Thursday, October 31, 2013

Baby Making Part 1

Day 57, Oct. 31, 2013

Some women just know they want to have babies and some women know they do not. When I was twenty eight, married to my husband for about a year, I knew I wanted a baby and it was time to try.  I had just graduated from grad school with a violin performance degree and was facing orchestral auditions, and building my teaching studio. It so happened that for me, taking an orchestral audition was about as intimidating as participating in a race to the top of Mt. Everest with a bunch of Nepalese Sherpas. And building a teaching studio? Exhausting! I'll just have a baby, I thought.  At least I could delay the painstaking audition process and the tedious studio building process while the baby was a baby, and could start career building again in a year or so.


First off, having a baby is about 1 trillion times harder than taking an orchestral audition and about 10 gazillion times harder than building up a teaching studio! And one year to get your career going? How about never? And the thing is, auditioning and teaching are relentlessly challenging.

So, I excitedly go off the pill, and we get down to business, and I'm planning my speech to my students and I'm putting off practicing, because the baby would be coming any moment!


My body was very sneaky: "Not so fast, you lazy piece of crap." Get your violin out, get yourself some teacher training, and get your career going, you piece of avoidance!" It would be six years, lots of fun medical intervention and a harrowing pregnancy in which we lost a twin before my first baby arrived.

But, here's the thing, and this is just like a predictable mini-series. I did win an orchestral audition, and I built up an awesome teaching studio, and I learned to meditate with inspirational cds. And I moved to a place where I found my musical niche. And once my first baby was born, it all became clear. All of the agony of infertility, the days, months and years wondering if I would ever have a baby, drooling over mothers and their kids, hating all pregnant women, hating women who clearly didn't want kids, hating men all of whom just seem to move on in these all stared me straight in the face and said, you needed to take care of you first before you could take care of her, so that's why this happened.

And as a side note, in my struggles, I met the most amazing doctor in the history of the world, by whose adept hands both of my children were conceived in the same petri dish. The details of this story will come in the next installment of this very exciting baby-making mini-series.

Coffee: The last of my grounds were used today in a delicious cup of home made decaf!

Cups and Bags Challenge: I'm going to add $10 for all the people in the world who I know are using reusable cups and just forgetting to email me! If YOU use a reusable cup, email me here: and I'll send a dollar to Bring Recycling. Today we're at $63!


Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Day 56: Oct. 30, 2013

No words today.

Coffee: Let's see... None. (Its a theme.) Oh, that's why today feels weird. Also maybe because I barely ate any dinner. Which had to do with the fact that the chicken I cooked was delicious on the outside, but raw on the inside. Gross. It was gross. It was still partly frozen when I put it in the oven, apparently. If I drop out of society for a few days, you'll know its from Salmonella poisoning.

Cups and Bags Challenge: Same as yesterday. If you use a reusable cup, email me here:, and I'll send a dollar to Bring Recycling!


(This watercolor was really beautiful until I ruined it by trying to add a bush to the bottom, and somehow it came out looking like a male body part. I cut it off.) (None of the innuendos in the previous sentence were intended, you dirty minds.)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ball Point Pens Suck

Day 55: Oct. 29, 2013

Today, my son drew on the couch with a ball point pen. I wanted to grab him and throw him. I wanted to YELL. I told him sternly that it was not ok to draw on the couch, and that he would have to stay in his room while I tried to get it out.

It didn't come out.

In my frustration I brought him to the couch to show him the damage.  And again, I wanted to throttle him. But instead I told him that even though he wrote on the couch I still loved him.

Saying that was REALLY hard for me.  I have a hard time letting go. And, for a second, I wasn't sure if me loving him was even true. Instead, I felt helpless and pissed, and betrayed.

When I forced myself to say I loved him no matter what, I felt the tightness in my chest release.

I brought him to his room for quiet time, and skipped reading books as a punishment, and he accepted that. I'm not sure that was the right punishment. I also took away his big Mack Truck for the rest of the afternoon.

It turns out a combination of rubbing alcohol and shaving cream will remove ball point pen ink from a micro-fiber couch. Who knew?

Coffee: One decaf from the library, and one green tea!

Cups and Bags Challenge: A friend bought a coffee at the grocery store with her reusable mug, so now we're up to $53!

Watercolor: (I want to learn Spanish and I want to take a watercolor class.)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Am I Going to Fail First Grade?

Day 54: Oct. 28, 2013

In trying to figure out where my daughter will go to Kindergarten, I've been harking back to my own grade school experiences. In fourth grade, I got my first "A." It was the first evaluative grade I had ever earned, and I got a rush of excitement and energy seeing the big "A" on the paper. It was some kind of work sheet. It hadn't occurred to me that it was something to be graded before it was handed back to me by the teacher. I have two older siblings, six and eight years older than I, so I was familiar with grades and their importance. Before entering first grade, I was convinced I would "fail out." This was a constant concern for me. First grade was coming, and so was a big fat "F!" What if the first "mark" I earned had been a B? or an F? That could have seriously wrecked my academic career. Its not like I did anything special to complete that work sheet. I just did it, because I tended to follow rules and do things without questioning. I mean, a kid who for whatever reason didn't do the work sheet just right, not because they didn't know the answers or were "smart" enough to do it, but because they didn't know it had to be done, or their parent was too busy to oversee it being done, or whatever, could have gotten an F. Or even a B, and their classmates got As. This doesn't seem right to me.

I also remember my Louisiana and American History teacher who also happened to be my Aunt, and hands down the most influential teacher in my grade school years. What she taught me, I used in high school, college and taught my own sixth and seventh grade students after I graduated. We had to write complex term papers and take hard tests that she would grade ruthlessly. She also taught us Latin. Will my children get to take Latin in seventh grade? Maybe not, but my children already know a lot that I didn't know at their age. For example, they know where vegetables come from, and I'm not talking about the grocery store. And they know how to gather chicken eggs, and that goats eat blackberries.

