crime fighting duos on television

I just had a piece I wrote published on Like Totally 80’s about crime fighting partnerships of the 80’s. As always, fun to research and write, but what fascinated me about this one was how evocative all the theme songs were. EVERY ONE, even Cagney and Lacey, which I didn’t even watch (I think as soon as I heard the song, I switched the channel) is super-familiar to me.

My vote for best crime fighting pair was Maddie and Dave from Moonlighting, but Crockett and Tubbs are strong contenders.

big chicken

So, the fear thing, it’s better than it was, for sure. I rarely wake up from nightmares about something happening to him anymore, so that’s definitely progress.

But still…

I will be so exhausted and ready to sleep, but when the lights are out and my head gets settled into the pillow, I see this horrible slideshow of What If’s that makes my heart pound and adrenalin surge.

He yanks his hand from mine and dashes into city traffic..

He lurches from my arms as I carry him past a second floor bannister…

I’m driving with him and an out of control semi is headed my way on a twisty highway…

My eyes fly open.

This is stupid. Everyone is safe in bed.

I turn up the monitor to hear him breathing. He sighs. He’s fine.

There is no crisis here. Go to sleep.

The images flicker on. The Fear says But! But! But!, showing me all these awful things that it wants me to believe are inevitable, and I can almost smile, almost, because the Fear sounds for all the world like a mindless chicken chasing after me going Bock! Bock! Bock! with beady, dumb little chicken eyes.

I try to meditate then, although it usually ends up being more of a visual prayer, because it’s really hard to calm myself enough at that point to slip into the meditative state.

I visualize my woods now, with winter bare branches that are delicate and black against the blue sky. The ground is clean of debris and carpeted in thick, springy apple-green moss. The air is bracingly cool, but the moss is warm because it’s growing up from the living Earth. It feels perfect. I walk barefoot through the trees, relishing that living carpet under me, and reach my spring. It bubbles up, pristine and sparkling, from between clean, smooth, frost-tinged rocks. The water forms a shallow pool and then trickles away down a brookbed lined with grapefruit-sized rocks. I sit on the mossy bank and an angel comes to sit beside me. She smiles. “Take it,” I say. “Please.” I give her my bucket filled with fear, gloppy and viscous like an Uruk-hai’s breakfast. She nods, not grossed out at all, and takes the brimming bucket of filth from me, leaving me to rest on the mossy cushion by the spring.

And it helps, although I still usually have to just read or play iPhone Scrabble until my eyes get tired enough to ignore that damn chicken’s slideshow.

I think next time I will try drop-kicking that clucker off the horizon. I’ll get some satisfaction from hearing it squawk and seeing the feathers pouff with impact, even if it does come back to peck at me.

Stupid fear.

Bleary, but better

Whew, I’m feeling less maudlin today, so that’s good. The morning started on a shaky note when Rainbow woke at 4:30 and didn’t go back to sleep; I started his classical music cd for him after rocking him awhile, but as soon as the music ended he was ready to party.

So, yeah. Add that to the fact that we had friends for dinner last night (fun!) after Rainbow went down and I quaffed fancy wine with the meal (whee!), and I was ONE BLEARY MAMA in those predawn hours.

However, I got in a two hour nap after Daddy J took lil bun to preschool (YAY for daycare!) and am much more human-ish right now. I’ve gotten in a few hours of test writing and 80s work, and am working my way up to a shower before I pick little man up.

Brad’s friend is here for a visit, which makes the house a happier place. His good friend moved several hours away a few years ago, but they have stayed in touch (the miracle of Facebook!) and visit often. It’s so funny to me how these boys are cut from the same cloth; they are so similar in style and humor. Side note: his friend’s stepdad is one of my best friends from high school, so it’s REALLY amusing to us that our boys are hanging out together. Brad sets off in a few days for a canoeing trip with his school, and I will miss him so very much.

We took the boys (our teens plus Brad’s friend) out to Songwriters’ Night. It was so cool that it was at a restaurant and we could let the boys come; so often music shows around here are in bars. Daddy J was one of the featured musicians and he totally rocked. And looked smokin’.

on little cat feet

It started yesterday, the introspective malaise and feelings of inadequacy and vague sadness. It’s an ache in my chest, a wishing-things-were-different, an organ rejection of this sorrow that’s thrust in me forever.

I realized today that it’s because the Bad Time is coming, the anniversary of the Horror is on its way. I’m a dumb bunny crouching in the grass while the cat sneaks up on me: slow, intent, and dreadful.


by: Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.


