4.30.2007

Eating My Words



I learned a big lesson today--one that demands full disclosure.

To get to the point, I received an email from the woman I wrote about in my 'Out of the Blue' post. Yes, that same she of the perky ta-ta's; she with her hands in her pockets; she who was smooth and unlined as new road; she who helped populate several poems in Karaoke Funeral, as well as my random thoughts.

Turns out she never received my response (the reason being complicated, entirely plausible, and too boring to share) and, after being out of town, has just gotten around to reading the blog again.

Considering the brutality of the post itself, not to mention the comments, I have to say she replied honestly, thoughtfully, and with grace.

First, I never felt any great animosity toward her during the divorce. I blamed my then-husband. I was in shock, mostly. I felt sorry for her on one hand, and a little smug about the lesson she had coming to her on the other (See "The Replacement"). What I did hold against her was the principle of the thing. Unless the ink is dry on the papers (and no matter what he's telling you), I believe other prospects should keep their distance. And again, I believe women should look out for other women.

But she was very young, and he is quite the teller of tales. I'll spare you the boring details (Oh, sure, THIS time!), but she was being fed one truth, and I had lived another. At least now I know what her truth was, and she's pretty clear on mine.

I'm convinced she wrote me without guile and without an ulterior motive. I don't think she realized it would hurt me. More important, I don't think she ever meant to be a homewrecker or the second-sorriest loser to come out of Emory. (But I adore you all for your venom on my behalf.)

It's sad that I tend to dwell in questions for years. But it's so much easier for me to live in the present if I can understand the past. Besides, creating a family is pretty significant in a life, and its dismemberment makes for a long recovery.

I feel better, though, since she provided me with more context. All I ever want is real dialogue, whatever the issue. I can forgive almost anything if someone talks to me sincerely.

I hope she can forgive me for accusing her of anything more than the very same stupidity I was guilty of myself. She's smarter than I am, by the way; I swallowed his stories for ten years.

And with one final nod to National Poetry Month (this from my "new" manuscript), I'm retiring the subject of my ex-husband, from my poems and my blog. No doubt, we've all had enough.

THE LAST POEM ABOUT HER EX

Because she had no good man to measure him against
(not her father, that midnight car in the driveway;
not the teachers and coaches of her youth, that crowd of hands),
he got away with it.

Seemed the fairy tales had mapped it all right, Pops
never around when the wolf hijacked Grandma,
when the witch offered the noxious apple. And where
was Jack’s father--Jack with his little palm full of beans?

Her life seemed normal enough in context. She did everything
but the taxes, and the three children grew like stalks,
like the tower of her loneliness, while their dad, cool
as a prince, played an extra nine holes.

Then, one by one, they appeared (no trumpets to announce
them, no capes or crowns), those ordinary men, rare as unicorns,
pointing her toward the second chance:

Her old friend, Thomas, at the kitchen table with her fifth-grader,
history homework spread out like an empire;

her boss, Hank, convening with his classes--glad apostles--at 5 a.m.,
communion of coffee and Krispy Kremes;

(what to call him?) David, constant as red clay, steadfast as granite:
unexpected landscape of her resurrected faith;

and occasionally, even a stranger, like the new neighbor,
a war vet, home by supper every day.
She’d see his small platoon of kids in the yard, and him,
swinging a plastic bat with his one good arm.

4.29.2007

4.28.2007

Some Songwriters are Poets



Ray Lamontagne, for instance:

Empty

She lifts her skirt up to her knees
Walks through the garden rows with her bare feet, laughing
I never learned to count my blessings
I choose instead to dwell in my disasters

Walk on down the hill
Through the grass grown tall and brown
And still it's hard somehow to let go of my pain
On past the busted back
Of that old and rusted Cadillac
That sinks into this field collecting rain

Will I always feel this way
So empty, so estranged

Of these cutthroat busted sunsets
These cold and damp white mornings I have grown weary
If through my cracked and dusty dimestore lips
I spoke these words out loud would no one hear me

