Susan's Blog

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We’re Going To Be Friends

One of my hobbies is to play the guitar. I have not done it much in the past three years because my creative energies have gone into bellydance, but lately, certain guitary songs have been in my head so much that I looked them up on the Internet to find the chords. The White Stripes “We’re Going To Be Friends” is particularly stuck in my brain, so I decided to record it and then YouTube it, and send it to my parents who are in California and missing me (and I them). I might as well share it with you, too, but don’t laugh at my voice! And Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Letting Them Grow Up

Our Pierre tape is really starting to deteriorate. I was watching with Nat, back here on the window seat because he had banished me from his area of the living room, and then I went into the kitchen to tell Ned I wanted another baby. “We should have had a fourth,” I stated.
“Why?” asked Ned.
“Because I love babies,” I answered. And our babies are so cute (were so cute) and I baby our sons a lot, probably too much.
“Yeah,” he said. It was then that I heard the Pierre tape stop and then restart a few times. Nat appeared, about to ask for help. Ned and I came into the livingroom and we both saw the horrible blue screen with the message, “Clean VCR heads…” Oh, no, I thought, we don’t have that cleaner cassette anymore! But Ned, my superhero, knew where it was, and inserted it. Meanwhile Nat was running around all over the place frantically. [[Ned then told me about this NPR story, about how the last company to sell VHS tapes is going to stop manufacturing them. In the story, he said, the reporter asked what people should do with their old VCRs, and the response was, “Donate them to schools. Public schools are still using them.”

If schools are still using them, as well as probably alot of autism families who prefer the familiar old technology, doesn’t that constitute a large enough population to continue manufacturing? Besides, haven’t we learned our lesson from vinyl LPs? Now people collect them, and there has been a resurgence of record players (seen in Best Buy and Restoration Hardware)! And truthfully, don’t we all miss the large album cover, with art you can actually see, and maybe a poster inside, real size? Don’t we all hate the little plastic cases CDs come in, wrapped up as tight as if it were as dangerous as nuclear waste (cellophaned and stickered)?

Sure VHS tapes are clunky and breakdown, but who of us is perfect? There is something so accessible about the VHS tape that you simply slide into the mouth of the VCR. You can just imagine its mechanism grabbing the tape and reading it. Whereas, what the heck is the DVD? It looks like a CD but comes in a bigger, equally impossible case. It has all these directions before it can even play: the infinte loop of a menu; the go-ahead-and-just-play-me; the scene-by-scene; the outtakes. Too much, too much! Which button, which remote?]]

…Anyway, Ned got the tape clean while I told Nat I was so glad that he had come to get us for help. His running settled down as we watched the tape settle into a reasonable straightforward presentation. I wanted to think about how long Nat has been watching this tape, and how that takes me back to the babyhood days. I wanted to kiss him for being so innocent.

But I also had in mind that even though he acts that way, even though this seemed like a babyish choice for a nineteen-year-old, it had a lot of meaning and significance for Nat. And that even though he is adorable and sometimes sounds like he’s talking like a baby, he is a man. And I need to respect that, to let him make his choices and stand back and let him enjoy himself without putting my interpretations, my needs, on him. How to let even Nat grow up, even when he seems so utterly young. He. Is. Not. A. Little. Boy.

This way of thinking is new to me and yet it brings me comfort. It helps me let him go/grow in a good way. It helps me let them each go a little bit. To realize that all of the still-adorable things my sons do makes me fill up with motherlove, but to them it is something else altogether.

And that if I fill up with that motherlove, it is about my feelings, my longings, and may not be relevant to them, to where they are now. (It may not even mean anything, or have to lead to anything…hmm.)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Breakfast of Champions

A friend and very wise man told me that one key to happiness is very simple: acknowledge when a good thing has happened. If you remember, just last weekend we had a pretty aggravated outburst which was about the order of breakfasts. One thing about Nat is that it is extremely important to him that everyone eat breakfast before engaging in too many other morning activities. Last weekend, we had forgotten to eat breakfast and instead we were all pulling on our snowboots to shovel and play, and Nat completely “lost it” (a remarkably casual and unsatisfying expression for an actually very serious happening. It would be more apt to say that Nat completely dove into it, or chomped it, that kind of thing. Lost it is so offhand, forgettable.).

