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May 2012

liliales birthday countdown: 2008

I spent most of 2008 trying not to be depressed. And I'd gained a little weight the year before so I put myself on a plan to lose it before my 25th high school reunion. I lost 9 inches in the places that count in 12 weeks. Stayed that way for awhile, but over this past year I gained it back, and this winter I gained a little more so I am going to have to do that again. Anyway.

There are good things to share about that year. The two girls and I took a road trip to Kansas City for the reunion. We had a great time. Our family also visited Gettysburg that summer, and did some good hiking in the woods around our new region, though I was still missing the woods that overlook the sea near Atlantic Highlands. We did get over to the beach a few times, and in the fall, I invented something called Pudding Fest 2008. And the man and I saw The Police in concert in Philadelphia.

Also that year, I met with some online friends in New York, to welcome one who'd come here from England for a visit. I actually met up with some of those friends several times over a 5 year period; it was basically my social life. As I've never had a social life otherwise, no one feel bad about that. It was neat. 

Another fun thing that year was emailing Metromint to tell them there was no flavor in the Orange Mint I bought at Whole Foods. They sent me a whole case of mixed flavors, and a t-shirt. 
So here's some other stuff. 

The girls and I in Kansas City, June 2008 If you go to my Flickr page, the photos of me in the Delaware River, the family Gettysburg trip, winter woods, and the sort of abstract green things from a park are also all from 2008, despite what it says. I keep meaning to fix those, but get to only a few at a time. I guess I'll make new sets based on years or something.

A blog post I wrote to my mom that year It's good, and poignant and stuff. You should read it. 

And two of my favorite photos of me were taken that year. Actually, most/lots of my favorite photos of me were taken that year. Here are two. 




liliales birthday countdown: 2007

In 2007, I planted a lot of tomatoes and peppers and had them all strung up nicely along a fence, and then we moved again. This time to a neighborhood with plenty of boys for my sons to meet, so that was nice. It was a half mile walk to the grocery store and some other shops, and near lots of history and cool stuff. But it was on the other side of the state, so far from the beach. 

This time I was nearly as positive about it as I had been with our Tinton Falls house, like possibilities were rising again, and there was talk of the future, and I started making plans to earn money to buy the house, setting some firm goals. That was in August. By the end of the year, the "plan" had changed once again, and I headed down a steep path of depression I've only lately started to wake up from. I know now I'll never again be quite what I was or who I was, or I don't know. All that stuff. Unless you have specifically and categorically experienced the cheating of life I'm referring to but not naming, you have nothing but useless platitudes to share, which are wasteful and cruel. 

But of course the earth still revolves around the sun, etc. 

Anyway. Earlier in 2007, I got my new car, my first utterly new car, as all the others had been about a year old, and drove it off the lot with 4 miles on it. That was thrilling. 

Here's a picture of my car. It needs an $800 air conditioning repair, but I still love it, after 66k miles. 

image from liliales.typepad.com

And here's a lot of lighthearted blather from 2007 that starts at one point and wanders around to some other points, but it's kind of a dear little view of what is inside my head when I'm "young." The comments are good; they're from back at Vox, where there was a real neat sense of community.* Instead of finishing it in parts, I incorporated a more sensible portion of it into something else I wrote later. 

*It felt like a physical neighborhood, though online. Perhaps it was just slightly before its time, and now it's too late. But imagine Google +, if you understand and appreciate that place, with blog doors and windows in it, and color and sunshininess. 

navel-gazing/afternoon project: after photos, part two

Well, I got my desk tidy. A clean desk is a sign that life is full of possibilities. It's like a newly tilled garden patch just after a gentle but soaking rain, or a fresh canvas on an easel, or a bag of groceries on a sparkling kitchen counter. And so forth. 

