Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year

I think I am psychologically banishing the last post. It makes me uncomfortable on many levels, but not least of which is that engaging in the kind of self-congratulatory crap one does when listing their accomplishments for the year makes my eyes bleed, or get angina, or you know, feel silly. It's not that I shouldn't acknowledge my goals met and challenges given and completed, but it is rather, well, I don't know, not very Buddhist. And, to be perfectly frank, it just feels like of ooky to me.

So, hey, look at this shiny thing over here! It's the internet and a story.

Yep, it is the end of the decade. I have had a crazy decade.

Ten years ago, 2001, I was starting my last semester at university. (Yes, it took me ten years to graduate. Shut up.) And it was post Y2K, does anyone even remember that? The turn from 1999 to 2000. I will never forget sitting with my friend who was raised a fundamentalist Christian. We always met at a bar aptly named Dirty Frank's, mainly because if he wasn't waiting tables, that is where he was. That year, in fact, he would receive what is known as the Golden Roach Award for Patron of the Year. Let's just say, it is not exactly a bar in which you want to be known as the King of the Drinkers. At any rate, it was December 1999, and me being a student in Religion, we used to just sit and drink heavily and argue Scripture.

I miss those days with hours at my disposal to formulate my ideas. Now, I just spout off the first offensive thing that comes into my little pea dinosaur brain. He was so well-versed and smart. This was the kicker. He is gay. And so he grew up with a kind of self-loathing that made me angry at Fundamentalists in general and his parents in particular. And so we would argue--me trying to convince him that he was not damned and he trying to convince me he was. It was a fool argument, and most people avoided joining in our shenanigans. So we were left for hours to talk. Those evenings are amongst my most coveted, I love him with the fierceness of 10,000 apocalyptic suns. And I just wanted him to see himself as God's son. To have him feel worthy of love.

As more and more y2k crap was obsessed about in the media, he became more and more convinced that it was really the end of times. It was the Rapture, he said. The signs are everywhere. And he wasn't sure if he was going to be saved, so in case God did not call him home, he was stockpiling good water in his studio apartment. He had cases, he said. And freeze-dried food.

We were drunk. And I was going through the Book of Daniel and Revelation and trying to convince him that it wasn't surely the time, based on Scripture. And he reached across the table, his beautiful eyes meeting mine, and he said, "Angie. I love you. God, you know, I love you. But I am not sharing my water with you. You are on your own."

I walked the streets New Year's Eve in a silver ball gown and Doc Martens. I watched an Eagles game with my friends earlier in the night, then went to my lovely friend Sid's place. I remember a kind of 3 am hush over the city, and wondering, if perhaps, 144,000 people were suddenly gone from the world, would we notice? And then I thought about my water situation. How I didn't have any. And I didn't know anyone who had water in the city who would share. I mean, I knew people who would knock on my door and ask for water, but those stockpiling it weren't sharing. I cried walking home, because my marriage dissolved a few years earlier, and I was hopelessly waterless without anyone interested in water either. Maybe that is all I wanted for the decade of 2000-2010, to find a people who would share their water with me.

Tonight, I made a salad of baby lettuce, fontinella cheese, walnuts, portabello mushrooms dressed with grapefruit balsamic vinegar and walnut oil. I had a glass of Pinot Grigio. Thomas Harry screamed in his high chair every time his peas ran out, and my daughter asked me what a parade is. Sam leaned back and savored his glass of red wine. It's an ordinary night here. I am on the computer. Sam is reading.

I have no moral here. No large reflection. It is just a moment. A million-gazillion moments of life strung together. And now, I have a people, Sam, and people, y'all, who would share their water with me, and more importantly, I have a people and people who I would share my water with. Thank you and happy new year.


On a few separate, but no less interesting notes for the New Year, I am going to be doing a reading Sunday, January 9th at the Newark Free Library (750 Library Ave Newark DE 19711). Janel Atlas, Nina Bennett and I will be reading from They Were Still Born from 2p until 3:30p. So, please consider joining us for the event. I will be selling copies of the book there for $30 a piece. The event itself is free, and here is the write-up about it.

Finding the Words
When faced with traumatic, devastating loss, many people turn to books for information and comfort. What happens when those books don't exist? Three authors will share not only their personal narratives of loss, but also how their book came to be. Janel Atlas, along with contributors Nina Bennett and Angie Yingst, will discuss their newly released collection of essays, They Were Still Born. Free.

I am also hosting a workshop on Exploring your Grief through the Creative Journal at the Grief and the Arts Workshop. No art experience needed. You simply come with an open mind and a desire to explore your grief creatively. I will be mixing creative prompts with journaling in my session. This is held Saturday, January 22, 2011, 3:00pm - 6:00pm at the Newark Arts Alliance, 276 East Main Street, Newark, DE 19711

It will be an afternoon of making and sharing art, both visual and literary. All who have been impacted by the death of a baby at any time during pregnancy or infancy are welcome. Participants will choose among several guided workshop sessions and get to take their creations home. There will be four workshops--two running concurrently. The other workshop leaders are authors and artists Janel Atlas, Nina Bennett, Angie Yingst, and Stephanie Paige Cole

Pre-register by January 12 and pay just $12, or pay $15 at the door; tickets cover materials and light refreshments. To register, e-mail or call 302.737.6088

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Wrap-up

It's easy for me to write rather than feel. I realize that

I have been taking stock of the last year and what ha

2010: WHAT A YEAR! 

I have no idea how to start this post really. I am all about reflection. That is all I do, reflect. When you cease action, you become the equal and opposite reaction of inaction, which is not action. Is that reflection? I don't know. I ponder my navel daily. On a bunch of blogs. In art. In writing. In status updates. Ironic really. I remember a time when I was younger when I just didn't really say no to an experience. I chalked it up to experience/writing fodder. I thought I would write when I get old and could no longer do.


Yeah. Then my daughter died. And I sat and wrote it. I sat and reflected it. I wrote the same thing again and again. I aged thirty years in the moment when I found out she was dead. I became an adult. A woman. A mother. The old crone. La Llorona. A writer. In the truest sense of the word, it was not part of me. The me that thinks. It was not conscious. I had a secondary birth of this writer.

I feel compelled to write now about this past year.  Last year at this same exact time, my last two friends were in the process of leaving our friendship. I mean the last two friends I wrote to, or had mostly regular contact with. I have friends from before Lucy's death. Well, two. Lots of Facebook friends, which is different, but no less important. When the last two friends left, I had to say. " I can no longer think that everyone abandoning me is about them--their personality defects. This is definitely about my personality defects." I guess me point is that at this exact point last year, I was at my grief bottom. No before-daughter-death friends left. Full of fear and anxiety. I vowed to focus on doing art and writing and surrounding myself with light and love.

My dear friend Jess tolerates my rants quite brilliantly. She reflects back. She listens. I was so upset in November about receiving a rather unpleasant email from a still life 365 person, making me feel unappreciated. I could go on and on about it, especially as the same person ended this year with rather unpleasant unpleasantness, but I won't. Anyway, Jess was wonderful about listening and wrote this:

I wonder if I can ask you to do something as a little experiment? If you're up for it, write a school report for yourself about this past year. What you've achieved, how you've behaved, what you did well and what you struggled with. Write it in the 3rd person, as in 'We are delighted with Angie's progress this year...' And after that give yourself some grades in whatever you like, but I would include a grade for effort somewhere in there.

I wrote the darkest, deepest, musty caves of my brain, the ones that say I fail at things, and I am not doing enough for anyone, and that I have failed everyone, including myself. But the truth is that is a fucking lie. If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times: Grief, Depression and Anger are fucking liars. They are like the Triumvirate of Liars.  Or the Axis of Lying Evils. And so, I think for my own sake, I need to make a list of the goals I set and accomplished for the year. Not in third person, or with grades, but it is a great idea. I'm so sad and down. This seems important.

Lose weight after the baby was born.
I lost 45 pounds. YES THE SAME 45 POUNDS AS BEFORE, but still, we are counting accomplishments. I am stymied on weight loss and frustrated beyond frustration, but whatever, maybe today I can just bask in the forty five pounds lost rather than the forty five pounds to go.

Publish a piece of art or poetry, craft or music, by a grieving parent or loved one, every day of the year.
I actually did that. On the blog still life 365. I actually worked every day come surgery, hell, new baby or high water. And I did it, mostly, while smiling. Hundreds of hours surrounded by art.

Get published.
Why, an essay I wrote came out in a book called They Were Still Born. You can order it and write a review if you are so inclined.

Be Creative Every Day.
I did something arty or writey every fucking day, son. Here is the blog that shows a pathetically small piece of that year.

Write a Novel in a Month.
What?! A novel in a month. Call me crazy. Crazy like a fox. I will post a snippet, I promise.Maybe on my birthday?

Make a painting every day for November for Art Every Day Month.
I even made a book and movie out of that project.

Be a good mother and wife.
I did my best, but I have pretty amazing children who laugh more than cry. Here is a picture of them wrestling on my bed with a cell phone (don't judge.)

Participate and complete the Sketchbook Project.
I also made a movie of that too.

Be kind and sometimes extraordinary.

I kind of feel like I am forgetting something...oh, right, I had a baby. My husband had surgery. My daughter somehow learned how to say please and thank you and write her name and remember the words to the Earth is Our Mother. I also read about a gazillion books, dressed up like Frida Kahlo, read out loud in front of people, cook a meal everyday and cried buckets of tears. Next year, my only goal is to be more loving towards myself and forgive my body.

