31 May 2007

olivia and katherine

It occurs to me that my last few posts have been rather depressing. And I have to admit I have been feeling a little blue lately. The last post, though, of the poem, Eurydice, I put on here just because I thought it was a great poem.

I don't know why I am so blue, really. I have no concrete reason. Things are fine. The babies are adorable. Jonny is sweet to me. The weather has been nice--unbearably hot, but nice and sunshiny.

Olivia and Katherine are coming over tomorrow for lunch. That should cheer me up. Olivia and Katherine always, always make me smile. They are the kind of friends that are good for the soul. Katherine is very much like me. I call her my Soul Sister. It is spooky sometimes the things I find we have in common. And Olivia is just probably the funniest person I have ever known. She'll come up with some shit that is so hilarious, I'll be laughing about it for days afterward. Every time I think of it. Out loud. Now that is funny.

I was cracking up today, telling Jonathan about something Olivia did a few weeks ago. I was over at her apartment, doing my Martha Stewart impersonation. And Olivia started doing one, too, and she said something like, "I always just go into my yard and get my cranberries from my own cranberry bog, but if you don't have a cranberry bog in your yard, you could always just go out and purchase some nice fresh cranberries from your local market blah blah blah" in this amazingly accurate Martha Stewart voice and I was rolling. I mean, God, Martha Stewart probably does have a cranberry bog in her backyard!


All the male poets write of orpheus
as if they look back & expect
to find me walking patiently
behind them. they claim i fell into hell.
damn them, i say.
i stand in my own pain
& sing my own song.


30 May 2007

in the pool

a quarrel

My Aunt D was in town this weekend. On Monday, Jonny and I took the babies over to George and Leila's house for a cookout to hang out and eat and see her again before she returned to Connecticut. It was a very lovely, mellow day. A nice way to spend Memorial Day.

While we were hanging out in their living room, I heard William, my nephew, yell from the other room:

Blue, go away! I don't want to play with you!
I immediately ran to find her, walking toward me, looking a little dazed. William is only 5 and he wanted to play with his older cousins. I can't be mad at a little kid, right? Right?

But I was. I was furious. How dare anyone yell at my girl like that? Especially William. Blue adores William.

I sat her down on the couch and gave her a pecan tart and told her that sometimes people act mean, but that they don't mean to hurt our feelings blah blah blah. But inside I was so angry. And my heart felt like it had a great big crack in it.

And in case you are going to say, Don't worry about Blue, Erin. That happened on Monday; I'm sure she's forgotten all about it by now, let me tell you, Nope. My Blue doesn't "just forget" anything. She was on the phone with my mom yesterday and she gave her an earful! "Willum was mean to me. I can't want to play with him."

On the way home from George and Leila's, I told Jonathan, This is going to be really awful, isn't it? We are going to have to stand by while our children's feelings get stomped on sometimes. Because kids are really crappy to each other sometimes. Childhood is hard.

I've never really thought about it before, but somebody's kid has to be the one who misses the pop fly and loses the whole game. I guess every parent sitting on the sidelines is praying the whole game that it isn't their child who screws up. Reminds me of that scene in the movie "Parenthood" when the ball is heading right to Steve Martin's son and he's watching helplessly, gritting his teeth, saying "Oh, shit! Oh, shit!"

Reminds me of this poem from Spoon River Anthology that I had to memorize for my high school drama class:

Elizabeth Childers
DUST of my dust,
And dust with my dust,
O, child who died as you entered the world,
Dead with my death!
Not knowing Breath, though you tried so hard,
With a heart that beat when you lived with me,
And stopped when you left me for Life.
It is well, my child. For you never traveled
The long, long way that begins with school days,
When little fingers blur under the tears
That fall on the crooked letters.
And the earliest wound, when a little mate
Leaves you alone for another;
And sickness, and the face of Fear by the bed;
The death of a father or mother;
Or shame for them, or poverty;
The maiden sorrow of school days ended;
And eyeless Nature that makes you drink
From the cup of Love, though you know it’s poisoned;
To whom would your flower-face have been lifted?
Botanist, weakling? Cry of what blood to yours?—
Pure or foul, for it makes no matter,
It’s blood that calls to our blood.
And then your children—oh, what might they be?
And what your sorrow? Child! Child!
Death is better than Life!

Spoon River Anthology is one of my favorite books. If you've never read it, it is basically a collection of poems about the occupants of the Spoon River Cemetery. Each poem is basically one person summing up their entire life in a poem--what they would say to you, about Life, if they had the chance. It's really an amazing book. If you've never read it, you should definitely check it out.

