Archive for the ‘Red’ Category



J’s an official resident of Massachusetts. His license and plates say so.

His mail is coming to my house and we made a place in the kitchen for me to put his stuff as it comes in. I already know he is one of those guys who opens his mail on a monthly basis. Good thing all his bills are on automatic payment!

He set up his keyboard and all this stuff I am not sure I can identify but it is electronic and relates to his microphone and drum machine and there’s all these equalizer things…the best thing is that last night we spent about an hour with the girls, who sang into the microphone and played the keyboard and could hear themselves on a more “professional” level. It was priceless. Red is actually figuring out how the drum machine works. She is ahead of J, who is still reading the manual. (some of the gigs overseas actually require drum machines so he is working it out, even though I think they are stupid).

He’s spent a larger part of the morning today working up in his “studio” which has ended up working out great. Mine is downstairs and after I ran some errands and hung a painting in a local gallery (YES! I DID! SO EXCITED!) I have spent the morning here in my studio finishing a painting for a big show next week. 

It all feels very normal. He just left to get his bike repaired and have the inspection done on his car by the insurance folks, so I am here working and we’ll meet up again for lunch. 

I’ve been caught up in my studio here so much that while I had my Adele album playing, it took me 30 minutes to realize I had accidently hit the “repeat song” button on itunes and have been listening to the same song for a half hour. 


Still, weeks after J’s return, I look over at him often and go, “It’s SO great you are here!”

It’s gotten to a point now that he rolls his eyes at me when I say it. 

Last night was portfolio night at the school. It means that the classrooms are open and we sit with our child and go through these massive notebooks of the year’s worth of work. It’s awesome and now requires their dad and I to split our time between each classroom. He spent half in Red’s class and I spend half in Blue’s, and then we swap half way through. 

Last week, the girls invited J.

So, I called their dad and just gave him a heads up and he goes, “that’s great, the girls already told me.”

So I hoped it was genuine and at least he could put on a good fake face, even if he wasn’t liking it.

It went beautifully. The two men shook hands and we did our stuff, and even if it was horrible inside for either one of them, the girls saw something good. J stepped back and neither man tried to prove anything. It was all about the kids.

I so empathize with him though, the feeling of the girls coming home with J and me at the end of the night, while he drives back towards Boston without them.  

Granted, today, they go back to him for the weekend.

When they are gone, we sometimes take an evening walk.

See how gorgeous it is here?

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I’m not really sure how things are going with the kids other than that they seem to be adjusting pretty well. Red’s hand washing has gotten alot better. She still pulls some quirky things, like not wanting to touch a library book after her bath, or open the car door. She has stopped washing her hands every ten minutes and has not woken me up in the middle of the night either (to wash her hands).

I know that deep inside, Red  must have some sort of deep 8 year old conflict between loyalty towards her dad and loyalty for J. She adores them both and I only hope she never feels guilt for enjoying the man who now lives with us.  I suspect that some of the extreme behavior lately has stemmed from J’s return and the slight changes. Even if they are good, I know it causes some anxiety, just because it is “change”.

Fortunately, we talk alot. There is alot of nurturing going on between all of us and J is so great to not make a major slam into the household. He’s spent some of the last two weeks up north cleaning out his apartment and getting affairs in order after being gone for six months. So it has given the girls some time with him here, but also still, with me, alone…with him gone.

I am grateful that he kept his Monday night gig that is two hours north. He is happy to be visiting with his mom and sister and her family, make extra money, as well as give us some balance back here with the girls. It’s a way to ease into things here.

In terms of changes, they are small-ish, other than the big one, where the man is home. He has clothes here and music equiptment and brought his new dvd player to replace our crappy one. But other than the keyboard in my bedroom and the duct tape chair, no changes have been made in the house.

Except that J is here most of the week. Which apparently, she loves. I see no weirdness when they are together. It is AWESOME.

And as for Blue, she just goes with the flow. 

I’ve been cranking through projects with J being gone right now up North. I finished my last commission that came in since my last show. It’s up at the top of the post here.  I am nearly done with the thirteen (random number) paintings that go up in a large group show in three weeks. I’m finally getting homeowner’s insurance on Thursday. I’ve got lists and lists of things to do for and with J, here around the house.

