Red riding

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

So I have been working on Red Riding Hood, and despite having some worries, I am intrigued with the progress.

There are many things about this rug which are still unknown to me.

The wolf, for example. I have the roughest of ideas as to the stance, the intimacy of nose to cheek.  I have left space on the side of the cloak for the tail of the wolf to wrap up, curling into the the fabric.

I know the way the cloak should be moving. The swing of the fabric as she turns to the side to listen to what the wolf wants to whisper in her ear.

He is desire. He is lust. He is longing.

I started at the bottom of the cape, building it upward. I was sure that it could be constructed no other way, for the motion moves from the ground..the last edge of the cape swings furthest away.

The ripples of black had to be thick pieces of wool, much thicker than what I normally use to outline my figures.

The reds are lush. I collected these for nearly a year before I started, looking for mottled deep scarlets and burgandy. Pinks, purples and orange tones speckle the wools. A cacophany of Red.  For me.

This cape is my desire. My lust, my longing.  All the things I want, all the things I suspect that lay somewhere just past where I can see.

If I go further into the woods, I might find them.

Maybe, like the fairy tales, I will find only ruin. Another woman fallen.

I build it all into this living palate.

Waiting for the day when my wolf whispers into my ear.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Cooking at the children's museum

If it looks scary, make a scarier face

Gah, Mom.

A very windy day

York Beach Maine

The ghetto binky...before I found one she would really use

Sometimes they don't make proper rain gear small enough

Sleeping Baby, exhausted mommy

I keep trying to write this post, but nothing seems to be flowing. So I will keep it simple.

Happy 14th Birthday my love. You are, by far, the most amazing thing I have ever created.

Also, thank you universe for giving her my sense of humour. If we can laugh, we can make it.

I love you Emily Damali.

*Schmoopa - the pet name that I have called her since birth. She hates when other people hear me call her this, but I don't care. She remains my schmoopa.

Good For her(s)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

So, what do two bestest friends do when they take a road trip to a large city?

I wish I could say that we rocked the hizz-ouse, went bar hopping and stayed up until the breaka-breaka Me.

But I would be lyin.

Instead, this is what they did:

1. They lay in the gi-normous king sized bed - laughing at penis pictures while having room service deliver lunch.

2. They lay in the gi-normous king sized bed - laughing at the weather reporters, as a blizzard engulfed the city in which they were staying. P.S. City of Toronto, you need to calm the fuck down about snow. And get some plows for christ sake.

3. They eventually took a cab to a Moroccan restaurant, where they drank a bottle of wine, ate a HUGE meal, and one of them got up and belly danced (badly) with the professionals. While I will not reveal exactly Who danced, I will share that the non-dancer told the dancer that she looked as if she was trying to do the "chicken" - which was clearly NOT the sensuous writhing the dancer was going for. Ok, I am the dancer.

4. They woke up many hours after falling asleep with no child or husband to poke them.

5. They decided to walk to a feminist sex shop and peruse the goods. There were purchases made. Wink, Wink.

6. They found a shoe museum and walked in, only to be repelled by the Polish Folk music festival occurring inside.

7. After eating a late lunch ( which served the best French onion soup either had ever tasted), they bought copious decedent desserts from a lovely high end bakery. This was to serve as their dinner, in it's entirety.

8. They thought about going for a drink at a bar - until the hostess told them it was a 5 dollar charge to get into the bar, at which point they both laughed at this waifish girl, for there can be no bar awesome enough to pay to enter. Do we look like women who PAY to hang out in bars?

9. They took naps in the middle of the day!

10. They both went out the night before leaving to find gifts for their respective children....because all of the fun Non-mommy time was coming to a close and their progeny expected some kind of tribute to be paid for the alone time granted to them.

A draft post from February 2009. 

Happy Returns of the Day

Sunday, May 13, 2012

There is an uncommon stillness in my life at present. An in between time of waiting, and preparing for something which is both known and hidden. 

I turned 42 a couple of weeks ago. I am never sure how to feel about my birthday's...not because I have any ill feeling about getting older, but simply because it often seems overdone to me. All the fuss about the one day.
I don't mourn any loss of youth, since I never felt young. I am curious about the next part of my life to come, though. I suspect that it will be nothing like I imagine since that is always the case. I do not know if Terrance will continue to be a part of it, at least as my partner. He is always Emily's father and his steadfastness is a wonder to behold, particularly to a girl whose biological father ran at the first chance he got.

