luckier - and much happier - than I realize."
Hello, new journal!
There are a number of
"should" be doing at the moment ... washing last night's dinner dishes,
putting a clean sheet on Jamie's crib, catching up on my letter-writing
... but I couldn't resist postponing everything, in order to write in
my fat new orange journal! Orange, for autumn -- my favorite
season of the year, the "time of beginnings." The other night I felt
autumn beginning. Ray and I were grocery shopping, there was a huge
yellow moon, and the night was clear and cold. It was exhilarating.
Jamie is playing in her
with Wendie Kitty; Kacie has just gone down for her first nap of the
day. The house is a moderate shambles - nothing too serious. I can put
it in order in an hour. The only problem is my usual lack of energy. I
can never seem to get started until the middle of the afternoon; in the
mornings, all I can do is sit here in my chair and drink coffee and
watch the soaps. I feel so sluggish.
Things are going to
change in my
life, though. I can feel it. Something is going to happen to wake me up
and make me feel alive again. Maybe it's the approach of autumn that
makes me feel this way ... this is usually the best time of year for
me. Good things happen in the fall. I get a sense of "starting over."
Whatever the reason, though, I know that something good is right around
Today Kacie is six
Half a year! My funny, fuzzy-haired, gentle-natured daughter. What a
special addition she's been to our family.
We took the girls to
Grandma Vert last weekend. While Jamie played in the kitchen and ran
around in the backyard, Kacie laid on a blanket on the living room
floor and gurgled happily at everybody. Grandma Vert kept saying to
"Grandpa" Ted, "Look at what a good baby she is!" She was so amazed by
Kacie's sweet nature. Every time Grandma caught Kacie's eye, they both
broke into huge smiles; it was as though there was something
unspoken and special between the two of them. I thought it was
beautiful: two of the dearest people in my life, getting to know each
other. My grandma and my Kacie. At one point Grandma was thinking out
loud, trying to decide who Kacie resembles. She was starting to say
that Kacie looks like me, but then she stopped suddenly and laughed.
"No!" she said to Kacie. "You just had an expression on your face that
was the image of your daddy!" Grandma had caught a glimpse of what I
call Kacie's "Ray Face." Something about
the eyes, the
brow and the nose ... that kind of musing, self-absorbed look that Ray
gets when he's thinking. Sometimes Kacie looks exactly the
way, although at this point it's unintentional.
Terry S. has taken
both of the
girls for a walk in the double stroller ... I am savoring the momentary
quiet and solitude. Kacie has been strangely grumpy all day -- I think
she's teething, poor little thing -- and my nerves are frazzled. Ray is
bowling tonight, but I don't have much interest in going with him this
year. I know I'm throwing away a chance to get out of the house one
night a week, but I can't help myself. These days I'm practically
agoraphobic: leaving the house seems like more trouble than it's worse.
I got a wonderful letter
Dad yesterday. It was unexpected but most welcome. Dad &
had invited me to go camping with them last month, but I had to turn
them down. Since then I've been afraid that they were mad at me, but
Dad's letter dispelled my fears ... it was long and rambling and funny
and full of the familiar "Dad-isms" I know so well.
September 22, 1983
Tired this morning.
the wild-eyed alcoholic next door, came pounding on our door at
midnight, drunk and hysterical. She said that (her husband) John was
beating her, and she wanted me to "hide" her. I gave her my bathrobe,
since she was only wearing a pajama top, and I tried to get her to
quiet down and sleep on the sofa. Her screaming both woke the
girls. Finally, I practically ordered
"lay down and shut up" ... that's when she went screaming and crying
out the door and into the night, still wearing my robe. I locked the
door, turned off all the lights and went back to bed.
This isn't the first
has happened. Several times Marcy has come to our door after a drunken
fight with Johnny, and every time it's the same story ... she sobs and
swears and says she "hates that s.o.b." ... it's pathetic. At first I
was afraid for her, and I honestly thought I was doing the right thing,
letting her stay here. After it happened again & again, though,
realized that she was taking advantage of me. But no more. After last
night, I've had enough. If she and John can't keep their arguments
within their own house, it shouldn't be my problem. From the accounts
that (their sons) Rick & Mike have given me, their mother is
one who usually starts the fights (and the one who starts hitting and
throwing things), so I think she can hold her own against John. If she
was really a battered wife, that would be a different story, but she
isn't. She just uses that as an excuse.
Marcy just came to the
return my bathrobe. She was sheepish and apologetic and promised that
it won't happen again.
I've got terrible cramps. They just started a little while ago. It's
been so long since I've had menstrual cramps like this, I'd forgotten
what they feel like. OUCH. I took a couple of extra-strength aspirin,
and drinking hot coffee seems to help.
This is the first autumn
years that I'm not pregnant! And I find I miss it, in a way.
September 23, 1983
Cut my hair yesterday,
four inches all the way around. Some of it isn't completely even, but
for the most part it looks nice. I'm getting older now, and the long
LONG hair I've worn for thirteen years is no longer as becoming as it
used to be. It looks much better short.
Kacie had me up and down
night last night. I think it was because of the full moon ... Gretchen
is always more agitated during a full moon, and since she is right
outside of Kacie's window, she probably kept waking the baby up. I wish
we didn't have a dog. Somehow or another we got stuck with Gretchen
last year, and she's been nothing but trouble ever since.
Tomorrow is the annual
Kraft picnic at Lake Sammamish. I'm actually looking forward to it: it
should be fun to get out and spend the day as a family.
Today I have little odds
ends of housework to do. I also want to get a head start on tomorrow;
trim Jamie and Kacie's bangs, start packing the diaper bag, do a load
of baby laundry and set out their clothes for the picnic. Traveling
anywhere with the two of them is always a major undertaking.
September 26, 1983
We had a wonderful
(I'll tell you about it a little later.) Right now I'm surveying the
disaster area that is my home and plotting how to make it livable
again. There are toys, dishes, newspapers, dirty clothes, paper bags,
ashtrays, empty beer cans, chicken bones, wet towels and other
odds and ends strewn everywhere. Oddly enough, however, today
mess isn't frightening or overwhelming. Some days I look at it and feel
like crawling right back into bed. Today, though, I view it as a
challenge. I'm certainly not going to be bored today! There's too much
Now I've showered and
myself and the girls. I have new stoneware ... a complete set, royal
blue and brown. My mother-in-law sent it over to me yesterday.
Apparently she bought it for herself but decided she "didn't like" the
pattern. I love
it. It's in beautiful condition ...
hardly a chip or scratch anywhere. Drinking my coffee this morning from
one of the wide coffee cups; marveling at my mother-in-law's unexpected
Cloudy. Ten minutes ago
it was a
lovely sunny morning; suddenly there are huge black clouds looming
overhead. I wonder if it's going to storm? I think I would enjoy a good
wild storm today, while I'm puttering around the house.
The Western Kraft picnic
Saturday was wonderful. We had so much fun. Jamie had the run of the
park, and she thoroughly enjoyed herself, dashing around and mingling
with the other kids. Kacie was an angel. Most of the time she sat in
her stroller or in my arms, observing the goings-on; later in the
afternoon she even took a nap. Both the girls got a new stuffed animal
- Kacie got a brown teddy bear, Jamie a blue duck. I sat and drank beer
with the other wives and talked. (Marcie was there with her new twin
daughters, Randi & Sandi).
That night, after we got
from the picnic, Ray took me out for drinks at The Chili Pepper while
Terry came over & babysat the girls. It felt terrific to get
alone with my husband.
September 28, 1983
Worried about Jamie and
doctor. We owe him $139, and I'm afraid he's going to ask us to "seek
professional care elsewhere," the way Dr. VP did. I couldn't bear it if
this happened. Aside from the humiliation, there is Kacie to be
considered: she missed her four month DTP, and now her six month is
due. Tonight I plan to talk to Ray about it, after he comes home from
bowling. If he tries to avoid paying the doctor bill out of tomorrow's
paycheck, I'm going to insist. I've been worried sick about this all
month, and I must see it resolved before Dr. Bauer cuts us off.
Kacie is so close
I expect it to happen any minute now. This morning
she rolled from her back to her tummy - twice. That means she's gaining
greater control of her body. She's strong and she's determined, and as
soon as she figures out how to put one hand and one knee in
of the other, she's got it made.
I tried giving her
yesterday and she absolutely refused to eat them. She's not crazy about
applesauce, either. Getting her used to solids is proving to be tougher
than it was with Jay. She is also having difficulty sleeping through
the night - still. Last night she was up at 1 a.m. and again at 4:30
a.m. I'm so used to getting up in the night that it doesn't bother me
much anymore, but I still wish that once in a while we could all sleep
straight through, without interruption. It would just be such a luxury.
was an undeniably happy baby
September 28, 1983
Can't sleep. Ray and the
are in bed; I'm sitting in the darkness of the living room, watching
Joan Rivers and Erma Bombeck on The Tonight Show. It's always so
peaceful when everyone is asleep.
I should say that this
a very good day. I got a lot of things accomplished, and I spent some
quality time with the girls: this was a day well spent. My house looks
beautiful. I borrowed the neighbor's vacuum cleaner and did
room. There are no toys on the floor, no dirty dishes in the sink ...
everything is in its place.
Jamie "helped" me put
makeup this morning. She also "helped" me take a shower, brush my
teeth, set my hair on electric rollers, wash the dishes, vacuum, write
a letter to Melinda and make "Mommy-Daddy's bed."
Kacie came a fraction of
closer to crawling today.
Saturday 1:30 p.m.
October 1, 1983
Sunny but cold: autumn
here. I feel really good. An apple pie is baking in the oven, and a
load of baby clothes is tumbling in the dryer ... the house smells of
apples, cinnamon and Ivory Snow. Ray is still sleeping. He didn't get
in until five or so this morning. Jamie and I are listening to music
... she just crawled up onto my lap ... and we're enjoying some special
time together. (Funny little pumpkin. Now she's twirling around the
living room with her baby doll in her arms, dancing to Billy Idol's
"White Wedding" ... red sailor dress, pigtails flying, newly-trimmed
Monday 10 a.m.