It was in seventh grade that I remember looking at the clock for the first time thinking, Holy Hell, its only 1:30. Two more hours before I can go home? Two more hours before I can begin my daily sit-com marathon: Cosby Show, Golden Girls, The Munsters and Sampson and Sons. This was the line up. I just want school to be fun for my kids. And I don't actually care if they learn certain academic necessities.  I mean, who remembers what they learned when they were bored out of their minds? And you can be bored as an advanced student, and you can be bored as a regular students. If you're at an immersion school, and the language is providing you with an extra challenge because you know everything else that's being taught, but you're sitting at a desk all day with a teacher who is cracking the whip in French or Japanese, it's still boredom. You're still learning in an environment where you'd rather be watching your shows.

I feel better now.

Coffee: Just green tea today.

Cups and Bags Challenge: I'm counting my old high school classmate who has a daily coffee in a reusable mug! So we're up to $51!  (If you use a reusable cup to buy a drink, email me here: and I'll send a dollar to Bring Recycling.)


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Thoughts on Writing Vs. Going to Bed

Day 53: Oct. 27, 2013

My motivation to write is so non-existent right now, its as if its a human being who just left the house to walk about the woods. Its enjoying the night air and the smell of decaying leaves. Its mocking me as I sit here looking at the computer screen wondering it I should just go to bed. Which is perfectly legitimate. But somehow, I'm still here writing.

So, is writing fiction really just writing a story about yourself with made up names and happenings? Maybe the story doesn't represent exactly a series of events you've experienced, but still, every character is some part of you and every plot twist leads the characters to some emotional place where you've been or are? I'm just wondering what kind of writing this is. Personal writing? Stream of consciousness writing? I know, therapy writing. I like that. Its like my mind just deposits all of its garbage right here on the screen and then I press the publish button. Nothing like a good novel which is organized, developed, written with careful and skilled language. I think if I tried to write a novel,  I would end up wandering out into the woods like old Eskimos who know when its their time to go. I know, morbid, and pretty much nonsensical, but I like this sentence, so I'm going to keep it.

Coffee: It turns out that whenever I make coffee at home, I use the pour over method. The grinds are sitting in a filter holder, which is sitting on your cup, and you pour the water over the grinds and the coffee drips into your cup. I was using my fabulous Aero Press contraption, but a mandatory piece is hiding somewhere in my kitchen, so that's not happening anymore. Nonetheless, I had two homemade cups of coffee today.

Cups and Bags Challenge:We're at $50 today again. Tomorrow is a new day!  If you use a reusable cup to buy a drink, email me here: and I'll send a dollar to Bring Recycling.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Thoughts on Bizarre Eating Habits

Day 52: Oct. 26, 2013

I'm on the verge of eating an entire 2.5 pound container of nuts. The Extra Fancy Mixed Nuts from Costco. Very salty, and although they are delicious, I am so tired right now that my hand is reaching into the nut jar of its own accord, and I'm sort of letting the nuts over take my stomach with no brain power to retreat. It's ok, it might be over, now that I'm typing at the computer. Nope, there it went again. 

There was a three or four year period in my life when I didn't eat nuts, or almost any fat for that matter. I was probably nineteen or twenty and I went to the university book store and bought a book with the title, Eat Fat, Get Fat, or something like that. This would have been around 1993.  This book recommended that you not eat for a couple of hours after waking up. Get yourself good and hungry, then have a bagel and a coffee. I swear, I'm not lying, this is what I read. And this is what I did. Sometimes I would go to my favorite frozen yogurt store and get a non-fat fro-yo, and I'd have my bagel, and I'd sit on a city bench and dip the bagel into the fro-yo, and that was my lunch. Oh my god, just thinking about it makes me want to keel over and die. 

And I would work out like a maniac, but I never felt quite right. I had really really bad gas all of the time (no comment, husband.) I was bloated all of the time. I was forgetful, would lose things, was totally unable to keep track of my belongings. Once I locked myself out of my college dorm room three times in one day, having to call the lockout people at $10 a pop.  

This culinary choice ended when I met my husband. Thank hallelujah. He loves cheese and meat and nuts and butter. And as it turns out, I feel a lot better now! Although it also turns out that I have to be pretty darn vigilant about the sweets or else the gas/bloating/spaciness trifecta emerges like a slow leak. Its ok, because the dark chocolate is not too sweet and I can eat a lot of it, and still feel good. Unless of course I inadvertently eat 2.5 pounds of fancy nuts and can't get up from my chair. 

Coffee: I had a pour over from a little place next to the birthday party we went to today.  It was delicious, but what's a pour over?

Cups and Bags Challenge: A friend at her annual Halloween party reported that she bought a latte with her reusable cup! Way to go!!! AND an old friend from highschool reported that he uses a reusable cup daily, so, we're on a roll now baby!! Ok, so today we're at $50. (Halfway!) If you use a reusable cup to buy any drink, email me here: and I'll send a dollar to Bring Recycling.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Now I Know

Day 51: Oct. 25, 2013

My mom often used to say,  you're causing me to have a nervous breakdown! I never quite knew what she meant back then. Needless to say, I now know exactly what she meant. Good night!

Coffee: Today I took my kids to the library, and we all enjoyed bagels with cream cheese and I enjoyed two decafs in my reusable cup!

Cups and Bags Challenge: Still at $48. If you use a reusable cup to buy a drink, email me here: and I'll send a dollar to Bring Recycling.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thoughts on Kindergarten and Conversations at the Dentist. (When you can't think of a title, make it a long one!)

Dy 50: Oct. 24, 2013

On my mind today: where should my daughter attend Kindergarten next year? This question always arises when I go to the dentist. And when you’re having your teeth cleaned, you inevitably find yourself locked into a one sided conversation. I adore my dental hygienist. She’s smart, nice, and she has two girls, four and six.   She has the best kids in the world, and her first grader goes to the Japanese immersion school fifteen minutes from her house and they love it, and they have no doubt it’s worth the drive and their daughter bosses her little sister around in Japanese now. And they both went to a Montessori preschool where they learned more than all the first graders in the public school system by the time they were four, so they’re only choice was Japanese immersion (French and Spanish are too easy,) because now at least they will be challenged.  By the time I get my mouth back, and have a moment to respond, all I can say is wow, you’re really on the ball, and your kids are heading in the right direction, all the while wallowing in self doubt about how my kids are learning absolutely nothing in their very ordinary pre-school, and probably hate it, and although I see the benefit of language immersion, the thought of driving twenty five minutes to the Japanese school is horrifying.

