Thursday, May 28, 2015

*you get a line I'll get a pole and we'll go down to the crawdad hole, honey baby mine

Real quick-like - have you thought to yourself that you really might like to take a workshop - either the retreat or the ongoing class on memoir writing with Spike Gillespie? But then you talked yourself out of it (you won't know anyone! and it's scary! and maybe you suck!) I can assure you, you don't suck, and even if you are a wee tiny bit tempted, that's going to be plenty for you to get SO MUCH out of it aaaaand you know me! Plus there is a super cool thing Spike does once in a while where some of the writers read their work - in public! I'll be doing that next Wednesday, June 3, at 7pm at Hyde Park Theater which will let you check it out all incognito and furtive-like, and you should totally come. It's free and you can either hold me hand, hope I trip, or BETTER STILL, check this cool thing out for yourself. Should I read the one about the Saran wrap/rabbit crotch? Or Not a Real Phone Slut? Or the long version Belly Davis? (See - you want to come now because what the hell am I talking about!)

Okay - musical interlude as we segue to my regular old life full of ummmm mudbugs.

So, somehow, Harrison has talked us into letting him spend all his own money to get a tank and a couple of crawfish as pets. He has a blue one (Bluecinda Williams) and a white one (Hedwig). Ah, my nerdy geeky boy.

This kid is organized and persistent. First, he told us every single FREAKING day about the delights of the crawfish his 3rd grade class cared for, then, he begged me to allow him to use some of his precious screen time to RESEARCH the care and feeding of crawfish. (Right? he begged me to let him do science research.) He WROTE DOWN this research. Finally, the trump card, he showed us he had saved enough money to buy the whole thing.

I feel like Cassandra. DOOM! I see only DOOM. They are going to get sick and die or (OMG PLEASE NO) ESCAPE!  Whatchagunnado though? I have grand-lobsters. They look like little tiny weird colored lobsters anyway. Harrison facetimed his godmother to show them off, so I guess now she has godlobsters.

What I'm Reading: Armada by Ernest Cline - awesomeness, very exciting, often funny. It's more video/war game oriented than I have background for, yet full of delicious relationshippy nooks and crannies for me to roll around in. It comes out soon! Gitchoosum.

What I'm Listening To: Ready Player One with Harrison still - so good - we are on the second key. Wil Wheaton is adorable. We just passed the bit where he had to say his own name as a geezer on the OASIS council, HA! BTW, he will be reading the audio version of Armada.

*Crawdad Hole - American Folk Song - brilliantly covered by Dan Modaff on the sadly out of print Fun Just Like Today

Monday, May 18, 2015

*it's hard to know when to give up the fight, two things you want will just never be right

The APS 20 Year Anniversary show was incredible, brilliant, perfect. Jeff took the stage twice and gutted the audience. I wish you could have seen it. He cut their hearts out. In fact, I wish you could have seen them all. I would list every single one and say oh but then! and then! and oh! Suffice to say it met all hopes and expectations.

I was so happy to be any part of this group, and this show. Here's one of mine.

Obsessed with the sweatshirt - Hanes - baby blue, 
slightly too small and cuffs of sleeves well chewed 
my son wore it every day - he of exuberant nakedness never took it off in daytime even after hours of jumping in the humid air on the trampoline, 
the cumin smell of children's sweat ground deep in. 
At night he rolled out of its blue safety and slept with it clutched in his chubby fist...
me waiting each night for him to fall deep enough asleep that I could pry it damply loose, 
then staying up to wash and dry and put it back.

I throw it away - afraid to pack it away because I know I will be weak 

and three weeks go by 
and he still begs "shuht shuht shuht shuht shut?" all the way home 
the staccato repetition in little boy robot voice begging by numbers, by quantity, if not by tone, 
"shuht shuht shuht shuht?"
and he doesn't give up either, he checks all the places he can check, opens every cabinet destroys bags packed with folded winter clothes
"shuht shuht shuht shuht?"
me the chastened mama patrol trailing behind and repacking, tidying, replacing order
relentless in his driving obsession he checks on top of the refrigerator in the linen closet, every suitcase in the house
"shuht shuht shuht shuht?"