The rest of the room is better, but not complete. Been under the weather, decided this is enough to be going on with. 



navel-gazing/afternoon project: after photos, part one

Yes well, don't make fun of me. You out there in the ether. I felt internal and protective today and when I feel like that and I can't plant stuff or pull weeds, I absorb myself in some other detailed but mindless task. It's a sort of comfort. So here are way too many pictures of that, and I didn't even get to this adjoining room yet. 

Also, no, as it turns out, they aren't much better. I wasn't thinking creatively or technically. I should do that next time. But posting them here, that's part of the process, somehow.


navel-gazing/afternoon project: the before photos

If you knew me growing up it might surprise you to learn how much I dislike a messy bedroom. Well, you know, I always did. I just overwhelmed myself back then. On a fairly grand scale. 

It's unpleasant outside, but this space isn't quite as comfortable as it should be. So this afternoon is now cleaning time, and to keep myself honest, I've taken photos of how it all looks now, in my private areas. As is befitting a before/after project, they are poorly lit and not very sharp. The after photos will be in sparkling bright detail by way of comparison. :-)

If only there was a master search on the Roku, so I could search for George Gently or whatever, as cleaning background, and it would tell me whether to go to Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu Plus. Oh, 2012, you saucy minx. 



liliales birthday countdown: 2006

We had only a little over two years in the house I thought was to be my home, and in early 2006, moved again, this time to a rented house with a pool in Lakewood; a Hasidic and Orthodox Jewish enclave a little farther southwest. We were kinda isolated there, but I tried to tell the kids it was just another short-term adventure we were taking. 

I fixed up the landscaping a bit, and planted a few things. We swam in the pool. Here's a short blog post about one of our hot days there. 

A few months before this, my friend Yvonne disappeared from my view, never quite knew why. She isolated herself and stopped speaking to anyone I knew, as far as I knew. I saw her once sometime later while out with a friend visiting from another state. She gave a short sharp nod and hello, and moved on. 

Ironic then, our new house was only 15 minutes away from hers, instead of nearly an hour. 

I have 170 photos from 2006, which do I share? 

Here's the fish we found when we were cleaning up a leafy area of the yard shortly after we moved in:

Here's my youngest son, doing what he does best, at Valley Forge:

Here's my youngest daughter at the Central Park zoo:

Me in the woods:

And the dragonfly which inspired one of my favorite little stories:


liliales birthday countdown: 2005

This one is a bit of a cheat. I'm not sharing a blog link from this year only, because they were transferred here with a whole month on each page. You could go find them if you were compelled to. The picture links are broken, though. 

In 2005 our world changed a lot. It was awesome, then it was awful, then there was some awesomeness in the midst of the awfulness. Which was awful. Oh, and I turned 40. 

Here's me shoveling snow in early 2005: 


And here's all the poetry I got written that year, but also it was the first year I tried NaNoWriMo, so that was a neat thing. 

Sipping Gotham

New York Harbor
slice of lime

I walk differently on New York streets,
everything hums erotic vibrations 
through the soles of my feet. 

Carnival of Words

Looking at you in a funhouse mirror
It's shatter-proof, smear-proof
distorted nevertheless

On a carousel spinning,
Artificial breeze soothes
Ride over too soon.

Ferris Wheel stops at the top,
car rocks and I sway, 
unsteady and unnerved til you point out the view
It's wide and breath-taking
and I never want to come back down. 


Slave to your will, or mine?
I can lean back and close my eyes,
or grip your shoulders and draw a sharp path
straight through your pupils.

The shouts are all shut up in my head
and I do not force them out by throat and tongue,
rather with fingernails, teeth, taunting pressure
holding, locking you into position;

It's always at least a draw 
where the spoils are shared, exchanged,
given in love and taken by need—
like rain, or shelter from cold.

This is from the prologue of my first NaNoWriMo attempt. I say attempt because I can write 50k words in a month, but never seem to write a complete story...

I couldn't help myself. As she headed for the newsstand, I scribbled on the back of a receipt I found in my purse and then got up, walked past him quickly, dropping the receipt at his feet, and kept on going out of the park. My heart was racing, but I didn't look back.