Happy New Year, my dear beloved friends. You have made me a better person. Thank you.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tattoos and sequins

In my real life, I stopped wanting to hear her name. It is like a sacred prayer mispronounced in broken Latin. She is mine. My moment of horror. My moment of meditation. My secret love. Only I know her. Only I whisper to her. Only I miss her.

I know that isn't true. Grief perverts the truth. It makes me see the notes not there instead of the ones there. It makes me see failures, instead of successes. I makes me feel lonely in a room of people. It makes me feel like I knew her, or that she was ever mine. She was not.

I wrote her name on my body. Or rather, I paid someone else to write her name on my body in my handwriting. It is all I ever gave her-a name. See, after she died, I didn't always paint and write. I sat at the table, head in the crook of my arm crying, writing her name over and over and over again in a notebook.

She existed. It says it right here, fifteen hundred times.

I spent all of my daughter's naptime some days, writing her name. It sounds crazy when I type it out, but I didn't know what to do with all this Lucia energy. If I were a runner, perhaps I would have ran for miles, each step I would have said her name, "Lucia. Lucia. Lucia. Lucia."  One day I wrote her name all over my arm, like she was my eighth grade crush. I thought maybe I would tattoo it on me. And I thought at two years if I still wanted it, I would do it. I still wanted it, so I did it.

It took ten minutes to write her name on my body.

I waited for over an hour for the artist to arrive. A girl stood and talked to me about what kind of tattoo she should get. I couldn't bear to tell her that I was tattooing my dead daughter's name on my wrist. She had scars across the eyebrows where studs once pierced through her skin. She asked me if I liked dragons, and I said yes, very much. I remembered this tattoo I once saw at a party of this green dragon, and it read, "I survived the Green Monster." Someone later told me that it meant he was a PCP addict. PCP is the Green Monster. I don't know what PCP is, really, except that I have heard urban folklore about PCP addicts doing insane things to escape the police. The girl said she had been a heroin addict for eight years. She told me she was 25 now, and had been saving for  tattoo. It looked like she was carrying all of her possessions with her. "I used to always be broke when I shot up. Or about to be." She said she has been clean for a year, but I could tell she wasn't quite clean yet. She went into the bathroom for fifteen minutes. I could hear her getting her rig ready, the smell of a lighter. I felt sad suddenly. It was Lucy's day. I didn't want anyone to slowly kill herself. She was someone's Lucy.

The tattoo artist remembered me. And then I told her that I wasn't who she remembered. She tattooed my identical twin sister six months ago. Philadelphia is the biggest small town in the world. She remembered the ladybug she included in Lucy's honor. That comforted me. She already tattooed Lucia on someone. It didn't hurt. I remember my other tattoo hurting, but this one just felt like she was writing my darkest secret on my skin.

We spent the afternoon napping. We decided to have sushi. The baby and Beatrice ate rice, edamame, miso soup and other little bits of yumminess. I used to joke that Beatrice ate once a month when we went out for Japanese food.Thomas is the same. Everyone was contented and in good spirits. I eavesdropped on the couple behind us. She came into the dark-nooked restaurant in a silver sequined dress. Her date said, "You are very sparkly." Beatrice couldn't keep her eyes off her. She asked me if I could buy her a dress like that, only smaller. I have bat hearing. I hear conversations all over the place. I overhear people talking about every sorst of thing, including me and my family. But what I overheard was that he was cheating on his wife with this woman. Broken people and a broken marriage. And it made me wonder if my secrets were just as visible as all these other people hiding their addictions and affairs under tattoos and sequins.

After we came home and put Thomas to bed, we lit Lucy's ring of Santka Lucia candles, and said one thing we missed about her at each of the twelve candles. There were not enough candles. Beatrice said, "I miss playing dress up." And I said, "I miss kissing her tootsies." And Sam said, "I miss her crying."

We have spent three days in ritual and remembrance. It felt right. It felt important. This year was filled with setting and achieving goals. Of explicating my grief in word and art, and not being present enough to feel it. I have realized that I have been running away in projects, escaping my grief in grief art. These three days I realized how easy it has been to pretend everything is normal. To put Lucy in this space that I have included as work space, or creative space, but not feeling space. I didn't feel her loss as much as it must seem. As my head rested on the pillow, feeding Thomas Harry before bed, the almost full moon sat in the window, illuminating his head. Tears ran off my nose onto his little head. She is dead. My baby girl died. I write her name.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter solstice

I miss her. I miss her like I knew her. It feels silly sometimes, but I just do. I miss her like she lived a whole life, and I don't have to clarify that I have a death certificate and no birth certificate. I miss her like she breathed and ran and was a little girl who kissed my neck and made me squirm.

I can't even really mentally process what two years looks like in the alternative universe where Lucy lives. I'm not clever enough to imagine it really, or maybe my brain just protects my heart in that way. One little darked-haired, red-cheeked girl running after her light-haired, red-cheeked older sister, like a couple of little whirling dervishes through my kitchen. All worship instincts in me ignite. But I don't know. Maybe it wouldn't have been like that.  Maybe it would have been harder than simply being appreciative of their presence, after all she doesn't die. I cannot take this knowledge into that universe.

I decided to fix a right and proper photo album for my children's lives today of all days. One through the years, so that if the photo hosting site I have used for the past five years suddenly crashes, we still have evidence that we existed too. And so I worked my way through the months of photos, clicking one after another into the cart. The void right there at December 2008 is palpable. We look so sad, so broken, so old. I found a picture of her in me still, all full moon belly, eclipsed by my embrace.

I have not cried today, right and proper. Just a few tears when my daughter stared into my eyes before naptime. And she was dropping tears too. I asked her why she was crying and she said, "She just missed."

I just miss too. I miss everything. I miss Lucy-girl. I miss a life I never knew.

A full moon lunar eclipse on winter solstice. It felt magical and important. So, I set my chimes for1:30am, I bundled up in a zero degree bag with some coffee. My sister came over in the middle of the night. I felt giddy. I lit a candle and watched the moon slowly become covered in a shadow, and then turn copper red. This process, slow and deliberate, felt like the ritual I had been searching for since her death. Not an invented thing, just apart of the world and its cycles. She died, like everything else dies. And we rose the next day, like everything else rises. It gets light and dark again in our world like everyone elses.

Thomas Harry woke sometime in the depth of winter solstice, and my husband bundled him up and added him to my bag. I laughed with my sister. We talked about Lucia's birth. And her death. And our lives now. Then I grew quiet. Everything felt magical and strange. How did this happen? How did I get from there to here? How did Lucy become a solstice goddess to me? When did she stop being a dead baby and become a worshipful thing? A transition, a gateway to hope and loss and sadness and winter?

As I sat in the dark of solstice night, I remembered this conversation in the car yesterday. Thor began crying apropos of nothing.
"Mama, Thomas Harry is crying because he misses Lucy." 
"Hmmmm, I know, baby. Do you miss Lucy too?"
"Yes, she died and I can't play with her when she gets bigger because she died." 
"I know. That makes me sad. I miss that about Lucy."
"But she is still in our family, though, because we love her soooo much."
"Yes, that's right. Did you know that Lucy's birthday is in two days?"

"We should bake her a cake and I will blow out her candles for her."
"We can do whatever you want to remember Lucy."
"Mama, I have dreams of Lucy, and we play together and I share my toys."
"You do?"
"I dream about her all night."

I have not had a dream of Lucy since she died, but I have winter solstice. It feels so presumptuous to take a whole seasonal transition. Though selfishly, I want more. I want more time with her. I want more everything with her. I want to take her for granted. I am sick of this life. I am sick of wondering who will remember and who won't and what I should say to my new friends, and what I shouldn't say to people who think we should be over this properly. I am so tired of this life being so fucking complicated.

I just miss her. I miss her like I knew her. It is as easy and complicated as that.

My husband and I are so moved by the cards, the messages on Facebook, Twitter, email and in our daily lives. Thank you for remembering our girl, for thinking of her during the solstice.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I am at Glow today reflecting on my grief two years after my daughter died. (Her death and birthdays are actually December 21st and 22nd respectively, but you know, this was my day for posting this month.)

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I feel like prey.

I can feel the invisible eyes of Grief in the trees, and hiding behind the rocks as I walk through my day. Where are you? I search the usual spots--in my marriage, in my sleeplessness, in my anger. I know he is waiting to take me, but then he doesn't come. I maniacally keep busy by surrounding myself with people and things, but I know he is still there.

Grief is a motherfucker. And he is the most patient motherfucker I know. Grief is starting to feel abusive, like a long, intense game of chess at gunpoint. I feel stalked and beaten. I am worn down. Sure, Grief takes you when he wants you in the beginning, but if you somehow figure out ways to keep him at bay by surrounding yourself maniacally with people and things, he can wait until you are alone, or feeling lonely.

Grief seizes my back, and wrenches me into a pretzel. I feel like I cannot walk, and then I do. Slowly, but I walk. Grief whispers in my ear, "Maybe this isn't grief at all, maybe you are just too fat. Maybe no one misses Lucy anymore, except you." And I know he is fucking lying to me. I know it, but maybe it feels that way to me too every now and again.

Friday, December 10, 2010


I am still in a hotel room in Western Massachusetts. Thor is crawling around trying to find odd left-behinds of past hotel guests from which he can contract some exotic tropical disease suck on. Beezus is on strike from wearing clothing, hoping her silent non-violent protest will help her achieve her goal of checking out the swimming pool again. And I am typing here annoying my husband as he packs. I was so honored to be welcomed at the Empty Arms Western Mass meeting, and to share my essay Mothering Grief, and be part of the discussion that came up after my reading. What an incredible group and experience. I appreciate Jenni of Demeter's Feet for organizing this event and for everyone who showed up to hear me babble about my work, Lucia, art, writing and compassion, and what it is like to parent after loss.