Finally way too small it has to go. 
By now it has a name in his limited vocabulary "shirt" means only this shirt...and sounds like "shuht" since he doesn't speak very well, my son (and still I am grateful remembering the 6 years he didn't speak at all)
6 years later in a store, buying school clothes for him to take to his group home,
 I am pretending to be fine and then I am pressing hard on my chest 
holding the sudden starburst of pain at the sight of a rack of sweatshirts.
I want to buy him an armload. 
Hanes. baby blue. 
I want to bring him home - my broken boy who screams and fights and bites and beats with man sized fists. 
His mystifying and relentless obsession now his fragile brother, so even though he is our child he can’t live with us,
My heart stretches thin. shuht shuht shuht Between us a frayed wire. shuht shuht shuht. A broken bridge. 

We had a good visit with Griffin this weekend - longer than usual to make up for last weekend. Griffin was happy for the bit of sunshine we had and played in the pool quite a while.

Right now I have my Marnie here, (my dear friend since 1990) and it makes me so happy. I have a few days off work to spend with her and that blisses me out so much.

What I'm Reading: Couldn't really get into The Year My Mother Came Back, I gave it up. HOWEVER, oh you guys, I just finished Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng and I don't even know what to say about it. It's a brilliant debut. This poor dysfunctional family struggling after the oldest daughter goes missing and is found dead will find the tender spots in your heart and they will squeeze them out.

What I'm Listening To - Harrison and I are still listening to Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton and it's so good. Long commutes are a treat.

What I'm Watching - Got to see the Age of Ultron - you know, for me it delivered. It's a very enjoyable popcorn flick. Game of Thrones. Series finale of Mad Men on deck. DON'T TELL ME ANYTHING.

*Rain by Patty Griffin

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

*life is a blessing, it's a delicatessen of all the little favors you do

Let's do a Yay/Boo!

Yay! I  was invited to perform in the Austin Poetry Slam 20 Year Anniversary show. Jeff and I both will be reading in the 10 to midnight set on Friday May 15. I can't decide if I should do something I used to do a long time ago or new work. What do you think? Greatest Hits or the New Hotness? Use thatlink to get your tickets if you're coming. The lineup is insane and this show will sell out.

Yay! June 3 I'll be reading in Spike's Writing Workshop Public Reading.

BOO TIMES INFINITY!!! United Healthcare is evil. Like I am beginning to think they are the villain in my dinner theater melodrama. We have all 5 kids double covered under two UHC policies. Last year Dylan had spinal fusion surgery. Dylan is actually triple covered with the third policy being Medicaid so it should never be the case that we are faced with crazy medical bills for him. But we are. All the time. On the day of his surgery he had some tests done that were quite expensive. The surgery was paid for and it was over a hundred thousand dollars, as well as several other things, but the claim for these tests was denied on the basis that the other company was primary. Prior to the denial the policy had requested the treatment records from the provider. I got billed and called to straighten it out. They said they would resolve the issue with the confusion regarding which policy is primary but they still needed treatment records. I called the provider who said they had already sent the records. I called the insurance company and they said, yeah, we're kinds gonna need you to send those AGAIN. So I called the provider and asked them to resend.

They did and were denied and told that it was on the basis that the provider couldn't appeal the claim I had to do it. I did receive an EOB but it said we were denied on reprocess because the other policy was primary. (It isn't).

I called UHC today and the person I spoke with was a giant jerk and when I insisted on speaking with a supervisor transferred me out of the queue back to the enter your id number part of the call. I finally got a supervisor and maybe its resolved or maybe I will have to fight (and fight and fight) another day.

Yay! Yay! yay! I was overjoyed to get to spend Mothers Day with all of my kids except my little college lamb who was headed into finals week. She'll be home soon. I also unexpectedly got to spend Mother's Day with my mother, which was amazing as I haven't seen her since last August. She lives fairly near but her life situation precluded much time together, but she was able to come see me now. Missing her has been a huge hole in my heart and I was so glad to spend the day with her.

Yayish? Boolike essence of yay/boo? Griffin was struggling with his mood this weekend though so our visit was a little short, still I got to see him and be with him.

YAAAAAAY WOOOT HUZZAH!! For my birthday Jeff took me for a seven course tasting menu at Wink and it was wonderful - like a great big entertaining SHOW - and delicious! Bonus!

He also sent roses and chocolates to me at work, got a perfect chocolate cake for my birthday and champagne for us to share with friends, and bought me a lovely pair of earrings. I feel pretty special. I think that was the plan.

