… she's not coming down 'til it all makes sense again…


Tax Returns I Have Known


a recent visit to website… has stirred up some WILD HAIR type memory up deeeeep from the unfathomable realms of my dark dark dearly departed divorce debacle… (alliteration: I haz it) Oh my… because once upon a time… I thought I was divorced SO MUCH, I thought I had moved on… I think I was remarried at the time… and then he signed his parental rights away, and my new husband, my current husband, my GOOD husband, who was raising them as his own, and may have already by that time have started adoption proceedings… whatever, but I tried to file taxes “married filing joint” with my new husband.. LIKE YA DO… And the IRS said, oh no no no no nooooooooooo, you can’t file taxes with the good husband, because the big mistake husband (he was a real BM) has filed a joint return WITH YOU for that same year! The FUDGE?!  And they said my signature was on the form! (that was back when we sent in actual paper forms. It was back when a person would have to take actual pen to actual paper to FORGE ANOTHER PERSON’S NAME.. sigh… but he done it. He done THAT.

It’s a violation, and it’s infuriating, and I remember the fury… that he had the audacity to claim ME, my NAME, and my children, and he hadn’t sent one thin dime of child support that year… what made him think he could just DO that… well, he did a lot of things he just felt like doing.

And I know I’m supposed to be all zen and all grateful and all closured up and moved on and did much better the second time around… I know that.. But sometimes it sniggles back in, the little indignities, and some of the HUGE indignities he perpetrated against me. Against my name. Against my kids.

Do you know what it’s like to be right. To be so right when two children are involved, and to have to battle someone so maddeningly (is that a word?) awful, so WRONG, so careless, so unscrupulous, so unfair, so ugly…

Why did that happen. ANd why do my kids still feel the fallout from that? Why do they have to carry this… hole… how can they ever understand that it wasn’t because they were unwanted by him or unwantable. There was nothing wrong with them, but they’re left with that question, how could you give your kids up like that… he just didn’t have the capacity to carry through.. He wrote a LOT of rubber checks

I’m real sorry that he had a crappy childhood. I’m real sorry that his dad made it known that he didn’t want a fourth child. I’m REAL sorry for that little kid that he was at one point… but my kids are paying the price.

They don’t ask about it much. And they don’t say anything about having a hole… But you know how kids think… and how they process.. and you know they’ve asked that unaskable question…

…and so I breathe and I stretch… and I try to let it go again… it’s in the past. I’ve enjoyed my little pity party here today, getting all good and fired up again at the indignity of it all… all the things.. I breathe some more and I try to let it go… keep my kids moving along… filling that hole, hopefully, with friends and family and better times…


Mother’s Day 2014

Mother’s Day at the Lake, I told them to “act like you like each other” and this is what I got:






Hero worship, did you have a cousin, or an uncle, you really looked up to?:


Because he always did this sorta thing to you, and you giggled until you threw up:


Frisbee: Zack and his own cousin/hero, Taz (don’t tell him I said that, embarrassing, sentimental.. both will admit to it later in life):


Definitely in their element:


Could this be any funner, no it could not


not sure what emotion he’s displaying here,


good catch + midair + joy, don’t tell ’em I said the joy part:


Historic moment: she said this was the first time she caught a frisbee!


This is the only action shot that had her beautiful face in it:



All beautiful: baby, mama, and GiGi:


My sister really knows how to accept a gift:

Image (welds by Taz)

My other sister, this one has to pack EVERYTHING into EVERY DAY, THE MOST THINGS!!! she had to leave early to go to the inlaws, so she was running around trying to get everything in, flying kites, throwing a fishing line in, cooking a hotdog… This is what happened when I reminded her that she hadn’t thrown or caught a Frisbee yet:

Image Completely STAGED!! She rules!!!

This is at home, the little patch where Bean planted my fave, Cosmos, and her new spiderwort, and a glittering mosaic sit-upon, what fer contemplating the cosmos:


It’s a quiet place, and pretty. Like Bean.

