Saturday, November 29, 2008

notes from the polar express


Wolves are natural comedians. It's true. They'll be here all week. Tip your waitress.

We let Finn stay up and watch The Polar Express on tv tonight. He has the book, was once wicked into it, is all ready for Christmas and Santa and all that sweet sweet action to begin.

Some notes:

*We thought the appearance of the wolves might scare him. In fact, he finds packs of wolves to be ultra-hilarious. Super totally completely so, to the point where I feel like I might need to reconsider wolves.

*Also popular: the Hot Chocolate Guys! "Hot Chocolate Guys!!"

*Massively compelling: the enormous pack of caribou. I mean, mooses. Caribou. Mooses. What? WHO ARE THOSE GUYS? Ten minutes after the caribou leave the movie, when the Polar Express is about to crash through the ice and all hell is breaking loose, a question.

"Where are the caribou?"

Dave suggests that they've gone home for dinner. Finn determines that they're having pasta. On plates.

*Before the elves appear onscreen, there's a faint jingling of sleighbells. Finn understands this instinctively and breathes out, "ELVES...." with maximum wonder.

*After the movie ends, we spot Finn standing over by a window looking at his reflection, lifting his arms up in the air and going on tippy-toe. He informs us in an excited whisper, "An elf is lifting me!" The elf lifts him on to the couch, escorts him to a diaper change, and basically does our bidding for the rest of the night. An elf can make him do anything. NOTED.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

ripple effect

It's great that the news turned good, but that shook a woman up something fierce, Monday's scare. I feel like it's going to be better for me and young Seabiscuit here (a new fetal nickname has adhered) if I shake off some of what shook me.

To it.

Seabiscuit and I have a complicated relationship, due to the fact that I have attached myself to a theory that this is the same person who came in the spring and then left. I'm thrilled that this person made it through Baby Crisis '08 2.0, but I'm wary of this person at the same time. Who is this person and what is this person's agenda? And will this drama persist throughout this person's lifetime? (Spoiler alert, Mom. Yes. Duh. No life is without drama. You missed this? How was jail, again? Thought so.) All children are here to teach their parents a lesson, but this one seems so gung-ho about it. Jesus, Sensei. Calm down. Grow an arm, first.

Monday, God damn it. Monday was brutal. Unforgettable. Worse than this spring's actual miscarriage, until the reverse news arrived. How often does a person truly scream in her lifetime? I remember doing The Seagull many years ago, playing Masha, and in our production Masha goes offstage and discovers Konstantin's body and...makes the sound that she would make. She when she's me. Which was a gutteral scream. So I've made the sound I made on Monday, but I was Acting. Genius! Thank You. Monday was my first real-life scream like that. Only. Only, I declare. I prefer not to repeat it.

Somebody died on Monday and it didn't matter then that they didn't actually die. They died until reports varied. I'm always going to be in that orange bathroom in that red nightgown yelling for Dave and then the yell turning into something else and then Finn crying downstairs because I was making those sounds and then pulling it together for Finn when he came to see me, "Oh, Mommy's just upset because something happened that she didn't want to happen. I'm okay, see? Mommy cries sometimes, it's all right.* Something just happened that I didn't like, but it's all right."

*"And she yells, too," Finn added. "When I run away from her and she puts me in a time out." Right. Yes. Thank you. Great. That's Mommy. Cries and yells. You don't have any other fond memories tucked away in there yet? Just the crying and yelling. All right. Super. Carry on.

You only have a handful of days like that in your life, that are just burned into you like that. I'm not over it, yet. There's this person growing inside me (who, if you go by the latest ultrasound, is getting adorable. Nice head! And those shadows around your face fall in such a way that you look like a g.d. Kewpie doll already. Fast work, sailor!) and this person feels incredibly complicated, beyond the built-in complications of a developing human. I attribute great strength to this person, cramming a little forceful foot in the scarcely-open door we left for his/her conception, and then hanging on in there through the deluge. And I attribute also great fragility to this person, heading down here once and exiting at 5 weeks, and then coming back and having a tiny funeral practically mapped out before hitting daylight.

This pregnancy also feels sort of unhearty. This is not the sort of pregnancy where the young healthy peasant is out working in the field at full term, and lo and behold the child drops on to the soil while the mama finishes the harvest. This is more like the fainting lady in the mansion who's like oh...my condition. I cannot, due to my condition. (Everybody please whisper. The lady. Her condition.) I'm going to be listening to a lot of positive hypnobirthing cd's over the course of the next few months. (As opposed to the negative ones. This contraction, it is beating you. You're cowering, you're crumpling. The pain is too much this time. Get the nurse. You will require intervention.) The next few months feel long, and I'm not, like, running slo-mo through a field of daisies to embrace the actual birth, who's running towards me with sunlit hair streaming Fabio-like behind him. June 20th, 2009 feels right now more like the day I storm the beach at Normandy.

Thank you for listening.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

or not! not again!

People. You will not believe a word I say ever again. But I have been to the doctor and the baby is FINE. I AM STILL PREGNANT. The baby is moving around in there and the right size and having a total heartbeat and blowing our minds.

I...I...wha?? Wha????

I am sure to be extremely happy as soon as I peel myself off the floor, which may be never.

We gave that little whippersnapper a time out on the spot, right there during the ultrasound. It's a second per week of gestation, right? Right. So we were like, "NINE SECONDS, buddy. You stop moving around for nine seconds right now. This is a time out. You're in this time out because mommy was bleeding as though she'd been shot. Hey. Stop moving. Nine seconds starts over. Hey! Okay, look, the nine seconds is going to start again. All right. Look. You are in time out because we were about to bury you and plant a tree and place a Buddha statue on the spot. Do you understand? You're - hey! Nine more seconds! Oh, fuck it."

I'll go in next week for a fancier ultrasound to explain what caused all the bleeding. In the meanwhile, I'm resting and not lifting things and explaining my damn self to all you good people.

We're exhausted, and just maybe...feeling really good. Definitely feeling run over by a truck. But it's like a fucking ice cream truck. Driven by clowns.

All of you, all of your sweet messages, your sweet offers....I don't even know what to say. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Massive posse of angels out there. You crazy beauties and all your love worked a goddamn miracle.

Or I made a gigantic, embarrassing public mistake. That could also be it.

Right.

Either way, permanent real estate for all of you right here. (Chest thump.)

Onward.

Monday, November 17, 2008

again

About an hour ago. Miscarriage. This will be abbreviated, because it lacks the, what would you call it, the freshness, the newness of the miscarriage from earlier this year. The wonder is gone.

Doctor's appointment is tomorrow, but there is precious little doubt about what happened. I have what you might call the corpse.

This time I'm totally unapologetic about talking about it.

After the initial animal shock/screaming/crying, a grim black humor has descended. A sarcastic numbness is in place. I'm too angry to feel tender and sentimental.

I can feel something like painless contractions continuing as I type.

I had to listen to goddamn Pachelbel again on the hold music for the doctor's office. It's farcical, really. I used to like that piece of music. I used to love it, actually. Thanks, Seattle Ob/Gyn Group. Maybe when I come for my appointment tomorrow you can fix my favorite meal and have my favorite scents wafting through your waiting room.

The contractions are getting a touch more painful. Well. That seems realistic.

More later. I appreciate all your congratulations, truly, and I'm sorry to give you whiplash again.

Baby, I will feel more for your absence as soon as I am able. I promise.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

yes we did and also yes we are


photo lifted from the delightful site yes we can hold babies

First, AAAAAAAAAA! The joy of that moment, when the tv said Barack Obama Elected President...I've never felt/witnessed/shared in anything like it. Jumping up and down and sobbing and laughing and feeling like the sky broke open revealing some new better impossible beautiful sky. A giant world joy all at once, the whole world popping like champagne, like the Christmasiest Christmas Eve Christmas morning holy holy all over the Earth shared glory. Merry Christmas! You, boy! Run and fetch the fattest goose out of that shop! There's ten thousand dollars for you!

Yes. Afterglow. Fantastic. Marred by Prop 8 archaic bastards. God forbid evolution happen too fast in this country. Somebody has to do the job to hold us back. We loved our protruding foreheads! Standing erect is overrated. We were warmer when we had our own fur.

So. So I'm breaking my weird old long blog silence to tell you also* that I'm pregnant. Just 'bout 8 weeks. Yes! Yes, we did. Yes, we are. And I've had my hcg levels checked, and they're nice and high, and I had an ultrasound and that little baby was just the right size with just the right heartbeat. Poom poom poom, you could see it going there, right on the screen. Bap bap bap. Someone's in there, and someone's got it going on.

*Sarah Palin killed also. She shot it from a helicopter.

I was like, let's wait this time, Tina. Let's wait until 12 weeks to tell. But 12 weeks, schmelve schmeeks, I can't do it. I'm a VAULT that I held out this long. My old policy of glasnost or perestroika, whichever one is openness, that has to be reinstated. If things go well, I tell. If things go ill, I tell. I'm a teller! I'm a bank teller and you guys can have all the money out of the vault and you didn't even try and rob me. I'm that kind of teller. I'm a totally gung-ho pro-active co-operator.

Also: a drooler. And a gagger. A heaver. An up-chucker. A bloodhound who will need you to turn on the fan if you're planning on slicing that apple. A tired-unto-dying-of-Saltines-er. An I-got-a-craving-for-banana-cream-pie-five-minutes-later-who-the-fuck-had-the-stupid-idea-to-buy-a-pie-er. Because it can't have been me.