October 3, 1983
"Benson" on the
tube. Neither of the monkeys are awake yet. I have just showered, and
now I'm drinking a cup of instant coffee, watching the beginnings of a
storm brewing outside. I'll be busy today -- the whole house has to be
picked up, several huge loads of laundry must be folded and put away,
an apple pie must be baked, dinner must be planned and prepared. I have
six letters to write and a handful of clipped recipes to put in my
cookbook. I'll watch my soaps, and listen to the stereo later in the
afternoon when all my work is done. I've got to keep a close eye on the
dog to make sure she doesn't get out of the yard, and we have four baby
kittens that I'll bring in and show the girls later today.
Watching a new TV show I
like -- "Boone," on NBC.
Tuesday 10:30 a.m.
October 4, 1983
I didn't get everything
planned yesterday ... some remains to be done today. Kacie crawled
about one inch forward this morning. She moved one knee, and the then
the other; but then she tried moving them both at the same time and
fell on her nose. Undaunted, she continues practicing. I am impressed
by her determination. Babies are such remarkable people.
Thursday 11 a.m.
October 6, 1983
Well. How do I begin
about this? Ray is in jail. His bail has been set at $518, and since no
one appears to have that much cash laying around, he may be in jail for
some time. I'm in a total fog this morning. I'm going through the
motions -- doing a laundry, washing dishes, taking care of the girls --
but inside, my heart aches for Ray.
Here's what happened.
bowling last night, but as usual I stayed home with the girls. About
9:30 I began watching out the window for Ray to come home. I'd made us
a late supper of franks and beans, but I was waiting for him to come
home before I ate. At 9:40 I suddenly heard a police siren, just up the
street from our house. I remember the exact time because somehow I just
knew it was Ray being pulled
over, and I checked the clock for a
point of reference. I just felt it in my heart ...
it turned out, I was right! Ten minutes later there was a Kirkland
police officer knocking on my door. He was very curt: he said that he'd
pulled my husband over, and when they checked they discovered $518
worth of outstanding tickets/warrants on him. One was an old
trespassing charge, from 1981 when Smokey ran into the Pierce's
yard; the other was a shoplifting charge from last
December (when he stole the Christmas tree stand from the hardware
Ray had told me both charges were cleared up, but I can't say I was
surprised when I found out otherwise. Ray likes to sweep things under
the carpet and pretend they don't exist. Anyway, they were preparing to
haul him off to jail, and they wanted me to go up the road and "take
possession" of the car. The cop gave me a lift up the road to where the
Impala was parked, and I drove it home. Ray was in the back of a second
police car parked at the scene, but I wasn't allowed to speak to him
and it was too dark to see his face. They took him away and I came
At first I thought I
awake in case he came home, but soon I realized it was hopeless and I
went to bed. I had a restless, awful night with very little sleep. The
girls were unnaturally restless, too ... every hour or so they would
both wake up crying.
When I woke up this
felt two ways. At first I was desolate and lonely for Ray. Then, I
realized that it was important for me to present a normal face to the
girls: in spite of everything, I've got to carry on as usual.
My mother-in-law was
hour ago. Ray called his folks in the middle of the night, but they
didn't have the cash to bail him out. Peg went down to the police
station this morning to check on Ray's status, and we found out that he
goes in for arraignment this afternoon at 1:30. At that time, the judge
might reduce his bail; if so, Peg says she'll bring him home. If bail
remains at $518, though, he may be in jail for a long time. I'm afraid
to even think about that. His job will be in jeopardy, and without his
job to support us, the future looks exceedingly grim.
From Peg's cool and
demeanor, I can tell we've set relations with the in-laws back a mile.
I hugged her when she first came to the door, and I could actually feel
her pull away from me. I know what she's thinking: "Damned
irresponsible kids, probably spent all their money on drugs."
I don't know what's
happen. What a mess. On the one hand I keep asking myself, "Why did I
marry such an irresponsible man?" On the other hand, I married him for
better or for worse, and I've got to stick by him, no matter what. He
must be feeling like hell. I keep thinking about him sitting down there
in that stupid jail, and my heart hurts for him. He's basically such a
decent person, but nothing ever seems to go right for him. He wants to
be responsible, but he can't get ahead. Something always happens to set
him back. At any rate, the last thing in the world he needs right now
is for me to turn against him. Deep down inside, I'm probably furious
with him, but I'm going to be supportive and gentle and understanding
(even if it kills me) ...
I've got the car, and
about eleven dollars, so if we run out of formula or milk I can drive
to the store. The house is well-stocked with groceries. I've got
understanding neighbors surrounding me; if it turns out I'm home alone
again tonight, I'll turn to them. It would be a lot worse if I was
sitting here broke and carless. I don't have to feel hopeless
for the time being, anyhow. There's plenty of time for that later.
Peg was going back down
jail so I gave her Ray's toothbrush, a clean pair of socks and a shirt
and a hastily scribbled note offering love and support. She'll
coming back later this afternoon to let me know what's happening. Until
then, all I can do is wait.
Oh Ray ... why do these
keep happening? When will we climb out of the hole?
October 7, 1983
He's out of jail. Peg
managed to get him out last night. I'll tell you how it happened in
awhile ... right now I've gotta have some coffee.
Saturday 10:30 a.m.
October 8, 1983
A day's distance from
"ordeal" makes it easier to write about. Yesterday I was still upset:
today life seems to be back to normal.
At Ray's arraignment on
Thursday, the judge lowered his bail to $232.68. Peg came back to the
house to let me know the exact amount. Since she seemed to have no
intention of bailing him out (no doubt per Don Sr.'s instructions), I
knew it was up to me. I ended up hopping in the car and driving down to
Grandma St. John's. She wrote me a check to cover Ray's bail, and she
seemed glad to help us out. Unfortunately, when I got back to the
Kirkland Police Dept. (around 7 p.m.) they wouldn't accept Grandma's
check! The check writer had to be there in person to present
I.D. I burst into tears at this news. I didn't know
else to do, so I called the in-laws. Don Sr. refused to come get Ray
out of jail, and I cried even harder. I felt so foolish, sitting there
in the police station bawling like a baby, but by that point I was
frazzled and lonely for Ray and desperate to get him out of that awful
place ... I just came unglued. Apparently Don changed his mind, because
about 45 minutes later Peg came whistling through the door. She said to
the officer behind the desk, "I've come to get my son out of hock." I
signed over Grandma's check to Peg, and she wrote a new one for bail.
When Ray finally walked
lobby, I started crying again ... I was so unbelievably glad to see
him! He gave me a gigantic hug, and we both thanked Peg profusely for
getting him out. Then we came home. I had left Terry with the girls all
afternoon and evening, and when we got home she had them both bathed
and in their pajamas, plus she'd cleaned the entire house as
well. So it was a pleasant sight waiting for us when we
through the door. Jamie launched herself into Ray's arms, yelling
"Da-da! Da-da!" at the top of her lungs. I reheated the Wednesday night
franks & beans, and he showered and ate and played with his
daughters and said over and over how glad he was to be home
Yesterday he got a ride
with a friend, so I could have the car. I packed up the girls in the
afternoon and we drove down to Totem Lake, where I stopped in at the
doctor's office to talk about our overdue account. This jail business
has really set us back financially, and I know it'll be awhile now
before we can pay the doctor bill. I explained this to them, and I
think they'll let us have some more time. After that I took the girls
to the park. Jamie played on the swings and in the sandbox, while I
pushed Kacie around in the stroller. We had a nice time.
Mike Paynter brought Ray
around 9:30 last night, after I'd already gone to bed. The first thing
Ray did was get Jamie out of her crib: I could hear her running
around and chattering, so I got up to investigate. He said, "I
just wanted to see Jamie for awhile," so I let it pass. I sat on the
living room floor with him and we talked for about half an hour. He was
in a happy/weepy frame of mind: he said that his 24 hrs. in jail had
made him stop and think. "I love you and Jamie and Kacie more than
anything," he said, and there were tears in his eyes. "From now on,
things will be different. I'm not getting into any more trouble."
Spending the day with
the girls. He has been watching sports on TV all afternoon, and has now
gone to the store for milk and formula and to pick up my pictures from
the drugstore. There is more warmth and unity in this house today than
I've ever felt before. Even Jamie and Kacie sense it. Ray's renewed
appreciation of his family is the basis of this good feeling. He's been
playing with the girls, giving me unexpected hugs and kisses, cracking
jokes, clowning around ... he seems like a different person altogether.
October 12, 1983
Jamie is wandering
house, looking for a missing black kitten. ("Dee?
... dee? ... dee?")
Kacie is napping. The two of them woke up before I did this morning. I
was dreaming that I was working at Ridgway Packaging, and that I was
married to Howard Hesseman (??) when the girls, cooing and chattering
in their cribs, woke me up. I layed there in bed for awhile, just
listening to them.
Foggy morning. As
spent these early hours drinking coffee, reading the paper, watching
the early morning soaps. The tree across the street has its first
sprinkling of gold autumn leaves; I've taped some Hallowe'en
decorations to the windows.
Now Jamie is snuggled up
me here in the armchair, drinking her bottle and clutching her Liddle
Diddle. I had to bathe her first thing this morning; last night she was
rubbing 7-Up into her hair, and today it was sticky and matted. She
still hates having her hair shampooed, but I did it fast and then let
her play in the tub with her toys. Now her hair is soft and clean and
smells like baby shampoo. She has the prettiest hair, with just a trace
of curl on the ends.
(Donna Pescow on "AMC"?
teensy tiny role. I BET SHE'S GONNA BE A LESBIAN!! Yep. She is.)
The garbage truck is
up the street; Jamie has flown to the window, watching for it to come
to our house. "GA! GA!" she announces.
Scene played out today
I have just finished
Jamie's diaper, and now I've started changing Kacie. Jamie lays on the
floor next to Kacie, waving her legs around in the air and watching me
tend the baby. Suddenly she starts pulling at her plastic pants.
