Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I cleaned out my closet (see Closet Memories), and I'm also cleaning out my colon. I know. Maybe it's TMI (too much information), but let me just say that they're connected. It's all connected.

Somehow, slowly, innocuously, we're so used to yielding, nurturing, giving over as the lifeline to our babies, that we become unconscious of it and the long-term effects of it's accumulation.

As I give over my body, my focus, my identity, my stability (and everything else that comes with it), to house this baby and care for its very survival, the very act of the shifting focus, deferring, protecting, stepping aside as it were, becomes habitual. Almost automatic. (Of course you'll drop everything for your child, who wouldn't?)

So when years pass and you start to wonder, hello? Where did I go? Who am I anymore? What have I been doing? What have I done? How do I introduce myself to others? And in that context you find you've been out of the game, stuffing yourself into little boxes, stealing shreds of quiet time as unpredictable and rare as they are, keeping yourself busy, and the rest of the time slowly becoming padded, unconscious, going soft (and wide),
gathering dust, mourning the loss, the disconnection, the split, with the slow drip of deferment. Everyone's needs. Everywhere. Endless. Food becomes a relief. TV, drinks, anything to numb the painful monotony of the day to day stepping over self for family life.

It's a choice I willingly made, but was I so sure of its lasting effect?

Yes it's a joy. Yes it can be terribly exciting. Yes, it’s so fulfilling and gratifying on an enormous level, yes I love and cherish my daughter, but as I survey the handful of moms I know, we're all struggling to get back to ourselves. To find that piece of self-passion, reconnect, reinvent, get stronger and thrive again.


I'm on day 7 of a cleanse. Not too strict. The powder 2x/day, no wheat, no dairy, no sugar. Lots of veggies, fruit and whole grains. Chicken and fish. And water. Spa water w/ sliced cucumbers and oranges.

As my body releases and lightens, I am astounded at just how much I have accumulated in there and how I've been hiding inside myself, bubble-wrapped in this flesh.

I am willing to let it go. I am willing to release the weight, the bloating, the holding on. I am willing to reveal my inner sanctuary, my inner strength.

I dedicated this morning's run to longevity…to stick with it and examine what that means, and how that approach varies from fast and furious, and burnout.

What are the next steps, I ask?

As I'm running along the path, I am reminded of a Chi Gong (or Qigong)
exercise to gather up the chi and with a short and forceful exhale, push down and compact my energy into my body and into the earth. I do this grounding exercise as my feet connect with the dirt.

We spend so much time in the ever-expanding heart chakra and third eye and crown, nurturing, intuiting, we forget to come back down into our bodies. Many of us have neglected them, abandoned them figuratively and literally until we are walking shells which makes us more, not less, vulnerable. Somehow sex is relegated to a chore, a duty, or tied inexplicably to creation--life and death and loss in all its turmoil--that the intensity of this knowing creates a disconnection. We abort sensuality. We are touched out. Fortresses are built. Is this too much life for one body to handle? Or too many other lives for one body to handle?

As I'm grounding my energy into the earth, my heart swells and expands, energy radiating outward full force yet I'm present, connected.

"It's time," I hear.

Thwack, thwack, thwack, as invisible ripcords release from my belly. I take myself back, lovingly, in all my power.

What would it look like if I could live from this place of heart-centered, grounded, intuitive, physically and spiritually-connected all-knowing? How would my life look? Could I do this? I mean, really do it? And do it with a family?

"Do not fear it."

It's the salve I needed to hear. Yes. Do not fear it. Do not fear living with greatness of spirit, connected to the earth, through the body, all parts vibrant, moving forward with knowing and grace, unencumbered, intuitively guided. Live from this place. Live.

I am given a blessing to let her go. She is 5 now, a big girl. I am there for her but she is independent.

"Do not fear it," I say to both of us,
"do not fear it," picturing her sweetness, knowing her willfulness.

I get it now. It's the Mother's Blessing. The mother's gift to her daughter. To let her begin to individuate, as I must too. I can't hold on forever. She must begin her autonomy. This is tied to the separation anxiety in the mornings I am sure, year 2 of heart-wrenching death clings at the door, "no Mommy, stay, staaaaay….noooooo!"

Now it has shifted. I feel it. It is OK to take it back, my life, releasing the psychic cord. I am not leaving you, I am at your side. But I am one now, not two.

Recognizing the depth of this seemingly simple moment, I am overcome with gratitude.
Oh Blessings. Thank you.

Today the drop-off was short. "Hey Sienna, what if we just do what some of the other kids do, you know, like 'Bye! See ya later alligator.' We could try it that way" I pitch, envisioning the long drawn-out hugs and pep talks, the exchanged notes, the series of goodbye rituals we have worked on over the last two years.