We are very excited and hopeful and nervous. We had barely barely made the decision to try again when some baby barreled in through a two-inch crack in the door. Ding dong, I wonder who's at the door, is it an encyclopedia salesman, let's see OH MY GOD THEY'RE* IN THE HOUSE AND THEY'RE DRAWING A BATH AND ORDERING A PIZZA HOW THE HELL DID THEY DO THAT SO FAST?! Hey mom. Pass me that rubber duck. Thanks. And shut the door. Also I will need to borrow 20 bucks for the pizza.

*It isn't twins. But he or she is too unwieldy, and I'm not jinxing anything.

So, whoo! Baby born in an Obama/Biden world, phew. Now let's get our asses to the second trimester post haste. This trimester blows. It also blows a trumpet, because we're on our way to a Rowley quorum. (6/20/09, give or take a whatever.) But morning sickness just purely blows.

However, screw that. I end on a positive note. C major, mofos!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

no, no, no, no and no you didn't




The unthinkable has come to pass. A lady at the grocery store looked at me and said, "Wow. I thought I was looking at Sarah Palin for a minute there."

OHMYGODINEEDAHAIRCUT. And contact lenses. Jeebus.

yes, yes, yes, yes and yes we can





Saturday, September 27, 2008

a quick one while the captor is away



Beginning a post at 3:15 in the morning is so crazy that it just might work. The captor is surely napping. How do I know? I feel open to using prepositions. That's how.

Let's do a grab bag as I don't have long before sleep comes for me. First, let's look in the bag, and then we'll pull things out.

Overhead bag view:

***********************************************
**Raja yoga*dining room table*Finn haircut********
**election*house putting together*baby wondering**
**not writing*relaxing about not writing************
***********************************************

Okay. Grab.

Finn's haircut: Jim Morrison has left the building, replaced by the president of the Young Democrats of Lake City. My son looks less dissolute (you know, for a two-year-old), more inquisitive. He looks older, taller and brighter. He's taking SHAPE on us.

Grab.

Dining room table: We have one now. It's wonderful. The soul of the house can now descend into place. A line runs through the great room from the fireplace through the dining table to the kitchen. Hearth, home, welcome, nourishment. I hope that many of you will come and sit at our dining room table with us and fulfill my dreams for this house. Photo to follow.

Grab.

Raja yoga: This is a twelve-week course I'm taking, heading into its fifth week. A Raja/Hatha yoga intenstive. Raja yoga. What be? (Uh-oh. Captor waking?) (The captor is waking, but I will fight to use the English language as it was meant to be used. I'm on to me. Whenever I want to tell you about something beautiful and difficult to describe, I want to revert to cave talk. I constantly feel too shy to attempt to describe things properly.) Oh, listen. Instead of trying to tell you what Raja yoga is, I'll give you a link to the class description. There. Now I can tell you what I really want to tell you, which is how the class feels.

Like home. Like the sun coming up. Like weightlessness. Like my mouth curling inadvertently into a smile like a small boat which is gently pushed off shore. The lake is infinitely wide, the destination is far away. The boat drifts slowly, the current is soft but sure. There is no hurry, not the slightest bit. It's early morning on the longest, best day of my life. By nightfall I will be at my destination. The day can be as long as it needs to be, but this is the day. I have finally left tomorrow back on shore. The boat can get tangled up in seaweed, and I can slowly disentangle it. No panic. I can drift in circles for a while, stop and float. I can eat some of my picnic. Muffins under the noonday sun. I can row until my arms are tired and I want to cry, and I can stop to cry. Very fine. All right. My face will dry, my nose will clear, equilibrium will return. I will keep rowing, and drifting, and rowing some more. Today is the day, however dull, however thrilling, however sweet or painful. Today can last a thousand years but this will still be the day.

So, it's a good class.

Grab.

Baby wondering: Sleep wants to come and rescue me from talking about this one. Cave talk also wants to kick in. Defense mechanisms. And also it's almost 4am. Let me pose this one as a question.

Is there a baby remaining out there in the ether that belongs to us? If so, please report not only to my womb, but please report to my heart and mind and launch a campaign to win them over again. My next birthday is my fortieth. This feels like a wall or a locked door. Will someone slip in before we are up against it?

Grab - wait. Guess what? I am not pulling everything out of the bag. No more writing about writing or not writing, for one thing, is my new motto. The dining room table is sufficient talk of the house. And as far as the election goes, IT IS NOVEMBER FIFTH AND OBAMA WON.

Good night and good morning.

Friday, September 12, 2008

proof of my own existence

I....writer's block....I....alive, I still alive, I.....

Many of you, so kind, so kind....I....you...such nice things you say about my writing....I...such appreciation....

My writing, I....I...what happened is I begin take my writing more seriously, like thing I...like a central fact of my life...like a thing I want do with all heart forever...and then...I...stop myself.

I hold self hostage.

I take me prisoner.

I hold me ransom.

To write like bad caveman is only way I get message to you from cave I hold myself hostage in. I no more good writing a while. I speak you without good writing, in order speak at all.

Why I hold me cave? I not know. Fear of thing. That probably it. Fear of thing, I think. That it.

Miss you, I...you there, reader. I have. By way. The.

What happen in Gallivanting Monkey life? Let catch up bit.

Finn used to never name thing. Like give name. For toy. No thanks. I say, "What name this bear?" And he like, "JUST BEAR." Like, "Just drop it." I keep try. I like, "What name this donkey?" Finn glare or sigh, then, "JUST DONKEY."

No more Finn no name. Finn now fully freewheeling thing-namer. Freewheeling in extreme. And nearly all thing name have same ending in common: dge. "Finn, what name this rabbit?" "Chadge." "Chadge?" "Chadge." Later, "Finn, look this dog. What name, you think?" And Finn all, "Woodge."

Some lately names animals in picture books from Finn:

Radge.
Choodge.
Chodge.
Choadge.
Widge.
Woodgie.


Some outlier names animals:

Cha (short "a" like "cat".)
Ra (also short "a")
Ree


Finn no longer shy namer. He spread this to more language, also. In morning, he enjoy exclaim, "Azazzy!" Like pizazz, but azazz, but -y. This only in morning. Like, morning in general bring feeling of azazziness not present in rest of day.

Also, I ask Finn, "What you dream last night?" And he reply, "Kitties." And I follow up, "What kitties do in dream?" And he say, "They flamshed."

Finn have other language construction I much enjoy. Is a double "is". Like, "What is that clock is?" First of all, question answered in question, right? Great, I think. But double "is" is extra joy. Example, I read Finn Peter Rabbit. Peter Rabbit eat too many radishes and french beans, get sick. Look for parsley. Mr. McGregor come after him, Peter Rabbit hide in shed, jump in water can, sneeze, all nearly lost as Mr. McGregor come after Peter, and then suddenly an interruption, "What is parsley is?!" Delivered in loud tone with face shoved suddenly in my arm.

"What is parsley is?" is now running joke between Finn me. He realize way he asked question very funny. I show him how he do it, he acknowledge very funny. Now we yell "WHAT IS PARSLEY IS?" suddenly at each other as non-sequitur, and shove head at other person. This always funny.

This, plus marvel and bang head against wall Sarah Palin, plus great new yoga meditation class, plus trying (you will not believe) write things to send places, this been Gallivanting Monkey life during self-hostage-taking month.

I not bother swear try write you more here, for swear only make self-captor-self angry. I whisper maybe I write you if captor nap. It not good writing, though, that I swear advance.

Note: This post been edited more thorough cavemaniness.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

please report to the banana phone. the buddhas are holding on line one.



This blog has lain dormant while I tried to figure out how to convey the weird burgeoning glory of my son. He daunts me. My typing fingers hide behind my back. Uh-uh. We're not trying it. We'll miss it. We'll kill it. We'll immortalize something not quite true.

The same can be said of my brother, times even more. I haven't talked about him here very much, my older brother, David. He's basically a human unicorn. Unique and unearthly and odd and completely darling. An interaction scarcely happens between us wherein I don't fervently wish we were being followed by a stenographer. It's too much material. Someday I think I'll have to undergo hypnosis to go retrieve it all.

So it's with serious fear that I try to convey the both of them to you here at the same time. Fingers, you have to do it. WE DON'T WAAAAANT TOOOO. YOOOOOU just remember it. STOP MAKING US DO THE HARD THING.

Okay, so. David is a walking encyclopedia of spiritual and religious traditions. He's a practicing LiberalCatholic/Wiccan/Buddhist/Druid/Pagan/Theosophist/Co-Mason. I will have surely left something off of that list, and I truly mean that. He's not a Hindu, but he's well-versed in the philosophy. He's likethis with a rolling host of deities from Egypt to Ireland .

And he looks the part, too. He looks like a wise, weird, magical being. He's four foot ten, very round, with piercing pale blue eyes and a long beard. David is ever-bedecked in a thick, heavy garland of rosaries and malas of every conceivable kind of stone: garnet and onyx and amethyst and quartz and malachite and lapis lazuli and and and. All available pockets bulge and sink floorward with crystals and tiny statues and figurines and laminated pictures of beloved icons.

The man is heavily equipped in every sense: physically, intellectually, and with regards to pure spiritual power. I deeply believe this to be the case.

David is also extremely brilliant. Graduated from Harvard with a degree in math. Was recruited by Westpoint, who were barking hilariously up the wrong tree with our man. His mind is laserlike and complex - he's running some mental software that I don't think human hardware is evolved enough to run properly. Maybe some energetic software as well. Hence, the migraines and the eternal mysterious chronic pain and the fifteen-year on-again/off-again relationship with schizophrenia. I'm not, you know, a doctor and I know that Science has something to say about all of this as well but I don't see a conflict of interest here.

All of this is a long, long lead-up to the following brief transcript of a conversation between Finn and David - or, really, Finn and various Buddhas, conducted via banana phone.

