Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Little Night Music by Adrianna

Adrianna decided to sing us a song before she went to sleep. This is how it went...
"It's called roses everywhere you go, K um? And then it starts again. Where was I at I was at the pirate part. There was so much all of the pirates got all of our money and treasure and kept it forever the next found the gold. So they would find something different so they would find a treasure. They could not find it all so they rush and could not find it all. Like the sun blooming everywhere you go so we have the sun sing everywhere you want cause Jesus created it for you. So they had written a book that was very special the very special book that tells the future that tells everything they can find. Just one or two or three or five or six Just a little bit of sauce on the noodles cause the robbers stole all the decorations. Merry Christmas to one another. What should they do? They shout hurray. What are you doin for your Jesus Christ. We love our Father. Our Heavenly Father. We never ever forget his name. He's very nice we love him forever and ever and we know what our Savior loves us forever. So does everybody else we love our Savior Jesus Christ Hey!"

Friday, December 3, 2010


"Wise one," so say the Irish. My name is gossamery tulle, the N's dancing like awkward, passionate lilacs on an overgrown trellis. It starts with a hush, jumps up and then nests. It smells like rosemary wafting from my neighbors yard. Silky, second hand costumes like plumes to hide in. Soft fabric swaddles a pink baby. My name is sure, patient and elegant.

S tepping on mosaic stones
H osted by the Joyce K Carver Soldotna Library
A peppery taste is in my mouth. I uproot
N asturtiums, binding them together to make a
N ecklace reminding me of my connections
O f quirky family with roadmap veins and trick fingers stored in boxes. Magic tricks
N ever far from my heart.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Lunch with Teachers.

Brimming with anticipation for what work Eli and I will bring to Alaska I chat with my new friend, Yvette about a State Trooper job. She shot hoops at the Native Shoot Out for the troopers with the "drunk goggles" on. She made 4/5 baskets. This job promising the allure of a cozy home with 3-4 bedrooms, a space for the music studio, an acre of land where the kids will collect fire weed, lupine and scratch 13 mosquito bites, get a wasp sting, yell at a moose eating the broccoli in our garden intoxicates me, displaces me from a goal of independence in creative employment and joy in each working day for Eli. At the round table Nina's head scarf and , hand-embroidered floor-length Russian Orthodox dress remind me of Kenai, of the bluff, the blue onion bulb towered church. The long haired, apostate who ran the place, reprimanded by the city police for stealing the funds charged by visitor tours. If you give a mouse a cookie style, that reminds me of the Russian teenagers at Soldotna Fred Meyer with their side sashes stuffing candy bar into their puffy side pockets. I reprimand my mind for such contrasting images as Nina speaks about the special ed child she assists at the school. Jack had lost his coke bottle thick glasses today. His computer talker device wasn't good enough to express his frustration. She gently imitates the stomping escalation that ensued. Like the dusting of snow outside causing light to reflect, Nina's constancy and gentility soothed his ruddy face and helped him retrace his steps. She cuts the vacuum seal on the smoked salmon her uncle had made. It smells of brown sugar and fish. Yvette spreads her spicy salmon spread onto a Ritz cracker. Another teacher had a Scottish cheese to contribute and proliferates from the French bakery around the block. Tasting the world on my tongue I think of the many years I have missed the rich, nourishing taste of salmon. The dark pink flakes separate in my mouth tasting like gold rush magenta. The special ed classroom warms of a slower pace-extra time and attention to the kids they teach. Jory, a fourth grader with learning disabilities and my guess of a rough home life sticks his head in the door. His speech sounds intermingled with ocean waves crashing, "Eww. It stinks in here! I am going out to recess...but I am NOT going to pick up the snow! I just wanted to tell you, I won a pizza last night." Yvette gave him a thumbs up and a smile as she was taking a phone call arranging pick up after school of her preschool age son. Her older daughter is expecting a baby any day now, her kids ages span 25 years. We talk about how all families work, of the unique treasures that expansive older children and younger children share. My daughter, older than my brother (her uncle) and my 15 year old sister her aunt, romp through the woods until they crushed a hornet's nest and paid a pretty price for such an oversight. One of my kids first, grand Alaskan adventures...a foreboding and realistic introduction to the unforgiving north that doesn't want friends. At this round table we partake of life. Nourished my what the land gives, in return, like Mica sloughing off a layer of resistance a melding of sisterly cement is felt. Conversation of what women speak of; menstruation pains, breastfeeding, children, husbands are lifeblood woven.

Lunch with Teachers

Pickled salmon wedged between my teeth
Savory crackers with dried fish
Yvette has five children, three raised, two still at home
She dances with the Native Elders, sons are learning to drum
Build the igloo, brush the snow
She kisses little Joe
Nina's dress handmade, fashioned of old world Russia
Knotted scarf on her nape
her eyes reflective
New husband, toddler child, teacher's aid
They know I can, there's hope for my little girl
She'll write of her 24 bee stings, her first fishing trip
Journal her first period, a mark of womanhood
But before she will cry at night
Worried she won't pass the third grade
Wounded Mrs. B doesn't like her thoughts
Attacked by labels she must find her strength
Women complete with culture
bound by common Alaska

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Time to get my rear in gear.