Lay your blouse across the chair
Let fall the flowers from your hair
And kiss me with that country mouth so plain
Outside the rain is tapping on the leaves
To me it sounds like they're applauding us
The quiet love we make

Will I always feel this way
So empty, so estranged

Well I looked my demons in the eye
Laid bare my chest said do your best destroy me
See I've been to hell and back so many times
I must admit you kinda bore me

There's a lot of things that can kill a man
There's a lot of ways to die
Yes and some already dead who walk beside you
There's a lot of things I don't understand
Why so many people lie
Well it's the hurt I hide that fuels the fires inside me

4.27.2007

Yard Work-n-Play



Freaks.

Rupert's Reference

In honor of National Poetry Month, some perky ta-ta's, an old poem by my own self:




MARGARITAS

Beri is the funniest girl in the world.
Kathy's been a little depressed.
Josie's just gotten off work
counseling rapists and pedophiles,
and because it is still the March
of my thirty-third birthday,
we're sitting on the patio of El Toro,
drinking grande margaritas on a Tuesday night,
discussing the elusive concept of sober sex
while our waiter runs the chips-and-salsa
relay so he doesn't miss a word.
For Josie and me, newly single after a decade,
like planets slung off our axis,
and Kathy, of ruler-strict Catholic upbringing,
sex intrigues us like a foreign language.
But Beri, married for more than four years,
is having a hard time remembering sex at all,
its permutation of limbs, its wet rock and slide,
though she pretends, and doesn't know I see
she's counting under the table--
best I can figure, it was Christmas,
Charles's tired stocking stuffer
offered up like a diamond necklace.
Josie says it takes three martinis
to forget the day's fun accounts
of rodents and rectal thermometers;
Kathy needs five beers on an empty stomach
to get past god, his son, and the holy ghost;
and I'm thinking half a bottle
of a decent dry white, I'll relax a little
about the popped balloons of my breasts,
the post-caesarian belly battle zone
my husband traded in for a twenty-year-old
with a moonpie face and perky ta-ta's.
The waiter smiles a young Spanish smile
that tells us he understands this English perfectly,
understands our need for extra sour cream,
and suddenly, we're appreciating the fit of his apron
over tight black jeans, the neon sombrero
glow washing over our enchiladas,
the low night rumble of practical sedans
burrowing back to the suburbs
like guilty fathers, and the clear constant moon,
with its gathering of all things oozing and flowing,
that keeps us glued together. We've fallen
silent as the empty fishbowls,
in which swim our dreams of love
in dregs of salt and citrus, when Kathy says,
You have to really trust a man to have sober sex.

Friday Nostalgia

4.25.2007

Out of the Blue

Over the years, I've been surprised by notes from long lost friends, acquaintances, and classmates who've found me on the Internets. A guy I had a crush on in high school wrote a few years ago to say he'd found some of my poems online. He sent pics of his wife and kids, and in a sweetly oblique way seemed to be apologizing for being an asshole back when.

And then there was the message from my mom's brother's (Yes, my uncle--but he's a year younger than I am, so...) half brother, whom I haven't seen since I was 15 or so. He and I used to sing Leaving on a Jet Plane together, over and over, wearing the record out on the turntable. He wrote about how he'd always looked forward to visiting our house growing up, because my parents were "young and hip." He remembered seeing Star Wars with us when it first came out. It was fascinating to me--that he could have such an idyllic picture of MY childhood when it was anything but. Yet, I enjoyed hearing his memories, his version.

When I wrote about my friend Scarlette's (Carle) death, another friend of hers, someone I'd never met, found my post and called me one night, to tell me about his last visit with her.

I've made friends online too. Allan, for example, who wrote ten years ago to tell me he liked my poem "Feeding the Worms," which he'd seen on The Blue Moon Review. We've been friends ever since, though we've only met in person twice.

Sometimes a blast from the past pulls open a scar--but often in interesting, positive ways. I get to see the wound differently--see that it wasn't as deep as I thought--or that it was deeper. Or I get to clean it better, or close it up more soundly.

