Wednesday, October 31, 2007

today...night owls.

Today I will go teach kickboxing at nine-thirty. It's eight-twenty now. Ethan and have have already watched our twenty minutes of Nemo. He doesn't want to watch anything else, and he must watch at least twenty minutes of the little fish movie everyday.
I have a love/hate relationship with Nemo. I love it because it gives me uninterrupted Ethan free time. I hate it because Ethan's face just zones out, like someone just shot him up with some Nemo drug.
So we compromise and I let him be zoned out for twenty minutes.
Joey is still sleeping. He tells me, "I'm not sleeping well. I wake up all the time." So I let him stay in there, even though I want to cook eggs and waffles and eat with him sitting by me. Instead I have three soft cookies and coffee, and listen to Nemo.
Somehow, all this is supposed to work: Joey working graveyard for part of the week, then trying to switch and sleep like a normal person with me. Its so obvious to me he's fighting against the natural biorhythm of our a "Joey Stretch Arm Strong", being pulled in all sorts of unnatural ways. Like his body is screaming, "Pick one! Day or night, we don't care, just pick one and stick with it!"
I was thinking about this yesterday and decided I'd try to become one of those night owls, you know those people who can stay up till one in the morning, no problem? This would take some huge adjustments. I hate New Years simply for the fact that the holiday makes me feel like such an old goat because I never want to stay up. Ten o'clock rolls around and my bed is just screaming my name.
BUT- for the sake of marriage drastic measures sometimes need to be taken. So I'm not sure where to begin, maybe a cup of joe around five in the afternoon? That's all I can think of.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Blessings and Bitterness.

Today I have both: blessings and bitterness.
I am blessed by the familiar sound of a loud jet passing over Mt. Rose as Jeff preaches on the God of all Comfort.
I have bitterness like crumbs in my heart that no matter how much I try to sweep and sweep and sweep, won't go away.
I am blessed by the faces that fill the chairs in church, faces that have hugged me and kissed me since I can remember.
I have not so much bitterness as sadness almost leaking into self pity that I sit at church, all dressed up, alone. The chair beside me empty except for the bullitin I put there.
I am blessed when I hug Jeremy and when Old Charlie asks me why I am hugging him I say, "He's my brother." Walking away I remember Jeremy was with me when I bought my first guitar.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Crticism, anyone?

So I just got a call from a job I LOVE saying that some PEOPLE have been COMPLAINING about a couple of things. This makes me want to scream. For a couple of reasons.
The main one being that I give this job 100% every time I walk through the door, even if I feel like a blob of mucus and can't breath. Even then, I give all of me.
I walk away from it like a dying cat, that's how much I give it. And for the whole rest of the day I feel weak and achy.
In fact, I have been thinking I have been giving too much, and that I could probably tone it down a little.
But then I get this call: "Um, yes, Danae, you are doing so awesome and your are so reliable, but we have gotten some feedback, and we just wanted to let you know, because, you know, it's good to know what people are saying, you know?" (Don't you love it how they call it "feedback"? And no, it actually sucks to know what people are saying. Though I have wondered every so often. Or every day. Whatever.)
So then Joey and I spent a half an hour talking about who the "feedback" was coming from, and then when we narrowed it down to who it had to be from, we talked for another forty minutes or so how coming from these two particular persons made the "feedback" completely and totally and eternally obsolete.
And now I have a hard spot in my heart against these two accused women, even though I actually have no idea if they are actaully the perpetrators and I will have to stop myself from giving them the the evil eye the next time I see them. Or at least the cold shoulder. Because it had to be from them.
The thing is listening to criticism about oneself is about as comforting as a mouth full of sawdust. (I stole the last part of that metaphor; it works so beautifully here).
It seriously makes me want to spit. And kick my cupboards. And some serious bootie the next time I go into work.
Which I will.
I mean, its so hard to hear that you aren't perfect. That some people don't like you. Because I sure love myself.
That's as clear as glass.