Her spiderwort, a graduation giftie from Aunt:


Rocks with everyone’s nicknames, Bean, Frangoooochia, and Zoophead, except Dani’s… I just painted “Dani” on hers… we’ve tried to start a few nicknames for her, like Tater, and Peaches… nothing’s really stuck yet. We’re still waiting for hers to show itself…


The tiny purple flower rock is for her, because  she loves tiny things. Maybe you can help. Can you think of a nickname for someone like this, here’s a pic of her with the gorgeous pot of strawberry plants she gave me for Mother’s Day. The little “strawberries” are actually rocks she painted, she says she read that they will deter the gophers and rabbits from eating the berries, because they will bite the rocks and be very disappointed, and depressed, and will give up and go away and crawl in a hole, I suppose… She also said the pot reminded her of Vesuvio’s, which is like, our “pet” restaurant…


She’s my little fairy girl. But she’s an ocean fairy, she loves all creatures of the sea… I don’t know.. We may have to wait a little longer… close-up of the strawberry rocks:


I don’t have a pic of Zoophead’s 20 minute Mother’s Day card, or a link yet to Frangooochia’s video montage of our little farmette, but will be adding those soon! It was an awesome mother’s day, all my kids are here, they’re healthy, they’re relatively happy, they’re all working on their happiness, aren’t we all,  everyone is on speaking and hugging terms (for that I am more grateful than I can say, and you won’t know how grateful you’ll be for that until you lose it…)  I have no pictures of my own mother on this glorious day, although she was there and I love her to pieces, and we all gave her flowers and stuff…

Hope everyone had a Happy Mother’s Day, and if it was less than happy, I hope you know, there’s hope for improvement… I’ve had some WHOPPERS… I’ve had a hole in my heart, I’ve lost my child… for a while.. we all did. But we got her back and we have a second chance, all of us. Hang in there, and dig deep. That’s my new motto. God giveth and she taketh away. And then she giveth back sometimes. It’s always a surprise and a box of chocolates and other metaphors…

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Sophie’s Choice

Zack insisted on watching the last half of Sophie’s Choice tonight… probably my favorite all-time performance by my fave all-time ridiculously beautiful Meryl, and my fave all-time book… but NOT a feel-good kinda Mother’s Day kinda movie… sigh… He’s asleep now, and I’m left with the night sounds, and the terrible hole that story gouges out of me, every time…


a one act play entitled “A Nickname is Born”

Act One, Scene One:
Setting: Communal living space of the Hall Family home, a modest country estate, furnished with a rag tag bunch of mismatched Craigslist and tag sale furniture, plus countless chicken statuettes, our scene opens after Zack and Mom have been mercilessly tormenting Francesca all afternoon with the nickname her guitar teacher gave her:
zack (in huge sweeping cartoonish Italian accent): franGOOOOCHia!!
mom(in even HUGER sweeping cartoonish Italian accent): FRANNA GOOOOOCCHIAAA!!!
(no answer) (the joke has been perpetrated one too many times, Francesca is no longer showing any reaction)(she is numb)
mom: i don’t think she’s going to be bothered by you calling her that right now; she has a bon jovi pick in her hand.
zack: well since Franki’s ok with her nickname, i want one too.
mom: we’ll see how ok with you are with your nickname once we give you one. howbout poophead?
zack: no it has to flow with your name. not poophead.
mom: zackary poophead hall
zack: zoophead
mom: you’d prefer ‘zoophead’ to ‘poophead’?
cassie: anything besides poophead!
zack: it doesn’t bother me that you call me ‘zoophead.’
mom: oh, it wiiiill


fer the love of the yard

It’s dark and stormy, with yellowish skies this morning. Boo is not happy. She won’t even sit up on the couch, that’s much too close to the scary sky.. she prefers to curl up on the floor at my feet, with her ears back, glancing around suspiciously… Actually, she’ more like ON my feet. My back aches. But it’s the good kinda ache, the all-day yesterday yardwork ache…

I wish I could remember this every spring, but something happens during the long, cold, gray, soul-sucking winter… it’s like I get a BRAIN SCRUB, and I FORGET… I forget that I love the yard. and when I’m out there digging and loading and lugging and pulling and washing and arranging and sweating and just in general, “prettifying” the place, that’s when I’m happy, and may be the only place I lose all track of time… It was easy to lose track of time as a kid, but as an adult… you really have to find something you love… 

I forget that when you pick up all the assorted plastic and newspaper and wiffle balls that blow around during that nasty winter, it’s actually quite a lovely place to be… During early spring, I stare out the kitchen window, and just GLARE at that yard, the leafless trees, the muddy patchy bald ground, the garbage, broken sleds, boxes and blowing wrap from friggin’ CHRISTMAS littering the porch… I scrub dishes and I glare… and I know it’s warm enough that I can get out there and clean up that yard, but I resist… I’ll bet I spend 3 full warm-enough weeks glaring out that kitchen window every day, and I could be out there taking care of it. I love rainy days during this silly period, because it means I don’t HAVE to go out there…