Sunday morning before last, though, sitting down to drink my coffee, I found another unexpected note in my inbox. It has continued to eat at me over the course of days, like something caustic that won't wash off. The letter was from the girl, woman, my ex husband was having an affair with before our divorce. Separated from her own husband now, she had googled my ex to no avail and tried me instead. The subject line of her email said "Beautiful Children," which is the only reason I clicked on mail from someone whose name I didn't recognize (her husband's account).

The message was very chatty, sweet even. She'd read the entire blog and wanted to "share some thoughts." She told me she missed my kids, that they had taught her a lot about life. I wondered what their pain over the divorce had taught her. I thought she might not want to hear what she'd taught them about life. Indeed, when I mentioned she'd written, they were appalled.

She said she had a "Jack" too, and there is no word for how I feel about her naming her son after mine. My Jack was three when his father left. He has no memory now of his father living with us. But a few months after the man left, Jack was helping me make my bed and said he knew his dad was coming back, since I still had two pillows. I remember clearly that sad moment.

She reminisced wistfully about the ex: "He also turned me into a foodie and ruined me from ever buying ready-made salsa and from putting sugar in my coffee." She said it was still his music she listens to and that she can still hear him singing. I thought, 'While he was cooking dinner for you, Otis Redding playing in the background, I was home alone with the kids, believing he was at work--always at work.' Oh, and he never sang for me.

She recalled their taking my kids to see her parents in Florida that first Thanksgiving. I remembered how strange it was, my children being gone for the holiday. I remembered finding a pair of her dirty thong underwear in their suitcase when they got back.

If I have any fond memories of my ex, I don't remember them. Ha! They're overshadowed by the years of suffering his lies and cruelty, by the way I lived then--afraid to even make minor home improvements because of his threats. Once, I mentioned my father was coming over to drill holes in our entertainment center so that we could thread the stereo wires through the back instead of having them piled in front of that massive piece of furniture. (He could never find time to do it for me.) He told me if my father or anyone else did that, he'd tear the cabinet apart and burn it in the fireplace.

As I said, he was never home, so it didn't matter to him that the kitchen had no cabinet doors, that the wallpaper had been stripped but not replaced, that the yard was full of dirt and overgrown weeds.

Where had my self gone, all those years back, to have allowed such a thing?

(Before the divorce)




(After the divorce)


Those are actually the best memories I have. The worst ones, I'll keep to myself today.

She apologized for the day we met, when I cornered her in the Bank of America parking lot across from Emory, where she was a grad student. I'd chased her down, to see her for myself. She said, "I was so shaken that I never made it to class that day. It would be the only class I ever missed. I am sorry for that day, for making you feel like that." She missed her class.

That was it--sorry for that day. I'd hoped for bigger.

I wrote her back, not unkindly, and asked her what she'd been thinking--dating a married man with three small kids. I still want to know why women do things like that, hurt other women, hurt children that way. I wanted her to offer a good reason, one that might make some sense to me after all these years.

But she hasn't responded.

Hit and run.

4.24.2007

Confession


When Biggy got back after walking Lo to the bus stop at this morning, I was sitting at the computer, drinking coffee, as is my usual routine. Surprised by my reading, I squealed, "I didn't know Boris Yeltsin died!"--at which point, my husband walked around to look at my screen, shook his head, and said, "How sad--that you get your news from Perezhilton.com."

Lola Life Lessons



Yesterday, in the car with Lo:

Lo: Mom, why do parents tell their kids that babies come out of a woman's stomach?

TR: They do--

Lo: NO! The kids at school believe they actually take the baby out of the mom's stomach, like that's the normal way all the time.

TR: I dunno, Lo. Beats me why they can't just explain how it really happens.

Lo: Well, I can see why they wouldn't tell the boys.

TR: I think they should tell the boys too.