As you have probably figured out, I asked you to choose a painting or book, because I am giving one of each away. I am pretty transparent, no? So, I split up each side--15 jizo requests and 20 book requests, then randomized each side, and here are the winners:

For a copy of They Were Still Born, the winner is...LAREINA! YAY!
And for the jizo painting, the winner is...BUTTERFLY MOM!! YAY!

I am actually so excited to do this painting for you, Mama. Pink and butterflies sounds amazing. I already have so many ideas for this painting, but please let me know which jizo you connect with, or if you want anything written on it. And Lareina and Butterfly Mom, please email me with your address.

I loved hosting this giveaway, and please do not hesitate to enter the still life 365 giveaway on the 17th of December. You never know, though, I might do it again soon.

And about readings, I would love love love to come to the West Coast for a reading. But the publishers are not organizing or sponsoring any book tours at this time. My trip to Western Mass was self-funded and because I believe in this book completely, and wanted to see Jenni too.  So, I am happy to come to your event/support group/book club/house. I generally will read and host a discussion for coffee and/or bourbon. And love connecting and talking to other mamas--babylost and otherwise. I live in Philadelphia, so you know, around that area is generally easier for me. And for the West Coasters who might want to organize a reading, mmmmmmmm, I could be convinced with a little arm twisting, and husband massaging, literally. Actually, I may be heading to the Midwest in the Spring (Kansas City, Missouri and Omaha, Nebraska), so if you want to talk to me about organizing something to coincide with my trip, email me.

In case anyone was wondering, They Were Still Born is a collection of stories by mothers, fathers and grandparents who have experienced stillbirth. Edited by Janel Atlas, the book contains essays written by some bloggers you may know, as well as grieving parents and grandparents from different walks of life. Also, one of my essays is included in this collection.

You can order the book, They Were Still Born, from the following sources:
Barnes and Noble.
Rowman and Littlefield.

Monday, December 6, 2010

25 Days of Giveaways--Early Bird Special

I do love me some giveaway. My day doesn't officially start until December 9th, but I am all about giving plenty of time to get comments in and participate.

I actually am writing today to talk about Tina's amazing holiday project and also some of my projects. I'm very excited to be involved in this project again this year and excited to visit other blogs and see what other people are giving away. I am participating in 25 days of giveaways, both on here and on still life 365 (December 17th). So visit both places for giveaways.

still life with circles' day is December 9th, actually, but I am leaving town the day before, and I kind of wanted to get the ball rolling on this one. I am giving away your choice of one of two things: ONE: a copy of They Were Still Born, the book in which my essay Mothering Grief appears in. There are a ton of other amazing babylost writers in this collection of essays, including Janis, Virginia, Kara L.C. Jones, aka Mother Henna, Monica, and Joanne Cacciatore. It is edited by Janel Atlas.  The collection itself is quite extraordinary. It is a collection about living after stillbirth and the ways in which loss affect us as mothers, fathers, grandparents and people. I have all the information about the book on my sidebar, if you are interested in ordering it and leaving some feedback on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, and telling other people about it. You will also notice on there that I am doing some readings. (Gulp.)

Actually, I am looking forward to it very very much. So, this is the reason I am posting today, because I am traveling up to Massachusetts to participate in a discussion with Empty Arms. All are invited to attend. You can read more about the event here. This group is run by Carol of Happy Sad Mama and my dear lovely friend Jenni of Demeter's Feet and Glow in the Woods.

I also will be reading with Janel and Nina Bennett, another contributor of the book who is a grieving grandmother, on January 9th, which is a Sunday, at New Castle County Library in Newark, Delaware. For anyone interested in attending, I will post more information the closer we get to the event, or you can email me privately (uberangie(at)gmail(dot)com)

So, you can chose to receive a copy of the book, OR for those who already ordered it and are feeling left out or just want to buy it and want the other giveaway, I am giving away a mizuko jizo painting. I have a few styles, but I am painting it on-demand for the winner. You can read about my custom mizuko jizo paintings here. I do a few different styles, so you get to chose that and your choice of the size: 4"x6", which is a perfect altar size, or 6"x9", which is a great size to fit into a 5"x7" frame.Or if you are feeling really demanding, you can ask for a 5"x7" greeting card. (Just kidding about the demanding part.) But this might be a good option for someone who is not babylost who might be reading this blog who might want to pay the giveaway forward to a babylost mama. This giveaway is open to anyone--man, woman, child, dog, babylost and non-babylost.

Here are the rules for this giveaway. I am posting this today, which means you get quite a few days to leave a comment on this post saying which choice you want--Book or Painting. And if you want a painting, tell me what kind of painting you want, etc. And if you want the book, you don't have to tell me anything about that. I would love to hear something about you. Anything. And also, if you are a babylost mama or papa, tell me your child's birthday and/or loss day, so I can add it to my calendar. Please only one comment per person. I mean it. I will erase your second comment. And I will grumble while I am doing it. Also, if you are interested in trying to win again, you have another chance on December 17th, so don't be that person. This is really because I am not clever enough to figure out numbers with a disregarded comment. I will chose the winner on the close of business day on December 9th or maybe even December 10th, if I am feeling daffy.

Happy Give it Away December. Good luck.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Why, December, nice to see you again, you rat bastard.

I wish I had something wise to say as we enter December. My daughter died this month. I don't know the date so I just make it the 21st, Winter Solstice, the day I found out she was dead. It was the longest night of my life. So long, in fact, I feel like it is still going on and on and on and on. Her death created this wormhole in my life, continually and frequently teleporting me to whichever is the winteriest pole, where the cold, dark night and I  become one.

In this way, I understand and love this darkness and cold. The world grieves. That is what it feels like, the world is grieving with me. And I have come to love this time of year. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that I have never stopped loving this time of year. It is sad and dark, and also, there is joy here, in the nooks and crannies of my life. Lucia was also born two years ago, and I kissed her nose. I lifted her eyelids, and loved her. Lucia's birth, despite her death, was beautiful. Kind and beautiful and holy. I touch that when I touch the grief and I touch this time. It feels like yesterday, or as the poem* says, "No, it feels like today."

My grief feels so strange right now. Not quite there and not quite gone, like an emotional ghost. I can see and feel it, but I don't always trust what it is. I haven't broken down yet this season, not yet crumpled, but I will. Grief's gutting feels like it left permanent visible scars. Remember when I almost cut my finger off? It healed. Well, kind of. It is always numb. And sometimes the nerve damages causes the neurons to misfire and sending shooting pains through the strange jagged bubbled scar. I can't use the finger for delicate work, like squeezing things, or pushing needles into felt, or scraping stickers off of things, but it is still there. And for the big work of cooking, typing and cleaning, the finger is like all the others. A bit clumsy and awkward, but there.

I see the ugly, angry scar, though. Maybe you wouldn't notice it. Not everyone does. Lucy's death feels like part of me was cut off and reattached, but doesn't quite work the same way. Maybe I will never be nice again. Maybe I have to stop blaming that on Lucia's death. Maybe I just have to accept that I am bitchy and bossy and grouchy and angry. I just miss normal. Not new normal. Not new Angie. The one that used to get your jokes and forgive you your weakness. The light one. And yet, I also like me now. And I am still like me. A kind of me. Or more me. I feel more authentic, maybe because I am now unapologetically bitchy and bossy and grouchy and grumpy and angry some moments, but most of the other ones, I am curious and creative and funny and silly and in love with life.

There is a freedom in this space of pure vulnerability. There is a quote my friend Fisher once said to me, "A warrior is not about invulnerability. He's about absolute vulnerability." I later realized this was from the Way of the Peaceful Warrior, which made me cringe a bit. But the wisdom is still there. This is it, people. This is what was behind the smile and the fear of rejection. Really, if this is the worst that I am, maybe that is okay. Maybe it is okay.


I had a very low-key Thanksgiving. Just my mom and stepfather, my cousin and her daughter. My husband and the kids. We ate and changed into stretchy pants to eat more. My rail of a thirteen year old niece apparently must eat every two hours, and so we had second and third dinner. And second and third dessert. She made off with my new netbook earlier in the' day and it was blaring pop music and she somehow designed her own MyFace search engine to show her friends on-line as well as simultaneously watch a video of a skinny little thing singing her heart out and watch You Tube videos of paranormal activity. There was so much going on it looked like the NORAD in WarGames, which I realize dates me to Pre-Mouse Times (PMT) since Matthew Broderick started a nuclear war with the arrow keys. No, really.

"How are you making my crappy little netbook do all of that?"
"No, really."
"Oooooh my GAWD, Aaaaangie. Seriously?"
"Who is that?"
"Are you serious? You aren't serious, right?" I look at her mother, my cousin.
"Who is that? Come on, Ani, raise my cool quotient here. Rescue me."
"Ooooooooh my Gawd it is Taylor Swift. Hello. Geeeesh, how could you not know who Taylor Swift is?"
"Because I am thiry-six."
"You have heard of her, right?" I look at my husband and mouth, "Help me." He opens another beer and shields our daughter's ears from the music.
"OMG, you can't be serious right now. Kayne West interrupted her at the Grammys. Hello?!?"