I can’t even tell you what a hoot it is to write for Like Totally 80s. Like, I kind of can’t believe I get paid for it. (I would say, Don’t tell the boss that! except I’ve been friends with her since 9th grade, so I’m sure she knows. This is nothing but fun for me.) Writing this eighties stuff is A BLAST. I get to reminisce, shop, email with people selling vintage and like-vintage stuff, and watch Taylor Dayne and Poison videos. And then write about it!

Between this and the standardized test work, which has me writing every kind of reading passage for kids grades K-12 and which I madly enjoy, and with Rainbow loving his daycare so much that he begs to go even when I choose to keep him home, I’m kind of in work hog heaven. And I totally don’t take it for granted.

Anyway, I have a couple of new articles up on LT80s:

First up, Bermuda Bags. Did you have one? I LOVED mine. O, yes. And the Mommy and Me ones that All About You design offers? Yeah. I KNOW. I might have to get some for my nieces and call them Auntie and Me purses.

Next are Rock Star/Model couples of the 80’s. ALSO super fun. I’ve always been intrigued by the pairings, especially when the rocker is less, um, cosmetically gifted than the girl, like Rod Stewart and Rachel Hunter (a 90’s couple) and Ric Ocasek and Paulina Porizkova. I know I shouldn’t assume that models are vain and stupid and only want to be around physically beautiful people, but it’s hard to get past that when they’re so, you know, physically beautiful.

That’s all for now, but there are a few more in the chute that should come out in the next day or two. I hope you enjoy them a little bit, because I enjoy writing them a lot.

Note: there is not an option to leave comments on the Like Totally 80s site, but you can like them on Facebook and join the discussions there.

talking it up

I think it was in Adoptive Families magazine where I first read this excellent advice (and I really wish I could remember where, so I could credit the writer) about talking with your little ones about adoption. It’s a given, nowadays, that adopted kids should know they’re adopted. Social workers advise adoptive parents to make adoption a fact of their adopted kids’ lives that’s there from the get-go, so there’s no dramatic “breaking it to them” moment or anything like that.

However, this was a little tidbit that I thought was so great: planting the seeds from a very young age that adoption is entirely positive. So, every time adoption comes up, adopted kids will naturally think: Yeah, man, adoption is terrific! and know that their family structure is awesome. The idea being that their knee-jerk reaction when they hear the word “adoption” is that their origins are GOOD.

And yes, yes, adoption has grief and loss intrinsic to it, and I am not trying to negate or deny those realities. But obviously, we all want our kids to feel good about how they came to exist and join their families, right?

The adoption talk with Rainbow is going great. I love his enthusiasm. This conversation is generally part of every bedtime and morning cuddle session:

Mama: Hey, do you know what ADOPTION is?
Rainbow: Doption is GREAT! Is bsrkljkdzzer FAMILY!
Mama: Yes! Adoption is great because it’s how we became a family. It’s how I got to be your Mama!
Rainbow: Miss Noelle brzoiudghhcphr TUMMY!
Mama: Yes! Miss Noelle had you in her tummy when you were teeny-tiny. She loved you SO much, and she knew she couldn’t take care of a baby. She thought about it really hard and looked for a long time. She picked Mama and Daddy to be your parents. She thought we would be the very best parents for you.
Rainbow: Mama!
Mama: Yes! Lucky, lucky Mama. So lucky because I get to be Rainbow’s Mama. I love you.
Rainbow: Awwww. (plants a mushy kiss on me) So sweet.


So, it seems that I now have a fifteen year old with his learner’s permit.

Which is great and all (and I’m very proud of him passing easily on the first try) but doesn’t stop me from being totally nervous and nauseous when he’s behind the wheel.

It’s a rite of passage for both of us.

nutritive matter

So, I went to the post office when Rainbow yesterday, as part of our frequent wagon ride/get a cookie at the coffee shop/check the mail/climb on the caboose loop. There is a free book bin that I let him poke around in, mostly so he will leave the shelved library books alone.

He pulled out this manilla envelope that I immediately recognized as a school report card and started running around with it like it was a piece of really great loot. I wrestled gently took it from him and told him it was not a book; it was something important that someone would want back.

As I pulled it from him, this fell out.

I was all, Huh, an angel…? I replaced it and peeked inside the envelope. The report card was for the 2008-2009 school year. I sort of figured no one would want it any more, but I put it up on the shelf of library books just in case.

We went and played on the caboose for a while, and I thought about the little metal angel charm. I thought about putting it in a collage painting. I wondered about the report card and what I would find in it.

I wanted it.