My myriad of lofty visions are swirling in my mind's eye. Many things I'd like to be with the talents that are mine but most of them I am currently hiding under a bushel for a rainy day or whatever other cliche I can come up with to politely excuse my current state of lack of personal productivity. But the rumbling has begun, like the swewn ash from Mount Spur back in the second grade, it is time for me to sprinkle this land with all I've got. Under my belt I have a week of heading to the gym at 5:30 a.m with a new found friend. She's a swimmer, too , has six kids and a nerdy husband and swims faster than me. Here we are, back home in the great state of Alaska. My old stomping grounds have a haunting and daunting foreboding of winter, darkness and this crisp tension in the air can't be far as today was the first day of snow that stuck to the ground. This probed me to don my long underwear and three shirt layers this blustery day. Wimpy, Portland tires caused me to drive slow and steady like the old turtle to substitute today. Got there safe and sound.
I'd like to be an ambitious, poised, engaging, active,beautiful, alluring wife and mother with a few tricks up my sleeve in the direction of community writing, a more successful entrepreneur and helpful networker/helpmete for my musician studio recording husband and constantly seeking something fresh and new as an exemplar to my children and so that I might have an insightful, intelligent perspective and a great big hug and kiss with the cookies and milk when they get home from school. To get me back in the swing of what it means to be an Alaskan woman I am doing something bold and challenging. I am competing in the Mrs Alaska America pageant 2010. To be a Mrs. in Alaska means to have a few rough edges, a keen sense of what is miserable, daunting, lonely, dark and cold but for the Mrs that triumphs she finds a community of many Misses, a loving and supportive husband, joy in her bright blue eyed, blond children's faces, hope for a cruciferous garden this summer (please, not harvested by moose), the solace of the midnight sun, children swinging in a tree, the dream of our own home someday, memories fishing, the glacial rejuvination of the Kenai River and a family that is deep rooted in this great land. Like John Steinbeck this land is interwoven with my memories. I can oft not discern where the painted land begins and my etched memories end. This adventure solidifies I am home and Alaska is my home.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Puff the Magic Dragon

Mapquest said our car time would be one hour and forty minutes. Eighty something degrees in our greenhouse Toyota Previa with no air conditioning, lots of flapping wind- but the comfort of each kid with a water bottle, a care bear, Pippi Longstocking book, Monk the monkey and a num-num for those who required one (special blanket's name in the Milliman household). And away we go...first stop, the B's to drop Carolina off at J's birthday party. Bring your Littlest Pet Shop collection-there will be trading for those interested. A jubilant hug when the girls meet and not a look back. Next to Oregon City to meet the G's for A's birthday celebration. Oh how grand to be four and to know all the joy and celebration is in your honor! Loot bags bursting at the seams with tootsie rolls, cinnamon bears, lollipops, motorcycles and memories. Moses got to operate the remote control car, Adrianna did a lifelike chalk drawing of A's mom and herself (friends forever). Rainbow got hit in head with the pole used for demolishing the race car pinata. Moses was the first to win a prize. Phineas made friends with A's grandparents. When the fun had to end to go pick up Carolina they said, "That was sooo much fun!" We picked up Carolina and true to form she was more interested in getting to the next adventure with Pippi than detailing her every party move for me. But at least she was happy. Pirate music cd played and then the kids favorite tune came on, "Puff the Magic Dragon!" Sunny sang in her prettiest voice, Moses- his most earnest, Adrianna- working her memory power to its fullest capacity and Rainbow...repeating the words after hearing them and sounding so cute. Just like a sweet, old lady, hard of hearing but full of heart. The full sun shined through the glass illuminating her sprouting hair with a touch of gold amidst the whiteness. A day of content, happy, buoyed hearts, mostly peace amongst the siblings singing in what was closer to pure harmony than the Motab crew. My beautiful children so unaware that their blossoming souls were pulling at their mother's heartstrings so decidedly. This is what gratitude is.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

a comment for a sweetheart?

Perhaps a certain little Sunny Carolina could use a comment or two on her blog...
If you can find it in your heart it would greatly delight the little girl:)
Thank you friends!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Phineas meets his best friends

It's not every day you are born and acquire 4 instant best friends, but that's the way the day rolled for our little guy. In the afternoon Clinton brought Carolina, Moses, Adrianna and Rainbow in to meet Phineas. A short parade of kids I missed walked single file with smiles and best behaviors and sudden coos of "Ahhhh, oh, he's so cute. Hi Fin-E-US!" Rainbow didn't see him right off. He's little and easy to miss. I scooped her up and hugged her and Eli brought Phineas over for her to see. She tilted her head to the right, what she does to magnify cuteness in the baby or animal forms. Everyone gave him soft kisses. Carolina held him dear, she seemed so mature and nurturing holding him. Moses was content and loved him right off. Adrianna was proud and pleased with the new addition. The nurse gave them all stickers indicating big brother and big sister status. She knew they were here from the happy sounds she heard coming down the hallway. The ride home showed our family's completion: 7 passenger Toyota Previa mini filled to capacity. Rainbow and Phineas next to each other, Rainbow ooed and awwed the whole ride home at the little baby next to her. Since coming home Rainbow likes to take moments to hold Phin, give me lots of kisses and motion for other's to "Come'ere" so she can show us the baby anbd how cute he is. Adrianna is helpful gathering diaper supplies and admires his new outfits. She loves the cute ones and is a fan of a stylish brother. Sunny holds him just like a grown up and Moses never tires of taking a turn holding him. He just discovered sometimes he can calm Phineas if he sucks on the side of his hand. Everyone loves it when he settles in calmness and takes a minute to show us his rich, dark, blue eyes and looks at us, his adoring fans.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Our little Phineas

