September 2010


A wonder
running about on
staccato feet.
A wonder
who says,
“Sit down now, Mama.”
A wonder
who snuggles up
to Daddy
and pushes Mama away.

A wonder
who I stare at
wondering if she is, indeed, real?
Not a
dream?

A wonder
who is mine
all mine
and oh so beautiful
with big eyes
and round cheeks
and a personality
that spreads for
miles.

Yet, I still
cannot help but
wonder;
is she really real
and truly mine?

Yes
she grew
inside my
belly.
My mini-me.

This post was originally posted on Helium.com. Here is a link:

Short Stories: Artists

“This is the best work you’ve ever done.”
“Really? You mean it?”
“Yeah Squirt, keep it up, and you might just be a famous artist some day.”

This is one of the conversations I remember having with Zoey, the best baby sitter in the world, or at least my favorite growing up. She was my hero, the only person in my life who ever took me seriously. My mom  got mad at me for finger painting on the wall, but Zooey, she loved it. She got a kick out of all my antics. She just got me.

Her parents were hippies. She was not, though her real name was Moonbeam. She wanted to change her name to Zooey, a character from a book she read. She wore all black, dyed her hair jet black, and wore lots of make-up. Her mom really hated it, she had bright red, wavy hair that hung all the way down her back. She wore long billowy flower print dresses, and always told Moonbeam she needed more color in her life. Zoey would say, “Squirt adds all the color I need.”

Yesterday, the sun was shining, the wind was blowing, the air was full of a sense of expectation. The sense of well being that comes with the beginning of fall. Yeah, I was always really into school growing up. But, I’m also bi-polar. Usually my depression ends when fall weather begins. That is also when the mania begins, and what a welcome relief after 6-8 months of sleeping constantly, not bathing, and wishing for death.

Yesterday I was on my way to the gallery. That’s when I saw them. They reminded me so much of me and Zooey. She was a goth chick, complete with a multi-colored Mohawk. He was a tow head, decked out in preppy clothing, probably about eleven. The image would force many to wonder, what kind of upper east side socialite would leave her son with someone like that? Some might even suspect kidnapping.

They were singing a song together, loudly, and he was dragging a piece of chalk along the buildings as they passed. She was carrying a bucket of chalk. They seemed absolutely blissed out. I wanted to talk to them, but I didn’t dare interrupt their reverie.

So, I went on into the gallery, soon I was talking to a perspective buyer about a piece. She wanted to know what inspired me. I was trying to tell her, but I was also trying to be diplomatic. An artist can’t give away all his secrets, and I was sure she didn’t want to know the gruesome truth. The truth of my mania, the fact that I had done that piece, along with nine others in the show, on a four day binge. Four days with no sleep at all. The longest I have ever gone. The hallucinations were horrible. Nevertheless, it is some of my favorite work. I look at it, and can’t even believe I did it. I look at it, and I feel very little recognition.

Anyway, I was rocking back and forth on my toes, with my hands in my pockets, wishing for an escape hatch, ala “beam me up Scottie,” when they came into the gallery. They, being, the young tow head with his goth chick. They were making quite a commotion. Apparently this girl was trying to convince the owner that her little charge was “the next big thing,” and that it would behoove her to check out his work out on the street corner.

I thought it was hilarious. She was just as much an encourager and agent as Zooey. I decided to go with them and have a look. Her name was Grey, his was Aiden. I followed them to the corner. Aiden was jumping up and down with excitement. Grey said, quite nonchalantly, “So what do you think?”

Aiden had drawn a portrait of Grey. It was gorgeous, way beyond what you would expect from an eleven year old. His sense of color, space, and personality were phenomenal. So, I said to Grey, sotto voce, “Honestly, I’m jealous. This kid is better than me.” I knew he could probably hear me. That was kind of the point.

After studying it a little longer, I asked Aiden, “What are you going to do if the rain washes it away?” You should have heard his response. He cocked his head, looked at me real hard, and then said, “But, I’ll always know it was there. Besides, I see her everyday. I can always do another one. She’s my muse.”

Well, that’s the part that killed me, an eleven year old calling his baby sitter his muse. Kids, where do they get this stuff? So, I asked him if he’d like to collaborate on a piece with me, and that’s how it all began; my career in sidewalk art and collaborative pieces. It’s been the best work of my life. It’s also how I met my Lady, Grey, the love of my adult life. Aiden was right, she is an incredible muse.

So, what do you think? Can you picture this scene? Do your own kids say amazing things?

1. Friend, Michelle, and her daughter Ella-Grace


2. Daughter who’s a cup of joy


3. Sunday School class that is growing.

4. Fall finally showing it’s pretty face

5. Husband, who supports my every breath

6. My family a short drive away

This blog is part of Six Word Fridays

Lizzy-Jane is talking more and more with each passing day, and the things she says are becoming more and more precious, heart breaking and hilarious. I decided to write a blog today to remember some of the biggies from the past couple of days.

