Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This is C

She's always been a friendly one, my little C, smiling and uninhibited. As the baby on both sides of the family she's grown to expect a certain level of coddling and is happy to reciprocate with a full on dose of sparkly baby charm.

When she meets a new acquaintance she waits for just the right moment to introduce herself--a pause in the action--all eyes on her. She takes one bold step forward, smiles her most ingratiating smile, places both hands on her chest and says, " C."

The pacing is perfect. All of your highest expectations are about to be exceeded. Just wait 'til you see what's in this package. It's almost exactly like that James Earl Jones CNN voiceover...only chirpier and lacking a bit in terms of diction.

Last night she was 'helping' me with the laundry when something caught her eye--her blurry reflection in the side of the washing machine. My heart clenched a little as I watched her approach the not-quite-mirror-image so earnestly to deliver her favorite line.

Some days I'm willing to believe anything.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ms. Mommicked and the Meme

Quite frankly I find this entire thing a little least I did until I realized that the genius, sweetsalty kate, is also a Lady of Lallybroch. Now I feel up to the challenge.

Plus it's for the excellent cause of promoting Kate's book - Dread Crew - Pirates of the Backwoods. I don't exactly have a huge readership but I wanted to get a plug in just in case someone stops by.

1) You are facing an epic journey. You may choose one companion, one tool and one vehicle from any book or film to accompany you. Or just one of the three. It's up to you. What do you choose? I'd have to go with somebody powerful/magical like Gandalf or some similar wizardy type. For a tool I'd take a time-turner and my vehicle would be Falkor the Luckdragon. Everyone should just admit that they've been wanting to ride Falkor since the mid-80's.

2) You can escape to the insides of any book. Where do you go, and why? Way too many options here to pick one--Narnia? Hogwarts? The Kingdom of Florin? Wonka's Chocolate Factory? A party at Gatsby's house? So many places I'd love to see in person.

3) You can bring one literary character into your current life. Who do you choose, and why? Maybe the lead character from All Quiet on the Western Front or Leslie Burke from Bridge to Teribithia. I just can't stand the thought of either one of those characters being dead. Not sure I'd have much to say to either one but at least they'd be safe.

4) Outlander (or any book from the series)is my go-to book. (There. I said it.)I could read that book fifty-seven times in a row without a break for food or a pee and not be remotely bored. In fact I’ve already done that but it wasn’t fifty-seven times. It was sixty-four.

5) Of all the literary or film characters that made an impression on you as a kid, who was the most enviable? I remember hoping that a tiny white dog would show up and tell me that I was a fairy like the little girl in No Flying in the House. I also wanted to be Jo March though I don't think her life was enviable.

6) Of all the literary or film characters that made an impression on you as a kid, who was the most frightening? I was truly terrified of the Wicked Witch of the West and all of those flying monkeys...and the Barbie-sized action figure version my parents gave me for Christmas when I was about 5-years-old.

7) Every time I read _________________, I see something in it that I haven’t seen before. I'm not a big repeat-reader (except for Outlander) so I can't really answer this one. I'd imagine that I missed quite a few cool bits in Cryptonomicon the first time around and I've been wanting to read it again.

8) It is imperative that
Dread Crew: Pirates of the Backwoods be made into a movie. Now. I am already picketing Hollywood for this—but if they cast _________________ as _________________, I will not be happy. I will, however, be appeased if they cast _________________. Obviously I haven't read it so I can't comment too much on casting but there's got to be a part in there for Viggo.

9) Outlander is a book that should never be made into a film. NOTE: With all due respect to Kate, I just don't think a live action Jamie could ever meet my expectations. And without the first person narration, how could I pretend to be Claire?

10) After all these years, the big reveal scene in the book/movie Behind the Attic Wall still manages to give me the queebs. Perhaps I'm translating 'queebs' incorrectly but just thinking about this bizarre, twisted YA book will probably have me lying awake in bed tonight wondering if there are creepy mannequins lurking in my attic.

11) After all these years, the barley field scene in the movie Room with a View still manages to give me a thrill.

12) If I could corner the author Dan Brown, here’s what I’d say to them one minute or less about their book, The DaVinci Code: I want my money back.

13) The coolest non-fiction book I’ve read
lately is Knitting Around by Elizabeth Zimmerman. Every time I flip through it, it makes me want to ditch my humdrum life and knit my way to action and adventure. I'm also a sucker for a good field guide.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Taking the Cure

Repeat after me--we are all God's children, we are all God's children, we are all God's children.

Keep going until you find the space in your heart to forgive, even if you don't believe in God. Or is it god then?

Since R died I've been working on regaining patience. Not the kind of patience that allows for peaceful browsing of supermarket tabloids while the little, old lady purchases 20 cans of cat food with pennies, the kind that allows me to meet people where they are.

"A hip replacement? How awful for your 90-year-old grandmother! Such a tragedy."

"A parking ticket. That sucks!"

"She made you revise the whole meeting agenda? What a crappy day!"

"Poor thing. I didn't know cats could get colds."

"Ugh! I can't imagine having two children. My one just wears me out."

The tiny pilot that lives in my head meets all of these minor complaints with a steely, unsympathetic gaze as I work desperately to remember the appropriate response. I can usually find the right words and make them come out of my mouth with the proper inflection but, it's work. It should come naturally.

After all, each one of us is a tiny little miracle--the journey-work of the stars as Uncle Walt would say.

I watch C defy gravity as she runs across the kitchen smiling my dad's smile and kicking T's too-short legs. A wonder of engineering. A pint-size family reunion. The culmination of generations of survivors.

I can't believe I made her. Cooked her up right inside my own body with nary a thought. Imagine building one (or two) in the garage.

8 billion+ miracles roaming around the planet with their triumphs and woes. That 90-year-old grandmother was once a bouncing baby, the apple of her mother's eye. That sick cat is a killing machine honed through millions of years of evolution. Who am I to feel like my daughters deserve some kind of special consideration?

On the other hand, maybe some of us more miraculous than others.

Last week I visited one of my best friends from college and her husband. They're expecting their first baby in early February and we wanted to pass along some essential equipment and check in.

Most parents-to-be are excited and nervous but mostly excited. These two had a distinct whiff of subdued terror that set off my spidey-sense.

Over the course of the afternoon my friend's husband recounted the hair-raising story of his own birth. I'll share an abridged version here to protect his privacy--rocky pregnancy, IUGR, low Apgar scores, 4 days in the NICU (in 1975), flatline, baptized by a nurse, last rites, full recovery.

A walking, talking miracle, ladies and gentlemen.

How many bona-fide miracles do I encounter every day? Since there's really no way of knowing, I should probably just give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

You don't have to travel far to meet people where they are if we're all in the same place.