And so it goes. She asked me how I think of things to write, and then she said that that was really really cool, then followed it up by telling me that my painting was kind of lame. She told me she wants to be a doctor who doesn't have to see blood. "Sam," she screamed across the room, "Can I be a doctor that never sees blood?" We watched movie previews On-Demand, and actually agreed that Ashton Kutcher was the hottest male alive. (He really kind of is. Still, Johnny Depp, call me.) She kissed Thomas Harry and told him he was going to be a heartbreaker when he was in ninth grade, which made me feel like a mother. When she left the next morning, teenagers scared me a little less. And I looked at my kids and thought about how different it can be for them than it was for me. Teenage years don't have to be the same thing as it was for Sam and I--tragedy after tragedy, alienation, running away and sadness.And it also made me terribly sad to think about Lucia not being a teenager.

I finished up my National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) novel and my Art EveryDay Month project, which felt good. I never thought about what the last day of the month was going to feel like. Isn't that odd? I never considered the end. I just kept writing and arting, and then it was done. I joined things in November out of fear, I think. Fear of December. Fear of my idle mind, and entering two years. It was much easier than I thought to write 1600 words a day when I was avoiding thinking about Lucia's death and how much I have lost in two years time. Since Lucy died, blogging has given me discipline with my writing and compelled me to keep exploring and writing, then creating art every day. It rarely feels like a chore. And so, the discipline is something I am good at, I guess, setting goals and accomplishing them. Plus, it is a story without grief. I wrote fifty thousand words that had nothing to do with daughter death or grief and that feels like a victory in and of itself. Maybe the manic doing helped me just not feel the impending birthday. I don't know. Now that December is here, I keep expecting it to floor me, gut me again, leave me half a person on the floor.  Maybe I shouldn't overanalyze it. I just wrote a novel, and painted an entire book of paintings. Those are good things.

During this last week of NaNoWriMo, my mother and husband watched and played with the children while I sat at my netbook and wrote and wrote and erased and fucked off, and wrote again. They let me run off to cafes to write. They cheered me on. My husband and I even managed to squeeze an afternoon date-type thing in where we visited an olive oil and balsamic vinegar taproom, which was one of those mind-blowing  experiences you never knew you wanted to have, and the Moravian Bookstore, which always manages to get me in the mood for Christmas whether I want to be or not, but let's be honest here, I was already in the mood for the holidays. I still like Christmas and Thanksgiving. I really do. I don't feel the grief because of the holiday. I feel the grief because my daughter died.

By all rights, I should boycott the hell of the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Almost every person I have loved who has died has died between those two holidays: my grandfather, my only paternal aunt (in her 40s no less), my grandmother, my father-in-law and my daughter. My birthday is also very soon after Christmas and also happens to be Lucy's due date. Yes, Lucy and I shared a theoretical birthday for the nine months and two weeks before she died.

Still, I actually love the holidays despite the grief. Or maybe, as I said earlier, it is that winter feels like the world is grieving. Maybe it is just the fact that I have to surrender it up. I am not in control. Not that I ever thought I was, but I have just come to a place of acceptance that the days around the holidays are just days. They are just days like all the rest where people's kids die and their grandparents, and it ruins Christmases. But it hasn't traumatized the music/cookie/tree/present thing for me. I remember when my grandmother died, my grandfather kept all the Christmas stuff up in his house until the following Christmas. It was as though the whole house froze. Every year, he would put everything up a bit earlier than the year before. It was like he could feel her in the celebrating. Don't get me wrong  I had a terribly horrible Christmas in 2008 and felt like I would never love Christmas again. Last year, I cocooned, and this year I will as well. I can say that I just try to be present. It will be bad at times, no doubt, it will be traumatic, but until it is, I am going to sprinkle red and green bolitas on cookies, stock my daughter's advent calendar and enjoy the moments. Because right now, I just want to look at the month as a series of moments without judgment. Not good. Not bad. Just moments.

*After Labor Day
by Sydney Lea.

(This is just the first stanza .)

Your son is seven years dead.
"But it seems," I said, seeing your face
buckle in mid-conversation
as over the fields come winging the trebles
of children at holiday play -
I said, "But it seems like yesterday."

"No," you said,
"Like today."

Monday, November 29, 2010


I just finished my stinky, mediocre novel that I wrote in 29 days flat. 50,179 words. 29 days. NaNoWriMo, I can't quit you. (Though I did three previous years.) This is my first completed year. The novel(ette) involves the unholy combination of the Khmer Rouge, alien abduction, peyote, ex-husbands, punk rock girls, the desert, coffeehouses, and ancient greek mythology.

This is the thing, I also painted a book through Leah's Art EveryDay Challenge, too, so I really created TWO books in one month. WHAT?!?! Are you kidding me? You called me an underachiever, Mr. Diehl, in senior Econ. Suck it, dude.

My mother sat here watching television while I called off the word countdown. 2000 words to go. 1500. 1000...and then, I was done. and I kept writing. I kept finishing my thought. That is what victory feels like. Sure, I crossed the finish line, but I am going to jog to my car too. I did lots of sprints this month with Amy, Ines and Kristin, and my friend Fisher, who appears in the novel as himself.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go on an overnight drunk, and in 10 days I'm going to set out to find the shark that ate my friend and destroy it. Anyone who wants to tag along is more than welcome. And by finding the shark that ate my friend, of course I mean, I am going to edit the shit out of this fucker, and try to make heads or tails out of it. Or I may never write again. Thank you all for the love.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


My small brown Spanish-speaking mother's Thanksgiving dinner always surprises people. Having grown up with a Panamanian mother who makes amazing Pennsylvania Dutch food seems perfectly normal to me, but I think guests expect to have arroz con pollo, or arroz con pavo, or something.  She also kind of speaks with a Spanish and Pennsylvania Dutch accent, which is neither here nor there, but kind of something other people notice. Anyway, there is not a hint of saffron on our dinner table.

My mother came to this country when she was 17, the second youngest of twelve. She learned to cook Spanish food, the country of her mother, but her older sisters mostly cooked, then she came here, worked for a while, met my dad and married. My dad's Aunt June taught her how to cook stuffing, turkey, ham, pork and sauerkraut...anyway, you get the picture. Don't get me wrong, Mami throws down the paella like no woman's bizniz, but she also makes some mean German food.

Coming from a family of twelve kids and a large extended insane family means my mother cooks like a motherfucker. I mean, she really lays it out. There is going to be a turkey, a ham, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, creamed corn, regular corn, green beans, pearled onions, cranberry sauce, and a whole host of pies.

"Who is coming to dinner, Mama? Canada?"
"No, honey, I just want to send you home with leftovers."
**flip, pound, pound, pound.**

(that was Sam's heart doing a somersault, then running the length of his body with unconditional love for my mother.)

Actually, there is no editing involved, much like this blog. My mother actually has no ability to say the words, "Maybe that is too much."
My mother always says the same thing, "There are pearled onions for those who want it."
"But we know everyone and no one wants it."
"But you never know."
"No, actually, we always know."
"But we always make it and it gets eaten."
"Actually it doesn't. You tupperware it, stick it in my bag and I chuck a week later."
"Oh, people might want to eat it."
"Which people?"
And around we go.

The desserts are always the best and worst. By best, I mean, there is every indulgence. And by worst, I mean there is every indulgence. Here is the typical conversation pre-Thanksgiving:
"Hi, Mama. What do you want me to bring for Thanksgiving? I can make the stuffing, or the potatoes."
"Bring a dessert."
"Like a pie?"
"Well, one isn't enough. Why not bring two? An apple and a pumpkin."

The problem is she is a control freak with trust issues. So she has the same conversation with everyone who attends. This year it is just my family and my cousin, and she asked me to make three pies, and then called me tonight and told me that she thought I should just buy it, since I have a baby. Whatever that means. But here is the thing, she freaks out beforehand about the desserts and ends up buying some decadent cake, like chocolate mousse or cheesecake. After she told me I should have just bought a pie instead of baking three this morning, she also mentioned that she picked up a cheesecake, oh and some brownies, because some people like chocolate. It is literally my family, my mother and stepfather, and my cousin. WHICH PEOPLE?!?!

Anyway, the point is families, like my family, goes home with whole pies.

It is in just this scenario two years ago that I came to unload our post-thanksgiving car with bags of leftovers and two pies. We had an eight month old Beatrice who was screaming. And my husband was unloading and placing things on the roof and handling the car seat and our overnight bags, and we collapsed in our little home ready to boycott next year.

The next day, I drove to my sister's house to pick her up. We were going to visit our father with leftovers. I had enough for all of us, and despite my parent's divorce, he still enjoyed eating her food. It was one of many thing he missed about her.

As I drove down, the highway, I heard a crash, and looked behind me to see the car brake to a full stop. It wasn't a busy highway, luckily, and I pulled over. The man gave me the ole' New Jersey hug, which is a combo of fisticuffs through window, honk and the finger. I had no idea what just happened, but I suspected that I may have lost a hubcap or something. The man didn't stop, and clearly there was no damage or anything, because I was at a full stop on the side of the road, and he could have engaged me. So I got out of my car, walked up the road a piece, and there it sat in the middle of Route 70, my tin pie pan. Clearly with all the exhaustion, we left the pie up on the car roof and so in true homemama gangstah fashion, I pied the jackass behind me.

Yes, a drive-by pie-ing.

Happy Thanksgiving, You Wonderful Old Building and Loan. Hey, wait, that is not how it goes. Ah, well. I am off to visit my mother for about a week. Pray for me. And my waistline.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


When I was a girl, I would put one hand over my open right eye. My left eye would stay open too.

"I can see through my hand. I must be magic," I would conclude. 