Phineas Coltrane Milliman entered this world sunny side up resulting in a scrapper's bruise to prove it. Sturdy and strong he is our burliest little guy weighing 8 lbs and 6 ounces. Eli noticed he has Christenson characteristics. Ryan's hands and feet, facial expressions we could see like like Ryan and Katelin. His hair seems darker but most people look at it and say, "THAT's dark?" Perhaps your perspective changes when the color spectrum in your household ranges from white to mellow yellow. Never trusting my instincts I suspected labor initiation about 10 pm May 29th. I called the midwife on call, Becky thought it was too early. We called around to get someone to watch our sleeping kiddos as in my gut and knowing my track record for speedy deliveries we decided to veto the midwife's assumptions. Wishing and washing around as I tend to do I feared inconveniencing many and doubted that this was the real thing as I wasn't in any pain yet we went anyway. We called about three folks on our list and none were available. We called Clinton. He was out on the town with friends and reluctant...could it wait? Um, not really, so he came over and his life was ruined for the next 40 hours. We stopped at the gas station, drove to the hospital, 20 minutes about-no traffic at midnight and nonchalantly strolled up to the Maternity level. Felt like we were coming home, baby number five to be entering the world via Providence Portland Hospital. At the desk I felt like saying, "I'll have the regular..." Instead I told them I thought maybe I was in labor. Michelle was our first nurse. She checked my cervix, dilated to a 4 or 5. Phew, in my mind that solidified that this was active labor....I DID know what I was talking about! Now give me my epidural. Please. But then Becky Bruns, the midwife checked and since my contractions were so irregular she wasn't ready to allow an epidural. Boo, hiss! Instead, go walk stairs for a couple hours and come back to be checked. So up and down 6 flights I headed. Coach Eli suggested I do what he did for basketball drills-hop stairs. So I did and let me tell you this was sadly the hardest I had worked out in a long time. But, may I remind you, I had a purpose in mind for being at this location and that purpose was 1st to have and epidural and 2nd to have a baby. I was not going to be a fool sent home so hop I did and contract this uterus did. It worked like a charm. After an hour of exerting power from within things were getting mighty painful. Eli suggested we go back and tell them to check again...and this time around dilated to about a 7. So yes, they got this woman her epidural. Thank you body for cooperating and quickly accepting an iv and thank you anaesthetist for this modern miracle. The pain leading up to the epidural was getting mighty unbearable. I was quite relieved to have the pain subside. Becky was simultaneously delivering another baby and trying to time both appropriately. I decided to take a nap. And told Eli to do the same. So after a couple hours of sleeping Michelle and Becky came back and suggested maybe we have this baby. Awakening from my dreamy slumber my first impression was, "Nah, how about I sleep some more." Quickly realizing this wasn't going to be the option I had I said, "Ok." The expectation was this baby would melt out but it wasn't quite as smooth as that. It took about 20 minutes to persuade the guy as opposed to a few minutes, probably a result of the face up position. Not too shabby. Before he was born Eli had a spell feeling low sugar levels and of course the impending trauma and excitement developing before his very eyes. Becky suggested he drink some orange juice and automatically he was fine again. He helped catch the baby supporting as needed and soon our little guy entered this world. Dried him off and put him in my arms. I hadn't yet had a good look at his face, feeling winded and my pulse was very low even after getting extra oxygen I was sure I'd soon enough get my chance. My first thoughts about this little boy in my arms were interrupted by a quick baby pee on my abdomen. Well, he was here. Our littlest Milliman, our little son. 8 lbs 6 ounces, 21 inches long and healthy on all accounts born at 6:39 am May 30th and apparently encased in one of the healthiest and heaviest placenta's Becky had ever seen. Not too sure what that indicates but we'll take it. He latched to my breast easily, seemed a little fussy and congested the first day but we cut him the slack deserved. He'd been through a lot. Eli and I are peacefully happy to have another precious baby boy in our family. Eli nurturing and loving our little infants is the epitome of what I love him for. He is most tender to the vulnerable who need extra love and care. Eager to give of his heart and time to the little people in his life. The big people, too. At nights when I feel most exhausted with all of our babies and little Phineas Coltrane is finding this truth now, Daddy is always there with a song, a tight swaddle, a prickly kiss that makes tender baby skin red and lots of love and gentility and wonder bringing comfort and joy to a sad or worried heart. This week we are taking a weeks vacation from work and this week we have to just be a family and to rest and to get to know the new little spirit that has come into our lives feels like time standing still. Disconnect from all the travails and stresses that daily we must bog through are forgotten for a brief interval. How I wish it could continue but nonetheless thankful we have this small window. We love our little Phineas. You are beautiful and bring heaven near.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A rough night.

Rainbow caught the flu that Sunny had but gratefully it hasn't yet affected her with the throwing up portion. Last night she was feverish, sad and couldn't get comfortable. I tried my best to help her get a little rest but she had the hardest time settling in. Usually I am lamer than lame past 2:00 am and if Rainbow cries, sheesh...I let that girl cry. Often I sleep right through it. Eli with his ever churning mental gears who doesn't sleep well at night lets me and nestles his babies in and comforts when they need comfort. Last night I responded to her desperate plea and was thankful I had. Helpless little angel seemed so grateful for the little love I showed her. By 6:00 am her fever was a little better and I thought it was worth a try to put her in her crib. She fell asleep until about 1:00-after lunch. Still winded and not feeling so great but much better. Her fluffy chick hair and light pink wool sweater dress made her even more irresistible. I sure love her an awful lot.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Theatre is community.

