Sunday, August 27, 2006

Little man starts school tomorrow. I was surprised at Longs today, while buying Dane the last of his school supplies, that there was a quick catch in the throat: I'm not ready! repeated three or four times in the head. But, really, I am. And so is he. I'm so excited for him to enter this new kind of life, and I'll do my best to see that it goes smoothly for him, to keep guiding him. I say that knowing too though that so much of it is in his court, which is probably the part that parents find hardest to accept. He gets to show up on his own now, as Dane, applying all that he has and is to the social and academic scheme of things. Thank goodness he's a smart, strong, sweet, happy guy. Will let you know how it goes.

Oh yeah, we'll be riding bikes to and from school. He'll ride solo (and he gets to lock his bike up at the bike rack!), and Aubs and I will ride together with the trail-a-bike. She and I are helping out at lunchtime tomorrow; we'll find out later what kind of regular weekly volunteering we (I) can do--an hour a week in the classroom, I'm hoping. Aubrey has permission to come along to campus anytime I'm there, which suits her and Dane just fine. She'll start six hours a week of pre-school on September 11th.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Same Sky

This morning Aubrey studied my face. While sucking her thumb, an activity she’s slowly eliminating from her routine, she pointed to my face with her free hand: “You have a dot here, it’s brown,” she said, pointing to the bridge of my nose. “And a dot here above your lip,” pointing next to my nose. “That one’s the same color as your skin.”

She studies me the way lovers study each other, the way I study her father, tracing the details of the skin—the marks along the cheekbone, the spine, across the shoulder blade, around the ankle. She looks at me with such love and familiarity I recall studying my own mother’s face when I was four. I pointed at the brown dot on each cheek, the perfect symmetry. “What are those?” I’d asked. “Some people call them moles, others call them beauty marks,” she’d said. “I’ll call them beauty marks,” I’d said, caressing her face, drinking her in. A couple years later, I would fold pink construction paper in half for Mother's Day, and draw her dark curly hair, her square jaw, her brown eyes—such a contrast to my own hazel eyes and straight blonde hair. And, finally, I’d make her cheeks rosy, with a brown dot on each. Unmistakably my mother.

Now I look into Aubrey’s face (every day, as much as I can) and memorize the little mark below her eye, the one next to her nose, the one across her face on the other side of her chin. And Dane, my boy, I memorize his too: at the outer tip of one eyebrow, one next to his nose—on the opposite side of his sister’s—then across his face to his cheek, and then on the edge of his chin. I think Little Dipper, Orion, my own little constellations.

At my yearly physical, the doctor checks my skin, the marks on my body. She looks for the mark that might not belong, because our moles grow in families, she says. Wherever there’s one of a certain kind (in color or shape or size) there’ll be another somewhere. That’s how we know what belongs. I think of my mother, my husband, my children. I put our faces side by side in my mind. I think of these families of moles, passed down to generations, our beauty marks to memorize and recall, our own little constellations hailing from the same sky.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Holy ER Cost!

Mick held up his insurance statement last night and said, "Guess how much my trip to the ER cost."

I started high, or so I thought: "$1500."

"Nope. Guess again."


"Nope. Give up? $7000."

Wow. The statement was divided into three or four amounts, and we're not sure which monies went where, but we figured the CT scan took the big portion of it, and then the urine test to check for the kidney stones, etc., etc. Wow. Thank goodness for insurance, but that just blows our minds. A two-hour visit!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Jan Took A SpillHere's what she had to say about it:
Took [this photo] this morn, 24 hours after I was walking with Indi to
Barritt's t-ball game and the sidewalk just up and tripped me. My chin,
nose and forehead - basically my face took the brunt of the impact.
Cement and one's face make for quite a dramatic and painful experience.
Must have frightened Indi a bit with my nose bleeding and also bleeding
from the cut on the bridge of my nose. She was a real trooper - thanks,
Indi! I look a lot like Mike did after his boating drama. I head to
Hawaii for three weeks in two days and then on to San Fran for two
weeks. The first two weeks in Hawaii I'will be a black eyed 'Susan' -
no that'd be a black eyed 'Janice'. Have a headache most of the time
and some neck and lower back and knee muscles that are conversing with
me. My one healthy major joint, right knee, was first to hit the
sidewalk and is abraised and bruised and hopefully not triggered to
lose it's cartilage like the other joints have done.

[Other than the obvious "Poor Jan!" comments, fyi: I'm still working on pix/entries from our trip north, as well as Minihawks updates.]

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I'm sad for Maureen today. She had to put her sweet old dog Ally down this week--Ally who was never more than three feet from Maureen in the house, sleeping at the foot of the bed, clicking her toenails against the wood floors, head in Maureen's lap for movies. Ally was ninety-something in dog years.

1. Sadly, I don't have a picture of Ally. This is as close as I've got for now.
2. Maureen and me after Portland Marathon in '04.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The day we returned from our cruise I met up with my friend Karen. We've been friends for twenty years now, which seems really wierd to write, and she knows and understands me well. We spent the night at her place in Ballard, where we drank coffee, watched movies, and got our toenails done. (We like to think we're tough, but these girly things appeal to our sensibilities.) The next day, she made Aubrey's hair and fingernails pretty (see happy little miss above) and played Pirates with Dane.

Lately, Karen has been my reader, providing feedback and encouragement for works in progress. She also reminded me I have nothing to lose by writing S.E. Hinton an email requesting an interview to do a write-up for my writer's group at Book Passage. It's a long shot, since S.E. Hinton doesn't do interviews or readings any more, but I'm hoping to ask some questions about her perspective on what it took her to write as a mother, versus what it took her to write as a teenager. *(I mean, she's extraordinary: she wrote The Outsiders at sixteen when she was fed up with the quality of young adult (YA) literature. And the quality of her literature was so high and so fresh that it changed the face of YA literature for good.)

*Will make a note in the blog if anything comes of my request.