So there we were with our marked-up hands , sunken hopes and deflated hearts and all other down-and-outs. My entire affect around Nat turned around; suddenly after months and months of relaxed, in-love Mommy, I was the soldier-at-arms, ever-vigilant and timid mother. Shit.

Luckily, the people at Nat’s House have a different perspective. “I can’t promise anything,” Donnie said, “But it will probably be okay if you have enough structure and activities planned for him.” (Donnie may not have said that, but that is what I heard: it will probably be okay, this is a blip, etc. No matter how many of you said this to me, hearing Donnie say it just went right into my brain and made itself comfortable.) So I did plan a lot of stuff.

And just now, I had Nat empty the dishwasher so that I could then reward him with the activity of his choice: listening to his new Tigger CD. I put some grilled cheese in for me, and we went upstairs together and I started fiddling blindly with all the incomprehensible buttons on the boombox (yes, I probably need reading glasses, but, well…) and the music came on, and suddenly Nat was stomping very very loudly out of the room, and Ned was talking quickly in that mounting panicky voice, and Nat reappeared, towering menacingly over me where I sat on the floor, a sitting duck, in front of the stupid stereo. Nat had his forearm hovering in front of his teeth. He saw me looking up at him, with what must have been quite a lot of pleading (but useless, perhaps, in this context) emotion in my face.

But then, the energy slowed down. “Breakfast, breakfast,” Nat was saying. A light went on in my head. Ned’s too: “Just like what happened last week,” he muttered.
“Oh!!! Nat we forgot to give you breakfast!! Oh, come down and have breakfast, Sweetie!” I said, standing up carefully, trying to stay out of the Pinching Zone. Nat’s arm was still spread across his mouth, but no bite had been taken yet. The feel of the interaction had changed markedly; he was staying with it, God bless him, staying with us, fighting the pull towards confusion and rage.

“No breakfast, listen to music.” But he was stomping and stomping and his arm, well … it was in the Biting Zone —
“Nat, it’s okay to come back to your music,” Ned said.
“No come back.”

I went downstairs, and Nat followed me. “What do you want, bacon, bagel, or cereal?” I asked a few times. But Nat was still agitated, stomping, stomping. He ran back upstairs. I decided for him: bacon: the fastest and the favorite. I quickly threw some Oscar Meyers microwave crap (another Key to the Universe, btw), onto a plate, hit 45 seconds, and then called Nat down.

He came running down and slurped up the bacon. “Okay, Nat, now you can go finish your music!”

He ran back upstairs and I fiddled with the stupid, button-filled thing, heart pumping like a rabbit’s, while the stomping around me got more and more frantic. “Music, music,” Nat was saying. I knew what this meant: “Mom, don’t fuck it up by not knowing how to work the damned stereo.” I could feel/imagine the Pinching Zone descending —

“…Tigger, blah blah,” boomed the stereo. Nat stopped stomping. “Mommy will go out,” he said quietly. My breath returned to my body, and soft Mommy ascended once more.

I wanted to cover his face with kisses and dance around but instead I took him by the hands and said clearly and warmly, “Nat, you did such a good job telling us what you needed.” And I went down to eat my stale grilled cheese, which never tasted better.

More Keys to the Universe

Every so often it comes to me that there are certain items or activities in my life that are pretty much always good, never disappointing. They could be a cheap little thing picked up at a supermarket, or some part of a daily routine of mine. The point is, they always do what they are supposed to do. They function as promised. These things I call “Keys to the Universe,” because there are times when even I crave consistency.

Here are some new ones I’ve discovered, and perhaps some old ones that keep on satisfying me:

1) Any book by Ann Hood or Sue Miller. Right now I’ve got The Knitting Circle, by Hood, and The World Below, by Miller, courtesy of my maw-in-law. Thanks, Eleanor!

2) Envi nail polish spray. It dries nail polish immediately. I don’t know what kind of nuclear-space-age-magical material it is made of, but it makes it so that my polish lasts for days and days!

