I remember, so vividly, the moment that each of these two girls were born. So, so different – Sophie at home, as the sun was coming up, with just my mom and my friend and the midwife. The lights were low and it was quiet and after she was wrapped up and in my arms we opened the front door and the breeze came in, smelling like flowers. Willow was born seven weeks early by emergency c-section, and after I touched her cheek one time before she was carried off to the NICU, we were kept apart for the first day and I cried and cried. But all that stuff aside, the first moments of being with each of them were very alike. I was captivated by every aspect of them. Their tiny fingernails, their eyelashes, their fingers curling around mine. Those tiny rosebow lips. The yawning. Love and pride and disbelief at their beauty. Astonishment. When I was making this video of them at the beach the other day, I can’t say I was feeling any of those things. We were happy and laughing and very in that moment, but oh my god when I watch this video without any sound I feel completely all those things I did when I first held each of them.
My grandmother’s washer and dryer were in her yellow kitchen, right by the back door. One afternoon, when my cousin and I were teenagers, we were in the kitchen when the dryer buzzed and our grandmother took out a fitted sheet and began folding it. We both walked over, watching, as she folded it perfectly. Michelle said, Okay. You HAVE to show me how you did that! And my grandmother was, I’m not even exaggerating, astonished. You mean you girls don’t know how to fold a fitted sheet? We both shook our heads no. So, she showed us how she put her hands inside two of the fitted corners and then joined them, folded the sheet, laid it flat on the dryer to smooth it out, and and then folded until it was perfectly done.
I still can’t really do it right, but every time I fold fitted sheets I think about being in her kitchen and I’m glad that no one else had taught me how.
I’ve been trying to work my way through The Artist’s Way, but I keep not making time to do the morning pages so have been in the first week for at least a month. Maybe I should read my copy of Overwhelmed first? Maybe I could make them night pages instead? I have a hard time staying asleep all night, and it seems like from about 4 a.m. till 8 a.m. is when I’m really gettin my REM on, but I try and get up everyday before 7, so, well. Yeah. Getting up a little earlier to write three pages makes me feel more bitter than creative. Night pages! Great idea! Thanks for the talk!
I had an idea for a novel in the middle of one of my sleepless nights. I got up out of bed at 3 a.m. and wrote and wrote – outlines of chapters, some scenes, character descriptions. I was super hepped up about it. The characters seemed so real and actual. I didn’t love the storyline, but I shared it with Scuba and my mom and maybe a couple other people. Everyone was all, Oh. So it’s a YA book? And I was all, Yes? So, since then, I’ve been thinking more about it, and now I have some different stories for the same characters bouncing around in my head and maybe this is something that I will really write? Anyway, if I can’t make time to do my morning pages or my night pages or any pages at all, then there’s not a lot of hope that I can write a novel. So, baby steps. I need to start taking baby steps.
I was so proud of the doormat I found on sale the other day at Target. Woof! So cute! I love my dog! Then the kids came home, and they were all: OHMYGOOOOOOD, MOM. Thanks a LOT. I can’t have any friends over now. And I was all, BUT YOU GUYS! That’s how dogs say “Welcome!” They say WOOF! I stood there waiting for them to change their minds, but all four of them, united, rolled their eyes at me. So now the WOOF mat is on the back step. I’m so embarrassing.
I started blogging in July of 2002 on a BlogSpot URL that didn’t have anything to do with the title I’d picked for my site, because I believe in learning things the hard way and starting off at the bottom to give myself a whole lot of room for improvement. After a couple of years, I moved to a Typepad URL that did contain the title, but I didn’t feel like I’d arrived or whatever enough to go buy my own URL. (Also, mostly, I had no idea what to do with one if I did.)
Then five or six years ago, I started looking around. notcalm.com was taken, so I grabbed not-calm.com and relied on my friend / coworker to set me up. But, I always kept looking to see if notcalm.com had popped up for sale, since it was just parked. Obviously, blogging keeps getting knocked off my to-do list for the last, well, few years or so. I still compose posts in my head in the shower or when I’m falling asleep, but clearly I am not actually writing them down much.
On Wednesday it was my dad’s birthday. His name was Stan, and he would have been seventy. I still instant message him on his Gmail account, just in case he’s listening. On Thursday, I got an email:
I am contacting you because you own Not-Calm.com. I thought you might be interested in purchasing NotCalm.com.
