Wednesday, December 31, 2008

another Wednesday morning

Welcome to the last day of the retrospective "December Flashback" series. And, it seems, the last day of 2008. Whoooooooosssshhhhhh!! (That was time going by.)

I'd like to thank you for your patience with my glance backwards -- sounds like I'm Lot's wife, really it was more a constant craning severely wrenching the neck (besides, you already know I'm the Mike's wife and while I'm working on building a mythology around that, it hasn't made it into history yet. For one of my favorite poems - "Lot's Wife" by the fabulous Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, click here).

The twelve days of flashback have been brought to you by KitnMike Productions, various brands of biodegradable laundry soap, and the letter K.

I am so very grateful for my small band of readers. I am a writer -- which means nothing if I don't have readers. So, thanks.

This is a brief one that also touches on a kind of gratitude. It's from 2006. It's called "Wednesday mornings."

Many good wishes for you all in the New Year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

only two days left!

...of 2008 *AND* the Fetal Positions December flashbacks.

[Make "Wayne's World," finger rippling, wavy hand motions here. And suddenly ... we find ourselves in...]


The end of the year brings on much contemplation, goal-setting, and other vices. I am often talking about community, and it started early in my blogging career. I am often wondering if this place or where else is the right place for us to live, and it's only intensified since getting pregnant. In the 2004 entry "does size matter?" both of these topics are batted about. And here are a couple pictures that go with the entry - Mike and I on Catalina Island, circa baby in belly.

Monday, December 29, 2008

you guessed it - we're still going backwards

The flashbacks today are in honor of my sisters - both of whom sent Isaac presents that arrived today.

For my sister Rita, from December 2006, I bring you "Dr. Duck." Aunt Rita came through with - among other things - Isaac's only gift book this year, a very funny one featuring a grumpy and clever duck called Thump, Quack, Moo: A Wacky Adventure.

And from December 2007, here's "slippery slope" for my sister Ruth who went all crazy-aunt on us and sent Isaac running wildly in circles with a real live train set. She's complained in the past about not being able to send Isaac things like lollipops because we are bizarre and don't often offer random colored blocks of teeth-wrenching sugar to our child. She'd be pleased to know of Isaac's first candy cane this year, though it was blueberry - he hates mint.

Speaking of teeth wrenching...The gifts showed up amidst a very busy schedule and a dental diagnosis I hoped never to hear -- R-O-O-T-C-A-N-A-L. (Hey! How YOU spending your Tuesday afternoon this week?? Bet you'll beat ME.) Isaac was pretty happy to come home from having to hang out at the dentist's office and play with new stuff.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


A pair of old entries today that lean on contemplation and, to some extent, melancholy.

I am still in search of my "gathering of grandmothers," though I first wrote about it while I was pregnant, back in 2004. I wasn't the kind of person who was knocked over cold by the difficulty of parenting. It is just as difficult as I imagined.

And I came into it in a way that may be different than your average Mommy n Me enthusiast. The other piece for today is from last year; it's titled "visitation."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

on the eighth day of flashback December, my blogger friend gave to me... entry from December 27, 2004 - pregnancy days. Days of speculation and indigestion. Days of apparently enough time to write lots of blog entries.

"Virtual fears" is one in which you get to listen in on another bizarro adventure with raccoon poop, Mike and Kitty in conversation and the encroaching world. Well, with that recommendation, what are you still doing reading this?? Click the link for goodness sake!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

today's December flashback

December 2006 seems to have had a plethora of entries (as opposed, for example, to 2005, which has exactly one, perhaps I'll link it next week).

The day after Christmas with all of its anti-hype can leave one feeling off-center -- something akin to waking from a dream, remembering only half of it, or the geographic details but not the motives, or the emotional ebb and flow but none of the faces. Last night I dreamed -- my friend Mary, a cliff, a small town diner. It was interesting and I want to go back and finish the story, but that's not likely; it's gone.

Parenting too gives me the sense often of vague, unfinished scenes... Probably because the constant whining I endure makes my brain foggy and every flipping scene I enter -in fact- go unfinished. But enough with the analogies...

Here's an entry from December 14, 2006 entitled "dream states."

Thursday, December 25, 2008

flashback December - 2004

Merry Christmas, all!

Here's one that put the "fetal" in Fetal Positions. It's from 2004, when I was still pregnant, and I'm cheating just slightly because it's actually from November 30 -- so much for my own rules. I'm going to guess that it may be a little different than other Christmas Day blogs... Here is "What Child Is This?"

(Please note that the grilled cheese link in that one no longer works, sorry.)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santa's sleigh and variations on Rudolph in the key of wacky toddler

Here's Isaac's version of Santa's sleigh. The role of Santa this year will be played by Bear. The sleigh is constructed from Emily's cat bed and his stuffed animals - some of which are toys in the sleigh and some of which are playing the part of reindeer.

