Friday, February 27, 2009

The BBC Says I've Read Six Of These

But I know it's more, cuz I'm rabid. So I'm going to go down this list and highlight what I've read, no cheating, Scouts Honor. I have no idea what the BBC based their criteria or point on for this list, or the estimation of Six books out of this One Hundred. It makes me want to read the ones I haven't read, just on principle. What about you?

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34 Emma - Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving (my beloved Irving made the list!)

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery (one of the most important books of my life)

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52 Dune - Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses - James Joyce

76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazu Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Friday Flux

adam lambert Pictures, Images and Photos

If you are willing, click on Nightmare X-Rays ( Speaks For Itself)

TWO Pictures, Images and Photos

Cougar Barbie- Barbie Turns 50

number 3 Pictures, Images and Photos

Stanley Donwood Images:

stanley donwood background Pictures, Images and Photos

Stanley Donwood Pictures, Images and Photos

This last one is my favorite

Stanley Donwood Pictures, Images and Photos

long story Pictures, Images and Photos

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My First MEME

1) What are you wearing right now?
Barack Obama shirt, white pajama pants, Mr. Curry's sweater

2) What is your biggest fear?

I don't want to talk about it, OK?

@ my teeth reflect the years between 15 and 30 that i smoked, a serious coffee habit, and green tea sipping. anyone want to offer me free whitening?? :)

3) Do you nap a lot?
Before I realized all my 'issues' ie: hypothyroidism, endometriosis, food allergies, nutritional imabalances- I was tired allll the time, napped when I could. Now, I nap on the weekends once.

4) Who is the last person you hugged?

Mr. Curry, he just went to bed. :( We have a date night Saturday :)

5) What websites do you visit when you go online?
Blogs, McSweeneys, Huffington, The Onion, Salon

6) What was the last item you bought?

Starbucks Doubleshot

7) If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?


8) If you woke up tomorrow and were a boy, what is the first thing you would do and why?

I think we all know the answer to that.

9) Has a celebrity's hair cut ever influenced your own hairstyle?

Yes- when Heidi Klum had those thick, blunt cut bangs, so did I. And I do it every year at winter, chop chop.

10) What is your most embarrassing moment?

Oh, let's not go into that. The important thing to ask is-- why ARE jello sliders made with so much alcohol, and who knew that police officers are people too?

11) What was the last movie you watched?

Swing Vote (booo)

12) If you had a whole day to yourself with no work, commitments, or interruptions what would you do?
Write, read poetry, blogs, end world hunger, take a nap, drink Starbucks, make art, cure disease, mess with my house, blow your mind, snuggle with my animals, write.

13) If you were to win the Powerball, what would you do with the money (besides invest it)?

Finish my novel. Hire a great tutor for my children. Get Mr. Curry's teeth fixed. Pay off my staggering medical debt. Move to a house with land. Buy, name and ride horses. Hire a personal trainer and nutritionist. Start a foundation for foster children and abused children. Buy a house for my Mom. Try to secretly get money to my sister. Find single moms who are struggling and help them with cars, education, cheap living places. Open a nursing home for the elderly that kicks ass and doesn't smell like urine. Buy a car that works. Start savings for the children in my extended family. Open a homeless shelter equipt with massive amounts of hot chocolate, soft blankets, books, music and art.

14) What was the most joyous moment in your life to date?

The births of my children and the moment I re-fell in love with Mr. Curry

Thank you, Mouthy Irish Woman, for tagging me!!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

La Jolla Shores

To live is like to love- all the reason is against it, and all healthy instinct for it. - Samuel Butler

Looking after children is one way of looking out for yourself. - Ian McEwan

Scenery is fine- but human nature is finer. - John Keats

for whatever we lose (like a you or a me) / it's always ourselves we find in the sea- ee cummings
*poems 95 'maggie and milly and molly and may'*

I will go back to that great sweet mother, Mother and lover of men, the sea. -- A C Swinburne

There are only my children, and my love, and the great wide waters, and I am simultaneously awash in the ecstatic love, life!, and terrified with the primal and timeless knowledge of how briefly we are here. Time is short. I must love hard and fierce and well. I must not forget what matters, or be swayed into turning my light toward the darkness: I cannot outshine it! I will turn it toward what is already lit, the faces of my family, the molecule of this planet in body and soil and plant- so that it glows in a blaze so beautiful, I can live, and die by it: i can see the way.
- maggie may ethridge

I must go down to the sea again, for the call of the running tide / is a wild call and a clear call that may
not be denied.
- John Masefield

Best Sex Ever

Flux Uh can you move your hand? It's on my neck....

