Sunday, October 31, 2004

This is not my Beautiful House

Still moving stuff around, packing, unpacking, sorting, organizing.

Things are not fun right now.

Closing is final, though. House is sold. This is a good thing.

Also, hey! The Sox won the World Series.

Happy Halloween. My boys are going as soldiers. Should play really well in this Liberal Academia Enclave.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

One Down, Three to Go

I STILL believe.

Didn't turn the TV on until the middle of the 4th -- we were at Brian's and I was undergoing a Moving Stress Episode (MSE). (Yeah, that happy pseudo-Buddhist be-here-now all-is-well feeling that I wrote about here seems to have been washed down the storm drain during the recent torrential rains. I'm hoping it will drag its bedraggled wet ass back to me soon, because I could use some serenity right about now.) When I realized what time it was and how much I had missed, I cried. We drove down to my house with the AM radio coming in and out and in again until finally I got fed up with trying to hear the ESPN announcers through all the static and we shut it off.

Got settled back in front of the TV in time to see both the best of times (Papi! Papi! Papi!) and the worst of times (Papi!!!! What the FUCK????). Gutted it out through the 7th, 8th, and those last three beautiful outs of the top of the 9th.

More moving today, more moving tomorrow, hoping to be all done by Tuesday morning, because that's presumably the day I'm selling the house (we won't get into my Closing-Related Anxiety (CRA) in this post). We may be sleeping at Brian's house tonight if we can clear a big enough space to lie down in. Or maybe we'll sleep out on the lawn. Who knows. It's all in the hands of the universe and I will just breathe in and out and trust in the power of the Red Sox to both win the World Series and get me through this move. They're that good. Ohm.

Thursday, October 21, 2004


This is THE YEAR.

Red Sox/Kerry correlation? Maybe.

Not for the squeamish:

On Monday, Morgan and three assistants, working in a sterile back room at Fenway Park, applied a local anesthetic to Schilling's ankle....


I admit, I've been a bad fan lately. Not really paying attention during the regular season, not fully familiar with all the new players on the roster, but I'm no "fair weather fan." I've stuck with this team through thick and thin. I had to experience 1986 while living IN NEW YORK. I've done my time in the bleachers, at the bars*, on the beach with the radio, on the long car trips, searching the AM dial, trying to pick up the game from wherever I was. I just haven't been able to follow along much lately the past couple of years, what with all the, dare I say, MORE IMPORTANT things going on in my life.

Until now. It's a good thing I have time to pack up my house and move before the Series starts up.

*That's right, I have sacrificied PRECIOUS HOURS of my life sitting in bars nursing beers and yelling at the television set. It's what good fans do.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The Power of Prayer

Because the world revolves around me, I'm not watching the game on Fox tonight, due to an irrational superstition that by watching, I make the Sox lose.

But I am watching on line.

And Brian is watching from his house:

Sarah (8:07:51 PM): bases loaded bases loaded. oh please oh please hit a home run
Brian (8:09:04 PM): wow!
Sarah (8:09:15 PM): hah! they yanked him!
Sarah (8:09:18 PM): i can't believe it
Sarah (8:09:29 PM): brown must be BULLSHIT
Sarah (8:09:41 PM): i don't know this javier vazquez guy
Brian (8:09:57 PM): off season acquisition from the expos
Sarah (8:10:14 PM): what's his average?
Sarah (8:10:26 PM): 8.31
Brian (8:10:46 PM): home run!
Sarah (8:10:53 PM): oh my god! really?
Brian (8:10:59 PM): grand slam!
Sarah (8:11:02 PM): really?
Sarah (8:11:06 PM): you're not fucking iwth me?
Brian (8:11:08 PM): to the wall!
Sarah (8:11:11 PM): oh my GOD!!!!!!
Brian (8:11:13 PM): go Damon!
Sarah (8:11:15 PM): oh my GOD

Brian doesn't even really care about baseball (I know, I know). But he's promised to go back and start watching again if they start losing. Meanwhile I'm glued to my computer screen.


Tuesday, October 19, 2004

This Must be the Place

It seems like people are writing just for me lately, as in:

But right now I am just profoundly grateful for the way I feel, that I am returning to rightness, that everything has been laid out before me in this way that makes the utmost sense.


