Thursday, March 29, 2007

Kisses, originally uploaded by Mellahoney.

Caught in the act.

He does love his sister.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Coming up for air. I've spent the better part of my morning at work sneaking word documents and typing feverishly.

The trouble is, the two final stories to be added to the collection are longer than I'd anticipated, and each has been written in drips and drabs, then cut and pasted and filled in and cut out and then re-cut and re-pasted and re-smoothed - so much so that now, I'm bleary-eyed and can't figure out (nor am I even able to read another word) if they even make sense at this point. What I need is a month to put them both aside, read some good literary short stories, clear my head, maybe write another completely unrelated quickie, and THEN return to re-read and revise these two.

Unfortunately, time is not on my side, and I'm reaching a point where the director of the MFA's words keep whispering to me "your thesis is a thesis - if you're going to continue growing as an artist, it's something you'll back on in ten years and probably see as garbage." Which is somewhat comforting. Except, I'd like for it to be good, at least, good enough for now. Good enough that I can let it go and move on.

I need another brain, one that isn't filled with these character's back stories. I need that brain to read these stories and tell me what they're missing (if anything), if they're confusing, if they're even sequentially in order enough to be a part of a draft of a thesis, or if I need to go back to square, page one.

So, anyone know any good brains for sale? (Preferably ones that enjoy reading grad student fictional drabble?)

And, back I go...

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Monday, March 26, 2007
Not Dead
Just two-weeks away from my thesis-draft deadline (and a little over a month away from the final deadline) and slowly going insane in a sea of revision.

Will surface soon.

I hope.

Thursday, March 22, 2007
Loved This...
It could be that I'm just a big ball of hormones, but Teri over at Blueberry Pie made me tear up with this beautiful little post.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Thanks again, Zhoen.

1. Go to Wikipedia and type in your birthday (month and day only): August 19th

2. List events that occurred on that day of interest to you:

1692 - Salem Witch Trials: In Salem, Massachusetts, USA five women and a clergyman are executed after being convicted of witchcraft. (Bummer.)

1848 - California Gold Rush: The New York Herald breaks the news to the East Coast of the United States of the gold rush in California (Yee-Haw!)

1989 - Polish president Wojciech Jaruzelski nominates Solidarity activist Tadeusz Mazowiecki to be the first non-communist Prime Minister in 42 years. (I am Polish.)

1991 - Collapse of the Soviet Union: Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev placed under house arrest while on holiday in the town of Foros, Crimea. (Interesting the things you don't realize are happening as a self-absorbed pre-teen celebrating her birthday.)

3.List a Few Birthdays:

1881 - George Enescu, Romanian composer (d. 1955) (I heart Romania.)

1973 - Callum Blue, British actor (I enjoyed Dead Like Me.)

1979 - Jennifer Morrison, American actress (Exact same birthday, and a show I enjoy. Though this season isn't quite as good as the first two...and I hate her hair in it.)

(And a handful of rap artists...
1969 - Nate Dogg, American rapper
1970 - Fat Joe, American rapper
1980 - Jun Jin, Korean rapper (Shinhwa)
1989 - Lil Romeo, American rapper and actor)


4. List a death:

14 - Augustus, Roman Emperor (b. 63 BC) (Isn't the entire month of August named after him? Or am I showing the failings of public school with my ignorance...)

5. List a holiday or observance (if any):

Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the Saviour's Transfiguration, popularly known as the "Apples Feast" (it's the first day of the year when eating apples is allowed).

If you're reading this, I tag thee. C'mon, it doesn't get any easier than this (and I've done my fair share of lazy posts.)

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Since I've been in denial of my failing vision for the past, oh, five years or so - I rarely take a picture without pulling my glasses off first. It's not a vanity thing, it's that in my minds eye, I don't see myself as having glasses. I'm not that girl. Sure, I can't watch a movie or see what time the clock across the room says without them - and it's true, I can't pass a drivers eye exam (said to me at the last time I renewed my license: "Uh, so, can you at least see colors? Like, Red and Green? Ok...I'll renew your license, but promise me you won't drive without glasses.") But, glasses just aren't me - I'm not someone who needs glasses. I just wear them for pleasure. (You know, for the pleasure of being able to see.)