But here I sit browsing Hulu.com.

And I am in awe at all that is on there.

Who knew that you can watch Silver Spoons on the internet? And The Partridge Family?

Anyway, I am jumping around here, and am going right into conversations we had in our household this past week:



Red: (to me) Mommy, when I grow up will I have medium sized boobies like you?


Blue: (upon learning that I was getting my hair cut) You should make it long so you can braid it like Laura Ingalls Wilder. That way you can never grow up, like her.


Red: (screaming) I NEED TO WASH MY HANDS! Apparently, the 2nd grade teacher made an announcement in class about Swine Flu.  Unfortunately, someone also told her that a baby died. Over the course of the last few weeks, she has become completely compulsive about washing her hands and being clean. So badly that I am considering taking her to the doctor who can explain to her about antibodies and how Swine Flu is not gonna be touching her if she waits more than ten minutes to wash her hands.  It got so bad last week, she woke me up at 4am to wash her hands. She wont touch things like her clothes or doors or even her stuffed animals unless she washes her hands after. This is a big problem and I learned she isnt doing it at school and I decided it will likely go away by the time school is out and we we are at the beach every day rolling around in seaweed and sand and catching sealife in the nets. Until then, I am ignoring it and not responding or giving it attention because it seems to bring the anxiety level up in her. It is so so sad to see. I realize my anxiety over her behavior is making her more stressed out. So I have to cool it. (update, this appears to be resolved!)


Me: I’m a rockin’ girlfriend, aren’t I?

J: Yes, you are. 

Me: I’m a rockin’ girlfriend because I bought you some lube to take with you on your trip this winter.

J: (laughing) Yes, you did.

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…that my man has no problem sleeping in a very girlie bed.


…that my kids are the ones who pointed it out.

…that eventually my girls will just go to bed when I tell them to. Not three callbacks later and two visits down the stairs.

…that I am ready for the kids to be out of school so we have more quality time together and not rushed after school activities, homework and dinner.

…that I will be ready for school to start again in the Fall.

I realize that when I want a grilled cheese sandwich, I should just have one.

Same goes for chocolate. Speaking of…I bought J some malt balls at the market today and before he got home, I ate them.

Tomorrow J will be an official resident of Massachusetts. He’s finalizing his car insurance, registering his car and getting new plates and changing his driver’s license.

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Did you wash your hands?


It’s a continuous struggle in our house.

“Did you wash your hands?” after we get home from school, before we eat a snack.

“Did you wash your hands?” after going to the bathroom.

I’ve been slightly and silently joyous over the fact that Red’s second grade teacher informed them of Swine Flu, and even though it hasn’t come to our city, she warned everyone to sneeze and cough into their inner elbow and wash their hands frequently.

For the first time in her eight years, Red washes her hands at all appropriate times.

And then some.

But I noticed at first, she was afraid. I mean, SWINE FLU just does not sound good, right? Even if you have no idea what it means, as an eight year old. The name “SWINE FLU” is just plan something you don’t want to get.

I quelled her fears but reminded her that even if the swine flu wasn’t hopping around the U.S., it was important to wash hands and cover our coughs appropriately.

Over the weeks, I noticed something. 

It has gone from good to bad.

She’s actually washing her hands too much.

I am noticing she is washing them more often, even when she hasn’t coughed or gone to the bathroom. Sometimes it is ten minutes after the last time she washed them.

Last night was the last straw.

I was woken up at fucking FOUR a.m. to her  standing at my side.

“Mommy. I have to wash my hands.”

I took her downstairs to wash her hands, angry and upset for the fear that she suddenly has instilled in her. In fact, I spoke angrily TO her and I feel like shit because I know she’s scared and I know I am scared that she is scared….a vicious cycle.

That night, I used the opportunity to go to the bathroom, while she washed her hands. As we were leaving the bathroom, she ran back and pumped a shot of liquid soap onto her hands and washed again.

“What did you do that for? You just washed your hands,” I exclaimed.

“I forgot to use soap the first time!” she said.

