Saturday, September 29, 2007

Driving in the Snow

It snowed last night and as soon as I get some time I am going to write about it. Driving in the the snow has got to be at the top of the list of 'Things-I-Really-Don't-Like' about life. Until then...Hope everyone drives carefully and slowly.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Sleeping with Ethan

Last night I was late to put Ethan to bed. It was ten o'clock and he was jumping on my bed. "Jump! Jump!" He always says things twice, because, I've recently nocticed, I always say things twice.
"Time for bed sweetie. Common." I reach to grab him off the bed and he falls like a board, head on the pillow. "Sleep with mama? Sleep with mama?"
Ethan has never slept with us. It just hasn't worked out. I had high hopes of early morning snuggles and sweet baby morning breath ever since I read sixteen natural parenting books while I was pregnant; stories of whole families sleeping together with eight and nine year olds even. It sounded creepy but sweet and Utopian at the same time. However, Ethan was sleeping in his own crib in his room at two weeks old. At the very beginning we tried to have him sleep with us: if he was in our bed with us, he slept fine, up on my chest like a bag of beans so that I wouldn't roll on top of him, crushing and suffocating the poor innocent thing like you read about. However, even with that danger out of the way, I laid awake like a zombie, feeling his little breath--in and out, in and out. I closed my eyes but I didn't sleep. So then we rolled him up like you do little babies, tucking in the blanket to they won't get cold, and put him in his own bassinet, right by our bed. Every time he breathed or snorted or wheezed (which he did, every three seconds), I was ready to whisk him off to the emergency, at the same time being so not ready to do anything, even to move; I was so sleep deprived, so mad at him for breathing so loud.
So into his own room he went. He did fine, never even trying to make sounds of protest. I slept better.
Another time Ethan ended up in our bed we were camping. It was FREEZING in the morning, and Ethan would wake up with the birds, crying into silent, freezing air, his voice like the sound of a jet echoing through the campground.
Since it is always the mommy's job to get out of the warm bed and get the screaming child, I did. And then I wanted to get right back in the warm bed. Ethan did too, surprisingly, and we went back to sleep quickly. Later in the morning Joey and I were both off the mats, lying on the cold tarp-like bottom of the tent, getting poked in all sorts of places by all sorts of things like pebbles and pine cones; and Ethan was lying horizontally across the sleeping bags, so that our bodies made the letter, "H".
And then last night. How could I resist his sweet petition?
You want to sleep with mama?" I said.
"Uh-huh." Those eyes!
"OK." So I turned out the lights and crawled into bed with my almost two year old. He immediately made his way over to me and then started to smuggle his body into mine, leading with his head like a cat. He made little sounds, sometimes almost singing. I laid still, expecting him to calm down.
But he sat up. Then he reached for my nose.
"Nose! Nose!"
I could see in the dark his little smile.
"Ethan," I said. "You must go to sleep. You must close your eyes and go night-night."
He burrowed his body into mine once more. He rolled away from me. Then he rolled back. Then he crawled up on my chest. Burrow. Roll. Murmur.
"Ethan, you must lay still. Otherwise Mommy will have to put you back in your bed." I was starting to feel irritated.
This got his attention. He found a spot half on my chest, half off, and was quiet.
Then he rolled, sat up again, and let his head fall into mine.
"Head butt!" he says. "Head butt!" He loves this concept. When he says it, the emphasis is on the "d" in head, and the "tt" in butt, like English isn't his native language.
I try to hold in a giggle, knowing that if I start laughing he will never calm down. But it doesn't matter. He's up and rolling and just going all over the place.
"OK Ethan. Let's go. I sit up and am about to grab him when he falls into dead-man's pose, legs straight out in front of him, arms at his side like he's in the army. Then he says quickly, "Ethan sleeping. Ethan sleeping." His little voice is quiet. I think, I can't believe this. I can't believe he isn't even TWO and he is doing this.
"OK," I say, and lay back down. It doesn't even last one minute. He's rolling all over, sticking his fingers in my eyes and then my ears.
"OK Ethan, lets go." I am serious this time. I can't handle this anymore, and I am going to stop it before I get really irritated. I make my move and he makes his, into dead-man's pose again. And then he says with the same quickness and quietness as before, "Ethan sleeping. Ethan sleeping."
I can't believe it but it is really cute, so it softens my growing annoyance.
We go through this routine two more times before I decide it's really over. I cradle him in my arms and tell him on the way to his room that I love him but he needs to go to sleep. He looks at me like he understands.
I don't want him to go. I am sure he is gong to cry when I leave him in his crib, alone, in the dark, but he doesn't say a thing. I shut his door and walk back into my bedroom alone, missing him like crazy.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Cheesey sandwhiches

I made Ethan a grilled cheese sandwhich and he is presently proceding to stick his pointer finger in the soft cheese like its play dough. He then licks the grease off his finger and says, "Good cheese." I am sitting at the table next to him, legs crossed and bouncing from the two cups of STRONG coffee I had about three hours ago. I am anxious; I want him to eat that darn sandwhich. He is taking his time. Poke, poke, poke. We are progressing now. He is picking the cheese off the sandwhich in ant size bites and then sucking on the pieces. And then he says it: "All done." And its over. Another lunch dumped in the garbage.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday Morning