I've finally reached a point where I no longer want to be squinting to see if someone is making eye contact with me or not.

I'm tired of wincing and shrinking back as a reflex whenever my son waves his hand at my face - fearing the contact of child's-hand on parents-glasses. Glasses may be fragile, but they're also hard and hurt when pushed too hard against the bridge of your nose. I have the marks to prove it.

Actually, the permanent little bump on my nose from my Dunkin Donuts incident might be attributed to the force of my glasses colliding with the window and then being forced down onto my nose. Ever since then, they've been uncomfortable to wear, and I've had headaches.

But, bruises and headaches aside, I really just want to see without wearing these crooked, face-dominating, glasses anymore. And so, after years of saying "I don't think I could ever do contacts. I can't touch my eye..." I went out and stuck my finger right in there, like a woman on a mission.

Not only am I now, officially, glasses-free - but it turns out my prescription had gotten a bit worse over the past, um, three years, since my last appointment (amazing what two pregnancies can do to you vision.) And, so things are clearer now. Like, the pack of wild turkeys I almost ran over on my way to work this morning. Seeing as Turkeys don't glow in vibrant hues of red or green, they're probably just as thankful as I am that I got my eyes checked.

And my kids - I can actually nuzzle near to them, without those spectacles jabbing them in the cheek and without fear of their sticky little hands tugging my glasses off and smudging the lenses, or worse, breaking them. (Though, I still shrink back when The Boss starts swatting at my face...but I think that's just common sense. The kid's got a good right hook. I'm just happy to see it coming now.)

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Latest Addiction
Duotrope's Digest: search for short fiction & poetry markets

I've mentioned this site before, but briefly. If you're a writer, or even just curious about what sort of literary markets are out there - magazines for specific genre's (Christian/spiritual, horror, sci-fi, romance, etc) - this site is a must.

For the reader, you can find links to just about any type of magazine you're interested in reading.

For the aspiring writer - you can find everything from submission guidelines, to details on how quickly other writers get responses from the various publications (in the fields of poetry, novels and short-stories.) You can search for magazines that are looking for exactly what it is that you're hoping to sell - and you can search very specifically: for example: Sci-Fi Magazine, looking for a short-short story, pays token to semi-pro, publishes online and in print, and allows simultaneous submissions.

It also lists when market's are temporarily closed to submissions, when specific themes are open, contests - all sorts of good stuff, for both procrastinating, and for actually utilizing. And it's all free.

In the control panel (as a member) you can organize your favorite markets, and track your submissions. It keeps track of how you submitted (via postal mail or online), which story/poem/project you submitted, how many days it has been out, how many days you can expect for it to be out before hearing from them - etc.

I've been doing a lot of playing around on this site over the past week or so - and I've found a plethora of new places to consider submitting my work to (as pieces become polished and ready for submission.)

It's a lot neater than the creative writing list that I mentioned last month, though I think both are useful - Duotrope gives you a lot more control, and it's open 24/7, as opposed to waiting for a daily email message.


He wakes up on weekend mornings, groggily pulls on a t-shirt, shorts, and then picks up the baby and leaves me to a silent bedroom. He opens the door to our son's room, releasing the hurricane that blows all thoughts of sleep and warm beds and coziness away. He feeds the hurricane, changes diapers, does laundry, picks up stray Cheerio's, runs the dishwasher, wipes down counters and sinks and then feeds the baby and plays with The Boss.

He wrestles with our little force of nature and cradles our littlest one in the crook of his arm. He's quick to offer high-five's of encouragement but also goes toe to toe with the difficult task of discipline when it's needed - when our son is kicking and writhing and yelling for just one more book before light's out (even though, he has already been read four or five.)

He is the type of father I might have liked for myself. The type of father who will instill a healthy blend of confidence and goofy humility. Who carefully walks the balance between tousling hair, saying "Shake it off Kiddo" and scooping the child up in his arms and letting him rest and recover on his shoulder.