26 May 2007

parties and partings

We are going to my nephew's birthday party this afternoon. I cannot believe he is turning 5. The party is going to be held at Chuck E. Cheese. Blue is beside herself with excitement. She was lying on our bed this morning with Daddy, wearing her jammies and some serious bedhead. I said, "Where are we going today, Blue?"

She wriggled into an upright position. "Chuck E. Cheeses! Let me put my shoes on!"

This will be our second serving of pizza and cake in two days. We had Kathy Davenport and her children over last night for some pizza and cake and Disney movies. My mom said, "She's bringing Sam back over after the way Blue treated him last time?" (In case you have forgotten, Blue hit him in the head with her toy teapot.)

Believe me, I watched her like a hawk. I felt kind of bad because at one point in the evening, all of the kids were having a grand/noisy time in the playroom, when little Sam started to cry. I ran in there and immediately asked Blue, "What did you do?"

Megan Davenport, the oldest, said, "She didn't do anything!" I felt like such a jerk, but considering Blue hit the Lion in the face just yesterday with her sippy cup, you can hardly blame me for assuming she had done something to make Sam cry.

Kathy's husband deployed this week. He will be gone for a year. I cannot, cannot imagine it. At one point last night, the kids were playing in the sandbox and little Erin Davenport turned to me (she's 5) and said quietly, "My Daddy is on a trip. A long trip."

"I know." I told her. I had no idea what else to say.

This Memorial Day seems more poignant to me than any before. How has such a sombre day become such a holiday--such a time of heavy traffic and Memorial Day Sales?

A guy I used to work with lost his brother in February. I heard about it, and I thought, My God, he is so young. He's younger than me, and he's lost his little brother. And then I felt cold all over. My mother lost her brother in Vietnam when she was the same age. My whole life it was just another fact about our family. Uncle George died in Vietnam. My mother always seemed so old during the time, in my little head, because when Uncle George was killed, she was married and she had a child and a second baby on the way. But now I know how very young she was. She was 22.

My uncle was her little brother, my grandparents' only son. His name was George William Pepe. He was a helicopter pilot. He was killed in September of 1969. My mother was pregnant. My brother, George William Roth, was born in January. His son, whose party is today, is also George William.

My mother never would watch anything on tv about Vietnam. She told me not to play my Beach Boys albums (which used to belong to Uncle George) when Grandma and Pop were visiting. Just last week, I took a set of jammies I was going to buy for the Lion out of my shopping cart in Wal-Mart because I realized they had a helicopter on them.

My whole life all I ever heard was how much my brother, George, was like our Uncle George. How eerie, how similar they were. I was always convinced that something awful would happen to my brother when he was 21. That he would die, too. There was talk of a draft, during the first Gulf War, and the timing would have been perfect.

I am the first woman in my family in three generations not to be separated from my loved one by war (knock on wood). My grandfather fought in World War 2. My father fought in the Vietnam War. I sat across from Kathy Davenport last night eating pizza and I thought, how is she coping? I imagine that for now it hasn't really sunk in. That she is so busy with the children that his absence isn't that big a deal. But that as the days stretch on, into a week, and then 2... It will get harder.

To everyone with a loved one away at war, to everyone with a loved one who will never come home, my heart goes out to you, this weekend, and every, every day.

24 May 2007

ho hum

I was watching Oprah the other day and she had these people on who are trying to lose weight. They are trying to follow a diet and exercise regime laid out for them by Bob Greene, Oprah's trainer-guy. This one woman was about my age and while she was talking to Bob Greene, I had this Aha! moment. This woman used to be a beauty queen and she used to be very athletic. (Neither of which apply to me, I admit--my moment came later in the discussion.) She got married and had some kids and then let herself go like so many women do.

Most women who have children and then let themselves go blame it on basically forgetting they are a Woman and Not Just a Mommy. They say they are so busy taking care of everyone else they don't take care of themselves.

Not to sound heartless, but I get tired of hearing that. Blah blah blah. I am a Mommy. But I still want to look good for my husband and I still want to be healthy and live a long life. Maybe I am just too selfish deep down to ever forget that I am a Person and Not Just a Mommy. I take breaks from my babies. I am not their only parent--Jonathan is very involved and gives me time to unwind from them.

So this woman didn't give the same old song and dance about taking care of everyone else first and not herself blah blah blah. She said she thought she was Uninteresting. She was Bored.

They showed a picture of her, lying on the couch, watching tv, eating junk food.

I immediately sat up straight on the couch, turned up the tv and put my box of cookies on the coffee table.

That's It!

That's how I feel!

I am Uninteresting. I am Bored.

I never have anything interesting to blog about, because I am Uninteresting. I don't call my friends because I have nothing new to tell them about my life. I am Uninteresting. And I am Bored. I bore myself.

