Ekphrastic Mama

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I am the mother of three daughters, each born in a different decade, and three sons in a somewhat closer clump. One "hub" hold us together. This is not what passes for wise family planning in American culture, but as the beat poet Alice Notley wrote, “I didn’t plan my pregnancies. I’m an experimentalist.” When I was writing Ekphrastic Mama for Mothers Creating/Writing Lives: Motherhood Memoir, I took stock of our family span: with one child married, one in college, one in high school, one in junior high, an elementary schooler, a toddler, and now a grandbaby, I realized that I was experiencing all phases of motherhood simultaneously. And so far I've lived to tell about it.

Good-bye REI

It just so happens I gave my notice at REI this week, just ahead of Jerry Stritzke handing in his letter of resignation over a “consensual relationship” with the head of some other outdoor company. I didn’t play a big role in REI- I was an Action Sports Specialist in the Bend, OR store for 5 years, and then again in Portland for the last two years, mostly part-time. Before the ride with CEO Jerry Stritzke and other REI high-ups- no helmet head yet. Even so, I got to know Jerry just a bit. He came down to Bend to mountain bike, and my manager asked if I could help lead the ride, the token female. Almost everyone went down on that ride, and when Jerry hit the dirt I was off my bike fast, grabbing my phone, just for the fun of getting a pic of our CEO eating…

Of Winning with Daughters

Sometimes the most powerful words are your own, recited back to you. Lily is a poet. You might remember she won the Central Oregon Writers Guild poetry award last year. She won it again this year and I got to stand up with her and get my own award for non-fiction. I wrapped a story, basically a letter to her, around one of her poems Lily, our 18 year old daughter, won the Central Oregon Writer’s Guild Poetry Award again this year (two in a row). And I won 2nd in the non-fiction category. And for the first time in a long time I feel like I might be winning this motherhood game. But I also might be cheating- I used one of Lily’s poems, collaging parts of it into a story for her, and without her poem the story wouldn’t be much. Here’s the story: Such Unkind Things …

Marking Milestones

Life is good, as it should be at 17. But it’s also scary and uncertain at times.
She wants to save the world, but she’s starting to see how difficult that might be. Yet she still wants to do her part, so she created her own internship with the Global Immersion Project. Read what she writes about crossing the San Diego/Tijuana border: http://globalimmerse.org/embers-silent/

Whose Pants Are Those?  

My friend thinks I wear the ‘pants’ in my family, but she says it’s okay since the man of the family is not angry about it. The bigger question, or the underlying issue: Who’s in Charge? So many issues come down to that, the underpants. So I’m thinking about these pants and how they fit– what kind of ‘pants’ are they anyway?  Are they Spanx, an undergarment so elastic they suck you neatly in, but then slap you silly when you peel them off, gasping for breath?  Or are they more like sweats– loose and accommodating, good for a Saturday stroll or Sunday lounging?  Or are they work pants– chino style, somewhat serious, yet unassuming, in traditional khaki-tan so they don’t show spills? Personally, my style is more of a pedal pusher– you can dress them up or down, great in the garden or the classroom, very versatile.  I like…

The Gum Graft

I sat in the chair breathing deeply, calmly trying to relax since I opted out of sedatives, thinking novocaine should be enough. After all, it wasn’t much of an area that needed a gum graft, just a small nick at the top of number 8, my right front tooth. I fell down a waterfall when I was 8, more of a chute actually, but to my 8 year-old self the water fell down an expanse of cement and was therefore a waterfall. or more possibly a waterslide. What can be slid down begs to be climbed up, and slid down again, and again. It was at the end of Wildwood park in Vista where we used to play as kids, circa 1967. On one end of the park this steep cement flume led down into a tunnel under a bridge. We thought of it as a waterslide made extra slippery…