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Archive for July, 2009

connecticut 137

I once read somewhere that when you’re depressed, you write better. This kinda makes sense to me. When you’re depressed you find shadows, irony, pain – everywhere. Your inner voice shouts at you over small things no one else notices. Writing helps quiet it down. There have been times when I’ve literally sat at the keyboard and wept with relief because I’ve found somehwere to put all the thoughts that have been twisting my brain.

Perhaps this explains why lately, I can’t seem to write anything. I’ve just been living free and easy on the surface — content.

I’ve been too busy reading, sleeping in and eating ice cream to be bothered with emotional details. I’ve been washing curtains and browsing cook books, contemplating salads with fresh tomatoes, white beans, and bright olive oil.

My biggest obsessions are whether to cut my hair short and paint my dining room white. I am concerned with things like remembering which day the farmer’s market is closed.

Maybe it’s because I’ve just come off a week of soaking up lazy mornings with my good friends, sharing coffee and flipping through magazines while our kids played. So utterly delicious. It restoreth my soul.

I don’t know what it all means. Honestly, who cares? In fact, I don’t even know what else to say. When I try to think of something meaningful or clever, I get nothing. Nada.

So, um — see ya?

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I need to get off the laptop because after visiting the beautiful and gracious homes of my two dear friends, I realized that while I’ve been messing around blogging, our house has turned to squalor.

When I came home from vacation, my feet stuck to the kitchen floor, new cob webs had multiplied in the windows, the bathroom downstairs has a funky smell, the hole in our den chair somehow grew (stuffing is not just visible, but oozing out), and I found hamster poo in my pantry (the hamster escaped two weeks ago).

For two days, I’ve done nothing but scrub. I might (might!) be done with the kitchen by tonight.

Meanwhile, vacation was heaven: Connecticut, Boston, Connecticut, NYC. It was sooooo worth it.

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P.S. We took the green bug with us into Manhattan. He hitched a ride on our windshield and rode with us all the way in. We were cheering for him when we arrived.

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Boston

I’m on vacation with my family and I’m in the lobby of the hotel waiting for them to shower. I found a computer with free internet service so I thought I’d steal a minute to check in and report my favorite quote from vacation so far.

After a long weekend in Farmington, CT we drove up to Boston for two days. My youngest, Caroline, who just gobbles up life was so excited. “Are we in Boston yet?”, “Yay! We’re in Boston!”, “My first time ever in Boston”, “I Love Boston,” “Can we stay in Boston longer?”

After check-in, my other daughter needed to use the facilities. Caroline went in the bathroom with her and I heard her yell out, “Elizabeth! Can you believe it? You’re pooping in Boston!”

Yeah, Boston was a great time. We pooped there.

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Um, No?

lion

My week in 10 questions (am I really supposed to answer these?):

1. Mommy, you’re not going to throw away this sponge are you? I love this sponge (holding the dirty, kitchen sponge up to her cheek, caressing it). Please pinky-promise me you will not throw away this sponge.

2. What? You’re getting a new driver’s license? But I love your old one. Don’t get a new one, Mommy, please (sob) please, please?

3. Will you Tell Mason (who’s standing at my door) I don’t want to play with him EVER again…because he’s MEAN. Tell him to go away, forever.

4. Can I have five dollars to go get ice cream with Mason? I don’t want to use my allowance because I’m saving up to buy a cat.

5. Would you talk to Caroline? She wants her (stuffed) dog to marry Greta’s dog and her dog needs to marry Mia’s dog because Mia is her best friend and Greta is my friend and her dog married Greta’s dog last time and now Greta’s dog wants to be married to my dog and now Mia’s crying and Caroline’s MEAN.

6. Could you call Hallie’s mom to see if she can come over and play? I know they got home from vacation last night and I’ve already called them six times this morning and no one is answering. Maybe if you call this time, they’ll answer.

7. Can you take me to the store to buy material, stuffing and yarn? I’m going to sew a baby doll and a dress for Emma’s baby sister. And Mommy, can you teach me how to sew?

8. Mommy, I don’t feel like I’m going to vomit anymore, can I have just one more?

9. Tell Elizabeth to stop reading and turn off her light so I can go to sleep. She’s keeping me up. And, Mommy, can you leave the hall light on? I’m afraid of the dark.

10. Mommy, why can’t we? When’s Daddy coming home?

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walk

My mother lives in a small house with a bright yellow kitchen. From every window you can look out and see nowhere, because that’s where my mother lives — in the middle of nowhere.

If you’ve ever driven down a country highway and seen a small house on a vast piece of land and wondered what it would be like to live there, I couldn’t tell you because you can’t see my mother’s house from any highway. To get there, you have to turn down several long, unmarked gravel roads, drive through a cloud of dust until you make a right and the wilderness opens up to reveal the little white house where she and my stepfather live.

It’s in a town that doesn’t even have a traffic light – just a hardware store, a psuedo grocery store and a bar. When we go there, we pack carefully. If we’re making something with tarragon, we’d better bring our own. Tampons? Check. Imported beer? Check. People magazine? Check, check.

Nowhere smells like camp fires and bug spray. It sounds like wind blowing through birch trees. Whenever I get there, my shoulders relax and my neck loses tension. Immediately, I want to grab a book and nap – but first, we always sit out on the deck and stuff ourselves with the food of my childhood: macaroni salad, sloppy joes and chocolate cake with caramel icing. We eat until it hurts and look forward to opening the windows and crawling into bed.

My kids love visiting nowhere. They run through open fields, squealing and yelling because they can. In the morning, we take walks down the dirt road in our pajamas, making small bouquets of daisies, Queen Anne’s lace and yarrow. It’s one of the few places where my ten year-old openly holds my hand.

In the small house, we are forced to be close. We read, play Scrabble, eat generously and sleep in. After a while, the fresh air, chocolate cake and free-time feel like a drug. We turn into the laziest version of ourselves. We eat more, sleep more, laugh more, talk more. But then slowly, after a few days, restlessness starts to set in. We experience withdrawal from technology, friends, restaurants — Target. It’s okay, we realize, it’s time to go home.

We got in late last night. I confess, I was excited be home. I was happy to see my laptop, crawl under my own sheets, eat whole wheat again. I couldn’t wait until this morning to call my friends and check my email.

After a restless sleep. I came downstairs to an empty kitchen. My kids were sitting in front of the TV, watching “Spongebob,” their eyes glazed over. They barely said hello. My husband was in his office on a conference call. He waved, gave me the “shhhh” sign and shut his door.

So here I sit, alone, sipping Starbucks and imaging the wind in the birch trees a million miles away. It’s good to be home, but it’s good to be nowhere, too.

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