Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thank you, Dave --

for an idea for a late afternoon post. It's gorgeous, here, in Los Angeles, by the way, just the way I like it.

Dave is a newcomer to my blog and has begun to leave little nuggets or comments, here and there. I'm not sure, though, whether Dave is a troll or not because he doesn't have a blogger profile. Something tells me, though, that he's from Texas? Or maybe Arlington, VA?

Here's one of his comments on a post I wrote about two years ago when I had the honor of hearing John Updike, one of my literary heros, at UCLA:

wow, this says a lot about you. How do you feel now about Obama?

Maybe you should have listened to your parents, sounds like they knew right.

If Obama is proven to be the fool he looks like, will your children recgonize Rush Limbaugh knew more than you, and go listen to him speak at UCLA on warm Fall days? 

Dave -- what says a lot about me is that I LOVE a conflict, especially a political one. Your thinly veiled contempt is sort of bugging me enough to answer your questions above:

1. I feel now, about Obama, like I did when I voted for him. He's remarkably intelligent and reasoned, possesses the same values as I do -- or those that are "public" anyway. I fully recognize that he's a politician and a pretty damn good one at that. I do wish that he would push a little harder on the right. I go back and forth admiring and being frustrated by his ability to not enter the bullshit fray that the conservatives pull him into. But I recognize that he's governing the whole country, all the people and for the people.

2. My parents have always disliked Obama and still do. Happily, though, they have passed onto me a certain steadfastness in my beliefs. I'm not as fickle, I think, as the majority of the American populace and definitely that minority who would criticize Obama, despite having voted for him, barely two years into his term.

3. I disagree that Obama is a fool and as for Rush Limbaugh, I try not to think about him at all. If my kids go hear him speak at UCLA one day and he is as revered as John Updike (what the original post was about) -- well, hopefully, I'll be dead by then. 

4. From your other comment, you bemoaned the current state of children (namely, mine) as being unfazed by poverty, extreme crime and other modern ills. Uh -- with all due respect, what are you talking about?

Thanks, again, Dave for the dialog prompt. 

I have an essay published!

Click HERE and then scroll down. The journal is part of the wonderful website epilepsy.com.

Monday, August 30, 2010

To all the dads I love -- you know who you are

(and thanks to Big Daddy Autism for this!)

Giveaway Reminder and Survey!

PLEASE, if you have a minute, click HERE and take the survey. Scroll down to my post on August 26th to learn more about it. Or click HERE.

And don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Mike and Steven Meloan's fascinating novel The Shroud.

Toodle - ooo!

Moye's gift

to me is so beautiful that it's worthy of a post all its own. Moye (pronounced like toy but with an m) is one of my oldest friends -- and that's not because she is old but because I've known her and been friends with her for almost 35 years (O.K., so maybe we're old, too).  Moye played Scrabble with me as I sat in a hospital bed, having contractions. She was the first person whom I loved other than The Husband to see Sophie when she was born. She is Sophie's godmother, and when she gave birth to her daughter Claire, I received the honor of being her godmother. Moye is one of the most beautiful, talented women I've ever known -- a gifted writer, incredibly funny and sweet, sweet, sweet. She is also an extraordinary ceramist and potter. Her beautiful pottery graces every nook and cranny in my house; I eat cereal from her bowls, place flowers in her vases and otherwise live and look at her gorgeous art every day. You can see it HERE.

A while back I shared a poem with Moye that I'd read somewhere and that I knew she would love.

Here's the poem:

The Patience of Ordinary Things

It is a kind of love, is it not?
How the cup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes
Or toes. How soles of feet know
Where they're supposed to be.
I've been thinking about the patience
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quietly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.
And what is more generous than a window?

--Pat Schneider

Here's what Moye made me:

Thank you, Moye! I love you --

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Statues made of matchsticks

This is my favorite song of all time, I think, if something like that is possible. I love the look on sweet Donovan's face while Dylan is singing -- and the guy in the suit seated at Dylan's feet, nodding his head.

