Can You Hear Me Now?

I am a bad, bad long distance friend. I'm not particularly sterling close up, either, but put a few miles between me and my amigo and I really show my crappy colors. This Christmas, I called nobody to wish them well. Thinking about calling them was about as far as I got. And, in my defense, I thought about it a lot. But that does not change the fact that I am turning friends into enemies all up and down the east coast, with no good explanation at all.

Sure, things are busy with a new baby and various holiday commitments. For the past few weeks, life has been a flurry of breastfeeding; breast pumping; diaper changing; last-minute shopping; chewing on toes (Tolby); rolling over (Tolby again); and grandparent-juggling. But how hard is it to pick up the phone and catch up with people one hasn't seen in a coon's age? It's not. I have no excuse. Nor do I have any justification whatsoever for using the term "coon's age." Blessed are those who forgive. They will never lack opportunity to be holy as long as I'm around.

So please excuse me if I cut this entry short to strap on the ol' headset and go a-callin'. Is that your phone ringing now?


Variation on a Theme

The following email was sent to me by a friend after a visit in which the main topic of the day was poop. As she arrived at my house, I was busy in the basement, Shouting out three layers of shit from my daughter's clothing. Later, I regaled her with a recording of David Sedaris reading a poem about, well, you guessed it (if you have the time and the inclination, I suggest going here to find Sedaris's hilarious re-telling of a bathroom incident in two parts--it's in "Act 4" and begins 36 minutes, 40 seconds into the program, to be exact). You see, it is not only the central theme of my blog, but also of my more generalized existence. I had suggested to said friend that this fascination was a product of motherhood, but she countered, and later proved through this email, that I have always been interested in such matters.

From : Jessica
Sent : Saturday, December 17, 2005 12:24 PM
To : Binky

Subject : More on poop

I was cleaning out my email inbox today and came across the following story in a message you sent me about a year ago. It's just more evidence that you have always appreciated and attracted entertaining poop.

"Roxie had a good time dropping the hugest deuce as soon as we arrived at the Xmas tree farm yesterday. I mean, the girl absolutely loves laying a big one in front of as many people as possible. So, I picked it up in a baggie and looked around for a garbage can. I went up to one of the employees and asked if they had a receptacle, all the while waving the baggie. He reaches out for it to take it from me, and I go, “But it’s poop.” I didn’t want there to be any confusion. He said, “oh,” then, after some consideration, grabbed it anyway and put it in a little bucket they were using for trash. Stinky. Not a particularly great story, but amusing nonetheless."

I guess I am nothing if not consistent. Or regular, as the case may be.


Happy Holidays

Two exhausted holiday partiers take it easy on the Monday after Christmas

[I'm sorry for the lapse in blogging that resulted from the happy chaos that is the holidays. Time flies when you're not sitting in front of the computer.]

The clock and I have had a different relationship ever since I had Tolby. The hour hand seems to tick away the seconds as things change before my eyes. My mother says I have no idea how fast life goes by; that before I know it, Tolby will be an adult herself; that I will be a grandmother. My mother, however, underestimates me. I am painfully aware of time. I cannot live in even one moment without the knowledge that it won't be like this for long. It's almost pathological the way I dwell on the future and its inherent absences. I know that bad things will happen and so I wonder when, and to whom, and how often. I think of death constantly because it is attached to time. People tell me about their grown children and I say it goes by so fast, doesn't it? It may sound funny coming from me, a 27 year old with a five month old baby, but I know it to be true. It goes by so fast. I don't blame my mother for thinking that I wouldn't understand the gravity of the clock, since it does seem like a sense honed by more experience than I've yet acquired. But I get it.

And that lack of blissful ingnorance makes my chest tight.
Posted by Picasa


Things That Blow

My daughter has always been a prolific pooper, but today takes the cake (or the mudpie, as it were). All exits were compromised--front of the diaper, back of the diaper, and both leg holes. She was up to her armpits and down to her knees in the sweet mustard that is breastfed baby shit. Apparently, in the malodorous spectrum of infantile bowel movements, everything is normal. From babies who make only weekly deposits neatly contained within their diaper to ones, like my own, who leave a gift (that keeps on giving) with every changing, it's all within the normal range. The subject never ceases to amaze me. And from what I hear from some of my friends, the adventure is just beginning. Oh, the stories we can tell. Motherhood will change a woman in a lot of ways, but never is it more apparent than in her fascination with baby dookie.