That's my problem. Now how do I solve it?

And Leila, before you even begin to tell me to exercise, let me tell you I started. I feel so lame even mentioning it because it is not much to brag about, but I am mentioning it to forestall your telling me to exercise to cure my boredom.

The last 2 days I ran on our treadmill. 2 minutes a day. Go ahead and laugh. This is only the beginning, people. I hope.

One day I will be this awesome runner and I will be able to say, "Man, when I started running, I could barely run for 2 minutes!"

Besides, I tell Jonny, I have no excuse now. Who is so freakin' busy she can't fit a 2 minute workout into her day?

18 May 2007

The Onion

Singer Cites Girlfriend As Reason He Lives, Dies, Breaks Down, Cries

NASHVILLE, TN-According to a song recently recorded by aspiring country singer Colin Barnett, longtime girlfriend Lori Sue Jennings is the reason he lives, dies, breaks down and cries.

things i love - #24

why are so many of my favorite things edible?

I will never be thin again, will I?

Damn you, Olivia, damn you, damn you, damn you


"It's over. It's so over."

-Meredith Grey, on the season finale of Grey's Anatomy last night, freakin' idiot that she is!

What ever. How I will get through this summer with no new Grey's Anatomys or Losts is a mystery to me.

And does this mean that Dr. Burke is off the show for good? I mean, I know he is apparently a homophobic ass in real life, but I really enjoy his character on the show.

And, since Olivia and Adrienne were over last night, I watched the season finale of Ugly Betty, too, and even though I've only seen about 3 episodes of that--the finale was really good.

Olivia and Adrienne and I tried to be good last night. We tried, sort of, to eat a little healthier. Let's just ask the question, "How unhealthy is butter pound cake?" On second thought, let's not ask the question. I don't really want to know.

16 May 2007

things i love - #23

I never seem to get sick of it

still rockin'

I have been way too busy programming my new iPod to sit down and write anything.

It is pouring rain outside.  Blue and Daddy are sitting on the porch, just outside the open office windows, rocking in our rocking chairs. Blue just turned to Jonathan and told him, "You still rockin'."

That's nice to hear. Even though we are parents we are still rockin', people. And, yeah, I am rockin' too, it's not just him.

Mr. Darcy - I'm Too Sexy

Chaser's War on Everything - Mr. Darcy

13 May 2007

things i love - #22

my mother's day present

08 May 2007


The picture of Miles O'Brien on my last post is a bad picture. He looks like he has lazy eye. FYI, Miles O'Brien does not have a lazy eye.

my mornings will never be the same

I just have to say I am very annoyed with CNN. They have replaced Soledad O'Brien and Miles O'Brien on "American Morning." Bad, bad decision. I can't stand the two idiots on there now. The guy isn't that bad, I guess, but he is no Miles O'Brien. The woman replacing Soledad is just pathetic. It's like she can barely read or something. And she has no heart. She is a heartless, pathetic, illiterate, non-Soledad O'Brien.

There. I said it. I feel much better.


The highlight of my morning was smiling at Miles O'Brien over a cup of coffee.

I am so pissed.

Miles. Miiiles. I miss you. My mornings are so empty now...

07 May 2007

things i love - #21

My Blue

the office


I sold a lot of our things on Saturday at this community yard sale. It was very strange, watching people paw through my belongings. I tried not to make eye contact.

And I felt somehow rejected when someone looked through my stuff and then walked on. I mean, obviously I don't want these things anymore, but why don't you? I felt like asking.

We made almost $400. But we only sold about half of our stuff. I think I could have sold a lot more toward the end, but the yard sale got rained out an hour early.

So now what? I have made up my mind I definitely don't want these things anymore--I even put price tags on everything. Do I just give it all away to the Salvation Army? Do I give it all away for Christmas? That would be hilarious. Merry Christmas! It's a used baby bathtub seat!

So now it is all sitting in our garage in Rubbermaids, waiting for me to figure out what to do next. Another yard sale, maybe?

As I was setting everything up on Saturday, Lion and Blue were in the Pack-and-Play while Jonathan drove back to the house to get a second truckload of stuff. Some people came by before the yard sale had really started and were looking at my things as I unpacked.  Blue watched them all very closely, and any time someone touched anything, she told them, "That's Mommy's." I don't think it was a particularly helpful sales strategy.  Lion wasn't any better. He just sat beside her screaming his little head off.  He hates the Pack-and-Play. Or he hates yard sales.

04 May 2007

dwafs defined

I just googled the word DWAFS.

A lot of people out there can't spell. Dwarf has an R in it, people.

Also, DWAF stands for the Department of Water and Forestry. Interesting.