Enjoy on this beautiful Sunday morning.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

An Ordinary Saturday in Los Angeles

The sky was blue; the air was a sunny seventy degrees; I was nursing a faint hangover (two cocktails) and the boys were clamoring for something to do. I had the brilliant idea of exploring a new neighborhood, namely, downtown Los Angeles. We'll go downtown, I said, to LA Live. We'll hang out at the ESPN building and you guys can play arcade games while I sit, with my eyes closed. The boys were psyched. I also bought tickets to Nanny McPhee Returns and picked up one of their friends.

We ordinarily NEVER go downtown, especially to see a movie. What I didn't realize is that the Emmy Awards are tomorrow. And guess where?

the red carpet

It was a crazy maze of machinery, hundreds of "workers" -- what do they do, really? -- gold statues everywhere --  a whole lot of hullabaloo.

The weird thing is that my kids, having grown up here, were completely unimpressed and unfazed. I literally had to make them stand for a photo. I think that's a good thing, actually.

And Nanny McPhee Returns was outstanding. I cried several times during the movie, I loved it so much. Even if you don't have children, I highly recommend it.

Last night's party

was fantastic.

There was food -- fancy ceviche, burratta and roasted tomatoes, arugula salad with shaved parmesan, grilled bread and cheeses. There was trashy food -- onion dip and Ruffles, artichoke dip and bread. There were minty-vodka lime drinks, made in one of those crushed ice margarita machines. There was a soak in the hot tub and lots of talk and gossip. There was a giant coconut cake and champagne. There were gifts and more gifts!

I have just about the most amazing girlfriends in the world. I'm actually sort of speechless for a change, just thinking about each and every one of them. They make me laugh and they comfort me when I cry. They are extraordinary mothers and exemplary humans. I love them, each one of them.

Thank you ladies, for a memorable night -- I feel as if I landed in that glistening, lighted ship and sailed off to somewhere peaceful and filled with laughter.

Friday, August 27, 2010

It's done!

The best birthday present of all is that Sophie is finished with her two-day infusion of IVIG. Now we're going to wait for it to do its magic!

Thank you for all your support and prayers and well-wishes -- thank you for EVERYTHING!

(Now I'm off to an afternoon shindig at a good friend's house: girlfriends, drinks, tasty things to eat and a swim, if I get up the nerve to show off my 47-year old old, gray mare body)

Haiku my heart Friday

The old gray mare, she
ain't what she used to be, ain't
what she used to be.

Yah. It's my birthday today, and I'm forty-seven years old. I love birthdays and never feel depressed (except maybe the year someone gave me a windsock for a present). I like getting older and while I don't feel wiser, I do feel different, like I'm coming along. Most days, I feel a bit of that old gray mare thing, stiff and stubborn and perhaps a bit dim and dumb. Stubborn. But I'm coming along.

For more Haiku my heart click on over to recuerda mi corazon.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

90 Years of Voting

Today is the 90th anniversary of the certification of the 19th Amendment:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

During this intense period in our country's history, when ugly voices of intolerance appear to be drowning out more tolerant ones, when cries against big, bad, federal government wash out reasoned debate and, even, history, we should all take a moment and remember the women who fought long and hard for the vote -- who fought against those who believed it was up to the STATES (ahem) to decide this issue -- who knew that it was only a federal government, made up of the people, by the people and for the people that could ensure this right. There's a lot of subtext there, but I'm going to be grateful, today, for the following women (and to Gretchen at Second Blooming for these terrific photos!). I also wonder if the divisive social issues of the day -- immigration reform, homosexual marriage, etc. -- will one day be relegated to history in the same way that we look on the time when women couldn't vote. What the heck? seems far more appropriate than well, we certainly kept them in their place, didn't we?

Lucretia Mott

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Susan B. Anthony

Carrie Chapman Catt

Lucy Burns

Dora Lewis

Alice Paul

Pauline Adams

Helena Hill Weed

Julia Ward Howe

Looking for survey-lovers and a giveaway!

I am looking into having advertisers, specifically for things pertaining to special needs parenting, on my site.