As we trudged back upstairs to her bed, she was all snuggled back in and I looked at the clock, wondering if I would be able to go back to sleep for a few hours. I pointed my finger at her and said firmly, “YOU MAY NOT EVER DO THAT AGAIN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT”.

And she hasn’t, thank GOD.

Last night we had a bad episode where she wouldn’t  put her clothes away unless she could wash her hands afterwards. And I was like, “the clothes are CLEAN!” And she goes, “FINE I will clean them up but not touching my socks or underwear.” (which had just come out of the laundry.

So you know what I did? To prove a point? I picked up all her underwear and socks and touched them all and then I proceeded to lick my hands. “See? I’m not getting sick!”

She laughed and looked skeptical but interested in the fact that I didn’t drop dead.

I thought I had gotten somewhere, but then, I made the mistake of picking up her lambies.

Note to self: Do not lick hands and then touch Lambies.

She is now thoroughly convinced that I have given her the Swine Flu.

I spoke with her teacher today, curious if she was behaving similarly at school. Fortunately, only two things have changed. Her request for extra doses of hand sanitizer, other than the dedicated “before lunch and snack” times. The teacher said to Red, “Oh no, we only need it before we eat.” And apparently, Red, would accept it and go back to her work.

The other thing was that this morning, they had morning greet time as they usually do in second grade and all the second graders shake each other’s hands. Red kept her hands in her pockets, slipping just under the radar. No one said anything and nor did she, but still, she didn’t take her hands out of her pockets.

I suspect she will get over it.

Her dad and I agreed to not react or even talk about it anymore and if we are in a situation where we can control it, we just say “no, we’re not taking a second bath tonight, you already had one.”

I suspect that AT LEAST when school is out and we are spending out days at the beach and outside, she will get over it and forget about it. I just pray that in the Fall and Winter it doesn’t happen again. I am considering taking her to the pediatrician to have him explain in kid-speak how it all works, and let some higher up authority (because I don’t appear to be good enough) tell her that she will be okay.

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I am so…so…so…


Just kidding.

I am so so so ecstatic, I don’t even know what or how to write right now.

In an email to a friend yesterday, I said, “It’s like he was just here, although then I remember the length of time he was away and how hard it was, and now hold him tighter and look at him longer.”

We kept waking up the first night and grinning at each other. I think at some point, I may have even said something stupid and obvious like, “you’re here!”

The girls are excited and are way overtired from staying up until 9pm every night, unable to sleep because he is in the house again. I know it will settle down, and I also need to train him not to go back up to check on them “one more time”…because as I learned a long time ago, you say your final goodnight, leave the room, and pray they go right to sleep.

He starts his gig down the road on Saturday night and I can’t wait to be there. Having him gig just down the road, in the old original venue of “us” is like a dream.

As I write this, he is up north packing his apartment up and pulled his car out of winter storage. I drove him up there today and had lunch with his family and then drove home, leaving him to his “stuff” while I come home and get some work done, so I am ready for his return on Friday.

On Monday, after sweet reunion and sentimental conversation, I asked “So, what did you miss the most?”

He turned to me and looked deep  into my eyes and grinned. “Your boobs.”

After my stoic response (which was a solemn/fake stare), he goes,”Oh, well, your cooking too. I definitely missed your cooking.”

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Saying Goodbye


I was driving to the post office and bank one day, running errands and found myself pouring M&Ms into my mouth from a 21 oz bag. It’s not that I overeat, but I find sustinance in M&Ms for breakfast some days. Sometimes it is just a pot of coffee. Sometimes yogurt and fruit. Eating chocolate for breakfast is often a sign of being off balance.

That was about six months ago and J had just left for the island gigs. I was so so so sad, sadder than I let on. I got used to it, in a sad and lonely sort of numbing way. With trips and visits to look forward to, I kept plugging away at things. 

In the very beginning of our relationship, J was local half of the time. He was here for four days and then up north for the rest of the week. Knowing he was coming back each week for a few days at a time had been a luxury for me, but the season here was ending for him so we made our time together as we could.

So, today, I was thinking about how all our lives, we are saying goodbye.