The dissertation gift rug is given away. I love it more than I realized, partly for the absolute way that it emerged from my hands. I look at the rug and it pretty well sums up my path to Ph.D., insomuch that there is a pattern, it just isn't linear.  It swirls, it dances, it moves back and forth, it is light and dark.  An apt metaphor, I think. There is a pattern, when you step away from the individual pieces. I am an all but defence doctor. That makes me giggle subversively. 

I've learned that I can really take the hits, emotionally, and survive. The year between 40 and 41? I was't sure I was going to survive it. Not that I actively planned anything, but I spent most of the year wishing that my existence would just...stop. The year between 41 and 42? A rebuilding year. This one upcoming too. Rebuilding everything, to different specifications. Maybe the wall around my heart will be built a little less thickly. Hard to say as of yet as I am not naturally careless when it comes to that particular fortification. 

I've started the next rug. I was hesitant with this one, wanted to get it "right" in a different way. Finally I just threw caution to the wind and started sketching. When I fuss over details, I can get mired in inaction. Fear of non-perfection becomes inability to move. The bottom of the cape needs to be fixed, but I think it is going to be frakking amazing.  The wolf still needs to be fine-tuned in my brain, but it will come.

bottom edge of cape
I continue to practice letting go of the things over which I have no control, be they people or events.  All I can do is continue being myself and trying to be transparent and honest in all things. I can only hope that those qualities are enough to bring the people and things I need into my life.

Where my wild things are

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

I was six years old when I first saw the book.

My surroundings are what I imprint upon. I was on the floor which had your standard issue industrial school carpeting. The cubbies were to my left and formed the wall that ran the length of the room. The bathrooms were behind me.

The teacher whose name could have been Mrs Walker (?) was sitting on a blue chair in front of us.

Now, books and I have always been friends. There are pictures of a sleeping three year old Dawn, hiding in her closet with the lamp, surrounded by books. I remember being in those closets - small, dark, tight spaces of safety. Me and My Books. Later on in life when I felt stress or anxiety, diving into a book was my first reaction. My college room mate would laugh as I would bring home a massive stack of fiction to read in between studying for other exams. "They relax me", I would explain.

This book, however, was different. From the moment Mrs Walker held the book up I knew that this was special - something I maybe shouldn't be seeing - and so I held my breath throughout the reading and when she had finished, I stood up and asked if I could hold this book. I needed to absorb this book. I needed to possess this book.

In fact, the next library day found me at the librarians desk asking about where I could find this book to borrow and my first memory of ordering from a book club was my amazement seeing that this prized book was one of the ones offered and begging for the 50 cents to order it.

The book was, of course, Where the Wild Things Are.

Now, psychologically, the adult Dawn could deconstruct why the book was so important to First Grade Me. A tale of the Wild Things who were both menacing and loving - terrible and fierce and Max - the boy who tamed them with a magic trick - this tale was not so far off from my life in the world of Adults. I navigated some pretty Wild Things in my day to day life, and while this was perhaps the most stable time in my remembrance of my family life, it was still business as usual.

It was in 1976 that my father threatened to kill Santa if he came into the house on Christmas Eve. I locked the door behind him as he ran out on the porch with his loaded shotgun, looking for Santa to shoot.  I had the sense to hide before my mother got the door unlocked and my father began to search the house for me.

Now, I had seen my father shoot things. Our Pet Dogs when they wouldn't stop barking. Rabbits. At the car as my mother pulled out of the driveway...with his child(ren)in the car. His unpredictable behavior made him the undisputed King of the Wild Things.

My mother, while a bit more stable in her overall demeanor, had her own role in the kingdom of my Wild Things. A role which would take center stage  once my parents divorced. As long as I did as she wanted, she was a benevolent ruler in the Kingdom. Benign neglect, I have called it - feral childhood. Yes, we were fed and clothed. But there were conditions - always conditions.

My mother was not Max's mother. There would be no hot dinner waiting for me when I woke. No, more likely I would be told that I was ungrateful and didn't deserve to have dinner - but if I insisted than I could make it myself since she was not my slave and furthermore since I had the audacity to complain, I should really start saving up to buy my own food.

First Grade Dawn didn't know all of this. She only knew that there was a book that whispered to her in a way she had never experienced. It was a book that told her that it Knew Adults were not what they seemed, and revealed them for what they were. Odd monsters with feathers and fur, feet and beaks, human noses on animal faces.

The book knew that the Wild Things Roared and Gnashed and Stomped as they pleased. However, when Max saw the Wild Things he was not afraid. No. Max was in charge of the Wild Things. He was the Adult in the world of Wild Things, the voice of reason.

And Like Max, First Grade Dawn wanted to be in control, to tame her Wild Things with her magic tricks. And also like Max, First Grade Dawn wanted to go home and be someones child, somewhere where he was loved best of all. Loved Unconditionally.