Community theatre brings up mental images of "has beens" thinking they are "are's" Those (in my case) that snatched leading roles in that grand thing we call high school theatre and were bound for the stage college-ward and inevitably Broadway. And instead, somehow end up on a creaky, wooden floor in a a make-shift stage, an undercroft of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. Tracing the pattern of what took me from such aspirations to the same hole were sort of similar to my route trying to get tho the place. Sure, I've been there 68 times before but surprise, surprise, I got a little turned around trying to find I-5 Northbound. After a saving grace call to Eli I made it to the show with ten minutes to spare. I'm meeting Clinton at The Bert Mann Theatre for the NorthEnd Players rendition of "Heaven Can Wait." On facebook last night's opening performance was all abuzz as the granddaughter of the original playwright was in attendance with the Oscar in hand. I get to make a "cameo" as a former NorthEnd player walking across the stage. Oh the glory. A feeling of homeostasis fills me as I am ushered backstage. Tape outlines on the prop table, a little white dog, Mitzi, greets me, friends faces illuminate to see me. I delight seeing them in suspenders, low-cut house wife dresses, netted hats. Many I don't know share positive energy with me, smiling and weaving in a rushed, soft shoe manner so as not to break the illusion of folks back stage. "How are the babies?" "Are they here tonight?" "When are you due?"
I smile thinking of the t-shirts Shannon Tappana and I swore we'd get around to making-"Drama is life, the rest is just details" we were so much more intelligent and classier because we snatched this ever so unoriginal quote from bonehead sports motif shirts with full knowledge of the irony. Or so we thought. That cave of a theatre at Sohi with its secret staircases, inner ceiling passages only trespassible by those Mission Impossible minded preferably wearing camouflage, carrying Snapple lids for Morse code communication once in the asbestos abyss. There's a magic having blinding lights shine upon you opening night and being unable to see the faces beneath but feeling their heavy presence. Maybe its what it feels like to be blind. A text in a softbound script. Your very own script. The more warped and notated it becomes the more legitimate its life. Warmth surrounds me when I think of the actors who opened their hearts with me. Together we learned who we were and how we fit together in this little old world. When I flubbed the line announcing the murderer the dazzling Delores Biggs announces her instead, you learn how to compensate, to keep dignity to the underlying message. An energy is shared, a family you become. Helping each other with make-up, using Cassie's hair powder for a definite age increaser was a good bet, suggesting costume options-vetoing the vinyl coat choice, laughing, backstage pranks. Attacked with the smell of rotting tuna from the heater chambers we retaliate as Women (hear us roar) snatching the boys clothing and replacing with women's undergarments. Developing camaraderie with folks you probably wouldn't have become friends with without the stage. Feeling an inkling of what it means to love vicariously through characters you nurture. Truth, whatever that is, is unveiled. It is some kind of visceral resonance that makes you feel a little more whole. Spinning in a blue velvet stage curtain you feel mischievous, royal and a seeker of life. The actor with a Jewish last name probably in his nineties whose credits mention New York City community theatre (where I imagine the competition was a little more fierce) is vibrant and delightful. Ms. Thompson is radiant in her bad girl role. The ingenue whose credits mentioned she was 18 (I would have sworn she was 40) was not your typical pretty face and evoked anything but innocence and youth nor did her immature acting but I was touched to read in the program of her other bit parts in plays and her delight in playing this role. "Her favorite thus far." That's what's so great about it. In community theatre, everybody gets a chance to be something they likely never get a chance to be in life or in stage. The journey she made probably meant the world to her. And the lead male-should have been cut and muscular since he was a boxer and in nothing but skin and shorts much of the show-instead had no tone, much excess and rocked back and forth on his feet incessantly. Enough to convince me he was battling The Rain Man's disease but just had a case of nerves. The messenger with his great, carrying theatrical voice and presence and the maid who was hauntingly similar to the last role I had seen her in are all up there together, mixing it all up to create something a little broken, sort of disjointed, sometimes stirring, timing ok and timing slow, energy vibrant but heart 100%.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Multnomah Park Cemetary

Man with hands in pockets. Plaid shirt tucked in.
Wife, neat brunette circles gravestone.
Solemn cemetery next to chaotic 82nd Avenue.
For whom do they nod their heads? A recent loss.
Dressed respectfully, just exited a chapel.
Outside the steel Woman simply walks,
gregariously, with jutting, angular hip bones like beckoning sirens.
Eighties style hair flagging attention by passerbys.
A dead-ringer for Alec Baldwin's girlfriend in Miami Blues.
Shirt with cut-off sleeves, the loose part tied in a slipknot revealing her thin curves.
Straight ahead she looks, confident.
Prostitute discerning nothing of middle class aunts deceased from breast cancer.
Business professional weighing nothing of the fear of force and disease.
My young family driving 35 miles per hour with Bruce Springsteen prophesying, "Don't know when this chance might come again. If we could get skin to skin"
They pass in moments, trailers of my thoughts. I stare, paralyzed by music and reality.
The weight causes visceral angst. I inhale, blink to clear the buzz and ask the kids,
"Should we get juice boxes for our picnic?"

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A moment to smile about.

Our family went to Baja Fresh for dinner this evening. Walking to the entrance I was 5 steps ahead of the crew. I looked at them with Dad keeping them close. Wow. It just hit me. We have a big family. A big, cute family. Little blond bobkins smiling, giggling and being silly.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The zoo with my girls.

Dropped Eli off at the studio, called a couple friends to see if anyone could play and no one route home I scanned the zoo exit. We haven't gone in months and that annual pass is wasting like a melting ice cream cone. I switched lanes and we went for it. No stroller, no shoes for Rainbow (good thing I am a strapping young lassie)thin jackets, chance of showers, no snacks-life shouldn't revolve around these things now should it?! The girls were pleased at this change of plans. Rainbow was enjoying the thrill of graduating to a big girl carseat-view of the fast cars and forward facing-wow, what a life- and would have been content driving into the sunset eternally but whatever, she trusted ole ma. Anna proudly presented the tickets like she was presenting a diploma. The mountain goat was in full view. We took the Northwest bridge trail, Anna had a great lickety-split pace in mind...once she's seen it, she'd seen it and would let me know (kindly of course). The fish were babies to Rainbow, frogs infants, miners cats...babies, chickens, sheep, pigs-you guessed it...babies all around. In the farm area the pigs were preoccupied gobbling hay. Rainbow lobbed her arms around the wooden fence and wouldn't let go watching those creatures the same way Fern adored Wilbur. Gentle Anna trying to keep her pace up tried to cajole Rainbow into hope for the future animals we would see. The present was good enough for her. Feeling somewhat like a kidnapper I peeled her little paws off the fence and we moved on. The results are in-unanimously, the warthogs are ugly (although still babies), Rainbow will make a wonderful goddess some day seeing the beauty in all creatures great and small. The highlight of the warm small African creature are was Adrianna taking the role of my mom, her name was Jasmine. And I, was the teenager despite the fact that she was the one on the phone (a.k.a. informative tour listening device)the most. An hour holding sweet little Color Streak in my arms and I was about finished. Intuitively, Adrianna said she was hungry for lunch and wanted to go home. On the trail towards the exit a zookeeper was feeding apples to the hippopotamus's! I've never seen more than their eyeballs poking out of the water but they came up front and center for those sweet treats. We saw their teeth (what an odd mouthful I must say, none of them seemed to match up like most animal teeth do) and one lugged its huge body out of the water after a wandering apple. Walking, walking all the way to the car. I asked Adrianna what she liked. She reported many wondrous things but was equally anticipating the lunch of mac and cheese at home (which she assured me she would help with).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I love Eli.