"Pot-pot?" she says, hopefully. She wants to go sit on her potty chair.
So far that's all she does - she just sits on it. "Not right now,
Jamie," I tell her. "I just changed you."
She becomes insistent.
"POT-POT!" she says. She tugs harder at her diaper. "POT-POT."
"I'm changing Sister!" I
her in exasperation. It's been a long day. Jamie sits up and shoots
Kacie a murderous look. Then, quicker than a blink, she picks up a
little metal spaceship toy and throws it at her little sister, hitting
her squarely on the head. Thunk. For one long moment the three of us
are frozen. Then Kacie's little face crumples up and she howls in pain
and surprise. Jamie sits there and looks at me, fearfully.
I want to scream but I
takes every ounce of willpower I have. "Go to your room!" I say,
picking up the crying baby and glaring at Jamie. Jamie blinks, swallows
hard, looks at me to see if I mean it. I do. My face is closed and
hard. She grabs her Liddle Diddle and runs out of the living room;
halfway down the hallway I hear her begin to sob. Her bedroom door
I sit on the floor with
my arms and I feel like crying myself. I know I handled the situation
badly. Kacie's sobs gradually lessen; she wasn't really hurt, just
surprised. I kiss her hot damp face and rock her gently until she's
Two minutes later, Jamie
peering around the corner, holding Kacie's shoes. "Shoes!" she says, in
a bid for my attention. I don't reply; I'm still trying to figure out
how to handle this. Do I let her off the hook? She comes back, this
time with one of my barrettes in her hand. "Bar?" she says, sweetly,
hopefully. This time I accept the peace offering and thank her. She
beams, chuckles, dashes into my arms. All is forgiven. I pick her up in
my arms and she presses her face against my shoulder, hard, seeking
reassurance. "I love you, Punkin," I tell her. "But you can't throw
things at Sister. OK?"
She scampers down from
and looks at Kacie, laying there on the blanket. "Why don't you give
Sister a kiss and tell her you're sorry?" I suggest gently. This could
prove to be a real Kodak moment after all ...
merrily, running once again down the hallway. So much for warm and
fuzzy sibling moments.
October 13, 1983
Scene from early this morning
It is 4:40 a.m., and Ray
frantically running around the house searching for his car keys. I have
gotten out of bed to fix a pre-dawn bottle for Kacie, and I stand,
nightgowned and sleepy, and watch Ray tear through cupboards and slam
drawers open and shut.
"Jamie took my keys!" he
He has forgotten this
rule: to find something Jamie has hidden, you have to stop and make
yourself think the way she does. I glance around the kitchen. Her
little pink toddler car is "parked" next to the kitchen table.
Car = keys.
I calmly walk over to
car, lift up the lid, and fish out Ray's keys.
I'm either becoming very
smart, or else I'm regressing ... I'm not sure which.
October 17, 1983
Waiting for Ray to come
For some reason our water was shut off this afternoon without notice,
and I want him to do something about it. It's hard to take care of two
little ones without running water.
Jamie spoke one of her
complete sentences this morning: she said, "I found a cookie." The
cookie looked about a hundred years old -- she probably found it under
a sofa cushion -- but I was so excited about her putting the words
together that I didn't care. Later in the day she also said,
found Ga!" "Ga" is her word for "treasure box," one of her favorite
1. The new Sears
more for your life at Sears!")
because Winnie The Pooh is usually
2. The Tab commercial
that goes "Tab!
What a beautiful drink! Tab! For beautiful people!"
She runs around
the living room holding an imaginary can of pop.
3. Any commercial with
Pillsbury Dough Boy; she giggles every time he giggles.
4. The Murphy's Oil Soap
commercial. Every time this one comes on, she runs to the end table and
climbs on top of it, legs dangling over the edge, like the little boy
in the commercial.
5. Sure Antiperspirant ("Raise
your hand -- you've got it! Raise your hand -- you know it!")
runs around the living room with her arms in the air.
October 22, 1983
A gorgeous, pre-storm
afternoon. The sky is coal-black, the trees are
gold and scarlet: the contrast is startling and beautiful.
On Wednesday (the 19th),
sat up by herself. I wasn't helping her a bit. She was laying on her
tummy when she suddenly maneuvered herself onto her rear and sat up,
supporting herself with one arm. She has been crawling (sort of), all
week ... a funny, salamander-like loping movement, using her arms to
pull herself along. She uses her legs occasionally, but so far she
mostly relies on her arms to propel herself.
Anxiously waiting for my
due on Thursday but now two days late.
October 24, 1983
The pleasure I usually
October is being spoiled this year by a handful of nagging worries ...
the $132 we owe Grandma St. John (for bailing Ray out of
... the $139 we still owe the girls' doctor
hasn't my period started yet? I am stewing about these
constantly. I've only been out of bed for ten minutes and already my
stomach is tied in knots. I worry so
much. Half the time my
worries prove to be needless, but even
knowing that doesn't help. Problems grind away from me, from the moment
I get out of bed in the morning until I'm laying awake at 2 a.m.,
trying to clear my mind and fall asleep.
Went to the in-laws'
for Jeff's birthday dinner. Peg made her awful, greasy "spagitti," but
aside from that it was a pleasant visit. Jamie had a ball, tearing
around the house with her little cousin Billy. Kacie was passed around
from relative to relative, and she was in a generally agreeable mood.
Judy was there with little Nathan -- he gave his Aunt Terri a great big
smile! I held him for a little while, but then he started to cry so I
handed him right back to his Mama. Sheryl is enormously pregnant; her
baby is due any time. Family speculation has it that she'll have a
girl. I'm still hoping she'll have a boy, for the somewhat selfish
reason that I'd like to have the only girls in the family.
The Seattle Times
... Much the same criticism
could be leveled at NBC's "The Haunting Passion," the new TV movie at 9
tonight on Channel 5. Viewers eager to embrace a ghost movie may find
"Passion" to their liking, but this ghost story is neither intriguing
not has director John Korty been able to make it scary. The setting is
Vancouver, B.C., and lovely Jane Seymour plays the painter/wife of
Gerald McRaney, an ex-jock now trying for a career as a TV
sportscaster. They move into a splendid house on the beach, and in no
time Seymour is being erotically possessed by a ghost. Once the novelty
of that idea wears off, however, the film doesn't seem to know where to
go. It is far less compelling or thrilling than, say, "Poltergeist," or
even Seymour's earlier film, "Somewhere In Time."
I disagree! This was one
most fabulous movies I've ever seen on TV ... I loved
was scary and romantic and involving, and the special effects were
exciting ... I literally couldn't tear myself away. (It was on again,
July 20, 1984.)
October 25, 1983
The worrying has let up
today: I'm simply blocking the problems out.
U.S. forces have taken
island of Grenada this morning. I don't understand much of what is
happening, but all regular morning TV is being pre-empted for special
news reports on the situation, and I'm trying to sort it all out.
Two months until
Where will the money come from this year? So many little people to shop
for this year ... Jamie, Kacie, Billy, Nathan, Gerald, Kelli, Ben,
Sheryl's baby-to-be ...
Wednesday morning, just out of bed
October 26, 1983
Well, there's ONE
... my period started, early this morning. I've got paralyzing cramps
again, but at least there won't be any babies born next July. I'm so
relieved. I know it's only a matter of time before I get pregnant
again, but I'm hoping we can avoid it for another year, at least. I'm
looking forward to one more pregnancy, but since I know it will
probably be the last one, I don't want to plunge into it too soon. I
want to anticipate it awhile longer.
Ray gets paid tomorrow,
hoping we can give some money to Grandma St. John and to Dr. Bauer.
That would go a long way towards alleviating some of the pressure I've
I just woke up from an
disturbing dream about my mother in law. She came over when the house
wasn't picked up and the laundry wasn't done, and she was criticizing
me for it. I tried joking with her but she wasn't having any of that,
so I started telling her off. I don't remember what we were saying to
each other, but I know it was pretty nasty.
I had another weird
night, that practically had me in tears. I dreamed that our neighbors,
the S's and the Bruffs, decided to move at the same time. I was
devastated. I cried to Ray, "They're the only friends I have! Now I'll
be all alone!" In reality I think I'd be a little sad if they moved,
but certainly not as crushed as I seemed to be in the dream. How odd. I
wonder what I was trying to tell myself?
I am really suffering
This is the most painful and uncomfortable period I've had in years.
One minute I'm flushed and sweaty, the next minute I'm chilled and
shivering. I'm bleeding unusually heavily, and the cramps are grinding.
I've taken some extra strong aspirin and I'm sipping a glass of wine,
but nothing much seems to help.
Ray is bowling. Jamie
Kitty are off together somewhere, playing. A very cranky and noisy
Kacie is rolling around on the floor at my feet.
I got really angry with
today ... she got into my box of sanitary napkins and tried flushing a
handful of them down the toilet. Eeeuuw.
"Kuh. Mom-ma." Thank you, Mama
"Moh? Moh?" More
"Fye, six!" Five, six
"Faw!" Kermit the Frog
October 28, 1983
Kacie got me out of bed
than usual this morning -- 8:30. I was having a pleasant little dream
(Brad Vernon, "One Life To Live") and didn't feel like getting up, but
she was insistent. When I went into her bedroom I found her, soaking
wet and completely tangled up in crib blankets. She was on her hands
and knees, rocking back and forth and grinning toothlessly at me. I got
her dressed and brought her out to the living room; she played with the
new Squeeze Buddies her Daddy brought home for her last night (a
squeaky rubber wrench and a toy stalk of celery), while I made my
coffee and chugged down two hasty mugsful. Now Kacie has gone back to
bed and Jamie is up; she is full of beans this morning!
today I've caught her pushing a kitchen chair over to the counter
(trying to reach the candy bars), and she's turned the living room into
What am I going to do
myself today? The day stretches out before me ... housework, laundry,
babies, coffee, soap operas. If Ray stays out all night again, like he
did last Friday night, the day stretches out even further. This is all
vaguely depressing today, for some reason. I'm not sure why. Maybe I'm
just tired. I need some kind of lift ... something special &
do, to pick me up and give this day some quality.
