Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pretty Thing

I tried a few times to get a good shot of this pose:





































Sunday, January 27, 2008

What We Did Saturday Night

Some celebrate their aniversaries with dinner, maybe a movie...we covered dinner but due to some yucky tooth problems (H's this time not mine)...we ended up needing to walk. So we hit the new downtown Target, and acted like a couple of kids



















Too cool for Target

















Ginger posing as someone much cooler...










Help me, I'm in Target world and I can't get out..














Clothes?








































































Friday, January 25, 2008

Tending

He left in winter. Before he left, he chopped the five cords of small logs into smaller logs. These they piled neatly into stacks within the shelter of the rickety shed built around the houses' backdoor. She enjoyed piling the wood even though it was bitterly cold outside. Stacking wood was one of the few skills passed down from her father. She would set a base with a half log space between each log, and then the second set of logs would rest half in the space, half against the sides of two bottom logs. This kept the pile from shifting and rolling. It wasn't much of a legacy, she supposed, but it made her useful to him as he chopped the logs with an axe. He wished for a chainsaw during the long laborious work but she was glad for the absence of mechanical noise. She enjoyed the sound of first, the axe head against the metal splinter, and then the loud crack as the log broke in half. Next she would hear the thud of the axe blade splitting the halves into quarters. Finally, he would throw the wood to her in the shed where she would stack. They worked in silence but it was comfortable unlike the silences that filled the inside of the house. During these precious moments, she imagined that they could both learn to live with comfortable. After they had cut and stacked the five cords, he left. For good.

It was like him, she thought each time she brought wood in from the shed, to make sure she had enough wood. He liked to take care of people. To save them. He had imagined he was saving her. But in the end, he realized that she had saved herself. She didn't need him, and that weighed heavily on him. As she dropped the wood into the wooden box that marred the beauty of the kitchen island, she remembered how these tasks became the "manly" ones. It irked her when he took over the tending of the woodstove. He didn't know shit about woodstoves, she discovered quickly. The first night she woke to a house full of smoke. He had fully closed the vent on the chimney pipe. Then the second night, he left it fully open, and they woke freezing. Thank god, none of the pipes had frozen. Most times, he could barely get the stove stoked. He could not take advice from her, and she learned to just keep her mouth closed, set in a tight angry line. Her mouth too often found itself in that position as the relationship dwindled to an end. When he was gone, to the bathroom, or to get more wood, she would quickly fix his mistakes, and then go back to whatever she was doing, looking innocent or so she hoped.

Now the stove was hers. Of course only partly. Whoever had built this house had no sense. The stove was in the middle of the foyer between the stairs leading to the second floor with the kitchen island to one side, and the bathroom on the other. There was not room for the wood box which her dad had given to her when she moved. She loved the box though it was rather ugly, and it looked wrong against the granite perfection of the island. It had been built by her grandfather when was a little girl. It was stained a dark brown, and had a top which was now a bit wobbly. Each night she would make three trips to fill the box. Then she would stoke the stove with black iron poker, stirring up the latent coals hidden beneath a blanket of ash. She would relish the sudden flash of heat against her skin as the coals were revealed through the gray. Next she would push in a couple of dry logs, pushing the coals to form a nest. She would lay a few pieces of kindling directly atop the coals. She would close the door a bit, enough to allow some air in, and to make sure the wood caught. When she was sure, she would close the stove, and open the vent. Then she would make supper before adding more wood, and closing the vent a bit more.

On nights, when the pain and loneliness were stronger, she would sometimes make supper on the stove. She would wrap a potato in aluminum foil, and lay it near the fire. She would sit and watch the fire dance inside the stove through the door vent. Sometimes, she would turn off the lights, and let the flames make shadows of the walls and beams. She could never get him to do this. He was too comfortable at that point, to just sit with his arms around her unless it was going to lead to sex. Although, they did sit one snowy night, and eat chocolate chip cookies, made from the recipe found on the back of The Tollhouse chocolate chips bag. They hadn't touched though, just sat there in the dark because there was no electricity. Now she sat alone and munched her cookies alone. Her cats would come and sit around her. Once the potato had been baking for awhile, she would put soup in a cast iron pan, and lay that atop the stove next to the iron kettle that kept the air hydrated. She would mess with the stove, stoking it unnecessarily, adding some bits of kindling. She enjoyed this bit of care. And then she would eat there in front of the stove. The potato was never good, always slightly overcooked in some places and nearly raw in others. Her dad could make perfect baked potatoes this way. The soup would always be good though. It was hard to screw up soup.

Inspired by Amy's poem.