I never whispered it to anyone, not even my twin. Mentioning it might render my magic useless. I tried to imagine scenarios where I would use my seeing-through-things power. There are surprisingly few. I believed that my body held ancient secrets. Sometimes, when I was afraid or bored, I would press the balls of my hands into my closed eyes. The universe would appear behind my lids. More than just appear, I could fly through the stars and the Milky Way. Universes rushed passed me. I touched infinity. I was one with everything.This was my secret portal to the stars. I felt sorry for others who couldn't see the universe when they closed their hands. I felt sorry.

I once believed that I was cold all the time because I held the winter solstice in my bones. I believed that my daughter's death changed my ability to handle Winter. I would shake violently from a chill in the air. My husband would watch my body shiver uncontrollably and he would rub his hands on me until I warmed enough to put more layers on my body. I believed that I couldn't lose my weight because my body couldn't accept the baby was dead. I believed that my cells held onto the nourishment my dead baby needed. I told this story to people. Therapists agreed with me, and nutritionists, and doctors. I felt like I slipped between two dimensions--the real world and the grief world. In this liminal place, calories meant nothing and a season could reside just below your skin.

There are things I know and there are truths and they are not the same thing.

When I was diagnosed with a thyroid disease with its symptoms of weight gain and inability to regulate body temperature, I felt silly. There is only one truth, I thought, and I don't have a handle on it. I am prone to magical thinking. I am attracted to finding poetry in the howling of winds, and omens in the ordinary. Yet I never quite believed in anything enough to devote the countless revisions it takes to write about something well, except my daughters and my son. It is all I write about now. And when I boil it down, I guess my writing is all very narcissistic. It is all about me. Is that what I am passionate about--little versions of me? A little version of me that dies in an oddly shaped womb? Little versions of my mortality and my shame and my beauty and my redemption?

My mother consulted a psychic a few times in her life. The same fortune teller. The first time she met with her, it was a lark. It was the early 70s. She had friends that invited the psychic to a party. When the psychic touched my mother, she told her much of what would come to pass in her life. Something would happen and my mother would remember the predictions. She told her of my father and her twin girls. Of resentments and petty strange singular occurrences that took on the gravitas of a large event. Later, after my parents separated, my mother found the psychic again. It was the 90s then. The fortune teller didn't remember my mother, two decades had passed after all, but she told her some of the same predictions, and others, with more detail. The fortune teller frequently talked about her daughters--one is this way and one is that way. But my mother could never figure out which one was which one. One had many nightmares. One was bored with this life. One was once an Egyptian priestess. One was a very old soul. One would be famous. One was wise. One would struggle. She never put these characteristics and future events into columns. She never said if the wise one was the same as the nightmared one or the famous one. She never said.And so I became the best parts of these predictions and the worst. I have always lived with a borrowed fate, one constructed out of a story told by a fortune teller.

When you were dying, I imagine a series of random memory and learning neurons rapid firing, sending a barrage of images through your consciousness. Would it feel weird to you if I admitted that I feel a bit like this tonight? I remember seeing my great-grandmother suffering with end of life dementia. I was an adult then, and I sat alone with her. She opened an invisible umbrella in her hospital bed and sat under it waiting for the rain. She called me my mother's name and told me my skirt was too short. "Who will buy the cow, after all?" She said, then she sang an Irish song she knew as a girl and looked up into the cloudless hospital ceiling waiting for rain. Then she moved again under her invisible umbrella. She outlived her daughter too. As a child, I always thought my great-grandmother looked like Pope John Paul II, and so when she sang with the umbrella, it felt holy. Sad and holy.

I am writing a novel in a month. It is a fool's task. Someone called this an exercise in mediocrity. I believe that. And yet the story I am telling can only be told this way--written quickly with the minimum amount of pain possible. It is a story that has haunted me for years, that is begging to be written if simply to be exorcised. It is not about my daughter's death, or any daughter's death, which surprises me too. It is about magical thinking and wars and fate and stupidity of youth and nightmares and aliens and love. It is always about love.

Writing this novel in this exact month is like looking through my hand. Both magic and a lie.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I touch God in my song
Rabindranath Tagore

I touch God in my song
     as the hill touches the far-away sea
          with its waterfall.

The butterfly counts not months but moments,
     and has time enough.

Let my love, like sunlight, surround you
     and yet give you illumined freedom.

Love remains a secret even when spoken,
     for only a lover truly knows that he is loved.

Emancipation from the bondage of the soil
     is no freedom for thee.

In love I pay my endless debt to thee
     for what thou art.

I love this poem. I always think of marriage when I read this poem, and so I quote from it today at my piece over at Glow in the Woods where I am talking about marriage, counseling, grief and loss. Come over and join the conversation. Roots.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thor and my many projects

It's been a while since I showed a picture of Thor here, or sort of updated about my life life. And so I am going to do that later on in this post, so if you aren't interested that is fine, but here is the warning statement.

I know this is weird to kind of bring up, but I realize I haven't really set the record straight or anything, but, uh, I don't know how to say this, but um, well, my son, well, his name is not really Thor. Did you know that? I guess probably you did. I mean, this is a blog and people have pseudonyms for their children all the time on blogs, but I didn't really start that way. Beatrice is really named Beatrice, but mostly, I call her Beezus, or Bibi, or Bea, or Little Bea. And Lucia Paz was really named Lucia Paz, but we call her Lucy almost exclusively, and Lulu when I am feeling really maudlin. But Thor is really named Thomas Harry. I did petition for Thor. I was very pro-Thor, but saner rather less Nordic-obsessed minds prevailed. Thomas is my father's name and Harry is my father in law's name. (Yes, we are those people who cannot come up with names on our own.)

Still, around these parts, Thor stuck. And by these parts, I mean, me. I still call him Thor, and so does my sister. Anyway, I hope Thor stays alive here, despite me telling you his other name. I will always refer to him that way here, and I encourage you to do the same. Protecting my children's privacy at this point is kind of moot. At least, protecting one kid's privacy and not the other two is ridiculous. So, welcome to your nightmare, kids. Yes, I will probably blog about your first zit, but it will be a meditation on the transience of life and a self-reflective existential crisis, so you can just tell your therapist I was narcissistic, not cruel.

This morning my family and I had an amazing brunch at Mommicked's house.  I have probably gone on and on about how I love her before, but I do. She is funny, insightful and a damn brilliant woman. She also makes me snort/laugh, or snaugh, if you will, and she is an incredible knittress. In honor of Thor's eczema, she made us dairyless quiche and also managed to put sausage in every dish, which is an amazing feat of which vegans and carnivores alike might appreciate. When Sam and I became engaged, his nephew asked me if I liked sausage, because I couldn't be in this family without eating sausage. I assured him that I dug sausage. I do dig it. Very mucho. When I mentioned earlier that she is an incredible incredible knittress, I meant it. And well, she made these for my children, and one for her own beautiful daughter, but the picture came out totally grainy, or grainier than these, and the children are almost indistinguishable from one another, and I also don't want to show her beautiful daughter here for her own privacy reasons too, so I took these when I got home. Still, well, just what can you say, but WOW, aren't they amazing?

Viking children stunned into silence by the awesomeness of their knitted helmets.

Playing "Got Your Horn" which is huge in the Valkyrie playgroups.

Thor playing the tambourine of Valhalla.

Incidentally, Thor, I realize, is wearing a onesie made by Rach of Warm Whispers. I have four onesie/shirt things made my Rach for Thor. They are all amazing. You can purchase one for yourself at her Etsy shop called Grandy and Baa. She is really not paying me for that. I just happen to think that she also is quite amazing.

In other news, October was fucking exhausting.

There I said it. I am still recovering from blogging every day.

It wasn't that I didn't love blogging every day, because, yeah, part of me loved being in blogger mode, but my "other stuff" time was sort of caught up in the daily blog thing, and still life 365 takes a lot of time. I mean a ton of time and energy and emotions, and then my art time was enmeshed in the Sketchbook project, which I wrote a few months ago and painted all last month. The whole thing. And what I mean by the whole thing is that I am kind of done. That feels pretty damn good. To set goals and accomplish them. I can kind of get addicted to goal setting. I know it must seem maniacal to people on the outside, but I am a listmaker by design. I think my cells set evolutionary goals, then cross them off. (No eating with fingers. Check. No grunting at husband. Check.)

I am very good at getting things accomplished. It might be a new superpower, which I will add right there along with super smelling in usefulness. But there was this naggy feeling all month, like I was forgetting something. Don't forget not to forget. And I couldn't quite make out the image in my head. What am I supposed to be doing after all? Right, not being on line as much and being more present for my family.

I also joined Twitter not to long ago (@StilllifeAngie) and I added a shitload of more blogs, mostly art blogs, but some new babylost blogs, to the reader feed. I also seem to be enjoying following on-line drama unfold whilst not really knowing 1. anyone involved, or 2. what the actual debate is about. So there is that. I guess what I am trying to say is that in some effort to quell my on-line fucking around time, I actually managed to ramp it up quite a bit, which is ridiculous and sad.

I do so much online crap, and then before I knew it, I was signed up for both NaNoWriMo and Art Every Day month, which are both daily challenges, for the month of November. NaNoWriMo actually stands for National Novel Writing Month. Yes, I am writing a novel in thirty days. 50,000 words. What? Why are you looking at me like that? Shit, I know. I KNOW.

Art Every Day Month (AEDM) challenges you to create a piece of art everyday of the month. EVERY DAY. FOR A MONTH. I know. I KNOW.