Wish Ray would come
home. Jay is
in a horrible mood, and Kacie refuses to go to bed. I'd love a cold
beer and a little adult conversation. In desperation, I have plopped
both girls into their cribs with bottles.
... and still no Ray. My
is tied into one big knot. I KNOW that he's going to stay out drinking
all night again, and I'm already mad as hell at him.
Sentence Jay said
October 30, 1983
Ray had a severe asthma
last night, and I had to call the paramedics for help. They took him to
the hospital because he literally couldn't breathe. I stayed at home
with the girls and Terry, and later in the evening when Ray was
released, Bud B. drove me to the hospital to pick him up. Ray was fine
but shaken. The whole thing happened so quickly. One minute we were
sitting at Dave's Place having a beer, and the next minute he was
hunched over the steering wheel, gasping for breath. I've never seen
him have an attack, and it was quite frightening. Seeing him being
carried out of the house on a stretcher gave me such a hollow, helpless
I'm continuing this on
Hallowe'en morning. We're still not sure what brought on Ray's attack.
The doctor at the hospital said it might have been brought on by
stress. He has been under a lot of pressure, especially financially.
November 1, 1983
I took Jamie out trick
treating last night for the first time. It was an evening
never forget, not if I live to be a hundred.
I couldn't find a
costume that fit her and would look appropriately cute and feminine
- all the costumes at Sears and Fred Meyer were
Vader, Yoda and E.T. Trendy but ugly. Finally I put together
makeshift costume for her out of stuff we had around the house. She
wore her striped Osh Kosh overalls, tied a red bandanna around her
neck, put her hair into two pigtails tied with red yarn, and her red
tennis shoes on her feet. Then I used my makeup to paint her cheeks and
nose bright red, and a black eyeliner pencil to dot some big fake
freckles on her cheeks. She was a hobo! It was adorable.
Ray has a cold, so he
home with Kacie and watched Monday Night Football while Jay and I made
the rounds of the neighborhood. Jamie was excited and curious. How odd
it must have seemed to her, walking around knocking on doors at night.
We went to ten or twelve different places, mostly neighbors that we
know and a few that we don't. She got the hang of it right away,
though, and pretty soon she was dragging me by the hand, pointing out
"more houses," urging me to hurry up ...
People seemed to love
They would open the door, probably expecting big trick or treaters, and
when they saw my tiny daughter standing there, they gasped in surprise.
She was given HUGE handsful of candy at every house; she also got
stickers and McDonalds coupons and animal crackers.
When we were cold and
walked back up the street to our own house and knocked on the door. Ray
pretended to be really surprised to see Jamie standing at his door,
which practically sent her into convulsions ... she thought that was SO
This morning - cold and
the first day of November - I have the beginnings of a sore throat and
very little energy. I've obviously picked up Ray's bug, so I think I'll
just take it real easy today.
Now it's dark and
Kacie is just down for her nap; Jamie is laying on the floor with her
blanket and a bottle. She's a little cranky today ... I guess that last
night's excitement tuckered her out.
Next year will I be escorting two
little trick or treaters?
Wednesday 10 a.m.
November 3, 1983
Feeling even worse
is a really NASTY cold I've come down with. The worst part is my stuffy
head and grinding headache. Drinking orange juice, keeping the
thermostat cranked up and taking aspirin is about all I can do to
Thursday 10 a.m. again
November 3, 1983
Yesterday Kacie began
in earnest, using both hands and both knees, and maneuvered herself all
over the house for the very first time! First she crawled the length of
the living room; then she explored the kitchen; and finally she went
down the hallway and into all the bedrooms. Her crawl is still
verrry slow and deliberate, with lots of starts and stops, but
has definitely mastered the basic principle. She aims for something and
goes right for it. Her main objective, at this point, seems to be
following Jamie around. Jamie runs down the hallway to her bedroom, and
Kacie begins a plodding crawl, right behind her. Of course it's
impossible for her to catch up with Jamie, but she tries. She wants to
do the same things she sees her big sister doing. Now that she's
mobile, she'll be trying even harder.
Jamie thinks Kacie's
funny. She is slightly less amused when Kacie crawls over and grabs one
of Jay's toy, or -- God forbid -- Jay's ba-ba. Then she'll say "NO!"
and yank it away from Kacie, irritated. But when Kacie is simply
crawling, without trying to horn in on Jamie, Jamie thinks it's pretty
funny. She giggles at the goofy way her baby sister plod, plod, plods
across the room.
November 4, 1983
I'm going out tonight!!
I have a date with my husband! He offered to come home at 6 tonight and
take me out for a few drinks at The Chili Pepper and Dave's Place. The
only trouble is I don't know if Terry can babysit. I'll have to ask her
when she gets home from school. I HOPE she can: it's so rare for Ray to
extend an invitation like this.
November 7, 1983
What a wonderful
and I did go out on Friday night for a few beers. On Saturday night he
took me to the movies (we saw "The Dead Zone"). And yesterday afternoon
we took Jamie and Kacie down to Dave's Place. So we spent virtually
every moment together, all weekend long, and it was so nice! I felt
closer to Ray than I have in a long time. Just doing things together --
alone, and with the girls -- talking, getting out of the house for a
while every day -- it made me feel special and alive. Like I was
Reheating last night's
lunch for Jamie and me. Kacie has just gone down for a nap. The house
looks terrible but it'll be afternoon before I get around to doing any
housework. The worries are still here, but at least I had a brief
reprieve from them this weekend.
November 10, 1983
Sheryl had her baby last
-- a little girl named Tanya.
November 16, 1983
Nearly a week later.
pulled herself up to a standing position yesterday ... much to my
surprise, I might add! I wasn't expecting her to stand so soon. Jamie
was sitting on the sofa, and Kacie crawled over, grabbed the edge of
the couch and very neatly & easily stood herself up! Exactly
same scenario is being played out at this moment: Jamie is calmly
drinking her apple juice, seated Indian-style on the sofa; Kacie is
standing at the edge, peering longingly at Jamie's cup. (Now Jamie has
hopped off the couch and dashed away, leaving Kacie to stand there
alone, howling. Kacie's major problem at the moment is that she doesn't
know how to get back DOWN, once she gets up!
I actually had film
in the camera
the first time that Kacie stood up by herself
November 15, 1983
I was so thrilled with
latest development yesterday that I decided to try something new ... I
put both of the girls in the bathtub together, for the first time.
Jamie ADORES her bath, but Kacie was slightly less enthusiastic. When I
lowered her into the tub and her little bottom hit that warm water, she
whimpered nervously and threatened to burst into tears. After a couple
of minutes, though, they were both splashing and playing happily. It
reminded me of the baths I used to give Brandy & Missy a few
ago. I remember I used to bathe Scott's little blonde daughters and
wonder if I would ever have any little girls of my own. That's why it
gave me a special satisfaction to watch my two beautiful, brown-haired
daughters sharing their first tub together ... another small victory in
the war against memories.
first tub bath
I should mention last
it was amazingly identical to the weekend before. Ray and I went out
for drinks on Friday night; on Saturday night we went to the movies (we
saw "Risky Business" with Tom Cruise and Rebecca DeMornay); on Sunday
we took the girls to Dave's Place; and on Sunday evening Ray and I went
grocery shopping while Terry watched the girls. Ray's friend &
co-worker, Mike Paynter, was at Dave's on Friday night. Of all Ray's
friends, I think he's my favorite. He's great fun to talk to, and I
feel very close to him.
It will be another week
until I need to begin worrying in earnest about being pregnant, so I've
put it out of my mind until then. My period will be due on Wednesday or
AMOUNT I EXPECT OUT
OF MYSELF TODAY
1. Change sheets on our
2. Cribs made up
3. Dishes washed
4. Baby clothes folded
5. Tape "99 Red Balloons" and/or "King of Pain"
IF I FEEL LIKE IT:
6. Small amount of makeup
November 18, 1983
The question of the
Jamie P. like pickled beets?
The answer of the hour:
unequivocal NOOOO WAY !!!!!!
November 22, 1983
JFK assassinated 20 yrs. ago today
Odds and ends of the
* Kacie is getting very
standing up now, although she still has to hold onto the furniture with
both hands. She has also learned how to get back down (finally), by
plopping onto her bottom.
* Jamie's favorite game
pushing a kitchen chair over the kitchen sink and "helping" me wash the
dishes. She calls this game "Sink." She also pushes the chair over to
the edges of the counters and investigates whatever is on them. Last
weekend she found a jar of coffee this way, and dumped most of it onto
* Watched "The Day
Sunday night -- the highly publicized and controversial TV movie about
nuclear war. Parts of it were really graphic and gruesome. I watched
with tears in my eyes a lot of the time; even Ray was
moved. I was haunted by "The Day
After" for YEARS
Wednesday 10 a.m.
November 23, 1983
for the second year in a row we'll be spending it at Mom's. I think
(Ray's parents) are miffed, but both Ray and I agreed that it would be
more pleasant spending the day with my
side of the family than with his. Who needs all the tension?
Particularly on Thanksgiving. Sunday is Judy's birthday dinner at the
in-laws, anyway, so we'll be seeing everybody then. I expect I'll get
the Cold Shoulder for having missed Thanksgiving -- not to mention
little Tanya's "debut" -- but we'll tough it out.
Monday 11:30 a.m.
November 28, 1983
The girls and I didn't
of bed this morning until 11:00 ... I think that's the record, so far.
The girls are worn out from a very busy weekend. Ray has gone back to
work after a four-day Thanksgiving vacation, and frankly I'm not
crushed to see him go: he was moody and remote all weekend. When he
wasn't out "running errands" (his euphemism for drinking beer at the
tavern) or sleeping until the middle of the afternoon, he was glued to
the tube, watching football and basketball. Attempts to engage him in
conversation were largely pointless. Today, at least, I've got my house
back. I have about ten huge loads of laundry to do, and a sinkful of
dirty dishes. My day has gotten off to such a late start, though, that
even though it's nearly noon I just can't seem to get my motor started.
