Saturday, November 29, 2008

Don't Chase Me Ahmmy!

I have been reading in bed for about 20 minutes when Monkey finally decides to open her eyes and greet the day. I don’t get the customary “hello Ahmmy” that I am used to because what has caught her interest enough to wake up all the way is a pillow she had been sleepily rubbing her feet against. Her first groggy investigation of it has shown Monkey that the pillow has pictures of animals on it so her first words this morning are the delighted declaration of “Bear!” and the growly grumble of “Tiiiigerrrr!” She sits up to show me her discovery, her light coloured wavy hair sticking out in all directions. “Bear!” she says again.
A game we like to play is about animal sounds. I will ask her what sound various animals make. I go for the ones she knows like elephant which make a kind of raspberry sound. And cows which say moo, as we all know. But I like to throw in some conundrums like seahorse just to see what she will say. I never correct her as I figure in her world roosters may indeed say “eeeee!” She has never met one so anything is possible I suppose. Kangaroos say “Ach” with a strangled surprised sort of sound, as do bats and whales. Giraffes roar almost as fierce as lions but monkeys are quite gentle, only uttering a jovial “ee ee!” Bears, in her understanding, are cuddly and make a “mmmm” sound accompanied by a self-hugging motion. But tigers are always dangerous sounding creatures.
So this morning bears are greeted with delight and tigers are greeted with a knitted brow and a showing of teeth. Monkey goes on to introduce me to the donkey and the pig. It seems the pig is sad as Monkey demonstrates by pushing her lips way out and looking at me beseechingly. “Pig sad” she pouts in an exaggerated way. But there is not pause. We are right back to greeting the bear with joyful abandon. “Bear!”
Soon it is time to get out of bed and greet the diverse items in the kitchen
“Hello table. Hello paper. Hello sink. Hello towel.” This begins a new game of Monkey’s devising.
“Hello ephalent” she says to me with a gleam in her bright blue eyes.
“Elephant? I’m not an elephant. I’m your mommy!” I reply as expected.
She giggles. “Hello puppy.’
“Puppy!? I’m not a puppy. I’m your mommy!”
More giggles. This goes on; tiger, cow, cat, birdy, until it is time to eat.
After having sat so nicely on her chair for a whole ten minutes or so eating peanut butter toast she slides to the floor to warn “Don’t chase me, Ahmmy!” as she runs away. As I clear the dishes she laps me on her circuit yelling “don’t chase me Ahmmy!”
I bend down and make a swooping ogre face as she rounds a third time screaming with delight at a pitch only dogs should be able to hear.
I realize as I wash up the dishes she is being too quiet. I dry my hands and seek her out. She has found my notebook and pen. It is only by luck that she has chosen a page I was not already using on which to do her doodles. She sits on the bed narrating as she makes short random strokes on the paper.
“Doggy” she requests hold the pen up to me.
“You want me to draw a dog?”
We lay belly-down on the mattress and settle in for some drawing. I draw a dog laying with it’s tail curled around it’s body. The only thing that sets it apart from my drawing of a cat laying with it’s tail curled around it’s body is the floppy ears.
“What’s that?” I ask Monkey to see how close my drawing comes to the real thing.
“Doggy” she says matter-of-factly.
Upon request I draw an ephalent, a fish and a seahorse. To her great delight Monkey has just taught herself to do a somersault while I labour over the finer points of drawing a horse.
She stands and gallops out of the room.
“Giddy-up!” she cries, signalling that drawing time is over.
After we gallop around the table a few times I think it is high time to try something less strenuous.
“Do you want to see Gramma?” I ask.
“Yah!” is the decisive reply and without hesitation Monkey is at the door ready to visit Gramma.
As we mount the stairs Monkey calls up to announce her arrival “Laaamaaaa! Hello, Lama. Ah coming, Lama”
Monkey’s Gramma is always delighted to see her and laughs often and easily in her company. Gramma and I sit and chat while Monkey runs circles around the place looking for the cat, pulling the odd book off the shelf for examination or jumping on Gramma’s bed. After she has stripped down to her diaper leaving her clothes strewn around the place, Monkey stands stalk still next to Gramma’s rocking chair and calls out plaintively,
“Help Ahmmy, tuck! Monkey tuck!”
“Are you stuck Monkey?” I reply in mock alarm. As I crouch down to investigate the mystery of her invisible bonds Monkey screams gleefully away calling back “Don’t chase me Ahmmy!”