If you're a reader of this blog, you know I'm not the commercial type. If I run an ad, it's for something like books or old-fashioned candy, and I've made about $5.00 from those ads in the two years they've been running. But, this is different, a real opportunity to make some money AND have pretty cool companies featured over there on my humble right hand column.

In any case, I'd really appreciate you filling out this brief demographic survey that will help me to decide whether or not to even run the ads. Fill it out whether or not you're a parent of a special needs child, whether or not you're a parent at all.  If you have a minute and want to fill it out, well, I'd be much obliged. In fact, I'd be so obliged that I'll send one lucky person a copy of the book The Shroud, by my good friend and neighbor Michael Meloan and his brother Steven Meloan. The Shroud is "a science-adventure novel in the vein of Carl Sagan's Contact -- offering a compelling scientific backdrop, while exploring many of today's headline-making scientific, spiritual and ethical questions. The story has no sectarian agenda. At bottom, the message is one of decoupling spirituality from religious dogma, while better exploring the spiritual impulse with cutting edge technology."

Doesn't that sound interesting? I haven't read it yet, but I do look forward to talking to Mike every time I'm outside my house. We have the best sidewalk conversations, and I'm imagining this book to be nearly as good as a prolonged sidewalk chat and probably better.

Fill out the survey HERE. 

Leave a comment that you've done so and enter for your chance to win a copy of The Shroud. The winner will be announced in a week or so, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It's like the plumber didn't show up

Yup. No nurse today and no IVIG. Evidently, someone else had a problem, and she couldn't make it here.

Big sigh.

We're scheduled for tomorrow and Friday mornings. (Friday is my birthday)

Still waiting

There's been some mix-up with the nurse.


I'd go on a rant, but why bother?

Claire from life with a severely disabled child, posted this comic and so, laughter saves the day.

Waiting on the nurse

I got the declaration of benefits yesterday from the insurance company, detailing the last infusion of IVIG that Sophie received in July for her ESES. The amount billed was just under $16,000. No joke. Seven hours in an infusion center and xgrams of immunoglobulin. Wowza. Now I just have to wait to see what our portion of this might be. I'll be twiddling my thumbs, thinking about it.

Today is the day for Sophie's second infusion of immunoglobulin. This time, instead of going to the hospital, a nurse will come to the house and put in the IV. The infusion will take about five hours and, hopefully, start Sophie on her way to feeling better and doing better.

We're ready.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bourgeois Complaint, Here

My dog is infested with fleas. We've done the Advantage, the Frontline, the flea bath, the oral pill. I went out today and got some kind of spray and an old-fashioned flea collar. I hate chemicals given the extremely sensitive Neuro-Girl.

Help me, Rhonda.


New Site

I'm posting on a new site, twice a month or so. It's called thesmartlyla, and I think you'll enjoy reading some really good writing from the other bloggers there as well as yours truly. My first post is up.

Let me know what you think -- if you haven't already ('cause I used a bit of some old posts to craft this one --).

Monday, August 23, 2010


that make me laugh:

suede shorts at Lucky

that make me wonder:

advertisement for Medical Coding School at mall

that make me laugh, wonder and sick to my stomach:

the ever-repugnant Newt Gingrich, current U.S. blowhard

UPDATE: I removed a photo from yesterday's post because it made me uncomfortable leaving it up there. And just for the record, there was no indication that the boy discussed had autism or Asperger's Syndrome. He was awkward; amusing and RUDE and just not that great with little boys. I wouldn't call him a bully, but he might have been on his way. To those of you who felt bad for him -- well, he wasn't that sort of kid. I think when he sat down next to me and farted, loudly,  is when I decided that he'd make a great blog post.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Scenes from a Tennis Tournament

You're too short to play us, said the boy looking Oliver up and down when we arrived at the public tennis courts.

Oliver looked at me, nervously, but he also rolled his eyes.

Why is that? I asked.

Well, you know. When you're short, you can't reach high to get the ball. That's why Russians play the best tennis. His Russian grandmother, sitting stoutly on the bench next to me, nodded.