The Foes of Motherhood

So I was driving home last night--from a guilt-ridden shopping spree at Target where I justified spending money I wasn't sure we had because I technically "needed" a few things--with little Ethan in the back seat, happy as can be. Singing, as usual.
I noticed I was tense and in the "guilt zone"; the place where I shut down and just cruise for awhile until that awful guilt feeling is gone, usually three to four days.
The problem with this place is I am totally consumed by it. It's a place where I don't feel any bad feelings, like guilt, but I also shut down my good feelings, like the feelings that make me want to sing along with Ethan when we drive home.
This got me thinking: these emotions of mine seriously have influence on the kind of mommy Ethan has from day to day.
I tried to snap out of it but couldn't really.
Ethan kept singing, I kept driving. Kept thinking.
I came up with this short list I call the Foes of Motherhood:
Then I thought about Jesus and how he said that his burden was light..."Come to me...." and how Paul reminds us in Philippians --I think--to think on things that are right and pure and lovely; to cast all our cares on Him because He loves us.
Does this apply to guilt and worry about weaning checking accounts? Does this apply to random and maybe not-the-best-choice shopping sprees at Target?
There is a truck in front of me with a picture of a beautiful mountain and lake on its tailgate. It's an old, little blue Toyota. Above the mountain, in white scrawly letters that look like they were written in chalk it says, Cristo es mi pastor, sal. 23.
I picture myself a little sheep. Then I picture that same sheep with the green corduroy coat I just bought at Target on its back, buttoned around it's belly.
The sheep, ie me, looks ridiculous.
And Christ, my Shepherd, is smiling at me, still watching out for me, still loving me, still there.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surly goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I think I would like to adopt a baby. I also think I want a dog. And I also think I want to paint my entire house beautiful ocean blues. (Side note: when I was pregnant I made Joey paint out ENTIRE apartment mustard yellow because I was inspired and the whole thing ended up looking like mustard puke, especially where the paint butted up to our disgustingly gross 1970's dark brown cabinets in the kitchen. Thank God the old lady below us smoked and we had to evacuate permanently. I hated that apartment.)
Joey has calmly reminded me (ok, and sometimes not so calmly; sometimes like, "Danae! I've told you a thousand times I can't handle a dog right now! Its going to pee all over the carpet and ruin things and then the vet bills.." Or- "Danae! we can't paint the house right now! We have no extra money and it will be a huge mess and you will get tired and not want to finish it-and remember the yellow apartment? Hmm? Remember that??") that all my grand ideas have details that will come to the surface; details I will have to live with, like pee and paint drops on the carpet.
I am a big picture person who is only recently learning to look at details, like flossing my teeth, for example. Joey is teaching me.
Joey is ALL about the details. The practical side. The reality.
Of course, I think there is another reality, the metaphor, for example,of adoption as a picture of what God has done with us gentiles. Joey doesn't care so much about the metaphor. Or maybe he does, he just also sees the paper work, the money, and the struggle of trying to love a baby that is not your genes, your blood. Details like this are fading fuzziness to me--until I am in the middle of them.
That's when I freak out.
I am only recently learning to listen to Joey, to value this strength of his to foresee all the crap that is apart of real life.
Sorry this has no real ending but I am late to class.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Housewives Unite: The Power of An Apron

Ok so the feminists are going to shoot me. Shoot on, I don't care. I have discovered a secret worth shouting from the roof tops. And the secret is this: wearing an apron makes me like being a housewife.
It's as simple as that. My mom and dad recently moved and I inherited an old seventies half apron that I took because it was cute. It sat in my closet for weeks but I decided to put it on and WA-LA: instant new feeling. A good feeling. A feeling of power and pride and love even. A feeling like, ok, this is my job. I am the boss.
Ok, at first I felt self-concious and a little Mrs. Beaver-y, but the good feelings overpowered and won, and I kept the apron on.
Making dinner with my apron on makes me more patient with Joey when he's watching baseball or on the computer or whatever. It's like the apron reminds me, "Hello, you're his wife. Let him relax. Spoil him." And then I actually set the table with placemats and make sure the butter and salt and pepper are on there too, and even ask what he wants to drink with dinner.
And doing laundry with the little thing on? Instant bliss.
And I think the guys like it too. I haven't exactly asked Joey and he hasn't said anything specifically, but I just get this feeling he likes it. Like I take cooking seriously or something. Like I take taking care of him seriously. Sometimes I forget that's what I signed up for when I said, "I do".
The first week I wore my apron I made dinner FOUR times. This might not be a big deal for some (like my older sister who makes dinner EVERY NIGHT) but for me, that is a record. What was even more amazing was that I wasn't too bitter about it. Even after, doing the dishes, I was still liking my role as mom and wife.
Now I know this sounds trite and a little too simple, but its worth the try.
And let me tell you, there are cute sexy aprons out there! Go to if you want to check some out.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I have two sisters. One looks like Pocahontas and one looks like a middle school music teacher, which she is.
The Pocahontas one is my little sister, Daeylnn. A lot could be said about her, but mostly she is very sensitive to you if you are in visible distress but isn't so sensitive about consistent little things, like a phone call. But I have accepted this and also I should add I don't consistently call her either.
My favorite memory of Daelynn, or at least the only one I can think of right now, is when she jumped out of the tree in the front yard. She was always a climber and fearless of heights (although I have been suspicious of this. Is she really not afraid or is she just showing off? Does a three year old show off by climbing to the top of a gigantic tree?) and this time I think she was probably about five. She had little brown arms and legs that were about the same diameter, her legs were just longer. She would use these skinny things to maneuver her way up anything: slick, ridgless rocks; door frames, trees. I think trees were her favorite. Daelynn spent a good portion of her childhood perched in the branches of various trees, like a cute creature that you didn't know where she was going to jump to next.
I don't remember details exactly but I remember her hanging for a second and then---DROPPING. And then she was on the grass, knees bent in a squatting position, smiling. Now, lest you think I am a wussy and this was no big deal, she dropped far. Like I wouldn't have let go if I were even half as high as she was.
After I witnessed this I decided to try dropping out of trees a couple of times. Why? I'm not really sure. I must have thought Daelynn looked cool doing it, or maybe that she was stepping over the little-sister line. Like I was supposed to be the bravest. Or at least Deana (the music teacher) was. And she definitely wasn't dropping out of trees.
I never liked it though. I really freaked out getting on the branch; I freaked out even more as I hung from it, my fingers straining to stayed curled and holding on; and falling and hitting the hard ground felt horrible on my eight year old knees, like somebody just whacked them with a bar.
There was a time when I thought I had to do everything Daelynn did, even if it hurt and I never seemed to get the same thrill she did. I never smiled when I landed.
This stopped, however, when she started jumping off cliffs into rivers. I finally came to, realizing that if she wanted to take on the role of the bravest sister, that was fine with me. Sunbathing in my bikini on top of the cliff gave me enough of a thrill.
And Deana? Deana was a little tough to grow up with. A little edgy, a little controlling.
One day she came home from school and cornered Daelynn and I behind the piano. She said she learned something really cool and proceeded to force our small, virgin knuckles to crack. Then she did our toes. We conceded to this torture in the way little siblings do, wincing in pain but thinking it a necessary part of life.
To this day, Daelynn and I are both socially inappropriate crackers, and we crack EVERYTHING: necks, ankles, elbows, hips. Backs. This drives Deana nuts, especially in church. I even crack my toes while I am driving.
But over the years I have really grown to like Deana. She is quirky and extremely fun. She gives good advice normally and is open to change, and grow. She will run all over the house pushing Ethan in an empty box, and he absolutely adores her. Sometimes after a visit its the first thing out of his mouth when I go into his room to get him out of bed, "Deana? Deana?"
My sisters are my very best friends...connected by our past, and blood.