3) To go with item #2, my new technique for fixing nail polish chips. I find a color that closely matches the one I got at the salon; if your chip is small enough, it doesn’t matter if it is not a direct match. The trick is to catch the chip before it gets too big so you don’t notice the slight color difference. I dab it on wherever there’s a chip. Then I spray the Envi stuff on (see above) and I get another day or two.

4) Sharifwear. I have discovered the joy of dancing in comfortable, yet beautiful practice clothes, rather than my formal cossies. I don’t understand this change, but it makes dancing so much easier. I think it has to do with viewing myself more as a dance teacher these days, rather than a performer. I wear what a teacher would wear, and leave the cossies for extra special occasions, like when Neddy requests a dance.

5) Max’s music for working out: Franz Ferdinand, the Fratellis, the White Stripes, Gomez, Weazer, Jack Johnson. They are melodic and they make me think of sweet Max.

6) The new CDs Ned bought me: Niyaz and also Beats Antique. Perfect for new choreography. The first is good for spinning; the second is good for sharp tribal movements.

7) Alternative Leisure Trips Unlimited. This is the independently-owned company that has combined with Nat’s “social group,” aka Brookline Quest, to bring him a glorious bunch of fun, with people he likes and whom I trust. They are game for anything: Harlem Globetrotters, nice restaurants, movies, glow-bowling, mini-golf, trips to Disneyworld, even. Alternative Leisure is the Special Olympics of social life. If you don’t know what I mean, read this. They make you realize that disability need not be an obstacle to a fun life.

8) Baking with Nat. Of course.

9) Photobooth. Benj and I have been making little videos about Link (from Zelda) on my mac and then sending them to his cousin Kimmie, who makes Link videos with my sister and sends them back to us! It’s like a playdate, though they’re miles apart!

10) My gym. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this one in previous Keys but who cares? I need this kind of motivation for survival. I don’t work out for weight loss. I do it for sanity. I crave it. I love it, once I’ve gotten past the painful first 15 minutes of hell. My gym is all women. Nothing but people working out and making friends. It is light and bright, filled with windows and skylights, spacious and classy. There are tons of choices of workouts and machines and classes (even bellydance). There’s the glorious hot tub, steam room with eucalyptus spray, sauna, clean roomy showers with elegant tiling, towels everywhere, big well-stocked vanities; massage, salon, cafe… You can work out, reward yourself with a massage or hot tub, then meet a friend there for lunch, all in one place! It keeps me coming back, even in the dark depths of winter. It is “like a witamin,” as my Polish Grandma used to say.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas in New Hampshire

This is a self-explanatory Tabblo. We had a great Christmas with Ned’s family!

Tabblo: Christmas in New Hampshire 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Endless Fun

My sister bought me “Endless Wave” harem pants for Chanukah. They are the kind that Bellydance Superstar Petite Jamilla wears for spinning (see her on the left!). I have been practicing my spinning with veils since I took the June 1st workshop with Petite. The purple sequined pants make it all the more fun! They feel wonderful and they flare out like a big purple flower!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Eine Kleine Schmaltz Musik

The other day Mom was here and I did a beginner workshop with her, in bellydance. She was excellent; a very fast learner (no surprise; she is brainy and athletic). She loved it, too! Mom suggested I make a DVD for her so that she could practice when she is away from me.

So now I am fantasizing about making a DVD that is about my kind of bellydance: Bellydance for The Rest of Us. Or Bellydance for the Middle Aged Mama. Or Bellydance for Housewives. Filmed right here in my livingroom, with a tour of all my costumes and sparkly stuff. Then I will go through all the moves, step-by-step, and end by showing how I create a choreography (not teaching a choreography, but giving people the tools for making up their own. Give me a dance and I dance for a night; teach me the dance tools and I dance forever. Something like that. Works better with fish. Anyway, the idea is that I will show myself exactly as I am, so that my viewers will realize that you don’t have to be skinny or young to be a bellydancer. You just have to be passionate and love moving to music.

My most common experience is of women blushing and then saying, “Oh, I can’t do that.” Or “No one wants to see this belly dance.” And I feel so bad for them. Bellydance feels so good and looks so good, no matter who you are. And if you have a spouse or partner or lover in your life: he/she will love to see you do it.