Joey came home and is sleeping. Ethan and I will get ready and go to church. I will try not to be grumpy the whole time, which is how I have been the last couple weeks at church. The last time I was in a good mood at church was when I taught Sunday school with a new little girl named Jordan. I felt like I had a purpose there; to be there for her and make her feel loved. She has came back two other times and each time she gives me a hug and makes me feel loved.
I slept in until nine by the way. The blog therapy session really did wonders for me. I went right to bed without thinking of dogs or future children or anything. I just went to bed.
It's overcast here. The ground is wet, which is wonderful for the plants but horrible for our in-the-process-patio we are having put in the backyard.
I think Ethan has a bladder infection. Joey talked to a mom/deputy last night and she said her boys got them when they were little and she had to stop giving them bubble baths. Bingo. For the last week or so I have been giving Ethan a bath everyday with loads of bubbles; not just one capful like my mom used to do; no, LOADS. Because I want Ethan to have everything. I thought I was being such a good mommy for once because I was giving Ethan a bath EVERYDAY instead of twice a week having him in the shower with me, plus I was overflowing the tub with bubbles, and instead of the Amazing Mommy Award we have a bladder infection. See how this mothering thing is? I think I am soaring high and then BAM! Crash and burn.
So anyway, we are going to go get in the SAFE shower.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Normal Saturday Night

It's Saturday night again. About nine o'clock. The weekends don't have the same sweetness they used to now that Joey is either working or sleeping through them.

I put Ethan down a little early (made him cry it out) because I am exhausted. Poor little guy. Doing things like that makes me feel like such a jerk.

Ethan and I went to Scolaries tonight. I bought corn on the cob, mushrooms that were pre-cut and pre-washed (three times!), four Fuji apples that were clearly on steroids at one point, and pretty paper towels with flowers and little shovels on them, among other things. I also bought a new candle that is filling the air around me right now with a very sweet but not too sweet smell of fruits and maybe some flowers. It's easier to be home without Joey if I have a good smelling candle. After Ethan goes down, a flame is the closest thing to something alive and breathing that I get. I am listening to Nora Jones and feeling slow and not so much sad as numb.

My little sister called me randomly tonight as she drove home from work. She always calls me when she is driving. She is a business woman people. I was so happy because I just talked to her yesterday and usually we go weeks in between contact, so for her to call me again so soon was just...special. I forget that I miss her. I hate this about myself. She is so much a part of me, it's like forgetting about my heart, or my childhood.

I had to blow the candle out. It was getting too sweet.

The best song on this CD just came on..."Come away with me, in the night. Come away with me, and I will write you a song. Come away with me on a bus. Come away where they can't tempt us with their lies. And I wanna walk with you, on a cloudy day in fields where the yellow grass grows knee high, so won't you come away with me..." Her voice feels like the hide of a horse, soft and edgy and wild.

When I hear beautiful music like this and I am alone, I think about dying. Its a crazy thought: one day, one moment, I WILL NOT BE HERE. I won't be able to hear music, or smell overly sweet candles, or taste tea, which I am about to go pour.

I think about dying a lot more on the weekends, when Joey is hanging out with men ( a whole slew of them) who have killed other people. I hate it when he is in house seven, which is where he is tonight. House seven is the highest security "house" in the jail; that's where the everyday murderers, rapists, and men who like weapons live.

You know what's funny? I think as a coping mechanism my mind tells me that it really wouldn't be that big of a deal if Joey died. The problem is when life slows down enough for silence to come--like now--my heart feels like stone. And there is at least one or two nights when Joey is working that I hardly sleep at all. I think about all sorts of different things like what color I would like to paint my house and what kind of dog I would like to get and what it might be like to have a little girl; I picture all of these things together in a perfect utopia and it makes me happy. For three seconds. Before it disappears and I have to think about it again. You might not think this is such a big deal but I realised last night it is like alcohol to me. It numbs me. Take last night as an example: I got TWO hours of sleep because I could not stop thinking about hardwood floors and a miniature pincher. I do these incredible imaginary mind games only when Joey is working and I am alone so that I don't have to deal with my aloneness; the fact that I miss him TERRIBLY. So terribly in fact that my mind won' think about him and to make sure it doesn't it goes on ADHD mode thinking about other "happy" things.

Yep. It's true. I have diagnosed myself. I know its true because as I am writing all this for a mini-second I felt the stone break inside of me and I was on the tiniest verge of tears, but then, instantly--numbness.

I am sorry this is so melodramatic. I just feel like maybe I should be a psychiatrist or something.
I do miss Joey. I HATE MISSING JOEY. And at the same time it feels so good to feel love for him, to know that it would NOT be alright if he died. I can't explain what this feels like. Every week, for half the week, I feel like the other part of me is gone. I make up for the grotesqueness of being half a person by thinking of imaginary things that bring a momentary happiness.

ohhhh. sigh.

I forgot all about my tea.

I remember at Joey's Academy's graduation my Aunt Lois asked me if I was worried. I giggled like the little girl that I am and said, "You know, I am just not a worrier." I shrugged. She smiled in a disbelieving way and then said, "Well, that's good." I walked away thinking, Seriously, I haven't even thought about being worried. Should I be worried? O well, that's why God put us together. So Joey could be a cop and I could be his non-worrying wife. I've thought of that little conversation a couple of times, especially lately as I am coming to recognize this feeling of numbness as the way that I worry. I don't necessarily freak out; I zone out. I don't allow myself to even come close to really thinking about what it would be like if I lost Joey.

That's the thing, though. I will lose him. I will go to his funeral, or he will go to mine. See, my mind is doing it again...I cannot comprehend that Joey and I and even little Ethan will die. It's like telling me cows fly or tomorrow we will get attacked by aliens.

I think I would be able to live so much better, with so much true joy, if I could get even the tiniest grip on the reality and certainty of death.

