Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saturday Snippet

Saturday is one of my slowest days for blog traffic, so if I post something, you're all less likely to read. Which makes it perfect for sharing things like snippets of writing that have no story. I wrote this on my phone one night before bed. I have no idea who they are or what happened the night before, but I like it. Enjoy :)

She rolled the cuffs up once, twice, three times. The sleeves still came nearly to her wrists. She'd never seen him wear a button down, much less the crisp white cotton she was now wearing.

"You're up." Sleep roughened his voice, matching the scruff on his face.

"I took a shower. I hope that's okay."

A slow smile pulled up on corner of his mouth as his eyes raked over her.

Her fingers went to her damp hair, teasing it back into place.

"The shirt looks better on you than it does on me."

"I'm sorry. I didn't know what else to do and after..." The memory of the previous night still came back too sharp to verbalize.

"No, it's fine." He moved into the kitchen, wearing just a pair of plaid pajama pants. The angle of the early sunlight deepened the shadows surrounding the muscles carved into his chest and stomach.

"You didn't get those working out, did you?" She accepted the cup of coffee he offered, wrapping both her hands around the mug and taking a sip.

"Define working out."

She tilted her head to one side, watching him move through his day, preparing his breakfast and gathering his morning news.

"You're not vain."

He laughed and her heart damn near exploded. He looked like a different man. The way the corners of his eyes crinkled along familiar lines told her he used to laugh, but she'd never heard such a sound before.

She vowed to hear it again.

"I train hard," he said. "What about you?" He leaned against the counter, crossing one foot over the other. "I can't imagine you in yogalates or some spinning class surrounded by middle aged women in spandex."

She set down her coffee and moved into a fluid defensive position. "Jujitsu. Since I was twelve."

"So I didn't need to step in last night?"

A chill skittered across her shoulders. "I didn't say I was any good. Besides, I'm not sure jujitsu works against something like that."

"Is your camera okay?"

"About that..."

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Tupperware Drawer

Life is chaos. The more people you love and the more things you go, the more chaotic it gets. My brain thrives on chaos at the same time it demands order and reason. I need background noise to focus (music, TV, etc), but I have to set the volume at an even number or a number that ends in five. I'm serious.

With each major change in my life (marriage, jobs, kids, hobbies), I'm learned to let go of more of my perfectionist tendencies. I used to iron my sheets. Who has time for that? Right now I'm fairly certain my sheets have had baby spit up, possible worse, on them for the last two night. I'll change them as soon as I have two free hands, no one sleeping on them and room in the washer. So basically never.
But even in the happy chaos of life, I crave method in the madness. You wouldn't know it looking in my closet or under the bathroom sink. But my Tuperware drawer? That is a thing of beauty.

Tupperware - or whatever you call the plastic stuff you store leftover meatloaf and the other half of the can of pineapple in - is inherently messy. Every couple years, someone one develops a new way to keep lids together or stack sizes in a rational fashion, but they're gimmicks and by the time your chicken soup is cool enough to put away, you're tearing apart the whole drawer because you can't find the right lid for the right size and forget it, no one eats the leftovers anyway.

Or at least that's been my experience.

Somewhere along the way, I discovered that no matter how disorganized and unpredictable my life is, I can remain calm if I know my Tupperware drawer is in order. I know it's crazy. But the state of that drawer has become a kind of bellwether for my sanity. When lids start to disappear and the kiddie cups spread, my grip on life becomes tenuous.

And I think this is okay. Having one spot, however hidden, I can keep together lets me be flexible with the rest of my life. I think we all need a Tupperware drawer, some small, simple thing that we can look at and say "THIS at least is in order." Because life is chaos and we all crave order.

What about you? Do you have a "Tupperware drawer" in your life? 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Battle of Bedtime

We took our positions on the field as the clash of wills entered hour three, an epic battle to test the mettle of both sides.

A great war cry rose rose from the trenches, a harrowing sound that chilled the blood of all who heard it. Weakened and battle-weary, I forced myself to fight on against all odds.

My enemy grinned, a knowing gleam in her bleary eyes. I called for reinforcements but he soon succumbed to fatigue, too broken to fight on.

I gathered the last of my energy and pulled out my final weapon: food. Flailing like a berserker on PCP, she fought even that attempt until, at last, her tiny fists uncoiled, giving way to the inevitable. Her eyelids fluttered closed, leaving no trace of her fury behind.

Bruised and bloodied from her frantic clawing, I stared at her limp body, afraid to breath lest I wake the sleeping beast.

Monday, March 11, 2013


I normally devote this blog to talking about writing - my journey toward publication and the lessons I've learned along the way. But the funny thing about writing is that it spills over into every aspect of my life. It's something I never fully turn off or put down. I once heard the life of a writer described as having homework every night for the rest of your life and that's true, at least for me. So when something major happens in my real life, it affects my writing life because they really are one in the same.

Tilt! Flat spot. Carseat head-righting contraption. 30lbs of rice.

On Friday I took my baby girl in for a physical therapy evaluation for something called torticollis. I don't like to call it a condition because that sounds far more catastrophic than it is. Basically, the muscles on the right side of her neck are tight, which causes her head slump forward and tilt toward her right shoulder. Her case is somewhat unique because it's been present from birth and she has no risk factors. First borns, multiples, babies who have long or difficult deliveries and the use of forcepts are all known risk factors. Heavy use of car seats, swings and bouncers can cause torticollis when babies spend too much time in them. Torticollis can cause flat spots because tort babies favor one side while sleeping, most often on the back of the head. If it gets bad enough, a helmet can be required to allow the flat spots to round out. Most tort babies resist spending time on their bellies, making their condition worse.

But my baby girl hasn't been typical a day in her life.  She is my second, a single birth and I had a ridiculously short labor and delivery with no complications. She hates the carseat and only recently learned to tolerate the swing and bouncer for short times. And finally, she loves being on her belly. She'd never be on her back if she could help it. So when we got the initial paperwork from our pediatrician, I thought we were doing great and might be able to skip physical therapy.

Unfortunately, her love of tummy time has actually made her condition worse. She has flatish spots on the back of the right side if her head and another on the front of the left side, most likely from how she was positioned in the womb. The best way to fix this is to have her sleep on the back of her head. We've waited four and a half months for her to start rolling onto her belly so we can let her sleep like that, only to be told she has to sleep in her back even longer. 

No parent ever wants to hear their child is less than perfect. Torticollis is a minor thing, especially in her case, and usually resolves by the time a child is walking. Compared to what many parents face, it's nothing. But for us, it's the end of intuitive parenting. We have to think about how she sleeps, how she plays, how she's positioned at every moment. There are at home exercises and physical therapy twice a week starting tomorrow. I bought 30lbs of rice and spent last night sewing bags to hold her in place while sleeping. It's not a big deal, but it is life-changing. 

So while I will still be writing my usual attempts at inspiring creativity, I'll probably have some posts about her progress because it makes me feel better to talk about it, to lay my thoughts out in an orderly fashion. Perhaps someone else will find inspiration in this part of my journey too. After all, isn't that why we tell stories? So we feel less alone?