The note said, "Meet me in front of Trump Tower in an hour." And he did.

He just walked right up to me and spoke, "She's visiting an old school friend, and we're getting back together for dinner at 7."

I said nothing, just pointed toward Central Park, smiled, and took off across the street, as he followed behind, jogging a little to keep up.

I had never before spoken to him in person, and just didn't know how to begin. It seemed so important to get the words exactly right, even if they were meaningless. So I remained silent until that began to feel absurd. We had a few hours, this one day out of forever, not to be wasted away on shyness.

"An eternity in one long breath. That's how the days seem right now. Like we're all exhaling, and when our lungs finally empty, and it's time for drawing in again, well."

I stopped, realizing I must sound a little crazy, speaking the truth hardly anyone dared voice aloud these days. That's me, from shy to overly vocal in one careless move.



liliales birthday countdown: 2004

In early 2004, we moved to a neat house in Tinton Falls, 4 miles west of our very old one. I loved our Tinton Falls house. It was a true split level, with four sections, and it had a very large backyard, and it was on a very nice and friendly u-shaped street. Also, it was built in the late 50s, and the main bathroom had pink fixtures and a grey boomarang countertop. I thought we'd be there forever because of some things. I was wrong. But anyway. 

Here's a picture of me there against a wall from which the paper had just been stripped.


I got a job at a cool old bowling alley so I could bowl for free. Seriously, I did that. I worked in the snack bar 2-3 days a week, making pizza, cooking sandwiches and fries, etc. I really loved it. I do not give a crap that my intellect, creativity, and general skills make me suited for something more—I don't even know what. I got a kick out of young Brazilian people and their penchant for cheese fries. And all that bowling kept me in really good shape. When you bowl like I do, it is real exercise. 

Here's a blog post from 2004 which tickles me. Funny that MenWeek™ only lasted a week back then...

liliales birthday countdown: 2003

From this point forward, a lot of my online presence is archived, and I thought it would be a good idea to share some thoughts I had each year. 2003 is the year I started keeping a blog. Before that I had a website on which I'd post ideas, pictures, lists of things that interested me, whatever I could think of. 

My first blog was homemade and very crude-looking. Over the years since then I've had them at Blogger, Vox, and TypePad, and I have several things going at Tumblr, but I've also got accounts at a few other places. You never know when you might need a new one. 

That year, I turned 38. I found a great deal of Bobby Darin music I'd never heard before, and downloaded it from Limewire. I feel no compunction about that. It wasn't as if this music was available for me to purchase. Me and Lars Ulrich, we'd have words if we ever met. I think that was also the year I discovered archive.org, which is still pretty much my favorite place on the web. I'm not linking, whatever. Go there if you never have, and find the Prelinger archives. Thank me later. 

I was not super well that year. The year before, I'd become ill and semi-bedridden for awhile, and was exposed to huge toxic amounts of mold. I developed asthma (the body sometimes gets confused about our need for defense mechanisms, eh?) and it's been a bother ever since. But in the summer of 2003, I was actually in terrific shape, and feeling pretty good about myself otherwise. In the autumn, I couldn't breathe again, and we prepared to move to a better house, a few miles farther inland. 

Here's the text of my first blog post. Please indulge me by reading it and the ones to follow in the other countdown posts. It was maybe more entertaining with photos, I dunno. The rest of these countdown posts will have photos, because they are archived back to 2004 on this particular computer. 