Yesterday we went to Praise Kids. I wish I had remembered my camera. I wanted to take a picture. It was great, she did the best she has ever done. There were lots of people there. I can’t wait to go back next week. Maybe I’ll remember my camera then.

I just love pictures with blogs. A picture is worth a thousand words, after all. So, I will try to find a picture for this blog…somewhere. She’s still asleep, and you know I’m not going to wake her up on purpose while I’m having some QUIET time!

I found one! She’s talking to her Daddy in this one. (I’m the lump under the blanket behind her, and he is the one with the camera.) So, let’s begin.

On Monday I had to take her to the doctor. She had a croupy cough. When we went to pick up her medicine, the pharmacy tech asked me her birth date. I told her, 12/2/08, then Lizzy-Jane repeated, “2 0 8”. I was impressed. For the rest of the day I was able to use that to calm her down. Say, if I was changing her diaper, and she was trying to pitch a fit, I would just say, “Hey Lizzy-Jane, can you say 12/2/08.” And she would try it again.

Anyway, after the medicine, we were driving home from our busy morning. A couple blocks from our house LJ said, “No, nap, NO!!!!” I almost laughed. I hadn’t even mentioned a nap. Of course I had thought it, but I hadn’t said it. It was as if LJ was getting tired, and was trying to convince HERSELF that she didn’t want a nap. We got home and she went right down, with no tears, for over two hours!

Later that afternoon, after a non-afternoon nap, I was changing LJ’s diaper and she smiled and said, “Daddy home soon.” I almost cried. That was Monday, Daddy’s not coming home till Friday. How will we ever make it?!!! I just said, “No, Daddy’s not coming home soon.” She let it go after that. The thing is; every week he works out of town all week, but last week he commuted 2 hours one way (4 hours a day) everyday to come home and see us in the evenings. It was great! So, LJ was used to getting up from her afternoon nap and knowing that Daddy was coming home soon.

(See, here she is loving on her Daddy’s leg)

Yesterday morning was a very early one, and Praise Kids doesn’t start til 10. So, it was iffy as to whether LJ would make it through without a nap. Real early she was saying that she wanted to go outside. I told her to wait, that we would go to Praise Kids later. As we were putting on shoes to go (actually, I was putting on mine and she ran in with hers, definitely ready to escape the house again) LJ says, out of no where, “Thank you Mama!” It was so cute.

Before that she had been in her booster seat coloring and looking at a magazine and playing with a Bible. I walked into the other room to get on THIS thing, and she shouts out, “I wanna read my Bible.” Of course, I couldn’t deny that. So, I went in there and read John 3:16 to her. Which I sing to her all the time (and she can sing a lot of the words with me). She seemed to want more after that, so I read her John 1: 1-3. After that she had had enough and was ready to hold the Bible herself.

Then we had to go to the bank. There was a baby play table there. After my business, I let her play with it a little bit. When I told her it was time to go she threw a fit, complete with rolling around on the floor. I picked her up and walked out whispering, “Are you supposed tho throw temper tantrums. She took a long time to calm down. I was really wondering if Praise Kids was going to work. But, I drove around a little bit, and sang to her and she really mellowed out. I was hoping. When I pulled into the parking lot, LJ starting shouting, “Church, Mama, church.” And, wouldn’t stop until I acknowledged that yes we were at church and going to Praise Kids. She had a blast. Our choir director leads Praise Kids. His name is Josh. She finally gave him a high five after the session. He’s been trying for months, but she would just look at him all shy like.

That’s my girl!

This is for my mother. She mentioned yesterday that she loves to read my poetry. So, as I was sitting here trying to decide what to blog about today, I read my friend, Kelly’s latest blog.

That’s is when I decided to write a new poem of my own.

Here’s my effort (Thanks, Mom):

Messy House (with apologies to Shel Silverstein)

Whosever house this is should be ashamed!
Her kitchen floor is caked up with debris.
Her floor beneath the couch is full of dust motes.
A bra is hanging on the chair for all to see.
Her paint supplies are on the table.
Her shoes are all scattered about.
Her coffee grounds are spilled on the counter top.
On the microwave, a dying plant is left out.
His beard hairs are on the bathroom sink.
His laundry is piled in his room.
A bug is crawling across the kitchen floor.
In the kitchen corner there is an unused broom.
Whosever house this is should be ashamed!
Jenny or Susan or Karen or —
What? You say it’s mine? Oh, my,
I knew I recognized it!

This was my first effort at a blog:

Caroline Writes

It still exists, but I seem to have abandoned it. I must have gotten some MAJOR writer’s block, which just leads to fear, running and hiding for me.