When you are not with me

When you are not with me I have to stop myself from pointing and saying in a really high excited voice, "Fire engine!" when one passes through the intersection in front of me.

(I also have to stop myself from doing the same thing with semi's, school buses, or any piece of machinery bigger than the average, mid-size truck. Oh and planes too.)

When you are not with me I find myself singing in my head very happily Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or sometimes The ABC's or even sometimes not so happily, but still compulsively, Row Row Row Your Boat.

When you are not with me sometimes I forget I have you.

When you are not with me I think horrible thoughts towards my professors and feminists and the society who made it so staying home with you makes me feel useless and weak.

When you are not with me I feel free and young and happy for about forty minutes, and then I wonder about you and what you are doing, and if you miss me.

When you are not with me I still refer to myself in the third person ("mamma wants to...") and I use phrases like "Bye Bye," and "Oh boy!" and "I have to go potty,"--with other adults.

When you are not with me I feel guilty.

When you are not with me and I move something heavy, I grunt quietly, but still out loud, "BIG BOY," as if you were moving it. And then I shake my head at how silly that is.

When you are not with me I wonder what I would be doing if the little sperm and egg that made "you" never made it. If they never connected-what would I be doing? Graduate school?Traveling? Sleeping? Wanting to have a baby?

When you are not with me, sometimes, like now, I ache.

When you are not with me I wonder if the people I interact with know I am a mother. I want them to know.

When you are not with me and I see an orange fish (like Nemo), or a dog, or a really ugly bug; or if I find a miniature race car, or a marble, or when I see ducks, I think about you and how you'd like that.

When you are not with me the brown car seat from Wal-mart that sits in the back of my Honda with the perpetually annoying bar you have to lift over your head is just ugly and useless. And smells like barf.

When you are not with me I don't smile near as much. And even though you are a pill, going to Wal-mart and even the post office is boring as church without you.

When you are not with me for more than a couple of hours I speed, sometimes up to 85 miles an hour, to get back to you.

When you are not with me I don't feel like myself. I feel opportunity and choice but I also feel a little cold.

Almost hollow.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Roots, Part III

This is a poem by Paul Zarzyski, a cowboy poet, about Joe's last ride.


After grand entry cavalcade of flags,

Star-Spangled Banner, stagecoach figure 8's

in a jangle of singletress, after trick riders

sequined in tights, clowns in loud getups,

queens sashed pink or chartreuse

in silk-after the fanfare-the doomed

rodeo arena goes lights-out

black: stark silent

prayer for a cowboy crushed by a ton

of crossbred Brahma.

What went wrong-

too much heart behind a kick,

both horns hooking earth, the bull vaulting

a half-somersault to its back-

each witness recounts with the same

gruesome note: the wife

stunned in a bleacher seat

and pregnant with their fourth. In this dark

behind the chutes, I strain to picture,

throught the melee of win with loss,

details of a classic--body curled

fetal to the riggin', knees up,

every spur stroke in perfect sync,

chin tucked snug. In this dark,

I rub the thick neck of my bronc, his pulse

rampant in this sudden night

and lull. I know the instant

that bull's flanks tipped beyond

return, how the child inside

fought with his mother for air

and hope, his heart with hers

pumping in pandemonuim--in shock,

how she maundered in the arena

to gather her husband's bullrope and hat, bells

clanking to the murmur of the crowd

and the siren's mewl.

The child learned early

through pain the amnion could not protect him from,

through capillaries of the placenta, the sheer

peril of living with a passion

that shatters all at once

from infinitesimal fractures

in time. It's impossible, when dust

settling to the backs of large animals

makes a racket you can't think in,

impossible to conceive that pure fear,

whether measured in degrees of cold

or heat, can both freeze

and incinerate so much

in mere seconds. When I nod

and they throw this gate open to the same

gravity, the same 8 ticks

of the clock, number 244 and I

will blow for better or worse

from this chute--flesh and destiny up

for grabs, a bride's bouquet

pitched blind.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Roots, Part II

So like I said, Joey came from a family of ranchers in Montana. His mom (Patty), and dad (Joe), married right after high school (after Patty's best friend and her went back and forth with him a couple of times. Patty eventually won). They were eighteen.
Shawn, their first son, was born a year later. Fifteen months later, they had a daughter, Christy. And this is how they lived: traveling with the rodeo in the back of truck with a camper, selling Quick 50 Motor Oil to supplement their winnings. Joe rode bulls, Patty barrel raced.
Three years passed, and they had another little girl, Jennifer Rose.
Can you believe this???
They lived in a CAMPER. With THREE children. I mean, when did they take a BATH? and HOW?
Anyway, its a mindset that is foreign to me. So day-to-day, you know? I mean, what about insurance and college funds and owning a house and having a new car and occasionally getting your nails done? I'm speechless.