I just have to get the word out to older gals like me that their lives are not over just because they have some belly fat. A little schmaltz is actually usually a good thing; ask any cook.

Picture This

Nat’s teacher sent these two pictures today, (left) attached to a card that Nat had made, which I scanned in to the right. The pictures are from the talent show that the school had, back in August. In the first, Nat is singing into a microphone “Life is a Highway.” Don’t you wish you could hear his lovely voice? Below that, he is playing “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” with his teacher, Annie (a total gem).

That was such a great day.

I am hoping that this vacation there will be lots of days like that. So I have tried to plan out the days, as best as I can (plan-avoider that I am), and I made a special vacation calendar for Nat. I hope this makes him more comfortable, just seeing the familiar structure tools and the number of desirable activities we’ve arranged for him. Wish us luck! Me and my Sweet Guy and all my darlings are starting our vacation. Hopefully you are, too. Health and happiness to you all. Love, me

Sunday, December 21, 2008

On Ice

A terrible outburst, with aggression and self-injurious behavior. A totally beaten-down feeling, a weak evil ghost whispering, “you thought all was well…”

A minor blip, some will say. Not enough routine, others will say. Wintertime blahs.

Whatever it was, there is sad wintry gloom everywhere. Max is sick. Ben ran hiding into his room and I have that old familiar nauseous dread and a bloody hand. Ned is getting into the snowy car to take Nat back and I am going to go to bed.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Lat-ke to be Grateful for

Tabblo: False Night of Chanukah

Chanukah — the Jewish Festival of Lights — actually begins sundown on Sunday, but we celebrated it this past Friday night because that’s when my parents could visit.   … See my Tabblo>

Friday, December 19, 2008

Chanook-ah the North

Chanukah officially starts Sunday night, but in my house it is starting tonight! Two reasons: 1) Nat is coming home and 2) Mom and Dad are visiting and 3) I really feel like making latkes. (Max told me he looks forward to them all year! So there is a huge bowl of huge potatoes sitting on the counter, ready to be scraped. Nat also loves my latkes so, it will be a very satisfying dinner to cook.)
Oh, sorry, that was three reasons.

We are also expecting an S-load of snow, the first big one of the season. We’ve already had a few dustings, just enough to make the yard look like a big pfefferneuse cookie. But this one has all the superintendents freaked, so all the schools seem to be closing early. My parents are already on their way, so scared are they of the big snowfall, oy vey oy vey.

I have presents for a few days. There’s some very clever things I’ve bought for the boys, I must say. I am so psyched to present some of those presents. I got Nat some great music (Dumbo soundtrack!) and The Fox and the Hound, an old Disney he does not have! Also, it’s on video (he hates the new technologies, just like his father). I can’t say what I got for Max for who knows who may be reading. Benj, I got a really funny tee shirt and some other stuff. I got Ned hmm hmm hmm and also hmm hmm.

I’m also making brisket; got a huge hunk of bloody meat in the fridge. Gotta make something different for Dad and Hannah who won’t eat meat.

That’s all for now.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ode on a Grecian Earn

O vision in lycra and white
Not to loose and not too tight
Your bits of gold placed oh so right
You make me enjoy a winter night.

I am suddenly just in the best of moods. No surprise, probably. This just happens to me, it is the way I’m engineered. I totally understand the chemistry now. I also understand that I am really looking forward to the next few weeks, so it is a very real boost. Anyway, I’m just going to enjoy it while it lasts.

So, with Ned’s agreement, I bought myself something I have not bought in a very very long time: this new cossie. This is because I am getting more and more comfortable with the idea of dancing for others (friends and family, that is), and I need to have a costume that I am comfortable wearing.

Last night I danced for about 40 minutes, and experimented with some new stuff, new things to try for tempo change. Instead of doing all traveling steps (mostly the classic Egyptian hip-lift), I tried simply choo-chooing a bit and also maya-ing down slowly and then reverse mayas quickly upward. The sudden tempo change and reverse movement is very interesting, and it is all while standing in one place, but incorporates a level change (0n the vertical plane), which has been a goal of mine. Another thing I have been practicing is the hip bump where you wrap one hand across your face, and wrap the other across your hip and as you bump outwards you make it look like your hand forced the bump. Very cute. And also, my hand movements are getting to be more artful, with the right amount of tension in the palms.