I love this man. Right now he's mixing or recording his album at 12:08 a.m. and I am sure, still going strong. It's anything but easy for all of us to dream and to hope this music will be heard and will lift people near and far. The dreaming, ok it is easy but the day to day give required, not so much. We have to do things that we don't like, things that others raise their eyebrows at. Conventionality and revolution don't go hand in hand. For a moment today I wanted all the strife to dissipate and at that moment Eli looked into my eyes with hope and love, radiating optimism into my heart. His sheepish smile caught when he was laughing makes me extra happy. I love him. I love him. And he's mine, all mine.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Sheesh. Monday makes my insides scrambled eggs. My outsides aren't doing much better. Saturday I was "shopped" by an apartment hunter spy and as usual I failed miserably. The shopper noted "my ripped, stained sweatshirt" which I am still wearing today-pretty much out of spite. There is so space on the superiors side for apologies, excuses or retaliations but rest assured I have come up with a list for myself. Even if my excuses were valid which they are not they are pathetic because the bottom line is, I have never had a great shop, many horrendous shops and you know what? I won't change. They affect me. They make me cry and feel worthless but not enough to spark change. I am not the sort to be effectively charged by the coach who yells at his athletes to motivate them. No, I need to be coddled along, loved and sincerely cherished to get results. The apartment complex is full so naturally I feel no sense of urgency to make an insistent shopper who MUST have a tour despite the fact that I have nothing for her....lose points. She desperately wanted to use my bathroom but I told her one was not available-primarily because my personal bathroom was filthy, the trail from office to bathroom through my gross house-even worse. The kids had been sick that day. I threw up earlier in the day and would have called this woman to cancel yet I had not taken her phone number as I should have. So when I found she was shopping me I thanked my lucky twinkling stars I had that one bit of foresight. She asked me weird probes-she said she and her husband managed apartments and she hated it...trying to get me to open up about my contempt it seemed. Luckily, something inside me stopped me from agreeing. Most of my errors are ones I know I am no good at and ought correct but don't but a whopping 58% is nothing to brag about. Lady, Mr. Head Honchos, anyone who read my stupid shop...this is what I have to say. This woman does the best she can. She hates being paid dirt for babysitting, dealing with maintenance way beyond control and skinny budgets that don't allow remediation, she's anything but detail-oriented and that's a cryin' shame when it comes to this business, would rather be free to go to the park with my sweet angels who are growing faster than I can say, "green eggs and ham", she dreads that ringing phone, has nightmares about the mold creeping through the walls, panic attacks when somebody else's car is towed...But then again-I have these favelas all rented, have made progress with maintenance (Must say Eli has shocked and amazed me at his construction abilities when he has the time), some residents-the nice ones even call my supervisor saying we're awesome. No mention of that on a shop, huh. I know it's not the end of the world but it still stirs me up like a vitamina on a hot, Brazilian day.
So after that cheerful news I couldn't take another breath of my Apartment To Do List today. After the bank deposits, posting a note on a door, making vital emails the rest is waiting until tomorrow. After coming home from a dr appointment, where I even felt like the dr hated me (yes, I am aware the problems in my head run deep) and the bank Eli was setting Adrianna and Rainbow up with peanut butter and jelly. Anna wanted to be her own chef. I picked up, kissed Eli and he was on his way to the studio. Album release scheduled April 3rd, the pressure is on. The girls-so happy to see Momma. Rainbow donning brown shoes Moses and Anna both wore for the first time. After lunch she showed me what hot stuff she was tromping around in those things. Anna set up the doll house to play with me. I lasted for a little while. There was a ball, three clothing changes, a nighttime, a birthday party, a Prince Charming choosing his bride line-up style (he chose the prettiest, blond fluffy-haired one of course) And then imported the clean laundry basket folding clothes while still paying semi-attention to the game. Anna was on to me pretty quick but was quite understanding. Rainbow the little dreamer napped. We checked the mail, packed the junkmail in Adrianna's pack strapped to her back and played outside. I was Storm, she was Jean Gray. It was high pursuit interjected by a horrendous cough. I think she needs the doctor tomorrow. All the while playing outside Anna is luminous and imaginative, like the foam on the sea, bright and inviting. Carefree and full of life her ideas keep coming. Rainbow joins us and echos Adrianna's conversation, climbs up and down stairs, giggles at us when she climbs into a chair (how daring!). Outside is definitely Rainbow's new thing. When the kids get home we greet them off the bus. Rainbow calls, "Sunny!" (her universal call for all siblings) Sums them all up rather well, I admit. Moses doesn't get a breath in before telling me about the sort-of-moon-rock in his backpack, he played with Jaeden and Joshua today...Sunny's eyes are glued to a book. She sits on the grass reading. We'll talk later. The bright idea comes to go swimming. We find the suits, the fitness center card, towels, the stroller and we are off. Sunny day walk there but the pool is at capacity. No fear! We choose the playground instead. This proves to conventional for these wolves-Sunny leads the lion and mouse towards sawdust hills and wooded ivy in the back. Rainbow is enraptured by a dog. Five month old coyote-German shepherd mix named Lily who is friendly as a button (if buttons were friendly) She calls this dog "baby, baby, baby, baby...." Likely she yearned for "baby" 500+ times. Not even the kisses shocked her. She smiled, cooed and ogled as if it were her baby. We walked from the kids and their morphing game of Moses the prophet and his pals back and forth twenty times as this baby couldn't get enough of "baby." We saw geese in the sky, a small bird in the tree-all were "baby" . Runny noses, dirt, sawdust grit-they wore it well. Might as well have been diamond studdings and fine robes. These kids looked alive and loved by this good earth and its maker. We went home feeling a-ok about our places in the world. Thanks, kids for reminding your Momma things aren't so bad.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