Hmmmmm, I said, Roger Federer is one of the best players in the world, and he's not particularly tall, is he? Plus, he's SWISS, and Oliver is half-Swiss.

Oliver smiled.

That the boy was wearing a gray, ribbed wife-beater with navy athletic shorts and white socks and brown open-toed sandals on the tennis court, didn't seem to impact his confidence in giving a constant stream of advice to the other players. He pushed his heavy, black glasses up his sweaty nose whenever he missed the ball, which was a lot.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I can go from Emily Dickinson to loving this man because it's MY blog --

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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Dear Emily,

Emily Dickinson's manuscript of "A route of evanescence"

Why is it that I can pick up a volume of your poetry on any day, at any moment and read the perfect words? Late last night, I opened my Shambhala The Pocket EMILY DICKINSON  to this:

That first Day's Night had come -
And grateful that a thing
So terrible - had been endured -
I told my Soul to sing -

She said her Strings were snapt -
Her Bow - to Atoms blown -
And so to mend her - gave me work
Until another Morn -

And then - a Day as huge
As Yesterdays in pairs,
Unrolled its horror in my face -
Until it blocked my eyes -

My Brain - begun to laugh -
I mumbled - like a fool -
And tho' tis Years ago - that Day -
My Brain keeps giggling - still.

And Something's odd - within -
That person that I was -
And this One - do not feel the same -
Could it be Madness - this?


With most of your poetry, my initial reading is one of recognition. I suck in my breath. I understand. But then my eye, a lens, is humidified, clouds over and blurs. You recede, pulling, your words like a thread I can't keep hold of.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wanted: Engineer with a sense of style

I finally relented and pulled out the old pink helmet for Sophie. She's had too many falls in the last month and her walking is increasingly ataxic. It's all a part of the ESES syndrome, and until it's resolved (and it WILL be resolved), the helmet will be worn.

We all hate the helmet, most of all Sophie. It's ugly (please don't say it's cute, because you wouldn't be in your right mind, no pun intended), hot (the holes not only look ridiculous but they might as well be Swiss cheese with their cooling effect) and uncomfortable (even Sophie, in her very weakened state, makes attempts to swipe at it).

I've said it before, but if we can put a man on the moon, surely we can create something better looking. And then there are those pesky seizures.

Peach Pie and Trouble in Paris

I had about six peaches sitting on my counter, growing wizened. I cut them up, sprinkled some superfine sugar, cinnamon, and flour on them and tossed it all together. I had a Trader Joe's piecrust, frozen in the freezer (they're perfectly serviceable and have no fake ingredients) that I rolled into my blue pie plate. I dumped the peach mixture inside, rolled the other crust on top and crimped the edges. I made small slits in the top and sprinkled some more superfine sugar on top, baked it in a 350 degree oven until it was bubbling peach juice.

I fed it to four boys playing at my house and then finished it up by 9pm last night.

As for Paris, pillows flying in the living room did this:

Yes, that's the Tour Eiffel, in Lego, gracing a sacred corner of the room, the initial construction of which took many painstaking hours not only by our resident Lego genius, Henry, but The Incredibly Swiss Husband's meticulous attention to detail in the middle of the night.

I won't describe the screams of dismay that reverberated throughout the arrondissment.

Quel dommage.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

In the mail

I opened a card yesterday from my cousin Joanne and her husband, Guiseppe. They were both in Hilton Head during my recent vacation from hell and met Sophie, if not for the first time, then the first time in a lot of years. It was good to see them, to eat Guiseppe's homemade sopresata and to laugh at Joanne's sardonic sense of humor. In addition to a happy greeting, the card read:

Please find enclosed a small check for Sophie to buy some neat school clothes on the occasion of her entering a new phase of her schooling. Joseph and I were touched by her gentle caress when we said our good-byes. I will never forget that moment. Take care.
I shed quite a few tears on that card and thank you, Joanne and Guiseppe. I'm not sure you know what all of that means to me -- the card, the note, that you saw Sophie, that you helped us. Thank you.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Here we are