So I feel very accomplished and excited about the growth. A new costume is the reward. All my other costumes are too much like wearing a bikini. That’s fine, but sometimes you just want more coverage. This is an Egyptian-style dress, and it is simple and very Cleopatra-like; also kind of Grecian. I will get a regal purple silk veil and gold cuffs and headband to go with it. It’s time to look like a queen, rather than a princess. I think I’ve earned it.

Reductio et Absurd-ish, um

My latest column for the Brookline Tab is about my winter inertia. It is also about Nat coming home for December 23-January 5. I am so psyched for that. Of course, nervous too. But not dreading. Honestly, I used to dread those long vacations with him. I never knew what I was supposed to do. Was it okay to let him lie around, watch Disney, suck his thumb, and talk to himself? Wasn’t I supposed to create schedules — and follow them?! I am famous for making beautiful structured plans and then, well, it ends up happening but not at all the way I had laid it out. Poor Nat! If he is supposed to need/crave structure, he got born to the wrong Mommy!

I say that because I secretly (well, not anymore!) believe that it is not that simple. Nat is not that uncomplicated. Sometimes he does so well with structure; other times, he leaps up with joy at the sudden change in plans. Which usually comes from me. The rest of my family is much more — how to say it with love — tree appendages mired in moraine — and I, well, I am more on the changeable, mercurial, “moody” end of the spectrum.

That is what I hate about diagnosis. It reduces people. As the Latin phrase goes, that is an absurd practice. People are so multifaceted, we don’t even know what goes on inside the other 90% of our brains (this may be an urban legend, according to Ned, but it suits my purposes, so…) The truth is there, nevertheless, give or take a percentage point. You see where I’m going with this.

I just hate the rules. “He needs structure.” “He needs consistency.”

“You have to let him go.” Well you have to shut up.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Annie Get Your Gub

I am no martyr, so I had to do something about it. Something had to give. No more Mrs. Doormat. No one’s putting their shoes on me, or throwing their shoes at me. This Libra is going to take a page from Taurus, and get tough and stubborn. What am I talking about? My jobs. Both of my teaching jobs have to have some adjustments, to alleviate stress.

And so, the solution I came up with is to offer two Baby Belly classes, one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday. The Tuesday group will be K-1st grade; the Wednesday will be 2nd-4th. Both classes will be half an hour, no longer an hour. Snacks will be provided at the beginning of class.

Maybe I’ll have the girls earn their hipscarves, or I’ll have a rule where if it falls off, it’s off, and no one is allowed to change veil color or hipscarve in any given class.

We’ll have ten minutes for snack and 20 minutes for instruction. No running around. Everyone has to stand in a circle, the whole time. And, I’ll have to figure out how to get the little ones to understand what the heck the class is about. Probably no recital for the little ones; it is just too hard.

Also, an 8-girl limit. No exceptions.

And as for my English 102 class next semester, I will count participation much higher this time. I will make the essays count evenly, and not make one more important than the next. I will make a strict rule against interruptions, and against the use of any technological devices: no cells, Blackberries, or laptops out — except for taking notes. All work must be handed in on time, and for each day late you lose half a grade. No exceptions, even with illness. Email me the thing, but don’t bring it in late with a doctor’s note.

I have agreed to switch to MWF at 12, rather than TTh at 10, and I was deemed an “angel” because I agreed to it.

Angel or Martyr? Sinner or Saint? Or just me, the girl who cain’t say “no.” Well Ado Annie might be turning into Annie Oakley, so watch out.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Raqs Layali Al Lincoln

I’m going to try to sum up the Recital, but I am exhausted, so bear with me.

I got to the school 40 minutes early so that I could decorate the stage. I had my Halloween lights and many, many (freshly washed at a hot temp and dried on medium) veils. I was wearing my black dance pants (low rise yoga-style stretchy with wide flared bottoms)a black tank top and a black lace shawl + my emerald green Nourhan Sharif triangular hip scarf around my hips. I wanted to be in the spirit of bellydance performance, but I did not want to take attention away from the troupe, so this was my compromise costume. Favorite deep pink silk veil.