For AEDM, I created a wee 5" x 5" watercolor book and am selecting a word/mood that describes my day and painting it. I always post my art on my still life every day site, if you are ever interested, because that is also another challenge I signed up for this year which is Creative Every Day. Still, I actually am loving both these challenges. I am focusing on writing that isn't about my grief, which is good for me, and the AEDM is actually kind of focusing my art a bit. I am painting ONE gesture watercolor a day of a word that describes my mood. And I love it. One painting, not fifteen, or whatever I do, to express something. It is kind of like writing a haiku every day when you are used to writing lengthy epic poems about wars in which wooden horses hide men sneaking into a city-state because of a beautiful woman. Which is what I usually end up doing, hyper-creating. This is focused and it ends in less than a half an hour. It is really an amazing practice for me--spiritual and artistic. And the writing is the same. I am disciplined and it is good to remind myself of that. I have a goal for the day--1600 words, and then when it is done, I am done writing. I type and write quickly, so this is actually not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. Plus, it has managed to get me off-line a bit more. All in all, I don't feel stretched. I feel fitted. (Did that even make sense?)

Anyway, one more thing, Jenni from Demeter's Feet is hosting an ornament swap Remembering Together: Holiday Ornament Swap for babylost parents. It is non-denominational and involves our baby's names--both creating and receiving an ornament, so there is a creative aspect to it. It is really an awesome project with a cool twist, so go check it up, sign up. The deadline is November 15th, so tout de suite, people.

And since I have shared some Thor Viking pictures, I am going to share one of just him, eating bacon.
Actually, he is just sucking on it. Don't judge.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hunter's Moon

The clerestory windows in our bedroom frame the neighbor's old oak tree. They say they are cutting her down next year. She both doesn't have enough leaves and sheds too much. It feels impossibly modern and fussy to do this, impossibly self-indulgent and kind of sacrilegious. I sigh. I say a little wish and a little hex to myself.  

Please no. Or else.

At night, I watch the tree silhouetted against the clouds blowing across the night sky. The clouds illuminated by the moon seem alive, migrating toward something large and impenetrable. It feels ancient, this ritual of watching the night sky. It feels important. We are a tribe. My family, that is. It feels like we are a thousand miles from New Jersey. We are a thousand miles from civilization. Lucy's death makes sense here. Our survival makes sense here. The Hunter's Moon, so called because it was so bright and vivid you could hunt elk at night, though waning these nights, has been rising in our window. The brightness wakes us both at 2 am. And so, suddenly, we turn toward each other, grasp hands over the sheets. We are half asleep, confused. The light makes our faces look like when we first became lovers, magical and important. "The moon," he whispers. "The moon."

We have a chill here now, a fire perpetually in the wood stove. We light candles at night, make tea and sit on the rug telling stories. The smell of burning oak takes me to the place with the Hunter's Moon. So far away, so primal, it has always been a part of me.

I feel something these days. I feel...something.

I can't quite describe it except to say that the moon wakes me.

I used to worry that my inability to imagine my children meant that they would all be taken from me. I can't see them older than they are. I can't imagine them being adult, or even older children. They are perpetually the age they are until they are not.

My son is seven months old.  My daughter is three years and seven months. My grief is almost two years old. And yet, it is much older than that. Lucy's death touched the grief that already existed in me. I realize that now. Her death reminded me of all I have not let myself feel. All the grief, I balled into a little black pebbles and stuffed into the back of my heart. All the times I bragged over beers that I never cried, it flooded me when she died.

I was never the person I thought I was. Never. I feel the grief now of three decades. Grief at my father's illness. Grief at the neglect of my teenage years. Grief at creepy old men. Grief at watching my most prized love suffer. Grief at my mother issues. Grief at friendship breakups. Grief at the divorce, and the loss of my home, and burglaries, and losing my seventh grade boyfriend to the girl who gave blow jobs.

The other name for this moon is the Beaver Moon, or the Frost moon. I love that each moon is given a name in Algonquin and Celtic circles. This is the time of the year when the frost moves in and everything prepares for hibernation. I prepare in me. I prepare my grief season. Make my bed, and light my candles. I will take down my ofrenda tomorrow. The joy seems to immediately dissipate with Halloween done. I feel staid and decidedly adult. We will make a new altar for Lucy, the autumn altar. With gnomes and acorns and very tiny things that we find to remind us of her never growing bigger.

I am not sad right now. I am not sad. I am just waiting for the Oak Moon, the Cold Moon. I am waiting for Santka Lucia Day, and a wreath of candles. I am waiting for solstice. I am waiting to make a large bonfire. She will always be with fire.

I don't know what it is about now. I just feel something.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day 31--Your Questions Answered

It is ironic that today on Day 31, posting everyday for a month, I have also hit 300 posts on this blog. Woweee, that is a lot of blah blah blahing. Thank you for all for reading along on this self-indulgent meme month. Actually, I guess the whole point of a blog is kind of self-indulgent, so thank you for reading along at the Department of Redundancy Department. Thank you all for your comments, questions, love and playing along this month. It was really exhausting to post every day, but also good for me. I have been neglecting this blog with all the work on still life 365, and my still life everyday blog and writing at Glow and stuff. I admit that some days, it all felt a bit silly. Other days, it felt like a really good writing prompt. But I do think it was really effective in showing how every. single. aspect. of your life changes when you lose a child, even how you listen to music, or fill out a meme. I have loved learning more about all of you, especially as I have seen your comments for months, and not had time to follow your links. And reading others who filled this out in this blog's comments (Dani, I loved that you did most of them too, right here.) This month I have added a ton new blogs to my reader, and am grateful to be reading all your words and experiences, and learning about your babies. I am always up for answering questions, so shoot them to me anytime. Happy Halloween. And now, onto the questions people asked me in comments.

I have a question for you... This would have been Aiden's first Christmas. Other than decorating his burial site with a tree, my husband and I will pretty much be skipping this holiday season. After Lucy died, how did you do it? It's still only October and I can't even think of November and December without crying (granted it has only been a little over 2 months since Aiden died). We're planning on donating to pregnancy &; infant loss charities in lieu of presents this year and are asking others to do the same for us. I know our situations are a bit different because you had B, but what were your holiday's like? Thanks Ang

Dear Angie,

It is a good question, and one I kept asking before hitting my first holidays too. But I guess I asked it when hitting everything, "How do I go through my first baby shower? Or Christmas? Or Thanksgiving? Or New Years? Or question about my children?" The first year is so fucking hard. If the entire year was full of perfect days, 70 degrees, all the green lights on the way to your favorite places with no holidays, it would still be the worst year of your life. Or at the very least, one of the worst years.

When it pisses down rain, and jackasses are cutting you off and the market bagging girl asks you when you are due and then says, "Oh" and then flashes the checkout girl a knowing, annoyed look at your honesty and obvious buzz-killing when you tell her your baby just died and you are only there to buy canned pumpkin to make a pie for Thanksgiving with the cousins who couldn't even muster an "I'm sorry" and are also pregnant with their third child, well, the holidays can suck.

The first year is just hard. Everyday living is just hard. Holidays, anniversaries, the same day of the week your child died and everything else out of the routine feels downright absurd. Hitting everything the first time is impossibly tender, and you also have no precedent on how it is going to be. You have no prior experience of Christmas grief, so you spend months of build up wondering what the event/holiday/baby shower/birthday/party is actually going to be like. The anticipation of horribleness is almost as hard, if not harder, than the day. Fear of the unknown has always been a particularly hard thing for me to face. I don't think I am alone in that.

Two months out is so raw. I know it feels like you have been grieving for a very long time. And you have. Two months might well be two years. Everyone says this, and I hated hearing it when I was two months out, but grief changes. I'm not saying it gets better. I'm not saying you will heal. But it changes, and so though this Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year's might be completely awash in very raw, aching, horrible grief, it might not be that way every year. I don't know if that is comforting or annoying to hear, but I am only saying it, because one thing that helped me was knowing that maybe I wouldn't always be angry, or difficult or find Christmas unbearable. The moments when grief captures me, beats me up, drives me into the ground, keeps me housebound for days, are the moments I was least expecting. In that way, holidays are times I expect my grief to appear. I worried over it. Toiled even. So I wove time around grief, and it generally ended up being better than I expected.

Lucy died three days before Christmas, so actually last Christmas we were hitting her first birthday, and it was technically our second Christmas without Lucy. My first Christmas without her, 2008, I woke to my milk coming in, being horribly engorged and aching. And the funeral director called to tell us he cremated Lucy the night before. I had wrapped Christmas presents for her weeks earlier, anticipating her birth around the holidays. I had a stocking with some little toys I bought for her. That was terrible, opening them, integrating them into Beezus' toys. Everything about that day was terrible. I think having an older child made it easier to compartmentalize grief for a few hours while gifts were being opened and Santa yarns were being spun. I didn't want to ruin Christmas for her, but after two hours of not crying, grief exploded on me like a tsunami, and all of the sudden I was inconsolable despite myself. I basically stayed under the covers and took boiling hot bath after bath after bath. I was tender. Very tender.

Last year, my internet friends got together and sent me a little rosemary Christmas tree and each person handmade, or bought, an ornament for Lucy's tree. I cannot even tell you what that meant to me. It overwhelmed me and made me feel very loved. Some days it was actually too overwhelming and I wouldn't look at the mail. Other days, we were so excited to have another remembrance of her. I actually made a video, you can watch here. This year, I am going to hang all those ornaments on our big tree, which we decorate mostly with ornaments that I made. Having Lucia be part of our holidays feels right and important. We also celebrate Santa Lucia's day, which is a week before her death day and solstice. We integrate a lot of rituals into our lives in association with grief. That works for our family.