Mr Curry Shit I'm sorry!!

Flux It's fine sweetie


Mr. Curry Uh can you head is hitting the headboard

Flux Ah you OK?

Mr. Curry Yes


Flux Honey?

Mr. Curry Well I am upset I hurt you now!

Flux You didn't hurt me, it just freaked me out for a second, it's fine sweetie

Mr. Curry I just feel weird now

Flux You didn't hurt me, really. Sweetie, really, it's fine. I've been thinking about you all day


Lola Mommy? Daddy?

Mr. Curry Lola we'll be out in a while!

Lola (pause. then says slowly...) Who's in there with you?

Mr. Curry Mommy!

Lola Oh. Are you making out again?

Mr. Curry Yes


Mr. Curry ....

Flux ....

(that is where the best sex ever part came in, which just goes to show you, you can't let obstacles get in your way when it comes to a good roll in the hay )

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Friday Flux

NieNie has been back blogging for a little bit. If you don't know here, the summary is that she is a married Mormon woman with four beauties under the age of six; her name is Stephanie Nielson and she, along with her handsome husband Christian, was in a plane crash where she was burnt over 80% of her beautiful self. Now she is back in a new home, recovering, and has just returned home again from yet another surgery, this time on her armpit and hand. Her courage in the face of overwhelming pain, loss (of a life she expressed love and devotion for daily, of a face she recognizes) and grief is absolutely inspiring. She cries regularly, she says. (of course she does...) But damn her spirit is so fierce. She has taught me a few things about living. No matter what her pain or problems, she is damn determined to also be grateful, and to love, and express love, and yes, the tears must be cried, the pain felt and expressed, but then move, move toward love. I am in love with Stephanie Nielson, in the same way I fell in love with other women I've read of over my lifetime, women who are so amazing that it is thrilling, magical even, to read about their lives. Nie has a purity of heart that I cannot convey in this small space. Of course she is not perfect- I don't know what her flaws are, but I'm sure they exist :) but even if she had a BIG SERIOUS GROWN UP flaw, the things about her that I know are so overwhelmingly touching and amazing, it would only make her maybe a wee more accessible. As it is, someone sullied by life like I have been can only bask in the happy knowledge that people, and families like hers, do indeed exist. You see, it's not about what life has GIVEN her, it's about what she's DONE with it.
I love you like a fat kid loves cake, NieNie.

This one's for you, Nie:

during the afternoon
the pain relents- i notice our cat
hunting a fly, a beetle, a one legged bird.

she crouches patiently,
as if she will live forever.
she doesn't know she won't

so for her
pain is not a reminder
that death is the mission of the body.

my skin crawls eerily
these sharp toothed nerves gouging
into muscle, it feels like bone.

into the joints, sacks of cells
i am joined like an arthritic precurser.
inside the eddy of blood all things

clamor about, the membrane swells.
i spy the cat again, she limps distractedly
a fie in her paw, a hawking in her eye

she doesn't think of pain
as a signal for anything but patience.
taking care to clean around the wound,

rest burden on her other three.
she is more concerned with being a mother
and catching things to eat, than her foot.

i jump up and throw my arms out,
yell, hoot, start a dance from my aching feet.
fuck you,

i sing to this pain,
fuck you.

-maggie may ethridge

A Japanese chef has craftily made these Obama sushi. Of course he did.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Inspiration/Household Board

The quickly drawn sign I made last night to remind myself....