Lo: Nah, I can see why they wouldn't. But the girls--I mean, they're gonna find out for themselves eventually.

4.23.2007

The World Isn't Getting Any Worse

"I am convinced that the world is not a mere bog in which men and women trample themselves in the mire and die. Something magnificent is taking place here amid the cruelties and tragedies, and the supreme challenge to intelligence is that of making the noblest and best in our curious heritage prevail."
Charles Austin Beard (1874 - 1948)


This is my brief response to the refrain that the world is getting worse. The world has always been a bad and scary place--and a beautiful, awe-inspiring place--full of joy and sorrow, good and evil, however cliche that may be. Because of our marvelous technology, we hear the full scope of bad news as it happens--all over Earth and beyond. It's sad, but it keeps us on our toes, and it gives us opportunities to help. People DO help. I'd never want to go backwards. Toward what--separate water fountains for people of color, no vote for women? And don't get me started on the sweeping viruses and plagues...Granted, we haven't made perfect progress in some areas, but progress is being made.

Ancient Rome
The Aztecs
The Inquisition
Salem Witch Trials
History of Racism in the US
The Good Ol' Days For Women

Two Favorites















From Tony Hoagland's second book, Donkey Gospel (Graywolf Press):


Benevolence

When my father dies and comes back as a dog,
I already know what his favorite sound will be:
the soft, almost inaudible gasp
as the rubber lips of the refrigerator door
unstick, followed by that arctic
exhalation of cold air;
then the cracking of the ice-cube tray above the sink
and the quiet ching the cubes make
when dropped into a glass.
Unable to pronounce the name of his favorite drink, or to express
his preference for single malt,
he will utter one sharp bark
and point the wet black arrow of his nose
imperatively up
at the bottle on the shelf,
then seat himself before me,
trembling, expectant, water pouring
down the long pink dangle of his tongue
as the memory of pleasure from his former life
shakes him like a tail.
What I'll remember as I tower over him,
holding a dripping, whiskey-flavored cube
above his open mouth,
relishing the power rushing through my veins
the way it rushed through his,
what I'll remember as I stand there
is the hundred clever tricks
I taught myself to please him,
and for how long I mistakenly believed
that it was love he held concealed in his closed hand.





SELF-IMPROVEMENT

Just before she flew off like a swan
to her wealthy parents' summer home,
Bruce's college girlfriend asked him
to improve his expertise at oral sex,
and offered him some technical advice:

Use nothing but his tonguetip
to flick the light switch in his room
on and off a hundred times a day
until he grew fluent at the nuances
of force and latitude.

Imagine him at practice every evening,
more inspired than he ever was at algebra,
beads of sweat sprouting on his brow,
thinking, thirty-seven, thirty-eight,
seeing, in the tunnel vision of his mind's eye,
the quadratic equation of her climax
yield to the logic
of his simple math.

Maybe he unscrewed
the bulb from his apartment ceiling
so that passersby would not believe
a giant firefly was pulsing
its electric abdomen in 13 B.

Maybe, as he stood
two inches from the wall,
in darkness, fogging the old plaster
with his breath, he visualized the future
as a mansion standing on the shore
that he was rowing to
with his tongue's exhausted oar.

Of course, the girlfriend dumped him:
met someone, aprËs-ski, who,
using nothing but his nose
could identify the vintage of a Cabernet.

Sometimes we are asked
to get good at something we have
no talent for,
or we excel at something we will never
have the opportunity to prove.

Often we ask ourselves
to make absolute sense
out of what just happens,
and in this way, what we are practicing

is suffering,
which everybody practices,
but strangely few of us
grow graceful in.

The climaxes of suffering are complex,
costly, beautiful, but secret.
Bruce never played the light switch again.

So the avenues we walk down,
full of bodies wearing faces,
are full of hidden talent:
enough to make pianos moan,
sidewalks split,
streetlights deliriously flicker.