An indulgence for myself in this one instead; three poems I wrote in 2003:

Chokecherry Beach

mussel shells, tiny in my palm
born on waves, 
borne to shore on a blanket of foam,
born to live and to die
all in an instant.


cartographer's hands, once an abstract notion, 
merely pixels on a screen; 
unreal evidence of tangible form, 
now trace a complex route
through barriers named yet unspoken,
radiating a slow-burning energy
from within their hesitant source

he traces this path with his mind, his voice,
his carefully measured speech, and sears
a dark trail deep into my fevered skin.

humbert's reasons to drink

dedicated to Lola, the showgirl

stupid frigging nazis
poems don't rhyme
stopped changing lightbulbs
takes too much time
lights in train car
flicker off and on
she gave him her phone number
three weeks he's gone

left hand shakes so
i'm using the right
milk's gone sour
thirsty at night
that movie was absurd
blue alien moron freaks
i'd cut my own eyes out
but irony still speaks

it never seems to end
the cliche won't die
keeps finding new shelter
rabbits getting high
spewing Nietzsche, Tolkein, Plant
basement ruminations
they arrested Adam Ant
fashion indignations

winking at boys
inviting them in
they watch as i sip
pineapple juice and gin.


liliales birthday countdown: 2002

There's so much I'm just blank about from those years. I had a good friend, Yvonne, and we hung out in Red Bank a lot, eventually meeting a strange guy named Russ who ran a very alternative kind of bookstore. He was moody and interesting and we all became friends for several years. Yvonne was pretty much a hippy, and I felt like Donna Reed next to her. But we clicked, and were best friends for a time. 

Simple Minds released Cry that year, and oh! I forgot to mention that in 2001, we saw Depeche Mode at Madison Square Garden. Dave Gahan was at the top of his game, and the whole show was pretty great. In the summer of 2002, I got front row seats to Simple Minds/INXS for the man and oldest daughter, and then we won two lawn seats, so I took the youngest daughter who was 11 at the time, and the middle one stayed home with the boys. After INXS played, we wormed our way down to the front where the others were. Both of us have cherished memories from that; we were right up against the stage, and Jim Kerr squeezed her hand. A few minutes later, he looked right into my eyes as he sang, well. It was a lovely moment. 

I think no one but me likes this song from that album, and it is a bit cheesy and derivative, but I don't care. He sounds super


liliales birthday countdown: 2001

Hey, I got a little behind in the game! And with only a week to go, too. Well, life, and everything, you know. Often more important and interesting than sitting at a computer. 

Anyway. Some aspects of our years in Rumson run together for me. There was a big summer storm the weekend we were having a garage sale, and we had no power for a couple days, plus it was all mayhem everywhere. And once we had a blackout; that I could look up because PSE&G lost a big part of the grid, and if you are on the east coast, you'll remember that. 

But 2001, well, of course what stands out in my mind was that really good math morning we were having; our second day of school for the new year. And the phone call, with the man yelling and telling me New York was under attack. I ran down the block to the main street and then headed up the street, to see if I could see planes or anything, and then ran home to turn on the TV. And a building came down before my eyes. We've all seen it hundreds of times, but that was the first time, right when it happened. 

And later that day, the eastern horizon was black and orange. We drove up to Sandy Hook and stood on North Beach with about 20-30 other people, just staring at the skyline. 

It was at least two years before I got used to the hole in it, especially as I'd always look north as I drove over the Rumson-Sea Bright bridge, to see if the sky was clear that day. And the city smelled charred for months, with this strange haze that we'd wear home on the train and have to scrub off in the shower. 

A couple people from our town died that day, and there was a memorial for them down by the river. But across the river, in Middletown, they'd lost dozens. It was physical, palable, everywhere we went for a long time. 

liliales birthday countdown: 2000 music memories

I had a 13 year-old then. The other girls were 10 and 9. That influenced a lot of the music we heard and chose to listen to. Not just because of the radio, but whatever was on TV and in the movies, and at friends' houses. 

Not sure anything was bigger than this one...and I'm okay with that.


Here's another fun hit from 2000, which, well, kinda makes you think the world is okay, and it'll keep spinning along the way it always has.  

And I am pretty sure I heard this song every time I walked into the little grocery store closest to us, in Fair Haven. 

liliales birthday countdown: 2000

At the end of 1999, the kids and I put together a time capsule of our portion of the 20th century. We didn't yet know we'd be celebrating the end of the millennium in an entirely new part of the country. 