I'm not saying, of course, that he isn't flawed (because who isn't?) - but his very nature is that of a family-man. A man who grew up wanting only this - to be a husband and father, and the rest - jobs, cars, houses? All details - blurs whizzing by in the peripheral.

I'm struck by this because there were times growing up, when I felt as though I was in the peripheral of my own father's vision.

My father loves in different ways than my husband. He shows affection by giving gifts, in working hard to earn the money to pay for the gifts. He understands people on a more tactile, 'what's wrong - and how can I fix it' sort of way. And I often felt like a problem to be fixed, rather than an individual to be encouraged.

I won't go on to depict my father as a sort of villain, which he wasn't. But I will say, that this man that I married - I appreciate him even more, having come from the household that I did. Having come from tense Saturday mornings of to-do lists and nagging and shouting matches - it's nice to be given this gift of a couple more hours of sleep - and to wake up to a smiling man, playing with his children. (And, of course, the scrubbed sink doesn't hurt either...)


Sunday, March 18, 2007
Funny Guy
My son is a funny guy. Of course, this isn't news to us, he has been cracking us up since the first time he peed on my mother.

What is new though, is watching his humor evolve from what had been a strictly dance-monkey-dance sort of funny (in which he basically followed our commands for spinning or dancing or putting bowls on his head - making adults laugh), to something deeper. He is developing his own sense for what is funny, what makes him laugh as well as others. It's so incredibly cool, watching a little personality emerge.

This new personality is also assertive. I think we had a fight yesterday. I say, I think, because I'm not sure how much of a fight it could've been considering that I was clutching my stomach and laughing through most of it. It started with blocks, the old fashioned letters and numbers on either side type. The Boss likes to name each letter or number, then stack the blocks. He also pauses between each one so that I can repeat whatever he has said. I thought it was for verification, apparently, it's not. It's that I am now the monkey following his command.

He reached for an orange faced block with the number 1 on it, pointed and said "I" - and so I corrected him gently, "Oh, no, honey, that's one." And I reached for another block, thinking, he'll just say "Oh, Oooone" and move on, satisfied with the knowledge that I've given him, as he always had in the past.

Not anymore. I plop a new block down beside him and notice that his finger is still firmly pointing on the 1. He looked at me, dare I say, sternly, and said again "I"

I attempted to correct him again, even pulled out a block that does have the letter I on it, but he wasn't having it. He was determined that I would repeat him. "I" He said again. And so, it progressed into a shouting match of "I" "ONE" "I" "ONE" "I" "ONE" - with me laughing (and covering my face for fear that the "I", excuse me, the "1" block was going to be hucked in my direction out of frustration...)

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Saturday, March 17, 2007
Music for Writing
Soundtrack for writing the final story in my thesis collection:

Death Cab for Cutie: Soul Meets Body, I Will Follow You Into the Dark
The Weepies: World Spins Madly On, Not Your Year
Ivy: Undertow, Worry About You, Blame It On Yourself
Prayer Boat: Saved, Dark Green, In My Arms Again
The Trashcan Sinatra's: It's a Miracle, Even The Odd, Trouble Sleeping
The Stills: Lola Stars and Stripes, Still in Love Song
KT Tunstall: Other Side of the World, Another Place to Fall
Sonya Kitchell: Let Me Go
Metisse: Boom Boom Ba, Nomah's Land
Paul Simon: Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
Minibar: Road Movies, I Know Without Asking
Jem: Stay Now, Just a Ride

Somewhere between losing CD's and CD players and moving in and out of apartments and condos and houses, I lost the connection between music and writing. In the past two years there has been little room for music. Even car rides have become filled with either talk radio or something to lull the kids to sleep. Only in the past couple of months have I started listening to music for the love of music again - and using it as a tool in writing. Something that was so basic as a teenager, putting on a headset and sitting down with a notebook, has now become something I've needed to relearn.

Having begun this practice again it's not surprising that I've been writing a lot lately. Maybe too much, maybe it's all a mess that will need to be seriously pruned to take on any meaningful shape. But still, it feels good. And the final, elusive first-draft is finally done.

Now to dust off those shears and get ready to start some serious trimming...

