Monday, February 29, 2016

After death

     The death of the kids' dad happened three and a half years ago, but the lingering effects, the ones you aren't prepared to handle after you think you've already handled it all, never seem to fucking go away.  A few weeks ago Brandon, my boy with endless happiness, found himself hurting, missing his dad.  He wished he was here so he would have someone with which to commiserate during the most dreaded years in a child's life: puberty. His body is betraying him with a voice that cracks with nearly every word he speaks; he is changing into a man, and as much as I try to be there for him, he needs his dad to guide him through all the shit.
     While I can't specifically relate to what he's going through, I can and am here to listen, to hug him while we both shed tears for the gaping hole that has left him feeling empty and sad.  We watched some old home movies so that he could see the face and hear the voice of Dad from a time before alcohol wrapped its debilitating grip around every one of our lives.  It didn't solve the problem, but it filled the hole just enough that it allowed him the opportunity to go on with his day in a slightly better place than he was before, and sometimes that's the best we can ask for.
     Dave's death has left me vulnerable and scared, my mortality always lingering in the back of my thoughts like a predator silently watching its prey.  A few months ago I underwent a breast biopsy for a lump that was found.  A month later I underwent a procedure that removed precancerous cells from my cervix.  The biopsy came back benign and all of the precancerous cells were removed from my body, but that thought, that predator, is always watching from afar, almost as if it is waiting for me to make a false move so that it can strike and take me down, making orphans of my children as if to spite us all.
     This past weekend I stayed the night in Colorado Springs to work on a short film I'm in.  One of the last things that Brandon said to me as I said my goodbyes, was "Come back alive."  The predator lurks in their minds as well, coming out to hunt when I'm gone for longer than a day.
     We can and have healed from Dave's death, but it will never release its hold on us.  There will forever be the gaping hole, whether it's in the form of heartache, or it's in the form of fear.  How we react is of utmost importance - we can choose to let it consume us and take us down, or we can face it head-on, filling it with something as simple as happy memories, or as serious as keeping extra alert on the road so that we can make it back alive and keep the predator at bay.


Friday, February 5, 2016

Old movies

Many years ago I wanted to make movies, so I did.  Here are the two that were seen to completion, back in 2005 (or so).  "Attack of the Killer Squirrel" is based on the kids' aunt, who encountered a scary squirrel while out on a run.  "Not 'Cho Mama" was just a fun movie about a time when the kids had a damn fun afternoon with their dad.  Hope you enjoy as much as we have...

Attack of the Killer Squirrel from Kim on Vimeo.

Not 'Cho Mama from Kim on Vimeo.

Friday, January 1, 2016

The New Year

I never make New Year's resolutions because I always feel that change should come any time of the year, not just when the year hikes up a number.  Having said that, this year will be different.  Not only have I made resolutions, I have set dates and written them down.  I have been stagnating for too long and now that the holidays are winding down, I feel it is the perfect time for me to piss or get off the pot.
One of my resolutions is to write more.  I follow a writing prompt account on Twitter, and I decided to dedicate time every day to writing from the day's prompt.  I feel it will be a good way for me to stretch my fingers and practice a little every day, much like Amanda practices her musical instruments.  Bottom line is, more we do it the better we get.

I also figured I could publish what I write if the mood strikes me, as it would be a good opportunity to get the blog running again, even if no one reads it anymore.  Just putting it out there helps me to feel a little more responsible with my writing.  So without further ado, here is today's assigned writing...


Prompt:  A baby isn't quite what it seems.