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

papa's got a brand new bag

for a small family, two rooms
is best, you eat the bacon,she shakes
the breast, one of who lied in past
embrace (the other just confessed)

interlude: family of four, maybe
five, divorce proceedings unassembled,
unaccounted for- vacation on the
beach, (what's one more?)

keeping up with the leisure set
ate up the cash in kitty, your
fat faced child strangled the thing,
discipline him (for god's sake have pity)

around town is best, most impressed
with the laughter of small people and
hand holding of the older two, a sense
of justification, (the accolades accrue)

what's best in modern living quarters,
a room for every brat, shiny techno
hand holding, a beauty pageantry- this
family will compete (the! gadgetry!)

winners, winners: still fuck Friday
nights, call it love, the bills are paid,
the children Have Things in hand
and (baby threw up a credit card grenade)

settling for eighty hour work weeks,
face of a hag, i concede your family
owns the most and your papa's
got a brand new bag.

-maggie may ethridge

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Hotel New California

home Pictures, Images and Photos

We live on a cul-de-sac in suburban San Diego, amidst baseball and soccer fields, Target shopping centers and California Pizza Kitchens, (where Mr. C and I went for our cocktails, chips and dip last night). The more specific area where we live, the town in the town, is a strange blend of the poor (one bedroom crap-shacks on streets with multiple sex offenders) to the very rich (we see Tony Gwynn often, just last week at the gas station) to the homeless immigrants who work day and night, rain or shine, standing on the carefully upkept corners with their baseball hats and broad smiles.

Somewhere in there are the middle class, and then there is Us- the packaged middle-class. We look middle-class but we are not. We are poor. Not exaggerating, or using the word lightly- yes, we are poor. We struggle to pay our bills and have notices put on our door a few times a year DISCONNECTION IMMINENT We are going to have to declare medical bankrupcy from my prior surgeries due to Endometriosis, and that was with Blue Cross, piece of shit insurance. We owe the IRS due to the business that Mr. Curry slaved over and eventually lost due to astronomical increases in Workers Compinsation insurance. Our cars are cramped, old, falling apart and mine barely works: the power steering is out, so I drive every day wrestling the wheel like a mud wrestling ho, in addition to the chronic overheating and the defunct air conditioner/heater. Mr. C drives Blue Thunder, the loveable old Ford clunker that he recently started using a combination of sheer muscle and a wrench. When our children have to pay library fees we sweat the 15$. My bras are falling apart, too baggy and old and the underwire poking out- but I bought Lola new clothes recently, as she had grown out of most of her pants and shirts. Mr. C's shoes have entire layers peeling off the bottom and we chose to go to California Pizza Kitchen for Valentines Day instead of buying him new shoes. We both work full time. We work hard. We barely keep above water.

Stimulate This Package

A large life preserver in our household has been the addition to our household of the mysterious, the unknown, the oft dreaded: Roomates. Female, all (we have children), we have had roomates for a few years now, and here is the ultimate Red Flag toward our seriously troubled financial position: I share a room with Lola, while Mr. Curry sleeps in the boys room. We don't have a marital bed, much less privacy. It's a shocking downgrade in adulthood and parenthood to have to part ways with your honey and snuggle into a twin sized bed with a long limbed and snoring seven year old.

During the halycon days after Lola's birth, when Mr. Curry's business was affording us a comfortable lifestyle, we had a four bedroom home and large backyard, newish minivan, and Mr. C had a large, brand new white truck, which he mourns to this day. It was repossessed. He lost his business, we moved, the men in their white coats and sweetly apologetic faces came at 6am, waking me and the children, to drag the white truck away. My minivan was lost in That Year, the year where I crashed the minivan after we had lost our insurance, so in addition to the accident and loss of car, I owe the state money, which they are taking from my paycheck.

Moving from that, to this, was hard. Having roomates in our two master bedrooms? Harder.

But not too hard. Not as hard as the many stories and voices that swim through my mind daily, the 8 year old African orphan who is singlehandedly raising her brothers and sisters. That's not a sad tale some writer concocted. That's her Reality. That is her Life. Only the unfathomable lottery of chance decided that I would be born here, in the U.S., with our enormous privelege and responsibillities to our freedoms, and born into a place where I may be poor, and downtrodden, but also within reach of a new life, a better life. Although I was abused as a child, when I was ready to heal, help was available. Because I spent so many years in the dark isolation and suffering of my childhood unit, I know what hopelessness is. Because they thought, before my first surgery, that I might have ovarian cancer, and because I know a woman now who has a 2 year old daughter and 1 year old son who just started walking, and because she has invasive, metastisized breast cancer and will probably die in a few years: because life is endless in it's array of possibilities, I can look at where my circumstance falls and see that I am not on the far side of the dark. My childhood taught me true despair. I will never forget.