Things That Suck

When I got my dog, I did not realize she would pay for herself in electricity and vacuum bag savings. Who needs a Hoover when she has a Roxie to inhale the edible trail left by 7 toddlers? Today I hosted a Coffee Klatch for the MOMS Club of which I am membership vice president. Yes, I hold elected office in the MOMS Club. Yes, I realize that's funny. No, I don't think it's as funny as you do. Anyway, a Coffee Klatch is an event where moms sit and drink coffee while their children run around like lawless banshees, tearing up the host mother's home. There's nothing like a group of kids you can't really discipline because they aren't yours, tearing ornaments off the tree and hitting buttons on the stove till the burners ignite and the oven makes the kitchen nice and toasty. My heart hasn't raced like that since I stopped jogging about 13 months ago (note to self: that's way too long to go without regular exercise). Anyway, to get back to the main point, Roxie can be really utilitarian sometimes. Once the kids were out the door, leaving the kitchen awash in Little Debbie Christmas Tree crumbs, it was Electrorox to the rescue. It totally makes up for used diapers she likes to stash in unseen corners and the breast pads she will devour anytime you leave the garbage can unattended. It works out so well when our interests converge like this--me, doing anything not to drag out bulky household appliances, her, doing anything to eat. I love my little Pit Bull.


The Friendship Test

I hate the process of making friends because I can't really be myself until the more presentable version of me has been accepted. The presentable me is reserved, polite and well coiffed. She tries not to swear and she listens well. You can dress her up and take her out, but why anyone would want to is beyond me. In other words, this presentable me lacks luster. I'm not saying that the real me is supremely incandescent or anything, but I don't think anyone in my established friendship base would say that I fade into the woodwork.

This vetting period of friendship is such that I cannot, as dictated by experience, spring my true self onto unsuspecting acquaintances. I'm not the type to hold anything back, in word or deed. I prefer to tell it like it is, but I know that not everybody is ready to hear it. Some people never will be, and with them I am stuck being my presentable self for the duration of our association. But occasionally some people come along, who, whether it takes minutes, weeks or months, make it clear that they are as crazy as I am. These people, though honest, aren't judgmental; though responsible, aren't uptight; though sympathetic, aren't sappy. And they're always funny, at least to me. So whether they are amused by me as well, or if they simply like having a captive audience, something clicks.

When I laugh so hard that my asthma acts up, I know I've found a friend.


The One That I Cried As I Wrote

I was in a writing class recently with a woman who said that 9/11 didn't affect her. She said this after I read a poem with veiled but evocative references to the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers. "That didn't affect me," she said. We all looked at her. "September 11th, I mean. It didn't affect me." We looked at her some more. She probably said something, but I was too busy trying to convince myself not to reach across the table and squeeze her neck till her eyes popped out of her head.

It didn't affect you? Then it must have been a nice day after all. You must have been able to enjoy the pale blue sky and the way that 70 degrees can feel so breezy-warm on your skin as summer fades away. Or maybe you didn't notice Mother Nature's calm serenity at all, since it was just another day, with nothing to startle you out of the monotony, offering nothing dark to hold up against the clear morning sky.

You live near Boston, where the planes took a final flight, but you must not have listened to the radio or turned on the television, because it did not affect you. I assume you never saw the gruff, middle aged firefighter standing before the entrance to the second tower as he told the reporter he was doing what he had to do, and that was all there was to it. Surely you didn't see him go in. Surely you didn't wonder later, naively, what had happened to him.

You must not have seen a little girl, like little girls all over the country, walk into a living room with the television on to puzzle at the sight of specks falling from the 100th floor in graceful adherence to gravity, sometimes two specks at a time. A little girl with so much confusion and knowing behind her eyes when she said, "were those people?"