Isaac is fond of the reindeer, which, as you may be aware are also known as caribou.
While we were in Seattle we visited the zoo. Not my favorite activity, but there we were. Isaac talked constantly beforehand about seeing the lions. He rushed us through the elephant pond, the bats, the flamingos to get to the lions. He wondered aloud if the lions would be roaring.

When we finally made it to the lions, they were in plain sight. A male and female put on a little show for us, teasing each other. Here it was, my son's dream come true. A zoo volunteer crouched down next to him. "Are the lions your favorite animal in the zoo? Have you been waiting to see the lions?" Isaac considered the woman for a long moment before stating solemnly, "My favorite animal is a caribou."

Christmas Eve flashback

It's Christmas Eve 2008. But wait...


****************It's Christmas Eve 2006********************

The entry is called "warm wishes."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

more flashback December

Two more holiday-ish entries of the past. We're in 2007 again -- which is known, alternately, as "just last year" and "a whole year ago."

Isaac's begun the begging -- The poor, tortured soul MUST open his presents RIGHT. NOW. So, I thought of this entry from December 22, 2007 called "spoiling the surprise."

And for the tree enthusiasts out there, from December 12, 2007, this one called "it followed me home, can I keep it?"

Reduce, reuse, recycle ... your blog entries. Cheers.

Monday, December 22, 2008

why poetry gets a bad rap

I just received this as an email from the local children's museum. My goodwill toward men is not thriving at the moment. I could say more, but maybe I shouldn't. I think the "poem" speaks for itself.

It's holiday time, ho, ho, ho!

A time to reflect, a time to grow

Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanza, they

Teach about giving every day

Read this poem all the way through

Then think about what you'd like to do

Scholarships, the Wheelie Mobilee, exhibits, all

Need lots of funding-please answer the call

MY Museum is open and operating and we are happy as can be

If you haven't seen the place you must come by and see

Your support is needed 'cause this year will be a big one

Happy Holidays to all... we wish you joy and tons of fun!!!

flashback December #3

Welcome to another edition of FLASHBACK DECEMBER. Today I have two for you.

One from this very day last year -- Isaac's letter to Santa. Here is the one he dictated this time around:

(Dec 18, 2008)
Dear Santa,

I want a fire truck, please, a big one. And a dinosaur set. And a big, scary dinosaur walk by itself. And a little toy rocket ship. (My pleas to inquire as to Santa's well-being, or the weather in Lapland go unheeded...) A monster truck that makes sound but not drive by itself, and tall. (My comments about caring and love being more important than toys are actively ignored...)

Please go to the red church and mama gonna go get the presents for mama and daddy and Little Boy.

** Mama? What you guys want?

Hi, Santa, it's Mama. I would like socks and warm tights - brown and black and white, please, or you can be creative. And I'd like the chance to exercise more and I'd like to live closer to the farmer's market.

** How Santa gonna bring you exercise?
Well, Santa might whisper in your ear while you're sleeping, 'Isaac, tell Mama you want to go for a long walk and stay in the stroller.' So then you can do that and you get to be one of Santa's helpers. That's part of how Santa's magic works. What do you think? (Puzzled look, then:)

And you can send anything else you want the elves to make.

Love, Isaac
It is notable for his father and I that there is zero mention of the wooden car track he talked non-stop about for weeks and that we killed ourselves to find for him and did.

Isaac recently declared that he was sure everything wrapped under the tree so far was a dinosaur set. Clearly, he has not spent enough time with my mother-in-law to understand that the only gift she buys anyone ever is a piece of clothing eight sizes too big. I once predicted that thanks to his grandmother Isaac would be the only freshman in college wearing Thomas the Train sweatpants. Being disappointed in your gifts is a long-standing tradition that I'm proud to be able to pass down to my son.

The other flashback entry for today is called "It was a typical morning." It's from 2006. Isaac was not quite two at that point. It gives a peek into a few things of the day, including Isaac's relationship with caretaking and his animal friends.

It's quite relevant for the current moment, at least by comparison, since we are hosting something of a menagerie at our house these days. There is a fruit box upside down in our bedroom - home to one of Isaac's stuffed dogs, complete with water and food bowl. There is a fluffy orange turtle held captive in a box in his room, with a bowl full of "lettuce" (foam shapes). And lastly there is Pork-key-pine. Pork-key-pine is half of a pine cone that's housed in a Godiva chocolate box lined with a blanket and fed cereal whenever his keeper demands his servants (that'd be us) refill his tupperware lid.

Hope you all are cozy and warm and not harried and cold.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

flashback December installment #2

Happy Solstice. Happy Hannukah. Happy 40th Birthday, Mike!