Not Too Bad...
She sent it this morning. I'm not sure if it was written by someone else (re: her husband) or not, but it wasn't written by me. If she did write it herself, I'm oddly proud of her. (She even spelled plagiarism correctly.)

It's not perfect (I edited it and sent her a cleaned up version, as I said I would), but it's really not too bad:

To whom it may concern:

I am writing to reschedule an appointment with the committee reviewing my case regarding plagiarism.

As you may recall, I was to have written a detailed lesson plan and attend a workshop at School on plagiarism. Unfortunately I was unable to make this commitment because of health and family issues related to pregnancy and stress. I am happy to provide a doctor’s certificate attesting to this fact.

I would now like to ask the committee reviewing my case to consider granting me an extension for both the lesson plan and the workshop on plagiarism that I plan to attend. Please advise me regarding next steps and we should proceed.

Thank you for your kind consideration and looking forward to hearing from you.

Babs McGee

Thursday, March 15, 2007
It seems that while I've been busy attempting to wrestle my muse into submission, a few brave souls have been inspired to lift their shirts and snap some photos. In fact, thanks to Zhoen, who bared her kitty-tattoed tummy after reading me talk about pinching belly fat - it appears as though we've started a little belly roll of women willing to bare their mid-drifts and write about whatever is inspired by the photo.

Care to join these courageous ladies over at
Hoarded Ordinaries and 3rd House Journal? Leave a comment with a link to your belly-roll post.

But even if you don't want to bare all, I do urge you to at least go and check out their insightful, entertaining, interesting posts (especially Zhoen's, because, really, who can resist a kitty-tattoo?)


Tuesday, March 13, 2007
And the sad thing is...
The following is a cut and pasted email from someone on the fringes of my life, whom I hardly ever speak with but who still sends me the occasional email in search of help, normally of the written variety. Today, she is making a request for me to write a letter to her institution of higher education, explaining why she missed an assignment as well as a workshop on plagiarism (which, apparently, was required in order for her to avoid suspension...)

Other than names being changed, this is exactly how the email arrived in my inbox:

"hello, this is babs i now you probably are extremely busy, but i really needyour help. I was suppose to write a detailed lesson plan and attend aworkshop for on plagerism and I was unable to attend because I foundout i was pregnant and did not need any added stress. The school wants awell-written letter stating why i need an extention and this will go in fromof the commitee and they will decide to grant me the request or not, i amnot good at writing a letters and was wondering if you could help me out, iwould greatly appreciate it. it was the fall and spring semester that idropped out of, i told The school that because of family issues and the pregnancy iwas under a alot of stress and was unable to meet the deadline, I have adoctors letter to back this up and recently was in the hospital for bleedingand under stress. could you please help,. thank you so much, babs? have anynew pics of the baby and do you need anything for clothes? let me know i amgoing through our attick soon., babs."

In response to her email, I requested clarification. For she asking for me to compose a letter on her behalf? Or is she asking me to produce a well-written letter that she can then take and sign and present as her own?

Annnd, here is her response, once again cut and pasted verbatim from email:

"you are writing it as me, i am not sure why theystill wanted the lesson plan and workshop they only stated that it was so iwould not be suspended from school. let me know if this helps"

Aside from a multitude of typos, grammatical errors and the struggle I'm having deciding how to best help her in this situation (and the inner monologue that keeps asking, do I really want to enable someone with such skills to sneak past a review board and go out into the world as an English teacher of all things?)

The sad thing is, I don't think she even sees the irony of her request.

Monday, March 12, 2007
One Down...
It's strange how writer's brain works. I started the day focusing on a story that I'm already 12 pages into, that I have a fairly good idea as to where I want it to go, and then BAM, from out of the clear wide nowhere - another story just demands to be written. One I've never even thought of before, one with character's I don't know, stories I hadn't heard until they told them to me today - and yet, there it is. It's the first thing I've accomplished today, and I had no idea it was even a possibility as of this time last night.

