Monday, February 20, 2017

Endless Weekend

Interesting fragrance name for a Bath & Body Works shower gel.  A picture on the label of a couple riding in a convertible, the woman's arms stretched upward, going on some kind of adventure, I suppose.  I thought about the seemingly endless weekends I've had of late, none of which involved a ride in a convertible. 

The first one was my maternity leave with Hazel.  A nervous new mom, I had no idea what to do with a baby and went weeks at a time without setting foot outside.  The winter set in quickly and I began to understand the mind of an agoraphobic. I had panic attacks when I went to Kroger.  I was doing it all wrong, and by 4 months I was longing to go back to work.  Pass my baby on to a professional so I could get back into the lab.

Next unending weekend started on March 10, 2015, the day I handed my resignation to Mars, with a 10-week-old Vera in the infant carrier. I was determined to make the most of it.  I had brunch dates.  We took walks.  I cooked eggs from the backyard chickens and made pesto from the basil in the garden.  I loved H deeply for the person he became through all our misfortune, and decided to be a better wife. We worked hard to put family first and never looked back.  I applied for jobs while Vera napped.  She got bigger, more interactive, and I worried I'd never find a job, but knew that it would be OK no matter what because I had my family.

And here I am again, the first day of my last Maternity Leave, and I am wondering what this endless weekend has in store for me.  The finality is strange, knowing I will never have another summer off of work - at least not one where I'm still paid and still technically employed.  This is it.  I fold the laundry, knowing that I will never wear most of these maternity clothes ever again, and it feels like a chapter is closing in my life's book.  A chapter that correlates as strongly with age as it does with, say, choice, and I am more aware of just how much older I have become.  Time is passing and I'm aging, and this is what happens.

Here we go, for one last Hurrah.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Nanny's Eyes


I remember after your cataract surgery
You came home with those big sunglasses.
You would lie down on your bed and ask me to put eyedrops in
And you were so bothered by the dirt in the light fixture
Which you weren't able to see before.
You decided that your nose looked too big without glasses.
So you would wear your glasses anyway
To hide your nose
Even though they made your vision blurry.
And I wondered whether the surgery was worth it.

But today I wouldn't mind sitting on your bed
Listening to you complain about the dirt in the light fixture
And talking to you
While I put drops in your eyes.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Old Beginnings

Here I am, staying in some kind of shopper's Mecca outside Nashville.  And I'm looking through my rental car windshield at everything, wearing the "Could-this-be-my-next-home?" lens.  Only this time, it's every place I've ever lived.  It's Christiana and Broad Ripple.  It's Mason and King of Prussia.  I figure, why not take a few hours and get all that shopping done, now that I'm finally alone and can go buy all those things I was too distracted to shop for, with a toddler and stroller with me all the time.  But without all those distractions I have an immediate and profound realization that I don't actually need anything.  And besides, everything I'm seeing is junk anyway.  And I start to feel lost, in this town I've lived in a hundred times before.  As I drive back to my hotel I'm strangely aware of Chic Wigs and The Honeybaked Ham Store.  And I just don't know if I can do this again.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Mission to Mars

You knew this was going to happen at some point, didn't you?

You know, I sure did. I wonder why I didn't do anything about it. Like spend two full weeks applying for a tenure track professorship, writing a research proposal from scratch while H did all childcare and housework, in addition to s full time job with an hour commute.

But why didn't you find something inside P&G?

Ah good point, everyone. I should have taken something I didn't want. I should have applied to all those positions I was reading that sounded dull where the work I didn't want to do is managed by an idiot boss I didn't want to have. Boy I really should've made a lateral move to immediate discontentment. At least there wouldn't be any uncertainty about my job satisfaction.

The more I mull it over I guess I felt like if anyone is up for the challenge, it's us. The brave who stayed among us. The agile, the fearless. The loyal dedicated to the cause, and to each other.

As for my boss, the one I recently said I'd want with me in a plane crash or on a survival mission, well maybe my wish is being granted.

Try to plead with the company who sold me to take me back? Come on.  Mom taught me better.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Cold Rain and Snow

Some of us - there is a name for it, I'm sure - awake in the fall, when the gunmetal November skies return, the cold rain falls, and an icy swirl forms on the insides of storm windows in the old farmhouse. The frost is on the pumpkin and the mud freezes into ruts.  The soft cushion of leaves turns to a stiff crunch underfoot, layered with a top frosting of first snowfall.  The woods quiet down, the helter-skelter of noisy summer heads south, and we are left with whatever sound rings true - the rush of a brook, the squeak and skid of strong oak limbs in an upsurge of wind, and the hoot of an owl calling out across the ridgelines.

There are times in these dark woods when you imagine that cities have never been built, that the era of humans has come and gone.  You notice the direction of the wind - a southerly blow means a change of weather - and you know just how much daylight is left after what weakly passes for the sun drops down below the western ridgeline.

At first, I thought that the winder woods were about nothing - an antidote to a world stuffed with everything.  The winter makes you work for it, makes you reach out and grab whatever truth is buried in the hills and swales.  Summer offers itself glibly, like some garishly suited hawker of entertainment.  The winter work is worth it for those who can sift through the stanzas of triple meaning, how a leaden sky offers release from quotidian burdens.

You think of disturbing the universe with a new thought.  Maybe all that has come before has no meaning, or perhaps there is no meaning at all.  The signs of human ignorance are everywhere; a dead fox decomposing into an upper pasture, bear tracks in soft snow, a great horned owl gliding silently through a thickly wooded hollow.  I sift through clues to observe what lies behind the dark curtain of forest.

I fall asleep, dreaming of November woods, with no fear of waking.  Let others drown in what might have been.

-Christopher Kimball

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Access Hollywood was on the TV and I had my laptop on the couch shopping for ridiculous cubic zirconia rings for going out and fake-impressing people.

And I half heard something on the TV about Roger Ebert winning an award, so I went to his Wiki page  to read what was going on.  And I eventually read the following statement that he made, while confronting his own impending death from cancer:

I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear. I hope to be spared as much pain as possible on the approach path. I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state. What I am grateful for is the gift of intelligence, and for life, love, wonder, and laughter. You can't say it wasn't interesting. My lifetime's memories are what I have brought home from the trip. I will require them for eternity no more than that little souvenir of the Eiffel Tower I brought home from Paris.

And now I'm reminded of my deathly fear of death.

And I don't feel like buying costume jewelry online anymore.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sharpie tattoos and a betadine belly

I took a 12 week Lamaze course when I was pregnant.  I was there to learn how to refuse medical intervention and manage labor pain without anesthesia.  I read two dozen books on ways to limit medical procedures during labor and delivery.  I wrote about 15 versions of my birth plan and talked to every single doctor in my practice (7) so they knew I wanted no intervention and no medication.  This was all for one reason: I wanted to avoid major, invasive surgery that is a cesarean section.

Little did I know, just one year later, I'd be gassed, cut open in 4 places, shoved around and stitched back together.