No one would guess that my even, calm husband arrived all blue/emergency C-section.

Today's Flashback December entry was an easy pick. A Mike's birthday entry. It comes from 2004 - while Small Boy was still in belly (and not yet the snotty-nosed, over-tired kid currently screaming and crying as I type this) and my mind was a puppet at the mercy of the cruel Fates of preggo insanity.

I have many memories associated with trying to bake Mike birthday cakes, including locking myself out of the house on the coldest day in Monterey in 10 years and mistaking the ice on the ground for glass (hopeful west coast transplant that I was).

This year's cake memory hasn't happened yet. Isaac and I are going to try out an orange cake with chocolate frosting after nap. As usual, I really don't know how I'm going to pull it off. In the kitchen, I lack confidence and usually most of the ingredients as well.

Anyway, the 2004 entry is called "and eat it too."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Flashback December


Over these last 11 days of the month/year, I'd like to invite you to take a stroll down Fetal Positions' memory lane. Each day I will be linking to a post from December of 2007, 2006, 2005, or even 2004 - yes, I go back that far, ladies and gentlemen! to when the fetal positions were truly fetal and there was no Isaac as we know him today.

Maybe it's nostalgia with the end of another year, maybe it's inspiration from receiving the daily Writer's Almanac emails and all their historical tidbits, or, maybe it's just that I'm completely lazy and out of new ideas. Think of it as the ghost of Decembers past. Whatever the impetus, let FLASHBACK DECEMBER guide you into 2009!

We'll begin with this one from December 18, 2007. It's titled "tomorrows - full of possibility." It's a conversation between myself and a not-yet-three Isaac centering around the topic of a particular sleigh.

Enjoy! (And you'll have to do that squiggly line, dreamy screen thing yourself.)

pen name perhaps?

It's that time of year again -- the time of year when despite the choices I made 7 years ago, all of my husband's family, high school, college, and work friends send us Christmas cards addressed to us under the same name - his.

"What if you have a FAMILY??!!!" they pleaded when the news originally made the rounds. What indeed. Has it stopped us from having a family? No, clearly, Mr Isaac wanted to be born despite many other much bigger obstacles than a name. Are our dance parties in the living room something lesser because I didn't go all around the world twice to try and get my driver's license changed?

Everyone from in-laws to bank tellers chastised me about keeping my name when Mike and I got married. And to them all - a very spirited middle finger.

This is the season of festive frolicking and deck the yadda yadda. So, while the mailbox overfloweth, calling out to a non-existent personage, I've decided to stop flipping out about it (well, almost). I try now to think of it as my gift to all of them.

It's that time of year again, when I become, just for a season, for the sake of an envelope, the person they desperately want me to be.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

the library

Depression sets in right away:

Rooms full of books. Anthologies, theses, too many of everything. I can learn anything I can dream of; visit any world I want to. I hate that. How exhausting. What pressure.

Think about all those hours alone, writers writing. It's enough to drive a person to the medicine cabinet.

I can get lost here. Suffocate. No one would know where to look. Greek mythology? Large print? Self help? Sci Fi? The mind bends.

I bob up on the crest of a wave - magical realism, young adult fiction - then go down again. They say a person surfaces three times before going under for good, but I'm not sure I have that long. The shelf of "Best American Poetry" 1998-2007 is lined up in front of me, a firing squad.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Office Holiday Party: The Charity Auction

So you go to your husband's office holiday party with your unnapped child and think you won't stay long. But two hours later you find yourself standing guard behind your pick at the auction, while your child sways, closer and closer to the floor and complains loudly about the lack of a dessert table. The beer is good and free and you think that if this goes on much longer, you're right there with him.

You think it's sweet in a weird sort of way, the middle-aged man with salt and pepper beard hawking his bid on the dance lessons. He looks actually nervous, as if he's already won the lessons and they were to a middle school dance in a gymnasium, his palms sweaty, heart in his throat, object of his affection across the room in a pink cable knit sweater.

You glance over your shoulder to be sure no one is thinking of outbidding you on the tiny styrofoam cups someone artfully turned into ornaments in the shape of an octopus in a Santa hat and a jellyfish that lights up. Suddenly, you realize the man in the salt and pepper beard at least has love on his side... you? And in the light of the jellyfish, you see what "weird sort of way" really means.

PS - books sidebar is updated.

PPS - to be fair to us, they aren't just *any* styrofoam cup ornaments - those styrofoam cups were taken to the bottom of the ocean on a remote underwater vehicle and shrunk down by the depth.

Monday, December 01, 2008

I didn't make this up

Median income in Monterey County, California = roughly $34,000
Median price of homes for sale in the city of Monterey = $1 million

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