It's this thing they do. Finn has gotten really into talking on the phone, and he loves to have imaginary conversations when we don't have actual people on the line.

Now, growing up in the same house with and then next door to his uncle, Finn has become familiar with a whole lot of different deities from various religions, but particularly Hindu and Buddhist gods and goddesses. David has a bazillion statues and Finn loves to hold them and tote them around and pat them on the head. When we leave David's room, Finn yells, "BYE, BUDDHAS! SEE YOU LATER AND I LOVE YOU!"

So what better way to combine his two loves - wait. His three loves. Finn loves fruit. He loves fruit so much he already married it. He'd be a total fruitarian if we let him drive the ship. So, what better way to combine his three loves - fruit, spiritual icons and talking on the phone - then to walk around talking on a banana to Gautama Buddha and Vajrasattva Buddha and Medicine Buddha and Ganesha and Saraswati, etc etc.?

No better way.

David visited us and supplied the voices of the deities on the other end.

I can't relay too much, here. It's just not possible. Let's just say that when David interacts with Finn, he doesn't talk down to him and he doesn't spare detail. If Finn asks a question, David is going to give him the answer he would have given him if Finn had asked the question when he were thirty years old.


So these conversations were going on, like this....

Finn, picking up the banana with great joy and anticipation: Hi hi! Hello!

David: Hello. I'm the Vajrasattva Buddha.

Finn: I fell down on myself!

David: You fell down on yourself? Well, I'm the Vajrasattva Buddha and I'm here to grant you every conceivable good thing. I am the Primordial Buddha of Diamond or Rainbow Light, and the musicality of my being is the sound of ice being shattered by lightning.

Finn: HAIR!

They must have had like fifteen interactions on the banana phone like this, with David attempting to pack a lot of information into his end of things. The last one went like this....

Finn: Hello! HI!

David: Hello! We are the collective Buddhas.

Finn: That is a window and that is a window.

David: Ah, windows. Windows can offer you perspective on many different--

Finn, cutting him off: I'll call Ganesha.

It's like that around here, a million different ways. That's why sometimes I can't post. I just don't feel qualified.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

when there is that blank space now, I don't write "actor"

Something is happening that I feared would happen, but it isn’t scary at all now that it’s here. I think I’m finally making the mental transition away from being an actor. It’s really just a thinking thing, since I have done the bare minimum, acting-wise, these past few years. A little play here and there, a rare voiceover. One industrial. So, no shock, nothing sudden, but I’ve kept a tenacious little psychic finger on acting even when I wasn’t doing it for long spurts of time. You used to be able to see it in my profile description. It came after writer, but there it was. Actor. I like that writer ended up first and I think I’m okay if it’s there alone now. I think I am. Yes. I think so. Think. Maybe so.

I’ll tell you some of what I have loved about acting. This Tina persona I’ve developed over my lifetime can be confining, and when you make one of these personas, you get locked into patterns that you haven’t entirely chosen. You reinforce the patterns that other people early on helped you to reinforce. I can’t say that – my character would never do that! My persona has always been cheerful and gentle and kind. I loved knocking down the everyday Tina walls, and wandering around in aspects of my being that didn’t get air on a daily basis. I loved the angry characters, the rebellious ones, the wistful ones, the grieving ones, the loose cannons. They were all me, but the unlicensed me. Being on stage felt like finally getting hot air into the giant droopy balloon of potential I’d been dragging around, and rising up in the sky in my character’s basket. Exhilaration and relief, and a brand-new view.

I love the immediacy and adrenaline of being on stage. Acting has been my sport, my rush. I love feeling the audience’s presence, like heat from the sun. Acting with a partner is also…you know what it is? It’s sexy! I mean it, it’s thrilling. You have an unspoken pact that you are going to be wide open and brutally truthful, that you are going to allow yourself to be affected by your partner, and that you will not hold back in giving them what they need. However your character carries herself, behind your eyes you will be entirely present, and you won’t hide anything. Even if your character is hiding something, you cannot be. Inside you must be revealing yourself, and letting an avenue in through your eyes for the other person to discover the truth. The truth has to be available. And you have to be alert with all of your hairs on end to pick up the truth from your partner, find what they’re hiding.

The truth! The truth. That’s what I have loved most about acting. Acting isn’t lying. Someone somewhere might have that idea, and I don’t know, maybe it’s true for someone or some form of acting, but I don’t think so. I don’t think you can act well and lie. Inside you have to be all truth. You can get an experience of truthfulness on stage, within yourself and with your partner, that comes only rarely off stage. Off stage you can lie all day long and you probably do. You can get away with it like gangbusters elsewhere. Not so on stage. I love the captivity of being on stage – you can’t run away and you must tell the truth. So troubling and vulnerable and exciting. Again, sexy.

Gosh, I’m speaking about it so lovingly. Why am I letting it go? Well, I’m not banning it from my life forever. What I’m doing is letting go of defining myself as an actor. For so long, when people have asked me what I do, I’ve replied automatically, “I’m an actor.” And for a good healthy decade, I was a busy acting bee. But if I have to hoist a flag, I’m going to hoist a writing flag. I’m not paid for that either, yet, but the label feels most current and accurate. With acting, I’m a person who happens to have skill in that area, and if there’s a good time to use it again, I’ll use it. But I don’t have any ambition for it any more. When I was younger, I wanted success; I wanted people to know who I am and admire me and respect me and be impressed by me. I wanted word to travel far and wide of my great skill! And now I don’t care. I can’t imagine going through the necessary contortions. And there are some necessary contortions if you want success as an actor, and you can be a wonderful actor and make all of the necessary contortions and still not achieve success. So much is beyond your control, and hinges on things which in a perfect world would be at least a little beside the point. This is seventy –four times truer for women than it is for men. I’m talking about looks, and I’m also talking about this in the context of having a professional career, which isn’t something I’m so qualified to talk about, since I haven’t seriously had a professional acting career. I have been paid for my work ranging from not at all to minimally to fairly well. The fairly wells I can count on one hand and still hold a pencil. An actress needs to be either very beautiful or have very definite “character actress” looks. If you’re ten pounds overweight, you either need to lose fifteen or gain fifty. If you’re a woman and your looks are unprepossessing, it’ll take a miracle of ferocious talent and bizarrely fortunate circumstance to set your career on fire. Many examples do not leap to mind, although you might be able to call up a few.

All of that is true, and maddening, and then you add a sort of institutional disrespect for actors from those in positions of power over them and voila: a recipe for something that does not sound delicious to me. I’ve felt it in the air during certain auditions, that essential disrespect. There’s a sense that you don’t matter, you’re this groveling thing asking for scraps, you’re so lucky just to be in the room with these Mighty Deciders, and you have to be willing to toss your life on the scrap heap to jump when they say jump. (What is that on my shoulder…is that a chip? Crunch. Now that's delicious.) Of course, there are exceptions – wonderful, kind directors and producers who love and respect actors. I’m not talking about you guys. I’m talking about everybody else. People can get a little power-happy. I just have to face the fact that I’m not a temperamental match for the auditioning process. I’m increasingly not good at putting on a deferential face when real deference isn’t blooming in me for someone.

You know what it is? What acting gave me I think I might not need so much any more. As I get older, I find I don’t so much need an outlet for the parts of myself I repress in my daily life, because I think…I THINK…that I’m not repressing myself so much. I don’t sacrifice truthfulness on the altar of my persona in the way I may have done back in the day. It’s really truth that I enjoy the most, and freedom of expression, and those are things I can provide for myself. I can give them to myself when I write. And when I give them to you here, they make the trip all the way from my consciousness to yours, so I have that lovely click of completion. Communication has occurred, and an exchange of energy has taken place, if less overt than with a physical audience in the same room. (That, I grant, is a precious thing, being in the same room. Theater is so good like that.) I can get a little burst of adrenaline when I hit “publish” if I know I’ve revealed something precious, but it’s not the automatic rush that a stage gives. To achieve sport feelings, I have to be triply revealing and dangerous in the writing, which I’m only just learning how to do. Sport feelings? No. Wrong phrase. Life feelings. Vivid risky life participation.

Hmm. I’m forgetting something. I’m forgetting something about the theater that I love. It’s participating in the creation of an imaginary world. You can do that with writing, I know, but it’s not the same thing if you’re not standing in it with your actual body. Childlike playtime feelings. Playing pretend with your whole body. Feeling of wonder, particular to that. All right. I give up. There is no substitute for that. Well, sometimes you can let things go for which there is no substitute. I release this metaphorical Porsche from my grip. If it comes flying back into my hand, then it’s mine. And maybe then only still for a minute.

For a long time, I had – and I’ve written about this here, and elsewhere – a strong pull to make my own solo show. I started writing it, and the theater company I was a part of for a very long time had signed on to produce it. The essential kernel of the show exists for me still, I can feel it, like a real thing I can feel in my pocket. Like a rock or a gemstone. I’d like to make this story, still. I’m not exactly sure, though, if I need to make it on a stage. I might just be able to make it on a page. Maybe I can stand in front of you while you read it, so I can get your immediate reaction. That won’t be annoying, right? It’ll just be a nice, normal exchange of energy. “What do you think? What are you reading now? Which part are you at? I wrote that.”

A psychic told me once that I would only achieve my life purpose when I embraced being a nobody. When she told me that, I was just at the height of my ambition as an actor so I thought, Stuff it, lady. I’m not a little reclusive saint person with no ego. Now I can see what she means. Success is a word that has sort of lost its meaning for me. I still have ambition, but it’s not so much for success as it is for new discovery and making meaningful connection. (That sounds like a brochure, dang it. What else will I call it?! Damn it, discovery and connection are the words. Meaningful is the word. I mean it. We’ll lose “new”. That’s redundant.) I need to communicate with you all, however I can.