I stood on the risers that were left over from the Kindergarten concert this morning (I pushed them against the walls out of the way of my girls) to hang the lights and to swag the hot pink, shiny blue, and emerald green veils. Played with the curtains, figuring out which way to pull the ropes. I tested the boom box. I borrowed a bit of scenery I found backstage (a fireplace and some pewter ewers) and arranged them in the center back. It looked like the Casbah meets Barbie’s castle: perfect.

The girls poured in like a burst dam. There were twelve total. I tried to corral them onto the stage, but they kept running off, greeting friends and relatives who had come early. We went through the number once and then the younger ones got all loony again. One little one needed my help putting on her special costume without messing up her updo. Another one was telling me her knee hurt. Another kept running off stage looking for her dad, who was supposed to show up for the performance. I noticed that the oldest girls were getting annoyed, which had never happened this semester (last year there was one older girl that wanted more out of the class, as well). Several of the younger ones kept yelling, “Can we have snack?” at me but apparently they had not gotten the memo. “There is no snack,” I told them. “I thought others would bring it.” Wailing.

One of the youngests’s mom brought cookies and juice but it was too late to hand it out. The three older girls kept pleading with me to control the others. I tried and tried, but I could not do what they wanted. One of them started to cry — moments before the curtain was to open. I got her mother to come up on stage and be with her, but then, another one was crying. I got her mother up on stage as well.

Meanwhile the younger ones were running wild. We only managed to practice one more time before the showtime was upon us. The dad was not there. The girls had kind of calmed down. “Daddy!” I heard. “Daddy!” went a loving tender voice from my toughest kid. Daddy had arrived.

I yelled them into a semi-circle and went out in front of the closed curtains to announce the show to the parents. Opened the curtain and put on the music.

The girls were splendid. I had to say, “That’s it,” to let the parents know it was done, because if you blinked, you would miss it (it’s a very short song). We were asked for an encore and we did it again. Each time I was off to the side, only venturing on stage when it looked like one would fall off or another was looking for me to see what to do next. “Now can we have snack?” several screamed.

“Yes–” I started to say, but then the PTO president reminded us of our gig for the faculty, in the cafeteria. The PTO president has four kids under 9, so she was able to hustle us over to the cafeteria in minutes. She was like a Major General. I said to her, “It must be the fourth kid.”

The cafeteria was packed with all the teachers, staff, every person who works for that school. Then all the parents tumbled in as well. There was an L-shaped space in which to perform, and I wasn’t sure how we’d do in that strange configuration. I motioned to them how to stand, introduced them, and began.

This one was the best yet. Still, I had to say, “That’s it,” so that everyone knew to applaud. Even though the finish was so dramatic (head rolls and then, throw your head back and look way up and freeze). But maybe I was the only one who did it that way? I will never know because, well, my head was rolling at the time.

They finally got to eat their snack. One of them came up to me and hugged me. Another gave me fudge and her dad took a picture of us. Another couple hugged me and asked about next semester. I don’t know, I don’t know! So so so tired.

And what have you learned, Dorothy?

Well, first of all, if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again…

No, no, not that! I learned 1) perhaps I need to do two separate numbers, one for the youngest girls (something in a circle, with veils and running); and one for the oldest girls to showcase their skills. And 2) have snack at the very beginning.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Home Visit

Went to two parties last night, and by the time I got into bed I realized I had talked about Nat’s move-out so many times, it felt like a more legitimate thing we had done. The first party was my favorite one of the year, in our old neighborhood, filled with people I’ve known for years. The woman who hosts it is the one whose porch I ran away to, way back when I almost left (because 7-year-old Nat’s sleep disturbances were more than I could bear). Susan talked me through it and told me a thing or two about her struggles as a mom, and shored me up so that I could go back home and live in my life.

So last night there were all these friends who had not heard that Nat was at the House and they truly got it. I got a lot of hugs, but also a lot of expressions of joy, because people were feeling that Nat was really on his way to a very rich adulthood. They were so proud that he was working two jobs, running road races, going off with friends, and transitioning back and forth, home-House-school, so smoothly.

