Monday, September 29, 2008


Boy-child had a soccer tournament this weekend. His team was scheduled for two games on Saturday and one on Sunday.

The first game on Saturday, they won. Tremendously. They were ecstatic.

The second game on Saturday, they lost. Tremendously. It was painful. They were outcoached by the other team, the Green Meanies, who had these killer-instinct kids led by a drill sergeant who barked out mysterious commands…”Blue Pickle!” “Right Scamp!” Stuff I wasn’t used to hearing on the soccer field. The kids were like graceful "I Robots", doing as programmed, kicking our asses and not bothering to take our names. Afterwards, our boys were crushed, but we tried to console them with ‘Atta-Boys’ and dinner out.

Sunday morning we arrived at the soccer fields to find the Grean Meanies playing for (and winning) a trip to the Finals. We watched them, their beady-eyed coach blustering with arms crossed, their sole girl player setting the opposing team’s boys on edge (you don’t hit a girl, right?), and barking out those commands…”Seven Flapjack!” “Half Donut!” The Green Meanies celebrated their win stoically, walking in single file, their matching soccer bags over the same shoulders, in a straight line, fairly goose-stepping to the coach’s command. Our parents all agreed…that team was well-coached. But we wouldn’t want him as OUR coach.

We waited for our Sunday game. Our opponents? They never showed.


Which means we won by default, but it was still somewhat unsatisfying. Rather than waste precious field time, they decided to play “Kids Against Parents” in a scrimmage. It was a blissful tie.

Afterward, Girl-child and I walked through the parking lot to my car, talking about meeting dad for lunch, about Boy-child going to a friends’ house, and maybe we girls going Halloween costume shopping. Two car spaces from mine I saw a familiar object on the ground…folded black leather, pocket-sized. It was a man’s wallet. I looked around for someone, anyone, who may have just dropped it, but we were alone in that end of the lot. I threw our gear in the car and retrieved the wallet, tentatively opening it. The drivers license in the front had the photo of a man…broad face, beady eyes, shortish blondish hair…it looked like the coach of the Green Meanies, who had left an hour before. The more I looked at the picture, the more I was convinced it was his.

“Let’s turn this in”, I told Girl-child, and we crossed the lot back to the fields, looking for the man. Girl-child was concerned, nearly crying. “I hope we find him,” she said, her empathy for Lost Things bubbling up in her magnificent heart. “If we don’t find him, we can give the wallet to one of the tournament organizers”, I said, knowing that the chances of me finding the guy were pretty low. We walked around a few minutes, finding neither The Man nor a tournament worker. We stood in the damp air, Girl-child clutching my hand, the shouts of huzzahs coming from the games in progress, until we saw the green Soccer Tournament shirt of someone who could help. I turned the wallet over to her, which seemed a shocking gesture to her, as she was simply prepared to usher teams to their fields and keep track of score. She gushed “Thanks”, and Girl-child and I got in the car to meet Sergei for lunch.

I hope the man got his wallet back. I hope he understands that, no matter where you are, you should always do the right thing. I hope he gives those kids on his team a good pat on the back, a genuine smile, and a heart-felt “Atta-Boy”.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Poetry Friday: The Sense of Hearing

If anything, this week’s Poetry Friday Word/Theme has been challenging. How do you communicate hearing in a visual medium such as a blog post? It’s like comparing sex to “when two people love each other, they come together and make a baby”…all the nuances and romance and sexysexysex is left out. Thus lies the challenge.

Feel free to turn the dial up on your blog post today, in reference to our sense of Hearing. Sing something…tell us a story…laugh and cry out loud…whisper sweet nothings in my ear….

Have a good weekend, y’all!

Sergei Turned Off the Furnace Fan

He turned off the fan
That keeps our house afloat.
We drifted in silence.

And then came
The sounds that were
Always there,
The sounds
We never heard
Over the constant rush
Of forced air.

The Boy in his room, tapping his foot to the sounds of his video game.
The Girl in the kitchen, humming tunelessly, making a sandwich.
The cat purring on the back of the sofa.
Someone next door using a power tool in annoyance.
The sweet sleepy breathing of Him as he napped.
Our kind old house, creaking and settling, a growth spurt at 70.
The crispy finality of book pages being turned with a moistened finger.

The air grew stale, and the fan was turned on.
We're back in our balloon.
I miss what I can hear in the silence.