What I'm Reading - Just finished the brand spanking new Lucas Davenport novel,  Gathering Prey by John Sandford . Not bad. Looks like we might even get a bit of a shake up for the characters in the next one. Lucas' adopted daughter Letty is a certified badass.

I also just finished Me Before You by JoJo Moyes - man I ZOOMED through it and it was quite well done. The premise is a daredevil risk-taking young and wealthy entrepreneur is a paralyzed in an  accident, and in a suicidal depression. A young woman is hired as his caregiver and she seems to wake him up to the joys in life again. Beautifully done.

On deck I have The Year My Mother Came Back by Alice Eve Cohen that I checked out of the library TODAY so I have nothing to say about it. YET.

What I'm Listening To - well thank heavens it isn't the racist, preachy, kill an animal every 5 seconds horror show that the Swiss Family Robinson became. Harrison and I, in desperate need of a brain scrub, are embarking on the Wil Wheaton audio version of Ready Player One, written by my awesome friend, Ernie Cline.

*You Got Gold - John Prine

Saturday, May 2, 2015

*came into my life, made me think that I was really something

We are in Orlando, Florida and we just had "lunch" for several hours with my cousins, the wow y'all are just like us branch of the family. (Hi Hope!) We met at Padrino's and it was delicious. I had a Cuban sandwich, tostones, maduros AND flan because Florida. Because awesome. We all caught up and talked about fun things like travel and shows and hard things, like when your parents die, or it's time to transition a parent with health issues into assisted living. Last time I was in Florida was just a few weeks ago, when I came to Miami for my cousin Silvia's funeral. That trip was about loss, and grief, and goodbyes.

As it happens this trip is pure fun, a jewel of a day. We are seeing Joan Armatrading at the Plaza tonight. She doesn't tour much, and the last time we saw her was the first year we dated, during a brief but volatile time, when it didn't really look like we would be a long term relationship. Jeff bought me tickets to the show for my birthday. Patty Griffin opened. My heart that I was trying so hard to keep from him cracked open when we heard love song after love song about bliss and pain and hope and joy. When we got married a little over three years later we put Heaven by Joan  Armatrading on our wedding mix CD. What? You didn't make wedding mx CDs? Whatever. Next time you are gonna try to tell me you didn't get married in your own house, transforming your living room by putting all the furniture in the garage and setting up rows of white rental chairs, or that you didn't wear a red satin strapless dress. HOW GULLIBLE DO YOU THINK I AM?

If you don't know it, this is "Heaven."

I'm bringing some serious shoe game to the concert tonight. Guess which pair Jeff wants me to wear? The Bucco Italian heels or the Crocs?

He really wishes I would wear the Crocs and be able to walk for Also to be fair, he doesn't care that much. He just doesn't like for me to be in pain ever and these are straight up a pair of cruel shoes.

I also have this darling vintage straw handbag that was my Abuelita's, because adorable.

Oh, and Jeff bought me this frothy gypsy dress when we went to the Sherwood Forest Faire. I bought Jeff the blue guayabera shirt he's wearing when we were in Puerto Rico for our tenth anniversary.

 I'm all dressed up for a date with the man who still makes my heart beat faster and since it has been 15 years I'm going to go ahead and say that's probably a permanent thing. We are super lucky because Harrison can stay with his best friend's family for the weekend and have a ball, and if that hadn't worked out he could have stayed with his godparents, or our other framily members. When Jeff's mom's health was failing and we spent several weeks in North Carolina last year, Harrison stayed most of that time with his older sister Cassidy and was very well cared for. Yeah, we are really lucky, and I am  very grateful.

What I'm Reading - Just wrapping up the Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison. I am really sucked in but I can't say I recommend it because the characters are an unlikeable MESS. 

What I'm Watching - Wrapped up Vikings. Riveted by Mad Men. Watching the Flash with Harrison and it's really good. Super excited about cashing in our Christmas gift Alamo Drafthouse gift certficate plus babysitting from Hilary and Quentin so we can see the Avengers: Age of Ultron! 

What I'm Listening To: In the car with Harrison we are slogging through the last bit of Swiss Family Robinson. Perhaps we are in the great swampy middle part but I must say I am BORED and over it. Bored out of my carved it off a tree, filled it with sand and dried it in the sun gourd dinner plate.