So. If a sweet little opportunity to take my hot acting balloon flying comes around, I will climb in. I just don’t need the balloon to take me anywhere in particular. I don’t need the balloon for my sense of identity or self respect. Those I can make on my own.

Acting, you are a beautiful pursuit.

I’m taking my hand and I’m opening it and I’m letting whatever is in it fall out.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

my moonwalking bear



Watch the clip first, quickly. Go right in, don't think, just do it.

All right.

Today - after a goodly break - I was smacked in the gut with the understanding that I had a miscarriage, and what that means. A baby, a baby, our baby, the baby that we so wanted - it came and went. It, I guess, died. I guess it died. It had begun living. That's pregnancy, right? Living thing, right? Died, then. Stopped living.

I ran into a dear friend today who is teaching Pilates out of her home, and I told her that I'd love to take classes with her. Later I was telling Dave about it and I began to say casually, "I think Pilates would be great as a healing thing, with the miscarriage, to strengthen that-" and I was going to say "area" but that's when the gut punch came in and I began sobbing. I was talking so casually about healing, forgetting that it's actually really true that I need some.

Where has it been? Where has the grief been? That's what the clip up there is alluding to. The baby we lost is the moonwalking bear of my life. I can't see it every day. I see Finn and his needs, and I see our new house, and I see everything we need to do to settle in properly, and I see writing, and I see the present moment because I'm trying to see it - the present moment is like the team in white, passing the ball. It's my self-imposed assignment. It's a good assignment, seeing the present moment.

But where does the grief go? Where does it hide? Where was I stashing it? I honestly thought it had left. No. I still have some.

Maybe it reared up because we had been planning to try for another baby again in about a month, and I decided a couple of days ago - on my birthday, actually, which was a strange birthday* - good, ultimately - I decided that I am not ready to try again for another baby. I'm not feeling it. I'm just feeling the idea as pressure. The idea of letting go of another baby for the time being was so freeing, so appealing. What if we only ever had Finn? What would that be like? Oh, the places I'd go! As Finn gets more self-sufficient, I can go here and do that and take this class, and oh! The relative freedom! Sounds like riding in a convertible with the top down on a sunny day on a tv show in the 1970's, with my big shiny Breck hair flying behind me and a silk scarf fluttering around my neck and a handsome man in a white suit driving us to a cocktail party at a penthouse apartment with thick white carpeting and a view of Los Angeles.

I met a baby, today, too. A baby girl. Miss Nora Somerville Jorgenson. Approximately six months old. Soft and silky and smiley. Milky silky translucent skin. Little dimpled chin. It's not nothing to meet a baby girl, after all my Oona business, after all my imaginings. I met her at a reunion brunch for my old sketch comedy group, and I borrow and transpose a line from an old local news parody sketch of ours here for you, entertainment/human interest division:

Thanks, Ian! Ian, I am over here by this BABY and I have to tell you, this baby is shooting up FROM the floor, all the WAY up TO the ceiling, and it really is an amazing sight, just really something, and I think I can speak for everybody here near this THING, this BABY when I say that nobody here thinks that this is not nothing. Ian?

In the actual sketch, the baby was a wall.

But yes. To meet a beautiful little baby girl had to go shoveling into some of my deeply packed emotional soil and loosen it up a bit. That's a good thing. It's good. And it's nice - Finn and his rockin' wee friend Miles were digging in the garden with little shovels today at the brunch. Thanks, buddies. You were doing a little ritual for me just at the right moment, concretizing it all. It's good to get access to the grief. The not feeling of the grief felt eerie and also weirdly irresponsible. Like it's irresponsible not to be aware of and feeling the sorrow of your lost child, however briefly they were yours.

And I was really getting comfortable with the idea that maybe I didn't want another child. I thought maybe the miscarriage killed not only the little life form but also the wanting, like the wanting was an innocent bystander in a fatal drive-by shooting who was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead along with the intended victim. But maybe the machines are starting to beep and boop a little for the wanting.

We're in intensive care. We'll see what can be done. I don't know about heroic measures, but if there's life in the wanting, there might be other life that wants to follow it.

*I was going to have a small birthday party, and I invited people, but then I called everybody a couple of hours before it began and called it off. I'd been weeping all day with no rhyme or reason. And...thinking here...I post about being on edge and snapping and crying. Just how subterranean did I think this grief was? Just because it doesn't come ringing a bell that that has an "I WAS YOUR BABY" flag on it?! Moonwalking bear, all right. Now it's hard to miss. But you really can miss a lot if you set your mind to it.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

a slow, sure trip up the metaphorical himalayas



I'd like to think that's what I'm taking. What in actuality I'm taking is a slow trip partway up the Himalayas, and then getting a craving for M & M's and running back down to Katmandu, and then remembering that I like watching Gossip Girl and going back to my living room, and then thinking about how cool it would be to go up the Himalayas, and then packing a bag, and then looking at the bag a few minutes later and thinking, "What's this bag for?", and then unpacking it, and then remembering, and then swearing and repacking it, and putting some M & M's and a People magazine in the backback, and then pulling the People out and sitting on the floor and reading it, and then throwing it away, and then zipping the backpack and going out the door, and getting on the plane, and heading up the Himalayas, and stopping to take a lot of photographs of myself at base camp, and looking at them and wondering if I could just tell people I went to the top, and also deciding I need a bang trim, and running back down and getting one, ET. CETERA. AD. INFINITUM.

Friday, July 04, 2008

about that thing i'm shy to talk about



I haven't really talked about spirituality on this blog, but I think I want that to change. I've talked about it a little bit on my other blog, Bloomerang, the blog that lives and dies and lives again and is in a dead period. Is between worlds. Is hopefully enjoying its little afterlife.

I rarely talk about spirituality here because I'm shy about it, my dears. But it's important to me, and I think I would like it to be even more important than it currently is. Yes, yes. I don't talk about it here, though, because I'm afraid of alienating people. I've given myself permission with Bloomerang because it's tucked away where nobody knows of its existence, whereas The Gallivanting Monkey hosts literally dozens of visitors a week! (I know, it's crowded here. Feels crowded. This place needs a door guy. So busy.)

I don't know who I think I'm going to alienate that I won't already have alienated, though. I have this cynical, skeptical reader in mind who thinks that spirituality is the lamest word alive and that anyone who uses it in earnest is a sappy featherhead. Something tells me that reader has other places to go on the web than this cheery little enclave. So I don't know exactly what I'm worried about.

It's residual, I think. I grew up in a sort of offbeat, spiritually inclined family, but none of my peers had the same kind of background. All of the kids I knew came from more traditional religious backgrounds. (Everyone in New York was either Jewish or Catholic, and in Seattle it branched out onto the Protestant scene.) My parents were Theosophists...which...I will either explain later or you can go ahead and google it because I ain't got the strength to lay it out for you now. I will say this - it's Eastern religion-friendly. My grandmother was clairvoyant, and wrote a few books stemming from her abilities: The Real World of Fairies, The Personal Aura, The Chakras and the Human Energy Fields. I grew up hearing a lot about Buddhism and Hinduism and different Eastern-flavored theories about the soul and its evolution, about karma and reincarnation and all of that stuff. I don't know. It's such a big question, what we're all doing here, and how you grow up with that question is so formative. I felt embarrassed that my backdrop looked so different from other people's backdrops. It lingers a little. There's my shyness.

But what a question, no? What the hell are we doing here? What is going on? What is the point of all this? I just don't think this is a skippable question, even if it seems farfetched that we're going to find the answer. I don't think that's a good enough reason to skip it. I want to try anyway. I think even just thinking about it, staring at the question with curiosity, is worth something.

I was walking through the parking lot of QFC today, and it struck me: where am I? Where am I, other than in the parking lot of this Quality Food Center in North Seattle? I don't quite know how to put the question that emerged. It was something like, where is this parking lot in relation to Reality? Oh, man. OH MY GOD SHY ATTACK. Shy attack.

But I go on.

Then, yesterday, I was outside a Barnes and Noble with a very fakey fake stone exterior, and I had a funny epiphany: I like places that are obvious in their fakeness. I really like, you know, faux-Roman this and fakey French that. I like it on a large scale. It makes me feel like the world is this big stage set, and makes me remember that this Tina is just a character, and that the actor deeper in me is very real. Something about the contrast of a sense of realness inside with the fauxness outside is satisfying. Feels like a wink. I like it.

And what's this God business? Who is that? Is there one? Divinity - I love that word. What is inside there? Something draws me on to look into this. I don't have devotion to some kind of singular, figureheady God. But the word divine...that pulls me along somewhere, hints at something gorgeous that I would like to know about.

So I would like to get a little serious about this, and since this is the place where I come to talk to the people, I will maybe be talking about this some more.

P.S. I want you to talk to me, too. I would love it extremely. What do you think we're doing here? What is your relationship to these things? Are you curious? Uninterested? Satisfied? Repulsed? Bored? Attracted? My ears, they are so open.

P.P.S. This is a post I wrote a long time ago at Bloomerang about meditation.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

i am in my thirties still now but only just



It be my birthday.

And look, look, LISTEN. The last post was true. But also a limited snapshot of things. I also feel quite blessed at the moment. Great marriage, beautiful child, excellent friends, notable lack of serious problems. I am stressed out but also blessed! I am everything that ends with "essed". It's tricky because I want to write truthfully for you, but then you always run the risk of regretting the airing of some of these truths. So I'm here to just say, true, true-ISH, but there's so much more. True but maybe overly categorical. I just didn't want yesterday's post to be the last word on anything for very long.

