Saturday, July 28, 2007
I woke up early this morning to a raucous summons by the youngest member of our household. Eyes struggling to see, I changed his diaper. Noticing his heat rash was still violently red, I left him diaperless and held a cloth over his bare bottom. I sat down at my computer to check emails before beginning a regime of interrupted yoga. I had answered one letter, when a fountain erupted on my lap. Quickly I used the cloth to staunch the flow. "Pssss, Psss", I said, taking him to the toilet where he sat smiling up at me for a few moments. Yes, I know that children are not ready to potty train at this age, but a girlfriend of mine said connecting the act with a simple sound allows them to train earlier and communicate faster, so I tried. We sat back down at the computer, wiping up urine, when another shower threatened to drench the entire surface once more. "Psss, Psss" I said, while Bodhi flung his arms and legs enthusiastically into the air. Obviously proud of his accomplishment. Together we searched for my camera, to take a picture of him on the toilet. Finding it we laughed our way to the bathroom where he sat braced and poised on the toilet seat, I snapped the picture and he promptly peed. Not into the waiting waters below, but rather in a sweeping arc that managed to get the camera and operator very wet. I looked at his surprised face. "Yes, Bodhi went Pssss Psss". Obviously pleased with this wonderful new game, "Pee on Mom", Bodhi smiled once more. As for myself? I reached for the diapers.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Shane and I are reading the last Harry Potter book, like children again. In the beginning I snubbed Harry, assuming my literary merit far superior to a hyped up "children's book". My self righteousness abated during a particularly rocky period of life when my mom handed me the first book with the suggestion that I 'lighten up'. I read the first book and fell in love. Now I joyously vacation in the marvelously magic world created for us by J.K. Rowling. Together, Shane and I emerge from each reading to discuss plot lines, scenarios, connections, twists and predictions with the enthusiasm of complete dorks. Occasionally, we even commiserate over our sorrow that we are reading the final book, knowing that soon we will have to return again to the world of muggles permanently, or at least until we can share Harry with our boys. If this all sounds ridiculously sentimental or contrite, please accept my apologies and condolences, as for us, we will be reading.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
I was awake until 2:00 AM this morning, talking with my youngest brother. We ambled up to and through any number of topics. In the end we settled on the River. It seemed a good resting point. A surface on which to toss the busy-ness of our minds and the preoccupations of our desires. Like children, we cast stones into its moving waters. The ripples swirled and drifted down stream. We threw pebbles until our pockets were empty and our eyes grew heavy, at last succumbing to the persistant call of sleep.
Shane was in Telluride with Bob Dylan this weekend. Envy didn't even cross my mind. I secretly anticipated the time alone to be 'all girl'. I immediately went to the movie rental store and checked out three films relegated decidedly into the 'chick' category. I popped corn with flax oil and spirulina. I made salads and smoothies. The house stayed clean. I loved it for about an hour maybe two, when the disturbing realization dawned. I missed him.
Friday, July 20, 2007
I am writing this time upon the request of Shane-a, who suggested that I have been woefully remiss in omitting photos of our lucious home. Alas a gal occaionally forgets a thing or two. I hereby submit said photos with the partial disclaimer that they do not do justice to our slice of paradise. We live in a one story spanish syle home with a long floor plan, stucco walls, red tiled roofs and a brilliant back yard filled to overflowing with grass and a caucaphony of flowers.
We have a living room,
family room, dining room,
kitchen, two baths and three bedrooms. Additionally, we each have studios for our art. Do I gloat? Perhaps, I reserve humility for the essentials and in this case I am quite proud of the bit of heaven we inhabit.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
The question is not, "Can you love your child?".
That is a given.
The question is "Can you smile at your offspring when he wakes you at 4:30AM, with a toothless grin spreading ear to ear and the brilliant new skill of removing his diaper, such that you are lying in a pool of icy sheets? Can you embrace your little blur of motion and tangle of smiles, even in the wee hours of dawn when the rooster himself still dreams of grain and hen? Is it possible to smile, thru blurred vision, at your little tornado of boisterous activity, when every cell of your body is begging for sleep and you know, with unquestioned certainty, that he will rub his red-rimmed eyes, crying for rest the moment the cock begins to crow?
What else can you do?
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
My nickname is "bird".
It's been "bird" since I was four years old, when I earned the prestigious title after a determined effort at fledgling flight. Unfortunately I never actually took off. Perhaps the grade of the driveway wasn't steep enough or my enthusiastic, thin arms didn't flap at the appropriate velocity. Maybe the wind wasn't in my favor or I didn't believe in myself with the necessary abandon.