They would not have those positive responses if I had not also been conveying positive energy, despite my creased forehead and wet eyes. It’s funny how like Nat sometimes going home is not at all about going to where you live.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Van at 4 p.m.

Things read at 4 p.m.
From Terese, Nat’s teacher:
‘Funniest thing happened in gym today. Alan played a trick on us. Alan had the entire class start off with running, once everyone lined up he said “ready, set……..” but never said go and everyone went off. He made everyone come back and start off again. He does this to us about once a week. Alan, being Alan did it again “ready, set….” but never said go…. well Nat whispered Go loud enough for the student next to him to hear it and it sent the other student running across the gym, Nat stayed on the black line waiting, cracking up (so appropriate). I was dying laughing because Nat totally pranked another student.’

Things heard at 4 p.m.

Deep honk of horn

“Gray bag, gray bag” (gray overnight bag forgotten at school)

“Hou-ew-se” (house)

“Mah-ee” (Mommy)

“Ny-yat” (Nat)

“O-Byee-en” (Ben)

Things felt at 4 p.m.

Hot sandpapery cheek

Big muscular frame slumped into my arms

Excited heartbeat

Things smelled at 4 p.m.

Pumpkin ice cream

Unfamiliar aftershave

Things tasted at 4 p.m.

Pumpkin ice cream

Things seen at 4 p.m.


Joyful House Stompies

First Gig!

I got a phone call from the principal today, asking if the Baby Bellies would come down the hall to the cafeteria on Tuesday afternoon, where there will be a PTO/staff luncheon. They needed entertainment! So this means we have our first real gig!!!

A gig means we must now have a dignified name. “Baby Bellies” is just not going to fly — er, dance — with my kiddos. So I made a quick call to my gorgeous, wonderful Lebanese friend from the Middle East Restaurant in Cambridge and he gave me some suggestions for our troupe name. Together we came up with: Raqs Layali al Lincoln (Nights of the Dance at Lincoln). I gotta think some more about this…

All Set

All the world is a stage.

I had a great idea for the set design for the Baby Bellies Recital on Tuesday, so I’m still here instead of at the gym. So my idea is to use tiny Christmas lights (left over from our Halloween decorations) and create pyramid shapes or Arabesques against the back of the stage. Then I will take four veils and pin them in a tent shape in and around the lights. I heard from the office secretary that there will be some scenery left over from a morning Christmas concert at the school, so I will incorporate that stuff as well, unless it is horrendous.

I might have to ask the custodians to help me pin things up. I hope I can sweet talk them into it, or at least lending me a ladder.

I have made a little sketch to guide me, and here
it is:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Lucy Moment

...I’m especially mad at stupid jumpropes. –Lucy Van Pelt

My sadness converted to rage today. I don’t know why. If depression is anger turned inwards, then anger is sadness stripped of its piteous garb. Which comes first? I was driving around honking and shouting (inside the car). Everyone was making me mad. I called no one back, except my sister. I wanted to delete my entire blog, or write a totally angry post. Sometimes when I feel that way I just have Ned take it down for a while, so that you’ll get NOT FOUND when you click on me. Sometimes it makes me feel childishly happy to thwart people that way.

You see why I needed to get out of my cage. In an effort to expel some of the poison, I did a drenching workout, 3 miles on the stairmaster, (how do you climb three miles of stairs?) which actually also made me mad because the woman next to me was singing and her headphones were loud so that I could barely hear Saad or Natacha. Stop being so happy, I kept thinking. I kept turning and looking pointedly at her but she did not stop. I lifted weights, looking in the unflattering mirror and hating the way my muscles looked. I wanted to punish my fat gut so I did so many harsh uphill crunches that my abs actually hurt, like they were pinched. But after hottub and a long hot shower I had a deep tissue massage with the woman who once gave Nat a session of cranial-sacral therapy, and that is when the day started to turn around.

I really wanted to spend time with her because I knew she would not ask me anything when I told her about Nat leaving, but would just say, “that’s a very big thing,” (which she did). I loved the way she had me exhale deeply before she began. The almost-pain/pretty much pain was exactly what I needed. I think I fell asleep a couple of times because I suddenly heard myself snore.

It was the first time my body felt good in days.

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