We say goodbye, as often as we say hello.

I said goodbye when school ended every year for the summer. I said goodbye to my beach friends when I went back to school in the Fall. I said goodbye to to folks when I graduated highschool and moved to the midwest. Likewise for the end of college. I’ve said goodbye to my parents when I left home, for any period of time (but gladly happy to escape into a world of adulthood and independence). I’ve said goodbye to boyfriends, some gladly, and some sadly.I never said goodbye to the girls’ dad, because, well, I just can’t be rid of him, since he is still their dad.

I’ve crossed paths with great people who’s lives haven’t aligned with mine, where the significance of separating was greater than if we’d actually known each other better, longer.

I said goodbye to my grandparents who no longer grace this world with their sweet smiles, and some friends, who died too young or tragically or peacefully.

I say goodbye to my children, often enough and what seems like too much, when they leave to go to their father’s house. 

In fact, I say goodbye when I take them to school every morning. One stands at my side until the bell rings and prolongs her farewell. The other gives a little air kiss and runs off to see her friends.

Sending J off for his whirlwind of gigs felt more like a “see you later,” because for once, I felt pretty darn secure with someone leaving. Don’t get me wrong, though, I’ve had my moments. When it felt like he’d never be home. But I knew he would be. And deep down (and way out in front) I knew he wanted to be back home with me, with us.

I was talking to my friend D early on in J’s departure, and he said to me, quite clearly, “isn’t it better to be with someone who you trust and feel secure with, even if they go away, than feel unsafe and distrustful with someone who is near?” And he ended with “Use that time for yourself.”

And by golly, I did.

My friend, Jen, emailed me months ago, after I had a little email “freakout” (to her) about him being gone. One of those “I have no idea what will happen and suddenly I am thinking about this too hard.”

And my brilliant friend said this: 

“Oh sister, you are kinda having a meltdown on the this subject–that sucks and I know it feels scary and crappy and all that stuff mixed up.  It’s tough when you start out a relationship with someone who already has his life planned out (at least for the next several months) you want him to be able to drop everything and just poof! be with you and relocate and all that good stuff. I have a quote in my office shelf that I think about often. My minister once said to me, “God’s delays are not god’s denials.”  When things don’t work out the way we want them to, the moment we want them to, we doubt ourselves, our partner and the whole she-bang. But as tough as this next several months may be, you will blossom and grow in new ways as a person, a mom and a partner. There is plenty of wonderful time when the two of you will be together. Just try and be patient.”

And then she ended with, “Love is like water, it flows where it’s needed. He needs you and loves you and rest assured that all is well.”

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On Mama’s Day, I woke up at 6am and gathered my clothes and started to sneak out my bedroom door. You see, I’ve been training the girls to not leave their room until the first number on the clock read “7”.

So, it being 6, I figured I could get a shower, have some coffee, and maybe get some work done in my studio before the girls came down to start the day.

But then I realized their bedroom door was open and their room was empty. I heard voices downstairs in the kitchen and thought “I’M SUPPOSED TO STILL BE ASLEEP!” and I dove back into bed.

I browsed the internet on my iphone under the covers until I heard the girls coming back upstairs. Sure enough, they plowed into my room yelling “HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!!”  

Red carried the largest tray I own (which is twice the size of a normal tray) filled with yesterday’s coffee cake, water, juice, straws, and a very full bowl of milk with what seemed to be half a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.  Apparently, that had been sitting around for a few minutes…or perhaps twenty.

Soggy cereal. Mmmmmhmmmm. Oh, what we’ll do for our kids. (even gag down soaked cereal)

They were beaming and I was thrilled at their independence (and more thrilled when I went downstairs later to find that the entire kitchen was clean!) and the joy they took in celebrating a day for their mum.  We spent an hour reading and talking and snuggling in my bed. 

I am truly blessed by these little ones. No matter how big they get, they will always be the little ones.

Soon, they were off to play in their room and I went downstairs to shower and have my coffee. 

They took off for Sunday School with my mother (because I refuse to step into church, but they like to go sometimes) and J and I had a coffee date on Skype.