I Love To Hear Ani (she makes me feel powerful and tingly):

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Poetry Friday WORD for Tomorrow: Chapter 2: Goes to Eleven

Barreling ahead in our Poetry Friday Exploration of the Senses, I come to the ears. This morning I stood sleeping in front of the mirror, continuing a dream I just woke from, having a silent, imaginary conversation with a co-worker, wherein I said something like “It’s an aural experience”, and wondering if my friend would understand the word “aural” was NOT the same as the word “oral”, and that it wasn’t something she could do to her boyfriend. Heh. I recently saw an episode of "Family Guy” that showed cartoon ear sex, which I still don’t fully understand the appeal of, and I’m pretty perverted.

Ah well.

The Poetry Friday Word/Theme for tomorrow is all about HEARING. EARS. LISTENING. Did you ever overhear a conversation that you wish you hadn’t? Ever get drunk and let your roommate pierce your ear using a straight pin, a potato, an ice cube, and liberal amounts of whiskey? Ever hear a song and hum it for days before you realized it was the Muzak version of “Do You Think I’m Sexy”? Or maybe that's just me...all me.

Feel free to inject your blog post tomorrow with thoughts, ponderings, and creative musings revolving around our sense of Hearing. Stories, poems, songs, band recommendations, dirty limericks, clean jokes, whatever tugs your lobes.

While I grab some more hot tea to stave off the sore throat that is clawing its way down the back of my throat, I leave you with this handsome ditty:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Quarter moons and tea spoons

1) I'm shedding. I took a sip of coffee out of the giant piggy mug that Gary made me, and as I drew the cup away a giant hair (my own, thankfully) hung between my lip and the mug. A foot long, or longer. Just like when your mouth is numb during dental work and they shove Mr. Squirty in your mouth and say, "Swish and spit!", and you're left with strings of saliva tethering you to the silver basin, unable to be broken or moved.

2) Talking about spit is vulgar. And yet, I talk.

3) Boy-child is eleven, nearly 12, and is having a crisis. He's suddenly distracted, his school work is not his usual stellar quality, he complains constantly about being stressed, and his voice has a constant cry in it. I sat down with him last night and went over some homework. He was in bad shape. We decided that, in the interest of grades, he would bow out of being Sergei's assistant coach to Girl-child's soccer team and, instead, spend that time at home doing homework, reading, and relaxing. I think my boy is growing up. I can smell puberty around the corner, and I am a-feared.

4) I have started plotting and planning for Christmas already and have made purchases. The other day I invited Sergei's mom and her husband to our house for Thanksgiving. Girl-child and I are looking at themed cups and invitations for her birthday in January. I am clearly not thinking in the here and now.

5) Yesterday morning the kids talked me into stopping at Local Coffee Shop on the way to school, so they could get Hot Caramel Apple Ciders. (Oh, they looked heavenly.) I said, what the hell, and got myself a latte. After drinking it I had such a feeling of, oh, well-being...and strength...and optimism. The crappy coffee at work doesn't stand up against freshly-ground, freshly steamed milky goodness. I thought, Dammit, why don't I do this every day? Then I remembered why...$4 a day for a cup of coffee, that's why. $120 a month, that's why. So here I sit, with my crappy work coffee, with hairs in it.

6) Think Geek is teh awesome. I picked out stuff for my birthday from the latest catalog. This morning I got an email and now have things to ask for Christmas...this...and this (watch the video)....

Friday, September 19, 2008

Poetry Friday: The Sense of Sight

Today's Poetry Friday theme is one of vision...sight...the tricks our eyes play and the things we see and believe. Or don't believe.

Feel free to get all 20/20 on your blog post today with the theme of this whatever form pokes your eyeball with a sharp stick...poem, story, photo, ode to beauty, prescription debacle, sexysexysexy opposite-sex-thang.

Me, I actually wrote something today. I know! It was nice to stretch my fingers and my words for a change. And, of course, I had to include a video. 'Cause I'm all visual and shit.

Have a great weekend!

Fore. Sight.

Aisling was sure it was an accident. An illness, perhaps, or an unseen brain clot that got him. She was absolutely positive she was in her office, head-down, working on the financial reports.

But still, she heard the sound. The thump that mothers and detectives know as a body falling down. And not getting up.

The surgery had been a good thing at first. The cloudiness in her vision disappeared when the doctor took off the gauze, the headaches vanished, and she was able, for the first time in years, to get a good night’s sleep.