"OK. Bye Doodie!" she says, and runs off with her friends laughing.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Closet Memories

Today I cleaned out my closet. Well, not all of it, mainly the jambalaya etouffé of accessories that monopolized a handful of shelves, and by that I mean the carelessly shoved free-for-all of baskets, boxes, hats, boots, belts and tangles of costume jewelry strewn about with sewing materials, not to mention running sneakers (as opposed to "walking" or "funky" sneakers), that have accumulated over the years. And by years I don't just mean the 9 in this house. Some of this stuff dates back to the, er, 80s. Lifetimes ago.

The clothes? That's a whole other project. Considering I've been in and out of 4 pregnancies over the last 6 years, I have been hoarding sizes--from 6 all the way to 16-- determined to return back to them one day like some tantalizing unrequited lover. For now they'll just have to wait. I'll get through those another day.

Today (or yesterday, actually) it felt good to go through, edit, arrange and organize my things. The loose accessories jammed into odd places. Why had it taken me so long to put like with like? Had I become disrespectful of my belongings? I began to take down the clutter and arrange all the hats together on one shelf (does anyone still wear a hat?), the boots on another, large totes and shoulder bags up there, smaller dressy clutches under there, and the jewelry at eye level. Crazy, dusty, tarnished, jewelry spilling out of mismatched baskets, bowls and boxes… empires were built and destroyed inside these boxes.

Remember the stacks of skinny black rubber bangles and matching hoops Madonna made famous during her "Lucky Star" days? We both found them on the streets of New York way back when, mine fading and beginning to decompose. Or the dangling spider and spiderweb earrings I bought after a gig at CBGBs. How about the intentional lopsidedness of a 6" dangling chandelier earring on one side worn with a stud on the other, or am I dating myself here?

Then came the crystal phase…rose quartz, lapis, carnelian, amethyst and blood-rich garnet…

And pearls….ropes and ropes of pearls. I adored pearls back then…gaudy clusters, glitzy chokers and single elegant strands. Pearls, wrapped around my wrist or slung around my hips, or
worn cascading dangerously all the way down a backless back.

And, not to be out-shined by a patron…(Wayne used to say "the singer should always be overdressed" assisting me with his knack for picking outfits and accessories, never mind that we were playing bars in Brooklyn, Long Island, or the surrounding boroughs)...rhinestones.

Dripping in rhinestones. Rhinestones and more rhinestones, dahling. A chick singer's staple. Rhinestones with a black cocktail dress, rhinestones with a mini skirt, rhinestones sewn onto a top, rhinestones with jeans and a mens suit jacket. Rhinestones = instant glam. Sparkle. A poor girl's affluence. Cocktail anyone? Make mine a Manhattan.
With brandy. Straight up.

One of the next things I did was take down both my blue suede and my fancy brown and black "shit-kicker" cowboy boots I got in Nashville while living in Kentucky. Although it was a shift from my Manhattan heels, back there you could wear your cowboy boots with jeans, with shorts, with leggings, with a skirt, hell you could wear 'em with pretty much anything…silk boxer shorts and a white wife-beater… except not so much when it rained it turns out.

Stroking my faded blue suede boots, ripped and trashed though they were along the sides, the toe, the sole, I'm cruising through the back roads of Kentucky, music thumping, transported to Austin TX, hanging with CC Adcock and young Doyle Bramhall, Stevie Ray Vaughn's rhythm section who became part of Arc Angels, and then Storyville with Malford Milligan. I'm having a mango margarita at Fonda San Miguel, a Makers on the rocks at Antones, raw oysters and an Abita beer at Acme Oyster House in New Orleans, chasing music and players across the south, my boots steady, my abs taut and my silver crosses dangling. I was free.

In those days I only needed 8" of lycra -infused material to cling to my A cups and chiseled abs. Add a g-string, the black Betsey Johnson mini that came round the bend and glued to mid-thigh, my boots,
and I was good to go. It wasn't the clothes, the jewelry. The power was in my body, determined, on fire, self-sufficient, seeking union. The rest? Adornment.

With a wicked laugh I realize I'd need all that just to cover one boob these days. What was once exposed is long covered over, draped, hard flesh gone soft and abundant. Given to nurture. It's scandalous. Pathetic. Oh, the places I've been. The hands that have traced these curves, the lips that have searched for nectar, the dusty trails long abandoned for sureness, for belonging, new creation.

Deciding to retire the blue ones, I slip into my fancy brown "here-comes-troubles" with the contrasting black wingtips and red underlay detail. I struggle a little getting them on. They haven't been worn in years. Maybe a dozen. Maybe more. But as the leather warms to my feet, we are indeed a fit. Foot to sole, sole to earth, earth to soul, past present future paths abound and collide.

I see the girl but she's not me, not now. Hair flowing, eyes twinkling, boundless magnetism, laughing, drinking, hard yet soft at the same time but in different places, places to be opened, discovered. Her beauty is more than lips, than hair, but beauty born of feeling, of pain, of knowing, of yearning, of longing to connect.