At that time I was very into Bobby Darin, The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the new Cure album, Bloodflowers. We went down to Detroit to see them in concert, which seemed really amazing after all those years of never even considering such a thing. I still have my t-shirt, but I don't really like shirts that weren't cut for women so it stays in a drawer. 

2000 was one of those years we have now and then in which quite a few super famous people died. And VH-1 Classic started that year! At first that was very cool because they showed whatever we used to actually watch MTV for. 

Shortly after the baby turned two, we moved to Rumson, New Jersey, three miles from the sea. The six year-old had his arm in a cast from falling down the stairs. And it was quite a chaotic event, getting the eight of us across the eastern part of the country to the new house, which was very old and a bit alarming to confront at first view. However, the little town was very nice, there were many little girls around for my daughters to play with, we lived down the street from a riverside park, and as we crossed the bridge to the next little town over, we could see the New York skyline off in the distance. Even now, my heart races a little bit, thinking about it. 

There were some big adjustments to make, and it took awhile to settle in, but I felt like I'd "come home" for the first time since I was a teenager. 

liliales birthday countdown: 1999

madness swirls, darts away, returns
slithering in to take hold.
grasping and gulping i apply the disease; 
a coat made of sooty smoke 
and even after it has fled, once again, 
you can smell the residue on my graying skin
begging, aching
rain pour down and wash me clean
weak spits of snow are the reply

little match girl where are you now?
i have homemade soap to sell 
and candles to keep you warm, for a while.
not much else to offer— 
cheese and crackers and a six dollar bottle of belgian beer
that somebody brought by.

aura made of clouds gathered thickly 
guarding my soul
the rest was stolen during the last flood, 
or washed away.
galatea in solitude

the base is cracked upon which she stands,
they knew much of earthquakes in her ancient land
was it the wrath of gods and goddesses spurned;
their rare and precious gift returned?

did pygmalion watch in sadness or relief as she slowly hardened into stone?

now she is posed and waiting through the centuries
to be sculpted back to life
she does not know that in her own gracefully chiselled fingertips
she is already holding the knife

I think I started to recognize who I was when I turned 34. It wasn't who anyone else had much thought I was up to that point, which might have been the source of a lot of my trouble. I'm a fairly passive person, and also very internal. So whoever I was inside isn't who anyone else chose to look for (and define, as people seem bound to do,) and it hadn't really occurred to me that others saw everything so very differently than I did. 

Like with Jesus. All that time I thought me and the various churches of people were on the same page about that, but it turned out they weren't thinking what was inside my head at all. I didn't have a strong sense of right or wrong about most of the differences I saw in other people; they were one way and I was another. But realizing that if Jesus was who they said he was, then he could be very little of what they said he was, that was truly enlightening. That was wrong. So I went back to my childhood thinking tree, at least in my mind, where I could contemplate it all without all the layers of veneer that had been slathered on over the years. Not just about Jesus, but about the math I never learned, and the music on the radio in towns which didn't have the secret club password, and the art I always wanted to wrap myself in even though I never got "the artist" badge. 

And then I turned myself into a cool kid on the outside, instead of just on the inside. 

In 1997, I'd started this garden in my backyard, with zinnias and tomatoes and herbs and some other things. And the following year a lot of it sprang back to life on its own, like magic. That was a magic I realized I could do. I mean, manipulating the right kinds of energy: that's all magic is. It's physics married with desire. So I was sustained through early 1999 with the promised of renewed growth.

this will be my testimony...

the verbose can run out of things to say
a heart filled with shouts and screams
can fall mute and shrink away
while the deafening silence of a heavy snow
can blow out the eardrums
of a hibernating spirit

this will be my testimony...

all in this universe mourn the death of a star
some are reborn from the ashes it leaves behind,
some get sucked into a singularity
of depression and loss
compacted into nothingness
never to escape

this will be my testimony...

in my backyard under 15 inches of winter
flavors rest and wait
hope to freshen the breath,
faith to soothe a cough.
joy to add depth to some soup
patience to perfume my bathwater

Season's unbroken cycle
brings comfort to their peaceful repose

My poetry improved tremendously after that stage. And I realized many things are not as difficult as they appear to be, even though there were many times, in the middle of fresh or renewed pain, I felt that this could not be so. The lowest place hadn't even been reached. But I knew that I was standing on the surface of something larger and more wonderful than I'd realized since childhood.