A couple more years go by and Patty is pregnant again. Joe has taken months off from an injury, but is finally ready to ride again. Patty is in the stands, her eight-month belly protruding in front of her like a gigantic egg.
Joe is riding Pow Wow, a bull who weighs more than a ton. Pow Wow bucks hard, his hind legs rearing into the air behind them. His head and shoulder's compensate, crashing into the dusty dirt as his large, curved horns lodge in and don't come out, throwing Joe over his shoulders onto the ground. The bull falls too, crushing and instantly killing his rider who was the exact size and stature of my husband, Joey. I saw a picture of Joe once in close fitting long underwear and was amazed at the exactness of his thighs and butt to Joey's.

More to come...


Can you tell these two are related?
Joey came from a family of ranchers. It's interesting to think that if things didn't fall the way they did, he would probably still be in Montana, ranching, riding bulls. His history is so rich, his family past unique. More to come...

Thursday, October 18, 2007


I went to my first class today; I am currently at this moment deciding to skip my second. It started two minutes ago, plus I forgot my notebook and I just don't feel up to asking my fellow stranger classmates if I can have a piece of paper. They always look at you like-what a bum- even as they say, "Sure, no problem."
Just not up for that.
Instead I will go to some cute stationary shop and look for invites to a shower I am throwing for Jess. That sounds WAY more fun than class.
Last night Joey and I watched The Bodyguard. I have always wanted to see this movie. I LOVED LOVED LOVED Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You hit in the nineties; I listened to the radio faithfully all the time with the hopes of hearing her pipes belt out all that emotion. To my eight year old heart I could sense the desire, the angst. I hadn't ever experienced anything like that, but the song made me want to (we are so silly, aren't we?).
Anyway, I never saw the movie when I was younger because it is probably rated R and the song itself was too mature for me anyway.
But I saw the movie at a garage sale and thought I was probably big enough to watch it now so I bought it for a dollar.
Ok people, what was with the nineties??? The hair, the cars...yuk, yuk, yuk! And I am sorry, but Whitney Houston was overdramatic and as an audience member, I never warmed up to her. The guy was fine. She was horrible. Except when she sang, of course.
So anyway it wasn't worth the time or the dollar I spent on it.
Joey tried to warn me before we watched it but as usual I thought he didn't have a clue what he was talking about. As usual, he did. But at least we got to sit on the couch together for two and a half hours.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

This Afternoon

Today Joey says to me as I stand in a daze in front of our open pantry cupboard, "How about we go out to lunch before school?" I turn around with a smile as big as Kansas on my face and tell him that sounds like heaven to me.
So we drop Ethan off at the Shell station where Lillian picks him up (yes, we wait till she gets there to leave) and then we head off to UNR to park my car, because our schedules are crazy like that and we always have to drive two cars everywhere. I'm listening to this great song I've fallen in love with the last couple of days, and after I PARALLEL park, I slide into Joey's car like I am eighteen again. Happy, without a care in the world.
We zoom off to Silver Peak, park, and make our way into the noisy bar/restaurant. A thin young girl leads us to our table which is the size of a Monopoly game board. There are two men about a foot and a half away from us on one side, also at table the size of a Monopoly game board, and a wall on the other side of us. I scrunch up as close as I can to the wall, and smile at Joey.
This is not the first time this has happened to us. The last time we went out to lunch we sat next to two elderly women who were passionately discussing dog breeding. Amazingly, the manager of that place came over and asked us if we would like to move somewhere a little more comfortable.
Umm, yes.
But this time no such luck.
I steal a glance at their table to see where they are in the eating process. Sweet. The long black folder that holds the bill is already on their table. They should leave anytime. No big deal.
Joey and I try to talk over the one man's particularly deep, booming voice, but we really don't get anywhere. I am too involved in his story about how he used to like to go home after work and have a martini and sometimes he ended up drinking more than he intended, but then he went on the South Beach Diet and couldn't drink during the day. And he's lost twenty five pounds since June without really starving himself or anything.
All this talk about alcohol makes me think of a question I want to ask Joey, "How many DUI's until you go to prison?"
I want to talk more about that but then I realize the men will think I had been ease dropping if all of a sudden I start talking about alcohol. So I shut up and eat my somewhat soggy chicken tacos.
The waiter comes by three times, each time reassuringthe men that he isn't rushing them, and would they like refills in their drinks? Each time they politely decline and keep talking about alcohol and students and the problem of addiction that they don't have (he definitely had a problem).
When we leave they are still there.
I was a pretty good sport about it though. You have to expect these things in life. I took two mints on the way out to somewhat compensate for our lunch partners. Both turned out to be OLD mints and left a cardboardish taste in the back of my throat.
I wanted Joey to hold my hand as we walked through the big, echoing parking garage to our car. See, I think of these times as "dates"; Joey thinks of these times as "lunch". I understand this about him now. I link my arm through his and we walk like that back to the car.
The more I write about my everyday experiences, the more I realize life is just like this. It never goes how you think it will; there are always old women who breed dogs and men who like martinis who are sitting just a tad too close to you, and mints that taste like cardboard, and husbands who just don't think of reaching out and taking your hand.