 

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Voices

When our friend D came to visit last Saturday, he brought his portable harddrive which holds his entire music collection (this is an addition to hundreds maybe thousands of cds and vinyl). We got to download to our heart's content but also seeing some of the albums reminded us of things owned but not dusted off in a long while. When you own a certain amount of music (althought can one really own such a thing?), you get lost, or rather you lose certain songs, musicians that you love. Looking over D's collection, seeing The Birthday Party, made me realize that it had been a long while since we listened to Nick Cave.


This has, of course, lead to an intensive Nick Cave craving. I pulled out Abattoir Blues and The Lyre of Orpheus which is a simply amazing collection. The song "My Beautiful World" is one we used to sing Piper when she was a baby, and Camille when she was a toddler. I think that H's dad bought it for Horacio when he came to visit for Christmas. Regardless of where the ablum came from, it's a brilliant piece of work. The music is sensual, mysterious, and stirring. Cave's lyrics are smart, often funny and sly, and beautiful. His voice....ahh...his voice.


See I have a thing for Cave's voice. I've loved it since the first time I heard it (Wim Wender's movie Wings of Desire). His voice is the cloest sound to what I think of as dark sensuality, sex, and the night. It's a voice that reminds me of S & M, B & D, etc. But not in the cheesy sense or in the "Omigod, you used to do what?" sense either. It's not shocking...it's about love and sex...about how those things even when dark are precious and beautiful. There are times when Cave's vocie literally raises goosebumps on my neck. I listened to him in the car, driving to school, and at one point just started to cry. I can't even remember the lyrics or what was playing...it was just totally his voice. Cave's voice gives that same sense of longing I feel when I read D. H. Lawerence. As if what you have is not enough, that there is always something just out of reach.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Choice

Blog for Choice Day

Very little in my great great grandmother's life was about choice. She married young because she was pregnant. One simply did not become a single mother in my great great grandmother's world. Pressured by her parents, she married a much older dominating man. If one is to believe that sex is about choice, one could argue that she had a choice when she fucked this man. There is no point in sugar coating what they did as making love. It was sex. And it was sex that came unwilling for her. Sex that was pushed on her, sex that nagged away at her virginity until she finally gave in. He was older, quite forceful but charming and handsome as well. She was 13 and he was 25.

He was handsome and charming. The pictures show a dark man in one of those suits from the 40s with a Panama hat, tucked down over one eye. He was holding a cigarette, and had a sly smile on his face. He looked like the kind of man who screwed men out of their money and just screwed women. And that's pretty much who he was. He was gone a lot, following the horses and various schemes. My great grandmother no longer interested him once she had the second child. Childbirth and extreme poverty wrote early lines onto her face and made her luxurious black hair thin and gray. She looks like a poor Maine woman in the photos. Her hair pulled back severely from her face knotted into a tight bun. She wears a flower print dress that gathers at the waist and then falls into to her calves. It is hard to tell if the dress is faded because the photo is old but I always think the dress is faded. She has one hand on her hip, and the other arm is holding a baby, my nana. There is another girl holding onto her legs, my aunt Isabella. They all look haunted and scared.

Then my great great grandfather disappeared. No one knew where he went but they suspected he was hiding from another scheme gone wrong. There is a rumor that he went overseas. My great great grandmother found another man while he was gone. We don't know a lot about him. I'd like to think he was kind and loving but I suspect that he was an ass just like my great great grandfather. There are no pictures of him. No name. Just some faceless man that my great great grandmother had an affair with. I'm not sure how much choice was in this sex either. He likely helped take care of her at a time when it was hard for a woman to get a job especially in rural Maine and New Hampshire. Sex for money is nothing new in this world. Sex for protection is also nothing new but sex does little to protect in the end.

My great great grandmother got pregnant. And then she found out that my great great grandfather was coming back. She was terrified so she took a clothes hanger and shoved up her vagina in an attempt to abort the fetus she carried. I wonder at how great her fear was of this man that she would do something so drastic and no doubt incredibly painful. What had he done to her to make her so frightened? There were likely doctors who would do this but the money was no doubt beyond my great great grandmother's meager income. Her neighbors found her on the stairs, bleeding to death. They brought her to the hospital but it was too late. Her death certificate lists cause of death as: miscarriage.

In a world where sex is to often used as a weapon against women, it is even more of a necessity that we fight for safe, free abortions. This demands that we not let ourselves feel safe. It is too easy to imagine that the right to choice has been established and can not be taken away. I will always be pro choice. Women have few choices in this world as it is. The very least we should have is the right to control the fertility of our own bodies.

A Start....