I turn 39 today. Since last night here in Seattle, it's been raining and thundering extremely dramatically. Is this an omen? Do I need to mind my p's and q's this year? Is that what? Or should the rest of you all be worried? "She's thirty-niiiiiiiine.....the aaaage we waaaaarned you about. OoooooOOOOOoooooo.....BANG!"

Next post will be about something other than myself, and also hopefully not ultra boring like today's. That's the plan. I hope you had a good little nap. You're welcome!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

let the frog sing it

It's Dave's and my third anniversary tonight. Second third anniversary. (The first one was on January 21st - the official courthouse one. July 2nd is when the real wedding for the friends and loved ones was.) Dave's working tonight, and also even if he weren't, it's not like we've gotten off our asses to locate a babysitter to let us go out and be romantic daters.

We took Finn to the Pike Place Market this morning for our family anniversary outing. We got Dave several jars of Vegemite, some perfume oil for me and a bag of fresh hot tiny doughnuts for Finn. It was delightful. The best quote of the outing belongs to Finn. We were in The Souk, which is a little Indian/Pakistani spice shop. It smells pungent in there, and sort of nice, if you ask me. I pointed out the sort-of-nice smell to Finn and explained what it was, and he said, "Get me out of these spices!"

And that, friends, is how I'm feeling about parenting these days a good bulk of the time. I'm not supposed to admit it, but it's true. Get me out of these spices! It's not that I don't love Finn. Au contraire, mon frere. My heart squeezes and pretzels and expands and flip-flops with love for him all the time. The love gets fuckin' positively pyrotechnic.

It's my patience level that is poor. Pooooooooor. Looooooooow. The rope is short. The thread is thin. Finn is two years old and workin' it fairly often in classic Terrible Twos style these days. But also, stupid tiny things make my blood boil irrationally. I was in the kitchen doing something yesterday, and Finn was tooling around nearby messing with things - things I shouldn't have left around, like big tall full glasses of water - and he tipped the glass of water over on to the couch in a two-pronged special maneuver wherein the water spilled at first but was not entirely released from the glass, as the glass was entirely upside-down flat on the couch, making it so that when I moved the glass, the rest of the water rushed on to my feet. I yelled out "DAMN IT!" in what must have been a very scary voice, and Finn began to cry, "Want to see Mommy!"

This is what he cries when something goes wrong. "Want to see Mommy!" He'll even cry it out if I'm right there with him, but doing something he doesn't like. It's like, I don't want to see YOU. Get me the OTHER mommy. Get me the good one. So he was crying and saying it over and over, and he was clearly very freaked out. I felt horrible, and I started crying, too. I hugged him to me and we both wept awhile. Want to see Mommy, yes. The good one. Let's get her. I have no idea who I am exactly but I'm not her. Want to be. But cannot always be her. Sometimes I'm her, naturally. Otherwise, "Want to see Mommy" wouldn't make much sense as a catch-all. I'm a fairly sweet ol' Mommy much of the time. I'm just prone to snap more at the moment. My wood is dry and sparky and catches fire easily.

I know, I know it. You don't have to say it. Parenting is hard, take it easy on yourself. Although that might not be what you were going to say. You might have been about to say, Stop being an asshole. Hire a babysitter already and take a mental health day before you scare that poor bunny any more. That, in fact, is what you should say. And that's what I need to do and that is what I am going to do.

Also, I'm going to start meditating again. I think this is going to have to be a vital part of my parenting toolbox. It's the patience extender. I'm going to have to do it every day, even if I have to get up at 4 in the morning, meditate and then go back to bed. I meditated today and I was glad I did, even if all it did for me was highlight how on edge I am. I can see my on-edgeness a skosh more clearly. Thanks, meditation!

I hope meditating with real regularity makes a nice, solid difference. I hope that I can react to the jolts and bumps from the deep calm place, instead of from the karate-chop waters up at the surface. I hope this because otherwise I don't feel like I would be able to handle another baby. At the moment, I don't even want to try again because it seems like that way lies madness. But I want to want to try again. I'm gonna take care of myself here, I'm going to get some self-care action going, and see what I can do with this brittle old psyche. Maybe the miscarriage - which has gone subterranean, grief-wise - is finding ways to linger and mess with me. C'est possible.

The title of this post doesn't make any sense because I haven't told the story yet, so I better do that. It's not a story. It's just a little - it's another "Get me out of these spices" thing. We watch this little video on YouTube frequently, an excerpt of a cartoon movie called Rupert, with a bunch of frogs singing. Finn gets annoyed when I sing along with things. He used to dig it, but not of late. So I was singing along with this frog song yesterday and Finn glared at me and barked, "LET THE FROG SING IT." This same kind of thing happened in the car today. I was singing along with Billie Holiday - and look, I'm a pretty good singer if I do say so myself. It's not like I'm murdering the damn thing - and Finn was like, LET THE LADY SING IT. Actually, he said, let the man sing it, but then we set him straight that Billie Holiday was a lady and then he kept saying LET THE LADY SING IT. But I stood my ground because I am not going to let a tiny cranky man rob me of the joy of singing along with the car stereo. I said, No! I'M a lady! I'm going to sing, too!

Next time we listen to that frog song, I'm going to tell him, "I AM THE FROG."

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

the new foods



I was cooking dinner for Finn the other night while he was across the room playing with his toys. I pulled some asparagus out of a bag and started ripping off the tough ends, when Finn looked over in my direction. He had never seen asparagus before. He was thunderstruck. "WHAT IS THAT GREEN THING?!" he yelled, running to the kitchen. "It's asparagus." "I WILL HOLD IT!" he informed me. I handed him a stalk. He gazed at it with extreme reverence. "This is yummy," he declared in advance, never taking his eyes off of the asparagus.

Earlier in the week, I had introduced him to apricots. I cut some up in a bowl for him with some cherries. He sat with the bowl quietly for a minute, eating. Then he called out, "What is this yellow thing?" "It's an apricot, honey." There was a pause, and then, "It's yummy." A couple of minutes later he called out again, "What is these yellow things?" "They're apricots, sweetheart." Pause again. "Yummy." This repeated a couple of times, and then after a little bout of silence the report came, "I like apricots."

Also new this week:

grapes (What is these red things? They would be so yummy!)
popsicles (It is yummy, funny and delicious.)
polenta (I don't like it.)
nectarines (Let me hold it.)
plumcots (Bumcops. Pumcops. Pumcots.)

It isn't just foods that are yummy and funny for Finn these days. Events make the cut, too. I told him we were going to take Dave to work, and he said, "That might be so yummy." And then he thought about it and amended it to, "It would be so funny."

Monday, June 23, 2008

fifty things, or, must water the blog



This isn't a meme. This is just...I have no direction. I want to talk to you but I don't have a nice crisp seed to grow into a recognizable post about a thing. So, then, fifty of them. Things.