Then I think, ok, calm down. These are the things I want my kids to be exposed to while they are young: music, some structured physical activity and language.  Language immersion is very practical for the language side of things, I give it that. Our neighborhood school, however, is two minutes away and they can take the bus. And its a perfectly good school, probably very good.

The problem for me is that this town has a mind boggling number of choices for schooling your child. There are neighborhood schools, any of which one can lottery into if one chooses, charter schools, private schools, lots of home schooling resources, language immersion schools, "alternative schools," religious schools. Absolutely everyone I talk to has a different opinion about one or other of the schools, and my brain is ready to explode with non-information. Meaning, I don't actually know anything first hand about any of the schools. I have visited two of them in my madness, and both were charming in their own ways. I started visiting the schools last year, and when I would tell the receptionist that my daughter was going to be in kindergarten over a year down the road, she would tell me to suck it and wait until next year because they have enough to keep track of without over eager, judgmental women roaming the halls.

What it comes down to is this: I can decide to go with that tiny little bean inside my gut that's telling me that my kids will take the bus to their neighborhood school, leave it at that, and make my life a million times easier this year, or I can parade from school to school on my free mornings, take notes, envision heaven or hell within each of their walls, then my child could actually get into more than one of our top choices and we'd have to then decide between them. Oh boy! This is going to be a fun process!

Coffee: No cups bought today!

Cups and Bags Challenge: One report of a latte bought with a reusable cup! Yay!! So, that puts us at $48? I think that's right. If you use a reusable cup, email me here: and I'll send a dollar to Bring Recycling.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

She's Gone

Day 49: Oct. 23, 2013

It's over. Jane is gone. I finished the book. I am in a mourning period.

The ending was gripping to say the least. I read it twice because it being over was not acceptable. Thank goodness St. John refused to take her to India as a "sister." She was ready to go. She would have left her heart in England and trudged her mind to India to try and convince Hindus to become Christian and follow Jesus Christ. Oh, I am glad she stuck to her guns! I get it now. When I wrote  Jane W. Bush,  I scolded her for her rigidity. But in the end, her rigidity brings her back to Edward who is the one for her, the one with whom she can be herself (isn't that what we all want?) and he's blind, but that's better because it gives her valuable feelings of self worth to help him, and it brings them closer. She translates the visual world into words, and he listens! They have kids and by that time, his one eye that is still there, begins to see ever so slightly so that when he holds his first born, he can see his little boy's eyes. (Tears, here.)

I would be curious to know how ridiculous this all sounds to an actual English Professor. And to know more about the symbolism in the novel. And how this novel was received in its day. And was Charlotte Bronte rigid and repressed in every day life or was she an expressive odd ball? Ugh, now I might have to read some non-fiction to find the answers to these pressing questions. (Not until I finish Pride and Prejudice.)

One thing I love about Charlotte's style is how she has Jane address the reader. "Dear reader," she would say often. It was cute. And I always respond, "yes, Jane?" "I agree, Jane." "Tell me more, Jane."

If you have read this book, or are planning to read it, please, share your thoughts in the comments. I do want to start/join a book club and we're talking about it, but we're all so darn busy, it might never happen.

Coffee: Should have had some Caf. today. No cups bought, though.

Cups and Bags Challenge: Still the same today!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Large Popcorn, Please.

Day 48: Oct. 22, 2013

Right now, at this moment, I would like to smoke some pot, or get really drunk at a bar, or go to a movie and eat a large popcorn, or sit in front of my tv watching reruns of Downton Abbey and eat a large bag of chips. I'll take any one of these, even if I would regret all of them after doing them. Imagining doing them is proving to be almost enough, interestingly. Its getting me over this little moment of lassitude before taking my daughter to dance class. I think the movie with the popcorn is the most appealing because it involves zero effort. Just sitting and eating and being entertained.

Well, its later in the day now, and to report, we did not make it to dance class. I am struggling to decide if this is ok. My daughter was tired, and was very reasonable in her explanation that not going today did not mean she was through with dance class altogether. She did say that she often gets tired in the middle of her class, which doesn't surprise me at all, and I wonder if she's actually bored and therefore "tired," or if she's tired from being awake since 7 a.m. and dance is at 4 p.m.

My daughter has been obsessed with Dance since she was two. Probably earlier. I spent a lot of time with her blasting Mozart Overture's and running around the living room. (You should try this. Its really really fun.) I would always try my ballet moves out (which are not really ballet moves, but to me they are.) And then we saw a production of Peter and the Wolf at a theater, and that was it. She's been in love with ballet ever since. The verdict is still out though. Is it a love of the outfits? Definitely yes, but I also think its the music. And she does like to move. We dance in her room when you can see the floor, and she's in love with movement. Still, it will be interesting to see if its true what she says. "Mommy, I will have a job when I grow up and it will be being a ballerina."

One thing I was so grateful for as a kid was that my mother was totally ok with me missing a day of school here and there. It was extremely rare, but probably once a year I just didn't want to go. This was mostly when I was old enough to stay home by myself, and I did and truly rested, then I was good the next day. Today, we all felt tired, and sometimes we have to power through, and sometimes we can say no and rest. It doesn't mean we're lazy or going to spiral into an abyss of pot smoking, bar drinking, movie watching and popcorn binging. (Although, I would like to arrange one of these activities to take place as soon as possible.)

Coffee: One decaf from the gas station in my reusable cup, and one at home in my enormous brown mug.

Cups and Bags Challenge: The same very reliable user emailed me today, and happily we're exchanging more than just coffee usage in our emails now! (I know him, its not creepy.) Anyway, that brings us up to $48! If you use a reusable cup to buy coffee, email me here: and I'll send a dollar to Bring Recycling!


Monday, October 21, 2013

Foggy Day

Day 47: Oct. 21, 2013

While driving to a lake that had no water in it, I was complaining about the fog. I had thought the sun was coming out, but as we drove down the highway, the sun was gone. I know this about myself, that I am an over-reactor. The fact that the sun was out, then gone gave me that it’s over, let’s go home, feeling.  But then, from the back seat came this little voice. “It’s ok, Mommy. Fog is pretty, too.”