What I did do last year, and will do this year, and will probably do for the rest of my life, is budget grief into my schedule of the holidays. I have told everyone in my family that Christmas is just for us to grieve. No grandparents. No aunt and uncles. No second cousins twice removed. We get together with them, instead on Christmas Eve, and somehow that is doable. The atmosphere is more adult somehow. It is nighttime, so we have wine and make stromboli and exchange presents with my family. Then everyone goes home by 8p. We can curl up together on Christmas morning. We don't ignore grief in our family unit. We cry and grieve in front of our children and talk about Lucy, death, depression, grief and sadness very openly. Just having that normal talking about grief relieves us from always having to explain what this grief is when it rears its ugly head. We often just look at the other person and know they are having a Lucy moment. Anyway, we take our time opening presents. We stay in our pajamas all day. That worked really well for us last year. Sam likes making a big breakfast, so he did that. We watched documentaries all day and ate nothing but carrots and hummus for dinner. We cried here and there, and looked at pictures of her. All in all, the week of her birthday and Christmas was a week both filled with lots of joy, cathartic crying and lots of grief. I have no idea what this Christmas will be, but I feel good right now about it, excited about Christmas music and baking and all the smells of the season. And strangely, I am even looking forward to touching grief's tender spots in me. I don't deluge cry much anymore, and I know I will then.

From what I know of you, Angie, I do know that you are generous and loving, and that channeling your grief by donating presents and doing something sounds like an amazingly compassionate way to deal with grief. Last year, I read about Doing Good in Her Name. I read Kristin's blog and saw that she was collecting specific items for newborns. I went to Babies R Us and took the list, and just bought all kinds of things. Far from being sad, it was really cathartic. I came home having spent WAY more than I wanted and told my husband that this was his and Beatrice's Christmas present to me, and in that way, I sat on Christmas morning imagining those things being used for a family with their own child. I'm not sure we have the financial means to do the same thing this year. I might be forgoing presents just so Beezus and Thor get some, but it is a great cause.

Also, don't be afraid to ask your friends, internet friends, family and yourself to do something that would lift you. Like an ornament exchange, art swap or a little gift exchange with other babylost ornaments. One thing you might want to do is make ornaments with your babylost friends baby's names, and they make ones with Aiden's name, and you create a tree for him. The only advice I would suggest is budget in grief and say no to things. There is no right way to do this. Get through in whatever way feels comforting.

Just know that there are those of us out here--I am very much that person--who will sit with your grief, if you are feeling alone. I will listen. Just email me anytime. This goes for any one of you reading along who needs a friend this holiday, or just wants to talk to someone who gets it when the going gets rough. Email me and I will send you my phone number even.

If I think of a better one, I will ask it later. But for now, what size shirts are your kids currently wearing? And what are they going to be for Halloween?-Here We Go AJen

Dear Jen,

Beezus is in 4-5T or small in big girl clothes. And Thor is currently in 18 months. Yes, he is about to turn seven months. And for Halloween. Thor is going to be a little skeleton, and Beezus is going to be a witchy witch, or Supergirl, or a kitty cat, again. She is currently wearing her witchy costume, so I am going with that.

I am cheating on the one question- one link, but more than one question. -Danielle


I actually love James Lipton and the Actor's Studio in all his melodramatic glory. And I love these questions.

1. What is your favorite word? I really like the word Twig.
2. What is your least favorite word? Horny. It is so 70s porn. It grosses me out.
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Humility, humor and capability.
4. What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Defensiveness and unwarranted arrogance.
5. What sound or noise do you love? Rain.
6. What sound or noise do you hate? Metal scraping ice.
7. What is your favorite curse word? Cock.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Advice Columnist.
9. What profession would you not like to do? Lawyer.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? “Sorry about all that down there. You were right. About it all. Come on in. Here is your bourbon.”

For my question, I would like to hear more about your 18 month old arch nemesis. -Here We Go AJen
yes... Who is this evil 18 month old? -Angie
I, too, am very curious about this 18-month-old Moriarty. -erica

If I called an eighteen month old an asshole, I'm pretty sure the internet would turn against me. I actually always call squirrels assholes, and here is why. When I grow tomatoes in my backyard, the squirrels pick them one by one, take a bite, then discard the WHOLE FUCKING TOMATO on the ground. Then they sit on the fence and watch me lose my mind. I mean, come on. That is a total asshole move. Just eat the fucking tomato. I mean, if the squirrel ate the tomato, I would simply call him a greedy bastard. But just taking one bite...geesh. In many ways, the eighteen-month old pulls a squirrel move every Music Class.

He is tottering genius who is pretending not to be able to talk or listen to adults while conspiring to give my children continual viruses. He actually isn't "evil". He is cunning, uh, I mean, smart, rambunctuous, curious, active...this is the thing. Just because you are a toddler, say, eighteen months (or possibly younger) you get no outs in Electric Angie Land. If you are acting like a jackass, I will tell you, (in my head) that you are acting like a jackass. And Little Sir, you are a jackass.

I generally am not a germaphobe. But the kid has a perpetually runny nose and a nasty, croup-y cough, and has taken to being fascinated with everything that belongs to Thor. Rattles. Baby gnome. Toys. His shoes. His grandmother/nanny (I can't figure out which she really is) does nothing to prevent him from coming over to our stuff, grabbing it, sucking on it, licking it, humping it, and then stuffing it right into Thor's face before I can stop him. Everyone goes "Aaaawwwww, he likes the baby" while he is handing the "baby his toys". "So sweet" they coo after him, but what I see is a germy, disgusting toy pre-sucked by a kid with a horribly nasty cough stuffed into the mouth of my six month old. I really don't want to discipline another person's kid. I don't want to have to watch after him always. I don't want to use my nice, inside June Cleaver voice to say, "No, no, Genius Child, don't put that in the baby's face." I want to enjoy music class with my children without wondering where Patient X is and what is the next virus he is handing out to our household. And I really really really don't want to cart my anti-bacterial crap to the circle, because then who looks like the asshole? Yes. Me.

Here is the point where he crossed being a little annoying snotty kid to being my arch nemesis. One morning, when I was happily enraptured in singing, "Hey Lolly Lolly Lolly" , I turn around and this kid is pulling everything out of my diaper bag, and sucking on Beezus' juice. Blaaargh!! Were you raised by gypsies, Shortie? He effectively licked everything we own before I realized it. And cloth things. Anyway, yeah, so since it seems like he is basically trying to drive me type A insane, he has become my arch nemesis spreading ebola to my children. Did I mention I have been sick with a hacking horrible virus all week? Yeah. Totally the wee Arch Nemesis. I need a good Arch Nemesis name for him. This week, he somehow managed to break the circulating fan, draw blood from the music teacher, and send a huge cardboard poster of Noah's Ark into the middle of my back.

I have a bruise.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 30 - a dream for the future

Day 30 - a dream for the future 

The wind chimes blow gently. The fall air makes our house feel special on an ordinary weekend. "Git out from underfoot," I scold the dog as the big pot of paella stews on the stovetop. My children are home for the weekend. I hit the back of my son's hand as he picks scallops out of the pot. "You ruin it by opening the pot. You know that." They both laugh at me and pretend to be afraid of me. 

Sam pours me a glass of wine as they chop veggies for me. I cook and add spices and little details that remind them of home. They tell me stories--wild, insane stories of university and their friends. The laughter with the aroma of sofrito fills our kitchen. Sam keeps coming behind me to smooch the back of my neck and put his arms around me. He buries his face in my hair. I know what he is thinking. Our children are happy. We have done good. 

I will stop, as they tease each other, close my eyes and say a prayer of thanks for my amazing fortune. A candle will flicker our sideboard, next to a pillar or small stones and a small black jizo. It is still a prayer of thanks when I notice the candle. Still a prayer of infinite gratitude.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Day 29 - hopes, dreams, and plans for the next 365 days

Day 29 - hopes, dreams, and plans for the next 365 days

Geesh. Well, I hope to remain as driven creatively. Keep writing short stories and finish a damned novel one of these damned days. I hope to figure out a way to blend my passions for art and writing into a career which makes money because my time limit for being a stay at home mom is coming to an end, I think. In some ways, I feel like I am at a crossroads in my life with my writing, my career, my passions. I can touch the life I have always imagined for myself, and I hope to really visualize it and pursue it clearly.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 28 - what's in your handbag/purse

Day 28 - what's in your handbag/purse

Well, technically it is a diaper bag. If I carry a purse and go out without children, I usually put my keys, my wallet, a pack of Extra Peppermint gum, lipgloss and sometimes an I-pod. If I carry my diaper bag, it is the aforementioned items along with Thor diapers, wipes, a nursing cover, snacks for Beezus (a Clif Bar), food for Thor, gnomes, diaper duck, crayons and some paper. I am kind of a minimalist.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 27 - your worst habit since your child's death.

Day 27 - your worst habit since your child's death.

I drink bourbon alone at night and write.

I don't have anything else to add to that.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 26 - your week, in great detail

Day 26 - your week, in great detail

My husband has a changing schedule every week, so my week changes too. Life is different when he is around, but most weeks are like this:

Sunday is Family Day. No television. No cell phone. We do family-oriented activities. That also means no writing except during naptime.

Monday: I usually see my father who lives in a nursing facility. He has Advanced Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. He is paralyzed on one side of his body and cannot walk, so he is wheelchair bound. This year, he has been in and out of the hospital a few times with infections, which scares the shizzle out of me, but he has been sick for a very long time. Anyway, he is very particular about his way of being, so my sister or I have to do his laundry every week. He won't let strangers touch his clothing. Anyway, we go to see him, take him lunch, shoot the shit make sure he has money/toothpaste and all that jazz. He lives about an hour and fifteen minutes away, so I leave about 9:30a and get home around 3p. My kids have been going to see him since they were about a month old each, and I hope it gives them the compassion to sit with someone who is very ill. They talk to all the guys there and I love that wheelchairs are not gape-magnets. They always see wheelchairs. They are comfortable with sick and old people. We talk about those things quite a bit, and about death. And we teach them to respect and be kind to all the people, so they are favorites around those halls. My father has an electric wheel chair and the girls always take turns riding on his lap, or on the back. It is very cute. My father has been sick for a very long time. I miss my dad, to be honest, I have grieved him for a very very long time.