I'm just now finishing my first cup of coffee. So much happened this
weekend that I want to talk about, that I guess the laundry and the
housework will just have to wait until I've gotten a good "write" out
of my system.
First of all --
went to Mom's, as planned, and it turned out she wasn't even expecting
us! That was a little disconcerting. I'd been looking forward to this
warm, wonderful holiday dinner with my family, and parts of it was like
that ... but other parts of it weren't. Tensions seemed to be
running unusually high. Of course I may have been imagining it, but I
don't think so. I left Mom's feeling oddly disappointed. The dinner was
lovely, and it was great to see my brother and his new girlfriend,
Gina. Jamie had a ball playing with Kelli and Ben and with Gina's
daughter, Alexis (age 18 mos.), but Kacie was disturbed by all the
unfamiliar faces, and she howled in fright unless I held her. The whole
afternoon was a weird mixture of highs and lows.
1983 at Grandma Beeson's house
L-to-R: Jamie (sitting on Aunt Jody's lap), Grandma St. John, Kacie, me, Ray (top of head only),
my brother Richard, my niece Karen
I didn't see much of Ray
Friday. He slept until 2 p.m., and then he left the house almost
immediately. I was tired and a little depressed anyway, so I didn't
mind. I knew he was running his football cards. He came home around
10:30 with a bag of Chinese food for dinner.
On Saturday I left Kacie
with Ray, and I took Jamie shopping in Bellevue. Ray gave me $100 and I
did some early Christmas shopping ... toys for Jay & Kacie,
Benjamin, Billy, Nathan, Tanya and Alexis. I also bought Jamie a pair
of shoes, a baby gift for Tanya and a birthday gift for Judy. (Jay:
size 7 shoes.)
Originally I was hoping
out on Saturday night, but we were low on money and ended up staying
home. We reheated the leftover Chinese food for supper, and I baked my
first from-scratch pumpkin pie, as a treat. Ray konked out early, but I
layed in bed watching "Saturday Night Live" and reading until late.
Yesterday - Sunday - was
horrible day. We had to go to the in-laws' for Judy's birthday dinner,
and the in-laws were just as chilly and distant as I knew they would
be. They're not about to let us off the hook for missing Thanksgiving.
Judy was warm and friendly, but everyone else was made of stone.
I was informed in a very
offhand manner that the in-laws are going to Arizona for Christmas
(Jeff, Sheryl & Tanya also). So they'll be celebrating on
Eve, and we are EXPECTED TO BE THERE. Period. This completely
screws up our holiday
plans, and I am in despair. I don't feel like going into it any further
right now -- maybe later.
While Peg was telling me
the revised Christmas plans (in a tone of voice that clearly said "Be
there - or else"), I slipped into a panic. I started to explain to her
about our family's Christmas Eve traditions, and she suddenly became
HEY! I've got a
Why not invite Dad & Valerie here for dinner on Christmas Day??
Wednesday 10 a.m.
November 30, 1983
Yes ... the more I think
it, the better my idea sounds. We'll invite Dad & Valerie to
house for Christmas dinner, for a change. That way everyone will get to
visit with the girls, and we don't have to do a lot of driving two days
in a row. I doubt the girls could handle two full days of traveling ...
I know that Ray couldn't! We'll go to Peg and Don's on Christmas Eve
around noon ... spend the afternoon with them, eat dinner, open
presents ... and then we'll leave for Grandma St. John's around 4:30 or
5:00. We'll spend the rest of the evening, as is customary, with Gram
and Mom and all the family on my side. On Christmas morning we'll wake
up in our own little house -- we won't have to pile into the frozen car
at 7 a.m. and drive to the in-laws, for the first time in THREE YEARS.
Ray can sleep late. The girls can empty their stockings and play with
the toys they got the night before; I'll make breakfast and play
Christmas music on the stereo. We'll drink champagne & orange
juice, and eat scrambled eggs with bacon and avocados. Later in the
afternoon, Dad and Valerie will arrive. We'll open the last of our
presents, and Ray will fix dinner. I don't know about turkey ... maybe
ham. Dinner will be around the table, with both of the girls joining
us. After dinner has been eaten and Dad and Valerie have gone home, the
evening will be ours, to relax and be alone as a family. (Note: This is
pretty much the way it turned out.)
It all sounds a bit
realize, but when I dream, I dream big. There are still a few flaws in
my plan, though. When do we see Grandma Vert? When will the girls nap
on Christmas Eve? I have to iron out a few details, but on the whole
I'm feeling optimistic.
Yesterday I brought out
holiday decorations. Normally I wait until the first day of December,
but I needed a lift yesterday.
Thursday early morning
December 1, 1983
For a change, Jamie woke
first this morning. She's been sick the past few days -- the flu, I
think -- but today she seems to have bounced back.
I sure wish I could say
for myself. I've had this rotten cold, on and off, for a month now. My
period started last night, too (whew!), so between the cramps and the
sniffles, I'm really a mess. At least I'm not pregnant, though. I
haven't mentioned this in awhile, but I was positive I was. The same
old story. Zzzz.
December is here, and
feeling decidedly more Christmasey than I was a couple of days ago.
There are little touches of "Christmas" all over the house, and my head
is buzzing with plans.
Kacie's first Christmas!
wonder what she'll think of the Christmas tree?
December 2, 1983
Bleak, icy winter
snow mixed with Ray. (Whoa: I can't believe I just wrote that!! I mean
snow mixed with RAIN.
I'd better get some coffee in me, fast.) My cold is worse. I'm
completely stuffed up, and my throat is painfully raw. Why in the world
have I been sick so much this year? Bronchitis last July, one cold
right after another ... I don't seem to have any resistance at all.
Ray isn't going to be
very late tonight, so the day stretches out long before me. Not unhappy
about it, though ... there is plenty to keep me busy.
Jamie and Michele (one
littlest neighbor girls) have just gone back into Jay's bedroom to
play, and Kacie has begun her slow, plodding crawl in pursuit of them.
I hear them laughing. Jamie is delighted with Michele -- she follows
her around all over the house, touching her, trying to hug her,
chattering at her in "Jame-ese." Kacie watches the "big girls" in awe,
and I can tell she wants to be doing the same things they're doing.
Now the three of them
milling around in the living room. I sit here and watch them,
fantasizing for a moment that all three of them are mine ... wondering
what it would be like (what it WILL be like?) to have three little
ones. The spacing of ages is about right. Michele is four; Jamie will
be two in a week; Kacie is eight and a half months. It's conceivable
(no pun intended) that if Ray and I continue on our present Russian
Roulette course of birth control, there could be another little brown
head around here in the next year or so. I feel as though it's my
Reading two books. "No
Eden," by H.L. Myra, and "How To Parent" by Dr. Fitzhugh Dodson. The
combination of the two is interesting. One is giving me hope about life
in general; one is giving me hope about myself as a parent.
December 5, 1983
It's snowing again, and
time it's more snow than rain ... big fat wet flakes, falling straight
down. I doubt that it'll stick, but it certainly is pretty to watch. My
Christmas spirit just rose a notch or two.
The house is in complete
disarray. There is a chance my water may be shut off this morning
because of an unpaid utility bill - that would make housecleaning a
decidedly uphill battle.
Still dragging around
cold. Now I've developed a hacking cough, which kept me awake most of
Yesterday we went to
& Jeff's for Don Sr.'s birthday dinner. As family
it was better than most -- the guys sat downstairs watching football
and playing video games, the women stayed upstairs and talked babies. I
had a chance to see little Tanya up close. I saw her last week at
Judy's birthday dinner, but I didn't really get to spend any time with
her until yesterday. She is very pretty, with huge black eyes and fuzzy
brown hair: I was surprised by how lovely she is.
Jamie played happily
all afternoon. Those two are inseparable when they get together. Kacie
wasn't so readily entertained, however. She's at that in-between stage
-- she can't walk yet, but she wants to stand up and move around all
the time. More than once she bonked her little head, HARD, on Sheryl's
coffee table. Her grandpa would hold her for a little while, until she
started to wiggle, and then he would pass her over to me. She would sit
with me for five minutes and then she'd start to squirm again, so it
was back to Grandpa. Back and forth, back and forth. All things
considered, she was really pretty good. She was a little fussy towards
the end of the get-together, but that was only because she'd missed her
Jamie appointed herself
"keeper." Any time the baby cried, Jamie would bring her a pacifier or
a bottle and say, "Ooooo, dee GA!" (Oh, baby's crying!) I watched my
big girl sitting with her tiny baby cousin, and I thought how it seems
like only yesterday when Jamie was that little and new ...
My big girl will be two
old this Friday. My quick, lively, mischievous, pretty Jamie. At the
same time I feel sad and I feel elated. I'm sad that the little baby is
gone forever; I'm elated that she has grown into such a precious and
lovely little girl.
NOTE: Kacie just got up
sofa! 11:00 a.m. (one of the sofa cushions was on the floor)
Thursday 9:30 a.m.
December 8, 1983
Morning time around the
... Jamie, sitting at the kitchen table, happily munching on a bowl of
cornflakes ... Kacie, crawling around the living room with the
ever-present bottle hanging out of her mouth ... Mom, drinking coffee
and half-listening to "Donahue" ... the rumble of the clothes dryer,
the smell of last night's fried chicken, another winter storm brewing
I got an excellent
last night, punctuated by pleasant dreams (Scott A., tenth grade), and
I woke up at 8 a.m. feeling refreshed and ready to begin the day.
Tomorrow night we're having a birthday party for Jamie, so today
tomorrow I'll be busy getting the house in order. Sheryl's place was so
pretty and Christmasey last Sunday ... it has inspired me to do
something about my own house. We don't have our tree yet, but I've got
out all the other Christmas decorations. I'm going to clean and polish
and scrub until this house sparkles. I want to dazzle everybody with my
impeccable housecleaning -- even if it is only a once a year phenomenon
December 12, 1983
A few days later. Monday
morning. Kacie, nightgowned and fuzzy haired, is poking a tentative
finger at our Christmas tree ... Jamie, wearing a new plaid pinafore
over light blue pants and a pink sweater, is watching the sparrows
through the front windows. I'm a little relieved that Jay's birthday
has come and gone. I worked so hard last week, preparing for it; this
week I can just wake it easy and enjoy the lull before Christmas.