For a multitude of reasons this comment hit me like a ton of bricks. For one thing, I hadn’t realized I was complaining audibly. I thought I had been disguising my grumpiness with cheery banter, but the “where’d the sun go,” comment obviously slipped out. As did my grumptastic attitude. The other thing is that I suddenly felt so grateful that here was this relatively new person in my life who was willing to cheer me up, and she did, almost immediately.

I think it’s important for me to remember what it felt like to be a kid, driving somewhere with my parents. First off, just having the two of them there together was enough. It didn’t matter where we were going, what we were doing, or what the weather was. And I never understood what there was to be grumpy about if in fact grumpiness was in the air. I don’t remember it bothering me in particular, unless it involved being lost in the middle of nowhere and my parents struggling with maps and becoming increasingly frustrated. I would start to scan the side of the road for a good place to sleep for the night. See, I told you, an over-reactor.

Over the last month or so, we’ve said good bye to the person my daughter was and hello to this new person. She’s become so wise and willing to go with the flow. It’s like she molted and she’s showing off a new set of feathers that are glistening through the fog.   And consequently, penetrating the fog in my mind.  She has no idea.  She’s just being a kid, glad to have her mommy and daddy taking her out for an adventure.  But for me, it’s enough to make me stop and feel grateful for her.  And glad she’s around.  And glad for lots more time (before she becomes a teenager) to learn from her.

Coffee: No coffee cups bought today. I had some in the car on the way to town. This is a nice time to have coffee, but being able to sit and read, or watch a spider while drinking coffee is better. Maybe I’ll strive for this a few times a week.

Cups and Bags Challenge: One more dollar from a faithful reusable cup user today! We're up to $48! If you use a reusable cup, email me here: and I'll send a dollar to Bring Recycling!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Balsamic, Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper, Plant

Day 46: Oct. 20, 2013 

Gotta go--, gotta go--, gotta go, gotta go, gotta go to bed. 

Coffee: I will repair my broken cup with a piece of rubber and super glue. Not sure if we have these ingredients, but maybe we do. 

Cups and Bags Challenge: Our internet is acting weird, so can't check the email. No worries! I'm still going to donate $100 to Bring no matter what happens! I'm also going to go to bed now! (oh yeah, email me here:  if you use a reusable cup and I'll donate a dollar to Bring Recycling up to $100.)


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Swearing Inwardly

Day 45: Oct 19, 2013

I love Indian summers in Oregon. Today, its warm, the sun is shining through the trees in visible rays, and the leaves are red and gold. We rode bikes to our neighbors, rode horses, played with a baby kitty, had a nap, struggled with the goat fence and built walls and doors for the car port.

I remember days like this as a kid. Weekends in October when the air finally felt crisp after months of stifling heat and humidity. Packs of kids roaming the neighborhood on bikes, skateboards, swimming in the back yard pools. Well, and of course I am remembering the distinct smell of New Orleans. It's a combination of what I imagine the jungle to smell like, rich scents from tropical plants, and the garbage dump. And if you're visiting from a far away place, this combination might be offensive, but if its part of you because you live there, or grew up there, you revel in it.

What is more distinct than the aroma is the sound of the city. When the light starts to dim, the cicadas begin their roaring. Their song is like a drum beat: strong-weak, strong-weak, for hours into the night. The timbre is whiny, but rich with rattles, like a sustained chorus of samba shakers. Like most of my child hood memories, this sound is burned into my brain. Listening to it in my mind brings up feelings and images in my head of living there, and all the things I did there.

Its amazing how the senses can play tricks on your mind. Like last night having a dream about going into labor when really I was having gas cramps. Probably, if my husband had played some cicada sounds on the stereo while I slept, I would have believed I was back at home, walking under the big oaks to my favorite sea food restaurant. And now, its funny living in Oregon because the smell here is what I remember as a kid when we'd go on vacation in the summer, to North Carolina or Colorado. The smell of mountains and freshness. When I was a kid, this smell was so rare, but so loved. Its almost as if I didn't believe it was real, it being reserved for a few weeks a year, after which we'd return so quickly to the hot pungency of birds of paradise and sludge.

Coffee: One homemade au lait enjoyed on the back deck looking at the dysfunctional goat fence swearing inwardly that maybe in fact I don't love the goats, but actually hate them.

Cups and Bags Challenge: We're in a litte bit of a lull. We remain at $47. No problem. I'm going to give my awesome Dutch Bros. server a flyer so soon. If you use a reusable cup, email me here: and I'll donate a dollar to Bring Recycling.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Do You Have to Pee?

Day 44: Oct. 18, 2013

I have to figure out why my daughter refuses to pee. The past few days, she's been a mule in this category of life. She won't pee even though she bounces around holding her crotch. Then she'll wet her pants a little and is happy to remain soiled for eternity.

When my son was six months old, and she was two and a half, I pushed the potty training. I didn't let it happen organically, which is probably why she is the way she is. And I can go weeks with out a stern word then I just pop. GO PEE! FOR GOODNESS SAKES!

And she has red dots on her butt from wearing wet underwear most of the time. The problem is that I know what I have to do, and I'm just not sure I can. I have to keep my mouth shut. If I notice wet pants, we'll change them pleasantly and move on. This will pass. She will catch up to my two and a half year old son who is 100% potty trained without me ever saying one word about it.

At least its Friday and the two of them are playing "ship" in her room together.

Coffee: Making some right now! Found one of my favorite mugs, so that's good.

Cups and Bags Challenge: Still at $46! If you use a reusable cup, email me here: and I'll send a dollar to Bring Recycling!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Blowing in the Wind

Day 43: Oct. 17, 2013

While I was on the elliptical trainer, Jane Eyre inherited a fortune. She was not overjoyed, mostly shocked. However, she was overjoyed when she found out that St. John, Mary and Diana are her cousins. (They are the people who took her in as she languished on the verge of death on their doorstep.) What is it about being related to someone that makes you feel connected to them?   Is it as simple as sharing DNA?

There are aspects of this novel that I do not relate to. Like how St. John is so totally devoted to his religious ideals that he represses feelings of love for the girl down the road even though it makes him miserable. He’s not a priest, but a minister, so he’s allowed to get married. He claims that if he were to marry her, he would grow tired of her after a year and then live the rest of his life in regret. I guess that’s a legitimate fear. 