It's hard for me to convey, over and over again, what it's like to watch Sophie struggle with seizures. I hate to do it, over and over again. I've been admonished not to do it, over and over again. I put restrictions upon myself and look for transcendence. I read the requisite literature. Yet still, as Sophie seizes, particularly now as she struggles with ESES I am struck by how exactly it, the disease, is following the path it did over five years ago. As I spooned beans and rice and guacamole into Sophie's reluctant mouth this afternoon, her second meal after a five hour nap, I remembered the pureeing of food, the stroking of her throat, the threat of a feeding tube. I thought, for a moment, that I might have something in common with those mothers whose children fall out of remission from cancer. Is this it? I think and quickly think The IVIG worked then, so it'll work now. I think does she possibly have a brain tumor that is only now showing up? Nonsense, I think. What if she IS a seizure? That's nonsense; she will get better, feel better, respond.  A spell, a curse, an imprecation, the antidote. When she wakes after these interminable naps, these naps that I imagine are the only rest her body and her brain receive, she lies in bed and has what we call a cluster. A cluster of jerks where her arms fly out and her head bobs, an almost exact mimicking of the infantile spasms she acquired when she was three months old. As I lay by her today, at 3pm, much of the day spent doing paperwork, fiddling around online and cleaning as she slept, I wondered whether I could be mindful as a sort of counter-action to the seizures. I wondered if that wouldn't be mindful at all as it implied judgement. Nonetheless, I breathed in and out breathing in I calm myself, breathing out I smile, breathing in I calm myself, breathing out I smile, the same exact words I chanted as I held the baby Sophie in my arms in the brown and white checked chair in the fourth floor apartment in New York City so long ago. So much is different yet so much is the same. There is a timelessness that is not transcendent, though, an infinite whose implication is not light and that is where I lay a bit, today.

Andrea, my friend from this strange, virtual world, sent me an email  with a message at the end, an epistolary quote used at the end of every letter sent by rural Indians when they sign off.  I don't know why, but it made me laugh and laugh and laugh.

 Here we are all very happy, living in bliss, and we pray to god that you, there, are also well and happy too.

Sophie Flower

I found this very cool website, where you can draw with flowers HERE.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday's Hosannas to Robert

I can't tell you how MUCH better I feel, for only $15.

Sunday Glory

is typing away on a brand-new computer, bought for just a bit over $300, clicking from website to website at lightning speed!

Thank you, D! For all your help!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

After some rough words exchanged on a conservative blog,

All emotions are pure which gather you and lift you up; that emotion is impure which seizes only one side of your being and so distorts you.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, alone in the bee-loud glade

It doesn't get much better than this, at least to crazy, old me.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Haiku My Heart Friday

How funny is that?
Two little heads, no more false
Than the snowy rock.

You know the drill. 
There's more Haiku My Heart to be seen and read over at recuerda mi corazon.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Random stuff I'm thinking about

"The Ground Zero Mosque" -- Why is this a controversy? Evidently, it's a Muslim community center, envisioned as similar to the 92nd Street Y. Why are Republicans (with Gingrich the scary "intellect" at the center) decrying it as some kind of sign of the impending Muslim apocalypse? When I first heard about it, I thought it a bit ballsy, but then I thought  it's New York City -- and having been a New Yorker, well, the city can handle it. Hendrik Hertzberg wrote a beautiful piece (as always) about it in The New Yorker magazine, with a wonderful quote of George Washington's:
In a famous letter—the one that holds that the United States “gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens”—George Washington offered a benediction:

May the children of the stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants, while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.

Health Insurance bulls#$%$#: I spent about one hour on the phone today with Anthem Blue Cross, trying to straighten out an innocuous claim that I'd mailed in over a month ago for a doctor visit for Sophie. I won't bore you with the details, but I finally got a supervisor who assured me that there had been a mistake, we apologize for the inconvenience and I will fix this right now, today. I hate to be a conspiracy theorist, but I swear there's something systematic going on at Anthem with Sophie's file. I can't remember a single claim in the last five years that hasn't been contested, had some sort of "error" or needed to be argued. I eventually always get a check or the situation fixed, but it makes me wonder... I wouldn't be surprised if someone told me there's a large binder with a big fat X on it, under Sophie's name. Wear the mother down, it reads on the first page.