Today I came home and put Ethan in his crib for some quiet time. I opened our bedroom door and smelled the familiar odor of sweaty flesh caught in a room with no escape for long periods of time. Joey's flesh. I made my way over to our bed and snuggled up to him, wondering if I was going to make him too hot (he is very temperamental about temperature). He did his usual waking up grunts and turned over. I snuggled up again and gently moved my fingernails over his warm back. Up and down, circles, circles. I felt the hair on his head, prickly one way, silky the other. I pulled gently on his earlobes. He likes his ears to be touched.

He didn't say anything. I could tell he didn't want to wake up so I just laid there with him in the quiet. Then Ethan wanted out of his crib and started wailing, "Out! Out!" Very hesitantly I swung my legs over the side of the bed because I knew I had to go get him but my body wanted to lay on that bed, close to Joey's breathing, warm flesh, for at least an afternoon. That's what I really wanted.

Friday, September 21, 2007

being a mommy

Right after I had Ethan I wanted to get pregnant again. Well, not right after; right after I seriously thought that I would NEVER go through labor again. Ever. Even for another child. But then a day passed and I was all hormonal and I really wanted to be pregnant again. Joey even had to tell me to calm down and that he wasn't touching me until the midwife gave the ok, let alone to try for another baby.
But then a year went by. It was a fun year, but it also was a year of feeling like I was off centered; I felt incredibly insecure as a mother, and though I didn't articulate it (it was too big to articulate) I couldn't believe I had been thrown into motherhood without any TRAINING. Ethan was so precious and motherhood made me feel like I was driving drunk most of the time with him in the backseat; my heart almost always in a place of need, wimpering, "Help, me Lord. Don't let me mess him up. He is so perfect...."
I feel a little bit better now. I see that Ethan is who he is, and though I know I have a huge impact on him, I can only give him my best, which most of the time means laughing and tickling and putting on dancing and singing shows as he eats his lunch in his high chair. He always laughs and sometimes claps and says, "Good job! Good job!"
Very recently I have been excited at the thought of having another baby. I think I can get through labor, one more time. The first year of motherhood was incredibly hard; the second has been so sweet, so full of random moments filled with giggling and little tiny words spoken in this little tiny voice. I love to hear him sing.
I would love a girl. I know you aren't supposed to care, but I would really like a little girl. Joey says I can name her Avery Joy. This is a big deal because he has shot down every other girl name I have ever come up with, and I was certain he was going to do the same with this one. But he was quiet for a minute and then said, "Yeah, I like that."
We aren't trying yet; we are thinking next summer. I swear it is one of the best thoughts in the world, creating a baby with the man you love. I can't wait.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Yesterday I had some time to kill before I had to pick up Ethan from the babysitters. Joey has encouraged me to use this "extra time" to go do something fun and relaxing without the little boy with me. What a concept. I know Joey's true motivation though, or at least half, is so I can't complain when we're fighting that I never get any time to myself. You know the line, "But dear, I am a mother. I never get a day off. I never get to come home and watch football. I am always on..." Joey hates this).

So after school I went to a random place to get my hair cut. I was a little nervous when I saw the girl who would be cutting my hair because she had short, jagged blue hair that was not in my opinion attractive for her. I have had eighties hair cuts before and I am just not into the razor look. She did a pretty good job though. And for fifteen bucks, I can't complain.

That only took thirty minutes. I decided to get a manicure with the money I saved from my cheap haircut.

I drove into a shopping center and sure enough, in bright pink neon letters: Nail It. I parked and went inside.

It was quiet, with soft instrumental music in the background. Four Vietnamese girls sat in the unused massage chairs, talking in their native language. One old man was getting a pedicure from a woman who looked like the younger girls' mother. Every once in a while you'd hear the slap slap slap of her hand as it massaged out all the tension in the old mans calves.

"Can we help you?" The words were all spoken together, with no air or space between them.

"How much is your manicure?" I held up my hands to indicate what I wanted.


Sold. I picked out a light pinkish-white and sat down at one of the manicure stations. My manicurist was pretty in a motherly way. She had high cheekbones with a strip of bright blush falling down each side. Her hands were tiny and extremely soft. I wondered if she used lotion every night on them, or if the softness was from her work, constantly massaging lotion into peoples' skin.

The girls continued to talk as she worked my hands, trimming, filing, massaging. I relaxed. I listened to their voices, watched them smile and laugh softly. Because I couldn't understand anything they were saying, their words picked up a rhythm that was soothing. Everything was gentle: the music, the lighting, the earthy paint on the walls, the warm soapy water my fingers rested in.

My manicurist and I didn't talk much. At one point I told her I thought the aprons they were wearing were cute; she told me they had brought them from Vietnam. I was disappointed. I would have liked one.

I decided while I was getting my nails done that a pedicure would feel really good. I asked how much one would cost.

Thirty dollars is alot of money to spend to get your feet rubbed. But then again, maybe it isn't. I decided to live a little; make sure I really didn't have any room to say anything about not ever doing anything for myself the next time Joey and I had an arguement about whose life was harder.

After she was done painting my nails I made my way over to a massage chair that look like throne with a miniature hot tub at the bottom to place your feet in. The water was too hot at first, but I didn't say anything and pretty soon it was alright. It's amazing how good it feels to put your feet into a tub of hot water. It wouldn't take much to do this at home. I know this, yet I still manage to NEVER do it.
I pushed the massage buttons and felt the balls in the chair moving up and down my back. At first it was a little disconcerting, but if I tried to relax it started to feel good. I kept it on the whole time.