My second effort was a big deal for me:

Placer County Mental Health Collective: Caroline\’s Column

However, I had to give up this column after my daughter, Lizzy-Jane, was born. I no longer had the time necessary to do the research required. Nor the brain space, apparently. I do miss that site.

So, with *Mommy Brain*, I went on to iteration three of my blog dreams.

Magestic Finds

That one was pretty short lived. It went along well with belly time and teaching Lizzy-Jane to sleep through the night.

Then came the BIG step. My brother bought me a domain name for my birthday, AND paid for web-hosting. But, alas that expired. I can’t even link you too it. But, I will possibly import some of those blogs at a later time, as I populate this latest dream endeavor.

I’m excited about *I SEE YOU LOOKING AT ME* I think I may have found a blog home. I want to fill it with many different types of writing. Now, if you know me, and love me – help me stick to this one.

Comment, have fun. You can even rib me if you like….I just want to write on a regular basis.

Indeed, it is true. I am a caution. I was told this by a college friend. Craig. It was several years ago, and I had paid him a visit in NYC, while I was on tour in the area. When the visit was over, I headed “home” to a hotel in Jersey. However, while on the bus ride back to my hotel, I watched my hotel pass on the other side of the divided highway. I kept expecting the bus to stop. It never did. Then I thought it would head back down the other side of the divided highway. It never did. Then I arrived, alone on the bus, at the end of the route. I had to bribe the bus driver to drive me half way back, where my tour partner came to pick me up. I believe it was at a Hardee’s.

Thank God it happened in the age of cell phones, and I had one! When I called my friend to tell him I was *FINALLY* home safe, he said, “Caroline, you are a caution.” That’s me, the cautionary tale, and this week I was back at it.

I locked my 21 month old daughter and myself out of the house for four hours. That’s right, you heard me, FOUR HOURS!!!! Thank God we were on the same side of the door.

Here’s what happened: I got my daughter up and dressed and told her we were going for a walk. I had plans to meet a friend at the coffee shop at 9:30. Obviously we don’t escape the house often enough, because she could not even wait long enough to eat breakfast. She was at the door immediately saying, “No. GO!!!!.” You know, go is a complete sentence. It is a command. I kept saying, “You want some yogurt?” And my girl loves to eat yogurt. But, nothing doing, so I decided chocolate milk from the coffee shop would have do it. So, at 8:45, we went.

I threw my stuff in the bottom of the stroller, took the stroller outside, came back to get Lizzy-Jane and shut the door behind me. That’s when I realized it. My keys were not in the bottom of the stroller. My library books were, a diaper, wipes and my wallet. But, NO keys!!

Well, my landlord lives across the street. So I rang the bell to plead assistance. No answer…..the cars are there, but no answer. So, I decide to go on ahead to the coffee shop to meet my new friend, Maggie.

On the way I return my library books and almost get knocked over by the librarian coming out to get the morning papers. (I am a caution after all)

Finally we arrive at Caravan Coffee, and there is Maggie’s smiling face. The first thing I say is, “I locked myself out!” We hang out, have some laughs, some smoothie and muffin, chase LJ around the shop a bit, and hug goodbye around 10:30. Maggie was worried about me, but I convinced her I would be fine. She gave me her number to call in case I couldn’t get in. She said, “I’ll come on a rescue mission.” She didn’t quite understand my lack of a cell phone. (Yep, Chris and I gave them up a while back in the interest of our budget. And, really I don’t miss them at all. Well, occasionally I do. )

So, home we went. We walked straight up to the landlord’s house. I rang the bell. Twice. I knocked on the door. Nothing doing. No answer. So we head across the street to wait it out on our porch. Thank the good Lord my People Magazine arrived that day. I read it for an hour, and shared it with LJ along with some other mail. She ripped them up real nicely. She loves to read magazines and can even say “magzine.”

While on the porch reading and sweating. I prayed. Tried to break in with an old credit card. I even got so desperate as to try to kick the door in. Went around back to check the trash door. And, stared at the landlord’s house wondering why they were not answering the door.

Finally I decided to go back over there. Well this time, after a couple of rings and knocks, the Mother-in-law nanny came to the door. I told her, through the storm door, that I was locked out, and begged for help. She looked at me kind of confused and then said, “Hold on a minute.” While I sat on the porch, keeping an eye on LJ, she called her daughter to find out where the spare key was, and Carson, the four year old, entertained me through the window.

She brought me the key, I ran across the street, unlocked the door, and brought the key back. Carson met me at the grass line to retrieve the key. She said she was sorry it took her so long, and I said, “No, thank you. You saved my life!” And she did, well, her along with People Magazine and the mail man.

When I finally rolled my daughter and I through the door it was NOON! I fed her and put us both to bed for a nap, thoroughly worn out by our ordeal/adventure.

So, you be the judge. Do you agree with Craig? Am I a caution?

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