ballet class for Anna

Brand new ballet slippers, little pale pink blochs in hand, pink leotard and tights underneath her skirt Adrianna has been anticipating her first day of ballet class since we signed up. We pull up to the studio and suddenly a surprising stage fright sets in. "Wahhhhh! I don't want to go to ballet. I am not going!" It would be lovely to say I hadn't bribed her or threatened her after this natural outburst but it would be quite dishonest. I pulled out all the stops but she wasn't going to budge and her runny nose was dripping more and more as the sobbing ensued. In the hallway we peeked in the window. I pointed out how nice the teacher looked, how bright and beautiful the room was, the stars on the walls, all the mirrors. Didn't look too appealing to her. A dad tried to reassure her teacher Valerie was really nice. Adrianna didn't think so. It was looking quite promising that "Ballet, where dreams come true ages 3-5" wasn't the most accurate dance class description. Miss Valerie gave her ok for me to participate with vulnerable little ruddy faced Anna. The girls all circled in the center, feet touching. They were mermaids pointing and flexing their fins. Attention was drawn to their unscuffed ballet slippers in varying shades of baby skin. The big girls tuck the bows in their shoes. They were flowers stretching and blossoming. Learning names Leah, Andrea, Yu, Ariana, my "Anna" the corners of Anna's eyes showed signs of trust and hope again. The teacher told the girls this class was special because at the end they would get to dance in a recital, on stage, in a costume! Back to center first position is taught, make a piece of pizza with your feet and arms like a basketball. I remember my first teachers, Miss Cindy and Miss Teresa and the tricks I still think of today. Stretching, feet together feet are two pieces of bread wide open. Reach for the peanut butter far in the cupboard, stretch to the fridge for the jam, reach for the knife and open the jars, spread the pb&j and eat your peanut butter and jelly foot sandwich! The class gets to dance with scarves-oh the elegance. Tinkerbell inspired music according to Adrianna. She catches a pleasing glimpse of herself in the mirror. The music freezes cuing return to first position (arms and feet)-or chicken wing arms in my girl's case. Stand on a blue spot, not the first, not the second identical blue spot...the third spot seems to do rather well. Sunshine arms, airplane arms, hook arms and fairy wing and princess tiaras-oh how ballet class improves. With a smile on her face and a vow to tell Daddy she liked it she plans to return next week.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


20 minutes was the goal on the dreaded elliptical. Usually my 20 minute commitments quickly get downgrade justification to 5 or 7 minutes. That is a long duration of time on one of those things. Every step counted. Intense. Yes, I disappoint myself an awful lot in the gym. A trend is forming. Today was the first time a non-family member asked me if I was pregnant. It was a twisted assurance to me that its apparent; wow my self-conscious level soars when great with child. Four minutes go by. I think of what weighs my soul most heavily. I think if I keep taking steps, if I keep forcing my weight into the next stride a clarity will come. A direction to follow. Maybe I can build enough strength within to charge those who need this energy to thrive. "And I think its gonna be a long, long time. " And I am burning my fuse, I know I am not the woman they think. It's just me and Elton John one step at a time saving the world. The chin-up assist machine, what a machine for a girl never in her life able to do a chin-up. Presidential fitness tests, who needs them? Not I, I've got my own new found reasons to believe in the future. If I lift my weight I prove to myself I can lift another. That 20 minutes became 22 minutes. Little victories.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Belly dance Intermediate