Then I went to the market and with the needed groceries, stocked up on candy bars for the day. A Twix. 1000 Grand. A mongo Peppermint Patty.

I called my stepmom.

I swept the kitchen floor.

The girls came home and my mom came in and I gave her the gift my sister and I had for her…she hung out for a while (refused to go out to Mother’s Day brunch, because as usual, she is on a diet and “isn’t eating anything”) 

The girls and I went outside and rode scooters and jump roped (they did, I sat on my ass on the stoop).

Their dad came at 3 to pick them up for their Sunday night overnight. He gave me a portrait of the girls in a frame.  

I ate chili con queso and guacamole with chips. I got heartburn. Happy Mother’s Day to me!!!!

I did some work.

J called as it was getting dark here and he was in bed, since he’s six hours ahead.

We talked about how in a week he’ll be on a plane home.

And then we just sat there and looked at each other.

“Show me your dimples,” I said.

The next thing I knew, he’d moved his computer so that the video cam was pointing directly as his bare chest.

“Show me your DIMPLES!” I repeated.

His face appeared on screen again and he smiled, showing his dimples.

And then he laughed, “I thought you said “nipples”!

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Am I the only person on this earth who manages to always buy a cleaning product where the spray part has gone defunct?

Am I doing something wrong?

My girls had play dates today, meaning, each of them had a friend come over after school. I am ashamed to say that due to our schedules and need for downtime after school most days, we rarely have play dates. The last one we had was in March when I was helping out a friend. And I resented it because it was one of the few days while J was home and I wanted us to all be together by ourselves. Not with play dates.

Anyway, today, these two girls came over. Beforehand, I drove up the street to pick up Red’s friends’ American Girl doll from her house, because they were going to have a “party”. I stopped in to visit with her mother, who is a friend, but I had never been inside the house.

Am I horrible to say that it was a horrible disaster? It smelled and the rugs, which were on top of gorgeous wood floors, were stained and disgusting. Dishes from breakfast were still on the table (and I arrived at 1:30pm). Am I a snob and do I have OCD if I do the dishes after every meal?  

Later, we dropped off Blue’s friend to her house. I am a horrible person, but when they showed me their pool, which was above ground and seemed to have been built in the sixties, rusted out posts and the fence falling down, I silently declined their offer in my head to come swim this summer. I knew very well, there was no way in hell we’d be doing that. The couch sitting poolside also was a slight turnoff. My girls thought it was cool, a couch out in the yard. But there was no way in hell they were going to be sitting on it.

I love these two friends, but I just can’t hang out in their houses. I just can’t. (or swim in their pools)

I don’t clean my house THAT often. But I keep it picked up. Sometimes it’s weeks before I do a full cleaning and I tend to wash my windows only once a year or so, depending on how well the rain does the job in between. But if the dust bunnies are walking, I sweep. A stain on the rug, I clean it, or get rid of the rug. If there is poop in the toilet, it gets flushed. (seriously). 

I definitely have standards. My kids take a bath every day. I take one, sometimes two showers. I am curious to know how many people out there, really don’t give their kids a bath after they’ve been at school for six hours with 400 other children, go to possible study group and then gymnastics and then their kids don’t take a shower before climbing in to bed. It happens more often than I realized.  

When I was a kid, we always took baths at the end of the day. It wasn’t until college that I started taking a shower in the morning and at night. Mainly because I blew dried my hair before leaving the house for classes and the warm shower when I woke up, felt good. But something that is a MUST for me, is that I have to shower at the end of the day. Often it may be around 6 or 7. Sometimes right before I crawl into bed. But the end of the day, I have to, I must be clean before going in between my sheets and lying there for 6-8 hours (if I am lucky). Otherwise, I’d be lying in my own filth.

I dated someone once, for a short time. It ended shortly after I realized he only took a shower every few days.


Thankfully, J showers as much as I do. He showers in the morning. He rinses off after, um, s-e-x (before we go somewhere, because GOD forbid someone smells it on us!). After gigging at night, we stand over a platter of cheese and crackers in our underwear, drinking fizzy water and catching up. And then we break for a shower. He finally has stopped apologizing for wanting to take a shower before bed, when he realized, I always do the same.