The lady kept looking at my feet and then up at me and saying, "Hurt? Hurt?" pointing to all the spots on my feet that were ripped, blistered, or rubbed raw. I kept trying to explain I taught kickboxing in bare feet. She didn't seem to understand or care, anyway. She just kept giving me these looks like, gross. Maybe they were supposed to be looks of empathy but they didn't come off that way. This made me a little tense but I closed my eyes and tried to enjoy the massage, despite the fact my legs hadn't been shaved in four days and when she rubbed my legs you could hear the hairs against her rubber gloves, scratch, scratch, scratch. I warned her about the hair, but she didn't seemed to care about that either.
While I was getting the pedicure four other woman came in, two older, fat ones and two young skinny ones. It was funny to me how simular the pairs looked, even though none of them came in together.
The older ones were dressed for business, although one was more hippy looking. She chose a pumkin orange for her long, fake fingernails.
The two younger ones were both beautiful, one a blonde, the other had long black hair. The one with black hair was also getting a pedicure, in the chair right next to mine. She had long, brown shaved legs. I had to keep myself from staring when I realized she had acrylic on her toenails, making them look long like fingernails. When her pedicurist took off her old color, her toenails were all black and blue looking, and a little pointy. It was quite a disconnect from the rest of her very pulled-together self. She talked on her cell phone almost the entire time.
My lady asked me if I wanted the same white on my toes as I had on my hands and I said no. My fingernails had come out looking like the color of cotton candy, when what I was going for was al natural.
I like to go bold on my toes, so I told her she could just go grab any berry red off the rack. She looked at one of the other girls and said, "Berry?"
"Dark red," I said. "Any dark red will be fine."
The girl talking on her cell phone with the disgusting toes pointed to the red she had chosen. "Like this?"
"Yeah," I said. "That is really pretty."
"Well, you can just use this one." There was the tiniest bit of hesitation in her voice.
"Thanks, "I said.
So the lady put the red on my toes. It was beautiful. I liked watching the color appear as she stroked my toenails with the tiny brush. Then the girl with the cell phone leaned over. She talked to the woman doing her toes, "Do you think that color is ok for me, hmm? Do you think it will be alright?"
I don't know what the lady said back. But I was happy with the color she had chosen.

When she was all done I made a check out for fifty dollars including a tip, all the while thinking how did it get to be so much? I handed the paper over and said thank you, then made my way to the door. I was an hour later than I told Lillian I would be to pick up Ethan and I was starting to become very unrelaxed thinking how rude that was; thinking that I didn't want her to think that we were taking advantage of her, even though that is exactly what I was doing.

By the time I got home and put Ethan down, both a toe and a finger nail had been smudged. This made me almost crazy for about three seconds, before I decided there was NOTHING I could do about it and it was my fault for spending so much money on it anyway. I still did everything I could possibly think of to smooth out the polish on my fingernail, finally using remover to take it off and re-paint it with a similar color. I only had to repeat this six times before I finally got the darn color to dry before getting smuged. Until it dried without getting wrecked I was very snippy. I remembered I hated color on my fingernails for this reason and decided to leave the toenail alone; I didn't have any polish that would match it anyway.

So, sixty-seven dollars later, and how do I feel? Pretty good. Not good enough to tell Joey how much money I spent. He really wouldn't care though. As long as I don't say anything the next time we get into it about me never having any time to myself. I think he'd say that is worth seventy bucks.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wind and Public Speaking

Wow it is windy today. Ethan is in his crib. He should have been asleep by now. Instead he is saying, "Out, out!" and "All done! All done!" and then singing Twinkle Twinkle or Rock a Bye Baby, his two songs of choice.
Joey is napping on the couch with green spongy earplugs sticking out of his ears because he got an immunization today that made him feel sleepy, and like crap. I am not sure about immunizations.
I taught kickboxing this morning and am currently experiencing the sensations of my body tightening, especially around my neck. The classes are getting so much better, so much more relaxed. I enjoy myself almost completely besides two or three college girls who won't shut up when I am trying to lead everyone in quiet, relaxing stretching and breathing. I don't even look at them. If I did, I am sure I would send off one of my most nastiest looks, even if I tried to hold it in, and ruin my sweet, friendly persona I am trying to build with the others. With the other quiet ones.
I had my first public speech of the semester yesturday. It went alright. My voice gets deeper when I am nervous, like a male. I once saw myself on a video-tape talking for this documentary and I swear I looked like I had had a stroke and the left side of my face didn't work. My lip was all droopy on one side.
I don't think this went quite that bad, but my voice did shake. I kept telling myself, "They can't hear it, they can't hear it," and whether that was true or not, I don't know. But I got through it.
You know what helps me with stuff like this? With leading worship and teaching kickboxing and public speeches? This: "Grace is a committment to, or at least an acceptance of, being ineffective and foolish."
If I could only get it through my head I don't have to be perfect. Another quote I like goes something like, "It is only one six billionth about you." The first time I read that I thought, You're kidding! That's it? But there is alot of freedom in the truth that the world does not rest on my shoulders, and if I mess up (gasp!) in a public speech or otherwise, it will go on.
That is why I can't do anything about this wind. It really isn't about me. Besides, God says that He rides on the wings of the wind. He is here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


My parents bought a new house so yesterday I helped them paint the walls a pretty color with a sophisticated name, something like, almond butter. It really made the house, which was totally an old lady house, much brighter and easier to be in. They get new hardwood floors next week. It is going to be beautiful.
Painting that house made me want to paint mine. Joey has denied this request, oh, maybe a hundred times.
See, the problem is I get all hyped about some idea, some canary yellow or mysterious purple, and when it's all done the house or room looks like the carnival just passed through. It never comes out looking as perfect and grown-up as it was in my dreams. In fact, it almost always comes out looking horrible, like a eight year old was in charge.
So what do you do?
Here are some tips I have picked up along the colorful pathway of my mistakes:

Pay the extra ten dollars and buy a little can of the paint you think is perfect. Paint a huge section of the wall, not just two feet. Live with it for two days so you can see how the paint looks at all different times of the day, as well as the effect the color has on you as you live in it.
Don't be afraid to go bold, but be patient and make sure you sample the color first. Be willing to switch colors if you want to, or if your husband wants to. I have also read that in painting, 75% of your effort should go into the preparation. I am always so darn excited to get the color on the wall I forget about things like taping edges, taking down pictures and mirrors (I am the type to just paint around the mirror), moving furniture to the center of the room before your hands are all splattered in paint, and the biggest of all: drop cloths.

