Mitchell-Lama Mama’s Blog

an ordinary life in an extraordinary city

Summertime, and the Living is…well, easier, anyway June 30, 2009

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Happy Summer, all! ūüôā ¬†


The last week of school was crazy hectic, as always. ¬†The last day was emotional. ¬†The middle guy said goodbye to his friends and teachers, and I said my goodbyes to the school, also. ¬†He was a student there for six years, so yeah, even trusting this is a good, positive decision, there was a tug. ūüėõ ¬†


The girl is beat. ¬†This was a long, long year for her. ¬†Mama’s prescription for the summer: reading (so she doesn’t completely lose what she’s worked so hard for), rest, and ice cream. ūüėÄ


One night last week Mama had the opportunity to go and visit some very impressive reef tanks. ¬†The largest tank is 240 gallons, and the other two aren’t far behind. ¬†Breathtaking. ¬†


No rest yet, though. ¬†Saturday, Mama’s sister in law was in town for a visit, had brunch with her and the kids. ¬†Then long-time friends of ours from Atlanta (also in town visiting) came over. ¬†Not restful, but beautiful. ¬†These are friends we used to see regularly, but they don’t get to NY very often anymore, and I miss them. ¬†It was lovely, he’s a singer/musician, and played on middle guy’s guitar for a while, including playing a new song of his own that just made me wish I could hold that moment forever. They came with their oldest child (26!), and their youngest (17!). ¬†


Sunday all the excitement was tank-centered. My big guy had gone out last week, brought me home a frag ūüôā a peppermint shrimp, and an emerald crab. ¬†The crab is to eat the bubble algae hiding in one of my little colonies. ¬†Cute, no problem–for now. Crabs are opportunistic feeders, and can be iffy when they get large enough. ¬†The peppermint shrimp was to eat the blasted aiptasia, which came back bigger and stronger than ever. ¬†I have the superman of pest anemones. ¬†Great! Umm, not so much. ¬†Nemo didn’t like the peppermint shrimp, and proceeded to hunt it and chase it for the next thirty hours. ¬†Sunday morning found the peppermint shrimp on the floor in front of the tank. ¬†Crunchy. ¬†Taps, anyone?¬†


I guess the chase was pretty intense that night, because several pieces had been knocked over, including my candy cane frag. ¬†That piece was one of my first frags, and I happen to be very attached to it. ¬†ūüė¶ ¬†It had landed with one head on one of the ricordias. ¬†Ricordias are lovely, come in all kinds of colors, look like a cross between an exotic flower and mushroom. ¬†They also have a very powerful sting. ¬†Needless to say, that head of the candy cane was hurt. ¬†So, Mama straightens everything up in the tank, water change, etc. ¬†Look up to see the coral beauty taking BITES out of the candy cane. ¬†Yes, bites. ¬†Not nipping, but biting off pieces of flesh and eating them. ¬†Grrrr. ¬†


Now half of the crown of that head is gone, skeleton exposed. ūüė¶ ¬†ūüė¶ ¬†I do think the coral beauty only ate the flesh that was badly damaged, and the head–or what’s left of it–did manage ¬†to eat a pellet yesterday. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Hoping for the best.¬†


Today will be a work day. ¬†More laundry–loads to catch up on (pun intended), dishes from last night, cleaning, and a play date coming over. ¬†Why was Mama so looking forward to summer? ¬†Because it’s warm, and there is SUN this morning, and no school nurse phone calls. ¬†ūüôā ūüėÄ


Summer is Mama’s time. ¬†I get to enjoy time with the kids, and have some of the warmth and sun I so desperately need.


Dirty Words June 24, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — mitchelllamamama @ 10:27 am
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Hi Everyone. ūüôā ¬†

We’ve all been sick here in Mama’s world, even Mama. :0 ¬†We’re all finally feeling well again, and hopefully it will stay that way.¬†


Once upon a time, Mama had no qualms about using profanity in her writing. ¬†Didn’t even think about it. ¬†If it worked for the character/setting/situation, those words–from George Carlin’s list and others–flowed along with the rest of ’em. ¬†


Joining online forums (not writing related) changed that. ¬†Mama had to think about those words that might be offensive–not to mention blocked. ūüėČ


Once upon a time, Mama had a strong “sense of self,” to use probably-outdated psychobabble. ¬†The past several years of multiple medical crises and ongoing financial struggles have taken care of that. ¬†Always one to question, the questions have become murkier, right along with that previous self.¬†


I’ve been thinking about these two issues; how they seem to have merged in my writing self, so the words I’m coming up with are mucky, with a thick layer of dust clinging. ¬†In my mind I see the words looking like words used to when typed on an old typewriter with a new ribbon; letters just noticeably blurred and bleeding at the edges. ¬†Introspective writing can only be good if it takes the writer and the reader somewhere farther along. ¬†


Sometimes I think this is ok, ultimately this will all add something to my writing. ¬†Right now, though, I would love to recapture the flow and feel of words coming through my keyboard clean and sharp–profane or not.¬†


The tank is doing well, my little reef is growing. ūüôā ¬†The coral beauty was sufficiently traumatized by our attempt to capture her so that she hasn’t been nipping at the corals. ūüôā ¬†


Only a few more days before it is finally, blissfully, officially SUMMER VACATION!!!!!