Dios de los muertos
and I am wondering
if you are passing through
checking for lit candles
put out for you

if you wouldn't mind
if it wouldn't be a bother
would you drop by
to use your razor
or your teeth
and cut this kite string
i want to let you go now
because you never call any more
and i don't have your new number
and if i can't have your laugh
and your brown eyes
i don't want to stand here waiting for them any more
i am a fool
if you can
let me
let you

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Houses We Live In

Fiction is like a spider's web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners [...] when the web is pulled askew, hooked up at the edge, torn in the middle, one remembers that these webs are not spun in mid-air by incorporeal creatures, but the work of suffering human beings, and are attached to grossly material things, like health and money and the houses we live in.
Virginia Woolf
A Room of One's Own

Having a fondness for spiders and all things "webby" I particularly like this quote I found today. Fiction is felted in with realty, the two cannot be seperated without destroying the whole. Reality is the sum of all the beautifully mundane things like going to the bathroom and looking in every pocket for your house keys. One's body is sometimes refered to as a temple or home- the place where the heart or soul resides. A person's casket or tomb can be thought of as their final house. I have often thought that a person's history/life story/body of work can, metaphorically, be thought of as that person's house. All the proof of where we come from, made of what we have been given and signs of our existance are the houses we have built of our lives. A part of Micheal Angelo resides in his paintings and sulptures. Old Bill Shakespeare is in his plays. Emily Dickenson resides in her deceptively simple poems and perhaps always did and no where else. The funny thing about these homes of the famous dead is they are empty now of all but furniture, old tableaus and echos. But what marvelous structures they are.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tooth-some Wisdom

I wrote this in May 2002. I came across it earlier today and decided to share.

My jaw still hurts from having my wisdom teeth out. I have a quiet frustrated outrage over the fact that they call them wisdom teeth and then pull them out. Leah wrote a thing one time about how they should be called vision teeth. I think it would only be fair if they called them optional or transient teeth so you know from the beginning that you shouldn't get too chummy with them. I was always looking forward to mine coming in. I saw it as a step in my maturity, a rite of passage. But instead my teeth did a thing called "impacting" which could sound good or bad depending on the context. Turns out dentists unanimously agree it is bad. And bad things must be "removed before they can cause more damage"
My wisdom-my potential wisdom was ... damaging me? Couldn't some agreement be reached between me and my malcontent teeth?
Nope, they gotta go-and why did you wait so long in the first place?
Because I want to be wise...
So now I am four teeth lighter and I can open my jaw about an inch and a half, two inches. My back molars feel looser, my eye teeth feel tighter and I am wondering if it was the right decision. But everyone- EVERYONE- complies to the holy word of the men in white coats and I often doubt myself and chalk these feelings up to stubborn innocence of the facts. Still I can' shake the feeling that I gave away something important. So here I sit, struggling through my sandwich, mulling over the significance of four bones at the back of one's mouth and the possibility that everyone is ignoring the importance of them. That, just like when you grow up you realize you lost something important when you stepped away from childhood, it could be that those of us who rid ourselves of these chompers later cannot put our finger on the source of a feeling of unease or loss or distress. Because no one acknowledges this step in the right manner. It is seen as an unpleasant "procedure" that is common place and unimportant.
Well, I choose to give it importance. I choose outrage at the disregard everyone has for my lost symbol of wisdom. I choose to consciously relocate the symbolic physical location of my wisdom. I will have wisdom eyes or wisdom toes or wisdom hairs or wisdom vertebrae! I haven't picked the new seat yet. Perhaps it will choose me.

What are your wisdom tooth related thoughts and stories?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cold Weather Haiku

So chilly-willy
and thick socks just won't do it
lets kindle the hearth

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Surfing the main course

I feel as though I have spent the whole day surfing. It was fun, loud, strenuous, and satisfying but now I am exhausted and sun burnt. I long for my bed. In reality I have not been surfing- it being November, in Canada, no where near a coast, surfing is not an option. But I have been on quite a ride all the same. 18 members of my family descended on our home (at our invitation) for supper. It was a week in the planning and two days in the execution (if you included prep cooking). 12 adults and 6 children under 10 years of age. To our credit the food was tasty and everyone left happy. But our nerves were quite frayed by the end of the night...which is to bed and no more 18 person meals for at least 6 months. Perhaps only once a year...if bed.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008