If you would like to buy NotCalm.com for $[totally reasonable amount removed], click here:
If you don’t want me to contact you again, just reply to this email and let me know. Thanks.
I bought the URL. I’m pretending that my dad sent it to me. I’m pretending that the email also said how much he misses all of us, but that he really likes knowing all the secrets of the universe and checking out all those stars up-close.
And I don’t care if you think I’m weird.
This Polaroid I took this morning is a fake-out; it’s really all Ace all the time around here, and it’s great.
We’re adopting a lab and he is already my favorite child. Sorry, kids! Ace is 4, he’s about 80 pounds and he’s really friendly, unless you are an opossum in the back garden and then he would very much like to rip off your creepy little head. We are still getting acquainted, just about 24 hours after arriving home with him. He likes liver treats, and scrambled eggs in his kibble bowl at breakfast, and the half eaten ham and cheese sandwich he found in the bushes near the school. Whoops.
He’s been super good while I work today, pretty much just chillin at my feet and waiting for me to give him treats and attention. I smell like a dog and I’m covered in hair and I’m shocked at how little I care about that.
So, I’m kind of pissed about something, and I know it’s stupid, but I can’t let it go: I have to find a brand new private drugstore, after a twelve-year run at the Walgreens that’s just far enough away from my neighborhood. You know what I’m talking about – you have your regular drugstore where you buy regular stuff like cottonballs and vitamins and lotion and shampoo. The ill-advised beef jerky or off-brand fruit pies. Nail polish. Cheap slippers. They used to develop your photos back in the day. You know a few of the folks working there, you always bump into someone you know in the aisles. ~Regular Drugstore~ But, when you need to buy something private, like, I dunno, say lice shampoo, Imodium *, over the counter birth control, certain types of ladies-only medication, a pregnancy test, a giant container of cheesy poofs, you drive just a tiny bit out of your way to go to the store where your neighbors don’t shop and won’t be all up in your private business. ~Private Drugstore~
A little while back I was headed to the private drugstore, MY private drugstore, to buy some private things. Now, before you tell me to just order them online already, duh, I need you to agree that most of the private things you need to purchase are both private and urgent. I’m not gonna wait for Amazon to deliver that pregnancy test ** or that lice shampoo ***. No ma’am. On the way over I was talking to my mom on the phone and bitching and griping about the nature of the private things I needed to purchase. I parked my car and turned it off, and there right in front of me was a dad that I know from school, soccer, and a mutual friend from 25+ years ago. And I was like, OH NOES! I cannot go in and make my private purchase until he is done shopping. So I stayed on the phone with my mom and he went in and probably didn’t see me, but maybe he did? After like ten minutes I couldn’t wait anymore, so I decided to be brave and go in.
I saw him in one of the aisles, so I ducked around the corner and looked at some chips for a minute and made a grand master plan to wait for him to leave and then get my stuff. Great! Instead, I accidentally ran into him at the end of the next row and he was all Oh, hey, Jen. HI! I’m just here getting, uh, some, stuff, and uh, things! And I was all Oooooh, he is totally 100% using MY private drugstore like it’s his private drugstore! That bastard! But, to cover, I was all Well. *I* am getting stocking stuffers for my kids. See you around!
At first I thought that it would be okay. That it would be super against all odds for us to both show up there at the same time again. And then? Last Monday I needed more private things and so I went back and there I was BASKET FULL OF SUPER PRIVATE THINGS and there was another, different, person whom I know. And I didn’t even play nice, I just turned on my heel, went to the register, and kissed my $80 and my private drugstore goodbye. So now I’m on the lookout for a new private drugstore, one with a not-shitty parking lot that’s close enough to get to when I need something private immediately, but not close enough to run into people I know. I’d ask for some recommendations, but obviously that won’t work this time as it needs to remain my little secret.
* Who am I kidding? I buy the grocery store generic Imodium at my regular grocery store, but maybe you are more refined and delicate than I and want to keep that a private purchase.
** Yes, I’ve had a tubal. Yes, I still freak out that I’m maybe pregnant every once in awhile.
*** Shit DOES NOT WORK. Do this olive oil thing instead and get a Robi Comb at your very own private drugstore.