A baby enters the world slimy and gross, sometimes bloody sometimes covered in white goop.  It is a useless glob of flesh unable to talk, walk, or even communicate other than to cry.  Even then you have to learn what each cry means - it could be hungry, hurt, tired, gassy, or just bored.  You spend your time learning the damn cries, wiping up copious amounts of shit and piss, bathing the helpless, slimy, wiggly creature, and waking up every hour in the night to feed it.  When you leave the house you have to make sure you carry a bag stuffed with every fucking thing you can think of - basically the entire nursery in a bag that can fit in the basket under the stroller.  Diapers, wipes, ass cream, at least two changes of clothes, formula, bottles, burp rags, a blanket, and toys. Sometimes you stay in the house for days because all the fuss and stress of a successful trip to the outside world feels too overwhelming and you’d rather stay home.
    One day you are holding your baby, watching a TV show about neglected orphaned children in Armenia, and you begin to cry.  You hold her a little closer, kiss her head once or twice, and crying turns to sobbing as you see images of eight-year-olds the size of toddlers because they have been ignored for years.
    Even though she wakes you up every hour on the hour during the night, you can’t sleep anyway.  You are terrified this tiny creature will stop breathing, will somehow roll over onto her side and suffocate, or will spit up and choke to death.  You find yourself rocking her at 2:00 in the morning after a feeding, sleep-deprived and sobbing because you don’t know how you will make it through the next eighteen years.    
    A baby is not quite what it seems.  It isn’t the wiggly lump of flesh you have to keep alive.  She is a portal to your vulnerability - the complete, unobstructed pathway straight to the core of the deepest fears you never realized you had.  There is no preparation for this understanding.  There are no explanations or warnings from mothers before you.  This is something that a mother can only learn on her own, after her own dip into the baptismal font of childbirth.
   Last night as my two babies, Amanda and Brandon, and I sat around the table to celebrate the change into the new year, it occurred to me that in three years, my eldest will be eighteen.  Fifteen years ago as I sat with her cradled in my arms in the middle of the night, sobbing about the terrifying prospect of eighteen years of motherhood.  I have since learned that motherhood will stretch far beyond the years of adulthood.  My babies will forever be that portal to my vulnerability; I will forever ache for their safety and happiness.  
   Babies are not what they seem.  Sometimes they are toddlers who need a sippy cup.  Sometimes they are third graders who need help with a school project.  Sometimes they are teenagers beginning to lose their downy feathers in preparation for the beautiful plumage they will need to fly away. Whatever their ages, our babies are the embodiment of our hearts, the personification of our deepest love.  


Saturday, December 26, 2015


Here's a look back at this crazy year...

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Don't freak out

A long, long time ago in a land far, far away (for reals, we're talking Cody, Wyoming in the '90s), the kids' dad was a kitchen manager/cook in a restaurant where I was a waitress.  Whenever he made something delicious, which, quite honestly, was all the time, he would strut out of the restaurant kitchen and proudly say, "Don't freak out about the soup (or whatever fabulous dish he had prepared)."  This was his way of letting us know that the batch of soup he made for the lunch rush was so damn good we'd all freak the hell out, and that, regardless of how amazing it tasted, we should not in fact, freak out.  Just think of it as a cute passive-aggressive way of proclaiming that his food was hella good.  And it was.

I was never a talented cook, in spite of Dave's many patient attempts to teach me his ways while we were together. I didn't enjoy it, I didn't want to learn, I didn't care if I never learned, and why would I?  I was married to a fucking cook!  I prepared enough decent meals to get us by, and every now and then Dave would whip up a concoction that reminded me that my place in the kitchen was to stay out of the damn kitchen.

Finally about a year and a half ago, after eons of just getting by, I began to teach myself.  What it boiled down to was, I wanted to have things at home that tasted as good as when we went out to eat.  It was a lofty goal, but sufficient for me to get my shit together enough to actually take pride in what I served to the kids.  Feeding the kids meals I was proud of made me think of Dave and his comment about freaking out, so one day I decided to tell them about what he used to say when he made delicious food.

As I served them a meal other than boxed macaroni and cheese, I said, "Don't freak out over dinner," and explained what that meant.  After the first bite or two, each of us bellowed some insanely loud, obnoxious noise; we freaked out.  Ever since then, whenever a savory meal is served (which is most of the time), we each take the opportunity to freak out in our own peculiar ways.  Our usually very quiet home all of a sudden erupts into a several-second cacophony of the loudest, most obnoxious, most deafeningly ridiculous sounds, regardless of who can hear us and what they must think.

So if you ever have the opportunity to witness such craziness, understand that you have peeked into one of many sacred rituals that has woven its way into this tight little pack of weirdos we call a family.  Not only is it our way of expressing our gratitude for delicious meals, it's our means of paying homage to the man who started it all.