Who knows why great attempts of the young should fail?
Regardless, I bear the ornithological title with honor.
It's proven an appropriate name. I've lived my life with an eye on the horizon, unconsciously testing the wind for flight and watching the drift of nebulous clouds across azure sky. Spiraling currents beckon me toward updrafts. I've been cautious of cages and rarely rest on a single branch, lest a cage grow up around me and tether me to earth.
Not so now, now I have a BirdHouse.
Shane encouraged me to set up a studio. He fashioned shelving and workspace. I decorated it with Angelina flair. When asked what we should call it, I said "The BirdHouse", without hesitation.
For the first time in my life I can honestly say that I feel at home and the sky and land are united.
Who would have guessed it?
"I skipped over water, I danced over sea and all the birds of the air couldn't catch me."
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Wind blew into our lives this weekend, carrying with her the sweet strength of Cedar and the quiet beauty of Karuna.
And what of Bodhi? How did he respond to a household full of women while Papa was fly fishing along the Colorado/Wyoming border and Brother was fair-hopping in Illinois?
I think he managed just fine, but you can be the judge of that.
Ms. Magic herself,
Joined us for a hike through the rolling vistas of Golden Gate State Park. After the first two miles we began to sound like drooling buffoons constantly repeating words like 'beautiful' and 'gorgeous' until they began to stick to the roof of our mouths like cotton candy. We searched our verbal retinue for synonyms: verdant, vibrant, bucolic, fair, pastoral... our list tapered off as we grew exhausted attempting to communicate the magnificence of life teeming around us.
In the end we simply walked.
It was enough.
Just being there, surrounded by so much splendor.
A good hike.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Whoa!!! Who's that charmer sitting on a throne of wood and cush. Why none other than our beloved royalty of infancy, Bodhi Samuel Katz. He shows promise and will surely be a good ruler. He is pictured here delivering his daily address from his seat on high; issuing only just edicts and necessary mandates, while enjoying a spirulina green drink and a few regal crackers.
Long Live the good King Bodhi.
There are levels of loving.
As a young woman, riddled with angst and wearing my pain like a black leather jacket, I imagined 'love' to be a singular emotion with enormous magnitude. Time has softened my angst and I wear my sorrows more like an airy shawl than a heavy jacket. My concepts and thoughts have equally enjoyed a few somersaults and contortions in response to experience and the almighty teacher time. 'Amore' is no exception. From my present vantage, through the peephole of life, the word itself now seems insufficient. Being a singular word, it appears unequal to the daunting task of relaying so many layers of symbolized emotion. Perhaps that is as it should be. All great mysteries are cloaked in superficial simplicity masking an intricate knit of complexity, which reveals, once more, its original simplicity.
I love Owen and Bodhi. I love Shane. I love my friends. I love my family. Very different loves and yet my heart is exercised by all. I remember studying the smooth muscle fiber of the heart, the way it tirelessly relaxes and contracts. Similarly, love ebbs and flows with an unseen tide pulled by the lunar affect of emotion. I watch Bodhi wrapped tightly in his fathers arms, both faces alight with radiance and my love changes, it grows, it flowers. Yesterday, I watched Shane flying Bodhi thru a blue sky, the accompanying sensations were palpable. It's as if the love we experience is merely a seed, holding enormous potential. It has the ability to expand and contract. Interesting. Perhaps we could reclaim the word 'love' from the rubbish heap of sentimentality. In the end its singularity may be all that remains.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
From what I understand, more than a few of my friends, family and distant unknowns have been conversing with Mailer Daemon rather than me when attempting the tricky art of email. I will not try to minimize your distress, as I too have fallen victim to Daemon's letter snatching on many occasion. My suggestion is as follows: my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and you can copy this address into your address book OR if you would like to post on this page, just click on the comment tab below each post and follow the instructions. No doubt, you are all dying to write me immediately, so I will keep this post brief.
Yours very truly,
The magnanimous and extremely humble Angelina herself
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Owen has been gone three and a half weeks and it seems like years. Motherhood is such a stabilizer for me, particularly meeting the diverse needs of an infant and a seven year old. I find myself skipping meals and precious hours of sleep without the constant reminder of "I'm hungry" or "tired" and the need to nurture and nourish. Amazing that I would have time to even ponder these absences given the beautiful laughing baby that sits eagerly on my hip, pulling at strands of hair while twisting in prime acrobatic fashion. Yet the needs of a seven year old and the needs of a six month old are quite different and the absence of one creates a space around which I must reconfigure my daily life. This respite affords Shane and I some much needed time to remember each other and yet we often share in missing the wild, pensive philosopher that is my son.