Though, I'm not 100% sure if it's complete. I started to continue it, but then re-read one of the last lines and realized that this is where I felt the narrator wanted me to leave off - so I wasn't sure if it needed anything more. I didn't want to write more just for the sake of writing more, when I felt the narrator was leaving me...Of course, it might not be that the story is truly over, but merely that I'm simply exhausted and need to rethink it and come back to it in the morning. This is the sort of feedback that my mentor will provide also, but if anyone's interested in reading over the crazy out-of-nowhere story and letting me know what you think, be my guest...

Now, to go back and try to tackle that story I set out to do in the first place.

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Must. Finish. Stories.
Deadline for my final pre-thesis submission is today and so I'm frantically working on finishing two of the three stories I'm hoping to send out.

Also, speaking of submissions - the magazine I'm hoping to begin sending submissions to, the one that I realized recently was very competitive? Yeah, I just read in the new Writer's Market (which I received as part of a award from Writer's Digest - happy little surprise on my doorstep) - that they receive a LOT of submissions each month. The average literary magazine (that I saw on a quick flip-through of the book) receives approximately 100-300 submissions per month. Yeah. The one I'm shooting for? 4,000.

But it's ok. I figure, I'll aim for the highest, and when it boomerangs back to me, I'll just go ahead and submit to the smaller, less competitive markets. There's no harm in rejection.

That's my story.

And now, back to the others I need to finish...

Thursday, March 08, 2007
Riveting, I'm Sure
Thoughts at this exact moment:

Must finish submission (due the 12th)

Perhaps eating an entire mashed up yellow turnip (or, root-a-begah) by oneself isn't the wisest decision one could make.

Thank God for having a warm house. (The furnace is working today, for the first time in almost a week - my handy-husband is my hero.)

Beginning to consider homeschooling as an viable option for our family...(anyone care to recommend books or websites to guide my thought process here?)

Considering this, leads to feelings of self-doubt. The same 'ol cloud of it that comes and goes in it's shadow-casting position over my thoughts. Today, the cloud is - You can't possible handle teaching your children yourself - shaped.

Fairly certain at this point, judging by the icky feeling in my stomach, that my suspicions about the turnip were valid.

Perhap I ought to lie down.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Fear of Scales Aside...
Every once in a while, it hits me - throws me for a loop - catchs me off guard (and any other cliche to suggest being "caught by surprise" that you can think of) - that I've had children. That I'm someone's mother. I'll be unloading the dishwasher while my son buzzes around in his bedroom (during what's supposed to be naptime) and I imagine that any moment he'll scream and I'll be left to deal with the disaster - that I'm the adult in the situation. It terrifies me.

My mother is a nurse, clearly suited for the job of raising children. Clearly able to dab wounds with hydrogen peroxide and bandage up cuts and determine how deep is deep enough to consider a trip to the ER for a stitch or two. But me? I'm lucky I survive the poop-incidents as well as I do. Heaven help me when my child is finally struck down by a stomach bug and I need to be the basin bringer, the vomit scrubber.

And so I load up the dishwasher and wonder what I've gotten myself into, just as a thud and cry comes from my son's bedroom.

Other times, things occur to me while laying on the couch, looking over at my husband. A wave of realization that we aren't who we once were anymore. That my body has been a vessel, twice. That it's not the same as the one that walked down the aisle to hold his hand. That it never will be, no matter how many hours I log on that treadmill, or however many crunches I squeeze or weights I lift - no matter how many pre-pregnancy outfits I can pull on and dance around triumphantly in - my body itself is fundamentally altered in a way that I can't change back, because it's not only a physical change - but a mental one. The way I see and feel about my body is fundamentally different than it was before I had children.

Before children, my body was bad. It was something to be beaten into submission and dragged to the gym. I was constantly worried about pinching (nonexistent) fat on my sides, and wondering if anyone else was noticing my thigh-spread when I sat on a couch. I ate like it wasn't a requirement for life, but a necessary evil, something to handle with great caution. (My husband might argue that this hasn't changed.)

But now, I stretch and walk and run, because it feels good. And I see my curves as good. Because they are. My hips have shifted, made way for birth. My chest is bigger, but not so large that it hurts my back or does anything worse than attract a few more stares at the gym - so what?