It was storming on
night of Jamie's party, and my mom and Grandma St. John decided not to
drive out. Then Judy and the boys decided not to come. I was
disappointed -- these were the guests I was most looking forward to
seeing. As it turned out, the only people who came were Peg, Don and
Barbara, and Sheryl & Jeff with Tanya. I started the evening
feeling happy and festive, but that happy feeling began to evaporate as
soon as they arrived: I'd made a big pot of wonderful hot spiced wine,
but everyone turned it down. That hurt my feelings, a little. (Don Sr.
and Jeff, especially -- they both made a disgusted face when I offered
them some. A polite "No thanks" would have been sufficient.)
Jamie had a fine time,
She opened presents and chattered happily at everybody. When it was
time for cake and ice cream, she blew out her candles before we were
halfway through "Happy Birthday."
*previews* the birthday cake
The guests all arrived
6:15, and by 8 p.m. they were all gone.
Barbara had a school dance to go to, so everybody left at once. I sat
there on the living room floor, in the middle of the discarded wrapping
paper, feeling bewildered and hurt. I had spent the ENTIRE WEEK
cleaning the house from top to bottom -- I even cleaned my bedroom, the
fridge, the FIREPLACE, for crying out loud! -- and I'd been looking
forward to this party for days and days. It was going to bring me
closer to my in-laws. They would be impressed by how lovely my house
was, and by what a good hostess I am, and by how well-cared for my
daughters are. We were going to sit around the fireplace sipping hot
spiced wine and listening to Christmas music ... I was going to make
some popcorn. There would be all this lovely magic holiday warmth all
over the place.
Instead, it was the same
"us" and "them" ... they sat and talked amongst themselves, while I sat
there feeling as much on the outside as ever. I will never arrive, will
I? Frankly -- at this point -- I don't think I even care
I am simply not their kind of people: you can't fit a square peg into a
The next day -- Saturday
mother, Grandma St. John and Deb all came out, and what their visit did
for my general frame of mind was miraculous. It made me appreciate my
own side of the family more than ever. The first thing Mom did when she
came in was walk over to the piano and admire my display of antique
toys and teddy bears. (The in-laws didn't even notice it.) Furthermore,
Mom and Grandma not only drank some of my spiced wine
they had seconds! We sat and watched Jamie open more gifts ... we
chatted about family stuff, discussed the girls, had a nice time.
A package just arrived
pen pal in New Jersey, Melinda Z. It says "Absolutely do not touch
until Christmas!", but that's like waving a red flag in front of a
bull. I've always been a package-peeker. In this case, I not only
"peeked," I opened. Melinda knitted three beautiful sweaters - one for
me, one for Jay and one for Kacie. They're multi-colored, sort of
patchwork looking, and they're gorgeous! We're all wearing them now.
Our first mother/daughter/daughter outfits!
December 13, 1983
Another one of those
where the girls & I sleep until 11 a.m. and then the rest of
day is all out of whack. It's nearly noon but I'm still in my bathrobe,
working on my first cup of coffee. The girls are dressed, at least.
Kacie is wearing a mint green pilucho and yellow Humpdee Dumpdee
booties; Jamie's wearing her knit jeans, a striped pullover and a
bright red smock. (She also insisted on putting on shoes and socks,
even though we're not going anywhere.) They've both had a bottle, and
now they're beginning the systematic daily ritual of tearing the house
Terry S. gave Jamie a
toy shopping cart for her birthday last week, and Jay adores it. At the
moment she's pushing it around the living room with one of her "babies"
in it, her purse slung over one shoulder. Very much the Modern Mommy.
(Took a picture of this.)
I have a lot on my mind
morning ... mostly Christmas stuff. My brain is humming.
December 19, 1983
Woke early (7:30 a.m.)
an inch of snow on the ground! I was so excited, I got a sleepy
grumpy Jamie out of bed to show her. Once she really woke up, she was
quite excited, even though she's never even seen snow before ... I
guess my enthusiasm rubbed off on her. Late in the morning I bundled
her up and let her run around in the front yard, while Kacie and I
stood at the door and watched her. She tromped around, slipped and fell
on her bottom once, chased the kitties, tasted a handful of snow, shook
the shrubbery and watched the snow fall from it ... I brought her back
in the house, wet and shivering but pink-cheeked with excitement, half
an hour later.
I cleaned house while
from next door cleaned out the carport for me. I was a little tired
from the weekend, so once I finished the housework, I took it easy for
the rest of the day. Terry stopped by a couple of times, just to visit.
We got two packages
today -- one
from Aunts Dora & Helene, the other one from Ray's Grandma and
Grandpa P. They contained six presents, three for each of the girls. I
can tell that one present in a doll for Jamie, and the rest feel like
clothes. We also got cards from Grandma and Grandpa P. (with $30),
Rhonda R., and my "Sealed Sunshine" newsletter from Melinda.
The girls and I took
naps -- Jamie slept in Kacie's crib (she insisted on it, for some
reason), Kacie in Jamie's crib, and me on the sofa, next to the
Christmas tree. When we woke up, it was dark. It made me think of the
old Simon & Garfunkle song: " ...
A winter's day / In a deep and dark December ..."
I fixed meatballs for
with mushroom gravy and mashed potatoes. Ray was home at 9:30 and we
sat in bed with Jamie for awhile, before going to sleep.
Last weekend Terry,
Jamie and I
went Christmas shopping at Totem Lake Fred Meyer. I spent $120 and
nearly finished my shopping. I got Ray a pair of dark blue pajamas and
a short-sleeved pullover. I hope to do the rest of my shopping on
Friday, unless the snowstorm that's predicted actually happens and we
wind up stranded.
December 20, 1983
When we got up this
our usual hour of 9:30, snowflakes had just started to fall again ...
tiny, lazy, unhurried flakes, the kind that stick to the ground and
pile up into huge snowdrifts after a few hours. Last night Ray said
we're expected to get nineteen or twenty INCHES this week. I'm worried
about Christmas Eve on Saturday. What if we can't make the trip to
Grandma St. John's? I would be so
Fixed Jamie a bowl of
and brown sugar for breakfast. She ate about half or it and then
(unbeknownst to me) she set the bowl on the floor for Wendie Kitty.
UNFORTUNATELY, Kacie discovered it before the cat or I did ... oatmeal everywhere
I sat around in my
most of the morning, sipping coffee and writing all of this.
The snow stopped several
ago ... it never really amounted to much, anyway, in spite of dire
forecasts to the contrary.
Got $20 from Grandpa
Dec. 21, 1983
No snow again today --
shone all day. The world is as cold and dazzling as a diamond.
December 22, 1983
The next four days are
be unbelievably busy, so this may be my last chance to write to you
until Christmas is over.
The girls and I just got
When Ray left for work this morning he turned on the heat and the
coffeepot, so now the house is toasty warm and there is hot coffee
waiting for me. Kacie is dressed, but I'm still in my nightie and Jamie
is insisting on running around buck-naked for a while. "Benson" on the
tube. The house is a comfortable jumble ... I'm going to spend this day
cleaning THOROUGHLY. We may be having company tonight: Mike Paynter,
almost for certain, and the Waldens and Wuthriches if they can make it.
I'm not going to go overboard cleaning and preparing, the way I did for
Jamie's birthday (pointlessly, as it turned out). It has finally dawned
on me that nobody looks in the bathtub, anyway. With the Christmas tree
lights turned on and all the toys picked up off the floor, the house
looks more than presentable. It looks lovely, as a matter of fact.
That's the thing I love most about the holidays, I think -- "decking
the halls." I just love sitting here in the living room in the evenings
and looking at my house. It's nothing out of "House Beautiful." In
fact, with the Christmas cards taped to the archway, and the tree
completely stripped of tinsel & ornaments halfway down (thanks
little fingers), and the big holes in the sofa, clumsily camouflaged
with sofa cushions, it looks almost shabby in the cold light of
morning. To the discriminating eye it might even be considered tacky.
Still, I look at my house through the eyes of love: I see a home, a
place where four people are living and loving each other and becoming a
family. To me, this is the most beautiful house in the world. I love
it, because of the people who live in it (and tear it apart!) ...
Tomorrow I want Ray to
shopping. I still have people to shop for -- Dad and Valerie, Uncle
Dick, Jeff, Don Jr. I'd also like to get some stocking stuffers for the
girls, and (if I can talk Ray into it) a pair of pants and a winter
coat for me. Everything depends on the weather, though. They're still
predicting a huge snowstorm sometime this weekend. If that happens,
we're not going anywhere. For the first time in my life I'm actually
praying that it DOESN'T snow ... at least, not until Sunday. It
wouldn't be so awful being snowed-in on Christmas Day. We've got
presents under the tree, and a turkey in the fridge. We could have a
perfectly fine Christmas Day here alone. It's Christmas Eve that I'm
worried about. We have so much driving to do that night -- to Ray's
parent's house, then to Grandma St. John's, then all the way back home
to Kirkland. If the roads are icy it will be scary enough, but if it's
snowing, it'll be impossible. We may even have to cancel all our plans
entirely, and that would break my heart. I have never once missed a
Christmas Eve at Grandma St. John's: this will be my 27th year there.
It's the only real family tradition left from my childhood, and it
means a lot to me.
December 27, 1983
Christmas 1983 is now a
and my annual case of post-holiday-letdown has set in ... the tree is
dry and brittle, but I'm going to leave it up for another day. Taking
it down today would be just too depressing.
I think this was the
Christmas I've had as an adult, so far. There was a warm, pervasive
feeling of "family" ... our family (Ray and the girls and I), as well
as our extended families. Barriers were let down, temporarily. The
girls had great fun. Watching them enjoy Christmas made the holiday a
special, funny, magic thing.