Today I read an article in the business section of the Los Angeles Times newspaper about the insurers' power over state legislators and, therefore, rates. Only 19 states in the country (and California is NOT one of them) have 'prior approval' authority over medical premiums. What that means, in a nutshell, is that insurance companies can pretty much do as they please and hike up rates however much and whenever they choose. How do they do it? Well, according to this article " Since 2003, insurance companies and health maintenance organizations have given more than $42 million in state-level campaign contributions, often targeting lawmakers who sit on the committees that decide how much power regulators will have. "

That  makes me sick. And I think it's perfectly apropos that the formatting of this whole section is weird and beyond my control. It's the insurance company, dammit!

On Brain physiology and politics: After spending three weeks in the south and with my family, many of whom are very conservative, I'm convinced that one's political leanings must be something predetermined and fixed in one's brain. I don't think I'll ever agree with a damn thing that my parents believe regarding politics and I'm sure they feel the same way about me. Attributing our differences to brain chemistry is, honestly, the only way I can deal with it without going completely mad.

Words and phrases I love right now: going mad, madness, dreadful, Holy Moly, Holy Crapola, 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Home again, home again, jiggety jig

Yes, we're finally home. And while I can say that I am honestly grateful that my two boys had a fantastic vacation in every way, thanks to my family, I can just as honestly say that it was possibly the worst vacation I've ever had in my life. And the weird and wonderful thing that it did, by being so horrific, is that I feel renewed, now, to be at home. A fresh start! A new attitude! I know I sound a bit mad, but it's true -- at least in this moment, this series of moments and hours and hopefully, days.

I needed a vacation; I needed a break and I got neither.

What I did get when I landed in Los Angeles is chills when I felt the air outside the airport, warmth in my body when The Husband beamed at us as he helped us to the car, giggles when our dog Valentine peed on the floor when she saw us. The piles of mail were neatly stacked; The Husband had some good news about The Mistress; Mirtha, the goddess, had cleaned our house to such an extent that it almost sparkled. I blinked in thankfulness at its sweetness -- this home of ours -- I marveled at the lemon tree transplanted from a pot to the garden; I ate steak and macaroni and cheese and drank some kind of sparkly red wine; I watched all three episodes of Friday Night Lights that I'd missed when I was gone, under a blanket, in an un-air-conditioned house.

Oh, my.

And then David, my dear old friend sent me this LINK and I knew it was a SIGN.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Thank you, Jenn


Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and send you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for.
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

- Naomi Shihab Nye

Monday, August 9, 2010

What I'm not doing while on vacation is

going to the aquarium in Atlanta, which my boys did with my father. Henry took this fantastic photo of a seahorse -- my very favorite sea animal. It was almost as good as being there.

So weird and mysterious, like they're from another universe altogether.

Sophie is recovering from her bad fall but has had a fever for a few days, off and on. It's unrelated to the accident, and I think she's just run-down. I continue to languish like some sort of nineteenth century convalescent confined to bed (not mine), reading books, murmuring sweet things to my children and feeling wilted in the unrelenting heat.  I wish I were as thin as those tubercular poets were, though. Ha.
I feel as if I've drifted into and out of consciousness these past three weeks, the boredom punctuated by moments of crisis that sharpen me, but only momentarily. Then it's back to some strange planet. Speaking of strange planets, the proliferation of political billboards out here in Georgia and South Carolina highways far outnumbers those in southern California. I drove from South Carolina yesterday and saw this fine one:

Right underneath this informative message was this:


I'd like to say that I roll my eyes and condescendingly think those people are stupid or ridiculous or whatever. But I feel a tinge of fear. I feel unwelcome. I even yearn for Hollywood's simple billboards touting bad movies and sleazy reality shows. 

We leave for Los Angeles on Wednesday and I'm about as excited as those miners were who set out West, looking for gold.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Beyond the Cherry on Top

Shall I shock you or do you want it gently?