But what if this is it? What is this is my life - not the prologue, not the introduction, but the real thing?

and then again:

Late this afternoon, as we headed back, with the sun pouring in and the trees changing colors and The Band playing on the radio, I thought, “Man, is there any place else in the world I’d rather be right now?” and that answer was no. And then tonight, as we hit the Triborough Bridge with me behind the wheel and my friends laughing and singing and the whole skyline unfurled on our right, I thought it again, and the answer was still the same.

Things are flux-y. I can’t put things in my calendar, can’t figure out what’s happening from one day to the next, don’t know where I’ll be sleeping on, say, Monday night next week. There are hassles involved with selling a home: the homeowner's association fees to be brought up to date, the property taxes to account for. There is all the emotional work of letting this house go -- the first piece of real estate I ever bought, and quite possibly the last I ever will buy. This remnant of my failed marriage. This standing metaphor for loss -- financial and otherwise. My kids will spend their last night here on Friday (I think), in the room with the clouds I painted on the ceiling. And yes, I gripe about the suburbs, but I love my office with the lofted ceilings, and I love my garden tub, and I love that there are 2 ½ bathrooms, and I love all my storage space. There's the physical work of sorting and tossing and packing and hauling and lifting and moving and driving, all while juggling twins and the remnants of my business and the three older boys. I do hate the suburbs, and it will be great to be living with Brian, and I love love love love can't put enough loves down for how much I love that we will be living in TOWN. I’m tired of these people and their little Logans and Graysons, their candle parties, their golf carts.

But just when I was on the brink of having enough money to pay my bills and actually have a little left over (oh the possibilities I was weighing! Netflix? Gym membership? Pants? Health insurance?), I have lost my major client and my income has been slashed by two thirds. Now, even with the mortgage payments being taken off my plate, I'm back to where I started, right back here. This must be the place, because I seem to be here a lot. So I’m trying to take a look around and just BE here. Forget about the gym membership, forget about the dream house we’re going to build, forget about what’s coming up next. Because this right here must be the place. This half-packed-up house, this strange and beautiful love, this life of children and hardships, this scraping the bottom of the money barrel, this October, this night sky, this shame, this joy. This. This must be the place.

Hi yo I got plenty of time
Hi yo you got light in your eyes
And you're standing here beside me
I love the passing of time
Never for money
Always for love
Cover up + say goodnight . . . say goodnight

Sunday, October 17, 2004


Two straight days of being a single parent of five children and I feel, well, pretty much as you'd expect.

Holy crap, I love my kids, but I cannot imagine for the life of me keeping them home all day. No offense to all you homeschoolers out there, but I'd rather stick poison needles in my eyes than spend day in and day out with my children. I love them, and I love to take them to school.

Actually, the older kids are easy, it's having 3 kids under the age of 2 that really wears me down. Javi follows me around from room to room, my little shadow. I can't even check my email without him pulling on my leg or messing with the keyboard. Also he's in that exasperating early verbal stage where he wants VERY much to ask me for something and I have NO idea what he is trying to say. We have conversations like this:

Javi: "oma oma oma nailclippa oma oma"

Me: "nail clippers?"

Javi: "NO! Oma Oma oma."

Me: "Oma oma?"

Javi: "OMA! OMA!!!"

Me: "Javi, I'm sorry, but I don't know what the fuck you're talking about."

Javi: "Oma oma oma oma nailclippa oma oma"

Me: "Nail clippers? Do you want me to cut your nails?"

Javi: "NO!!!!! Go WAY!!!!!"

Me: "Okay, THAT I uderstand."

And the girls are rarely both content and occupied with something other than me for more than 10 minutes at a stretch. One of them is crying, or nursing, or needing to be held, pretty much all day long it seems. They're cute, though! It's why the're still alive.

We ran errands today, and driving the car was something of a break. There was napping, and mostly quietness. We dropped some stuff off at Goodwill and brought Brian a hamburger and a shake. He's working hard making his house into a functional home for 7 people. No easy feat, that, so we wanted to make sure he was fortified. It seems impossible that we will be closing in five days. I keep waiting for the army of helpful little elves* to show up and do it all for me as I sleep.

Every time I make the commute now, I think, not many more of these stupid trips. Soon we'll be in town, soon I'll be buying less gas, soon a trip to the grocery store will not be an ordeal, soon we can be out of this freak show of a neighborhood, soon Brian and I can load up the stroller on a nice cool evening and head up the street to La Dolce Vita for some creme brulee and espresso. Soon.