It goes without saying that you didn't cry for weeks the way you hadn't cried in years; didn't hold a candle outside your front door or chant USA at the bar as the band played its final set. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.

I know you weren't there. Neither was I, or anyone I knew directly. For you, that's not affecting. For me, it means that, forever, airplanes in a clear blue sky herald nothing but night.


It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Amidst bulbous, snow-capped trees, mother and daughter freeze their respective asses off on a New England afternoon at the Christmas tree farm. Posted by Picasa


Diamond is The Girls' Best Friend

From drunken frat boys at the bar (Good times never felt so good! So good! So good!) to elderly women bearing oxygen tanks, there's something about Neil Diamond that really spans the generations. I took my mom to his concert last night as an early Christmas in Worcester, Massachusetts, where thousands of the ugliest individuals east of the Mississippi converged on the DCU Center to watch the sequins fly. I loved it the way I love tourist traps like Wildwood, NJ and parties with the Pimp & Ho theme, all pulsating light, big hair, and bad dressers. He sang America with pictures of Ellis Island playing on all the big screens, and as the last image flashed to the Statue of Liberty holding her torch high above two backdropped towers, I was misty. Trios of women on the waning side of middle age stood up in their seats and held out their arms. In perfect a perfect representation of the audience age disparity, the couple next to me were sporting at least a 30 year age difference. I thought he was her father till I saw her stroking his hand.

All in all, it was not a bad way to spend a Monday night in Worcester with my mom. Based on the variables, that's saying a lot.


Deer Over the Tail Lights

Unrelated to my previous post (except maybe philisophically), I saw a dead stag's head hanging out of the trunk of a car heading south on I-190 in Massachusetts yesterday night. It inspired my gag reflex more than any sense of awe, and I realized again just how important context is. A deer munching on your perennials out back tells a whole different story than a head lolling out of a half-open trunk, ready to impale the next tailgater.

I felt oddly vindicated. Nothing is as awesome as it seems.


Yes, Deer

What is it about deer that inspires such awe? I got a family of three caught in my headlights this evening as I pulled in my driveway, and the incongruity of the scene rendered me as motionless as they. My house is flanked in front by a main road that runs parallel to the Interstate, but behind us is all woods. As I turned off the ignition and stared into the strange glow of the smallest deer's face, time seemed to stop. The picture of serene immobility muted the sound of so many tractor trailers and the noise of lives lived in fast forward. For several minutes we just stared at each other, until I turned off the headlights and stepped out of the car. I expected them to retreat. I thought they would run away in keeping with the holiday rush. But they didn't seem to be in any hurry as they turned sideways to inspect the cold grass with their muzzles. They wandered through the upper right corner of our property, and if the clock of unreality was no longer standing still, it was certainly taking its time. It could almost make a person (me) love all the things she thought she hated: the place, the season, the way small things get big so fast. It was almost too much. I slammed my car door shut to see what it would take to make them leave.


Monday Muses

A friend of mine suggested that I solicit weekly topic ideas from my readership (which very well may consist wholly of the aforementioned friend, my husband and my dog). At any rate, if you are reading this and would like to be my Monday Muse, please post your subject suggestions in the comment section. I will pick one per week and will present the inspired blog entry on, you guessed it, the following Monday. Some examples:

Binky, please write about why Cadillac Cateras are not good cars to buy if you do not have an auto shop and car lift in your backyard, as well as the ability to think like a German.

From, Rhodes Idassistance

Bink, kindly expostulate on the advantages of Shout stain remover versus all inferior detergents when it comes to taking care of common infant stains (title suggestions: Exterminating the Excrement; Doing Away with Doo-doo; Stamping Out Stool).

From, Anonymous
Note from Binky: This person is gross. She must be a mother.

Bink-O, would you comment on the phenomenon wherein you wake up at 3 am on the morning after Thanksgiving to be at Wal-Mart the moment it opens in order to buy a $20 DVD player which you must wrestle out of the hands of a 78 year old woman before trampling over her on your way to a Roll-Backed inflatable snow globe lawn ornament?

From, Grandma Got Run Over By Me

As you can see, the possibilities are endless. Please consider making a contribution today.