The battle is every day, to hold up my marriage, my life and values. Mr. Curry and I have to be very persistently careful to connect, because with him in one room and I in another, without the place carved out for ourselves, we can drift apart so easily. At night, in front of a movie, one of our roomates could walk from her room to get some milk, and in that simple act, bring us from intimacy to a quiet acceptance. Mr. Curry reminded me, as I was in tears the other night, with his arms around me, that we can make it through this and more, that we love each other more than enough, that we have to be patient. I nodded on his shoulder, yes, yes, I know you are right.

Our roomates currently are sweet people. A single mom and her son, named Dakota as well, live with us- our third African American roomates, which is good too, because the area where we live is largely Asian, Hispanic and White. I'm glad for our kids to meet people in this way, up close and personal, and recognize our common humanity, to form bonds, to learn patience and acceptance. One of our roomates is now a best friend of mine, we had so much in common- eating organic, Attachment Parenting, kooky, writers, creative and damaged, moving towards health of all kinds.

The money provided by their rents will allow us to file for medical bankrupcy for my past medical bills (again, curses to Blue Cross) and allows us to do smaller, regular things with the kids, like the Zoo, trips to the thrift stores, new clothes. The money will allow us to save for a better car, one that won't make up it's own mind if it feels like starting on a cold morning.
The experience, though, is ours to use, a currency we have to handle carefully. We keep a close eye on our marriage, our children, our stress levels. It's hard to manage such a busy, busy, oh so fucking BUSY household!

The Math

Four Cats
Two Dogs
Four Adults
Five Kids (sometimes four, If Ian is with his mom)

Four rooms (one on the other side of the house, affords privacy)

So the economic downturn? We were there already, America. In the trenches, owing the money, sucking it up, the tears, the anger, the frustration, the hard work. Keeping roomates is how we keep our head above water.

I've got some great stories out of it, at least.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

We Are Family

Grandma Mary, Lola, MaggieMay, Dakota, Ian, Mr. Curry

Friday, February 13, 2009

Barack Obama In Love

Love: The New America
this is love as i know it, love exhausted but supported, worked to the bone but deeply gratified, weary but lit with new light, humbled but reassured, aware of the long road ahead but not alone, not alone.

i am so grateful for Mr. Curry, for Dakota Wolf, Ian Oliver, and Lola Moon, my family, for who i rise every morning and face every challenge and insecurity and pain and frustration with the ever present awareness of my clan, my pack, my family: the blessing of their love and companionship has given me a deeper satisfaction, meaning and purpose to my life than i ever imagined. no matter how hard the road we walk, we walk it together, and Mr. Curry and i make point to say this out loud, that we are a family, that we are always there for each other, and that this must translate into the wider world, our human family. at home we learn about bonding and the work of love, and we want our children to bring this into their adult lives, so we say it: we say we are a family and we must stick by each other,
we say: we love you, we say: always look out for each other, we say: we will always look out for you, we are always on your side,
we say these things out loud weekly, and our children's faces reflect the joy they feel inside hearing this and knowing this, and we continue our Family Nights and our Saturday Excursions and everyone has dinner at the table four nights a week and attending games and recitals as a family, because this is the beginning of everything.

and now that we have a President who understands love is action
and family is the beginning of love
and in that family we learn how to love
how hard love can be
but how ultimately it is really the only thing
to extend it to others
and this extension is possible only through action
and that in that extension, we are producing meaning for ourselves, and in doing so, saving ourselves from despair
so that in a family, we learn how to be human
things will get better now.

i love you President Obama

A Thousand Kisses

A Thousand Kisses, Love Letters of American Art * Click on the blog title to see the page about this wonderful exhibition

Friday Flux

oh the sweetness! Marry Me has been going round the internet, but i couldn't resist posting. it's so charming and made me smile, which we all need right now. xo

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dinner Party Tonight, Dead or Alive

Annabelle has tagged me to answer this: which 8 people, dead or alive, would you invite to a dinner party, and why?