4.20.2007

Having Outgrown Blues Clues


Last night, during the drive home from Portfolio Center graduation, Lo started asking questions about disturbing current news events, so I asked her where she'd heard about them, and thus commenced this conversation:

TR: I don't think you should be watching the news with Dad. There's no need for you to see all that.

Lo: Well, what's really scary is National Geographic. Everything dies on that show. Oh, and that show I always watch at Mamoo's, about people who murder people and the other people who figure out who did it. The first one I saw was the scariest. This man killed a woman and another man after they came out of church. He'd killed about 5 million other people too, or five thousand. He mostly killed women, but he'd kill a man too--if the man was with a woman.

TR: Was it always after church?

Lo: Mostly, but not always. Ask Dad about it. I watch it with him too.

The Lizard Whisperer



Friday Nostalgia


Laugh In: Where we (well, maybe not YOU) first saw Goldie Hawn.

4.19.2007

A Poem Can Be This Simple



This poem by Robley Wilson is from Liz Rosenberg's beautiful anthology, The Invisible Ladder.


I WISH IN THE CITY OF YOUR HEART

I wish in the city of your heart
you would let me be the street
where you walk when you are most
yourself. I imagine the houses:
It has been raining, but the rain
is done and the children kept home
have begun opening their doors.

How Can I Ever Leave The House Now?




Thanks to Georgia for turning me on to myheritage.com and ruining my life.

4.18.2007

A Poem for Everybody

This one's by Ellen Bass, whose classic self-help book on sexual abuse, The Courage to Heal, changed my life at 32. The poem is not about any of that, though.

GATE C 22

At gate C 22 in the Portland airport
a man in a broad-band leather hat kissed
a woman arriving from Orange County.
They kissed and kissed and kissed. Long after

the other passengers clicked the handles of their carry-ons
and wheeled briskly toward short-term parking,
the couple stood there, arms wrapped around each other
like satin ribbons tying up a gift. And kissing.

Like she'd just staggered off the boat at Ellis Island,
like she'd been released from ICU, snapped
out of a coma, survived bone cancer, made it down
from Annapurna in only the clothes she was wearing.

Neither of them was young. His beard was gray.
She carried a few extra pounds you could imagine
she kept saying she had to lose. But they kissed lavish
kisses like the ocean in the early morning

of a calm day at Big Sur, the way it gathers
and swells, taking each rock slowly
in its mouth, sucking it under, swallowing it
again and again. We were all watching—

the passengers waiting for the delayed flight to San José,
the stewardesses, the pilots, the aproned woman icing
Cinnabons, the guy selling sunglasses. We couldn't
look away. We could taste the kisses, crushed

in our mouths like the liquid centers of chocolate cordials.
But the best part was his face. When he drew back
and looked at her, his smile soft with wonder, almost
as though he were a mother still

opened from giving birth, like your mother
must have looked at you,
no matter what happened after—
if she beat you, or left you, or you're lonely now—

you once lay there, the vernix
not yet wiped off and someone gazing at you
like you were the first sunrise seen from the earth.
The whole wing of the airport hushed,

each of us trying to slip into that woman's middle-aged body,
her plaid bermuda shorts, sleeveless blouse,
little gold hoop earrings, glasses,
all of us, tilting our heads up.

4.17.2007

A Poem to Aspire To




I first read Brigit Pegeen Kelly's book SONG while I was an MFA student at Warren Wilson. The title poem changed me. It broke my heart and made it stronger. It showed me another level of what poetry can accomplish, gave me something to reach for. If ever in my life I can write a poem like this one--full of mystery and myth; with exquisite storytelling; expressing all of the complexities of being human--loss of innocence, guilt, redemption; a poem almost unbearable for its beauty and pain...