I think that would have cured all my mistakes. I am currently wanting to paint my bedroom these beautiful sea green/blues. We'll see if I can convince Joey I have seen the error of my ways, I will buy a can of paint to sample, I will use drop cloths, and we will love it at the end. We'll see.

Monday, September 17, 2007


I looked at my face in the mirror this morning and all I saw was two lines running down both sides of my face, starting from my lower cheeks, ending right under my lips. If my face were a continent, these would be fault lines from earthquakes.
And I do have earthquakes in my life, one named Ethan and the other Joey. They make me exhausted and worried and now, obviously, wrinkly.
I guess I was just surprised to see them there. I am only twenty four. Isn't this a mid thirties thing at least?
The second I saw them I immediately thought of creams, especially the "Anti-Aging" creams I have been using, not because at the time I bought them I wanted to "anti-age"; no, at that time I had NO issues with my face. It was simply hard to find cleansers and moisturizers that aren't anti-aging. So I was using it as a preventative measure, but when I saw those wrinkles I thought, "Anti-aging bull crap."
So then I thought face lifts, even using my fingers to gently stretch the wrinkles out to see how much of a face lift it would take. Not much at this point anyway. A real minor procedure.
And then I thought, jeese...what am I thinking?
What is with us people?? I just saw a clip where it said that a woman's modeling career is pretty much over at twenty-three. TWENTY-THREE. Well, now I can see why. You start to wrinkle at twenty-four.
Whenever I am reminded of the passing of beauty and youth, especially my own, I tell myself, "See, Danae, there has to be more than firm buttocks, perfect hair cuts, and supple, wrinkle-free skin. If not, it's pretty much over now."
So that makes me think about God. And eternity. My soul is not wrinkling. The more I pay attention to it, nurture it in truth, the more perfect it becomes.
What's so ironic about all this is that I take as much care of my soul as I do my feet, which is to say almost none. Once in a great while I will scrub them with one of those files. Otherwise they stay rough, dry, and increasingly needy. Much like my soul.
So maybe it's time I go lather up my soul with some serious Biblical cleanser, a generous amount of prayer cream. The wrinkles may stay, but my soul can be renewed daily with a guarantee no Mary Kay product can ever offer.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Mamma give kisses

I come home last night, exhausted, and lay Ethan in his crib to go to bed. He had his jammies on from the baby sitters, but he hadn't brushed his teeth and we hadn't read any stories or sang any songs. I was not up for it; I was up for laying Ethan in his crib and closing his door.
"Book? Read book?" His little voice has desperation in it.
I breath in deeply. Exhale. "How about we rock and sing instead?" I try to compromise. I can sit and rock and maybe hum a few notes. I cannot read.
"Rock? Rock?" He grabs his blankey and holds his hands out. I pick up my little boy who feels like he weighs seventy pounds and we make our way over to the chair by the light given off by a dim night light.
My body falls into the chair with a sigh and Ethan's little body falls into mine. He cuddles up close, and rests his head on my shoulder. I start to sing and my voice is so off and so tired it is annoying to me. Ethan listens politely.
God is so good. God is so good. God is so good. He's so good to me. Over and over and over.
I am dozing off and as usual Ethan is as alert as ever, like a Britney ready for the hunt. I stop singing and we just rock. Then his little voice: "Mamma give kisses?" I look down at his sweet face looking up at me, like a dream in the dim light. His smile is sophisticated, like he knows what he just said is the key to every aspect of his mother's soul. I am constantly asking for and giving Ethan kisses, and he almost never acts like he enjoys this aspect of our relationship. So you can imagine my suprise and utter joy at his request.
"Ok," I say, and reach my lips down and place them on his little tiny ones. It is our longest ever, like one and a half seconds, and I am in mother's nirvana.
I start to sing again, this time trying to make my voice as soft and pretty and as perfect-mother-like as I can. Ethan gracefully brings his hand up to my face and sticks his pointer up my nose. Way up my nose.
Again, his smile is sophisticated, like, "This is so funny. Whatta you going do to about this? Huh, Mamma? Whatta you going to do?" I keep rocking, keep singing, and until I finally lay him down, his finger stays in my nose.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

