Mitchell-Lama Mama’s Blog

an ordinary life in an extraordinary city

Tricky Sense of Time May 7, 2009

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I’m wondering why the days fly by so quickly, and yet each week stretches on forever.  Am I the only one with this perception?  


I’m not sure I could get any less sleep than I do and function long term, but still I run out of time each day.  Twenty four hours should be enough, no?  But it never is.  Each day ends with Mama feeling guilty because I didn’t _________.  If I clean I didn’t write.  If I write I didn’t do laundry.  If I do laundry I didn’t shop.  If I shop I didn’t play with the girl.  If I play with the girl I didn’t blog.  And on and on, no end in sight.  I think the world would end if I made time to *gasp* read.  


Somehow I’m sure I should be grateful I have so much to do, right?  Somehow.  But then every morning I wake up thinking it must be Friday, and it still isn’t.  


I did accomplish something yesterday–I think.   😛  I tried to kill the aiptasia (pest anemone) again, and I haven’t seen it resurface since.  It must be morally wrong to be so happy to kill something, but I admit it.  Alone in the living room, by the light of the tank, Mama did a happy dance.   😀


Eyeballs, Check! May 5, 2009

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Whew, I finally did it.  After going to the girl’s classroom for another “author celebration,” I went into the one place in the neighborhood with a $99 special for exam and contacts.  Yippee!  Not only did I get the exam done and contacts ordered, they had a trial pair on hand in my prescription.  I don’t think that ever happened for me before.  So now instead of tipping my head to try and prevent the lens from falling out of my broken eyeglass frames, I’m tipping my head trying to get used to having peripheral vision again–it’s been several years.  🙂


I swear the colors in the tank are popping more now.   😉  Speaking of the tank, Mama has a couple of new additions.  I’ve remained in touch and friendly with the young man I bought the system from, and have been getting to know his girlfriend too.  Both very lovely.  And gf was interested in doggie gumbo, so we’ve been swapping gumbo for critters.  I got a clam!!!!!  She (she because the girl named her Boca) has a beautiful blue and brown pattern on her mantle.  Also some new zoas, and a new SPS frag that has a long scientific name that promptly trickled out of my ears. 🙂 Sorry, still no pics because I can’t get the camera to work. 


And here’s the most exciting tank news, Mama’s clownfish are breeding!  Have I already mentioned that? :0  No, I won’t be raising the fry, but they’re a tasty treat for the other critters.  Mama didn’t actually realize what they were doing until the aforementioned fishy friends were here and clued me in.  In my defense, clowns have some weird behavior patterns, so I thought it was just part of their regular weirdness.  


Both boys are miserable with their allergies now, and the girl is just wishing the school year would hurry up and end.  Me too, darling, me too.


Down to Roots, Poetry May 4, 2009

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Thinking through the keyboard, again. 


Last Thursday was Poem in your Pocket day in the NYC public schools (named after a poem of the same name by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers). The girl was thrilled, loved the whole concept, and I think relieved to find out Mama isn’t the only person in the world who reads poetry. 😉  We talked about poetry on the way to school this morning, what is a poem, no they don’t have to rhyme, etc.  For whatever reason it gave me some hope, some “oh yeah, something beautiful and worthwhile can come from anything, anywhere.”


Poems and poets are undervalued in our world.  The words usually heard in connection are along the lines of ;  frivolous, sappy, overwrought, angst–almost always these words are accompanied by eye rolling and a drawn out story of being forced to memorize something long and musty.  I used to write a lot of poetry, and I’ll be the first to admit that many of the poems were overwrought and angsty, though not long.  But.  There is no art as perfect. Like watching Masters play a game of chess, fluid.