Except for that first night. The first night’s sleep scared her. The dream was entirely too vivid. The neighbor downstairs, the man who thumped at his-ceiling-her-floor with a mop handle whenever she turned on the television, the man who scowled at her in the lobby and dropped his cigar ashes outside her door to ruin the carpet, who muttered “cuntbitch” under his breath whenever he passed her in the hall. The neighbor who, in her dreams, she had smothered with his own dingy bed pillow. He was found the next morning, dead. Heart attack, said his daughter when she turned up to identify his body.

Except for that second night. When she woke with a start, standing fully clothed in her bedroom, making stabbing motions with her hands. She was bloodless. She wrapped her grandmother’s knitted afghan around her body and curled up at the foot of her bed. The papers the following day reported nineteen knife wounds in the body of man found round the corner. He was a grocer. He had a record.

Except for the third night. She dreamt of wings falling. Birds screaming. Her screaming. On her way to work that day the doorman told her to be careful if she came back late that night, especially if she crossed St. Anne’s churchyard. Sister Mary Catherine had gone to God. Aisling didn’t care. She wasn’t Catholic.

The thump in the office next to hers woke her from a stare. Her eyes were itchy again, like those first fitful nights at home. She didn’t dare rub them or she’d dislodge the delicate tubes still lodged in her tear ducts, the ones keeping everything from falling apart. She sipped her coffee, now cold, and looked at her hands. They were foreign to her somehow, meatier than she remembered. File…SaveAs…200809 YTD Financial Statement. She stretched her legs under her desk, inhaled deeply, and tried to decide…do I go next door and see if he’s dead? Or simply call 911?

I Can See Clearly:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Poetry Friday WORD for Tomorrow...Chapter 1: Feelin' Minnesota

My eyes are playing tricks on me.

Something has happened to my eyeballs in the last few weeks, changing their shape while I slept... or maybe all the stress is distorting their shape from behind, in my brain pan...whatever it is, I am no longer able to see distance properly with my contacts in. Which pisses me off royally, as wearing glasses bugs my face, makes me look entirely too bookish for my taste, and is a general nuisance. But of course I can see perfectly with spectacles perched on my nose. Bah.

The upside, if there is one, is that while I do force myself to wear contacts (for vanity, and the ability to breathe properly), things in the distance appear dream-like. Wavy, like viewed through a waterfall. Blinkblinkblink, I can see for a moment, and then the waves come in and I'm standing on the shore looking at a watery sheet of blurred colour. If only I could paint it.

We're gonna try something different for Poetry Friday the next few weeks. We'll focus on the Five Senses. And perhaps a Sixth Sense. This week the Poetry Friday Word will be about SIGHT...any word you choose that relates to this will do...EYES, GLASSES, VIEW, whatever gut reaction you just felt it, right? thinking about sight...write about it...take a picture, tell us about that operation you had or the crazy things you thought you saw when you dropped acid that one time.

I leave you with a visual. Turning the key in the ignition at Ridiculously Early Hour today this song raged against my ears, and I was amazed at how many words I still remembered and how hot Chris Cornell looks...daaaaaaamn....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Morning is a hellova way to start the day

Today my eyes recoiled in horror
at the approach of contact lenses,
In a loud, painful, blinky way.

My brain stem, synapses, gray matter,
behaved as a banana smoothie(bland, cold, inert)
while I stood at the bathroom sink
at 5 a.m.
trying to figure out if I was still in the dream about
Tears for Fears
or if I was awake
hoping to god it was almost Saturday.

My pants couldn't not decide their
relative shape
and assumed a position
halfway between
a crouch
and a growl.
(or a crotch
and a grrrl)

No matter what I do,
the cleavage will not go away.

This morning the coffee cup and I
had a difference of opinion
as to where my mouth was.
There was fisticuffs.

No matter what I do,
the thought of an omelet and toast
will not go away.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Poetry Friday: The Word is LIBRARY

The Poetry Friday Word for Today is LIBRARY. For some of you that may conjure up memories of book reports, forced studying, the general ennui that comes with being a disaffected youth and wanting nothing more than to run the streets with spiky hair, listening to The Smiths (no, I'm not dissing The Smiths...just the general age) instead of looking up encyclopedia references for the lifecycles of butterflies and moths. For others, LIBRARY may conjure up walks down silent aisles, fingering the spines thin and fat, stroking the pages of “The Sound and the Fury” and “Clockwork Orange” and ee cummings poems, with the desire and effusiveness of a new lover.