Because it looks impossible. It looks like soooo much work…

I forget that I can move mountains.  Just me and a shovel and a rake and an old piece of a tarp. MOUNTAINS!! Of dirt, and leaves and fallen branches and manure and straw and sawdust and wood ash… I can actually take those unsightly things and make amazing fires, and beautiful black compost for the garden… I KEEP FORGETTING!!! How good it feels to clear and burn! And dig and plant! How nice the porches look when I pick up the 12 leaves in the corner, wipe the glass table tops, and straighten the chair cushions… From the kitchen window, all these things just look…impossible…too much…

Cassie came out yesterday and raked and filled pots with rich black soil, planted purple petunias… She gets it, at 25, she gets the yard and the sun and the trees… well, all three of my girls get it.. I wish I’d understood at that age… ahhh regrets… regrets are for chumps… I don’t believe in regrets. Or at least regrets without action. I marked both my calendars for April 5, 2015: GET OUT IN THE YARD. DON’T GLARE AT MESS FROM KITCHEN WINDOW UNTIL MAY, YOU CAN FIX THIS NOW, AND ENJOY IT FOR AN EXTRA MONTH!

Sigh… I’m hoping my second half-century on this planet is… just much smarter and calmer and…more… what?  serene? appreciative? common sensical? ohmygosh, what if I live another 50 years?? How friggin’ amazing would that be!!





I just don’t care who reads this, I’m so tired of it

Hurtin’ today, went to the gym and ran on treadmill, because I think I’m a runner now, oh holy mama pajama I’m delusional, but I love my little pink cloud, I really do. anyways, so I know I shouldn’t do the same exercise 2 days in a row, and I didn’t even plan to go to the gym, but I showed up to volunteer at the master gardener project by the mall, and no one was there, not sure where I crossed my wires, but I double checked by email before I went!!! ARRRGHHHH!!!! perpetually misinformed!!! So when life hands you misinformed day-late-and-dollar-short LEMONS… and when you’ve already driven the 7 miles to the mall area… and when you have your gym bag in the car… well, you make GYM LEMONADE, right? with dirty gym clothes, yes, they were dirty and rumpled, but I put ’em on anyways and decided to at least get in a little exercizin’…

Didn’t push it, walked 5, ran 15, walked 10, and left. meh… I’m hurting, but it’s the good kinda hurt, means I did something. I’m walking like a 90yr old granny, but that’s okay.

yesterday, okay, Hubs worked a double, and then went yardsailing and then went fishing.. on ZERO SLEEP!  that’s fine with me, I’ve given up on worrying about him, he does his thing, I did my thing, and he made it home, whatever… I was fine, I was making a nice dinner…he comes home and he’s dragging, but he insists I’m going to drop what I’m doing and we’re going to drive my precious little green car to the DUMP with a big gangly STOOPID trailer load of garbage on the back (he loaded it last week, cleaning out behind his shed). UMMMM…NO!! I’ve already had a nice big day, yardsailing with FRanki, working out, cleaning and sorting, and playing Sorry with Zack and Cass.. I’m ready to cook and settle in for the day… He never mentioned taking a load to the dump! But he gets this mindset- when he works a double, he gets in his head that he has to cram a whole weekend into the remaining 1.25 days… He was a shell of a person too! His eyes were half shut, he’s slumped in the chair, he smells of FISH AND WORMS, he didn’t even wash up for dinner, I was cooking and he walked in with fish guts on his shirt and stuck his filthy fishy F%$#ing fingers in my FACE and said “SMELL!” ohmygod all my powers of zen and mindfulness, I summoned every ounce I had not to do bodily harm to his filthy rude fingers… I breeeeathed, and  asked him to wash up, he walks over to the container of fresh strawberries, sticks his stinking grungy paws in OUR FOOD and grabs a bunch of berries!! I said, um, that is our FOOD, would you please wash up… he gets all annoyed like I’m being ridiculous, and I swear to God, I was like a grenade with the pin pulled, I was VIBRATING with rage, and still, I was keeping my sh*t together..