7:30 class is in session. Slight panic thinking my class might be this one. No, confirming the schedule book mine's 8:30. Silence ensues until a nine year old boy whose mother and sister are in class asks me if I'd like a balloon. An origami balloon. He tells me about his affinity for building model rockets (from scratch), last summer's church camp, spending summers with Grandma and Grandpa. He makes two more Origami balloons for each of my kids (the ones that won't eat them) and recommends the Rice, Rocks and Minerals museum if I am the sort interested in Geology. Last time he was there he bought two geodes for $75. Don't miss the huge meteorite. Through the window concentration and isolation peers in the mirror. A woman with countless bone spurs and arthritis of the foot and only a quarter of life left in this poor foot joins me in the hall not aware "belly" dance would have so much to do with the foot. The assistant checks on her like a friendly cheerleader suggesting certain dance shoes or braces for support but with tears welling the woman feels belly dancing isn't the choice for her body. I know the feeling in an all different way. Carla, the senior teacher gives her hope saying the mind will get it if you merely stand and listen to the music and learn it internally. Carla looks like a truck driver maven in black, a dangling scarf from her burgundy tinted spiral permed hair adds to my first impression that she tells fortunes at her day job. The low cut V-neck black spandex top hugs a beer belly, her midriff adorned with turquoise blossoms, gold sequined stems, gold tassels and bead-work. The origami creator assured me I would like the teacher. She's nice.
I found myself in a commonly found place: out of place- with my modest workout attire, serious face and awkward steps only informed by ballet intellect and free spirit disobedience around the floor trying to play off the very noticeable fact that I didn't already know Tiffany who danced last Thursday at Marrakesh or that I didn't know the 14 year old Asian girl's mother who wasn't in class today. But her foot is doing much better. The results of "Our Girls" at the Tacoma competition alluded me. The alternative section...Adi rah took the cake...there's something about our girls and mastery of the alternative...tee hee hee. Surrounding every woman had some sort of costume addition proving she was official as a belly dancer. The loose skinned abdominal woman's orange beaded sash sagged until she began her shimmy. A repositioning occurs as she tucks the skin into her spine bringing out a beauty I'd overlooked. Maybe all women folk ought walk around town hip circling and body cameling. A whole new benchmark aesthetic arises. The upbeat drum tempo drives the Shakire with the 6/8 tempo cuing a shoulder roll followed by staccato isolation's popping through the body like popcorn. "Time to get out your veils ladies." Not having nor even knowing what a veil is I paw around feigning to take the pause to practice my right hip isolations with a careful lift of my heel. A woman called my bluff and asked if I needed to borrow a veil. The silk scape in melted butter yellow convinced me for a moment even I was official in the calling of belly dancer. Three steps and letting go of the veil, catching it taking two more steps so the veil's end is underfoot, lifting it coyly to the face to give the appearance of genie in a bottle, twisting and twirling-whether there was a wrong or right less noticeable with this luxurious prop. Agra bah, there is hope yet.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Luminescent Prayer

We are all circled for nighttime prayer. Eli reminds all to show Rainbow what to do. She's normally asleep at 9:00 but seemed to have a little nightmare. She has been beaming ever since, dimple in full force and overjoyed at the circumference around her. She pauses seeing everyone still and somber. Such airs usually precede an equal and opposite reaction. She tries to one up us and cracks with a sneaky yawp and gleeful laugh. Eli begins to pray. Our little color stream mellows momentarily and then toddles on her sea legs planting her pillowy bum on Sunny's lap-but just for a second. We pass a giggle like a hot potato. Eli's reverences are interrupted by squeals and guffaws. Then I join in. There she is Little Miss Toddle Along knowing she's the star of the show. For dramatic effect she stops by Moses and folds her arms just like him. His Grover laugh melts right out. Eli amends what I think his original intent of the prayer was and thanks for the fun we have together.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The neighbor boy and a pair of roller blades

Tan pants sideswiped with yin yang mud, my girl, vim and vinegar: vim tips the balance. From the last spill, blackened socks like Cajun pepper sweep by in roller blades. Creamy hands, small and smooth melting into grits in the hands of a dirty, rowdy, pale-faced ruddy neighbor boy who only has only one volume. Like a Letterman's jacket and class ring, she's wearing his roller blades and helmet- he's teaching the novice the trick of glide. They spin by home to show Mom and Dad the fun. Oh, she's never smiled so wide before. A million giddy moments motivated by boys in my youth flash through my mind quicker than a pot of gumbo disappearing into the bellies of famished fisherman. Slipping in the mud of the Kasilof River bank with the Carlson crew painted with gray silt looking like voodoo nightmares but innocent as first act Scarlett O' Hara playing coquettish games of tag, truth or dare the glee of summer romance plows through my mind like a bounteous cotton harvest. Pressing the breaks of my Dad's Toyota 4-Runner with the orange snow sled instead of a fender, scratched with memories of fishing with Dad, the worn Fats Domino cassette tape as much a part of this vehicle as its whistling engine I hail Maggie down, hop from the driver's seat and by golly jumping Jehoshaphat tell her the news I can't keep inside-John just kissed me! Oh, to be in love with a red-headed marine 6 years my senior. The closest thing I'd come to a sage of the sea.
Sunny Carolina, a good southern belle name if I ever heard one laughs with head tipped back and eyes shining like the Ozark River. Sub par, runny nosed buzz cut buddy who's Halloween costume was Dracula chortles an uneven cadence. Obviously quite pleased this debutante finds him to be the most engaging gent of the day. The rogue stranger that turned the noses up of girls who graze cherry tomatoes and carrot sticks at a church stake youth dance turns his old fashioned charm retrospect, identifiable as girl crazy 18 year old fire- stretching his hand toward me. Stuffing the remainder of a chocolate chip doused brownie I take his hand. Jubilantly he leads me on the dance floor with confidence and what I define at the age 16 as sheer manliness. A quick sweep through the floor we runaway to the Primary room where he teaches me the grandest of moves from "Dirty Dancing" complete with the sly, inside of the arm glide transforming into a kiss. Baby, we've got it good. Totally worth being reprimanded by Sister Western for Book of Mormon distance breach.
The yellow four runner being manned by less than man, highly accomplished drummer using his steering wheel and dashboard as a substitute for a drum kit, my date to the upcoming junior prom in two weeks honks for arrival. Going to the movies. My father and mother appalled by his honk and perhaps more disappointed in my skirting to his call like a swine to the suey call.
I ask the little southern belle if she'd like a sweater. Her "Save the Earth" t-shirt mimics her unrestrainable passion for all things great and beautiful. She's living full like eagle soaring o'er the ocean on her t-shirt. Of course she doesn't want a sweater, she's too hot, of course. I smile, knowingly. Besides, would this soul-dampened momma want one more item to wash? My momma comes to mind, her endless questions of what I had done with my friends, with whom I danced with, what part in the play I hoped for remind me of precisely the details I long to know about sweet Sunny Carolina's little escapade with this boy my momma would surely shake her head at.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Weekend Warrior