Here's a bit of what I'm trying to do with John's wonderful poem.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Something to Read While You Look

I've been posting a lot of pictures lately and not much writing. I'm not feeling inspired to be honest. John B-R's (as he's know very affectionately around our home) created a poem that I can seem to shake. I hear the opening lines at the most random moments, and found myself doodling them in the middle of class last week. Yet when I tried to write based on this inspiration, I created some rather mediocre and not really worthy of what I was feeling. I've been attempting to create something visual (stealing from E's project) and that's coming a long a bit better. Of course I'm spending an absurd amount of time on Adobe Photoshop.


Why absurd you may ask? Well I am supposed to have a completed thesis of about 100 pages ready by April 17. And I'm afraid that the writing in that area feels totally uninspired as well. I've been thinking of all kinds of crafty things to learn that would involve me not working on said thesis: sewing, knitting, etc, and now the Adobe thing. H just shock his head when I bought over a pile of craft books at B & N the other night. "Um maybe you should just focus on your thesis." he suggested, unhelpfully. Needless to say he's right, and I have promised my adviser an intro and history bit by the end of this month. So yes, I suppose I should start writing. But really I just want to take pictures, learn to knit, and snuggle with my babies.


My TA position this semester is nice. The prof. is a great guy if a tad scattered. The subject area is something I know nothing about so it's fun to be in the class. And I'll be teaching a couple of classes (gasp!). In fact, my first class is coming right up: heretics. I love heretics. And then I'll do a class on Christianity and socioeconomic movements (I know a disturbing amount of stuff about prosperity gospel). The classes are huge but my correcting duties are not too bad.


I am still a fat girl running. I'm on week four of the training program but I've modified it a bit. I basically have been starting out with running for two minutes, and then walking for two (after a five minute brisk walk warm up which I also conclude with). By half way through, I can run for three or four minutes with a two minute walk between, and at the end I usually finish with a five minute run but the last two times I've done this, my knees have started to hurt. I always stop running the moment I feel knee pain and so far no pain after running. I'm hoping to do three minutes at the start with five in the middle to the end.


I'm also a fat girl not dieting anymore. I still feel liberated. Hell, I feel great. My friend MTP wrote an excellent post about sad food which has me thinking about diet food and how even the preparation was sad for me. I have to think about this one a bit more but I suspect it will be a post soon.


In other yucky news, I have a root canal at two today:( And no news from UNC which I didn't really except to have at this point until a prof. asked me all excited "Have you heard anything?" And since he attended UNC I thought maybe he had some inside know or something. I guess not:)


More Things







Saturday, January 19, 2008

Food

I have been cooking, and I've also been rediscovering food as pleasure. It never really went away on WW but it definitely took a back seat to points value. I'll admit to a tad of overeating...like the homemade peanut butter fudge someone brought in, and Cape Cod chips. But after a week of methodically eating through my "forbidden food" list, I began to long for more whole food type things. I had cherries yesterday morning, and they were fabulous. Tart and sweet on the tongue. I love the way the skin crunches between your teeth, and then the juice against your tongue. And the blood oranges I bought were sweet as well. There is nothing worst than a bad orange. All the work to get to the fruit just have to leave it a bad taste in your mouth. But these oranges were perfect...not too sweet but very juicy. I love the color as do the kids.







Last night I made a quinoa pineapple stir fry from the Veganomicon. We decided to make quinoa once a week as we love it and it is so good for you being a complete protein and all. This of course means stockpiling a large number of recipes. This is a definite keeper. First, the quinoa is made in half water/half pineapple juice which not tastes great but smells wonderful. The stir fry itself was delicious with red peppers, onions, garlic, edamande and ginger all smothered in a yummy sauce of soy sauce, vegetable broth, and rice wine. Add to this chunks of pineapple and cashews, and pure eating heaven ensued.













Friday, January 18, 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Winter Day Distractions










Snowballs against the window....












A laugh coming from in the cold....










A rousing game of dinosaur bowling...








Your own legs and feet in stripped socks.

Snow Day

We actually got snow in Charlotte. We were treated to a spectular midnight snow show:



And my perfect snowday breakfast....

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

Going Home


Flight Itinerary

Depart 9:30 AM 03 Jun 2008

From Charlotte, NC
To Mexico City, Mexico
Arrive 12:20 PM 03 Jun 2008 Meal: Buy on Board

Class: Coach


Depart: 1:15 PM 22 Jul 2008
From: Mexico City, Mexico
To: Charlotte, NC
Arrive: 5:56 PM 22 Jul 2008
Meal: Buy on Board

Class: Coach



I bought our tickets tonight. I know I had to do it now or we'd find a million reasons to spend the money and not go. We're going home after almost seven years away. We showed the kids pictures of some of our favorite places, and I felt my heart kind of lift up. The D. F. is my home at least in spirit. It is the place I feel the most longing for.