Monday, October 15, 2007


I had such a good time with my sisters this weekend. It was good to spend time with them, little as it was. Good to see Andrew as he grows. The surprise 80th birthday we had for Grammie was as good as I thought it would be. She was so happy; even the next day she was still smiling, still energetic.
I have been spending more time with Ethan, remembering just how much fun he is. This morning we played with his car puzzle that I bought at a garage sale. It's missing the semi truck and the fire engine but Ethan doesn't care. Two year olds are so cool like that.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Deana and Andrew arrived yesterday. I sat through my three classes as sweet whims of Andrew's face floated across my mind. I was so excited to get over to my parent's house and see the little bugger but when I walked through the door and said, "Andrew! How ya been?" he looked at me like, "Who are you and why are you so loud?" and then he looked back at the pan he was playing with.
But I didn't care. I swooped in and picked him up and squeezed, because my nephew is a wiggler. He has thighs like a sumo wrestler and his arms aren't anything close to scrawny. When you squeeze Andrew you feel like you are squeezing a big, overstuffed pillow--that is alive. Contrarily, when you squeeze Ethan, you feel like you are squeezing an empty wrapping paper role.
This hug got Ethan's attention and he walked over and looked up at me like, "Mom, what are you doing? Don't you know you are mine?"
This is pretty much how its been since then. Jealousy has arrived at our doorstep folks. Jealousy, paired with almost-two-ness, has turned my sweet natured little boy into a pent-up, frustrated, swatting toddler. Swatting, you say? Swatting. He gets this look in his eye like, "I'm mad. I'm frustrated." and then he swings one, sometimes two arms in a sort of limp, bent wrist sort of way in my, or Andrew's, general direction.
It's not full out hitting but its enough to scare both his mom and daddy into lengthy discussions on discipline tactics and life philosophies.
Both of which we are quite unsure of in the moment. This is the one thing I do know: I have to play with Ethan. I have to get down on the floor with him and help him build something; I have to sit my rear down in a chair for some serious Curious George time; I have to show Ethan that I like him, I want to spend time with him, and I wouldn't want to live without him.
Otherwise, no discipline will matter because he won't care what I have to say.
I have already experienced this. I have had weeks where I am stressed and needy and only "put up" with Ethan; you know, just the essentials: change the diaper, feed him pretzels, milk. Make sure he's dressed. Then he does something that warrants a time out and when I go in to redeem the situation, instead of his usual, "saw-ry mamma," I get a look that says in a two-year old sort of way, "screw you."
It makes me think of marriage, and how I had no idea what I was getting myself into. In Kathleen Norris' book, The Cloister Walk, a friend tells her concerning marriage that she is "entering deep, uncharted waters."
Parenting is the same. Who knew what cosmic elements in the universe were changing as Ethan made his way (quite slowly) down my birth canal? I'll tell you what was changing. My own selfish world, that is what was changing. My Time. My Body. My Future. My Money.
And I had no idea. I thought it would all pretty much stay the same, just with a baby added on. No, looking back, Ethan was a bomb falling on our life.
But God is so gracious to me. He dropped [and is still dropping] this bomb s-l-o-w-l-y, so that I barely notice, except when I stop to think about it. Or, in that underlying feeling that is almost a constant in my life:THIS IS HARD.
And I don't know. Maybe after bombs trees grow back better and stronger, like after a fire. Maybe some things have to be blown up to be rid of them, so that something better, healthier, will grow.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Closer to the Psychos

Today I feel closer to the psychos. To all those people who "go off the deep end"as we like to say, shaking our heads. I feel closer to the twenty-year old deputy who shot his girfriend and her friends two days ago; closer to my old friend's mom who one night while I was having a slumber party at their house never came home. They found her a couple of days later, passed out from an overdose in her car on the side of highway 80 near Truckee.
I called Ethan stupid today. Not to his face, but still.
Its just been one of those days when thoughts and feelings are all out of place (is my period comming?) and the world is not well.
I was walking to my car from class and I happened to look up, to catch a glimps of this amazingly happy blue sky. It was so big, and it reminded me that it is big.
And I am very small.
I came home and thought I should read my Bible. So after I made a grilled cheese in the microwave I turned on our new fireplace, put some hot water on the stove, and grabbed my forelorn and almost forgotton journal, and the Bible Joey bought while we were in Mt. Hermon.
I flipped through it and saw a note he had made in blue pen: "God's word gives us wisdom and makes us happy!"
I went to the back to look up comfort, because I thought that was what I wanted to read about. But before I got to the "C's" I saw the word "Delivered".
"Delivered" is such a better word than "Comfort", at least from my viewpoint right now. Delivered is strong, confident, done. It means whatever was going on has passed.
That's what I want.
There were two verses under delivered that were from Psalm 34. This almost made me smile because I knew God was near me...I had forgotton, like I always do, and then He reminds me in these little ways, "I am right here Danae. Right here."
Psalm 34 was the psalm we had read at our wedding. I have come back to it many Many many times, and it has shown me so many good things. True things.
So I read it again, and this time this is the verse that hit my heart:
Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
The first verse reminded me of the great big blue sky; to look UP at things that are bigger than me, like the sky, like God. Like his wisdom and his control, and his love for me.
The latter was a duh moment; we suffer so that we can experience the nearness of God.
Like Lewis said, he whispers to us in our joy, and screams at us in our pain. And his nearness is so sweet; I have yet to have experienced a pain greater than the sweetness of his presence.
Ethan cries now, and I feel weary.
Go on, he says, go on. You hold your son, and I will hold you.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Assembly Required