And I also can’t decide if we’re supposed to view repression for the sake of adhering to principals as a virtue or a flaw.  Jane’s new life as an independent school teacher is hunky dory. She’s into it, and seems to have developed warm and happy feelings toward her students and is well loved by all the townspeople.  But she is gripped with passion and lust for Mr. Rochester in her dreams. She wakes trembling every morning. And she longs for adventure (also in her dreams.) There are many factors at work. She’s a woman. She’s poor (before the entrance of the fortune.) She’s educated. And she’s human. It seems that her humanity grips her while she sleeps, while her sex and social status grip her while she’s awake.

I think Jane knows she’s living a lie. She knows that being a repressed school teacher in a tiny town is not for her, even though she’s good at it, and well loved. And not because she’s lusty, but because she’s smart, in love, and wants to be where she can express herself freely as a woman. I forget what finally draws her back to Mr. R. I think she goes a little nuts and begins to hear his name blowing in the wind. At least I kind of remember that from the movie. Ok, now I’m rambling. Maybe I should join a book club.

Coffee: One from the grocery store in my new cup. Ok, so I lost all of my cups and bought a new one yesterday.  This pretty much negates all of the disposable cups I have eschewed over the last 43 days unless someone has found them and is now using them. 

Cups and Bags Challenge: No emails today, but I’m guessing my mom used her cup. So we’re up to $47. you use a reusable cup, email me here: and I’ll send a dollar to Bring Recycling!

Watercolor: (that black line is supposed to be a road. Uh, this is a good one, don't you think? Its ok, you can lie.)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Theme Song

Day 42: Oct. 16, 2013

I love the music we're playing in Symphony this week. We're playing a Gershwin piano concerto and Rachmaninoff's Symphonic dances and a short John Adams piece called Lollapalooza. The Gershwin has a lot of beautiful wind solos. It makes me want to be a trumpet player. And the Rachmaninoff is so beautiful, I get wrapped up in it while playing.  A saxophone solo near the beginning of the piece melts me every time I hear it.  Before the sax comes in there are some other winds noodling around that make me think of baby birds, then the big mommy bird saxophone comes in to make sure the babies are doing ok. I know, super weird. 

I feel grateful that I can hear. I really believe that if I had to choose between the ability to see and the ability to hear, I would choose the latter. At the same time, I am sensitive to noise. And I have passed this trait down to my daughter who spent the first two years of her life with her fingers in her ears to block out alarming sounds, like men's voices. (In the beginning, she hated all unfamiliar men.) And I remember being in a room with a movement from Beethoven's sixth symphony playing in the background on repeat. It played very softly, over and over and over. No one else noticed this was happening, it was that soft. I began to feel panicky, and finally, stole over to the stereo and turned it off. 

And as I was discussing with a friend the other day, the new Superman movie does not have the theme song in the soundtrack. This is a major problem for me. Without the theme song, it might as well be just another action film with a predictable plot and bad dialogue. I know, I'm a lame ass when it comes to movies. But seriously, how can this be? Who decided this? Strangely, I feel connected to the song, probably because I played it on stage with John Williams last year during one of the Symphony's "special" concerts. I'm singing it to myself right now, and I'm just pissed that the Superman movie people left it out.

Coffee: Tomorrow I will tell you about how my reusable cup fell apart, and I seem to have lost my other cups too. (Disaster.) And how Starbucks has a new cup that costs $1 that you can use for about 30 days before it falls apart, then you can recycle it. Kind of interesting.

Cups and Bags Challenge: If you use a reusable cup, email me here and I'll donate a dollar to Bring Recycling!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Day 41: Oct. 15, 2013

Blank white page. A few minutes to write. Spider web on the window. My son said there were spider webs on the playground today. Why are they outside only 20 minutes a day? Why are they not at the hippy school, outside the whole time? Hiking. Working. The goats are behind the fence. Driving. music. kids. moms. library. trees. christmas. Generation gap. How's that for a post?

Check out this link on the Bring Recycling website: Its all about how to make art with your kids out of trash that you might otherwise throw away.

Coffee: None today, but maybe later?

Cups and Bags Challenge: My mom has used her cup the past ten days in a row. I'm counting it! That puts us up to $46! If you use a reusable cup to buy a drink, email me here: and I'll send a dollar to Bring Recycling.



Day 39: Oct. 14, 2013

Being busy as a bee is totally overrated. I'm too busy to remember if busyness is a virtue. At least actual bees are busy in only one task. Do people make themselves busy in order to do good in the world, or are they in fact trying to fill a vast empty hole in their hearts. Whatever it is, being busy is a pain in the ass. I'm thinking I would like to be less busy.

But here's the problem. I'm busy 100% by choice. I have a husband who is busy feeding and clothing his family. What do I do? "Stay at home" with my kids. (Why do we call ourselves, "stay at home" moms? I don't stay at home. I'm always going out. I"m always driving the kids somewhere for this activity or that activity. From now on, I'm calling this position a drive around mom, a DAM) And here's the other problem. As much as I love (and feel so fortunate about) "staying home" with my kids, I would spiral into a pit of boredom and despair without secondary activities which engage other aspects of my personality.

Oh dear. There is no resolution. Especially when the activities I have chosen to engage in are fun and time consuming. And I also like to speak with my husband every once in a while and see my friends without my children. Well,that's just asking too much. Those two might have to go. That could work. No adult conversation except with myself while writing and painting, or while I'm practicing my violin.

The thing is, I don't think this busyness issue is reserved only for parents of young children. Today I saw several very relaxed looking people walking their dogs and began to drool in existential jealousy. But then I remembered, I had a dog once. And I used to be so busy that walking him was often a massive burden. And I would be wondering why I kept this creature around only to feel simultaneously burdened and guilty. This paragraph is not helping whatsoever. I know. I don't need to sleep. Maybe its really sleep that's overrated. Ok, that's good. No adult conversation, and no sleep. I think I've resolved today's dilemma.

Coffee: I had some green tea on the way to my son's music class. And some killer dark chocolate after my daughter's violin lesson.