Tuesday: We usually stay home, or hit the library. Sometimes we go to my sister's house to play with my niece and nephew, or go for a hike.

Wednesday: Music Together Class, which is seven kinds of fun, except for the fact that my arch nemesis is in the class. And yes, he is 18 months.

Thursday: GYMNASTICS. I studied gymnastics, and signed Beezus up this year, because I thought she should learn how to fall properly. She loves gymnastics. I think she doesn't stop smiling from the time she goes in there until she leaves.

Friday: Market/Target day. Yeah, we shop for stuff and run errands. Sometimes we meet my sister to shop at the market, which is basically chaotic and insane and I am pretty sure people loathe us, but it does make it a lot more fun.

Saturday: Work day. Sam takes the kids and goes out for three-five hours while I write, work on still life 365 or paint. Then they come home, I feed Thomas and he takes them for a nap and I keep working.

That wasn't in great detail, but overview of our week.

I have blogged everyday this month. But October has 31 days. So, if anyone is interested in asking me a question, I will answer them on October 31st. You can pose questions here in the comment section, or email me at You can ask about anything. Dead baby related or not. You can even ask anonymously, if you want to ask me something mean-spirited. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 25 - your day, in great detail

Day 25 - your day, in great detail

Yeah, so I suppose everyone who reads here knows that I am a stay at home mother. I have to say that being a stay at home mother was a strange fit for me. I consider myself a feminist. I had a successful, interesting and profitable career. I bought our house. I had always been the sole provider in our relationship until giving birth, and in fact, before leaving on maternity leave, I had never been in a relationship where my partner made more money than me.

When I decided to stay home, it wasn't made in haste or taken lightly. In fact, it was kind of like Princess Bride, when Westley describes being captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts, "Good night, Westley. Good work. Sleep well. I'll most likely kill you in the morning. " Every morning I would wake up and think, "Oh, wow, that was hard, interesting and fun. I'll probably go back to work next week."

I didn't really want my identity completely tied up in my child. I didn't really want to lose my career. I didn't really want to be defined in relation to other people--husband and kids. I didn't want to learn songs and signing and have a Dora-splosion house. I didn't want to be the caretaker or play house, or do any of those things. I really didn't want to clean stinky things, or talk about diapering options with complete strangers. To be frank, I wanted to be selfish about my identity and who I thought I was.

In Theory.

Except that when I was home with Beezus, it fit. Better than I ever imagined. I loved it. I loved it all. I found it fulfilling and interesting. And the first time someone called me the caregiver and Sam the breadwinner, I lost my ego-laden marbles. When the neighbor called me a housewife, I walked in my house and punched our couch out of rage and stewed, and thought up a lot of great retorts which basically boiled down to, "No I'm not." The word hausfrau bounced around in my skull for weeks after that, and I would grow red again. And what I realized is that my ego, my reputation, was preventing me from pursuing this beautiful life. I was letting other people's idea of what a stay at home mother was influence what a stay at home mother was for me. Would I go back to work simply because people are seeing me as the kind of woman I didn't want to be seen as? It was ridiculous. It was a good lesson for me. And being the kind of stay at home mother that I am has become a real exploration in balancing my ego and my true path.

It still stings when people say, "I don't know how you do it." That is probably the most frequently said thing to me by other adults. "How do you stay home all day? I couldn't do it." Or "My kids are soooo annoying/difficult/mind numbingly boring/uninterested in anything cool. I would shoot myself if I was home all day." In general, then, I think that is a good thing to know about yourself.  But if staying home isn't boring to me, are you saying I am dim? Or just easily amused? Or just without discipline?

So, anyway, why am I talking about this? Because my day is intrinsically tied to being a stay at home mother, and it is something I don't talk about very much.

After Lucy died, my mothering was kind of more of like a cocoon-ing. We watched a lot of television. Curled under blankets. Only went to the playground when I was certain others were not there. We walked around the alleys of our neighborhood, if you can call them alleys. We snarled at people. We painted for hours and hours and hours a day. Or cooked. Or cleaned together. Sometimes we took three baths. I don't know. Beatrice and I talked a lot. Read books and talked, or told stories, or stared at the ceiling. Yes she could barely form a sentence, but that was comforting to me. All my emotions needed to be summed up in succinct sentences that a two year old could understand. It helped uncomplicate my head. "Mommy is sad because Lucy died." Can't get much more straightforward and true than that.

This fall I decided to be more intentional with my parenting and teaching. I ordered a number of homeschooling books, and wonderful books about incorporating nature and ritual into your daily lives. All in all, it has been transformative for both of us--spiritually, intellectually and emotionally. We love what we are doing now, so here is our day:

I usually wake up at 6:00 am, shuffle downstairs. I set my coffee up the night before and have it on a timer, so it wakes me with the aroma. I pour myself coffee, take my thyroid medication. I let the dog out, shuffle to the computer, and read blogs/answer emails. (I am pretending that this is a perfect, normal day of the week day where my husband has already left for work. And that we are home all day, but mostly, we have something every day.) He leaves around 6a, so sometimes I get a quick snuggle and smooch in before he is off. The kids usually wake up around 6:30 or 7:00 am, so I get a few minutes checking My Face, and Twitter and all that. When they wake, I have to go get Thor. Beezus will come downstairs. I set up her orange juice the night before, so if she does wake before me, she can get her own juice and hang out until I wake up. When the kids come downstairs, I change diaper for Thor. I nag Beezus to use the potty about a thousand times before she actually will grab her crotch and scream that she has to use the potty. RIGHT NOW. And she runs off to potty. Sometimes I let television be on for a half hour or an hour, if I am feeling particularly bleary-eyed. During that time, Thor is in his bounce-y thing, and I usually do the crossword while she watches her morning stories. I always call my sister at this time and we talk for a few minutes. Every. Morning. If I am needing to talk to my mother, I call her too.

We turn the television off pretty quickly in the morning. Bea and I play with Thor. We always play the three of us for some amount of time. Then we all get up and feed. I get Beezus some granola or yogurt and honey. Thor eats his cereal. I eat granola, or drink a smoothie. We wash dishes, and head upstairs. It is usually around 8 or 8:30a. We get dressed, brush teeth. I shower. I am a showering freak, so I take a shower in the morning and bath in the evening most days come hell or high water. The kids don't usually bother me. They play in their room.

After we are dressed and showered, around 9a, we come back downstairs to start our day, which is to look outside at the weather, and change our day of the week/weather/season sign. Then we do something vaguely school-y, like science cards, or learning about time, or practices colors or writing names.  Something from a workbook or whatever. If we run an errand, it is during this time. Thor then takes a nap somewhere between 9a and 10a. Beatrice plays while I put him down. Then I come downstairs again and we paint, craft or draw for an hour or two. Sometimes we get out of the house earlier, and I wear Thor for his nap, and we walk to the playground or play outside instead of school. Every day is different, so this is a hard exercise.

Thor wakes around 11-11:30. I usually make lunch. Cheese sandwich and carrots with milk. Yes, pretty much the same thing every day. Sometimes Bea has peanut butter and honey, but mostly cheese sandwich, and I eat hummus. Thor eats too. We play gnomes or something at this time. Or clean up our morning mess, or finish laundry if it is laundry day. We sometimes do puzzles. Somehow it is 1p before I know it, which is the kids naptime again. Thor and Beezus both sleep this time. I read three books to both of them. Nurse Thor. They usually sleep from 1:30 to 4:00p. This is magic mama time. I sleep some days. Or write. Sometimes I keep Thor with me, and he naps on my lap, so he doesn't wake Beez, and I watch the L-Word or whatever else happens to be the show I watch On-Demand. When the kids wake up, I usually let Bea watch a half hour to transition to awake time. She usually has a Newman O or two and some juice. Then we go outside for a walk. We go to the playground. We walk around on a nature hike in pursuit of something, or just around the neighborhood. If it is too cold or raining, we do music class. Actually, we somehow do music class almost every day. We listen to music and play instruments, or I play guitar and we sing together. Afternoons are usually nice mixed in with bouts of post-nap emotional tenderness.

When Sam gets home, I start dinner and he takes the kids. I usually make something vegetarian for me and Beezus, and a piece of meat for my husband, because I am just that kind. We always sit to eat together at the table, and most nights we light the candles on the table and Lucy's candles. We eat. Clean. I give the kids a bath most nights, and climb into the tub with them. If I don't, I go into the office and work/email. After bath, Bea is allowed to watch television for a half an hour or so, and I take Thor up to bed around 7p. Beezus goes to bed around 8-8:30 p. Sam and I usually go up to bed at that time too, and read and talk in bed. Lately, though, I have been staying up later and writing, since my schedule hasn't been giving me much time during the day to write. That is my day. If there is an average one.

I have blogged everyday this month, and whew, that was friggin' hard. But this thirty days thing is sort of weird, in that, October has 31 days. So, if anyone is interested in asking me a question, I will answer them on October 31st. You can pose questions here in the comment section, or email me at You can ask about anything. Dead baby related or not. You can even ask anonymously, if you want to ask me something mean-spirited.