Monday, April 28, 2014

Googly Moogly

It's Been A While

The terrace is coming along, and has been taking a lot out of me; I've finished the retaining wall (about 30 feet) and most of the gravel fill by hand. I deeply enjoy this kind of work, so don't feel too sorry for me. I am starting to feel my age, though and that kinda sucks. It takes a lot out of me, so by the time the kids go to bed, I'm right there with them. Some day I promise I will post pictures, but for now, it's chilly and rainy and I don't have any recent ones.

A couple people have asked where the kids are as I'm working, and it depends. Sometimes Lokisdottir is with me, playing with gravel, or trying her best at chaos. Sometimes she is napping. Sometimes AwesomeDad takes her places that are more interesting than a pile of gravel. CoyoteCurls is still in school, and when she's home, she is sometimes right there with me shoveling up gravel from the pile and putting it into the wheelbarrow. Sometimes she's off playing with fairies in the front yard. Sometimes she and her sister are inside playing. They are pretty awesome together. Which is good. For now. Until they understand how to harness their full chaotic potential. Then I'm screwed.

Since I Last Posted

Lokisdottir turned two, and we had a nice little get-together with hers and CoyoteCurls' oldest friends. Nice, relaxed afternoon, really. She loves the new toys, which have kept her quite busy today.

I wish I had the ability to pick presents like the other moms do. I'm a present-oaf. Completely. I try to be thoughtful and all that, but it never works and I end up buying Legos and then consider a sympathy card rather than a Happy Birthday card for the kids. "I'm sorry, I'm not very good at this," the cards would say. Or "I'm sorry your mom is friends with an oaf". I'm the same way with AwesomeDad, but he's been good about not being too annoyed.

And My Nose

I woke up around 1am because Lokisdottir (who wanted to snuggle some last night), dove onto me head first. Right into my nose. I sat up and waited for the trickle...sure enough. I could feel the stickiness of blood and see it in the faint light of the nightlight. Got myself cleaned up in the bathroom, and once the auto-tears stopped (they just happen. No crying necessary; this is my second time. The first time, well, was stupid), I climbed back into my own bed, far from diving toddlers. I'm not sure how the rest of the family slept through my drama, but they did.

And Chaos

They have discovered my distraction. I'll try to be better. Promise.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Giant Legos

I've spent the last couple days playing with 82lb Legos. 54 of them, to be a little more precise for the first step in a multi-step project. The current task is a 20 foot long retaining wall that will later be extended another 15-20 feet. Next step involves a bobcat and what remains of the ten tons of gravel in my driveway (I will likely need more because, well, I just will). Then sand. Lots of sand. After the bobcat, more trenching, more gravel, more leveling, more wall.

After all that wall, all that gravel, all that sand, comes pavers. Several pallets of pavers that will become a Really Big Terrace for my husband. For his birthday. And because the look on his face he gets when he sees another project that needs to get done breaks my heart. I enjoy this kind of stuff and it's not that he doesn't. He's just tired and the man has earned that tired. I want to be a part of "untired" for a little while.

My goal is to have it done for his birthday, and I have a lot of reasons for that, but mostly it's because I rock deadlines and pressure. I think I've annoyed him a little with how much time I sank into the wall itself because he's been front and center with the kids (he is a rock star kinda dad, and to me that's totally hot). Once I'm at the point of putting in the actual terrace floor, I can easily work any and all of the time--just can't quite manage Lokisdottir and a wheelbarrow full of Giant Heavy Legos. And in a couple days I've dug a 2x2.5x20ft trench, filled it to six inches with gravel, installed a five course retaining wall and he has been awesome with the kids.

Woman's Work

I'm not letting him work on the terrace. He offered. He tried and I got mad at him. I'm funny that way now and again. It started out mostly about making this thing for the man I love, adore, and respect, and it has become somewhat of a statement to my girls. Well, CoyoteCurls anyway because she's seven. Lokisdottir will be two here in a couple months so she likely won't remember any of this.

It has nothing to do with "You don't need a man," because that's not quite the message I want to send (I'll get to that another time). It's about "You can do this stuff on your own. You're not "just" a girl. Being a girl is not weakness. Being a girl is what YOU define it to be; your parameters and on your terms."

And it's ok to want or need a man. Or a woman. Because we are humans and we are gregarious, and despite it all we do need people. But it's far better to want than to need a particular someone.

Holy Cow I'm Tired

I was going to write more, but I'm nodding off and can only hope any of this makes sense in the morning. Sure I could put this in a word document and cut and paste and edit and so on. But this blog is just as much a story of me and me has a lot of faults and flaws.

And an extreme need for sleep.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Thoughts on Writing

Stream of Consciousness

Or rather, rapids.


I don't assume every writer does it, but I do. Not from anyone else, but from my own life. Moments. Thoughts. Memories. I take it, mold it, knead it, turn it into something just a little different--maybe even the same. I think about it for a while. Stir in some emotion if it's not already there, and I run with it. Sometimes it's falling in love. Sometimes it's killing something that hurts. The viscera is its existence somewhere in my world.

Sometimes I wonder what people read in to what I've written. If they see the skeleton memory over which I've stitched emotions, and the flash of a story. Context is everything. So I suppose that assumptions can be made if the reader has a shared experience. He or she sees the house in which we both lived, and the love we may have both felt...but I've turned him in to something new. Because that character is not that person with whom I shared that space. It's a character who needed a place to live, and air to breathe.

Is This Autobiographical?

I can see the question in the eyes of a reader, when it's someone I know. And that one that follows "Is that (him/her/me/it/that)?" Sometimes yes a little, but mostly no; because I don't have characters in my life, I have people. I know a character's motivations, histories, thoughts. People, not so much. Characters make more sense to me, and sometimes even help make sense of people. But never does one equal the other.