Bested By the Fish May 22, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — mitchelllamamama @ 9:59 am
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Things are clipping right along in the tank, dontcha think? ¬†Maybe not. ¬†The coral beauty has developed a taste for, well, my corals. ¬†In keeping a reef tank, fish really are secondary. ¬†The bulk of the money and the fascination are in the corals and critters. ¬†This all equaled a decision that the coral beauty has got to go. ūüė¶ ¬†


So blue, so innocent--don't be fooled!

So blue, so innocent--don't be fooled!

Two of Mama’s fishy friends came over yesterday evening. ¬†One willing to give the coral beauty a good home, the other willing to catch her. ¬†“Don’t worry, twenty minutes.” ¬†

Yeah. ¬†Not exactly. ¬†It appeared that it would be easy enough. ¬†Unlike many other “reefers,” Mama doesn’t care for the wall o’rock look, so there’s only about 50 lbs of live rock in the display tank. ¬†Plenty of room for swimming and interesting rock structures. ¬†Mama designed her “rockscape” keeping the comfort and happiness of the critters in mind. ¬†Plenty of dart holes, hiding places, pass-throughs. ¬†Getting a feel for problem #1?

Now comes problem #2. Gloria.  Remember Gloria, the glorious yellow tang?


Observe carefully

Observe carefully

See that thin little white line towards the back of her? ¬†There’s one on either side, and it’s because of those pretty little dashes that these fish are sometimes known as scalpel fish. ¬†Those little lines are her defense, and are literally as sharp and dangerous as scalpels. ¬†Shouldn’t be an issue, we’re not interested in Gloria. ¬†Wrong again. ¬†Gloria didn’t care for the nets invading her territory. ¬†By the time we were twenty minutes into this, there were three nets trying to corral and catch the coral beauty. ¬†Fishy friend conducting this capture is a professional violinist. ¬†Keeping hands in perfect working order = an absolute must. ¬†It quickly became more about evading the tang than capturing the coral beauty. ¬†


Reef tanks are very sensitive. ¬†Corals can begin chemical warfare, melt away, and crash the whole tank if you stick your hands into the tank without washing them first. ¬†Mama kept imagining fresh blood marbling through the water, running through all products and remedies she’s heard of wondering if there’s a reef-safe “antidote” to human blood.¬†


Guess who’s still in Mama’s tank this morning? ūüėõ


Not to mention the tank is now a “mess,” coral frags knocked over in the melee, and all critters looking quite annoyed this morning. ¬†Reefing can be fun, beautiful, and peaceful, but I think I’ll wait until they all calm down before sticking my hands back into the tank to fix things up. ūüėÄ


How many grown ups does it take to catch a fish? ¬†I don’t know. ¬†We had three, and it wasn’t enough.¬†


Happy, happy Friday Night Madness everyone–enjoy the holiday weekend!

Thanks for reading,



Shadows May 19, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — mitchelllamamama @ 1:43 pm
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Forget chasing windmills, I have to stop looking at shadows. ¬†I do my most productive thinking through my fingers; keyboard or pencil, so please bear with me. ¬†ūüėÄ


I don’t just love my children, I adore them. ¬†Each of them. ¬†There are similarities in all three, but those similarities come out in different ways, and they are distinct individuals. ¬†ūüôā


When I look at the girl, I smile always. ¬†Usually because she’s smiling at me. ¬†Baby’s first learned response, right? ūüėČ ¬†I know there is good that has come out of this neuro crud. ¬†Her appreciation for kindness, her caring nature that includes concern for discomfort of any and all living creatures, her ability to laugh no matter how many tubes and wires might be attached to her at the moment, her strong work ethic. ¬†These past days, though, I’m also seeing the shadows of those evils; woulda, shoulda, and coulda. ūüė¶ ¬†I’m not focused on them, but I’m aware of their presence in a way I haven’t been since I last wrestled with thoughts on acceptance. ¬†