It was the first time I heard a book speak to me in the secret language of the best stories. Maurice Sendak winked at me from behind the pages of the book - He knew what adults were and had hidden the truth in those pages, right in front of them. They read the pages to us, and I felt delightfully subversive as his critique of the Big People in charge of our lives was laid out in front of them.

A door was opened for me as Mrs Walker read Where the Wild Things Are to me - and 18 other children - in 1976. I sailed over and across weeks and years and a day - and have never looked back.

Thank you, Maurice. You were an adult who "got" it.

Three in a Bed

Sunday, May 06, 2012

For those of you new to my family, we have some "issues" around bed.

Yeah, I know she is eight. Spare me any piece of advice you may have about how to get her to sleep in her own bed. I assure you ,we've tried it. We've tried EVERYTHING.

Now, here is where my first dilemia came in. I have very specific professional ideas about children and sleep. The philosophy to which I subscribe, RIE , teaches that children should be assisted to sleep when they indicate they are tired. Believe it or not, this worked with nearly ALL the babies I cared for in my years of teaching. I would have babies crawl to the edge of the nap room and sign to me that they were ready to sleep.


Nearly all of my babies in care over age 3 months would be put in their cribs when awake and allowed to fall asleep. Did I mention that this worked on nearly every baby I cared for from 1992 to 1998?  I thought I was the shit when it came to babies and sleeping. It is a well known and documented fact that I can get any kid to settle and sleep, newborn to kindergarten.

Until my child was born.

Emily was very alert. Hyper alert. Nursing perked her up. The midwife would say "She nurses and then falls asleep?"

Nope. Not my kid. It only seems to invigorate her.

"Do you try driving her around in the car?"

Of course we do. She hates the car. She screams the entire time she is in the car. I have been known to fling myself in the back seat and wrestle a breast out in a valiant effort to get her to stop. I once was let go by a cop who, after stopping me because a tail light was out, took pity on me due to the fact that my child was WAILING in the back seat. I also may have been in a full body sweat with crazy eyes.

Warm bath?

Every night.


Of course.

Stories and routine?

Yeah. I may have some depression issues, but the professional Dawn? She has the mother-trucking routine down pat.

The pediatrician whispers: "Did you try a little benedryl?"

Uh, Yeah - You know I did. Also seems to perk her up. She doesn't get sleepy at all.

When Emily was 6 months old, I bite my pride bullet and thought - OK, I'll try to Ferber her. This went against every fiber of my being, but I was desperate to get some sleep. The child had been awake and nursing for six straight months. She was also crawling at six months. Full on crawling. She was starving mobile zombie baby.

I expected the first night to be bad. I expected the second night to be a little better. I didn't expect a WEEK long marathon of screaming that would go on for the entire night. You know how you go in the room in five minute increments? 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then 15 minutes?  We got up to HOURS. HOURS, PEOPLE! With no break in the screaming. She could go to child care with me in the morning and sleep. I, sadly, did not have this option.

And her scream? Makes me sweat. Actually makes me sweat. I get these prickles in my arm pits and then it starts. I get frantic, the oxytoxin in my brain kicks into high gear and I-must-stop-the-screaming.

We tried a gate. She kicked it down. We made a sticker chart and took away things. She laughed in the face of that. She lost her birthday party this year, and her ipod. She's lost her American Girls at various times, her telescope....and the list goes on and on. She has nightlights, she has body pillows, she has everything we can think of to make her nest as comfy as possible.

And where was she this morning? Asleep. On my back. More specifically, in the middle of my back. My left arm was completely dead from lack of circulation. And my husband? On the living room couch. Also asleep. A typical morning in my house.

Update: 2012

She no longer sleeps in my bed, thankfully. She did until she was 10, though. At some point, she got too big and floppy. She now nests, just like her mom, in the middle of her bed, surrounded by huge nests of pillows and comforters.

Terrance and I never ended up sharing a bed again. Something about 10 years of not being in the same bed makes it difficult to go back. Which is fine. I really like my own bed. Which is where I am right now, snuggling in to go to sleep. Night.

dragon hoard

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The dissertation went in on Monday.

I had a good cry later on, from exhaustion and relief and overwhulmption.

Today, I signed my contracts for New University and mailed them back.

I am going to have to think about what blogging means for me now that I am a grownup and expected to be an example. Will I be well served to have this kind of transparency going forward?

All of which makes me want to scratch at my dragon skin, as I have surely fallen asleep on the hoard with dragonish thoughts in my heart.

Just like Eustace..

I wonder what that new skin will feel like.

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