Cupless, nipples hardening, there's nothing to restrain them as they rub against soft cotton. From a simple touch, pleasure. Your fingers tracing my belly, stoking my fires, ripples quake throughout my body. Blood courses, racing to the point, beyond music, pulsing, throbbing. Lace triangle moistens as the coil of kundalini rises, aching for entrance… tongue circling, circling, take me, take all of me, fill me…just…be…with…

…all goes white…

…forms vanish…


…water flows underneath.

…already a little death…



I might wear these again.

A loving stroke of mink oil revitalizes the dusty skin. These are just lovely… reminders of my past…boots made for walking… no, commanding my path.

Markers in time are these closet memories…
a trail of precious diamonds
perhaps real or was it make-believe...
cut, glistening, then abandoned
laid with blood, with semen, and drops of saltwater...
I take my things and go.

Jewels scattered then collected
hidden, silent
Treasures layered in dust and disarray.

I take my memories down today one by one off the shelf, examining my long ago and far away.
Fingering my stories, touching the pieces of me, honoring the girl I used to be, a part of me lost, a part of me found, lifetimes away yet entirely here, this time they're laid out with reverence and care.

Ed note:
Did I really want to go there?

The answer, although uncomfortable, is yes, absolutely. I have never written this type of explicit depiction before but the piece begged me to go there, far from my comfort zone, evocative, sensual, intimate in its exposure. As a writer I hoped to depart from safety and journey into provocative, emotionally rich territory. Dangerous to step out and expose oneself…but there it is…I felt it and I took the risk.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Virtual Moms Materialize

Prema, Prema, Prema...

From her first words I was sucked in, willingly, taken by the strength of her sacred poetry, her mind-bending ability to freefall across space and time within a few sentences. Through the virtual door a window, and through the window a mirror, and through the mirror recognition: a kindred spirit.

How moved and blessed and fantastic it was to actually meet you today RiversGrace. As if I'd (almost) known you all along...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Good to know…

…that I still have legs even though it's only the 2nd time I've been out running since Spring Break began April, wait, no March 31st!

…that my size 12 ass still inspires construction workers enough to drop their tools and walk around the corner just to get a better look!

…that despite the lack of sleep, I still managed to pull off a Birthday cake: 4 layers of buttery yellow sponge cake wrapped in billows of fresh vanilla chantilly cream, with an oozing center of speckly vanilla-bean custard, (or vanilla-vanilla-vanilla as she insisted!) Despite the garish exterior, it turned out as luscious as a wedding cake. And yes dear, animals. Plenty of animals.

(Maybe that's why my ass is still a size 12!)

...that a girl's best friend is bubbles, not baubles. Plenty of bubbles.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Time's Up

It was 86 degrees by 9am this morning coming back from LAX.

(LAX = taking my Dad to the airport. Dad who flew in for a week to celebrate Sienna's turning 5 and tour the amazing preschool he's helped sponsor. Dad who left when I was 3, met again when I was 13, held an intermittent relationship with through the years and as it turns out, proves to be just as irresponsible a grandparent as he was as a parent. No, I guess he can not watch my daughter and her friend for an hour while I do some weeding in the front yard!! Not without allowing them to make a giant, expensive, horrible mess and then telling me he was not responsible so won't apologize….the evening before her garden birthday party after we had been cleaning and preparing for it for days…which set me back a couple of hours due to cleanup...time that could have been spent prepping the food or making the cake, but who needs sleep?

Makes me wonder who the bigger child is, my Dad or my child? It's all a slippery slope. My brain--not to mention my back-- is exhausted from trying to follow the twisted contradictory turns of non-logic and bad English. Every time I think I understand what he's saying he changes on me. Nope. I was wrong…it's just the opposite. A moving target.

I'm like a baby who desperately wants milk but can't latch on. Instead out of frustration, I disconnect…water flowing…surfing the inner wave…la, la, la…I have no idea what you are talking about, nor do you try to make your thoughts legible. Asking clarifying questions only makes things more unclear. He reminds me I should feel sorry for him. He reminds me what a horrible life he has led, how much he has suffered in agony. Yet as a parent myself, I can't imagine walking away from my children. No communication. Nothing. Ten years. Bonding never really happened. Though he tries to make it up to me, what we have is a complex "friendship." Only, I probably wouldn't have chosen him as my friend. What I wanted was a parent. From either of them. I look at him and all I see is a self-absorbed, fearful little man, chasing his shadow, misinterpreting others, totally unaware of the effect of his actions. Or non-actions. Especially his absence. What that does to children. His children. Me. Even though I know he genuinely loves me and would do anything for me, truly, I can only take small doses of his hyper-behavior and pretzel logic.