*Not necessarily emaciated, sexless, and naked except for the red caps. But definitely with the pointy ears.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Sandwiches, Cake, and Coffee

The post in which I don't bother to link anything, in spite of the numerous topical references.

Recently seen on a piece of paper taped to a car's rear window:

"Two Words: S*ck Me"

Sock Me? Sack Me? Sick Me? Ohhhh, SUCK Me. Way to be succinct, moron. Why the asterisk? Trying to be polite? Trying to get past the bumpersticker censors? Wha?? It's a head-shaker.

We saw Donnie Darko for my birthday, only we waited until the night after, because the night OF we were both just way too tired. But anyway, yes, finally saw it. Amazing what Jake Gyllenhall (I hope it's spelled right because I'm not looking any shit up tonight) can do by just lowering his chin and rolling his eyes up a little and smiling. So. Very. Creepy. But yeah, I liked the movie. And you know for two hours I was so absorbed in this thing, having so much fun, that I STOPPED THINKING ABOUT THE SHIT IN MY LIFE. And you know the minute those credits started rolling, that very instant they came on, it all came back into my head, my brain just filled right back up with all the noise, the endless chatter, the shit stream of stuff I worry over.

When did I turn into an anxiety-riddled nervous fucking wreck? Because I didn't used to be like this, I swear.

Reading Delmore Scwhartz's collection of stories, "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities." Birthday present from my dad. This is from "America! America!":

And the Baumanns also knew, although they were too wise to express the belief, that it was very important to have something to eat amid the talk, for people do not continue very long without the desire to eat; and in addition, the conversations, the jokes and the comments are improved, heightened, or excited by food and drink, by sandwiches, cake, and coffee; and the food one gets in another's household seems exceptionally appetizing.


I want to read the new Philip Roth. Has anyone read that yet?

Today Javi gave me such kisses, I'm telling you, they were hot, wet, sexy kisses. From my not-yet 2-year-old. I mean, he tilted his head, he put his hand on the back of my neck, this kid has it DOWN. And he kept wanting more. "Kiss! Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!" Totally scary.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Fringe Benefits

I had this friend from New Zealand named Carmel (pronounced CARmel, rather than carMEL), and one of the things I liked about her was she said "fringe" instead of bangs.

I got myself some fringe on Friday after years of hair stylists talking me out of it. What do they know?

Ten days till closing. I'm packing, cleaning, working, moving, thinking, worrying.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Gimme Gimme Gimme

It's my birthday.

This morning I taught Javi to say "Mama's pushing forty." I told this to my dad, which reminded him of his friends who taught their 2-year-old girl to say "up against the wall, motherfucker." I'm telling you, I come from very classy people.

So for my birthday, I would like some comments, please. Anything birthday-related. Perhaps the memory of a birthday party fiasco from years gone by? Or the best birthday present you ever got? Something along those lines. I hope you all have a great day.

I'm planning to eat lunch here, and then get my hair cut here, then come home and laze around the house eating bon bons, and then go out to dinner with my boyfriend here, and then come home and watch a movie in my house, which is my house for only the next two weeks or so, cross your fingers, before it sells to the lovely family from Colorado, (COME ON DOWN! YOU'RE THE NEXT CONTESTANT ON "TRY TO PAY THE MORTGAGE"!) at which point I sling my belongings over my shoulder and head on down the road a piece.

Please note additions to the blogroll at the right -- now no longer 100% female!

Have a piece of cake for me.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Put on a Happy Face

It's been a cosmically BAD DAY.

I lost two thirds of my income today. (silver lining: more time to pack!)

Oh, and my kid may have to be pulled out of his school and placed somewhere else because the bureaucrats are on to us. (silver lining: that school sucked anyway, and I was going to pull him out at the end of the year.)

I need to move in two weeks, and I have nowhere to go. (silver lining: no more mortgage payments.)

See! See how I keep my chin up!

Monday, October 04, 2004

Learning to Fly

Jack is finally learning how to ride a bike (this is the problem with having 5 kids, the basics sometimes get lost in the shuffle. I was swimming and riding bikes by the time I was his age, but he can do neither).

He doesn't quite have it down yet, but it won't be long. Do you remember your first bike? Who taught you to ride?

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Penny For Your Thoughts

Today is Penny’s birthday.

