14 July 2006

jealous of the moon

Jealous of the Moon

Trying on a brand new dress
But you haven't worn the old one yet.
You've come too far, to turn around now.
Giving up a good fight.
You're as strong as anyone.
You're back when you started from,

I see you're back where you started from.

Staring down the stars, jealous of the moon

You wish you could fly.

But you're staying where you are,

there's nothing you can do,

if you're too scared to try.

Drag your pretty head around

Swearing you're gonna drown with a beautiful sigh and a river of lies.

Staring down the stars, jealous of the moon

You wish you could fly.

But youre staying where you are

there's nothing you can do

if you're too scared to try.

Why don't you call me, I could save you.

Together we'll find a god we can pray to that will take you by the hand.

I hate to see a friend of mine,

Laughing out loud when she's crying inside,

but you've got your pride.

Staring down the stars, jealous of the moon

You wish you could fly.

But you're staying where you are

There's nothing you could do, if you're too scared to try.

You're staring down the stars,

You stay where you are,

You're jealous of the moon, but there's nothing you could do if you're too scared to try,

If you're too scared to try.

- Nickel Creek, from 'Why Should the Fire Die?'

12 July 2006


Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative.
-H.G. Wells

11 July 2006

if it walks like a duck and it talks like a duck

Yes, and even if it has four legs and has a mysterious "ook" message encoded on its side, it's still probably a duck.

My niece and sister came to visit overnight this past weekend. At five years of age Audrey is, as a close friend of mine once put it, a force of nature. Maybe she's making up for the lost time she missed in utero having been born three months early back on Thanksgiving Day '00. Maybe there's a genetic wildness - an edginess - which the womenfolk in my family have passed along through generations. Hard to say. She's certainly something.

Whatever the reason, she's testy and cranky and demanding, joyous and silly, exhausting and exhilirating and this year I tell her that she's my very very very favorite five year old niece in the whole world. And in return, she draws me beautiful animal pictures on Post-it notes.

Saturday morning I woke to find Audrey and my son talking to one another in quiet voices in the kitchen, each selecting doughnuts from the box I'd picked up the night before. I wasn't aware either knew to use their quiet voices without adult intervention, and I watched them working together, their comparative big- and little-nesses such a contrast to one another but their cousinness a solid lifelong bonding relationship.

I sat on the stairs watching down on them, thinking about the weird and often hilarious secrets my sibs and I share with my cousins. As far as I know, nobody ever told the grownups the truth about Pat's lip burns. He was a guitar-playing rocker teen who'd done his personal interpretation of one of the guys from the rock band KISS. One thing became clear: the KISS guy was much more experienced in holding lighter fluid in his mouth then blowing it out to 'breathe fire' than was my cousin, who set his fuzzy pubescent moustache aflame. I wondered what stories my son and my nephews and nieces will hold as their common history when they're older.

After breakfasting I set Audrey up with drawing materials, and unobstructed access to both the toy box and Saturday morning cartoons. I told her that it would be so nice of her to let her mama sleep in and I promised that I'd play with her when I returned from providing momtaxi service for my son who had to work that morning.

Aud was ready and waiting for me when I returned. She had a list yea long of activities she really really wanted to do and each had to be done immediately. I reminded her of rule #1 (frankly, it's rule # only since once we can get it going, the rest mostly falls into place): First Things First. What did she want to do FIRST? And then what? And what after that? Once we talked through her eagerness to do everything and had seperated it back into smaller pieces she visibly relaxed back down from the spiral she'd been whirling herself up into.

The first activity she selected was a bath. She raided the plastic storage container drawer in the kitchen, precariously balancing as many bowls, lids and storage containers and she could fit between her belly and her chin. I dribbled some bubble bath into the running tub water, hoping she wouldn't ask me what kind it was because, well, because she's the question-asking kinda kid who does ask such questions and I wasn't sure how I would answer ... "Well sweetheart, this delightful lily scented concoction is called Total Bitch. Now enjoy your soak darling!"

She flipped and flopped, sliding back and forth, pretending she was a shark on the hunt. Sharks are very spashy creatures, I said. I'd never had a shark bathe in my tub before so we agreed that it would be a good idea to lay a few towels along the floor side of the bathtub to prevent water loss, since - as Audrey pointed out - sharks really need all the water they can get. Aud ingested mouthfuls of water, spouting portions of it straight up over her head in a human girlish illustration of what she called 'a whale fountain', giggling fantastically at herself each time gravity yoinked the stream back into her face.

One of the cats meandered into the bathroom. He was visibly torn between his fearful dismay for that girl in the bathtub who makes unanticipated splashy fast moves and his magnetic attraction for the warm water in the bathtub he so loves to drink. Artie's fear was prevailing, so in an effort to keep him in the bathroom Audrey sat down a plastic bowl of bathwater for him to drink from the floor. I appreciate that she at least recognizes that she can be a little too much for the critters; that she tries to accommodate them whenever possible.

One of Audrey's favorite games right now is Let's Pretend. The tubbie version she was attempting to play went something like this:

Okay let's pretend that someone is the parent and someone is the baby. Whoever wants to be the parent raise your hand! (I remain blank, unmoved.)

Whoever wants to be the baby raise your hand! (Still unmoved.)

She becomes concerned that I am not participating in the game and, possibly thinking that I do not understand them, reviews the rules for me. She is mid-sentence in the review when I raised my hand.


I become animated and clap my hands eagerly. 'I want to be the marmoset!'.

Beffie, there is no marmoset... (dramatic sigh, clear commentary on what dolts old people can be sometimes) Okay, whoever wants to be the paaaaarent raise your haaaaand!!! (I am watching attentively, silent.)

Okayyy whoeverrrrr wants to be the baaaabyyyyy raiseee your haaaa--
I thrust my hand into the air repeatedly, like what's his name on 'Welcome Back Kotter': Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Mista Kottah, pick me! pick me!

Yes? You want to be the baby? She's using the pretend voice of a teacher.

I want to be the marmoset!

She rolls her eyes and hits the bath water with both hands palm-down. You are not very good at pretending, Beffie. You don't understand. You can pick the baby or the parent. You can't be anything else, only the baby or the mommy. So what's it gonna be?

I do so love to tease her.

My sister woke during the Let's Pretend game. She peeked in to see what we were up to in bath land. I pointed sleepy sis to the fresh coffee in the french press pot downstairs and by the time she returned to join us I was in the process of flummoxing Audrey with my desire to be a pretend marmoset.

Mama was back on active duty Audrey geared up both one silliness notch and three volume degrees, but the remainder of the day's visit, complete with her admonishing warnings like 'Not YOU, Mom. I want my favorite aunt in the whole wide world to do that with me', was a sweet reminder of the power of our connection.

10 July 2006

comfort zones

"If we're growing, we're always going to be out of our comfort zone."

- John Maxwell

09 July 2006


"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear."

- Mark Twain

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