And yes, I still dread the scale like a child afraid to write his answers out on the blackboard at school. There's a fear of disapproval (which is an entire other blog post in and of itself) - but, I've realized over the past week that this new body is inherently good. That there's a softness to my stomach and chest that I actually like, it's perfect for small heads to cuddle on, and the once dreaded thigh-spread is now a warm lap for little bums to sit on and nuzzle nearer to me.

It makes me sad to think that the pre-baby me would've taken one look at this stomach and found a million places to pinch, to squeeze and loath and pout about in the mirror - without giving thought to what this softened body has done - who it has housed, nourished, grown.

Sometimes, I totally wish I could go back in time and smack her. And maybe I would, if she hadn't gone and gotten pregnant and stumbled upon the realization that her body isn't her enemy all by herself.

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In case there was any doubt...

He's definitely our son...


Monday, March 05, 2007
Monday Meme
Lazy post, thanks to Zhoen and Darkmind. I actually filled this out over the weekend, but didn't bother to post it until now. (Turns out that I was chilly, as indicated in number 17, because we ran out of oil for our furnace sometime early on Saturday and by that evening the house was beginning to get, well, chilled. I spent the rest of my weekend running the pellet stove, bundling small children in blankets and boiling water on the stovetop for heat...)

1. Do you like cheese? Not particularly. My husband, however, could be called a fiend.

2. Have you ever smoked heroin? Never smoked anything, nor used any drugs.

3. Do you own a gun? I do not, though my father did give give me mace as a stocking stuffer once.

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Only if a scale is involved. How sad is that? Poke me? Prod me where? Draw blood? Whatever...just don't you dare try to weigh me.

6. What do you think of hot dogs? I only eat fish and some poultry - and I don't really care for chicken or turkey hot dogs. (And I don't imagine I'd care for fish-dogs much either...)

7. What's your favourite Christmas song? I heart all thing Christmas. I sing Christmas carols in July. For the purpose of this question though, I'll say Carol of the Bells.

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Coffee. Black coffee. Splenda if you have it.

9. Can you do push ups? Yes, but not well. I don't care for them.

10. Is your bathroom clean? Pretty clean...though it could always use a quick wipe-down before company comes over.

11. What's your favourite piece of jewellery? My wedding/engagement ring(s). I wish I still had my butterfly ring...

Where's 12? Wasn't my turn to keep watch.

13. What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex? A bottle of pheramone enhanced perfume I bought from a scientist that I found in an ad in the back of a magazine. What a bizarre question.

14. Do you have friends? More than I deserve, considering my lax phone skills.

15. Do you miss someone? Many friends, distanced by both time and miles.

16. Middle Name? Theresa. Eh. It's ok. I'm not wild about my first name either.

17. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment?
I am chilly.
I hate being alone (Husband is away on a retreat with men from our church)
I wonder if I should get something to help facilitate the healing of the mark on my nose.

19. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink: Water - lots. Coffee - more than I should. Diet Gingerale - less than usual lately.

20. Current worry?: Will I be able to fall asleep alone?

21. Current hate? I don't hate. I get annoyed or let down or angered, but I don't generally reach a level of 'hate' - that I said that, it's not true. I have a hard time not hating people who harm children, in any way.

22. Favourite place to be? Anywhere with my husband. He makes me laugh, and I like that.

23. How did you bring in the New Year? Huddled beneath a blanket in front of our pellet stove with both of our children wrapped in our arms - fending off the FREEZING cold. We had been away for a few days and someone turned the heat off while we were gone. And so, we arrived home at 11 pm on New Years Eve, with two fevered and quite ill children, and no warm place to lay them down.

24. Where would you like to go? On a cruise someplace sunny and warm - miles and miles away from brown slush and March (or as LJ so affectionately referred to it last year - Farch)

27. Do you own slippers? I don't. But my feet are chilly tonight and I wish I did.

28. What shirt are you wearing? Hideous blue sweater that dips into a V-neck, in the front and back.

29. Do you burn or tan? Both. First burn, then tan - but only enough to look a little warmer than ivory. And my freckles pop out like mad across the bridge of my nose.