When it comes to us living together, I think we will be just fine. J is incredibly organized at home. And when he is here, he keeps incredibly tidy, organizes things for me, does dishes…at his place up north, it was the same and his apartments down in the islands, remarkably neat for a guy living on his own. 

His car, is another matter. It’s gotten better. But I laugh to think about the first time I ever got in his car. He wasn’t prepared for it, obviously, and neither was I. After apologizing profusely for a long long time, he threw about three feet of water bottles, sheet music, music electronics, cables and sound wires, microphones, donut bags and coffee cups…you name it, it was in there. 

Yeah, we’re all entitled to have a mess, in some place, right?

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Total Randomness

I just feel like being random, I felt like going to sleep at 8 but then, decided to do absolutely nothing but, well, pretty much nothing. In fact, I am not sure what I did the last few hours. And my lids are half drooped and I feel exhausted and other things.

J will be home in a week and a half.

It rained all day today and I painted all day and drank a pot of coffee. (which may be why I am so tired but not going to bed). My open studio on Sunday went sloooowly, but the people who did come, bought work and I have some commissioned work now too. I also networked with some artist friends as well as a new client who gave me names of interior designers she thinks may be interested in my work. 

Anything helps.  

It didn’t help that during my Open Studio, people didn’t eat much of the refreshments, so I pretty much ate an entire batch of lemon squares.

Remember book fairs at school when you were a kid? I got giddy over them and I am still giddy over them. My girls have their Scholastic Book Fair this week at school. They had their preview days and Friday I will go in and purchase with them. I am letting them pick out 5 books each. YAY summer reading. Plus, how can you reject a book fair?

I found out my exhusband is buying a house without selling his current two family house in a very wealthy part of the city.

The new house is on a lake, with alot of land, with ten rooms and lots of bathrooms. I looked it up, It’s around a million dollars. Glad business is going well for him and the child support will keep on coming.

My mom just bought a cottage overlooking a cove, that is to die for. It is one bedroom. But perfect. She bought it for a fraction of the price that exhusband bought his mansion.

I live in a 1200 square foot condo and am most happy here, more happy than I have been anywhere else.

Blue can read. She can read like nobody’s business, for a kindergartner. I am so proud.

Red struggled with math in first grade and last summer we had five tutoring sessions. She no longer struggles with math. It’s a relief!

I had to talk to my divorce attorney about some stuff. Please hold in your prayers (and I don’t pray, but I will now) that things will be okay. That’s all I will say right now.

I think I found miracle face wash and cream. I haven’t had a blemish in two weeks.


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Other uses for Skype


J and I have been talking at 6am my time, when he has searched out a cafe on land in Europe and was having his coffee and brownie after lunch…it was during his three hour bit of time docked on land.

(due to the other day’s internet complications, he is spending the last few days of the boat gig, calling me from land)

The day after tomorrow he travels to a new and his last gig!

After talking this morning for a half hour or so, the girls woke up and came downstairs and saw me sitting there having coffee with J over Skype. 

Blue was dressed and then Red was having some issues, one of them being a nose bleed (um, from picking her nose, for some reason). I said to J, “I will be right back, keep talking to Blue.”

I came back five minutes later and she was sitting cross legged in front of the laptop on the floor, reading a book to J.

She’s six, in Kindergarten, and just this week is at a point in her reading where she stalls only occasionally. I am so proud and coming back into the room and seeing him watching her intently, as she read to him, contributed to the steady reminders of how much I love him and how much I love him with my kids and how much I love my kids with him.

Before we said goodbye, he said to Blue “what’s 4 plus 4?” And she shouted out the answer.

“What’s 8 plus 8?” And she shouted out the answer.

“What’s 16 plus 16?” And she shouted out the answer. 

And he goes, “How did you know that one?” (because it was such a big number)

And she smiled and goes, “Because you told me that once.”

He was able to get in the conference room tonight and call too. So we sat while he yawned at 2am his time, after a night’s work, while I ate a pot of risotto I just made, 8pm my time.

Gotta love Skype. (how many times have I said this in the last 5 months?)

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