Up and Down and the Cat’s out of the bag


“Ahhh” taking a sip of my coffee, the second pot I’ve made today. The first pot tasted yucky, I didn’t drink it, had to drive Jack and Fiona to school, we were an hour late, we all slept till 8:30 today, our first night back from vacation. Now I have an hour till I need to go pick them up. I’m trying to enjoy this cup of coffee, but my allergies have been so bad it still doesn’t taste right. The house is quiet, but the state of it is loud, a big loud mess. Piles of laundry, dirty dishes, ants, poopy diapers, dead flowers, a total disaster. My cup of coffee is growing on me. I wish I had more time. Yes, this coffee is getting good and I wish I had more time. I want to write today. I’ve been trying to write for days, I’ve had minutes here and moments there to jot down a few lines. But never the chunk of time to really write, without anyone around, without worrying what someone else, someone close to me, will think about what I’ve written or analyze me in any artificial way. I might as well let the cat out of the bag, yes, my husband read my blog for the first time last week. I was so happy he finally read it, but it wasn’t as exciting for him, he did say he read it fast, but that it sounded like I was unhappy. I am here to tell you and him I am very happy! I love my husband very much and our marriage and our life together. Now when I write around him I feel self-conscious. I think he understands though, I tried to explain to him, how I’m writing about the struggles of being an artist and a mom and a housewife. The difficulties of not making a paycheck, not selling my work, the work I do cooking and cleaning is just expected and I don’t get a paycheck or a gold star! And that these issues are every stay-at-home parent’s issues. And my art issues are every artist that don’t sell work issues. These things have nothing to do with my spouse! My darling Alan! I love you.  As I sat to write this and thought about my allergies, my cramps, my dirty house complaints, I thought am I an unhappy person in general? I don’t think so, I find myself a very happy person generally! I thought about the fact that I really haven’t changed, I’ve had this same disposition for as long as I can remember. Things have changed since the babies have been born, that’s for sure. Twins leave little room in a marriage for the couple. By the end of the day I’m beat, after cooking the dinner and cleaning up, after I put the babies to sleep there’s not much left. But that’s fine, that’s the way it is. I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I do what I can.

Five nights ago, on our way to Truckee, red, yellow, and white, lights flashed around me, night driving. A bright light shone in the car, “What was that?” I ask. Alan tells me It was a billboard. I imagine it’s the government taking pictures of people driving down this stretch of the highway at night. Looking for drug traffickers and tweakers.  As cars pass I wonder who the people are driving them and where they are going. The hum of the freeway under me, the bumps, the often changing asphalt to concrete then back to asphalt.  I imagine the men who work on these roads. The freeway crew at night. With their Broken bodies, twisted limps, seen it all look on their faces.  Hot sticky Tar and rock. Stretching across fields, through trees and valleys. I turn on Mickey Mouse Club House, it’s 11:50PM, Jack and Fiona are still awake, I thought they would sleep the whole way up. I realize I didn’t put on Mickey Mouse Club House I put on The Wiggles. Earlier tonight we went to the San Francisco International Art Festival, The 100-year anniversary of the DADA movement. A show-  GAP- the globlal art project- have been preparing for, working diligently, and created some amazing work, including the Giant Dada collaborative quilt, sewn and assembled by Akiko in Japan, using frags sent from all over the world by the members of GAP. 

 Jack and Fiona saw their first modern dance performance, “At War with Language” written by Maria Allocco and performed by Rosalyn Salters. Jack stayed close to me, peering over my shoulder as Rosalyn came out in a mask, dancing and flowing across the floor. Fiona watched carefully processing what was happening all around her. “Scary” Jack says. “Sometimes art is scary Jack” I say. But even though he thinks it’s scary I can tell he’s enjoying every minute of it. The babies make too much noise during the curators’ speeches, which embarrasses me, but at the same time I think this is a DADA show! The babies are definitely in the spirit of DADA. Dada shouldn’t be a stuffy experience, right? Art shouldn’t be a stuffy experience. Nothing should be a stuffy experience!

 When we get home from the city Alan and I load up the car, I can’t believe how much stuff I packed. We head up to Truckee and it’s already ten at night!

We wake up under giant Pine Trees, sticky sap and nettles on the bottom of my feet as I walk outside after a sleepless night. Jack and Fiona run around excited, maybe a bit confused. I think about the contrast between last night, San Francisco, Fort Mason. The bay, the art, the people, and Truckee, the Trees, the altitude. From one extreme to another. What is that like in a two year olds mind? Do they notice all the changes and new experiences we are going through in such a short period of time? Or do all of the experiences mesh together, are they just living in the moment, taking it all in, but not comparing like I am? Jack runs around all day the first day. Alan and I are so tired. Fiona takes a nap, but not Jack. It’s one of those days I don’t know if I can make it. But at night, when I am able to get both babies to sleep by 8:30pm I can’t believe it. “I made it” I say. The next morning after an amazing breakfast of French toast, made by my husband Alan we head out for a hike. We load up our hiking backpacks with lunch, raincoats, waters.  There’s still snow on the ground in sections of the hike.  It’s so beautiful here. 

We climb giant rocks and walk through streams, my feet get soaked. Jack falls asleep first. The air is still, it’s not going to rain and it’s hotter than I thought it would be. We have no map, we’re told, “You can’t get lost” by a woman giving a hiking tour. I say to Alan, I bet we could! We find a secluded lake on sugar bowl property. We wake Jack up and take out our lunches, I bring tuna in a can and we scoop it out of the can and put it on our bread, it’s delicious this way. I tell the babies about the danger of the lake, that they need to learn to swim and not to go in the water, it’s deep and super cold. Fiona trips and hits her mouth on a rock, blood gushes out, I take my flannel shirt and press it on her lip. I know from experience now these things look worse than they are most of the time. After my shirt is stained with blood her lip stops bleeding, it’s swollen but she’s fine. Jack trips hitting his cheek onto the picnic bench. Alan and I realize it’s definitely too early to go camping. We walk around exploring, listening to birds sing, throwing rocks in the lake. I sit with each baby individually by a secret waterfall. We sit in silence at first. It surprises me.  Then I tell them how special this moment is and how much I love them.

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About Dirty Laundry Blog

Thoughts on Motherhood Through the Eyes of an Artist