30. Favourite colour? Sage or indigo, depends on my mood.

31. Would you be a pirate? Yar. Actually, no. I'd imagine that the bathroom situation on board a pirate ship wouldn't be very pleasant, especially for a lady. I like a comfortable bathroom.

32. What songs do you sing in the shower? Ugh. Lately it's kids songs. Under A Shady Tree by Laurie Berkner this morning.

35. What's in your pocket right now? No pockets.

36. Last thing that made you laugh? Husband.

37. Best bed sheets as a child? Nothing special. No designs or anything that I can remember. Maybe once...maybe some Smurf ones from my grandmother? I can't recall exactly.

38. Worst injury you've ever had? In Romania, I went to check the mail at my apartment and didn't realize that someone had opened a hatch on the floor in front of the boxes. I fell down into it and twisted my ankle pretty badly - it swelled like I'd shoved a softball beneath the skin. A black softball.

39. What is your biggest pet peeve? You know, I just had one the other day - and I thought, man, if someone asks me what my biggest pet peeve is, this is it --- but apparently it wasn't that big of a deal, as I've already forgotten about it.

40. How many TVs do you have in your house? Two.

41. Who is your loudest friend? This is tough. I was a Communication Arts undergrad - I have loud, artistic friends. Probably the artist, still in school and getting married this year.

42. Who is your most silent friend? I don't have silent friends. Or even remotely quiet ones.

43. Does someone have a crush on you? Vin does. And it's pretty sweet. (You have my permission to gag and roll your eyes now...)

44. Do you wish on shooting stars? Not on shooting ones, just on any 'ol star we could see from the bedroom. I also have a vague recollection of leaving cornflakes out for someone to collect in return for granting a wish - I was a strange child. Or, I might have dreamt that up.

45. What is your favourite book? I honestly don't have a favorite, especially not now. My brain is absolutely clogged with so much fiction (reading for school) that I can't even figure out what's what anymore.

46. What is your favourite sweet? Lately - Cool Whip Free, frozen and eaten like ice cream. Historically? Ice cream.

47. What song do/did you want played at your wedding? We were announced as husband and wife, flowers a-wavin' to the tune of Kryptonite by 3 Doors Down, then danced to And So It Goes by Billy Joel. We love us some Billy.

48. What song do you want played at your funeral? Livin' on a Prayer, baby. Kidding, kidding. I don't have an answer for this. Depending on when I die, and who of my family is still alive, I'd love for my sister to sing. She has a phenomenal voice. Though, I don't know if she'd be able to do that - much like I don't think I'd be able to stand up and speak at the funeral of she or my brother if either of them were to die tomorrow.

49. What were you doing at 12 AM last night? Climbing into bed? Can't remember. Maybe giving Lila one last bottle.

50. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? I can't remember exactly. Probably something to do with the baby or The Boss - whoever was making the noise that stirred me from slumber.

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Friday, March 02, 2007
For the Love of Coffee
For anyone who was concerned that I may not be the coolest kid on the block, let me put your fears to rest. I am not only the coolest kid on the block, I believe that as of 9 AM this morning, I officially became The Coolest Woman - ever.

Many thanks to myself for the lack of sleep I've been getting and my crippling caffeine addiction. I would also like to thank whoever from my family tree passed down the clumsy gene, or the gene that makes you walk face-first into plates of glass, which apparently does run in my family. My brother has walked himself into glass also. Of course, he was five at the time and in a house of mirrors - as opposed to being twenty-seven and at a Dunkin Donuts in the mall.

Story goes like this:

9:00 - Walk face-first into window that I thought was a door at Dunkin Donuts.

9:01 - Explain to the witnesses who saw me make a gigantic fool of myself that I am, indeed, "OK" (despite throbbing nose and massively bruised ego)

9:02: - Stand in the back of the line, lean head against wall and think "Do not cry. Do not cry. Do not cry."

9:03 - Move to front of line, open mouth to begin ordering, but pause when the Dunkin Donuts employee gestures to his nose and points at the napkins. Ah ha. I'm bleeding.

