A Fine Mess

When we leave the house, we put Fay and the puppy in the spare room, which is now the dogs' room, which has baby gates across the doorways. This morning, we went to the Y. Here is the scene we returned to:



Sadie and Lola making monster heads.


Holiday Lola

Lo: Mom, will you get me some more syrup?

TR: (Gets syrup from pantry) Here.

Lo: Can you open the lid, pour it, and put the lid back on so I don't have to get my hands sticky?

TR (Does as instructed, begrudgingly): Anything else?

Lo: I could use a back massage.


Analyze Please

Last night, I dreamed that Georgia was eating a big bag of pork rinds.


Poem by Louise Gluck

The Untrustworthy Speaker

Don't listen to me; my heart's been broken.
I don't see anything objectively.

I know myself; I've learned to hear like a psychiatrist.
When I speak passionately,
That's when I'm least to be trusted.

It's very sad, really: all my life I've been praised
For my intelligence, my powers of language, of insight-
In the end they're wasted-

I never see myself.
Standing on the front steps. Holding my sisters hand.
That's why I can't account
For the bruises on her arm where the sleeve ends . . .

In my own mind, I'm invisible: that's why I'm dangerous.
People like me, who seem selfless.
We're the cripples, the liars:
We're the ones who should be factored out
In the interest of truth.

When I'm quiet, that's when the truth emerges.
A clear sky, the clouds like white fibers.
Underneath, a little gray house. The azaleas
Red and bright pink.

If you want the truth, you have to close yourself
To the older sister, block her out:
When a living thing is hurt like that
In its deepest workings,
All function is altered.

That's why I'm not to be trusted.
Because a wound to the heart
Is also a wound to the mind.


A Poem By Laure-Anne Bosselaar, from Small Gods of Grief


Listen to this: rationalism--
what an ugly word, heady with the sagacious
rational, insufferably suffixed with ism.

I ban it from my vocabulary,
from the only thesaurus I trust:
the abridged one I protect when I make

a fist against my chest, the same fist
I brandish to the fourteen slats of the blinds
I slammed down just now

to stop staring at that immutable
mountain in which I know how to find
consolation, but I don't want it tonight.

I petition to be inconsolable
for today's fourteen sorrows--one per slat:

for a cloud at dawn tearing its heart out
trying to obscure the sun;

for that beech branch on Spring Street
whipped to shreds by each passing truck;

for the gardens I planted, then left;

for the photography of my dead friend
buckling more each day on the fridge door;

for the three times I stumbled today;

for my lubberly body,

the shame of it;

for the fist inside my chest

and for raising it, still, against my father;

for his shame of me,

for the shame of him
in me;

for spurning consolation
with fourteen slammed slats;

for another day of dying

and for welcoming this--against all reason.


Lola's Birthday

Lo turned 9 Saturday:

Are you surprised?

A pyromaniac's idea of birthday candles.

Having some sugar with their sugar.

A gift from our neighbor, Hobart the Labradoodle.


'Tis the Season..for The Ref

Just watch the therapy scene, from 4:00 thru 6:30.


Poetry Stuff

Dear readers (all five or six of you),

I've been under the weather. Still am.

But I wanted to mention that my friend Rick Campbell will be reading (and promoting his beautiful new book, Dixmont) at A Cappella Books tomorrow night, and I will be reading with him. Click here and scroll down for info on that event. In the meantime, here's a poem from that collection:


My heart was suspect.
Wired to an EKG,
I walked a treadmill
that measured my ebb
and flow, tracked isotopes
that ploughed my veins,
looked for a constancy
I’ve hardly ever found.
For a month I worried
as I climbed the stairs
to my office. The mortality
I never believed in
was here now. They
say my heart’s ok,
just high cholesterol, but
I know my heart’s a house
someone has broken into,
a room you come back
to and know some stranger
with bad intent has been there
and touched all that you love. You know
he can come back. It’s his call,
his house now.


Losing Points

Guess what former Father of the Year is missing his daughter's very-first-ever basketball game just so he can attend the SEC championships today? Here's the conversation we had upon waking this morning:


TR: Will you go to Publix to get dogfood and pick up my meds?

Biggy: I can't. I've got to start drinking.


Fay at Work

After a busy morning guarding me from my co-workers and students, Fay really needed a nap. Did I mention she has Addison's Disease? She's quite fragile, you know.

Friday Nostalgia


Must Read

Be sure not to miss George Bilgere's beautiful poem, The Fall, on Writer's Almanac today.

Christmas Wishlist '08

Even though I'm not Catholic.

So I can have my cake and eat it too.

So I can stay snuggie.

Do I really need a reason?


Doggies-Who-Think-They-Are-People Cam

She sat here on her own. This way, she could watch JackMan play Fallout 3 but still keep an eye on what I was doing in the kitchen.


Some Things They Never Forget

Yesterday, I was out and about with Georgia (Remember, she's 19) and Lola:

Lo: Hey, Mom, I didn't turn in that form you signed for our class store.

TR: Why's that?

Lo: Because I changed my mind about what I want to make. Instead of potholders, I'm going to make clay monster heads.

TR: That's fine.

Georgia (suddenly angry): I know what I wish you'd NEVER signed for me!

TR: What?

Georgia: That form in fourth grade science.

TR: Huh?

Georgia: The one giving me permission to dissect. There were cow brains and frogs and baby pigs...I just hid in the back while everyone else did it. It was sick! I'll never get it out of my head.

TR: And it's all my fault?!

Georgia: You signed it.


Sunday Dinner

Sunday, I invited Mamoo over for dinner, to thank (some would say punish) her for watching Stella while we were out of town. I told her we'd have to eat early, around 5, since Jack had Judo. After Mom agreed to come, I got a call from Georgia, saying she was headed back from Athens and would eat dinner with us if I'd let her cook some of it. Then I found out from Jack that he didn't have Judo after all, so suddenly we weren't under the time constraints we had before. I could even bake some yams.

Now, it was full-on dinner for 6, with me being relegated to sous chef, a more appropriate position. Still feeling that pilgrim spirit, I bought a Jenny-O bird-in-a-bag, and we ended up with an after-the-fact-sans-gravy/stuffing/jello-quasi-holiday-dinner.

We used holiday-print napkins instead of paper towels and broke out the matching John Deere dinnerware. This is what a special occasion, planned or impromptu, looks like at my house:

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Writer, teacher, student, mom.

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