We all want better for our children, better than we had, better than they have now. ¬†I am not talking solely about material things– though I certainly wish for an easier reach for the checkbook on the 1st of the month for them. ¬†If I could hand anything to my children it would be an understanding of how to balance. ¬†Mama took herself way too seriously when she was younger, and then spent too long not taking herself seriously enough. ¬†I know that sense of balance is something every person has to find and weigh for themselves. ¬†As Mama, I try to help them to see what needs to be weighed, and how to portion it all out. ¬†Right now, these shadows are getting in the way when I think about “what next?” for the girl, even though I know (thankfully) she doesn’t see them, and doesn’t ever need to. ¬†


I will get past these maudlin thoughts. ¬†They’re counterproductive, I can’t possibly help the girl move forward if I’m looking back. ¬†But today, as I wait to see if the nurse from school calls again, I’m sad. ūüė¶


Tired Mama May 16, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — mitchelllamamama @ 5:05 pm

As I’m sure you all predicted, Mama made it through the meeting. Sorta. ¬†Much of me feels like I’m still sitting in that chair, with endless echoes of those test results, and the sense that about a thousand doors just slammed shut. ūüė¶ ¬†


Please don’t tell me about the other doors that are still open, both known and unknown. ¬†I know that, and we’ll find them, but right now…ugh.¬†

Let’s just say that Mama hates neurocrud, and migraines, and epilepsy, and the ongoing unanswered whys. ¬†


Last night was the big guy’s play. ¬†It was a wonderful performance of She Stoops to Conquer. ¬†He was great, as were all of the cast members. ¬†ūüôā ¬†A very exciting day/night of success for him. ¬†He also received an award yesterday for quiet service to the community. ¬†Unexpected, and an amazing honor. ¬†


That’s it for today, I just wanted to post for those who might be checking. ¬†Hope you’re all having a great weekend.


Serenity, Now! May 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — mitchelllamamama @ 9:30 am
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Mama is doing what she can to center herself for today’s meeting. ¬†A friend offered to meet me for coffee afterwards. ¬†This is a friend who doesn’t know the full extent/live the nitty gritty details of having a child who isn’t neurotypical, but I’m glad for the support, and am taking her up on the offer.¬†


In trying to prepare myself, I actually dug through all my junk looking for makeup. ¬†Now, Mama isn’t a a makeup wearing gal. ¬†I think the last time I bought any was 6 years ago, and when we moved into this place in the fall I threw away the bulk of it–some of those tubes of lipstick were older than my oldest child. ūüėõ ¬†So this morning I found an old mascara, eyeliner, and lipgloss in a forgotten handbag; ¬†broke out the coconut oil and did my best to tame my hair. ¬†Does any of it matter? ¬†Not really. ¬†But there’s something about the ritual, a feeling of putting on armor. ¬†Probably why I don’t generally bother with any of it. ¬†ūüėČ ¬†


Of course, it’s raining now, so Mama’s hair will be its usual 4 foot circumference of frizz by the time I get to the meeting. ¬†Wonder how many years waterproof mascara retains its waterproofing?¬†



Torch Coral, Coral Beauty Angel (She Who Has No Name), and Giddy, the cleaner shrimp

Torch Coral, Coral Beauty Angel (She Who Has No Name), and Giddy, the cleaner shrimp


Mystery hitchhiker coral and edge of blue mushroom

Mystery hitchhiker coral and edge of blue mushroom


Busy Busy Busy May 13, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — mitchelllamamama @ 11:01 am
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Tank Pics!

All my prettys

All my prettys

Clam--wild, huh?

Clam--wild, huh?


Plate coral and 6-line wrasse

Plate coral and 6-line wrasse


Sadie the Fire Shrimp

Sadie the Fire Shrimp


Clowns Protecting their Special Place from Yellow Tang

Clowns Protecting their Special Place from Yellow Tang


Pipe Organ

Pipe Organ

All right, One full tank shot

All right, One full tank shot

More crazy days here. ¬†Chaperoning the girl’s all day field trip today, guitar lesson for the middle guy later, then middle guy has a band concert (trumpet) this evening. ¬†Tomorrow (yikes) results from the girls testing, Friday night the big guy’s show–She Stoops to Conquer. ¬†Whew! ¬†Mama is ready for summer in every way!


News: ¬†The middle guy was accepted!!!!!!! ¬†He was thrilled for about an hour, and is now stressing about making the decision; should he go? Aargh! ¬†Poor guy, really. ¬†We all know plenty of adults who are afraid of upsetting the status quo, even when it almost certainly means positive changes. ¬†Human nature, fear of the unknown. ūüė¶¬†


Hope everyone has a good one, Mama is off and running!