The phone rang.
"Hello", I answered.
"Hi Mom", his voice replied.
My sons new big boy voice. My heart leapt, love seeping into every cell and creasing my face with joy.
"I've made a decision", he said. "I am done trying to be someone else. I am not my Dad. I am not just a Jennings. I am Owen and Owen is special. I have been bullying myself for a long time and bullies make you feel small. I am not a punk or a bully. I am special as I am." I choked back the tears rising into my throat. He went on, "I used to believe that God made all your choices for you. Now I believe that I have a will of my own and I can cast my own vote. I have decided to chart my own course and follow my own destiny. I can be an ordinary person or I can be a great man. I will be a great man by following my heart." My grin threatened to break free of my face and dance with the hummingbirds gathering red liquid from a feeder nearby. "I feel as if I have been on a great ship, lost in a typhoon for a very long time and now the storm is over, the sea is calm and I can see for miles around. I am going to chart my own course now, but I will always come home to you and I will always come home to my Dad." I cried now, swallowing the salty foam of sea spray and purpose. He was suddenly a man talking of politics and war, philosphy and hope. I was breathless. "I am gonna go now mom. Oh, by the way. I am not going to be mean to you on the phone anymore. It is time to end that Ice Age. I love my mom and that is that. Talk to you soon."
He is seven.
I am proud beyond the scope of words.
"Yell into the belly of the Earth", she told me, "she will listen and ease your aching sorrows". I yelled until I was hoarse. I was twenty-one. Burdens fell from careworn shoulders and a sister was born. The other day a dear friend entrusted me with a Kabbalistic myth. In the telling, 144 souls were created at the dawn of time. Those 144 souls eventually splintered into the multitudinous fragments of sentient life on planet Earth. Now I look out upon the mosaic of life and believe that my kindred spirits are really reflections of the original soul from which we sprang.
Saturday, July 7, 2007
Arizona. Two words. "Hot" and "Dogs". When united they form the compound Hotdog, which may cause uncultured taste buds to salivate in anticipation, but my palette, long accustomed to vegetarian fare, snubs the word without savor. Those tasteless near-meat links lathered in condiments do little more to entice me than 100 plus temperatures or minions of mans best friend. However, Arizona boasts something that I long for; Oni- my mom, Owen and Bodhi's grandma- a very wonderfully wacky woman. With her, even the Hot Dogs seem more palatable. Her ready laugh and easy tears, hiking boots and weathered hands. These are the memories that creep soundlessly into my mind when thoughts return to my point of origin, "mom".
The summer warmth lent its wayward ease to my afternoon, caressing my travel worn body into an afternoon nap. I fell into a deep, sun soaked, slumber, full of threaded imagery weaving itself into memory laden pictures, each crafted for my eyes only. I awoke to Bodhi's face, silent, engrossed in a tapestry of his own making. I crept from bed with practiced stealth and peaked outside for a view of Papa. Shane lingered over his work, sweat darkening the red bandanna at his forehead. Paused in the door frame, a picture of female sentimentality, I smile. Fortuna has spread her lofty mantel of joy across my life, spilling grace and blessings in great pools of satisfaction. I, her humble devotee, turn my face upward as twilight winks its remaining light in a tribute to a day ripe with contentment.
The summer sun casts its golden gaze through our eastern windows, reddening the thermometer at this early hour. Bodhi kicks and talks from his horizontal vantage, a motley colored play mat. He smiles up at me, a sun dappled face glowing like King Midas eager for gold. His lips part and the sound "mmmm" escapes, followed by a long gutteral aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. My narcissitic maternal ear imagines this to be his first word, an eager communication with the world beginning from a central point, "mom". His assuring smile is followed by a parade of consonant vowel combinations. Each vowel drawn out by a primal growl deep in his throat, akin to a yell but deeper in resonance. His smile lands like a butterfly across his face and the call, "mmmmmmaaaaaaahhhhh", takes flight. He stares at me, brows furrowing quickly into a scowl, arms outstreched, "MAAAAAAHHHH". The room clouds over and a thunderous cry replaces the sunny calm. I bend, hands reaching for his strong baby torso to lift him through the storm. I am handsomly rewarded for my efforts. A splendid grin, liquid radiance, shines for me and I am transformed, once again, to solid gold.