Joey is hunting for a couple of days with his dad and brother. I hope they have some good 'guy' time together...shooting, smoking, and maybe talking? I'm not sure what guys do when they are alone.
This morning I woke up about 6:30 and could have sworn I heard light switches being flipped on throughout the house. You know the little click sound they make if it's real quiet? So I started to freak out, but then I swear I heard the drag of one of our dinning room chairs against the linoleum, just like someone was pulling it out to sit in it. So then I thought, Oh, Joey's home. Because two nights ago he did come home early from work, like at 2:30 a.m., and when I woke up very sleepily to his moving around our bedroom, I wasn't scared at all because I knew it was him. Not because I could see him, but because of the sounds he was making, the way he was moving.
So I heard the scrapping sound of one of our dinning room chairs on the floor, for a mini-second was relieved and thought Joey was home, but then one mini-second later realized how silly that was; why would he come home early from hunting? And to get back here at at 6:30, he'd have to have left at like one.
Well, no one was in the house (so far, no one has ever been, even though I have been absolutely sure of it about five or maybe six times) and I think it was just wishful thinking in my heart when I heard that familiar sound of the chair scrapping the floor, because it is the sound I hear a lot as I am lying in bed in the morning; it's the sound that means Joey is home.
Well, the other day Joey tells me that this whole cop thing is not going to work out in between us; I am just not cut out to be a cop's wife. He said women who are cut out to be cop's wives have things to do for the three or four days a week when their husbands are gone, like, he said, scrapbook. He gave my older sister as an example of a woman who would probably make a good cop's wife because she always has a list of things to get done; a list of things to get done that she wants to do alone.
He told me that all I do when he is at work is think about him comming home. Now, how's he know that?
I think he read my blog and all of these pity posts about me missing him. I think that's what spurred this little 'cop's wife' conversation.
Well, I don't know what to say. Except since I have realized this I have found things to do. Like an amazing book that shows you how to move and stretch in all sorts of wonderful ways. My back and hips feel loose for the first time since I was, oh I donno, five.
And then last night I watched Cold Case, mainly just for some company, but that was stupid because why would I want company that involves a gruesome murder of a young girl? Well, I watched it anyway, seriously annoyed at the orangish color of the lead woman's lipstick throughout the entire show, as I put together our NEW ELECTRIC FIREPLACE.
I have been wanting a fireplace for about a year. They are so warm and cozy and I thought that maybe it would bring some sunshine into my winter. We got it last week in the mail, two huge boxes of wood, a little baggy with screws and washers and those little wood peg things, and of course the insert itself.
We were so excited we could barely wait to put Ethan down so we could assemble the thing ("Assembles easily with a Philips screwdriver" it said on the website) but when we were finally ready we were exhausted as usual (it was 8:30) plus we both had runny noses and achy bodies.
But we really wanted to put that thing together and then enjoy a little time cuddled up next to it (or at least that was my motivation; I am not sure what was Joey's) so we took some cold medicine and pain relievers and went to work. Joey stuck two corners of a Kleenex up his nose to stop the drainage, and he looked so pathetic and so sick I had to too, lest I look like I was suffering less.
So there we were, out in the freezing garage, ripping open dirty boxes and hard to tear plastic and staticky white packing pieces everywhere, Kleenex hanging out of our noise.
What did us in were the directions. The second we opened up that paper book I felt even more achy and sick and even woozy.
Let's go to bed, I said.
So we did. And all the pieces have just been sitting in our garage and some in our living room for like four days.
But last night I got serious and I put that thing together. All by myself. There were times when I definitely wanted to give up. There were times I had to try over and over and over and over again to get all the holes and wood pegs and screws to line up right so that they all fit together, at the same time.
I think what they should say on the website is that the fireplace assembles easily with a Philips screwdriver and patience as big as the Pacific Ocean. Oh and muscles.
But I got it together, it looks so beautiful, I am so happy, and Joey will be too.
Maybe this cop thing might work out in between us after all.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Color Grey and Tasseled Pillows

