all of that they will, in theory, be back tonight, possibly hungry.

I think I'll spend the day trying to figure out how best to add green chile to Coq au Vin.