Feeling more than a little weird, I slipped back into the post office. I told Bonnie, the postal worker, that I was just curious about the report card. I looked closer and saw it was from Waco, Texas. I read the name out to her, and she said she didn’t know anyone by that name around here. I took it.

Turns out it’s a report card for a little boy in Catholic school. Oddly, I can’t find his grade on it, but the school was for grades K-8, and it included an graduation angel pin and a little photo. (The angel had broken off of the pin, so it was just a flat angel shape.) Based on the subjects he’s graded on, it looks like he had finished kindergarten. The boy has some learning delays, it seems; his report card has not-so-many S’s for Satisfactory, and then a split between I’s for Improving and N’s for Needs Improving. There was also an appointment sheet for speech therapy at a university. I half-heartedly googled his name, but I guess Texas is a big place, and I’m not going to get all stalkery about a little boy.

I wondered what to make of it. It’s just a random report card, after all.

But you can make of it what you want to. You can let it mean whatever you want it to mean. You SHOULD.

So, okay.

I will.

Does it mean that I’ve graduated from grieving? Can one even graduate? I certainly feel better than I did five years ago. I feel very sure that Ward is happy and bathed in love and joy. I feel very, very blessed with my family and my faith. Yes, I’m prone to outbursts of laughable dumb-assedness and flagrant bitchiness and sleepless, neurotic fretfulness. But whatever. I’m human. I’m mostly nice, most days.

Or does it mean that Wardie has graduated? Is he thrilled that something new is going on for him? Is he one step closer to that gleaming source? Or is he being held in some lucky mama’s arms right now, milky-sweet and blinking at this shiny bright world?

I like to think of my faith like a dense cloud around me, not sharply focused on one particular direction. Just padding me with gentleness when I need it, insulating me with warmth, giving flashes of inspiration at times.

Or maybe it’s an amorphous blob, squishing around and absorbing the nuggets that suit its specialized needs when it comes upon them, and leaving the non-nutritive matter behind.

The teacher’s parting notes:

Way to go! I am so proud of you! Keep up the good work and improvements!

I’ll miss you this summer but I’ll see you next year. Practice and review what we’ve learned this year. You’ve come out of your shyness and talk quite a bit (speech is showing improvement – keep it up!)

Always keep GOD in your heart and be the best that YOU can be!!!

I love you!


It’s been a wildly productive week. One of my big accomplishments was learning that three days in a row of daycare for Rainbow is JUST TOO MUCH for me. I thought I could handle taking him four days a week, but I… just can’t. I miss him too much and feel all agitated thinking about him being away. I think it’s too much for him, too; I considered taking him on Wednesday this week, after having taken him on Monday and Tuesday, but he seemed a little out of sorts and I really wanted to hang out with him. So I did. And yesterday, too.

(Yes, I’m feeling incredibly blessed that I have that option.)

So, there ya go. I think we’ve found the sweet spot for now: daycare on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with flexibility built in since we went ahead and paid for five days a week and Goonie still keeps him every now and then.

I played taskmistress today and had the big boys clean the downstairs windows, and it’s amazing how much nicer the world looks. I can’t stop myself from taking a deep, contented breath when I look at that sparkly-clean glass. They were good about it, really; I only had to crack the whip a tiny bit to get them going. They were firewood stacking helpers for Daddy yesterday, too; we’re stocking up for the winter.

Knoxville cousins (at least one set) are coming in this weekend. There’s a town cookout and fireworks on Saturday, then a family/friend’s party on Sunday night. Party, party, party. It’s the full summer social season around here, which is nice.

(hmm, I’m ready to have a cookout…)

And I’ve been working a lot on the 80’s site this week. Here’s a new piece about makeovers in TV and film with some fun musical clips. And I’m about to wrap up another and send it off before I go collect a little honey pie.

And… I feel like I’m catching my breath a bit. I’m getting more of a handle on the work/childcare/housework balancing act. I was pushing it a bit after our DC trip, and I think I’m going to pull back and shoot for three solid days of paid work a week and play with Rainbow on the others, reserving those days’ naptimes (when they happen) for housework and cooking and that sort of thing. And if some sort of work crisis or deadline pops up, I can always work more.

The work from home thing is awesome; it just takes pruning and tweaking to get it just right. The nicest part about it is the way-cliched “quality time”: Like, I get it now. When I’m with him, I’m totally more fun and engaged and appreciative than otherwise. And when he’s at daycare, he’s with loving adults who are fully attentive as well. It’s leading me to be more in-the-moment and less assertively multi-tasking when we are together, and I’m so grateful for that.

It’s a wonderful summer.