Mama’s father liked poetry, so of course Mama thought she hated it.  Everything he showed me was looooong,rhyming, and usually a sonnet.  Not for me then or now.  But then I found a book of Carl Sandburg’s works smashed in the middle of the bookshelf over the telephone.  I think this was the first poem I ever memorized, and I’m not sure I realized what I memorized wasn’t the entire poem, but just the first stanza.


excerpt from Four Preludes to a Playthings of the Wind


The woman named Tomorrow

sits with a hairpin in her teeth

and takes her time

and does her hair the way she wants it

and fastens the last braid and coil

and puts the hairpin where it belongs

and turns and drawls: Well, what of it?

My grandmother, Yesterday, is gone.

What of it? Let the dead be dead.


Why did this poem speak to 10 yo Mama?  No clue, though I’m guessing the reason could be found in thirty years of analysis.  😉 What I know is it opened a whole new world, a world I’ve been able to visit throughout my life.  Some of the poems I used to love don’t do it for me anymore.  There’s a time and a place for Anne Sexton’s In Celebration of My Uterus, and that time is long past.  The beauty is in still being able to pick up the collected works of Sexton and find a phrase that sings, an image so clear it hurts, words that can be tasted.


Finally April 24, 2009

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A beautiful day, and it’s Friday!  🙂  The sun is out, and I think it’s in the seventies.  The dog even spent some time on the terrace this morning.  


Friday Night Madness has been downgraded, due to the economy. 😦  Instead of going to the local diner/coffee shop for dinner, we’re going to the local chain “bakery” for tea.  Aaah, nothing but the finest in half raw coffee cake and rubbery croissants.  We’re sticking to the Lipton, thanks.  If you avoid the pastries and ignore the gluey film on the tables, it is quite entertaining on Friday nights.  By day, it’s filled with nannies and strollers. At night though, a special treat. Young tourists who didn’t realize how quickly their money would run out here in NY, scratching at sores left behind from bugbed filled mattresses at the area “hostels.”    And let’s not forget the homeless who come to spend the night.  Oooo, yeah, Mama is living large.  😀


So, I was sitting on my couch staring into my tank doing some writing, when an unfamiliar movement in the tank caught my attention.  Yikes!  Another hitchhiker.  I only saw part of it come out of a rock, but I’m pretty sure it’s a mantis shrimp.  Tiny right now, but bad.  They’re affectionately called thumb splitters, and some people keep them because they can be beautiful and interesting.  In their own species only tank.  Blech.  I haven’t even gotten rid of the aiptasia yet.  Luckily, I think it will be a while before he’s big enough to do any damage to any of my livestock.  


Happy Friday, everyone!


Day of Rest April 23, 2009

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If, by rest, you mean get up, get the children ready for school, take them to school, walk dog, start to cook gumbo, go to hospital to help mama-in-law get discharged and take her home, get to her home, find papa-in-law unable to walk with a very swollen ankle, figure out makeshift ice packs for him, go get lunch for both of them, then come home, finish cooking gumbo, and feed the tank.  I really don’t understand why I’m always tired, do you?   😛  


Grumble grumble grumble ROAR.  I hurt my back on Sunday evening, it’s definitely improving, but still.  How did I hurt it, you ask?  Unclogging the toilet, of course.  A regular activity that all of my city friends engage in. I want to know, does everyone in the world have these ridiculous low flush toilets, or is it just in NYC apartments?   Mama is all for saving the earth, conserving energy, conserving water, etc, but shouldn’t the toilets still work?  How much more water is being used by pouring it down toilets to unclog them by shaving a few gallons off of the regular flush?  


Between the weather, the toilets, and a cost of living so high I’ve practically got the kids counting out the Cheerios into the bowl to make the box last longer, Mama is feeling very, very done with this city.  New York state of mind my patootie!


Who Thought it was a Good Idea to Raise April 19, 2009

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independent thinkers? 😛


Oh yeah, that would be me.  What am I doing now?  Teaching the girl to sew, which would be great, if I knew how to sew.  This is the problem with her plan to be a fashion designer.  As far as I can tell, several things are required. Interest/creativity, drawing, and sewing.  I’ve already established that I can’t sew; in fact, Mama can barely draw a stick figure, and I wear clothes until they fall off of me because I hate the shopping/trying on thing, and I’m really just not all that interested. 