First of all, the
of the forecasts of heavy snow proved to be greatly exaggerated. A few
flakes were beginning to fall when we arrived at the in-laws' house,
but it stopped almost immediately, and the roads were clear when we
left for Gram St. John's later in the day. No problem there.
But I have to back up a
of days ... to Thursday night, when Ray stayed out
night. I expected him home that night around 8:00, along with Mike
Paynter and possibly the Waldens and the Wuthriches ... but no one
showed up at all! I called Ray at the tavern a couple of
and he said he'd be home "pretty soon," but that turned out to be the
usual bull crap. By 1 a.m. I went to bed ... alone,
and worried. All day Friday I waited for Ray to get home; I needed to
finish my Christmas shopping. By mid-afternoon, when he still wasn't
home, I was furious. I took $130 out of his football card money in the
cupboard, left the girls with Terry, and borrowed a ride to Fred Meyer
from our neighbor, Mrs. Kennedy. I had $170 altogether, and I finished
most of my shopping with money to spare. I also bought myself a pair of
Levi's, a blouse, and a nice pair of dark blue slacks. In the toy
department, I picked up a few extra things for the girls -- an orange
bean-bag doll and some wooden beads for Jamie, a "peek-a-boo" roller
for Kacie. When I finished my shopping, I called Judy S. and she came
and picked me up.
Incredibly, Ray didn't
on Friday night, either! I wrapped packages, put the girls to bed and
stayed up late, watching TV alone in the dark living room, a huge knot
of hurt tightening in my chest. Two nights in a row! I was so angry
with Ray I was actually thinking about divorce. At the very least I
planned not to speak to him for the rest of the weekend, Christmas or
He knocked on the
at 4:30 a.m. "Well, what do you know?" I said in disgust as I opened
the door and let him in. He smelled like a brewery, and I went back to
bed, leaving him to sleep on the floor.
Saturday morning --
Eve Day -- I got up bright and early, with a million things to do. Ray
was snoring on the couch. I relented a little bit and sent him off to
our bed, deciding that Christmas was no time to be mad at each other. I
had just a tiny bit of shopping left to do, as well as grocery shopping
for our Christmas dinner, so I left the girls with Ray and hopped in
the car. It was early morning, cold as ice, heavy snow clouds hanging
low overhead; I was one of the first shoppers out, and it felt
wonderful. I felt like part of the world. I got Stephen King's latest
book for Uncle Dick ("Pet Semetary") and found something wonderful for
Mom, a "Grandmother Remembers" book, plus I bought $50 worth of
groceries. (When I got home from shopping I found Jamie and Kacie
sitting under the tree, starting to open their presents ... Ray nowhere
in sight ... he'd gone back to bed, leaving them pretty much all
Ray, the girls and I
the in-laws' at 1:00. Everyone was there, including Billy (3), Nathan
(5 mos.) and Tanya (1 mo.). We watched a Seahawks game on TV, visited,
had a big turkey dinner, and exchanged gifts. The girls got toys,
books, socks, clothes, underwear, pajamas -- Ray got a pair of pants --
I got a pretty sweater, lavender with white stripes.
little family, at the in-laws' house
Christmas Eve 1983
The only thing that
me about Christmas at the in-laws' is the way they open their presents.
Everyone just jumps in at once, ripping packages open and not paying
attention to anyone else. You don't get to see other people opening the
gifts you got them; you don't see what the others receive. At Grandma
St. John's we proceed more slowly and carefully, enjoying the fun of
watching the other presents being opened. I don't know. It just seems
more "civilized" that way. Maybe it's just because that's the way I was
A special gift that
received -- and which I LOVE! -- is a big teddy bear that plays
Christmas carols when you flip a switch in his back. Jamie got a little
toy stove, which she played with non-stop once it was opened. Both of
the girls also got pretty clothes, nice warm jammies and lots of other
We left for Grandma St.
at 5:30. The girls both slept in the car during the 40 minute drive. As
I mentioned before, the roads were clear, not a bit icy, and we made it
to Burien with no trouble at all.
The only damper on our
Christmas Eve get-together at Grandma's was that my sister Debi
couldn't be there. Two weeks ago Mom had her admitted to a Care Unit
facility, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. (This after Deb
nearly died from an alcohol overdose.) She'll be in the center for two
months, until at least mid-February. We are all approaching this as
positively as possible under the circumstances. Actually, I hadn't
realized her problem was that bad until she went into the hospital.
Hopefully, her stay there will get her off drugs for good and give her
a chance at a better life.
Mom gave everyone a copy
year Christmas is
testing our faith in the truth of its meaning. Circumstances dictate
that gift-giving be limited to tokens and, for the most part, just a
lot of what we have the most of -- love.
crisis of Debi's
illness has forced us to face her needs and some of our own as well ...
Ken has begun treatment for the illness of depression which he, and we,
have lived with for years. With a combination of medication and therapy
we hope he'll learn to deal with his frustrations in new ways less
harmful to himself and those who love him ...
myself, I'm finding
this Christmas full of more peace and hope -- and love -- than I've
felt in many more materially fortunate years.
my gift to all of
you this year is a larger share of love. I'm sure it's the higher power
which guides us all ... and the true meaning of Christmas.
She also gave something
to my brother Dick and I -- a notebook, which she plans to fill with
written accounts of special moments from our childhood. Each year she
will give us a new page to add to our books. I love the idea.
The girls both got more
clothes and toys. Dick's girlfriend Gina gave me an incredibly
beautiful Yamaji vase, which now sits on top of my piano. Gram St. John
crocheted us an afghan for the sofa in my favorite autumn colors,
orange, brown, yellow & white. Mom gave each of the girls a
bag -- Kacie's is a monkey, Jamie's is a bunny. She loved the
"Grandmother Remembers" book, by the way.
When we finally got
11 p.m., the girls were sound asleep. Ray and I lay in bed for awhile,
reading and eating pumpkin cheesecake. I was still mad at him for
staying out two nights in a row, but it just didn't seem appropriate to
be angry on Christmas Eve, so I let it go.
Christmas morning ...
at home!!! Jamie and Kacie woke up at 9:30, and with a little prodding
I managed to get Ray out of bed and gather our little family under the
tree so we could exchange gifts. Ray liked his pajamas! He surprised me
with a pretty pink nightgown and a gorgeous lavender bathrobe, which I
love. Predictably, Jamie LOVED her Big Bird Sink. It has proven to be
her very favorite toy ... she's playing with it right now, as a matter
of fact. I guess I know my daughter better than anyone does: once again
I've picked out her favorite present. That pleases me.
& Kacie on Christmas
made a great big
dinner, with all the trimmings. I added a touch here and there ...
water chestnuts in the stuffing, some of Judy's wild blackberry jam on
the rolls ... but other than that it was all Ray's doing. He was
puttering around in the kitchen all day, happy as a clam. When he is
cooking he is truly in his element.
and Valerie showed
1:00, while the girls were napping. I gave Dad a red flannel shirt, and
gave Valerie a pink nightgown. We sat and visited for a couple of hours
while Ray worked on dinner. At one point, Peg & Don stopped in
a quick visit -- they were leaving the next day for Tucson, and they
wanted to see the girls before they left. My father and Ray's father
made polite conversation, while I sat back and listened to the subtle
was great. We all
around our tiny kitchen table -- even Kacie, in the highchair -- and
Dad took home movies. We drank rosé wine and thoroughly
Ray's dinner. The turkey was done to perfection. We also had stuffing,
mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet peas, yams, cranberries, rolls and
jam. It didn't matter that we'd had turkey just the day before ... it
tasted as wonderful the second day as it did the first.
isn't afraid to "eat
run." In fact, that's what he always does, completely without shame! As
soon as dinner was over, he and Valerie were on their way. When they
were gone, Ray and the girls and I took our annual Christmas pictures
in front of the tree: then the four of us climbed into our big bed to
relax and read the Sunday paper.
subsided, just a bit. The girls have been fed and are both in new
jammies, arguing over toys in the living room. Kacie keeps crawling
over to the Big Bird Sink, trying to finger it a little, and every time
she so much as breathes on it Jamie pitches a fit. ("NO NO
Friday morning 7 a.m.
December 30, 1983
is Debi's fifteenth
birthday. Happy birthday, baby sister.
early in the
not ordinarily out of bed so early, but a handful of whirling thoughts
and worries prompted me to get up. The world is very dark, cold and
quiet, except for this little island of comfort in my kitchen. My first
cup of steaming coffee sits next to me; on the counter behind me the
coffeemaker gives a happy gurgle & hiss, then lapses into
My babies are sleeping -- the sleep of the untroubled. How lovely that
didn't get home last
until around midnight, and of course he was very high. Mike Paynter was
with him. I opened the door and let them in, but then I went promptly
back to bed. The two of them sat out in the living room for another
hour or so, drinking beer and carrying on a weird, mumbled
conversation. I could hear them from the bedroom but neither one of
them made any sense at all ... it had obviously been a long night at
the tavern. After awhile, Ray came to bed and Mike apparently went to
sleep on our sofa. Ray decided that this would be a fine time to get
"cuddly," but I took one whiff of his stale beer breath and told him to
leave me alone. Frankly, I was more than a little disgusted with him,
and the feeling lingers this morning. When he left for work with Mike a
while ago, I asked him for a couple of dollars to buy formula for
Kacie. As always, when I ask him for money, he blustered and protested.