I am proud of myself, in retrospect… but at the time, oh the murderous thoughts… It wasn’t just the strawberries, and the rude behavior, you know, he’s sitting on the silky damask chair covers I made, in his stupid fish pants, and he’s clomping around pressing every button he knows I have, when he’s tired he gets so friggin’ crappy to me, puts on a show for the kids, let’s irritate Mom… har har, ain’t I cute, ain’t I the funny carefree Dad person…

I say “You’re tired, your eyes are pinholes, you’re slurring.. lie down for a bit, and then get up and we’ll go to a movie or something”.. “No”, he says, “I gotta get some stuff done, I don’t wanna waste my weekend”  I say, “you’re HAVING your weekend, you went yardsailing and fishing already, that’s what you’re SUPPOSED to do on the weekend, you work hard, you need to do that stuff” (see how I’m still being supportive and… friggin’ WIFEY.. whatever…) He clomps down on the diningroom chair, picks up a piece of newspaper, and within literally 3 minutes, he’s sleeping sitting up, his head falls forward, and DROOL RUNS FROM HIS MOUTH TO MY SILKY DAMASK CHAIR COVERARRRRGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!! The kids laugh. They say, DAD! YOU’RE DROOLING!! He snaps to attention, wipes his mouth, and DENIES IT!!! ohmygod, add denial to the thing I’m sitting there WATCHING WITH MY OWN EYES AND 3 WITNESSES!!!!

he’s dangerous in that state. He gets hurt. He breaks and destroys stuff around the house. At one point, I was keeping a LOG of how many times he TRIPPED AND FELL OVER STUFF. Because it was a pattern, it was happening every week! He tried to fix the chain on an old chainsaw one day in that condition, and he had cuts and gashes ALL OVER his hands and legs, completely oblivious! One day he pulled out a Sawzall, and cut a giant GAPING JAGGED RIDICULOUS piece off the top of the man-door in the garage, so it would clear the track the installers put in for the new garage doors. We had a friggin WIND TUNNEL running between garages then, sucking our heating oil out into the troposphere!! OBLIVIOUS!! Because he “gotta get stuff done”.. Yeah. You’re gonna drive a vehicle like that. With a trailer on the back. It’s just wrong, it’s almost like drunk driving. I’m real tired of this particular fight.

I’m talking to him today, and I’m laying it down. If he thinks he wants to “get stuff done” AND work doubles, well, he’s gonna have to make his agenda known beforehand, and make a plan and a schedule that makes sense and IS SAFE and also takes into consideration what the REST OF THE FAMILY is doing. There are 5 people in this house, going and doing and being…

Praying for peace in my heart, the strength to hold my temper, the right words to come to reach agreement and harmony… God, I’m putting my pin back in, I’m not gonna explode this time…

Addendum: okay, so I got up and did dishes and made coffee and did my kettlebells dvd and brushed out my little horse and picked the mud outta her hooves and told her all my problems and tied her out to eat the new spring grass that’s been going CRAZY with all the rain… I made perogies and onions for Franki’s breakfast, because she’s not feeling well and that’s what she wanted…  He finally gets up after sleeping 19 hours straight.. I didn’t do my little passive aggressive thing, I let him hug me, and I even gave him a plate of perogies, and they were NICE perogies, not perogies made with resentment… and we talked about Chem-Lawn and the grub problem we have out there, and now he’s cleaning out his car and “having his weekend”.. He wants me to go to Lowes with him and look at chemicals, and he probably wants to go to the gym… He’s such a pain, but I love him. He’s still getting a talking-to later today…

Addendum to the addendum:  We took my car and went to Lowe’s together, I was driving, so he was kinda at my mercy. We talked in the parking lot, he didn’t remember falling asleep at the table, he didn’t remember the strawberry conversation or the Fish Finger Fiasco. I said, Hon, sometimes you are a giant TURD. He said I’m sorry, I don’t wanna be a turd. I said, well I’m gonna have you a shirt made, special order, it’s gonna say “SUPER TURD” on the front, and if you wake up wearing it, you’ll know… apologies are in order. For that is how I solve problems, with novelty T-shirts. So now we’re in love again.

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The Runner

ran beside hubs on our matching treadmills today at the gym, until strange issuances didst issue forth from my visage (my nose ran, and sweat poured off my head and into my eyes)… it was weirdly romantic… we were in it together. we didn’t talk much, but we shared a water bottle (he never remembers his), and he offered me his sweat towel when he saw me dabbing with a paper towel (I politely declined…)

and it never would’ve happened, I wouldn’t even be ON a treadmill, but that a SERIES of PEOPLE kept hogging my favorite machine (the stepmill on the end), and the remaining three stepmills were out of commission, broken down… I stalked that machine for a half hour, I worked out nearby, I rowed, I pressed, I curled… watching, waiting, glaring… a lady was using it, she was hunched over leaning on the handles, cheating really, lifting half her weight off the steps, which is totally cheating, it’s lying, really, it’s lying to yourself and to the machine and boy does it make me stew… I wish I had a little tablet and could issue people TICKETS for this sort of thing… gym police. That’s me…Helpful. Vigilant. Jerk. I’m the Barney Fife of Planet Fitness. Or at least of the stepmill area. That is my domain.