All I can say is I’m very glad for the basic kid’s learn-to-sew kit, because I can read the directions, even if I can’t manage to make stitches come out the way they do in the instruction manual. 


This is the last day of the Spring Break for the younger two. Big guy had his last month.  I don’t wanna get up and take them back to school tomorrow.  It’s going to be cold again, and rainy.  Waaah!  Mama’s been having some issues with insomia, which is making me crabby. 😦 I keep telling myself it isn’t so bad, 4AM is a perfect time to get some quiet, uninterrupted writing time.  Yeah.  If you’re a rooster. 


The big guy just emailed me questions for a parent interview he needs to have completed by tomorrow.  He’s been hanging out with me all weekend, and hadn’t mentioned it once.  And they’re all s-e-x related questions for health class.  Oh, yippee.  Cause, yanno, there’s nothing a 16yo boy likes better than having deep, heart-felt discussions with Mama about sex.  


On a positive note, yesterday I was finally able to get that interview done.  Now I’ve got notes for the secondary character I wanted to develop, and can keep going in a forward motion this week. 🙂  


Tank news: nothing new.  All is growing well, though that unfortunately includes the aiptasia.  Really, he’s kinda cute, in a mud brown sort of way.  If I hadn’t read so many horror stories about them reproducing and taking over entire tanks, I would keep him.  There’s a local frag swap next weekend, but I’m not going to go.  It doesn’t seem like there’s much point if I can’t take advantage and buy new corals.  Or a clam.  Or… But no, my dog walking dollars have to go towards new contacts for me.  Mama’s glasses broke, and they don’t seem to be magically repairing themselves, no matter how much I try to pretend they aren’t broken at all.


Happy BDay Dear Girl April 17, 2009

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It’s the girl’s bday today. 🙂  I bought her flowers last night, so she woke to a display of mixed flowers, cards, and a few select gifts. Fun!  I’m going to make brownies for this evening, cake, song and candles will be tomorrow evening.  Papa’s working late tonight.  

We just got back from going out to lunch with middle guy, a rare treat. On the menu? Chocolate chip pancakes and wheat toast, of course. Then we went to the plant store, where my frustrated gardeners chose seeds for planting, and Mama drooled over the lush house plants she can”t afford.  😉  Middle guy chose cantelope seeds, not sure how they’ll work out on our mostly shaded terrace, but we’ll see. 😛


Laundry day yesterday. If you aren’t familiar with doing laundry in a building laundry room, let me assure you it’s a full contact sport.  It’s similar to grocery shopping, the sweet elderly lady from the corner using the shopping/laundry cart as a battering ram.  No matter that there is literally no room for two people to pass at the same time.  And don’t forget to race and beat the clock before that dryer stops.  Sure, there are two other empty, functioning dryers on the other end, but why use those when you can take my clothes out of the dryer and leave them in a heap dangling off of the folding table?  “Oh, yeah, honey.  I took those out for you.  No, no problem at all, I was just finishing my tuna sandwich waiting for it to stop.”   “Ummm, thanks?  No, really, I always rewash my clothes straight from the dryer.” Aargh! 


This morning I finally decided it was time to do battle with the brown tentacled hitchhiker in my tank.  It’s gotten large enough for me to make a positive ID. Aiptasia. A pest anemone.  I went to the store and bought lemon juice concentrate, and swiped an insulin needle from Papa’s diabetic supplies.  Filled the syringe, took aim, and shot that ugly sucker right in his mouth.  Immediate retraction, and then all I saw were thin white strings where the tentacles had been waving.  Victory?




He’s now completely recovered, and laughing at me from his foothold in the pipe organ.  


Happy Friday, everyone.