And so this is the point at which, though there were still some very bad years to come, I'm more comfortable in the aftermath of them to keep the pain and grieving tucked safely away from the parts of living that need to get done and which are still ripe with pleasurable opportunity. 


liliales birthday countdown: 1998

In 1998 I hadn't been to church in awhile due to the sciatica and these really severe headaches I had on and off for a few months (and I could write, seriously, a book about my church-going days, and maybe I should,) and when my daughter started asking questions I couldn't get answered the right way, I stopped sending the kids. The man had already quit the thing, though he'd been devoted in a more hard-core way, if not to say more deeply, than me. He then went through various phases over the years, I learned from them, but realized I was really just about being tao from the beginning. It took awhile to conquer some of the bitterness I had about the organizations tied to religion, but I've mellowed over the years. 

Well, calamity struck again, and I went into labor in late June in something of a state of shock, but determined to make everything as good and healthy for everyone as I could. The labor was ages long, but the midwife was sublime. It was just me and her and the man, though he was on the phone for the most active part of it. We won't go into that; it was an era ago. 

That delivery was the saddest yet most joyful one of all, and that kid has been nothing but joy to me, even though he was very emotional and would cry at the least little thing for about two years, during which time he also rarely slept. He is a beautiful specimen of humanity, and though it was very difficult for the first few months, during which time I was mostly alone with all six kids, I have always seen him as a true gift to my life. There is not a day in which I have not actively felt this, over nearly 14 years.

This time I lost only about 35 of the 45 lbs or so, and so even though I weighed over 120 at the end of summer, I was healthier, and he was fine, and his brother was fine. But that fall, we were the poorest we've ever been, because of several co-mingling occurrences. Our heater went out and took a few days to be fixed, and it was kinda terrible, but I learned a lot from it. People brought us stuff and tried to be well-meaning, and some of it was very awkward, however, I have first-hand knowledge now of how to help others when and where I can, so that's a good thing, as well.

I was homeschooling all my kids at this point, long story for some other time, and it was crazy chaos sometimes, but good for them, I think, in the main. 

You might laugh, but here is the song I could not stop playing late that year, nearly endlessly on a cassette in the van. 



liliales birthday countdown: 1997

I'd gained more weight with that pregnancy, close to 50 pounds. Okay, here is a report on my weight through all this kid-having up to this point. 112 lbs, gained 32, lost 37. 107 lbs, gained 32, lost 32. 107 lbs, gained 45, lost 35. 117 lbs, gained 32, lost 31. 118 lbs, gained 45 lbs, lost 50 lbs.  

Each of those weight losses took place over about a two month period,and then I'd stay the same weight until a new baby started up. But the 5th time, I lost 50 lbs so fast, the baby stopping thriving. We didn't realize it at first; he was between his two and four months checkups, and at four months, he hadn't gained any weight in several weeks. It was so scary. But I'd been so depressed I had a hard time eating. He had to have extra strong formula, because I couldn't feed him enough. I did get to keep letting him nurse, though, which was good for us in other ways. (It wasn't PPD, by the way; it was wholly tied to an actual extreme event that flipped me out.)

Later in the year it appeared life was bouncing back. We went on a camping trip, oh, I gotta dig out those photos, but…I got pregnant. 