9:04 - Manage to order large black hazelnut, while dabbing blood from bridge of nose and attempting to hold back a tidal wave of tears.

9:05 - Get free coffee from nice Dunkin Donuts employee and then carefully maneuver back out into the mall (quietly fuming at window-washers who do their job a little too well.)

Here's the bloody bump, all cleaned up. (The swelling doesn't show up very well in this picture, but it's there)

The bump looks really tiny and nonexistent here...but my nose doesn't normally bump up at all. it's more of an indented slope.

And here is my husband mocking me for taking pictures of my Dunkin' Donut's Nose. Notice the bump on his nose. (But, his is from a baseball or something more normal. Something not as absurd as plowing full-speed ahead into a window.)

So, my question is...having made a complete and utter idiot of yourself in public, what is the protocol for recovery? Do you try to laugh it off? Do you turn around and walk away? Or do you get in line and order coffee as though nothing happened. As though the people there didn't just see your face smooshed up against a plate of glass - bewildered and shocked. As if you weren't a dumb bird who just flew into a wall. Because that's how I handled it, but I'm not sure if it's because I felt the need to just carry on like nothing was wrong, or if I really just needed my coffee so badly that I shrugged off the enormous embarrassment and carried onward to get it.

Either way - it was free. And, really, how bad can a story be if it ends with free coffee?

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Thursday, March 01, 2007
My Mayhem

Mayhem, originally uploaded by Mellahoney.

We're fumbling through this for now - upheaval, mess, mayhem. Change is in the wind, and so are about a million germs (as the kids and I are all sniffling, sneezing, snotting), and so is something that smells (either the garbage, or a diaper, or both), changes at work, and Spring rising on the horizon, the thaw happening all around us - ice dripping and falling in dull thuds from our roof to the frozen ground.

In the midst of this dizzying mayhem of diapers and cell phones, tissue-clusters and sinks of dishes and tires with slow-leaks, I pulled out this journal that a friend gave me after Lila was born, and I turned on my fancy-pants Zen and I picked up a pen and I...sat in the bed and just stared at it. The word, Mayhem and the blank white pages inside.

And I thought, (The World Spins Madly On whirring ironically through my headset) What is it that I'm looking for in here? What did I hope to find on these stark white pages? Some sort of clarity in the midst of my daily chaos?

Attempting to return to this once easy and effortless habit was, well, an effort.

As a teenager, turning to a journal was necessary for dealing with all that cliche teenage angst that I carried around. Angst over imagined problems, social situations, stresses that shouldn't have been stresses at all.

Of course, I see this all now, now that I have no angst. Only a blank journal, a headset, and a husband sitting in the next room playing video games while I try to reclaim this habit of introspection, of writing things down.

Perhaps, the trouble is that I have no pent up frustration in need of venting. Life is, in general, good. I have a husband who does dishes and changes diapers. I have pleasant, well mannered children, who despite the occasional poo-on-the-walls-carpet-furniture-bedspreads-etc incident, are easy and wonderful. I have a home, a healthy relationship with my parents, my in-laws, good friends.

What is it that I wanted to journal about? Diapers? My so-easy-a-monkey-can-do-it part-time job? A few dirty dishes? Pshaw.

Instead, I finally brought pen to page and wrote a list of good things. Things to look on when riding a wave of stress or worry or self-doubt. I stuck in pictures of said good things. Pictures of my husband and I from before we were 'my husband and I.'

Pictures from our first apartment, the black and white ones I mentioned here before:

Things we wrote each other - Mella, You are Weird - His first love note to me, scrawled on a small piece of black paper while sitting at a booth at a 24 greasy-spoon diner (New England institution really, which has since been shut down.)

Then I moved on to pictures of my little whirwinds, the real mayhem bringers, the poop slingers, and my favorite people under the sun, the moon, the stars. I put their little hospital bracelets and the index cards with their birth weights and lengths - the first documents with their names, written in my mother's handwriting and taped to their glass hospital bassinettes.

It's all in there. My little journal of life-as-it-was-and-is.

My little journal of Mayhem.

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