I am definitely of the latter persuasion. And am now totally aroused.

Feel free to crack open the pages of your blog post today and see what spills out about LIBRARY, in whatever fashion boots up your online card catalog…poem, story, photo, trip-hop soliloquy, shiny metal sculpture, dubious ode to limericks….

Me, the words didn't come easily...a vague memory of catching someone having sex in the university library...but I make it up with a sexy librarian video.

Have a good weekend, y’all!


I followed you
Quite accidentally, of course.
Your face held a quiet court
But I knew
the bailiffs were holding back
A belligerent defendant.

Steps wound round the back.
I stepped behind a lilac
To adjust my backpack
To adjust my eyes
To the darkness of the stacks,
Following you in.

The sound gave you away.
I stepped round a musty corner
And found you
Using your tongue to
Tremble the bookends
Of the librarian’s thighs around your head.

I didn't walk away.
I watched you.
Strange man studying
The history of a woman,
Writing a story
For English class.

Was what I needed.
History and science
Human sexuality
Secret places to hide
my chapters of lust.

Marian the Librarian

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Poetry Friday WORD for Tomorrow...Shhhh

I woke up with a song in my head. The video for it is set in a Library.

This week I began my 6th school year doing volunteer work I ab-so-lute-ly love...helping out in the elementary school library once a week. I totally missed my calling.

I am currently fighting with Local Public Library over Teh Book For Maggie's Brown Book Project.

See where I'm goin' with this?

The Poetry Friday WORD for Tomorrow is LIBRARY.

Feel free to open the pages of your blog tomorrow and point to a Library experience you've had, or wish you had (does everyone have a fantasy of "doing it" in a library, or is that just me?). Write a story, sing a song, knit a book cover, tell us about your favourite librarian, your banned-book experience....

Okay, so even though it's been 20 years since this video first came out, I still have a HUGE crush on the lead singer. Even this morning I got all gooshy and had to sponge off my chair.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Home. Made.

Once the weather starts getting nipply, my thoughts turn to Christmas. Okay, don’t start poking your eyes out with your morning grapefruit spoons. I KNOW it’s more than 3 months away. I’m just a planner, that’s all…I plan…I scheme…I scour sales and unexpected bargains. I love Christmas, it’s the only time of the year I actually don’t entirely loathe shopping.

But lately? The last couple years? Not so fulfilling. I want a memorable Christmas, a less-cluttered Christmas. I want a sparkly-sugar-cookie-Christmas. These are the thoughts swirling around my head this morning in gaily colored red-and-green shiny ribbons:

1) I want a Home Made Christmas with the extended families, but not sure if they’ll go for it. Long-time readers will remember that the Sergei-Mona household celebrates 5 Christmases (one with our own family of 4, one with my parents, and one with each of Sergei’s 3 parents/steps families). After a while, it’s like giving your niece $20 for her birthday and having her mother send your child $20 for her birthday…it’s tit for tat…it’s 2-2=0. Y’know what I want? I want someone to knit me a scarf. I want baubles purchased at Big Art Fair. I want homemade wine. I want love in a bottle, a bag, a small wooden box made by hand. OR…I want a gift certificate to a craft store, so I can make homemade baubles and bags and boxes for other people.

2) The kids have everything they want. They don't need a giant-sized teddy bear. They don't need a princess castle. They don't need a pinball machine in their room or a basketball hoop over their closet door. They have “stuff”. Enough “stuff”. I need to communicate with the inlaws and outlaws to Cut It Down. Give the kids small meaningful things. Give them your time. They'd be thrilled with a $10 gift card to the mall. They'd love to help you make cookies. Take them to a movie at the theatre, with popcorn and Milk Duds and a slushy. Tell 'em you love 'em. That's a great gift.

3) Also? I want the kids to appreciate what they have, what they get. My goal is to have little innocent “talks in passing” with them over the next few months, stressing selflessness, stressing community service, de-emphasizing the need for what the neighbor has. It's not that there won't be gifts under tree this year...but they don't need a floor full of meaningless gifts. Small is better. Small is good. Small means more.

4) What to get Sergei? I am at a total loss.

Monday, September 08, 2008


I’m a Pack Rat.