One, Eleanor Roosevelt A hero of mine, a woman who took a troubled, lonely and painful childhood and turned it to steel inside her, a woman who reinvented herself over and over, a woman married to the most powerful man in the US and yet was never overshadowed in intellect, action or idea, a woman who raised a family and changed the country with her writing, policy and speeches. She created and made happen an entire village of housing for poor people for free that was equipped for them to be self-substainable. She fought for women's rights, civil rights, for children and the poor. She was brave and good and not afraid to look at her faults.

, Barack Obama
Our first black president, a man who came from loss and created change.

, The Dali Lama
A peaceful spirit who could help me move toward freedom from fear.

Four, Laura Ingells A pioneer in so many ways, a woman who lived a life so vastly different than mine I can hardly imagine it. She wrote timeless books that helped me as a child, books that are so beloved I don't think there will be a time when they are not read. She was calm and brave and stubborn and loving in the face of a hard, demanding life where people died younger and the elements were in control. I have read her books and all about her life and never tire of imagining living in the Little House in the Prairie.

, Sylvia Plath
My favorite poet, the one who lit the fire for me. Although years and years have passed since the first impression, I have never had to reassess my opinion of her as the most genius woman poet of image and lyricism, ever. I have never stopped reading her.

Six, Queen Elizabeth An absolutely fascinating woman in a time so incredibly difficult to be alive it's hard to believe it was real. She was a product of her time and yet transcended that in power, intelligence and sheer will. She fascinates me because I can barely fathom bearing the life she had to lead, much less with such iron determination.

Seven, Dave Eggers One of my favorite writers, Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius was the first book to engulf me in a very long time. Not all of his novels are as brilliant, but he is insanely creative, intelligent and talented and unparalled in the scope of his productivity. McSweeneys Internet Tendencies is one of my favorite web haunts, and the Valencia writing center (there are more locations now) for children is an amazing place that he created and funded. He also wrote the mind bogglingly moving What Is the What, about one of the 'Lost Boys'- a novel/memoir where he did extensive interviews spanning years with Atchung, a man who lost most of his family and friends to violence in Africa and barely made it out alive himself, and then turned his notes and interviews into a first person story of immense power and grace.

Eight, My Sister Because a life without her in it is never quite right.

Tag You Are It, if you want to be.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Oh Snap

Dakota: Lola stop it. Lola. LOOOLA STOP IT!

Me: Dakota! Be quiet. Lola stop.

Ian: Lola stop it. You're so annoying.

Dakota: Yeah, you're so annoying.

Lola: No i'm nooooooot

Ian: Whiney!

Dakota: Whiner!!

Lola: I could just slap you right now without even caring.

Charlie Bit My Fingah

Monday, February 9, 2009

the rain comes this time of year and with it comes my heart

turn this Petula Clark up and watch the sky, a lover's face, the wind

it's pouring here, just pouring
thank god

Blue Monday

It's a doozy, a four champagne'glass night, a long stare at a picture of myself in sodden self absorption and pity to wonder what the hell is happening to my face? My lip is apparently lopsided? When did this happen? My chin is softening. If I begin to get jowls for the love of God, I will use every instrument of torture Sir Doctor has at his/her dispense, and lay before their steely paws my full frontal plea: make this a face I recognize.

A strange thing is happening: I don't recognize myself lately. I stopped dying my hair after being blonde, BLONDE Blonde since 20yrs., after running like watercolor from Tow Headed as a child, to a blonde adolescent, to dirty blonde, to my pregnancy mud. The dying began along with a few years of hellish self absporption where I can only claimed to have piled the pain and suffering of my youth into a fernetic grip onto my looks: here was something I could depend on to my make me feel good. I went through a determination to buy breast implants, which thank god I was too poor for because Mr. Curry adores my breasts, and I love them quite fine, and would be miserable now if I had implants. I had fake nails for years- going for the whole Baywatch Slut look, achieved through careful observation of Playboy magazine and my imagination. I had a pre-packaged look that worked quite fine for garnerning attention from men: the Nails, the Hair, the Boobs, the Butt, the Tight Clothing, the Makeup, the Tan. No, Daddy wasn't there. If it wasn't obvious enough already.