1. I think I'm getting arthritis in my hands. I watered our lawn this morning and squeezing the nozzle of the hose made me feel like a troubled old lady in the before part of a pain relief commercial. Darn these hands. My begonias!
2. Briefly while I was watering the lawn I was able to not think at all for a few seconds here and there, and I was just watering the lawn. Sounds dull but it was sort of transcendent. Sunlight through the spray, the sound, the brightness, the force of the water, the goodness of the morning. No stupid chatter in my head. Just the thing happening in front of me.
3. Fifty things? I'll be lucky if I get to five. I have the baby monitor on and Finn is stirring a little.
4. Dave is working a lot more now, so I'm with Finn by myself in a much bigger way. It's good, it's beautiful, but I have no time to write, and all I want to do is write.
5. I don't even know what I want to write. I just want to.
6. I made it past five things! Maybe I will make it to fifty.
7. The beams across our living room ceiling, and the ceiling itself, are this honey-colored wood. The wood glows many different ways throughout the day and evening and night.
8. What the wood does, how it glows like that, is medicine for something in me.
9. I'm writing the event of my miscarriage to go into a movie a dear friend is making. I'm fictionalizing it. Does that sound -- oh, I'm not really asking. I'm glad I'm doing it.
10. What are these sounds Finn is making? Do you think he's going to wake up for real?
11. That I'm really asking.
12. I'm thinking a lot about George Harrison these days.
13. After George Harrison died, I had the strangest, most stunning dream with him in it. I was taken aback because I'd never been a notable fan one way or another. But he showed up in a dream a few days after his death, and we were kneeling on the floor in my old room, trying to decide if he was going to be my mentor. I will never be able to convey to you the amount of love that was there in that room, in that dream. Massive, piercing, all-encompassing love.
14. I had a dream like that about an acting teacher once. I was standing in front of him and I asked him, "Are you my teacher?" - I think I meant spiritual teacher - and then I was blown backwards in an explosion of light coming out of my heart as I heard the answer, "Yes."
15. So, two dreams like that in my life, with paradigm-blasting love in them, both about teacher/student relationships.
16. I don't know what those dreams meant, or if those two are or were my teachers, but all I know is when that much love shows up, even in a dream, that's got to be good for something. That counts for something.
17. But I don't know what. Life is a mystery.
18. And my mind wants to take life and hang it up like a pinata and smash it and get all the candy out. But instead of eating the candy, I just want to sit there and read the labels on the candy. WHAT KIND OF CANDY IS THIS?
19. It's better to just eat it.
20. Given the choice, always eat the candy instead of trying to figure the candy out.
21. Good luck to me, as I attempt to do both forever.
22. When I was watering the lawn, I was just eating the candy for a couple of seconds there.
23. The arthritis part wasn't the candy.
24. Dave and I were married in a little courthouse wedding on January 21st, 2005. I just read Pattie Boyd's memoir and learned that she and George Harrison were married in a little courthouse wedding on January 21st, 196...I'm going to say 6.
25. When I read that, I got goosebumps.
26. And then tried to eat the label of that small piece of candy.
27. Ever since I decided recently that I'd like to try to make a living as a writer, I have barely been able to write a word.
28. So that's promising.
29. A friend of mine has just fallen deeply in love. We were talking about this on the phone tonight, and it was a pleasure hearing about it. It reminded me so vividly of when Dave and I fell in love.
30. And then I remembered a night in Maui soon after Dave and I got together, when we were on that yoga retreat. We were all eating dinner on the porch of the house under the stars, but I couldn't eat and I couldn't speak. The love I was falling in was so busy transforming me...I could feel it, on a molecular level, right there at the picnic table. I felt like I was being reprogrammed to hum at a different level, like I was being refined. I couldn't do anything but sit there and change.
31. If we have another child, then I will really have to figure out how to carve some writing time for myself.
32. There's a thing, a concept out there. It's...babysitters. People can get them. Do you know about this? Babysitters? They're these people who come and sit with your babies while you do other things in other locations. My word! I never thought I'd live in such futuristic times! Have you ever tried out one of these babysitters? Are they like robots? Do they hover? Do they have antennae? They have a job for everything these days. Those French have a word for everything.
33. I never promised that every one of these fifty things would make sense.
34. But you can have your no dollars back if you want them.
35. Speaking of dollars back, we ordered in Indian food tonight, and paid cash - and the driver didn't have any change on him. Hi, accidental begrudged large tip.
36. I only ate one modest plateful! Of Indian food! A triumph of the human spirit.
37. We watched The Bachelorette while we ate. Then I called my mom and we compared notes on the bachelors and how their hometown dates went. I love this show, and all other shows that also suck.
38. Fifty things. Good crap. How'm I gonna....? Not like this. This can't be how. Talking about how hard it is.
39. I took Finn on a wild goose chase around Seattle on Sunday trying to find the gol dang MoveOn.org Obama bake sales. Gasworks Park? Not that I can see, but thanks for the walk in the park. Fremont? Um...I forgot the address and time, but let's try anyway. How...'bout...HERE! Nope. Well, then, how 'bout...HERE! Nope. Hey! Goods for the Planet! They're doing one of these bake sales! One last try.
40. Cupcakes for Obama for all of us.
41. Lemon bars for Obama for my mom and brother.
42. Molasses cookies for Obama for Finn.
43. Brownies for Obama for me.
44. Chocolate chip bars for Obama for also me.
45. Something baked for Obama should have been earmarked for Dave, but instead they got teethmarked and swallowed.
46. I am a bad wife.
47. I'm a wife who hogs the sweet things.
48. Thank goodness Dave prefers chips.
49. Else we'd be screwed.
50. Finn loves to have imaginary tea parties these days with a little silver teapot my mom gave him. So he was making 'tea' for me a couple of days ago and I was pretending to drink it, and I said, "Oh, Finn, this tea is so delicious. What kind of tea is it?" And he paused for a good while, stymied. And then came the reply, "........coffee."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

for pop, ultimately

Bloggos! I'm back. We're finally moved into the new house and we have internet access again. When you haven't had internet for a week or two, you start to feel like an old-fashioned person. I drove to my laptop in my Model T, and got lost several times along the way! Oh, boy, they don't mark those roads like they used to. I need a sarsparilla. When we find our camera, we'll take some tintypes of the house for you.

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Tim Russert! What the hell?! I'm telling you, I'm way more broken up about his death than I could ever have imagined I would be. There's been a lot of weeping around these parts. Who knew he was, like, the best guy who ever lived? I always liked his journalism. He was such a trusty and fair presence, I thought, and I always felt confident that I was hearing someone just about as objective as can be when he was commenting or conducting an interview, and I always felt like he was going to ask the question I wanted asked. Rare feeling. (Take notes, Wolf Blitzer, you big marshmallow.) But then to hear about what a fabulous friend and mentor and father and son this guy was -- inspirational. I really mean it. Tim Russert, in his death, is making me want to be a better person. WHO. KNEW.

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Happy Father's Day, everyone. We've had a lovely one so far. We've eaten pancakes and wept at Tim Russert's empty chair on Meet The Press. (Finn took in in stride.) Now Dave is at work and Finn is asleep.

I found this when I was unpacking a couple of days ago, and thought I'd put it up here for my dad today. He already heard it at his memorial. YES HE DID, SHUT UP. This is what I wrote and delivered three years ago for him. The writing could be better but I'm going to put it up just like I wrote it because this isn't the kind of thing you edit to make cooler. Anything you wrote for a memorial you have to just let be.

All righty.

Hello, everyone. A lot of you might know that my dad was a fantastic photographer. He had an amazing ability to snap the photo just at the moment when something fresh and real and revealing was happening on the other side of the lens, when the subject was in that split second showing him or herself in some essential way. I didn't inherit that skill with a camera. I ended up with the gene where you never fail to get some part of your thumb in the shot. But I'd like to take a few moments to try and create some verbal snapshots of my dad. I don't know how skilled a verbal photographer I'm going to end up being here, but it's my hope that I will have chosen some shots that reveal something essential about his character, without too much thumb in them. These are a few pictures of him that I really adore, and I think they're telling.

The first snapshot of my dad finds him standing with his feet apart, his head bent forward and his hands on his hips. His face, if we dip the camera beneath it, is registering pleasure. There's a person next to him telling a story. It's a man, it's a woman, a stranger, an old friend. My dad is listening. He's not waiting to speak. He's listening, and he clearly loves it. He loves that you want to tell him your story. He can relate. I guarantee you he can relate, and it doesn't even matter what story you're telling him. If this photo were in one of those frames where you can record a few seconds of speech to play along with it, if you pressed the button, the sound coming out would be my dad's voice saying, "Yalh, yalh, yalh, yalh, yalh....."*

*Okay this is the one little addition because I'm not in person delivering this to you. That yalh-yalh-yalh is like cross between "Yeah" and "Yup". It's the "Yup" without the 'p'. And he's saying it super fast while shaking his head and smiling.

The next photo shows my dad facing the camera, bent over in a slight bow. One hand is resting behind his back, and the other is coming out towards the camera, proffering a book. This is a book that you're interested in, that means something to you, a book that means my dad has been paying attention to you. There are so many versions of this snapshot in my memory, and probably in the memories of anyone who was close to him. And just like he did when taking a photograph, my dad knew how to choose his moments. Without going into great detail, I'll just say that on one occasion he handed me a copy of a biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, complete with real photographs of her real family, and on another occasion years later he presented me with a copy of Uta Hagen's book, Respect For Acting. Both of those offerings were presented at the perfect moment, in the perfect style, and both hit home just how I'm sure he hoped they would. To say that my dad knew the joy of a good book is a dramatic understatement. He had a book with him wherever he went, sometimes to the dismay of his dining companion. Hello, Mom. But to his credit, my dad wanted to share the wealth, and he did that. Nothing made him happier than enabling a loved one to blissfully disappear into the page.

The last snapshot of my dad doesn't start with his face, or his image at all. The photograph is all dark, and represents the inside of another person, the hidden part of a person's consciousness where decisions are made. The story behind this enigmatic photo is specific and real. A friend of the family found himself drawn to drop everything and go down to southern California and join the Church of Scientology. He was going to begin by going down for an exploratory weekend. Now, opinions may vary as to to the legitimacy of Scientology, or the cult-like feelings around it, but those close to this man felt a little bit worried for him. And my dad gave him one of the most elegant pieces of advice I've ever heard. I can't relate it to you word for word, but the essence of the advice was that at some point during the weekend, it was likely that a moment would come in which our friend would make a decision. It wasn't going to necessarily be a big moment, or a particularly noticeable moment, but whatever the size, it would be the moment. My dad's advice was that our friend shouldn't let the moment go by without stopping and noticing it, that the moment should be recognized and given its due, and not hurried or glossed over. Well, our friend went down for his weekend, and that moment came for him when he found himself with the proverbial rubber stamp in his hand. He remembered what my dad said, and allowed the moment room for its importance. It doesn't matter so much in my mind that he ended up deciding against joining the church as it does that my father's words resonated for him; that my dad was in essence there with him as he made an enormous life decision; that my dad was, as he always deeply hoped to be, useful.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

o yes!



Thrilling! Goose bumps, goose bumps. We're so close, now. Lots of work to be done, looking forward to doing my part. One thing I'm excited about is that Dave and I agreed to host an Obama Fellow at some point later in the year. I think it will be great to have someone staying in the house who's working out there in the field. It'll be energizing.

President Obama. President Barack Obama. "President Obama said today...."

Oh, my word!
This can happen.

James Clyburn pointed out on tv today that when Obama gives his speech at the convention, it will be 45 years to the day from Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech. That's where today's goose bumps began. I love being alive for this historic day. First black president(ial nominee), my favorite candidate ever. I don't know what's icing and what's cake but there's a surfeit of both, here. It's cake city!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

verde verdi vert ding ding ding green card!



Oh my little green onions! Sweet fried green tomatoes! Holy guacamole!

We had our green card interview for Dave this morning and the nice man said yes so fast that time turned backwards and we were babies right there in front of the desk. Boing!

We had a big old box full of evidence: wedding photos and love photos and Finn photos and notebooks full of financial stuff and even pages and pages of this blog printed out with everything that ever related to Dave. Gas bills and bank accounts and house building invoices and tax forms and zoo membership cards. A big fatty fat old box and the most well organizedest binder with fancy plastic insert things and everything. And the only thing he looked at was Finn's birth certificate. Nothin'! He didn't want to see nothin'!

