Friday, September 28, 2007


I've been thinking about words.

I've been known to throw around a complicated and arcane vocabulary. I like juicy words. I like words which have depth and color rather than utility. Why say "green" when you can say "verdant"? Why say "wild" when you can say "incorrigible" or "fractious"? Why say ANYTHING when you can find another more layered and succulent word. I've been known to call my boss a curmudgeon (he loved it) and my children hellions. (Last week, Gabe called me a buffoon-it's rubbing off!) These words actually spring to my mind more readily than simpler terms. I love learning a new word and storing it away for future use.

As you can see, I clearly have some form of a vocabulary disease. It all comes from reading incessantly as a child. It is not snobbery. I don't feel superior. I can't spell for crap and my attention to details in my writing is atrocious. You'll doubtlessly have noticed that my posts are littered with small errors, poor syntax, dropped words and other crimes against good writing. And furthermore, I'm often known to curse like a two-bit whore when I could have chosen a nice strong and juicy word instead.

But here's the thing. Good writing- good communication- is all about the thing I often lack. Simplicity.

I have been grappling with trying to express my feelings. This might sound crazy to some of you. Trust me. I'm NOT shy about expressing my feelings. If you hang out anywhere near me you will doubtlessly be subjected to my exuberant form of verbal diarrhea. I blather and babble about what I think and how I feel and how I'm getting my period, and whose poop I cleaned up yesterday and more personal information that you knew was possible in a ten minute time frame. But that is, essentially, the problem.

No simplicity. I talk myself in circles. I yammer on and on and after all the words, deep down I am not connecting. I am spilling all the surface stuff and keeping the deep stuff down deep. And when I try to find the words for that stuff-for the super secret, deep dank recesses of my private reserve - I can't spit anything out. My own big juicy vocabulary steeped brain is incapable of forming words. There is no access to "lugubrious" or "confounded" or whatever words would let me stop spinning and start understanding myself.

If I stand perfectly still and stop all the mental chatter I just feel my throat tighten and my heart beat and no words come.

A great friend of mine (the Curmudgeon himself) said something profound to me this week. He said: We are all so busy talking, we forget to listen. In fact, when we think we are listening what we are really doing is processing what somebody else's words mean to US and then we begin formulating what we will say in response, just waiting for our chance to talk again. What we have stopped doing is listening, listening not just to each other's words, but more importantly, we have stopped listening to what is behind the words. We must listen with our hearts and listen for the words coming from the hearts of others.

I think of the days when I held a nursling to my breast and looked into the eyes of my beloved. No spoken words were necessary to hear the words of my child's heart. I think of my wedding day, how I could barely meet Brian's eyes because the emotion was uncontainable, and his steady gaze was stripping away my veneer of poise and my heart was leaping with such joy I had to cry or scream (I cried). There were no words.

Almost any moment in my life of intense transcendent beauty or joy or just rightness that I can recall was wordless. Wordless.

I still believe in the power of words. I know we can make things happen by using words and we can change our lives and the lives of those around us with words.

But more importantly for me, I need to put down my crutch, my bag of vocabulary words, and feel my heart beat.

Feel my heart expand, and break, and expand again.

And then I can feel your heart beat.

And hear your heart-words.

Because you say more with your heart while holding my gaze than all the words in the world.

Friday, September 21, 2007

When in Buffalo

This week I have been in Buffalo, NY visiting friends and working.

I put it in that order because normally when I travel it is ALL about work and then a little bit 'o fun in the form of maybe dinner with colleagues or whatever. But this time, the fun has been much more significant.

During the day, I've been doing my usual work stuff (visiting schools and doctors, etc), but in the evening I've been hanging out with old school friends; a family of five, including three small children. Sounds familiar, no?(Hang on, how many kids do I have? I thought it was 97.) And slightly insane of me?

What it I told you that last night, ON PURPOSE, we went to a real sit-down (non-fastfood) restaurant, after 7:30 pm, with said three small children? That wouldn't seem like a sound decision would it? But we still had fun. I had twice as much fun as anyone else because they weren't MY three small children and therefore their antics AMUSED me rather than invoked my normal response which would have been drinking in excess and wanting to gouge my eyes out with a spoon.

How is it that other people's kids are CUTE AS HELL when they cry and blow snot bubbles and spill tomato juice on their brother and mine are NOT so cute?

Other highlights of Buffalo: Umm. Falafel?

I'm a freak.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Uh oh.

Quin: Mama! I brushed my teeth really good! See how shiny they are!

Me (passing the bathroom): Excellent job Quin! Let's get your PJs on now.

Quin: I brushed really good and I used the chocolate toothpaste!

Me (pausing): The Chocolate Toothpaste?

Quin: Yeah! It was so yummy!

Me (with a sinking feeling): Show me the chocolate toothpaste, Quinny.

Quin: It was soo yummy! I LOVE chocolate Mama!

Me: Umm. Quin, That says "poultry flavor", not chocolate.

Sunday, September 02, 2007


I've been awfully nostalgic lately.

It began a few weeks ago when I finally unpacked all the photo albums. Even my own girlhood pictures were setting off sentimental connections. The rosy glow of childhood, friends I never see anymore, my once tiny ass.

This week I was showing someone my blog and we started looking through the archives. I don't know if sentimental is the word (maybe just mental) but there are so many strong memories captured there. Some great funny and sweet stuff and then of course the intense drama of the relocation to Georgia and all the drama of leaving the practice and Brian being so far away through it all. I guess the sentimental part was how much I wish I still had time to write like that. I miss having time for that outlet and being able have the satisfaction of a great post.

Today, we were loading some favorite old CDs into iTunes and we loaded up some our favorite musicals that make up some of our musical history as a couple. I know some of you haters (and less cool folk) will be tempted to make fun of us when I say that the soundtrack to Miss Saigon is intensely meaningful to me, but get over yourselves. It is.

I was listening to the ending, where Kim, a young Vietnamese girl, goes to Chris's hotel room to finally see her returning ex GI "husband" who she assumes has come for her and for his child whom he has never met. Instead she meets his new American wife and is told that she and her son will NOT being going to safety in the US as she has thought. Oh! And the perfect clarity of the moment, as Kim realizes that everything she has been hanging her hopes on, the person whose promise to return has kept her alive through unimaginable hardship, all of that is NOTHING-and she is crushed. Crushed in a way you or I could probably (hopefully) never know.

I have always found this plot to be dramatically satisfying but listening to it today as a mother...well. Maybe I'm a bit hormonal right now, but damn! I just began weeping. Knowing that she goes home to her tiny hovel and resolves that the only possible solution, to rescue her son, is to kill herself so that Chris and his new wife will bring him home to the US and a possibility of a real life. She just swallows her intense personal anguish over being forgotten by the man she loves and thinks only of her child's need. Oh, and its so beautiful, the music, and the emotion with which they sing it, and Lea Salonga (Kim) is so amazingly emotive and I just cried and cried. While Hubby mowed the lawn and the girls dressed their Barbies and Gabe played video games. It was nostalgic I guess? Maybe thats not the right word. Maybe I'm just a little too sleep deprived and stressed out? Or just crazier than usual.

So...that's my Labor Day Sunday. Weeping and stuff. Wanna come over and grill out? I'll season your meat with my tears.