I had spent my childhood not only miserable, but also firmly convinced I was totally and completely ugly. I had a round face, fat cheeks with dark splatterings of freckles, a small mouth and nose and eyes (which I found sadly lacking, compared to my sister and cousin's larger features) hair as limp as wet cotton candy, and absolutely no fashion sense whatsoever. Unfortunately my mother had none either, and so I was the product of many a bad idea, for hair and for fashion. The hair cut my mother gave me as a pre-teen still haunts me.

My best friend Julie was so beautiful, so widely acknowledged as beautiful, and to make matters worse, we were of a same egg: freckles, blue eyes, blonde hair, thin, same body type- only she was like the animae uber-version, while I was the farm girl version: hard working, durable, maybe cute, to some adults and dogs. This is honestly how I saw myself, and is very sad, while also being funny, in a kind of manic i'm-on-the-brink-of-losing-it-way. Julie's eyes were bigger, her face slimmer, her hair obedient, her freckles quieter, and she had fashion sense, (as did her mother) money, and a very keen eye for what was acceptable or desirable. You'd think I would have learned a thing or two from Julie, but somehow her magical knowledge of how to be beautiful slipped through my fingers, and I could only watch in admiration as she made her hair perfect, applied makeup, and sauntered into a room with the complete knowledge that every man and boy thought she was a knockout.

Boys teased me, called me ugly, I could barely shop for clothes without breaking into a hot, unnatractive sweat of anxiety, convinced I was fat, ugly, and doomed to never know the power of a beautiful girl- like my cousin, my sister, my best friend, my mother! for Christsakes! My Grandmother was beautiful! What had happened to me? Unfair. I was being abused, emotionally and physically, and my focus remained like a bulldog on my looks, and the despair I felt over their failure.

Then fifteen. My breasts bloomed, my legs lengthened, my waist curved into a tiny, hour glass nook, my freckles quieted, my hair grew out, my face lost it's baby fat, and there was a miracle: boys. wanted. me. The same boys who had ignored me completely before now could not take their eyes of me in my tight Levi jeans, my tee shirts, my blue eyeliner. I was hot. I was in heaven. I used all my considerable imagination and industry and formulated both a personality (highly sexualized but innocent, intelligent but niave, loving and overly trusting, forgiving, sweet and rock n roll) and a look (tight Levi's,white tight tee, boots, makeup, body oil, smile and eyes) that became garanteed to catch the eye of any guy and keep his interest. I flirted, I attracted, I kissed, and finally and inevitably, I had sex at fifteen. At least he was kind, and a friend. That's the best that can be said about that.

We are all adults here. Of course we know now- grown, many of us with children of our own, sexual partners in our past, our relationship failures and success clear- we know now that no matter our age, we carry our past inside. What we do with that past, bury it, roll in it, fear it, learn from it, it up to us, but it remains. Those years of ugly, ugly, ugly are firmly rooted in my mind, my cellular makeup, the electronic code my brain lights when my eye falls on my thigh, or catches my reflection in the mirror.

So the hair has gone from blonde to whatever it is now- a light brown with blonde- and I've had children, and a hard life, and a serious tendency toward binging on sugars and carbs. ( sorry body, so sorry. ) And now suddenly this last year, when I look in the mirror, or see pictures of myself, I am transported back to that young girl who did not like what she saw in the mirror.

I have never felt particularly afraid of aging, but now I realize it was aging as I saw it: wrinkles, fine. Undereye sag? OK. But I never considered my chin going soggy on me. My jawline melting. Jowls? JOWLS, for the love of God!! Who can handle that? And the lines from my nose to my mouth are becoming very uncool. Very UNCOOL, you hear that, face!? I'm terribly ashamed to admit I've become one of those women who pull the skin up on their face in the mirror.

All my suffering as a child, the depth of intellectual thought I have enganged in my twenties and thirties, the countless novels and books I have read, the college, the motherhood, marriage, deaths, disease, surgeries! And still, this face is taking center stage. My ego is seriously concerned. Do I want to look 20? No. Do I want to avoid all signs of aging? No. Can I handle not recognizing my face in the mirror. Well, yes, I can handle it, but not so well so far.