SONG

Listen: there was a goat's head hanging by ropes in a tree.
All night it hung there and sang. And those who heard it
Felt a hurt in their hearts and thought they were hearing
The song of a night bird. They sat up in their beds, and then
They lay back down again. In the night wind, the goat's head
Swayed back and forth, and from far off it shone faintly
The way the moonlight shone on the train track miles away
Beside which the goat's headless body lay. Some boys
Had hacked its head off. It was harder work than they had imagined.
The goat cried like a man and struggled hard. But they
Finished the job. They hung the bleeding head by the school
And then ran off into the darkness that seems to hide everything.
The head hung in the tree. The body lay by the tracks.
The head called to the body. The body to the head.
They missed each other. The missing grew large between them,
Until it pulled the heart right out of the body, until
The drawn heart flew toward the head, flew as a bird flies
Back to its cage and the familiar perch from which it trills.
Then the heart sang in the head, softly at first and then louder,
Sang long and low until the morning light came up over
The school and over the tree, and then the singing stopped....
The goat had belonged to a small girl. She named
The goat Broken Thorn Sweet Blackberry, named it after
The night's bush of stars, because the goat's silky hair
Was dark as well water, because it had eyes like wild fruit.
The girl lived near a high railroad track. At night
She heard the trains passing, the sweet sound of the train's horn
Pouring softly over her bed, and each morning she woke
To give the bleating goat his pail of warm milk. She sang
Him songs about girls with ropes and cooks in boats.
She brushed him with a stiff brush. She dreamed daily
That he grew bigger, and he did. She thought her dreaming
Made it so. But one night the girl didn't hear the train's horn,
And the next morning she woke to an empty yard. The goat
Was gone. Everything looked strange. It was as if a storm
Had passed through while she slept, wind and stones, rain
Stripping the branches of fruit. She knew that someone
Had stolen the goat and that he had come to harm. She called
To him. All morning and into the afternoon, she called
And called. She walked and walked. In her chest a bad feeling
Like the feeling of the stones gouging the soft undersides
Of her bare feet. Then somebody found the goat's body
By the high tracks, the flies already filling their soft bottles
At the goat's torn neck. Then somebody found the head
Hanging in a tree by the school. They hurried to take
These things away so that the girl would not see them.
They hurried to raise money to buy the girl another goat.
They hurried to find the boys who had done this, to hear
Them say it was a joke, a joke, it was nothing but a joke....
But listen: here is the point. The boys thought to have
Their fun and be done with it. It was harder work than they
Had imagined, this silly sacrifice, but they finished the job,
Whistling as they washed their large hands in the dark.
What they didn't know was that the goat's head was already
Singing behind them in the tree. What they didn't know
Was that the goat's head would go on singing, just for them,
Long after the ropes were down, and that they would learn to listen,
Pail after pail, stroke after patient stroke. They would
Wake in the night thinking they heard the wind in the trees
Or a night bird, but their hearts beating harder. There
Would be a whistle, a hum, a high murmur, and, at last, a song,
The low song a lost boy sings remembering his mother's call.
Not a cruel song, no, no, not cruel at all. This song
Is sweet. It is sweet. The heart dies of this sweetness.

4.16.2007

Everyone's an Artist


Look what Biggy made me. Think he misses my drinking days?

A Late Start: National Poetry Month


I've let more than half of National Poetry Month get away from me. Taking Collin's lead, though, I do want to share some of the poems that have been important to me over the years--to my own writing and life.

I love this one for the same reasons I loved the movie Crash. It shows how we are capable of being so evil and so good. I admire the way Laux tells the story, the interesting neutral wonder of the tone, the way she lets the readers make our own judgment.


The Tooth Fairy

They brushed a quarter with glue
and glitter, slipped in on bare
feet, and without waking me
painted rows of delicate gold
footprints on my sheets with a love
so quiet, I still can't hear it.

My mother must have been
a beauty then, sitting
at the kitchen table with him,
a warm breeze lifting her
embroidered curtains, waiting
for me to fall asleep.

It's harder to believe
the years that followed, the palms
curled into fists, a floor
of broken dishes, her chainsmoking
through long silences, him
punching holes in his walls.

I can still remember her print
dresses, his checkered Taxi, the day
I found her in the closet
with a paring knife, the night
he kicked my sister in the ribs.