He said, "Where'd you meet?" and we answered, "A yoga retreat" and he said, "Yoga?! Good for you!" It was like that.

We should be getting that sweet little card within a month. And it's the one that lasts for ten years, which we will never have to re-up because Dave will go for citizenship as soon as he can. Then we can bring sweet Larraine out here lickety-split and we will have a total quorum.

Relief at its finest! We were so freaked out and procrastinatey and full of dread for so long for no reason. Now we feel like little happy floating fairy feather dandelion seeds. Poof! Our family will not be rent asunder or transferred across the globe prematurely! Sweet green grapes. Sweet greeny kiwi honeydew moneydew grassy mossy GREEN CARD!

Naturally, Finn chose last night to never sleep all night and instead to punch us and talk and moan and roundhouse kick us til the break of dawn. So, next to happy and relieved we are also superthefuckball tired. Bring on the couch and the pizza and eclairs and the So You Think You Can Dance. Flopping flophouse goodness.

Thanks for the good green wishes, beloved elves of ours! We smooch you with great legality!







We'd also like to give a special Rowley family total prostration to this guy:



Good old glorious go-to elephant-head Ganesha, remover of obstacles! This cat layed it on with a trowel for us. We're flat out on the floor with our faces in the linoleum for you, big G!

P.S. As if the good green card news weren't enough, Pagliacci gave us our pizza order for free tonight! Man, this is a good day. We have got some serious good vibes around here.

P.P.S. I forgot. That free pizza wasn't an anomaly. Pizza's ALWAYS free once you crack your way into the inner circle. Now Dave knows what we Americans have known all along. Welcome to the secret, honey. America: Free Pizza!

Monday, May 19, 2008

somebody else hold the football next time



Rewind this picture by like five seconds to where Charlie Brown is just coming up to make the kick and that is how I feel about trying for a baby again in a little while here. We'll be trying in just a few weeks. Would wait a little longer if we could, but ti-i-i-ime is not on our side. No, it's not.

Who is Lucy? Is God Lucy? Is the not-here baby Lucy? Who's freaking me out? Somebody is. Somebody's holding the football.

Listen, football holder. Why did you do what you did? See, this is where it's not so hot when you don't believe in an empty, random universe. If I really felt this all were empty and random, I'd have my answer. No reason! But I do think that things happen for a reason, and I'm not feeling so dialed-in to this one. If this wasn't a good time to be born, why break my heart like that? Why didn't you just wait until the better time in the first place? Who am I talking to? The baby? Who's in charge, here? What the hell happened? What was THAT all about? Are you fucking with me?

I'm afraid to want the baby again. I feel muffled about it. I feel flat and glum and not wanting to be fucked with. I was so excited before and I don't feel it now. LaKetch advised me to just go for it, and allow myself to really want the baby. It's good advice, but I can tell that to do that I'm going to have to feel a bunch of pain that I'm squishing down. Damn. She's right, but I don't know when exactly I'm going to kick off that weepfest. When's good? When's good for one of those? I know. A little bit LATER.

But it can't be a lot later. I'm too OLD.

I'm just going to swipe at the keyboard with my paws now, self-pity style:

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That is all.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

why do i refuse to go to sleep?



It's 3:07 am. Honest to Christ. This is happening all the time. I blow past all my good intentions to get sleep. Why do I hate being rested? Isn't it nice? Is it? You tell me, because I forget.

And when I do go to bed, I'm so tired that my body freaks out about falling asleep. It's like, don't make me fall down there! It's many stories I will fall! I'm clinging to the ledge! My body resists it, garnering me even less sleep.

Do I really love snoodling around the internet that much? Because that's what I'm doing up at these hours. Pointless goobering around. But rest is important, and this is the pointless goobering that kills. Am I mad at myself?

It's 3:11 now. I'm making me go. I'm going to make me. Me and no army.

Monday, May 12, 2008

myanmar and china

I don't know what to say, but a space must at least be made here in which not to be able to say it. When a disaster gets too large, my mind just kicks it out of range instinctively. An effort must be made to reel it back in. Oh, damn. Damn. I have to correct myself. When a disaster is too large and too far away (read: in a non-Western country), that's when my mind seems willing to let it drift into outer space without more than perfunctory consideration. What a vapid and ugly fact. So then I have to find some part of myself that has a small pincer's grip on humanity and compassion and awakeness, and put it in charge.

It feels like this small, not-insane part of myself is like a feeble subsitute teacher in a classroom full of hostile, apathetic high school students with ADD. The kids are just back from lunch and they're either stoned to the gills or zooming around on Red Bull. Plus, it's the substitute's first day ever on the job, and also the substitute has no lesson plan. The substitute is also physically unprepossessing and dressed unfashionably. Pale, a little sweaty. Hair unfortunate. Small voice. Not resonant. Also, the class is large. Fifty kids at a minimum.

Okay, the subject is massive human loss of life and also buried xenophobia. Hit it, sub.

Yeah, so that's what it feels like, and I don't even think the substitute is writing this post. I think at best we have a mildly sympathetic student in charge of this entry. Massive loss of life. Oh, yeah....that sucks. Totally, I bet it sucks. But, um, I have a magazine here on my desk, I want to read it. It's got, um, hairstyles in it. And famous people.

Hundreds of children crushed to death in a school. I don't want to understand. I don't want to understand. I don't want to understand. All Finns. All Finns. Everyone killed by the cyclone, no matter the age, all Finns. Everyone left alive. The old woman in Myanmar who was given a blanket for a photo op, only to have it taken away from her again when the cameras were gone. And then someone else tried to give her a blanket later and she was too afraid to accept it. She couldn't go through having it taken away again. An old, female Finn. Infinitely precious. Grief to infinity times so many thousands. Not vice versa. I want the picture of thousands of little dark silhouettes of people each alone under an enormous starry sky, facing infinity in the form of sorrow. I don't know what I'm saying and I don't care, I'm just trying to say something, I don't know what I'm doing, I'm not the teacher or the student, I have no plan. I'm just opening my mouth and making a sound.

I have no idea what I'm doing. I don't know the good way to crack myself open for this.

A Drastic Remedy: The case for intervention in Burma

'No Hope' for Children Buried in Earthquake"

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

a little one in the middle of the night

When Dave and Finn and I were driving in the car yesterday, I said something and then followed it up with, "But that's when I thought I was pregnant."

Good lord. I didn't think I was pregnant. I was pregnant. The fact that I miscarried so soon is making me feel like it was a dream. It wasn't a dream. The fact that I miscarried so soon is making me feel like I should be over it. The fact that it happened so soon is making it seem sometimes like I am over it. But I'm not. I look good on top but I'm crumbly, shatterable. I'm good if nothing goes wrong but the definition of wrong has been expanded to include just about everything.

Those of you who don't enjoy Too Much Information can check out now. But really, those of you who are on that bandwagon probably abandoned this blog long, long ago.

I can always tell when I'm ovulating, and that's happening now. (Are you gone? I'll just tell myself.) I find it shocking that my body is proceeding. The ob/gyn I visited told me that we should wait through one normal cycle before we start trying again. I see what she fucking means. The whole cycle feels suspect to me, wild and unruly. I didn't give permission for the miscarriage to happen and I didn't give the go-ahead for my body to go ahead and release more eggs, either. Stop doing everything without me for a minute, body. Let me call the shots for a bit.

I mean, I've been pregnant before so I'm very familiar with my body going ahead and doing crazy shit without consulting me. (I'm clear that ovulation does not fall under the banner of "crazy shit".) But I gave my body permission to make a baby, and in doing that it got carte blanche to do whatever it needed to do to make that happen. In the wake of this miscarriage, I don't want even a metaphorical pencil put away in my body without me greenlighting it. Control.
Damn it, damn it, damn it, I'm having that feeling where I'm feeling like I ought to put a sock in it. Tina, c'mon. You just had a little miscarriage! You were only five weeks along! Which is more like, what, two or three weeks! What about people who had miscarriages at 6, 10, 12, 14 weeks? What about people who lost their babies after six months? Or after they were born? Shut up on their behalf, at least, right? But I hate feeling that ghost sock getting shoved in my ghost mouth by my ghost neurosis. It makes me want to fight. You want a piece of me, sock? People bitch about smaller things. I'm trying to work this stuff out and this is where I go to do it.

But seriously. I can't handle my body releasing a tiny little egg? Get it together, sister. Pull it together, mama.

I don't know how to treat myself here. But that last thing there, I would never say that to a friend of mine in this situation. If I were my friend, I'd tell me to treat myself how I'd treat a friend. There's a little guideline for me.

Okay. Egg, stop moving. Body, don't do anything without asking me. Everyone stop. Everything stop and let me get some trust back.

A couple of dear friends recommended that we take a trip to Cape Disappointment, down in the southwestern corner of Washington state. Take a day and go and throw some pain in the ocean. Whether we go or not, I want to go. If we don't go, I'm going to find a little place on the water nearby to call Cape Disappointment, and I'm going to go there, and I'm going to do something. I'm going to honor something. I mean it.

It's 3:15 a.m. I shouldn't be here. I should be sleeping. Sleeping is kind to bodies. I've heard this. Never tried it, apparently. People whose nerves are fried should sleep for a godforsaken second, shouldn't they?

Yes. Goodnight.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

the eyes the eyes arrgh the eyes



If you suddenly switch places with Finn and find yourself my son all of a sudden, might I ask you please to please, for God's sake SUCCUMB TO THE NAP, PLEASE?