I think about Stephanie Nielson. Do you know the amazing Stephanie? Nie Nie, of the NieNie Dialogues? Well six months ago she, along with her husband Christian, was in a plane crash, where she was burnt over 80% of her body. They both survived, and she is now recovering from home- a new home, where they had to move to be closer to family. Their four children are being cared for by Nie's sisters. Stephanie's face was badly burnt. What she will look like? I have no idea. I've met a burn victim before, here in San Diego, who was burnt in one of our infamous and terrible fires. Her face was very distorted and shiny with scar, and she was very young. Nie is very young, younger than I am, and she is? was? the type of girl who loved pretty. And you know, there was nothing shallow about Nie, Mormon, mother of four, devoted mommy, but she loved interior design, makeup, clothing, hair- she was always in full face makeup, hair done, earrings on, looking so beautiful. How will she reconcile the face she sees in the mirror with the face she remembers?

Mr. Curry is the most loving husband you could imagine. He is always telling me I'm beautiful, and I know he means it, but this isn't about him, or my marriage. It's about fearing the loss of something that has been a crutch, a solace, and truthfully, a thing of joy, after a childhood where any of those things were rare or impossible. But how could I ever find the heart to really complain when my love looks at me like this?

I rarely post 'questions' toward you all, but this time, I'd really like to hear what your own experiences with your face are, as you age.

Love, Maggie

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Forget the Grammys- Here's the Lemonade Suckas

The marvelous fantabulous and so wonderfully gay ( and handsome ) Jason, from The Jason Show, has given me this award, with instructions to go forth and procreate. So I shall pop out ten tiny little bloggy babies, here in a row, who shall accept this award also, and procreate, and so forth, so on, what have you....

For Blogs Who are Sweet and! Sour

What Possessed Me
quirky, intelligent, interested yet slightly aloof= i'm in

Collin Kelley: Modern Confessional
a writer, poet, gay man and hilarious commentator of all things Americana

Petunia Face
sassy, beautiful, in-your-face mother/writer who lost her job cuz 'it's the economy, stupid'

Miss Grace's Disgrace
single mom, boldly honest, sarcastic, ironic and funny

she has the most beautiful name in the world :)

Us and Them
always makes me laugh, this father of two is dry as the desert and funny as hell

What Is Reality Anyway
she's fierce: a poet, fashionista and rock lover who hangs with the rich and famous

The Unconscious Wit of My Bedroom
an AMAZING poet. i am in love with my friend.

Love, Evolution and Resilience
she is a recovering addict who is terribly honest in that way we can only be when we are stripped bare

Whee! All the Way Home
blunt but sensitive, dryly funny, observant and the mother of three

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Lola Moon

Lola Bloom

Lola you are too pure for your mother,
your radiance illuminates the dirt around my mouth.
i talk and the spittle is old.

the clean in your breath is astounding.
how can anyone smell so delicious,
not baked or risen in the oven, not perfumed
with essential oils?
my breath is sour and coffee.

in the morning you say,
'momma your breath is stinky'
when i kiss you.

this is how mothers can grow to envy their daughters,
i see it now, how it happens.
their breasts spring forth in acres of skin,
their minds flexible and unafraid.
their mistakes loom in the future, unsaid,
undone, unknown.

they stand near us, in our arms,
pressed against our aging breasts
and act as if they will never grow old.

Lola i will never fight for what you have,
never cling to your childhood to clean my skin.

Lola i will never covet your boyfriends,
your car rides, your first kiss, your bikini.

you can have the flowers, the fields,
every good and brilliant man who deserves you,
the long looks of admiration, every good
time and every good feeling, in abundance,
in bushels, in gifts of foxglove petals,
the ones we both adore.

in return for knowing you, for being privy
to your luminous beauty and ringing song,
your purity of spirit, your trust,
your raging temper and saucy disobedience,
your penchant for wiping buggers on the wall.
the way your mouth opens like a pink bloom
when you are waking.

Lola i am not a martyr
but for you there is nothing i am afraid to hand over.
( ' Momma? If you had to choose between
chopping off your hand and losing me, what would- '
' -Lola, I'd choose you.)

in a small trick magicked up by love,
your every happiness thrills me,
as the ocean is still and deep and content
beneath the laughing tops of wave, catching the sun.

My daughter is seven years old. Trying to express my love for her is like trying to harness the sea! Happy Birthday Lola. You are the bees knees and we love you more than a big zambonie!
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