Sense and Nonsense

Most times it's just me, trying to make sense of nonsense and broken puzzles. Understand departures. Find to my own little piece of real estate in Oh-I-Get-It-istan. I may never really know why you (for simplicity's sake) left, but that you did in the most hurtful way you could, but here I stand with some mismatched pieces of pottery and a pile of sand that looked like gold only moments ago. Explanations fall short, and I only dig my hole deeper as I struggle to understand, explain, comprehend, defend.I may never know why you started talking in the first place. Or why I responded the way I did. That is all nonsense.

And so I write. It's not unlike a scientist with a bug; slicing, dissecting, examining. Figuring out why it can fly, or how it poops. But the "you" in my story isn't necessarily "you" at all, rather a patchwork of all the other bugs that made me.

Or maybe it always was just nonsense, and you read context where there was none at all. Because I live passionately. I love passionately. And I love passion more than anything.


And the little kayak plunged off that stream and into nighttime.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

What's In a Name?

Coyote's Grace

I need to change Baldursdottir's name. She's still just as sweet, but I can't ignore or deny her inherent Coyoteness, so I think she's Coyotecurl (she has blond ringlets) from now on. I wanted to keep with the whole Norse thing, but my favorite Coyotecurl story takes place over two nights, and left me disconcerted.

Incident number 1: Driving home in the spring, windows closed, but it's fairly nice outside. Coyotegirl, around two, says "Coyote stinky!" We have discussion, her only response is to repeat "Coyote stinky!" Get to the house, open the windows a bit before bed because it's nice outside.

Coyote's serenade from everywhere in the near distance. Close but not overly so. I love this, but the whole "Coyote stinky" thing gave me pause. Not a lot. But the coincidence was weird.

Incident number 2, the next day: I am loading the dryer, minding my own business, lost in thought about a beach, or space, or a grass stain, when behind me there is a voice. A tiny voice. A horror movie voice. "Coyote's waking uuuuuup!" Coyotecurl says this three times and dashes off into the house, laughing at some joke of which I'm sure I"m the punchline. I go about my day, forgetting the incident.

That night, windows slightly open, the world erupts in the calls of coyotes. I can hear them rustling in the tall grass sixty feet from my window. I closed the window and hid under the covers

The Nordsman

That's the 6'4" blond guy with the searing blue eyes I married. My nephew always referred to "Aunt Kendra's Nordsman," so that's who he has become. I wouldn't exactly call him a trickster, but he does have mischief in his eye, and I remain on my toes. Which is good for me. And it's never dull. Ever.


It's a house full of tricksters for me. It's all good, because I do love coyotes. And Loki. And mischief. Keeps life interesting and stuff.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Rain at 3am

Sense and Senseless

It's the time reserved for rain and peepers. And complete non-sleepers. She tried for a while but a dream startled her awake and she didn't even know what it was about. She supposed if she thought on it, she could drag that memory to life, but she knew better. It was the face that awoke her. That's the part that's senseless. Faces. The people they belong to, and the games they play to help themselves sleep at night. She really couldn't complain, because it's not like she's some innocent, drifting through life. She knows who she is. But her schemes are mostly to understand people. This life. This side of life (unlike the parallel life she's sure she can feel sometimes, but just can't touch).

The sense part is dirt. Mud. The stuff that behaves with no motivations. She digs a hole. The dirt yields. She digs another hole. The hole becomes a trench. The trench becomes a base. The base becomes a wall...and that, to her is the irony of it all. It's a wall for her little fortress in the woods. It's a wall to keep stuff in. To keep stuff out. She lays the wall with careful consideration. Concentration. It keeps the senseless out. And when the day is done, there is no more room for senseless.

And Then There is Fire

Quite the opposite of this damp, dank night filled with song. Fire was her first love. The way it takes on a life of its own. Searches for food, grows, and even changes its environment to fit its needs. She understands fire. It consumes and feeds all at the same time. She relates to fire, feels it, respects it. Sometimes harnesses just a little bit of the very fire of life to burn what needs destroyed, so that new life can grow. It's not always the most intelligent way, but it is her way. And though she is learning to aim that fire at dirt and mud and trenches, sometimes a little bit spills at in the direction of the senseless.

She Yields to Darkness

And the promises it brings, and the peepers that sing. And for one more night she contains that fire.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

People Leave

By Death or By Choice

That's been my mantra, my acceptance at the beginning of everything new. It's been a week of both.

By Death

That one started early, and became almost expectation. Family, friends. I learned to love fast, love hard, and be ready to let go in the time it takes to draw a breath. I've learned to see death differently now, though. Some people just seem to step aside on to another plane. Of peace. Of harmony. I've felt that a couple times and it brings me peace, too. Doesn't make me miss their voices, their perfect eyes, the stories we told each other.

I suppose that aspect of me can be overwhelming. That I accept each goodbye as the last. That I tell the ones I love, that I love them. Some get it. Some don't. I'm learning to let go of the ones who don't.

By Choice

When it's mutual, be it attrition or action, it still bears weight. Sting. Sadness.

When it is one-sided, it is a little like death. The stages of grief set in--sometimes it moves along faster than others. Sometimes it lingers in a stage like anger, because in a keystroke, there is nothing but the attempt to respect the end, no matter what kind of questions there are.

I can't say I am guiltless of one is; I try to hold on til the last breath of hope. Sometimes I hold on too long, and by the time resentment sets in, I have to leave before I get destructive. I don't always time that well. I tolerate a lot to keep from having to feel departure, and that's not always a good thing.


It's been a week of both. So kindly, quietly close the door behind you.