If you don't succumb to the nap, we will all die a little during the rest of the afternoon and evening. What will happen will be that you'll be working the premise that it's actually sort of cool and interesting to hit your uncle and your dad. And then I will have to leap at you all afternoon and pull you away and try to make eye contact with you and talk about how seriously against the rules it is to hit. And you'll be all ducking your head and wiggling out of the way and grunting, and my blood pressure will be all rising and shit like that.

No fair springing the pop discipline quiz on your unprepared parents like that, man. We don't know what the F we're doing. We're like, you hit your uncle?! OKAY I'M SUDDENLY GOING TO PUT AWAY ALL YOUR TOYS FOR AN UNDETERMINED AMOUNT OF TIME AND ACT VERY CRANKY! And then we're going to watch a Thomas the Tank Engine DVD and eat chocolate chip cookies. So, that'll learn you. That'll do it.

Also, you will need a little advice: all of the chocolate chip cookies I made are basically the same. To have a bite of one and then want to abandon it for a fresh one is, just, NOT. There's just no need, man. If you stay with the cookie you came in with, you will find the same cookie satisfaction through the rest of the cookie. Don't be having a midlife crisis with the cookie, like after one bite of the cookie the cookie is now your frumpy wife of twenty years. Don't be looking at the other cookies like they're your new trophy wives. You and the first cookie have a good thing going on. Don't throw it away. You're lucky, frankly, that you have that cookie, after your sleepless hitting spree. Seriously, man.

Some of you people out there have children who know how to go to sleep without the special Brigadoon magic of breastfeeding. That to me is beyond the beyond. It would be like if Finn suddenly revealed that he can drive an eighteen-wheeler and also do our taxes. Most days our clunky jalopy system of breastfeeding-to-sleep works, even if it means our hands are tied. But some days, the eyes just keep looking up at me unwaveringly. I breastfeed and wait for the eyelids to droop a little, wave the white flag a little. Then I know we're home free even if it's going to take a while. But when Finn keeps twitching his arm around and his eyes stay superthefuckopen like that, I know that I'm screwed. The eyes. THE EYES. It's like he armwrestles me with his eyes and he wins.

In case you have good advice for me about this, I'm going to have to pre-empt you and hang up the TOO CRANKY FOR ADVICE sign. You're going to have to try to get it to me telepathically. I'm the asshole who needs a nap.

P.S. But when he finally does go to sleep in my arms come evening, when he goes limp like a little soft moon and tumbles on to the bed...I am also screwed. Screwed, blued and tattooed. Finn 4 Ever. (I actually am considering getting a "Finn" tattoo. I have a big black heart on my left shoulder covering up an old, ill-advised Cat-In-The-Hat. Thinking about getting Dave and Finn under there. They're not going anywhere. I love them. Might as well tell the world via my left shoulder. My blog AND my left shoulder.)

P.P.S. It is ridiculous, ridiculous, frigging ridonkabagonkers how much sweetness and support you beauties who are reading this have given me in this last week. I feel like I'm recovering at an amazing rate, and I blame you guys. (Blame good nice love blame.) I believe in the power of words and the power of thought, and you guys are wielding your powerful power powerfully on my behalf. I'm deeply grateful. And we're doing really damn well, considering.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

finn and oona

Even more, even more. I guess you don't process this sort of loss in two posts. Right. It's only been a week. Right.

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Finn first. I loved him so much already, but now I'm loving him with such a piercing keenness. He's brighter and sharper and more poignant in all my senses. His skin is so soft and real when I kiss him, which is constantly.

Things I love:

-His giggles and wild sounds when I'm holding him out horizontally to eat him and make funny noises at him. Apeshit, he goes. I am providing him with the best time humanly possible.

-His pointy fangs that somehow appear the most clearly when he's laughing. The fangs are unreal. He's like a Swiss army knife. I had no idea the Rowleys were actual wolves.

-His cuckoo hair that's 75% straight except for a swath across the back of his head where it curls up and tangles as though that part of his head belonged to some old lady with a curler'd hairdo who was left out on a desert island.

-His long, kicking legs like a tiny male Rockette.

-How he's taken to saying with extreme enunciation, apropos of nothing, "I. Don't. Know."

-How he's suddenly averse to wearing pants. No pants. NO PANTS!

-How, when we looked out in the garden this morning and saw a big fat orange cat in our yard sitting still and staring at the front gate, Finn said, "She's going to go get the mail." This was a good guess! Nobody who lives in our house ever uses the front gate unless they're getting the mail. We leave via the carport. Finn put two and two together. That cat didn't go get the mail, though, because a.) it didn't have the mail key and b.) it's Sunday.

I have a child! He made it! He lived! He's mine! Miraculous.

We're really in love, Finn and I. He throws his arms around my neck and smashes his face against mine until our bones are crunching painfully together, and he has these crazy love eyes and this wild fangy grin. Nothing is ailing me ever in that moment. I could be dying in an earthquake and if Finn were smashed into my face grinning like that I'd be having a wonderful time in my impenetrable bubble of joy.

If an upside to the miscarriage is that I'm seeing Finn more clearly and loving him better, then it gave us a gift and I would go through it again. But I don't want to go through it again.

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It feels weird to call the miniscule babylet who visited us for a split-second "Oona", but my head is tingling in a supernatural way that tells me someone is saying BUT I AM OONA. So, good, good enough for me. Oona is sitting on my shoulder while I type. Good. Hello, sweetness. This is wonderful.

If I only ever have a hypothetical daughter, I can't exactly say that it will be enough for me, but it will definitely be something. I'll take it.

On the night that I miscarried, when I was sitting with Dave and my brother and talking, I became aware of something beautiful happening underneath the pain and sorrow. No, not underneath them - right inside them. It was related to womanhood. I was being given a fuller understanding of womanhood. I could feel it happen, like, vooom. Something dropped in. I don't even know if I can verbalize it. I go back to the Jim Jarmusch movie Down By Law, where Roberto Benigni's character says, "It's a sad and beautiful world." Men know this, but women know it differently, I think. Not better. Differently. Motherhood escorts you to a room where you're given a perspective unavailable elsewhere. And then loss connected with motherhood, even a gentle loss like mine, takes you to a room within a room. There's a room within that room where I haven't been, and hope I never, ever go. I don't want that much understanding.

There are women of my acquaintance, and friends of mine, who have had losses many degrees more severe than mine. I have a drop in my cup now that tastes like what their cup was overflowing with. It makes me love all women more, makes them all newly precious to me in some strange way. Oona gave that to me, which makes me long to meet her.

I have this invisible person in my head who's criticizing this as she reads, like a non-ideal reader who's saying to me, "Oona didn't give that to you. She's not real. She wasn't here. She isn't here. You had a few cells gather together for a minute. You're romanticizing this and it's irritating. Get off it." I don't know what to say about that, what to say to that person, except that I'm the one providing the meaning around here.

Lots of free-floating defiance connected with this miscarriage, looking for a home.

Back to what I was saying before I so rudely interrupted me. That drop of the experience I had around womanhood makes me feel like I really should have a daughter - even I only get a hypothetical one - so I can plumb the depths and explore all the corners of this female experience. But I'll say it. I want a daughter. I want a living, breathing daughter. What a festival of teaching and learning that would be! I may never have more of a daughter than my imagination and faith have given me here in this small form, but I hope hope hope. I listened this morning to the mix of songs I made for the baby, and I felt this longing in my chest to meet this person who was coming. It tugged my heart so directly that it felt like there had to be someone on the other end of the string, pulling.

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You know what's weird, also? With that mix of songs...many of them sound sweet and tender on top, but on closer listening they could have almost foretold what happened. I put the song "Fallen from the Sky", from the Once soundtrack, in the mix. I hadn't gotten to know the song well but I found the music sweet and joyful. I had just dazed out, lyric-wise, after the opening phrase. You must have fallen from the sky. Sounded good to me! Sweet baby coming down. But then it goes on.

You must have fallen from the sky
You must have shattered on the runway
You've brought so many to the light
And now you're by yourself

There comes a point in every fight
When giving up seems like the only way
When everyone one has said goodbye
And now you're on your own

Etcetera. Oh. Could have given that one a closer listen. And, of course, the Alicia Keys song, which transposes neatly to a miscarriage situation. Mmm.

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Long ago, Dave and I picked out the names Finn and Oona for our hypothetical children. They took on a life of their own, our children, and they seemed real to us long before we took steps to make them. We imagined that Finn and Oona were floating in the birch trees watching us get married in my mom's front yard. (And then! A dear friend gave us a wedding present - completely unknowingly - that she had commissioned: a fabric hanging of a scene of birch trees with two fairies hovering among them.) Later we found out that Finn and Oona were already a famous pair in Irish mythology. Finn McCool was a giant and Oona was his clever wife who always bailed him out of trouble.

Yesterday morning when Finn woke up, he looked at the shadows in the curtain and said, "That's a cat right there." And then he said, "I want to see Oona."

My heart stopped. We didn't tell him about the pregnancy, didn't ever tell him Someday you might have a baby sister named Oona. At Christmas, we did have a group of porcelain figurines that were like a caroling family: a mother and a father and a son and a daughter. We named the son Finn and the daughter Oona. So he didn't pull the name out of his ass or anything. But he hasn't talked about those figurines at any point since Christmas, and it wasn't like he was particularly attached to the little girl figurine. It was truly bizarre.

I just said, "Yeah, I want to see her, too."

Later I was telling my brother about this, when Finn was in the room, and he asked Finn, "Who's Oona?" Finn said, "She's a little girl." I asked, "A little girl?" He continued, "Whose mommy is Tina." WHAT? I still can't even quite believe he said that. David asked him, "Where is Oona?" But he just got quiet and went back to his Legos.