An orange swimsuit stretched a little snug around the mid section of a woman in her late twenties. She's untypically self-conscious of this physique-questioning whether others can tell she is pregnant or is that just a little belly. Yes, folks...hers is a terrible plight to bare, for a few months in her life she has to carry this burden. It is likely appropriate to slap her now. And please, let it be a healthy, curvaceous, non-Hollywood stick sort of person who does so. It will be a victory for Marilyn Monroe's (in spirit and form) everywhere. She arrives on the pool deck a few minutes early. Accustomed to lap swimming, competitive strokes and a striving of some semblance of speed in her exercise routines she feels out of her element this Saturday afternoon. The class is titled, "Weekend Warrior" It promises mid to high level intensity which gave her the confidence to try this class assuming that would likely weed out the blue haired, helmet permed water aerobics over 70's crowd. She was wrong. Black skirts and wrinkles like a mapped river pattern on loose, elephant skin abound. Cellulite distributes itself with no particular goal in mind. Some are sweet couples; a man assists his wife into the water. Folks buckle their foam belts around their middles. Foam "weights" are distributed, noodles are chosen, fin-hand gloves pulled into place. Gear suitable for a voyage to the moon. No instructor in view the orange belly enters the deep end and treads water. Confidently pulling a few strokes of water to position herself in an area away from the crowds. Not sure what the deal was-it seemed to be more of a self-service class she begins treading water and varying the pulls to manipulate her body for optimal fitness results. Running in place forward proved odd so she tries on the stylish belts. She decides against it as it suddenly made her feel weightless and required nearly zero in resistance. Wondering whether correct form circumvents a harder workout and heart-rate increase she assumes treading solo is best for her. Then a guy, early twenties enters the pool. He begins to teach, calling the crew inward. The alternating touch the inside of your foot thing was killer. A strange sense of oppression from the water resistance around the impending belly felt awkward. Finding herself scooting in the water without intended direction she chose to remain in the deep end but tread closer to the teacher. To her left a group of women surrounding a gent, "You're back Carla! How is your daughter?" "Oh fine. It was quite a trip. Glad to finally be home. My son-in-law thought one of us would eat each other's heads off." "Ohh, hoo, ha, ha!" And to the right, "I was trying to describe Christianity to a Chinese friend and....she didn't understand...all those people..." Alternating airborne sidekicks empowered her, liberating her enough to toss her goggles to the deck like a bra in the seventies. Just as she began to feel a rhythm a pear shaped woman with eyes like olives and lips lips like one cherry tomatoes (it seemed the pregnant woman was getting hungry) rather abruptly told her she was in the way. Apparently this section was for those wanting to "run" back and forth, and for that only. Never mind the Public Pool dogma nor the senior flirting to the north of this incident, nor the fact that even this woman had likely made it "across" likely three times in 20 minutes time, oh and pray tell, surely one mustn't consider this waif like orange woman's efforts to naturally attempt to navigate away from the crowd nor her attempts to achieve a heightened heart-rate just like the dear fruit salad woman. Surely, surely it would be best to show the naive newcomer (certain now that this belly was perceived as a months worth of double donut days) that territory is territory. Others could sense her discomfort and kindly told the late twenties orange orchid all was well, the salad lady was always like that. She felt buoyed by a community of strangers and tried to pay the fruit arrangement no mind. Pulling herself up for arm and chest strength in repetition she thought of building self up and tearing self down. Asserting ones' self kindly but having the audacity and self worth to stick to her guns. This woman in the orange swimsuit pulled herself out of the pool striving next time to be a resilient dandelion rather than a fragile tulip.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A little miracle

Sunny Carolina had an upset stomach this evening. She spent some time in the ladies room expecting to throw up but instead just felt horrible. We thought of all she had eaten tonight-nothing seemed too likely of a culprit nor could we think of anyone we were aware of that she has played with that has been ill but of course you can't always track flu bugs easily. During the hour or so of anguish I told her I loved her and felt sad that she didn't feel well. We talked about how it takes getting sick to make you appreciate being well and I asked her if she would like Daddy to give her a Priesthood blessing for the healing of the sick. She nodded emphatically. I had just listened to Eli's most recent recording of "Ascension" he was making a "few more"(the endless 'few more'-which is why it is sounding so top notch) amendments when I peeked in on him to let him know of his sweet daughter's request. He said "Of course" . He reminded her of the connection between faith and our Father's desire to help us. I told her sometimes the Lord comforts us and helps us get through sickness and sometimes he blesses us with healing the ailment we are suffering from. Her hair angled down framing her hopeful face. I could see her desire to do what is right and to commune with our Father. She really desired to be healed and was ready to show her faith. The blessing gave me peace and I know it gave her confidence. Eli carried her to bed-I brought the just-in-case-bucket and her little white teddy bear from Grandma and Grandpa Christenson from Christmas and put them beside her. Eli told her he remembered a couple years ago giving her a blessing and her faith helped heal her. He told her he knew she had the faith tonight to be healed. A few minutes later I checked on her to see how she was doing. She told me, "better, my throat feels a little funny but not my tummy." And just a few minutes later she trotted from her bed with a glowing aura and said, "Mommy, I am completely better. I don't feel sick at all." She hugged me for a long time and I told her I was happy she had such faith and I knew Heavenly Father was happy with her too." Her earthly and heavenly fathers love her very much. She is a special treasure.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Maid for Hire.

When she pulls out her white shortalls, I know the girl means business. Helping Momma Business. That, and add the hippy floral apron Momma Milliman gave me for painting and all she needs is an assignment. If I don't give her one, she gives herself one-usually the bathrooms, which yes, is good but sometimes I would just rather do that task myself. Kitchen Aid mixing bowl in hand (a remarkable, shiny water/cleaning solution receptacle I might add, too much soap, 1/2 inch of water on the kitchen floor and 20 minutes later we have a polished kitchen floor. Thanks Carolina.