But on my blog, DWAFS stands for the Dead Women Authors Film Society.

I told the girls recently that I wish I had used the word Chick instead of Women when I named us the DWAFS years ago. Then we could have been the D-CAFS. Oh, well.

friendly musings

a phone message from Olivia:

Hello. It is me. I was calling to see if you were watching the queen's arrival in Richmond today for the Jamestown 400th anniversary. Very exciting. Pretty soon you will be one of her majesty's subjects. But you will still be an American. But you will still be one of her subjects. If you know what I mean. Anyhoo... I was calling to see if you like port wine cheese because I was going to get a port wine cheeseball. So if you get this message, give me a call. If not, you'll just have to suck it up because I am getting a port wine cheeseball.

I have been seeing a lot of the DWAFS since Jonny and I returned from vacation. Sunday night they came to our house to watch the new Pride and Prejudice and devour the cookies I brought back from England. Except Katherine and Olivia both forgot to bring the movie so we watched Sliding Doors instead.

It hit me, as the ladies were arriving, how much has changed in the years since we began meeting. When we formed DWAFS, we were all working at Borders. We would all bring things like a bag of Pepperidge Farm milanos or chips and dip. On Sunday, Adrienne brought a crock pot full of homemade Swedish meatballs, Elisa brought a tofu orzo salad, Kris brought a tossed salad, Olivia brought a bottle of wine.

Somehow over the years, we have become adults.

Barbra is now a mother and a high school teacher. Katherine and Kris have college degrees. Olivia is a certified massage therapist. Elisa is engaged.

I love these girls. We are all so different, and yet there is such a feeling of support and respect among us. I am really nervous about leaving them. I know that these women will always be my friends and they would come to England to visit me, but I will never make new friends like these. I know because I don't make friends easily. Olivia says she pictures me in a park in England with Blue and the Lion and some other mommy strikes up a conversation, is surprised to find I am American, and voila a friendship is born. I hope so.

This month DWAFS is meeting at Kris' house. We're watching To Kill a Mockingbird (is Harper Lee dead?) and bringing Southern food. So it's basically a combination tribute to Gregory Peck, Harper Lee and Paula Deen. Fabulous.

Kris came over on Wednesday to watch Lost. And I went to Olivia and Katherine's apartment last night to hang out with them and Adrienne and watch the 2 hour Grey's Anatomy. Which was really a pilot for Addison's spin-off and about 5 minutes of screentime for the original Grey's Anatomy cast so we felt pretty cheated, but we watched anyway. And I have to say I was pretty pissed off with McDreamy last night. What the... If someone (even if it is my father) slaps me in the face in front of Jonathan, he had damn well better run over and comfort me right away. That's all I'm saying.

02 May 2007

happy birthday


I have sort of lost the compulsion to blog since our return. It has been hard getting back into my routine here. We just have so much to sort out.

Literally. I am getting ready for a huge, community-wide yard sale this weekend, and I am using this time to weed through our belongings in the basement and decide what stays and what goes. Which is no small task, but it feels good to get rid of things. Some of our belongings have been packed since we sold our first house in the summer of 2004!

My mother got upset when she heard about this. Maybe because she sees it as a step leading to our move to England. Which it is. But it is also just something I have been needing to do. We still have junk from before we moved in together--you know the stuff. The cast-off furniture and kitchen paraphernalia that no one else wanted that was so useful when you were just starting out. We have kitchen stools that we took off the street that our neighbors had put out with their garbage. That sort of thing.

But I also think my mother and Jonathan's parents hold onto everything. Everything. I don't know if this is a generational thing, or a Mother thing, but if it's a mother thing, it hasn't infected me yet. I have given most of Blue and Lion's baby clothes to friends and sold some on eBay. Why do I need to keep all of their clothes in a Rubbermaid? I have pictures of them wearing the outfits I really love. And I have my memories.


We are still committed to move. Jonathan needs to apply to school and we need to sell our house.

We talk about it together all the time.

I have no fingernails left. Seriously. My fingers are bleeding. I look like I've been tortured.

But. It took Jonathan 3 hours to get to work yesterday morning. And it is so damn hot outside, I rarely let Blue play outside.

England beckons.

Sometimes I think we must be crazy. Our life here is pretty sweet. Nice big house. Wonderful friends. Family all around. Why would we willing give it all up? Why would we choose to live in a much smaller space with two rambunctious toddlers underfoot? With all potential babysitters halfway around the world? On virtually no money? Who would choose to add such stress to their lives?????

Jonny and me, that's who.

Because the more we talk about the idea, the more it appeals to us. Why should we stay put and live predictable lives? Why not take a chance? Just try it. We could always come back, right?