And it is not the kind of romantic longing where everything is better: I remember the smell (chorline like on teh most polluted days), the way the smog crawls up into your nostrils, the povertry, the danger. But I also remember the beauty, the life that is so out there in the streets, the buildings, the coffee. And we will be with our family, and indeed H's family feels like my family now.

In five short months, we will be boarding a plane to bring our family to our home. The girls have never been to their other country. We will make them citizens when we go. And Umberto, well he was a baby. This is the first visit he will remember. H and I have already begun to plan all the things we want to show them. This is a part of parenthood...to show your children your world, and watch as they remake that world in their own way.


And of course this visit will be bittersweet. Mexico is not our home anymore. And we will be going to and leaving Mexico without a home. Before we leave our things will be in storage. And when we return...well at this point we have no idea. It is strange to have something so concrete planned when the future is hazy. And of course it is bittersweet for H as things have changed so much. This is the place of his birth yet there is much that he won't recognize or at least that is his assumption.


Mexico here we come...

Blur--Magical Us-Park Days











Thursday, January 10, 2008

Playground


Leaves/Magic


Caution: Fat Girl Running

This is what a fat girl looks like before her run! I was pretty proud of the fleece. Light weight but warm, and best of all, on sale. I was trying to get H to bring it on but he feared my wrath.


So the fat girl is running, and loving it. I have always loved to run. I love being alone. I love having music blaring in my ears. I love the feel of the ground everytime I hit down. I love feeling the wind. Today, I ran in the rain, and I loved the feel of the rain. If I could capsulate freedom in an action, it would be running.




I stopped running in high school. I was on the cross country team. I loved it. Running in the woods is amazing. But...I was slow...really slow. And of course my team hated it. And someone took me aside and suggested that I needed to lose some weight because the extra weight was making me slow. I quit the team the next day. No one, including the coach, encouraged me not to . I went to the meets for awhile but it was kind of painful to watch. I believed fora long time that fat people just couldn't run. Everyone I saw running was always thin. The girls who ran track and cross country were always these tiny little things. The big girls played field hocky.


I didn't run for a long time. I rode my bike a lot as an undergrad. But I didn't run. Until I went to Mexico. H and his parents run at a park called Los Viveros. The first time we went I was assuatled with images. The venders with their wares, sneakers, sport's bras, shorts, tank tops, laid out on blankets. The fruit sellers, the peanut sellers (peanuts for the way overly friendly squirrels). H and I used to stop and get a coffee from this great shop, El Jarocho that had these huge sticky doughnuts. What I loved/hated about the place where the millions of bees that buzzed in and around the place. It was a slight terrifying adventure to venture in to get your coffee. But it was worth the terror. We'd leave with steaming cups of strong, sweet coffee, and huge chocolate covered doughnuts.


The first time we stood drinking our coffee and watching the runners, I realized that a lot of them were kind of fat, like me. At first, I started walking. We'd wheel Umberto around in his carriage, playing around on the side paths, taking pictures, looking for cara de ├▒ino bugs. But I was watching those big people run. No one acted offended. No one laughed or commented on how slow they were because some of them weren't slow. In fact, a lot of the thin women were much slower than the fat women.


Within a few weeks, I began to run. I loved it. This time it didn't matter if I was slow. No one cared. I didn't run against anyone but rather ran just because I loved it.


I don't know why I didn't keep running once back in the U.S. I think it was that shame about my fat. But I started to pay attention to who runs here in Charlotte. There are a lot of fat runners in Charlotte. I started off in quiet...running in my home. Then I ventured out onto a secluded trail not used by many. Next I ran a more populated park, and took encouragement when meeting a seasoned runner, and who nodded at me as I belonged there too. Today I ran on the street for the first time. I made a conscious decision to not spend time worrying about what others would think. I ignored the cars, and concentrated on the pavement.


And as the rain poured down, I wanted to laugh, and I found I had this huge smile on my face. The faces that looked back at me from the cars were filled with sort of admiration but also that "What a crazy person" look. But I didn't care. I wanted to yell "Hey this is what it looks like when a fat girl runs. This is freedom. This is a fat body moving so get the hell out of my way." And today I realized that this running was freeing me.








The fat girl exhausted by her run...note child doing stretches in the back...

























Enchanted Paths


Wednesday, January 09, 2008