So I was in the middle of writing a post on road rage, which I will finish and post later, when I took a break to meet my husband for twenty minutes of togetherness before we each go our separate ways: him to class, me to wait.
We stand in line for ten minutes to get a pretty good peperoni pizza, and then I ask a very visably shy girl if we can share her table with her, seeing that it is close to a bazillion degrees outside. She says sure.
The little pizza is done in two minutes, so we have seven minutes to connect with each other. Joey asks me about the study we are supposed to be leading on "Peace Makers"starting tonight; I confirm we will read the preface of the book as a group. Then I remember I asked Joey to do a favor for me this morning. My cousin Jamie is putting together an album for our Grammie and she needs our pictures like, now. Joey's mom has recent pictures of Ethan that I wanted to include, so I asked Joey to pick them up for me.
"Did you get the pictures?" I wasn't aware of an condemnation in my voice when I asked this question, but Joey later tells me it was clearly there.
"No, we'll just pick them up when we go to get Ethan." He wipes the pepperoni grease off the corner of his mouth with his thumb and looks up at me like, whats your problem?
From here we go into a pretty heated debate about who said what exactly; who needs to apologize (Joey), who needs to communicate better (Danae), and why Joey always turns things around to be my fault ( I can't get over this. This is my main point, my thesis. I ram it in the conversation whenever I get an opening). I am trying to cover up the argument the whole time so it looks like we are talking about something light and funny, but its impossible. The poor girl sitting across form us keeps reading, but she's shifting in her chair. Joey seems to be less aware of this than I am, and his voice stays at a somewhat raised volume, so I ask him if he wants to walk.
We go outside, that poor girl I'm sure sighing in relief, but it's not much better. There are young people everywhere, so I am still trying to fake the conversation, until it finally gets to the point where I am so frustrated that I don't care either. I tell Joey, very stupidly and irrationally, "I'm going home. You can pick up Ethan." He says fine and walks off. I turn around and want to cry.
I don't know what else to do so I walk, even though I really don't want to walk the long, lonely walk back to my car and then drive the long, lonely ride home and then sit in an empty house until Joey and Ethan return.
I keep walking. I see trees to my left, big, wonderful trees, and want to sit in the shade beneath them. I aimlessly walk over to them and touch the grass. My finger comes away with a little mud on it, a drop of water. If I had a blanket I could sit down, but I don't. And I can't deal with a big wet spot on my rear right now.
Right about now is when I want Joey to come after me. I have learned though, that he never does. He lets me go. If I want to come back, its my choice.
So I turn around. I start walking back. I go between bursts of anger and weepy emotions like a ping pong match. In the bursts of anger I am so pissed. I think, This isn't working! this schedule! this job! No human being on earth should have to feel this distant from her husband! And then I look at all these cute college kids around me and think viciously, they have no idea. In the weepy moments I want Joey to put his arms around me so I can cry and we can understand each other again, but then three seconds later I want to turn around and drive to California, or somewhere very far away so that he will suffer.
I used to do this early in our marriage, just get in the car and drive off. It usually took about twenty minutes before I'd realize how absolutely hormonal I was acting and besides, where would I go? It's not like we had extra money for me to spend on some motel room somewhere, and if we did, I'd want Joey to be I'd make a u-turn and head back, feeling ashamed but mostly relieved. Its always relieving to come to your senses.
On the walk back toward campus I decide I really didn't want to go home when I said I did, I just wanted privacy, so I could talk (yell) it out with Joey, and cry.
Which is what I want to do right now: my eyes are wet but my throat feels constricted, like I just ate a peanut and I am allergic to nuts. I walk into one of the bathrooms, hoping no one will be in there so I can bawl my eyes out, but there are two girls in there and at least one of them just had a great poo.
The stench instantly dries out my eyes and I no longer have a desire to cry, so I just pee instead. My throat clenches tighter.
And here I am. I still haven't cried. I am hoping it will come out sooner than later, but the rage already feels solid inside of me. I am not sure what it will take to break it, to melt it down again in to a heart that loves her husband.
Just writing the word, "husband" softens me. They are such wonderful people, aren't they--I mean, despite the fact that they're sinners and say mean things sometimes? Joey is my refuge here on earth. He is (though not great at it all the time) God's hands and arms to me. He provides for me. He is strong and brave. I am never afraid when I am with him. He is my very best friend, and I am sorry I don't like him more of the time. Because he really is fun to be with. And sweet. Also, he gives great advice. He has never left me. He made a promise to be with me until I die. Now who else besides God would ever make that kind of promise to me???? He is grace beyond words. He is the third party of this mystery between God, myself and Joey that I live in everyday: he is the tangible part, the good looking part.
I feel the sting, the wetness in my eyes. I still can't full on cry (I am in a computer lab people) but I know that there is hope for when I am alone; or better: when I see Joey walking towards me after his class.

It took all day to sort that one out. You know, one of those fights where you think its over and than WHAM, you just want to punch them. I did cry a bit when I saw Joey walking toward me after his class, and he gave me a kiss and we laughed. I asked him if he was suprised I was there and he said no, not really. This suprised me because I was suprised I was there, but then he knows me better than I know myself. That is for certain. I just wish he would have been suprised. You can't slip nothing over him.

God's tools: Road Rage

I am convinced that God allowed us super-smart humans to come up with how to make an automobile in order that we would learn to be more Christ like.

This morning I was just a teensy bit late for school. I knew it was going to be a rough drive when I pulled onto 395 and the cars were backed up behind the on ramp. I had a lane I could drive in for a while if I wanted to be a real jerk and pass a bunch of stopped cars, but I put my blinker on and slowed down with the intention of being courteous and finding my place in the long line of stopped cars.

There was an opening, so I veered my little Honda's front into it and then glanced back to give the driver behind me a "thanks" wave when I see that she is glaring at me, like I totally just cut her off. This makes me a little irritated, but I try to forget it.

We inch forward and then stop. Inch, stop. I decide to get over in the fast lane because hello its supposed to be faster; and the second I get over I see brake lights. Just in the fast lane. The slow lane now seems to be going at a jealously continuous five miles an hour, while the fast line is stopped dead.

Tap tap tap. My thumb drums the steering wheel as I look at the clock. I have a ways to go before I get to school, then there is the dilemma and joy of parking, and then the long walk to class which always leaves my armpits sweaty and-if I have sleeves on-noticeably wet.