Cups and Bags Challenge: I had the best text message today! It was a picture of a coffee cup in use at a reader's (at least I think this person is a reader,) place of work, so that's $1 for Bring! Now we're up to $37.
If you use a reusable cup to buy a drink, email me here:, and I'll send a dollar to Bring Recycling!


(The sky got lost in the scanner. Maybe tomorrow I'll photograph this one.)

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Day 39: Oct. 13, 2013

While walking into Symphony rehearsal tonight ( yes, I actually went,) I looked up at the underside of the trees. It gave me the feeling that I was standing still and the trees were floating by. 

Listen to this, even if you just get through the beginning. 

Coffee: Two Green teas. 

Cups and Bags Challenge: Today, one of my friends brought her cup filled with coffee to the pumpkin patch. I'm counting it.  That puts us at $36 bucks, baby.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Ahhhh, I am Going Insane

Day 38: Oct. 12, 2013

Should I blame the blog? Is it the blog's fault that I completely missed a Symphony rehearsal this morning? This is not a good thing. I've never missed Symphony rehearsal without knowing ahead of time I was going to miss it. I am seriously losing my mind. I was convinced the Symphony set started next Saturday, even though I've gotten lots of emails about the Oct. 17th concert, and have a calendar right in front of my nose that says that there is a Symphony rehearsal today at 10 a.m.

I have also lost a number of kitchen items. A very useful knife is missing. A piece of my Aero press coffee maker is missing. Several mugs that I love are missing. Where are they? 

I can't see the floor of my kids' bedrooms, there is a growing mound of laundry accumulating, I have no idea where my driver's license is, and I missed a Symphony rehearsal. What is going on? I have to get it together.

I am blaming the blog, but the problem is, the Symphony doesn't give a rat's ass about the blog, of course. And the laundry will not fold itself, and the kids are learning that living in filth is the way it is. 

Good night.

Coffee: no cups bought by me today.

Cups and Bags Challenge: Can't focus on this today, will renew tomorrow.

Watercolor: A tree. Trees are calming. Except this one looks like a brain on a stick.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Jane W. Bush Part II

Day 37: Oct. 11, 2013

One thing I love about Jane Eyre is how smart she is. She's seventeen years old and recognizes in herself the need to use her brain. And she understands that as a woman, she will not have much opportunity to interact with brain users in her lifetime and how this is unfortunate. It amazes me that in 2013, women are still working hard to convince the world that they need to be educated and contribute their thoughts and ideas to society.

I just watched the clip of Yousafzai Malala talking to Jon Stewart about her book, I am Malala, (which I haven't read,) about the non-education of women in Afghanistan. (She is the girl who was shot by the Taliban for standing up for her beliefs that girls should be allowed to go to school.) And the other day I was reading an interview of a man named Yuri Temerkanov, a Russian conductor of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, who said this about women when asked if women should be conductors:  "I don’t know if it’s God’s will, or nature’s, that women give birth and men do not. That’s something that no one takes offense at. But if you say that a woman can’t conduct, then everyone’s offended. As Marx said, in response to the question “What’s your favorite virtue in a woman?”—“Weakness.” And this is correct. The important thing is, a woman should be beautiful, likable, attractive. Musicians will look at her and be distracted from the music!"


So, this guy does not represent all of society's views about women and whether or not we should be educated and use our brains, but this is the situation. There are people, probably men and women who think along these lines. Someone needs to write the post about how giving birth and raising kids IS NOT FOR THE WEAK, and to actually raise a child to be an intelligent man or woman takes A LOT OF INTELLIGENCE.

Good night.

Coffee Today: I made my own which was promptly dumped onto the couch by my child.

Cups and Bags Challenge: No news today. If you use your reusable cup to buy a drink, email me here: and I'll send a dollar to Bring Recycling.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Dream

Day 36: Oct. 10, 2013

Last night I dreamt I was in a musical. It was reminiscent of Pirates of Penzance, the Operetta I sang in last year, but it was different in that there were no pirates. Only ladies in huge dresses, which made them taller and wider than everyone else involved in the production. I had missed some rehearsals, so when it came time to be paired off with a man, there was no man for me. I recognized a few men's faces, but I dismissed this recognition right away, like, I knew it was my own fault that I had no man, even one I recognized as someone I should be paired with, and who should want to be paired with me. The overall feeling of the dream was that I was involved in something over my head, (our outfits were, in fact, over our heads,) that I didn't quite understand, and that wasn't really my thing. But I was there and willing to give it a go, as my daughter says.

This makes me think about how when I was a kid in seventh grade I recognized that my friends were my friends, and that although they were lovely friends and people, I really wasn't supposed to be paired with them. But somehow, this was ok for me, and I continued on perfectly fine, perfectly capable and happy in my pursuits and my social standing and marched on in the musical of life.

Then, of course, I relate this dream to writing and painting, but what I love about it is how, in the dream, there is a feeling of peace in the face of the person I recognize. There's a little bit of regret that we can't be paired, but mostly the feeling is that its ok. So, here I am writing and painting, and recognizing myself in it, but also knowing deep down that the feeling that I'm not really a writer or a painter is ok. That I can keep doing these things despite this feeling, despite the fact that I have been missing the rehearsals!  Oh, what a nice revelation. See, I love how dreams have message encoded in them, and when you decode them, your body suddenly feels all free and easy. And most of the time, the messages are not huge and momentous, but they have come out when you were not expecting them to, so somehow that's important.

Coffee: its still early, so none yet, but I have great expectations for what will be later today!

Cups and Bags Challenge: We're up two more dollars today! Total=$35. So Keep on keepin' on everyone! Email me here: or to my regular email or write a message on Facebook if you use a reusable cup to buy a drink and I'll donate a dollar to Bring Recycling.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Jane W. Bush

Day 35: Oct. 9, 2013

I'm sorry, but I'm so pissed at Jane Eyre right now. I know, she's mad because the man she was supposed to marry, it turns out, already has a wife. But he gave her a perfectly reasonable and eloquent explanation and declared his love for her in no uncertain terms, has unequivocally praised her character, and has defied societal norms in his desire for a wife with brains as opposed to a wife with money and status. And she loves him despite his flaws, feels sorry for and sympathetic towards his desperate situation, but leaves him anyway. (In case you're unfamiliar with the story, he married a woman fifteen years ago who turned out to be bat-shit crazy and is currently locked in the attic of his house.) I guess you can't divorce a lunatic. Is that still true? According to Downton Abbey it was still true in England at the turn of the twentieth century. (Remember Edith's guy who is married to the woman in the insane asylum?) Anyway, Jane left Edward and now she's roaming the country side about to starve to death with no money, relations, or clothes except for what she's wearing. It seems like she could have let him take her to some faraway place to live together in sin, and avoided all the brink of death drama.