Now that time, it was just being a bit stupid. But there's this whole story, as well, and oh my gosh, life without this kid having been present is completely unimaginable. Anyway. I was less upset about it than the other time because I felt like I'd been given a chance to complete something well. I hired a midwife, went through it all a little differently. I had horrible sciatica that kept me kind of immobile, though, and gained 45 lbs, which makes that a little worse. Catch-22. But that's for 1998. ;-)

My oldest daughter was ten that year, and listening to a little bit of radio pop, so I remember the Spice Girls and others from that time. It wasn't a bad year for pop music, actually. And there was a good Blur album, and Ultra by Depeche Mode, with Dave Gahan back from near-death, sigh.

Oh! I meant to mention in the last thing, that it was fall, 1996 when we got our first home computer and internet. It was a Macintosh Performa, and we had a free Compuserve account to use with it. Good things and bad things came from that, but mostly good. Gosh, I really need to get out those photos and scan them.  

liliales birthday countdown: 1996

Early in 1996, I was pregnant again. This was a pure accident, and lest random internet "experts" who don't know us deride us for what we might have done differently 16 years ago, let me point out that I have what might be termed a "willful womb," which rejected more than one form of birth control in some earnest attempt at making the world a finer place through my abundant progeny. 

Well, I was sad and angry about being pregnant. But I'll back up and share a memory of having the flu during a wild epidemic, and my son, not quite two, got it as well. He starting tanking late at night, as little kids sometimes do, so we brought him to the E.R., where they were so filled to the gills with sick people, they were laying them out in rows. The I.V. fluids were going in wrong, and his arm swelled up, and then they made a private space for him by putting a crib in a sort of utility closet. And he improved over the weekend. 

So then I was pregnant and we really needed a bigger place, and found a large duplex on a quiet street, and I was sad for all of us that I was going to have another baby, but at the same time, I wasn't sad about meeting my new kid. 

Star Trek: First Contact came out shortly before he was born, and the man and I took turns seeing it. We were big fans of ST:TNG; that is, I was a huge fan, and he was as big a fan as he ever gets about TV. Then it was Thanksgiving, and I went into labor, for about 24 hours. I chose the other hospital where we hadn't gone during the epidemic because, well. 

I had the same transition in labor problem I'd had with three of the other four kids, but the doctor refused to give me an epidural or anything, and the delivery was my longest (an epidural can slow it down more, but it never did for me,) and the baby was born blue, but after a few minutes he was the most exquisite-looking newborn I have ever seen. I mean, this can't be overstated. Eventually, I'll dig out some pictures to share from this era. 

And then my life fell apart again, for the second time of what I'd now say are six times. We won't be discussing much of that, though. I have no wish to burden others with my worst memories. 


liliales birthday countdown: 1995

Three significant things about 1995. We moved again, this time across Michigan to Saginaw. But we couldn't find a proper house to rent, and got a large apartment, instead, at "garden level." My oldest daughter sort of foundered for months in a class for slow kids while waiting for a spot in the gifted school to open up; a sort of bizarre irony. The next one was in kindergarten, and the teacher had little patience with her the way her preschool teachers did. But she was still sweet and enthusiastic and warm to everyone she saw. 

 Toy Story was released that fall. Changed all our lives, in a way, hard to explain. At the time, the artistry and character of it blew us away. I still think it's one of the finest films every made.

And at Christmas, Dean Martin died. I hadn't thought much about him over the years other than that he was funny and kinda cool. But the announcement of his death was when I began to sit up and take notice. 


liliales birthday countdown: 1994

In 1994, I gave birth to my oldest son, we moved to Michigan, just a couple miles from the Lake, and I worked to make my little girls believe life could be exciting and grand and full of possibilities. Life seemed beautiful, but really, really hard.

I want to back up and point out a couple things that come to mind, before I forget them again. In the weeks before my son was born, in the spring, I almost never slept, it seemed. I was up very late into the night every night, watching Talk Soup and developing a grand passion for Greg Kinnear. Later on, after he was born, I'd watch the late night show while nursing the boy. 