There, I said it. I keep stuff. That’s what I do. I’m good at it, too, sorting and boxing and labeling Items Of Note, buying shelving and plastic tubs with aplomb, keeping mementos and records, kids toys and movie ticket stubs and wine glasses I’ll never use.

It’s a problem.

Lately I’ve wanted a cleaner life. A less cluttered life. A life where I can find things, like that book I know I have somewhere, or do crafts with those beads I knew I bought but who knew where I put ‘em. I want to look in a room and see the floor, see the top of a dresser, walk through the basement without tripping over bags of unwanted items and Good Intentions. I wanted to nest.

The problem with wanting is I become obsessed with it.

My obsession started out simply enough…I couldn’t find the microwave popcorn. Labor Day weekend I cleaned out the kitchen cupboards. Threw out couscous that expired when my daughter was still a preschooler. Then the bathroom cupboards. Threw out medicine for a disease I didn’t remember having.

Last Friday night I purged the kitchen of all unnecessary items…the broken bread box…banished the blender to the basement (I’ve used the thing twice?). Moved the microwave, the knives, the toaster. Rearranged and reorganized. Then I started on the living room. Pulled books off the shelves, cleared off the mantel. I was up til 2 a.m.

Saturday I cleaned Boy-child’s room, transitioning him into late-tween years, opening every cabinet, unlocking every plastic bin and poring over every piece of the contents, pulling kid-stickers from the walls, making room for the dartboard which has sat like a bastard on the floor since last Christmas, waiting for space. I was up til 1 a.m.

Sunday I finished cleaning Boy-child’s room. Then started on Girl-child’s. I had to banish her from the room so I could fill trash bags with half-colored coloring books, hundreds of Happy Meal toys, boxes that once contained High School Musical locker equipment. Baby dolls were removed, stuffed animals relocated, the used-and-neglected Barbie Doll head thrown out and the Game of Life moved to within playing distance. I moved Girl-child from toddler to tween.

Last night, tucking Girl-child in, she hugged me tight and said, “Mama, I didn’t get many hugs from you this weekend.” Shit. She was completely right. In my quest for cleanliness, I cut into kid time. “I promise, more hugs this week, m’kay?” Girl-child snuggled down into my arms. “I can smell your perfume”, she said, and drifted off.

I now have nearly a dozen plastic bins…empty of their contents. I can see the kids’ bedroom floors. Their dressers are clean and polished, and the dust bunnies have been banished. I ran a marathon of cleaning.

I still have to tackle our bedroom. And the basement. And the garage. This morning I can barely walk, after stooping, stretching, hauling away 8 construction-type garbage bags of detritus away. I got 4 hours of sleep last night, my legs twitching the entire time, and now I realize I didn’t poop all weekend, so I got THAT goin’ for me. But I also have some peace of mind…some uncluttering of mind…something I desperately needed.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Poetry Friday: The Word is GAS

Today’s Poetry Friday Word is GAS.


Gas is just funny, innit? We fill up with gas, we pass gas, we think it’s a gas, we turn on the gas…a stinky invisible thing our bodies produce, a liquid that keeps our frantic society franticly moving, a description of how we finished the foot race.

Feel free to release an SBD (silent but deadly) cloud of GAS in your blog post today, in whatever form makes you grin and say “ahhhhh”…story, poem, missive on the weather, country music/R&B crossover song, haiku, Play-Doh statue…. Me? I have a chart…yes, I’m a dork…and something I jotted down on a magazine blow-in card after a 5K.

Have a good weekend, y’all!

Michigan’s 6-year History of Gas Prices (yes, I’m weeping):


Ignited I
Spit oil I
Sweat gasoline
Pistons push gears
Grind chk chk
Pounding tar blades
Spin catch
Spark catch

Shaking BANG
Rhythm BANG
Hard ground BANG
No match for my rubber

Machine flies
because it must
Machine spins
Because it knows
No other speed
But run
But run
But run

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Poetry? Friday?

Hey y'all. I'm not dead. I'm just very busy...vacation, school starting, work piling up. Plus lobbing political fireballs back at a parental unit intent to raise my ire at every turn.

Poetry Friday anyone? For tomorrow?

The Word is GAS. Or Gasoline. Any fart? You fill up yer car? You kick it in gear when you see the finish line up ahead? Yeah, that'll do. Light a match under your blog post tomorrow and fill it with GAS, in whatever form foofs your pilot light...story, poem, song, YouTube video that seriously makes you nearly pee your pants....