Here's a theory. Deep down, she knows that love should trump societal rules, but she's afraid to face the judgement of her peers and God, (the ultimate rule maker in her book.) So she breaks her man's heart who has grown utterly pathetic over the years, and her leaving, she knows, is the final straw. And she feels so guilty about this that she punishes herself by wandering unfamiliar territory for days, and almost dying. There's a lot left in the story, and all I really remember about it is that she goes back to him at the end and finds him blind but alive which if she had just stayed with him in the first place would have been the same result with a lot less heart break. Maybe she hears through the Victorian England grape vine that the crazy lady dies, but I don't think so. I think she goes back because she can't take it any more and the religious cousin who wants her to marry him grosses her out. I mean, she leaves the love of her life on religious grounds then rejects the religious guy who wants her. That's pretty clever, Charlotte Bronte.

Jane reminds me a little bit of George W. Bush. You can have principles, but when you're holding onto your principles for the sake of holding on to them instead of bending them for the overall good of yourself and others, you're pretty much an idiot.

Coffee: my decaf was yummy this morning. Lots of chocolate along with it.

Cups and Bags Challenge: Holy Moly, I'm excited because a brand new person emailed about digging her cup out of the closet and bringing it to the store today. This is great news. We're up to $33.  Also, she told someone at the counter about the Challenge which means maybe we'll blow through this first $100 soon. (and a friend is waiting in the wings to continue the challenge once we meet our first $100.) I'm feeling optimistic! If you use a reusable cup to buy a drink, email me here: or email my regular address, or send a message on Facebook, and I'll donate a dollar to Bring Recycling.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Story of Determination

Day 34: Oct. 8, 2013 

Before my kids were born, my husband and I learned how to snow board. We bought three days worth of lessons that were required to occur three Sundays in a row, the first on New Year's day of that particular year. We bought all of the equipment realizing that renting for three days would pay for our own, and maybe we'd like it a lot and come back over and over. Ha.

When you watch a snow boarder, it doesn't look that hard. They glide down the mountain and every once in a while lift off the ground and maybe hoot or holler. And their boots are less cumbersome than ski boots and they don't mess with poles. What I didn't register as significant is that every snowboarder out there wears a helmet. This is not true for skiers. Some skiers wear helmets, but not every single one. Like its a law or something.

Oh, it should be a law. The first time I fell down on a snow board, (which was the first time I tried to stand up,) I hit my head so hard I moaned a loud sad moan. The second time I fell down (which was shortly after I moved for the first time,) my goggles fell off, and I hit my head so hard it felt like I had been in a car accident.  This continued for a couple of hours at which point I hazily located my husband up the bunny slope grappling his way to a standing position, and decided to rest my head on the snow and cry for a little while. Then we went to lunch.

Somehow, after lunch we decided we were ready for the easy green slope up the real chair lift. This ended very badly, and not for several hours. We careened into the woods involuntarily. We lost our goggles, our helmets, our snowboards, (which are connected to the boots for a reason,) our gloves, our pride, our love for each other. We experimented with going slow, (didn't make a difference,) we tried going fast, (never again,) we tried cutting the board deeper into the snow, (uh, why?) We drove home in silence. Well, we moaned without speaking. No words were uttered.

Miraculously, we returned for the next two lessons, and eventually learned to snow board. I don't know how it happened, but it did, and before the kids, we did go back a bunch of times easily making up for purchasing our own equipment. However, if I could do it again, I wouldn't! Good thing its already done, and no one told me beforehand what the dickens I was in for in the beginning.

Coffee: I found my original cup that was hiding in the pantry for a long time. Celebrated by bringing it to Starbucks for a drip decaf.

Cups and Bags Challenge: Two reports came in today of reusable cup usage. THANK YOU!! We're up to $32. Man, we're getting there. Oh, and there were at least two people at Starbucks with reusable cups. If you use a reusable cup email me here: or send an email to my regular address, or post a message on Facebook, and I'll send a dollar to Bring Recycling!

Watercolor: (the woods at the ski area)

Monday, October 7, 2013

My Dad

Day 33: Oct. 7, 2013

Here are the memories I have of my dad as a little girl. He once said he would never allow anything bad to happen to me and my siblings. He would be there to protect me from bad guys, a storm, whatever might come our way. We were in the car when he told me that, and I believed him and to me it was true and that was the comfort of my childhood. I remember him carrying me on his shoulders on long hikes in the mountains. I remember him commenting that I was growing more glamorous as I got older, and I thought that was an excellent compliment. I remember him playing Ray Charles on the piano, belting, "When You Walk," at the top of his voice and my whole family dancing in the living room together. He also played "Maybelline, Why Can't You Be True", "Poison Ivy," and "Just a Closer Walk with Thee."

My dad worked hard to support his family, and now that I have a family, I get it that he was tired and stressed out sometimes. And in my early twenties when I was trying to find my self confidence that had gone missing, I underwent psychoanalysis and here's why I am so glad I did. It stripped away the worries that somehow I was the cause of my dad's stress. It helped me find me, the person, as opposed to me, the daughter, and ever since then, this amazing person I call my dad has become a friend unlike any other. We share so many interests and loves, including my children, and he loves them the way he loved me, and watching him with them is like a soft fleecy blanket snuggle, a warm fireplace on a cold day. He amazes me every day the way he is with them, and the way they love him back. And I am so totally grateful for his presence in my life, I often burst into tears just thinking about how lucky I am. Dad, I'm pretty sure you're reading this, and I hope you know that all of the experiences we have together make my life richer and just plain better. And you are a damn good grandfather, an amazing dad, and a really really good person.