I always think of Penny on her birthday, and wonder if she thinks of me on mine. We were born 359 days apart, but Penny skipped 1st grade or something, because she was a genius, so we ended up in the same freshman class in high school. That is when I met her. We had English together, and we were friends then, although not yet best friends. We had fun ridiculing our teacher, who had this maddening habit of clasping and unclasping the clasps on his briefcase, which he would slide toward him and away from him, back and forth, toward and away, on the table, during the entire length of the class. Clasp, unclasp, slide, slide, clasp, unclasp, slide, slide. You get the picture. Add to that the fact that he was kind of pompous and silly, and having a love affair with an even sillier teacher, a DANCE teacher, in the same school, and we really could not take him seriously.

I had a best friend that year, Ana. She was half Brazilian and absolutely radiant, smart, funny, and wise. I’m not even sure she was human, she seemed more like a sprite. She was irresistible. Ana drifted away from me after she fell in love with an Italian boy and began having sex on a regular basis. She outgrew me. I was only just barely getting my period, which arrived halfway through my freshman year only to slither away for several more months, leaving me with a box of tampons and not much else. I didn’t have a boyfriend, although I wanted one desperately. I still had the body of a 12-year-old. I had one brief, odd kiss at the very end of that year, with a man on a bus on our way back from a march in New York to protest nuclear proliferation. He kinda sorta stuck his tongue in my mouth, and then he lightly stroked my face for the rest of the bus ride (he was sensitive that way), and then the ride was over and he disappeared. It was that kind of year.

It wasn’t until our junior year that Penny and I really began to spend time together, and once we did we quickly became inseparable. Penny was like my long lost twin. We had the same sense of humor, the same love for language, the same taste in music (that year it was lots of Talking Heads). We even looked a little alike – we had similar hair types, similar bodies, similar tastes in clothes. We were both still waiting to fall in love, and even more, to be fallen in love with. While we waited, we had each other, and Penny’s Saab, a major enhancement. There were other friends, too; hers, mine, and ours. Together we studied for placement tests, applied for colleges, got drunk, wrote papers, fretted over boys, listened to music, wrote endless stream-of-consciousness notes to each other, drove around the countryside, and talked, and talked and talked. We were capital B, capital F, Best Friends.

Penny wasn’t my first Best Friend, she was actually my fifth (after Elizabeth, Brenda, Laura, and Ana). But she was the best Best Friend I ever had, and she was the last. We saw each other quite a bit during the summer after graduation, even though she was up in Vermont and I was living down in Massachusetts. In the fall, she started college at Brown and I went to spend a year in Cleveland, working in the theater. Penny wrote me lots of letters and even flew out to visit me which, in my isolation and confusion out there (my year in Cleveland alone deserves its own blog) was a huge gesture. The following year I went to school in New York. I would visit Penny on the weekends, stay with her and her roommates, go out to shows, but it wasn’t the same. We kept in touch, mostly writing letters (this was before email, kiddos). Slowly, painfully, we drifted apart, until our visits felt more cordial than anything else. She moved around (Connecticut, Texas, Alaska), I moved around (Japan, Boston, Madison). We were still in close enough touch that she came to my wedding in Wisconsin. In fact, I think that may have been the last time I saw Penny. There have been a few letters (wedding announcement, birth announcement, from her), and two or three phone calls (initiated by me), but essentially the friendship is over.

I’ve had lots of friends over the years since I graduated from high school, but never a best friend, and I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever have one again. Moving all over the country hasn’t helped much, and having small children helps even less. Working from home is maybe the greatest factor in my isolation. Living in the suburbs just puts the nail in the coffin. That much, at least, will be changing soon. I suppose as the babies get older they will be less tethered to me and I will have more opportunities to meet people. Still, I don’t expect ever again to have a best friend, and that makes me sad. I hear so many people say “my (husband/wife/significant other) is my best friend,” and I think that’s very sweet, but I don’t really buy it. Brian is my heart, I love him madly, he makes my life worth living, he, oh God, insert song lyric here. He’s that. But he’s not my best friend.

What is this post about? I’m not even really sure. Maybe you all could tell me how it’s working for you, the friendship thing. Do you have a “best” friend? Do you have a lot of friends? A few? None? Does your partner fill in the friendship gap for you? Is that a good thing?

We just got back from grocery shopping where I picked up a new, copper-y color for my toenails, courtesy of O.P.I. The name of the color? “Down to my last penny.” Happy Birthday, Penny A., wherever you are.