Friday, January 29, 2010

Blankets and Shoes

I've been sewing for Evan's baby. So far, I haven't made anything but blankets and shoes. Lots and lots of blankets and shoes. Fleece blankets. Flannel blankets. Cotton quilts. Cow-jumping-over-the-moon shoes. Frog shoes. Ladybug shoes.

Um...what's wrong with this picture?

Well, when you open the blankets, the baby is NAKED! Except for her shoes, of course.

I've got to move on to gowns and sleepers and onesies and the stuff babies really need. But first...I've got an idea for bumblebee shoes that would be so cute.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Devil You Know

My little doggie and I have a love/not so much relationship. She always loves me. Every day. All the time. I love her until it's time to deal with her toillette. Then: not so much. When it's cold and snowing, her bladder shrinks to the size of a thimble. Deadlines activate her colon. The oven timer and the telephone and the email alert trip her potty system.

Many's the time I've stood outside on a dark, cold night, wishing she were a cat.

Litter boxes sound so convenient when you're thinking about how easy it is for the cat to make a deposit. Yesterday, I found out out the price you pay for that convenience, and let me tell you--it's muuuuuuch too high.

A sick friend asked me to come clean her cats' litter boxes. Four cats. Four litter boxes. Four days since she had been well enough to do it.

I was happy to take care of this, but really. I've rarely done anything more disgusting. Two litter boxes were in tiny closets, and you can imagine the joy of breathing in there for the twenty minutes it took to scoop and clean and vacuum stray litter from each one. The other two are in bathrooms, which were literally covered in stray kitty litter. I even washed kitty litter from the window sills. One tub was full of the stuff.

At each box, the cats pounced the moment I turned my back. I had to rescoop one box three times because cats kept soiling it before I finished the task.

So...Cassie, my love. I apologize. I may gripe about taking you outside, but I will never, ever again wish you were a cat.

Monday, January 25, 2010


The hospital gave us a sonogram picture of the baby's tiny feet. I see that picture in my sleep. Maybe that's why I couldn't resist making little shoes for her.

They're booties, really--only good until she begins to pull herself up. Between now and then, she may have more shoes than any baby in Missouri. They're incredibly fun to make and so cute you can hardly stand it. For the first pair, I used fabric with a cow jumping over the moon.

When Evan was 9 years old, we all went camping with Mom and Dad and Deb and her husband and children. In the evening, Mom made funnel cakes over the camp fire. It's a laborious job, so everyone shared the treats--with one exception. Every child who could recite a poem or sing a song got their very own funnel cake.

Evan loved funnel cakes. Before the trip, we worked for days until he could say every verse of "Hey Diddle Diddle" and "The Owl and The Pussy Cat." Even as shy as he was, on two different nights he stood in front of the fire and said his poem, loud and proud. I can still see his crooked smile and the powdered sugar on his chin.

Working on the booties with Mom and Deb, I mentioned poems for funnel cakes. My sister didn't remember. My mother remembered but didn't know what poems the kids had said.

I texted Evan: "Do you remember poems for funnel cakes?"

"The owl and the pussy cat went to sea in a beautiful pea green boat. They took some honey and plenty of money, wrapped up in a five-pound note." His answer arrived in seconds.

"I can't believe you remember that," I wrote.

"I remember a lot of things," he answered. "My mind is sticky."

I hope some of what stuck will help him and my granddaughter.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Very Good Start

Evan called to ask me how to establish paternity for the baby-to-be. He and the mother do not plan to get married, and he wants to have legal rights. He's especially worried about being able to authorize medical care in an emergency.

Evan, who rarely thinks beyond this very moment, is trying to figure out how to handle issues that won't arise until the end of May. He also wants to add the baby to his health insurance and wants to handle the paperwork so it's all effective the moment she is born.

We've got a long, long way to go, but this is a good start. A very good start.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Crystal Ball

Finally took my Christmas tree down last night. My house looked particularly beautiful for Christmas this year, and I've been reluctant to let it go. Plus, I've had all that not-panicking to do.

Wrapping Evan's "Baby's first Christmas" music-box ball, I sniffle. The baby should be 7 months old next Christmas. When I get these things out again, will it be for a joyous celebration? Or will I be trying to get through terrible sadness because the mother has taken the baby and run to her parents, five hours away. Will next year's tree be surrounded by bright packages for a beloved grandchild? Or will we be in the center of a firestorm because Evan and his girlfriend are not capable of raising a child or no longer together?

I stare at my distorted reflection in the big glass belly of a Christopher Radko Santa and wish for a crystal ball. Michelle told me this baby girl is a brave soul. I pray that's true. With everything in me, I pray that she is brave and resourceful and resilient. I pray that she understands the path she's chosen more than I do. I pray to be wrong about the impossibility of the situation.

In this dark night, I pray.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What Will Happen?

I am going to be a grandmother.

Evan and his girlfriend are expecting a little girl in late May. Yesterday I was in the room for an ultrasound. I got to see her heart beat and see the bottoms of her little feet.

Thrilled and terrified are at war in my heart. Evan struggles with his temper. He has not yet figured out how to support himself consistently. He and his girlfriend have an on again/off again relationship marred by insecurity and jealousy.

What kind of life can this child have? How can I help without being swamped by their problems? What will happen? What will happen? What will happen?

The relentless drumbeat in my head pounds out the same questions over and over. No answers appear.

Before Christmas I went to Target intending to buy a bassinet or swing or some other large piece. Fear swept me so hard I had to sit down on the floor in the middle of the aisle. When I finally caught my breath, I fled the store as though the hounds of hell were nipping at my heels.

Other than working, I do little beyond concentrate on not panicking. I haven't slept more than two or three hours at a time for weeks. I understand--completely understand--that I'm borrowing trouble. I know that staying in the moment is the only answer.

I am not equal to that task.

What will happen? What will happen? What will happen?

Friday, January 01, 2010


Last night I watched the moon rise over the pond with a sense of wonder. The deep blue light of a full moon on snow gave the landscape an eery glow. The shadows looked deep enough to fall into like Alice's rabbit hole. My back yard looked unreal, like a place hopes and dreams might come to life and dance.

01 01 10

A new year. A new decade. A blank page.

Today's date may be binary, but I hope to move past off/on, black/white thinking. It's one of my weaknesses, the feeling that things are right or wrong, possible exactly as I imagine or not possible at all. I'd like this to be the year of "This and...."

This year, I resolve to...

go to Oregon for my birthday in May;
work less;
donate things I don't need or use;
keep my spaces (mental and physical) clear;
treat myself to good health;
speak my truth kindly;
ask for what I need;
accept help that's offered;
offer help to others but not at my own expense;
find a church or meditation center where I feel at home;
go to a cultural event at least once a month;
read poetry;
worry less;
laugh, sing, dance, enjoy.