I see Mrs. Glare zoom past me in the slow lane, sucking on a cigarette, still glaring. Her bad mood makes me want to be happy; to be anything but like her.

Twenty minutes and two exits later I can get off the freeway. As my car leaves the long line of very agitated people in their big cars I let out a "Who-hoo!" and press my foot to the gas. I'm cruising now and will make it to class just in time.
But then I turn the corner. And what do I see? A long line of red break lights staring at me, that's what I see! But seriously, I was not thinking of children's' books at the time, I was thinking, omygosh that is a long line.
For whatever reason, I think Ms. Glare had a lot to do with it, I am determined not let this spoil my ride to work. As we barely inch along, I get comfortable. I put in U2's Greatest Hits of the eighty and ninety's, and crack the window for some air. I start bobbing back and forth, not too much because we are all moving so slow and people would notice, but I bounce a little to the music. I notice the people in the cars around me are really mad: everyone is on their cell phone, heads are in hands, the look of death is on everyone's face. Every so often a car screeches out of the line to turn around and head up Virginia Street, hoping to find a better way. I stay put, turn up the music.
I am so proud of myself for being so darn positive in midst of all this madness until I glance at my gas gauge and see the little pointer all the way at the bottom, in the red.
I stop bouncing and let myself freak out a little: What f I run out of gas? What if my car won't move, and then all these people are going to be really mad--at me? I work out all the logistics: where I will walk to call Joey, how I will just leave my car like a big lump of metal in the midst of these extremely unstable people, the things they will yell at me as I walk away from the car. I prepare myself.
Thinking of my car breaking down reminds me of this jeep that was broken down yesterday, right in the middle of a long line of traffic waiting to turn left. There was like thirty of us, mostly with out blinkers on indicating we intended to turn left, who were forcibly not in the turn lane because the jeep was in our way. But we were all waiting. Patiently. For that green arrow. With our blinkers on.
Pretty soon I see it: Miss Subaru zooming past all thirty of us waiting to turn left, wiggling into the left turn lane behind the broken down jeep, its yellow lights flashing. When she finally realizes what is going on, she too, put her head in her hands.
I think, smart move, lady.
But do you know where my car was? Right in the position to let her in. OHHHH HOW I HATE THIS. I force myself not to press on the gas when the arrow turns green so that she can wiggle her little self back out. I even force a little wave like, "common honey, everything is going to be alright" when on the inside I am screaming, how stupid do you have to be?
So she pulls in front of me and zooms through the yellow arrow while I press on the break, come to a stop, and think about all this.
I specifically think how doing that good deed did not give me warm fuzzy feelings. Then I think about Jesus and how he could care less about warm fuzzy feelings because he cares about people. I definitely am more for the warm fuzzy feelings, but Jesus would have not only let her in, He would have been just fine chill'en at that red arrow, even if it were for the sixth time, while I was almost hyperventilating. Because to Him time wasn't so important, but people were.
Maybe too that thought is what had carried over into the crazy traffic the next morning, until I realized I could run out of gas at any moment. So like I said, I freaked out a little, but then I remembered yesterday and the woman in the Subaru, and how Jesus was always telling his disciples to please, chill out: on the boat in the storm; in the crowds of very hungry people with no food; at the wedding with no wine. Over and over again, in not so many words: Chill out people! I got this one. I love you. I'll take care of you always.
So I decided if I did run out of gas, Jesus had me covered. I turned up the music, bounced a little, and inched my way in the middle of a long long of cars that from Jesus' point of view probably looked like a very cool Chinese dragon.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Changing Seasons

Fall is coming, I can feel it. It's chillier in the morning and in the evening after the sun goes down. I am trying to accept this with grace, even though in this moment I am struggling to see the good in summer's end.
The darkness is the worst. It's only eight-thirty, and it's pitch black outside. Why did God do this?
Its not all bad. Good things about fall include the taste of a warm creamy chai warming me from the inside out, the way the trees turn bright red and orange (like they are angry at the compulsory change too), and jackets, if I could ever find one I love.
I am learning sometimes you just have to wait. Wait and trust, even though you know winter is just around the corner; there is no escaping it. And I am sorry but I am hard pressed to find one good thing about winter, except for maybe the fact that Joey lets me snuggle with him in bed before we go to sleep because we are both freezing our toes off, sometimes it feels quite literally.
There are seasons in relationships too, and I am learning the same rules apply: wait and trust. Breath too.
Rest in the knowledge that God is the same, yesturday, today and forever--and He has never forgotten to bring spring, no matter how hard of a winter passes through.
In the meantime, maybe the lack of sunshine and daylight will bring me indoors, to tea and books and prayer. That is what I need: nourishment, guidence, and hope.
And a versatile jacket that fits perfectly and is in my price range.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Heels, anyone?