The day I went into labor, I woke up knowing it would be that day, and I was so happy. I had to go to a Girl Scout Leaders conference, and I warned them I was in labor and that it might accelerate. All day long I had regular contractions, and that afternoon I took some long walks, then put dinner in the oven for the family, and then it seemed time to go. It was a beautiful labor but one of my most difficult (though not at all longest) deliveries, even though he was the smallest kid at only 7 lbs 13 oz.

A few weeks later, as movers came in to pack us up to move from Kansas to Michigan, I remember sitting for hours and watching OJ drive that jeep. Kept waiting for it to get more exciting, but it never really did...

Shortly after we moved, I took the girls down to a place in Indiana to see The Lion King while the man stayed home with the baby. :-) And there were sunsets on Weko Beach, listening to a local man play "Taps" on his trumpet.

That was the first year I got to use the "internet," at my husband's job. No, that's quite not so. I'd watched him try it out the year before, but really just as a bystander. I remember we were told we'd be using something like this in the future. It wasn't something I could imagine quite the way we see it now. 


Late Night TCM and Me: A tale of frustration and angst

The featured star on TCM this month is Joel McCrea. I love him. You might already know this. He had some of the best shoulders in Hollywood, though I am not sure he'd win against Bill Holden in a shoulder baring contest. Hard to say, as he was several inches taller. Anyway. 

I like his early comedies, some of his "working man" dramas, some of the spy things, some of the westerns. I'm not completionist about him, though. He was in a million things. Some of it isn't my groove. But I set up my bedroom DVR to record most of the films TCM is showing on Wednesdays this month, particularly the early "pre-Code" ones with which I'm less familiar. Tuesday night I started watching a really old one called Born to Love, from 1931, also starring Constance Bennett. It was a very early entry for both of them, and neither is very good, but they're endearing enough. And this movie was on in the wee hours of the morning, when they tend to show the films only a hard-core interest would find appealing.

It's set in London at the tail end of WW1. They meet, fall instantly for each other, and it is made clear they give themselves to each other just before he is to leave for battle, promising they'll marry upon his return. And then she is pregnant. If you don't know much about movies of that era, you can't have a complete understanding of how scandalous it is, because she isn't made out to be a bad girl. But she is paid back for her indiscretion.

At first, tragedy; her young man is dead! Then a savior; the rich lord who loves her agrees to marry her and raise the baby as his own. And then I fell asleep. 

Last night, I turned it on again. Let me back up first, and foreshadow how this ends for you. The movie is 75 minutes long, ordinary for that time. So is my recording. But the first 15 minutes of my recording are the end of the previous movie, and some previews. This never happens on TCM, so I assumed the movie was even shorter than I'd thought, which is sometimes the case, and the rest of the time slot is filler. 

Moving along. They baptize the baby in the lord's name. At the christening party, she receives a phone call. Her love is still alive! She won't see him. She tells her husband. She does see him! But rejects him for her marriage. She tells her husband. He doesn't believe her! They divorce. He takes full custody and kicks her out. 

Two years have passed. McCrea is back in London, everyone assumes Bennett has been with him, but he didn't even know of her divorce. She is in a crappy flat, clearly preparing to hock her necklace when he turns up. She pushes him away! If she doesn't, she won't be allowed to see the child, and she is about to for the first time since she was sent away. She pawns her necklace, excitedly buys a gift for her son, and rushes to her old home. Her ex-husband is there, and she asks, "Will I be able to see my child regularly now?"

He says, grimly, "I can never again interfere."

She rushes up the stairs and we see her run into the nursery, the crib in shadows. She gasps! And the TV asks if I want to delete the recording. 

This is the last thing I see on my screen. 
2012-05-16 23.45.47
 So, you know, I worked out what happened next. The kid is dead, the dad is full of regret, she runs off to kill herself. McCrea shows up at the last second, but I couldn't decide if he's too late or not. These movies used to go either way, you know. Reluctantly, I looked it up.