I have noticed I am wearing a lot of grey lately. Gray, connotatively speaking, is said to evoke stability, professionalism, and boredom. Yuk. Plus, I have been sick.
But--I did buy some amazing pillows for the new (ok- they are hand-me-downs from my mom, but I still consider them new) couches we just got. And the pillows are not grey.
I had so much fun picking them out at Steinmart. I left Ethan with Lillian and had one of the better shopping days of my life since I have been married--partly because I was alone and had NO time-limit, partly because I was not shopping for anything that needed to fit my body, and mostly because Grammie and Papa just gave us some money to play with. I was high with happiness.
Steinmart has one of the best pillow selections in town. I took note of this over a year ago when I just happened to be passing through, and the second I knew I would be inheriting my mom's couch set a little neon flashing sign went up in my mind: Steinmart, Steinmart.
I walked right to the back of the store where they have shelves upon shelves of pillows, all the way up to their twenty-something foot ceiling, all arranged by colors: reds, golds, blacks, browns, blues.
I have been wanting to pull in these beautiful, oceany greens and blues into my decor, which for the past four years had been mostly olive greens, goldy yellows, and deep reds. By getting rid of the pervasive olive green color of my old couch now was the perfect opportunity to start bring in the new lighter blues and greens.
So I went to the blue/green section. At first I tried to be considerate, pulling out just one pillow at a time, then putting it back if I decided I didn't like it. But after I had two pillows that were possibilities, this tactic didn't work so well anymore. I needed free hands to search for more pillows. So I put my potential pillows on the floor, propping them up together.
I noticed this was a great way to see if the pillows looked good together. So, I pretended like I was some interior designer who could do things like this and I began pulling out any pillow that caught my eye and arranging it casually in my now fastly growing pile of pillows.
The more pillows I threw on my pile the more confident I became. I analyzed textures and colors and fringe. I put back pillows that I knew wouldn't work. At one point there was a pillow way at the top of those twenty-foot shelves that I thought would work beautifully. I asked the first salesman I saw, "Could you help me? I'd like to see one of those pillows. Yes, way up there on the top. The blueish one with the ribbing on it." He had to roll out this incredibly tall latter and climb up. He reached down to give me the pillow. "Thank you," I said, but even as I said it I knew holding the pillow it was not going to work. The color was too dark, the fabric shiny and cheap looking. I took it anyways, but after the salesman disappeared I put it back on a lower shelf.
At one point a grandma looking woman walked by and looked at my pillow collection. I felt proud. I know she was probably thinking, "What is that girl doing?" but I imagined her thinking, "My goodness! What a wonderful combination of color and texture! I wish I would have found those pillows myself!"
After I had a good fifteen or so pillows to choose from I realised I needed a cart. I left my work of art and walked to the front of the store. I walked as fast as I could and grabbed the first cart I saw.
It was the cart you never want, the cart the makes horrible squeaking and creaking noises that are magnified on the tile floor. But I couldn't turn back and get a new cart; my pillows were all alone and someone might snatch them up.
Which is exactly what I thought someone did because when I got back to my area my pillows were gone. Not one of them was on the floor.
Huh, I thought. I was upset and at the same time honored that someone would take my selected pillows, because they looked so darn good together.
Then I saw one on the shelf. Oh good, I thought. They didn't take all of them. Then I saw another. And another.
Yep, they were all there. I felt a little silly for thinking someone would be so thrilled with my pillows and at the same time annoyed at the sales person who put away all my hard work.

I bought way too many pillows. Two-hundred and something dollars worth. I also bought a large vase that I can't decided if it is really pretty or really ugly. And, a pair of dragon fly bookends. Both are the blueish color of most of the pillows I bought. I justified buying them because I needed something else in the room to tie the pillows in with.
Joey helped me carry in all the bags; there was a lot. And they were big bags.
"These are all pillows?" Joey has this thing with pillows. He hates them. Every time I have bought pillows in our four years together, (let me see, one, two, three, four...ok, maybe there has been a lot of times...five, six-yikes!) he ends up giving me very disapproving looks. He considers them a colossal waste of money. Also, he sits down on the couch and throws them on the floor, because the couch is more comfortable without them.
I rushed to my rescue. "Yes-they-are-all-pillows-but-I-don't-intend-to-keep-them-all-I-bought-more-than-we-needed-because-pillows-are-tricky-and-I-had-to-try-different-ones." I took a deep breath.
"So you are going to take some back?"
"Yes, of course." I wasn't sure of this when I bought all of them but as we entered the house with the big creamy bags I began to quickly realise that I had indeed bought far too many pillows to ever look good on the couch.
I rearranged the pillows on the couch in all sorts of ways but the way that looked the best was pretty easy to see. The biggest pillows I bought, the ones I was most sure would look the best, looked gody and foo-foo. The two dark brown pillows I thought I wouldn't use but I bought them because I liked them, just in case, looked fabulous together on the love seat. The couch was harder, but eventually I decided to go with two old pillows I already owned and two longer but shorter blue/green pillows with tassels.
Joey doesn't like the tassels.
In fact, I am not sure I do either, but there is a part of me, hiding under that grey, boring part, that wants me to keep them. It's flare and a kind of old lady way.
I took the four pillows I didn't use back and they credited almost eighty dollars to our VISA. Few! I remember the first time I bought pillows for our couch at married student housing. I spent thirty dollars at Wal-mart for three pillows and felt guilty about it until about yesterday.
I am still not sure the blueish pillows look right. But they are growing on me. And besides, I can't take them back, because then I would have to return that vase, and those dragonfly bookends....and I have always wanted bookends. Especially in that bluey color.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


The weather man said it was the earliest snow in over a decade. Who would have thought the little bit of rain at my parent's house tapping on my shoulders as I walked to my car would turn into the full-on whiteout blizzard I was caught in on the freeway as I drove home?

I work on Friday nights until nine. Ethan is usually sleeping or getting ready to go to sleep at my mom's when I arrive to pick him up; Joey is working; there is no point in going home so I usually spend the night. But last Friday I wanted to go home. I thought it would be easier, less strange, to sleep in my own bed. I originally thought staying at my mom's would make Joey's absence easier; instead it seems to magnify the fact that Joey is not with me.

So I grabbed Ethan's diaper bag, put the little man in the car and we were off.

I remember thinking; not mindless, random thoughts, but good, thoughtful things probably inspired by some book I had read while sitting at work.

As I kept heading north, the freeway starting to incline up a little hill, the rain turned to snow.

I thought, Wow, it's snowing. Then I took a deep breath and rolled my shoulders back because I like driving in the snow about as much as I like having a crown put on at the dentist. Which is to say I do not like it at all. I kept thinking those thoughtful thoughts, which, by the way, presently I can't remember a lick of.

As the snow got thicker, covering the freeway in a deceptively beautiful but truly deadly slick blanket of snow, I took deep breaths and thought in between my scholarly thoughts, I'm doing real good. I'm relaxed, I'm keeping my shoulders from tensing terribly, I'm doing good. This is going to be fine.