The truth is, I don't need him anymore. I haven't in some time. And though I try to include him at times, he is really at best a distant bystander. His choice.)

And, despite everything, it was a fantastic, lovely Birthday weekend. We hung out, we saw friends, we played games and revelled in the time together as we celebrated another year.

Now that the "Gift of Time" has come to a close, I am grateful to be back. I am also grateful to be coming back from LAX.

Man, it was hot today!

(More to come…)

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Gift Of Time

"The Gift Of Time" is a generous phrase that gets bandied about between preschool directors and parents considering whether or not to hold a child back from Kindergarten. The child gets another year of preschool to take his time developmentally in order to avoid feeling like he is always rushing to "catch up" with everyone else.

With this in mind, I decided
I am going to take some time myself. Even though there are a million things to do, emails to catch up on, stories to write, tasks at hand, I am going to stop, take time to smell the roses and have a little cake with friends and family. I am going to give myself the gift of time and fully enjoy the weekend my daughter turns 5, the near close of her preschool life, and a milestone in my own mothering. Five years. Half a decade. My life has completely changed since conceiving her...in ways I can't clearly articulate. Instead, I will raise a glass and celebrate being present for this incredible ride.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007


I ducked out for a while. Life. It got in the way. Instead of fighting it, I jumped into the stream. Let it carry me. This too is who I am.

When I ponder where I left off--the feeling of "dancing along the water's edge" --the place where ocean meets dry land, the constant pulling of opposing tides, it is this very conflicted tautness that keeps me present. The choice to walk this razor's edge or surrender into the stronger pull, though it may switch and sway me at any time, this is what keeps me alive, current. This intersection of life.

I want a big life. I get my assed kicked. Then I long to be small, safe. I hide.

I long for a deep love, a partner to share with. I find that. Then I long for freedom, independence. My own space.

I am a woman, I am a child. I have a child, I am forced to grow up. Growing up, I am a child again. I become whole. Wholly woman.

I can't help but create, this is my fire. Yet non-paid creations, though priceless, don't pay the mortgage. I burn out. I create elsewhere.

I focus on my child, who, after all, needs me. My own needs suffer.

The laws of inertia, of defeatism, of neglect defy momentum and make a mockery of progress. Yet I surrender to who I am, where I am. Some things I cannot change, though I push and push. Until I stop. I'm still breathing.

As I grasp at different perspectives, poking and turning them, angling for a view, the piece that doesn't quite seem to fit, the piece where she ends and I begin, or where I surrender and she is met, the mother-daughter dance, the "how long is the rope?," the how much freedom and autonomy, how much supervision and protection piece….as soon as I think I've mastered this, I am presented with another view.

There is no correct answer. This is a fluid question that demands continual adjustments, many times after the (devastating) fact.

(Insert detailed story…)

We are both learning, expanding, accomplishing…and failing, deflating, healing, then growing again. Never static. Never arrived.

At times the growing pains are enormous. This is one such time.

When I consider the push-pull of my own life, living at the intersection of many issues, this piece, perspective, never quite fits. Rather, it expands and contracts, twists and turns, always shifting, leaving me in a continual state of growth and learning, not to mention mental dehydration.

Time…oh where do we allocate those precious hours?

Priorities? What's more important? On this given day or mood of the moment? Me, myself and I, my child, my husband, my family, my work, my workout, my friends in need, the preschool, the elementary school, the community parents, the neighbors, the cat? The emails, the blogs, the phone? Having stuff? But we need a new roof, our grill is shot, our 11-yr-old couch is uncomfortable…yet… still we have so much more than many.

It's hard to keep a perspective on what is a most meaningful use of my time, my work, my effort, plans.

I am at the edge of knowing and unknowing, seeing and unseeing, feeling and unfeeling, believing and unbelieving, encouraging and protecting, building and tearing down, letting go, of self, ideas and others.

I've been everywhere. I am nowhere. I am right here.

I am with my daughter. I am putting meals on the table, socks on her feet. The yard, a place of beauty, becomes a home to celebrate 5. Five. Arguably one of the hardest jobs I've ever done, I am being present, excruciatingly present. I expected no less. For now that is enough. But it isn't enough. I also expected more.

As I stand at the intersection, fully conscious, searching for perspective in my mothering and in my own life, I am awash in gratitude. We have each other. Though there is
struggle, though there is pain, and certainly loss, this is a great gift not to be squandered. And in a moment's notice all could be taken away rendering my angst meaningless. But it isn't. And gratefully, it wasn't, not now, not this time.

I exhale thank you.

With that my heart lightens and I am filled with love and abundance. I may not understand it, others definitely may not understand it, but this is what I am doing. And, in gratitude, I hope for more expansion to come...in whatever way it will.

I bow down to this giant mystery and do my best to stay on the path.

All I ask is that it lead somewhere…worthwhile.

Lord knows, my maps haven't worked.