He lives alone in Oregon now, dying
of a rare bone disease.
His face stippled gray, his ankles
clotted beneath wool socks.

She's a nurse on the graveyard shift,
Comes home mornings and calls me,
Drinks her dark beer and goes to bed.

And I still wonder how they did it, slipped
that quarter under my pillow, made those
perfect footprints...

Whenever I visit her, I ask again.
"I don't know," she says, rocking, closing
her eyes. "We were as surprised as you."

-Dorianne Laux

4.14.2007

Mother-Daughter Activities



Yesterday when I picked Lo up at school, I ran into her first-grade teacher, who lives in our neighborhood. "I saw you and Georgia jogging yesterday," said Mrs. C. "I see y'all doing that a lot."

"I raised her to run with me," I responded. "The same way those people on Octavia Lane--the ones who had the blue tarp on their roof for 12 years--raised their sons to finish that addition to their house."

It's at least as hard to find a good jogging partner as it is a decent carpenter.

Sometime right before Christmas, during one of those laps around the hood, George started talking about going on a vegan diet (she's already a vegetarian), and I agreed to try it with her once the holidays were over. I was thinking it would be a good way to get off the five or so pounds I anticipated gaining to start 2007. Anyhoo, Santa long gone and the 20 oz. Costa Rican steaks behind me, we started this past Monday.

I dunno. I was a veg-head for 19 years, from the time I was 18 until a year after Lo was born, when I started dreaming of slaughtering the cows myself. I was losing my hair. My nails wouldn't grow. I was tired all the time. I couldn't walk by the deli at Publix without licking the glass case. My first meat was beef Wellington at a dinner party. I have consumed everything from prime rib to pork sausage since.

For the past week, however, I have had no animal products whatsoever. I've consumed more beans and rice than I've eaten in 20 years. I'm not sure I can go without pizza for much longer.

4.11.2007

Why the Gecko

Once we'd survived the nine zip lines, we ventured to our next hotel, a wonderful little B&B called the Majestic. The inn is owned by a very nice American couple, Cheryl and Michael. At $60 a night, including an incredible breakfast (eggs, pork chops, pancakes, gallo pinto, fresh fruit, on and on...), you can't beat it.

Saturday morning, we had a little time before we needed to head back to San Jose for the night, so we visited the local reptile zoo. It was awesome. They had a pet raccoon that slept on the "roof" of the butterfly garden when it wasn't rough-housing with the dogs, as well as wild pigs and the world's largest rats. Our guide was a 32-year-old Canadian herpephile, Nick, who looked about 19. He'd followed his passion to Costa Rica three weeks before and was working for a room and 4 meals a day. You could tell he was exactly where he wanted and needed to be. According to Michael, by the way, you can live on $400 a month in Costa Rica.

Well, that's enough about our trip. Back to life as normal. NOT.

If any of you haven't had enough pics of my kids or my bad hair, check out Biggy's album on the Kodak site.








Canopy Tour

This is my next-to-last Costa Rica post. I realize you're probably bored, but I want it chronicled for the fam. Besides, you know you want to see me in a helmet.

Friday, after the hike up the volcano, we did a canopy tour, which means another climb up a mountain (in the jungle) and then riding zip lines stationed in trees, about 150 feet in the air. Biggy and I had done this on our honeymoon, and I'd sworn I'd never do it again, but the kids made such a big deal about it and called me names, so I opted to try. After the horseback ride to the starting point, we donned our equipment. That's when it started drizzling. By the time we got to the second platform, it was pouring rain, with winds that shook the trees. Picture standing on small, wet and slippery, metal stairs 150-200 feet in the air during a storm. I was looking for a way out, any excuse, but it was going to be difficult considering Lola was doing it, as well as a three-year-old girl, an older lady whose husband had to practically carry her to the first platform, and a pregnant woman. My imagination failed me.

We got a couple of shots of Sadie on the line (the longest is half a mile), but the camera had to go back in the bag because of the rain.







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