I glanced back at Ethan in my rear view mirror, his head resting on the side of the car seat, eyes closed, mouth pursed. Like a hand-painted doll.

When my eyes focused straight ahead I noticed it was getting harder to see. I rubbed the windshield with the forearm of my coat as my Honda fogged up. In a matter of two seconds I couldn't see ANYTHING but white cloudiness everywhere. No lights from the cars in front of me, no lights behind. NOTHING. I rolled my window down as fast as I could and thought, This is crazy. This is not supposed to happen! Snowstorms are not supposed to come out of nowhere. Hondas should not fog up!

I was feeling seriously encroached upon, like my right as a driver and as a mother was being totally infringed. Whosever fault this all was should really be punished. I had a sleeping baby in the back seat for crying out loud. Which made me think in a quirky and somewhat sick humor type of way of Carrie Underwood's song, Jesus Take the Wheel.
Her voice fills my head, even though I don't want it to, as I start to panic. What are you supposed to do when you are driving on the freeway and suddenly you can't see? Throw your hands up in the air and sing?
I knew I was near an off ramp so I turned the wheel ever so slightly in that direction. I kept driving, certain I was at any moment going to run right into a side-rail or the ditch. There was a light at the top of the off ramp that suddenly to my heart's relief let me see a little. That and the fact that I had completely rolled down my window so my windshield wasn't fogged anymore, but Ethan was getting big, wet snow pieces all over his face, his hair. Also, it was cold.
I turned left. To my left there was a seedy 7-11, surrounded by orange storage units and brick buildings that had signs which said, Bonds! Quick and Easy. On my right was the jail. Where Joey was.
I wanted to go to the jail very badly but I knew I would never find Joey, plus all that security you'd have to go through, and then there would be the look on Joey's face I would have to deal with; the look that would say, "Danae, what are you doing here?"
I had to be a big girl now.
So I pulled into the 7-11, really slow. Which is when I realised there were headlights beaming directly behind me, almost on top of my little Honda. What is that jerk's problem, I thought.
Well, his problem was that he was a cop, and had probably been following my very troubled, if not concerned looking vehicle for who knows how long. I turned around, half relieved I was at least going to have someone to talk to about all this, but the second I got out of his way he went and parked in front of the 7-11 and walked inside. Probably for some glazed donuts.
I sat in my car and tried to pull myself together. My right leg, the leg that presses the pedals, began shaking uncontrollably. Oh jeese, I thought. I am such a weenie.
Everyone around me seemed to be doing just fine with the little storm. At one point I saw an old Bronco hit the gas hard as he was taking off, squealing and sliding all over the road, on purpose-
like it was fun.
I took the back way home, scared to get near the freeway, and had no problems. In fact, in a matter of minutes the snow was gone and everything was wet, shiny, dark and still.
This kind of thing happens in my marriage too. I have been trying to hold it together these five weeks we have been in school; trying to have things picked up and maybe even a sandwich made for Joey. Trying to let him sleep, even though I want him to to wake up. I have been proud of myself for not whining, for taking care of Ethan even thought I feel alone most of the time, except for on Tuesdays.
But these blizzards come out of nowhere.
Ethan, Joey and I were all driving to my dad's to drop Ethan off. Ethan was happy in the back seat, chattering on about "humpy dumpy". Joey and I were not talking; earlier that day Joey and gotten upset with me for driving around all over town for three or four days with a car seat that was very loose and wobbly, like a six year old's loose tooth. You could wiggle it all sorts of ways.
I was silently steaming on the inside that Joey and I hadn't had any time together; you know, time to laugh together and enjoy each other.Time to have a relationship. So at the time I could really care less about the car seat, and I let him know it by rolling my eyes and walking away without saying anything.
So in the car we were not talking. Finally Joey says, "You know what hurts me? That you don't even care about Ethan's safety. That you are more upset at my bringing it up than you are about the seat being loose!"
I slumped in my chair and fummed. I did care about that darn carseat; I had tried numerous times to tighten it and I couldn't get it tight.
I let Joey know this.
Then I felt it all boiling up inside of me, and I knew I was going to erupt.
"You know what hurts me??" (I raise my arms here in the air, my fingers opened and stretch as tight as they can go) "I feel like I am dying in this fricking marriage and you don't care!"
I must of said this louder than I intended because Joey starts yelling at me to stop. He tells me to turn around and talk to Ethan because I scared him.
I force myself to turn around, afriad at the look of horror I will see on his little face, but he doesn't look scared so much as quiet, thoughtful. I rub his foot, and my cheeks are wet from tears that silently drip down them.
We don't say much else. We have extra time so we go to the park. We walk over to the slides like three best friends, each of us holding one of Ethan's two, small hands, but there is a saddness that hangs above his little head, between us.
We go down slides together and make our voices high and happy. When Joey and I finally get a moment alone, he suprisingly puts his arm around me. My head instantly, like a magnet, drops to his shoulder.
"Don't get angry in front of him. If you are mad at me, that's fine. But not in front of Ethan."
"I know," I say.
For the rest of the day and on into the next I was confused. Why do we get married? How can two people who are so different, who need oppisit things, have a happy life together?
The discussions between us lasted two or three days, but at least there was a clearing in all the snow and fog. It still isn't moring yet; it's dark and shiney and wet. And still. But there is hope of the morning, of a bright and glorious sun, shining down on us, soaking up all the slick and deadly snow.