(Mom, you're pretty cool too, and your post is coming soon!)

Coffee today: I'm going to make some right now! I also had some at the grocery store in the cup, now that I think about it.

Cups and Bags Challenge: I'm guessing my mom used her cup today, so I'll say, we're up to $30! Hooray! If you use a reusable cup to buy a drink, let me know here,, on my regular email, or on facebook and I'll donate a dollar to Bring Recycling.

Watercolor:  I have two today. The second one is a collaboration between my dad and my son.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Day 32: Sept 6, 2013

My little boy's banana broke while he was peeling it, and lets just say, he didn't take it like a man. He went from a cute little broccoli eater to a crazed werewolf with fangs in a matter of seconds. Then I told him he could take it in the bath tub and within another second he was my little boy again chomping on a banana. I'm glad I had my crazy kid second. I wasn't great at handling my daughter's two year old tantrums. I would get so furious about it. I would worry and strategize and plan and discuss to try to figure out how not to fling us both off a bridge. But then, they were over. So, my son's two year old tantrums elicit zero anxiety for me. He freaks out, and mostly what I have to do is suppress a giggle. He'll get over his tantrums, and I'm pretty sure he'll always be crazy, which is what will make him so lovable, just like his mommy.

Coffee today: None because unless I was on plane, I was frantically trying to get on a plane. And when I got home, my kids were there, so that took care of that.

Cups and Bags Challenge: Still at $29. If you use a reusable cup to buy a coffee or any drink, email me here: and I'll donate a dollar to Bring Recycling. P.S. if you're one of those people thinking about buying a reusable cup (you know who you are,) but haven't yet, do it today:)


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Really and Truly, There are No Cougars in the Woods (right now.)

Day 31: Oct. 5, 2013

My daughter asks me questions about the end of the world. “Mommy, where do the people go when the earth dies?” “Which will die first, the earth or the sun?” These questions have been endless ever since we read the encyclopedia of the universe.  I try to explain to her that people will no longer be around when the earth dies, but this response is unacceptable. She wants to know where we will be. Finally I give in and suggest that maybe by that time, we’ll have figured out how to travel to and inhabit other planets in our solar system. She ponders this for about a week, then the questions come back.

Once, an older girl explained to my daughter that cougars roam the woods of Oregon and will eat children if they find them. Thanks, a lot, random eight year old girl who captured the imagination of my daughter and ruined my life.  Both of my children are deathly afraid of cougars who infiltrate their minds at any time of day or night and wreck a perfectly tranquil moment.  “Mommy, do cougars live here and do they really eat children?” Uh, well, as a matter of fact, yes, they do. This response is definitely not acceptable. I try to explain that cougars are rare, and the likelihood of coming in contact with one is very small, and there are no cougars in our woods right this minute, so all is well.  She ponders this for about five minutes, then the questions come back.

This weekend I am seeing people I have not seen for twenty years. It feels like no time has passed since then. When you’re a child, time passes very slowly, and when you’re and adult it passes very quickly. And not only that, childhood memories are the most vivid and last forever whereas adult memories are lucky to take hold for five minutes. As and adult, I feel fortunate to be forced to answer the questions of a child, and to think about what it was like to be a child in order to figure out the best way to answer them.

Coffee: my mood on this front is becoming morbid. I am currently staring at a trash can overflowing with coffee cups. I think part of my morbidity is that I'm hungry and tired, but its also that when I tell people about the coffee cup aspect of the project, they smile and nod and say, "that's sweet." Its ok. I'll keep on keepin' on with my own personal goals, and maybe someone somewhere will get with the program and that's a start.

Cups and Bags Challenge: Its still on! We're up to $29. If you use a reusable cup, send me an email here, and I'll send a dollar to Bring Recycling!


Friday, October 4, 2013

The Silent Little Scream

Day 30: Oct. 4, 2013

Yesterday, I accidentally posted my blog on someone else’s Facebook time line.  This is interesting because the number of visitors to my blog quadrupled for one day. I check the number of visitors that come to the blog on a daily basis and I’m sad to say, sometimes it gets out of hand. Like I’ll check every fifteen minutes for a whole day. I can look it up on my damn phone which just sits there on the counter screaming its silent little scream that, hey, maybe someone else read your writing.  On the other hand, if I don’t check the ratings, I don’t really care about whether people look at the blog.  I mean, I don’t sit around wondering.  Maybe a little, but not obsessively. 

Deep down, I’m thrilled that this experience has been positive so far. I like writing. It’s like everyday I get to spend a little time exploring a thought that’s roaming around in my head. It’s not always pretty, and I’m usually writing a sentence here and a sentence there, with zero time to rewrite really horrible sentences. The guy who wrote the 365 days book that spurred this project for me talks about the importance of sharing your work. Its what keeps you going, and I totally believe that. But here’s the part I’m trying to figure out. Why does it keep me going? Do I feel like people are actually affected by the writing in a way that makes their lives better? Maybe for a few people, and maybe a little, but on the whole, I’m not sure that’s what drives me to continue.  I think it’s more of a narcissistic desire to be recognized, to be read. I mean, the number of page views is a big thing to me.

And the thing is, there are a million blogs out there. When I read a funny or poignant post I’m always glad I read it and I usually carry thoughts about it around for a while that might help get me through a crisis moment or a “can I please crawl in a hole” moment, and I absolutely LOVE reading my friends’ writing.  Maybe that’s it. Writing a daily blog is a way to share myself with my friends and with a person or two who might carry an idea around with them that will help them along that day. And in the mean time, I can check the page views and do a little dance when the numbers go up one by one.  If I think about it really hard, I think I would be absolutely freaked out if the numbers actually did go up really high. That would be way too much pressure! Either way, I’ll just keep writing, oh and painting! That’s a whole other set of emotions for me, that maybe I’ll write about tomorrow.

Coffee today: None so far, but I guarantee if I get one, it’ll be caffeinated!

Cups and Bags Challenge: Not sure yet. I’ve seen so many disposable cups here in New York, I’ve been a little bummed. Maybe I should walk into Starbucks and yell, “What the hell are you doing New York? Get with the program!!” And then run out. That was my husband’s suggestion.