So even though I secretly willed her to give up, to fail, to quit…she kept plodding on… her face drooped, her eyes glazed over, she clung desperately to the handles and she just kept climbing those darn stairs… she kept surprising me, I would look up, assuming she’d be gone, and there she was, looking like she wanted to keel over, but still climbing… it was kinda heroic.. but I got tired of the rowing and glaring and the sending of waves of stress and bile and acid to my stomach, and feeling the veins on my neck bulging, Barney Fifing, I call it.. so I went to the locker room, to chill, and well, to pee… which took 3 minutes, and when I returned, don’t you know, THAT lady was gone, and ANOTHER lady had jumped on that machine! And this one was wayyyy worse, she was fit and ferocious, and was gonna be on there for friggin’ EVER…

so sometimes I’m feeling like the LEAST ZEN, most UNGRATEFUL, most narcissistic, most self-absorbed, most LEAST WHATEVER, I’m in a GYM, with my HUSBAND, I have COMFORTABLE SHOES, a WATER BOTTLE with unlimited supply of clean, clear, cold, running water… and the best I can do with all that is complain about not getting my favorite little machine to climb on… I know all this. But I really do like that machine…

So I sighed…and resigned myself to walking on a treadmill beside my man, him jogging, me fuming… He runs and sweats gets in some sort of weird ZONE, and I’m so jealous… so afraid to run.. what if I can’t do it? what if I fall? what if I can only make it about 3 minutes and my lungs burn? what if I look stooped? what do I do with my hands? what if I run like a girl? what if my ankles do that cracky thing? what if I can’t do it? what if I find out the truth about me.. that I SUCK… what if it’s been the truth all along?

I could feel Hubs’ surprise next to me, when I first cranked the speed up, and took my first tentative little baby jogging steps… he didn’t say anything… just ran… there was no turning back for me, I let go of my precious little 2.8 mph… went up to 5.0 and then I HAD to run,  you can’t speedwalk at 5.0…

After 3 minutes I was convinced I was gonna die. Or fall on my face. I was all over the place, stepping on the right side of the treadmill, overcompensating and almost falling off the left, I didn’t know what to do with my hands, they pumped up and down limply, weirdly, non-committally…  I was running like a GIRL, which I am, I’m a girl… so I balled them into fists… but should I put my thumb IN or OUT of the fist… I finally settled on OUT,  because my husband told me a long time ago if you punch someone with your thumb IN, you can break your thumb, that’s why, not that I’m punching anyone on the treadmill, but you just never know, so thumbs OUT… and we run…

I made it my goal to go 5 minutes. I have this little voice in my head that says “You can do ANYTHING for 2 minutes” so that kicked in and got me from the 3 minute-I’mgonnadie mark to 5 minutes. After that I reset to a 10 minute goal. Then 12 minutes. At 12 minutes I looked up, I looked around. I was jogging!!! and I wasn’t dying!! My lungs felt… just fine. They weren’t burning, my heart rate felt good, nothing scary going on, my ankles felt fine, no cracking or spraining… it was my AHA moment, and I may have been grinning like a GOON at the time, and I wanted to yell in a huge way “I’M RUNNING!!!”

Hubs stole a glance over at my read-out, and said with a bemused little smile, “what’re you doin’?” I said “Hon, I’m RUNNING!!! ME!!” It was his turn to say “Don’t over-do it” and it was my turn to be a tiny bit annoyed… So he said it, and I was a tiny bit annoyed. But I remembered how he had overdone it that first couple weeks, and how much he paid for it.. So I settled on a 20 minute goal.. by the time I reached that, my legs were tired. My heart was still fine and my lungs felt like I could’ve run for hours! But I walked some, then ran another 8 minutes, and then did a long cool down. I was high as a kite after that.

So I run. I’m a runner.. I’m a runner who runs. Run is a weird word when you say it a bunch of times… 50 years old, and I find out I can run. Ahhhh, cliche’… never too late, right… never too late…