So what is it with women and shoes? Not all women, I should say. There are some very practical girls out there who actually wear shoes to fit the occaision, but I am definitely not one of these women. And let me tell you right now, wearing heels must be one of the most dumbest things I do on a regular basis. Case in point:
I ordered these darling black strappy things online a couple of weeks ago, along with a killer pair of jeans. I couldn't wait to get them. I thought about them everyday until they finally arrived (is this normal?). Joey brought in the mail so the package was sitting on the table and I ripped it open like Christmas, only it was better because it was 95 degrees outside.
And there they were. My darling shoes. I tried them on and sure enough they felt a little snug around the edges, but definitely wearable.
We had Andrew's birthday party that day, so of course I am going to wear my new things. I put on my jeans, which gaped a little in the waist (darn Old Navy!) so I had to find a belt.
I found this old, semi charming but mostly just old belt and tried it on for size. It fit, but only when the pants were as high as they could go around my waist, and the belt still pulled so tightly that the jeans folded and rumpled in this one spot in the back, so they ended up dipping below the belt in that one spot. Are you following me? It wasn't pretty.
But I said o well, I'll just wear a longer shirt (I spent the entire day pulling my shirt down to cover the gap. Sit down? Pull the shirt down. Get up? Pull the shirt down. Walk two steps? Pull the shirt down).
The shoes made the pants fit perfectly. I need the extra two or so inches to keep the pants from dragging on the floor, even though I order "short" and "petite" sizes. In fact, this is the main reason for me wearing heels in the first place: to keep the bottoms of the jeans looking clean and intact, instead of looking like they were just run through a shredder.
That and they fact that they make my legs look longer.
The day started out fine, but after about three minutes of walking around the house in my darling strappys I knew I had it in for myself. Still, I wore the shoes.
By the end of the day, my feet felt that same achiness that I associate with labor pain. The poor babies were swollen and a little on the purple side, with two blisters, one on the outside of each foot, just below the pinkie.
The next day was school and I still was in the "googly-eyed" state with my jeans (I had decided the shoes weren't quite what I had expected) so there was no question in my mind that I would wear the new jeans to school. The only question was what shoes to wear...
I decided on some brown, sexy Brazilian heels I brought back when Joey and I visited a couple of years ago.
I knew I would have to walk slow, and I warned Joey: "Joey, I am in these heels..."
He cut me off, "--I know, I know. We have to walk slow. Why do you wear those to school?"
Now up until this point I had never considered not wearing heels to school. But as we were walking down the almost San Fransican type hill from where we park to my class, Joey holding out his hand, ready to catch me in case I tumbled, which could happen at an moment, me looking like a clutsy hoochy, I thought about this.
Why did I wear these heels to school?
After class and two miles worth of walking later Joey and I headed back up to the car.
"Could you please walk fast like you normally do and go on ahead and get the car and come back to pick me up?" My feet were on fire. I had two new blisters on the under side of my feet, in the middle, where the flesh is raw and young. How those heels rubbed me there I don't know; all I know was the pain I felt each time I lifted a fit to move foward. "Please?"
He just gave me an "I-told-you-so" smile and kept walking turtle slow, keeping with my pace.
The next day I gave my feet a rest. I wore flip flops. They felt better, less swollen. Some of the bisters had formed scabs, the others seemed like they would go away on their own.
But, guess what shoes I have on today? The second I put them on I started praying I would find a close parking spot for work, which I did, but it is still a good half a football field away. Maybe even a whole one, I don't know how big football fields are. Anyway, it was a long walk. And those tender blisters returned.
Which brings me to this moment.
Are heels worth it? Absolutely not. Will I keep wearing them? After today, I probably will wait a week or so, until I forget the pain. Maybe it will take a month. Sometimes it does. But I aways find my self back to that point in the closet, wearing some fabulous jeans that are just a tad too long, thinking...hmmmm, what shoes should I wear?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


So this is a very long story but mainly my point is that I thought I was a nice person, I thought I was so mature, and well, I am quite the jerk and actually very immature.
My friend Jessica has been dating her very own prince charming for about a year now. She could not be happier. When they very first got together, I thought, "Ah-ha, this is my moment. I am older, I am married, I have gone through this. I know everything. I will make this painless for my friend."
And so, the very first time Jess told me some of the "beginning" things couples do (like staring at each other for amazing lengths of time) I freaked out. Because of my own past, I whole-heartedly believed I could see into the crystal ball of Jessica and her beau's life; yes people, I seriously thought I knew exactly what their past, present, and future would look know, something like, um, mine.
I laid out my heart. (I was big into communication at this time...letting it all hang out, being honest, and all those other very dangerous and not always profitable things). I told them they better watch out because sex comes out of no where and it will affect them forever...woe, woe, woe.
Which I still think is absolutely true.
But they both looked at me like I was a little off my rocker. They were, of course, just staring at each other.
From that point on it was a mess. I had this notion I was supposed to be the most amazing accountability partner ever, when what I felt like whenever Jess and I would talk was a fourteen year old trying to pass calculus. Or like me trying to pass calculus. I was confused and confused and confused. I felt like I was trying to be a saint and a friend and a sister and a mother all at once.
And poor Jessica. You should try talking to someone who is trying to be four people all at the same time. By the end of it, I was saying horrible things about her soon-to-be fiance--things like hypocrite; I was angry at both of them (they never took my advice those love birds!) and I basically thought our friendship was over every time we talked.
It never was. Jess is a little bit more rational than I am I think.
I feel like I can see myself for the first time in the way that they see me: the person I hated when I was dating. The person who I felt judged by, the person who I thought had no idea, the person I never, ever, ever, wanted to be to my friend Jessica.
So I have learned a couple of things here. Number one, shut up. I could just kick myself for things I have said over this last year concerning Jess' relationship. In all his sweetness, her boyfriend tells me something like, "it will all be used in God's providence." I could just kiss him. Number two, be nice. I never ever ever want to use the word hypocrite again unless it is referring to someone super close to myself, someone who looks and talks and breaths like me. And shares all my clothes.
Number three, those people in my life who I hated when I was dating: maybe I had them all wrong. Maybe their hearts felt for me what mine feels for Jess, and the world is just a mess and so full of sin we can't always show it the way we want. Maybe, even though our hearts feel so full of love and care for each other they could burst, when we try to show it, it comes out sounding like a very, very messed up calculus problem.