I'm a shocker, I think.

Last night, our last in Hilton Head, at around 10:30 pm, Sophie propelled herself up and off the king-size bed where I have basically been lying with her for over two weeks, while she seized and slept. On the way down, she smashed her head in two different spots on the iron bedside table while I watched helplessly, trying to break her fall.

I was alone in the house with just the boys, so I screamed loudly for Henry who was on the other side of the house, in bed. He came running and when he saw the scene, he asked what he could do. I told him to get my phone and to get a towel filled with ice. I said these things as I tried to stanch the bleeding, all the while cursing under my breath as I looked for the gash. When I got the phone, I called my cousin who lives down the road and she came over quickly. We both deliberated on whether the two cuts were worthy of a 911 call or should we just go to the hospital. We decided on the hospital, and took Sophie there where she was cleaned up and her wounds stapled and butterflied.

Ironically, she had no seizure, before or after and is fine today, banged up and bruised and patched together but fine.

At the small hospital, I sat in a state of shock, I think. When the triage nurse asked me to come into the small office, I rolled Sophie in and answered his questions. He had never heard of the drugs that Sophie is on for her seizures and was clearly miffed when I told him that she was not vaccinated since she began seizing one week after her initial vaccinations at two months old. This happens regularly and I don't care at this point. I usually just stare the person in the eyes and if they push the point, I ask them whether they would sign a form testifying to the complete safety of the vaccine given and that it wouldn't cause my daughter (or son) to seize. But that's beside the point...

A man walked up to the window and the triage nurse turned in his swivel chair away from me and toward the new patient. He was evidently both receptionist and triage person that late on a Saturday night.

Are you here to see a doctor? he asked the man.

I thought to myself, why else would he be here? And then I amused myself by silently imagining the triage nurse asking the next patient what can I get for you this evening? or can I get you a drink? He swiveled back toward me and asked a few more questions, and the another person came to the window with one hand cupped over his right ear. He said to the nurse through the window I can't hear you but I know exactly what's wrong. I have wax impacted in my ear. If someone's eyes rolling back in their heads made a sound, the triage nurse's eyes, as he turned back to me, might have rattled. Good Lord, I thought, he couldn't have waited until Monday morning to have his ears cleaned out?

I had a nice chat with Yolanda, the cheerful nurse who cleaned Sophie's gashes and chattered away. The doctor, when he came in told me his name and credentials, and I said something inane about the seventies show Emergency, which I loved. Don't ask me how or why this came up, but the doctor proceeded to tell me that it was that show that inspired him to become an EMT and he was just tickled that I knew it. He told us that he could stitch Sophie up but we'd have to wait over an hour and he thought that the placement of the cuts warranted staples, anyway. We agreed to that, and he pulled out a staple gun and did the job.

And that was that. We were given our discharge papers and drove home, crawled into bed near 2:00 am and went to sleep.

It's always good to be diverted during times of crisis, and I'm especially skilled, apparently, at being focused like a laser on the matter at hand but still capable of observing the tiniest thing. And it's those tiny things that keep me from going completely mad.

Tell your story, a writing mentor once told me, take notes and tell your story.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Vacation Quote of the Day


Oh, HERE they are, Mom! My underwear! I've been wearing the same underwear all week!

Friday, August 6, 2010


The poet is someone who feasts at the same table as other people. --But at a certain point he feels a lack. He is provoked by a perception of absence within what others regard as a full and satisfactory present.
-- Anne Carson

The tension of the last two weeks built up like the heat and humidity of the days, threw out its light jagged and blinding, incessant and tiresome, then broke in a rumble and downpour of steady and washing away.

what happens when you don't wash your hair for one week but swim in a pool and the ocean all day long

Thursday, August 5, 2010

While Sophie slept

the white birds swooped into the trees

the giant beetle nose-dived into the pool, clicked and drowned

the alligator slid through the water, eyes dimmed and fathomless

brown pine needles drifted down

the breeze lifted the heated grasses

a fish jumped in an impossible arc

while Sophie slept.


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