"That's about all I got LEFT!" he said, but I was firm and he finally
parted with his money. If he's got money to spend at the bar every
single night, he can spare $1.77 for his baby daughter. I didn't say as
much, but that's how I feel.
marriage is in
Journal. I've sensed it for a month or so now. This house has lately
become little more than a stop-over for Ray. He is never home before 10
p.m. Whole days can go by without the girls even seeing
him. I clean the house,
put clean socks in his dresser drawer, change the toilet paper. When
there is food in the house, I fix his dinner. I clean the crumbs and
gook out of the fridge, change the sheets, wash the windows, haul the
garbage, take care of his children, pick up his dirty underwear off the
floor, sew on his buttons, refill the salt and pepper shakers ... there
are a million little unseen things I do every day for the comfort and
sustenance of my family. I'm not unhappy about having to do these
things. I regard it as my "career," and I usually derive satisfaction
from it. What I am unhappy about it the way all of this is taken for
generally get no more
half an hour or an hour with Ray when he gets home at night. By that
time he's usually spent five to six hours at the tavern, not exactly
sharp as a tack, and he's no fun to talk to. He never thanks me for
anything I've done for him, even the special things. When I ask for
money or a favor, I get the bluster-and-protest business. What all of
this does is undermine my sense of self worth. I feel like I'm the
hired help and little else. I also feel desperately lonely. The girls
help fill up the daytime hours, and they take care of an empty place in
me, but it's not always enough. There is still the need for adult
increase, while mine has dwindled away to practically nothing. I'm just
not interested in spending half my life walking around in a fog
anymore. But that's what Ray does -- he walks around in a beer-induced
haze for most of his waking hours. He functions, he goes to work, he
gets things done, but nothing you say to him ever sinks in. It's
incredibly irritating. He can't appreciate wit or subtlety ... they go
right over his head and out the window. Conversation with Ray must be
loud, brief and SIMPLE, or he'll just tune you out. I get so tired of
talking about groceries and babies with him, but anything much more
complicated than that and ZAP, I'm tuned out. He just can't follow what
I'm saying if I try to discuss feelings, past experiences, current
a dummy I keep
you know what I
really like to do next summer?" I say, hoping to initiate a real
he says, a
expression on his face as he chops onions.
think we should go
I say, hopefully. Actually, I could care less whether we go camping or
not. I'm just looking for a little conversation, about ANYTHING. I'm
met by silence. "What do you think?" I prod. "We've got a tent, and the
girls will be old enough ..."
maybe we will,"
Chop, chop, chop. End of conversation: I have clearly been dismissed. I
retreat to the living room, feeling defeated.
don't mean to imply
is stupid, or that he's incapable of intelligent conversations. There
are occasional moments when he astonishes me with sharp wit, subtle
humor, a flash of insight. Sometimes he'll really listen to me when I
have something important to say: occasionally he'll listen when I'm
problem is, was, and
will be his drinking. Alcohol makes him forgetful, sloppy, insensitive.
It keeps him away from home, sometimes (like last week) for days at a
time. For a while I think Jamie didn't even realize that he lives here
with us; she thought he was just this nice guy who came to visit us
every other night or so! Drinking has dulled him. Sometimes I feel like
I've never even met the real Ray ... the one hidden beneath
Rainier Beer ...
experience of my
own with drinking, off and on since I was seventeen, to understand the
attraction. I know how addictive it is. It's easy to fall into the
pattern: life doesn't seem particularly exciting or fulfilling, so you
drink and get a buzz and everything feels better. If you've got to do
something you don't want to do, take a drink and loosen up a little,
and then it's easier to make that dreaded phone call. It's fun to sit
around the tavern with your friends and enjoy a few beers: the
conversation becomes progressively louder, funnier, raunchier. When
you're so depressed you ache, have a drink or two, and it's like
Novocain for the heart.
had whiskey periods
vodka periods and beer periods. When Scott W. and I broke up, I dove
headfirst into a bottle and spent a boozy, hazy ten months trying to
forget him by staying as high as possible as consistently as possible.
This cost me two jobs, four roommates, one car and who knows how much
money. I figure I've probably spent a small fortune on
figure I've also lost untold hours, days, possibly weeks of my life to
black-outs -- time spent doing God-knows-what with God-knows-who -- and
hangovers. I've lost friends and belongings and opportunities because
of drinking. I have two ugly, disfiguring scars -- one on my left
wrist, one on my right forearm -- that are the direct result of
I think how
differently my life might have turned out if I hadn't started drinking
in high school. One thing is for certain: I wouldn't be sitting here in
Kirkland this morning, bemoaning the fact that I married a hopeless
alcoholic. On the other hand, I wouldn't have Jamie and Kacie, either.
The thought of not having them is chilling. I guess that some things
work out for the best.
I had my children
settled into a domestic routine, my drinking has dwindled and fallen
off almost completely. There just isn't the desire anymore, or the
need. I still enjoy an occasional Bloody Mary at the bowling alley, but
like I said, spending my life walking around in a fog has lost its
appeal. I'd rather be sharp and cognizant. Jamie and Kacie need a
mother who can function, and function well.
wish I could get some
professional help for Ray, but I know he would never go for it. I'm
just afraid it's going to take something drastic, like a DWI, to turn
him around ... and even then I'm not so sure that would do
Jan. 4, 1984
spent New Year's Eve
quietly -- we'd been out very late the night before, and were too tired
to make it two nights in a row. (Friday night I drove down to the
tavern and surprised Ray; later in the evening Mike Paynter came home
with us, and he and I stayed up until 6 a.m., listening to music and
talking.) New Year's Eve was on a Saturday this year. Late in the
afternoon Ray took Jamie down to Dave's Place for a few hours, while I
stayed home and napped with Kacie. I thought it was really nice of Ray
to take Jay out for a special excursion, just the two of them. I know
Jamie had a ball. When they came home at seven (Jamie wearing a silly
paper hat!), they were both in bubbly moods. We had leftover McDonalds
for a makeshift dinner and then went to bed early. I was sound asleep
when the new year arrived.
have only one
1984: to avoid, AT ALL COSTS, becoming pregnant again!
plan to go bowling
tonight, if I can get Terry to babysit. Might take Jay with us, too.
has a tooth --
On the lower left of her mouth.
not as down in the
about my marriage as I was last week. It comes and goes. Some days I'm
convinced that all is hopeless ... other days there
light at the end of the tunnel. Ray spent the entire weekend at home
with us. Of course he was glued to the TV most of the time, watching
one holiday football game after another, but at least he was here. He
put together the little table & chairs that Grandma Vert gave
for Christmas, and he did some grocery shopping and cooking. I felt
almost guilty about writing those terrible things about him. The
drinking problem is definitely there, though. I won't pretend it isn't,
even if things are smoother than usual between us. It's going to hang
over our lives until -- unless -- Ray gets some help. I just pray it
doesn't take a tragedy for him to seek that help.
I'm happy. I don't
why. I just am. I keep thinking about last Friday night, sitting up
until dawn talking to Mike Paynter. I like him very much, and it feels
good to have a friend I enjoy. I keep thinking about last Thursday,
when the girls and I drove down to visit Grandma Vert and my mother ...
how good it felt to be out, free to go wherever I pleased. I'm thinking
about all the things that are going right in my life ... Kacie's new
tooth, and bowling tonight, and how nice my house looks, and Jamie's
funny, uneven haircut ... the little details of my life.
January 12, 1984
a week later. I'm
bad about writing again. One of my unspoken resolutions for the new
year -- a resolution I make every year -- is to be more consistent
about writing in my journal. I'm off to a miserable start so far!
and Kacie are
squishing bananas into their mouths -- and into the furniture. The
beginning of another day. The coffee this morning is strong and bitter.
I'm in the last days of my period and feeling tired despite a good
thing I hate the
January is the unrelenting ordinariness of it. It just goes on forever;
days and days and days of the same old thing. It's extremely
depressing. I wish there was something specific and wonderful to look
forward to right now ... a vacation, a party, a special project. Last
year at this time I was pregnant with Kacie, which made January more
tolerable than usual. This year there's nothing ahead but Jamie's
temper tantrums (the Terrible Twos have begun in earnest, I'm afraid),
mountains of laundry, the same dirty dishes in the sink every morning,
evenings spend alone waiting for Ray to come home ... God. I have to
stop writing about it -- I'm working myself into an acute depression.
January 13, 1984
think I'm facing a
here. The depression isn't going away -- it's getting deeper and wider.
I'm functioning normally this morning, changing diapers and making
coffee, but just beneath the surface I feel absolutely empty. There
just ISN'T ANYTHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO.
been toying with
of throwing a party, but that would only be a temporary solution to my
loneliness. It would be nice to take a class again, maybe a writing
class. Maybe dropping some weight would help. I don't know. There
should be more to my life than housework and babies.
do feel lonely, but
strange ... whenever someone does come by to visit, I resent the
intrusion. I wonder why that is? I ache for companionship, and then
when someone offers it, I can't accept it. I guess I'm just accustomed
to living in a solitary way. I love it and I hate it. Sometimes my
lonely way of life is as comfortable as an old shoe, other times it
feels like precisely what it is -- a rut. Today I'm feeling extremely
is that "something
special" I predicted at the beginning of this journal? The Big Change
that was going to take place in my life?
Sunday 1 p.m.
January 15, 1984
hungover. Ray and I went out for a while last night. Wish I had some
pop, but we're broke. Waiting for Ray to finish cooking our brunch --
steak, scrambled eggs and pancakes. Yum.
should be sick with
today, but oddly enough I'm not. The fantasy is over: Mike Paynter did
a thorough job of putting me in my place last night. ("Break It To Me
Easy" playing on the jukebox in the background at the time.) I feel
relieved, as a matter of fact. Stuck, but relieved.
mean. Now I feel stuffed and sleepy.
girls are eating
dinner (macaroni & cheese, green beans and toast). This morning
discovered Kacie has another tooth, this one on the top right side of
her mouth. That makes two! Jamie went over to Terry's for an hour this
afternoon, and came home pink-cheeked and jabbering excitedly. She sure
January 16, 1984
is home today ...
tried to start the car this morning he discovered he was out of gas. He
walked down to the phone booth and called the plant, and they told him
to just take the day off.
are desperately broke
literally down to our last few pennies. We need groceries badly, but I
don't know how we can manage it. This always seems to happen to us in
January, and it only compounds my depression.
Wednesday morning 7 a.m.
January 18, 1984
(Hurry up, coffee ... finish brewing!)
is one of those
mornings when I can't seem to go back to sleep after Ray has left for
work: I'm too wide-awake. I just went outside into the freezing cold of
this January morning -- a huge full moon still hanging in the west --
and picked up the garbage the neighborhood dogs had strewn around our
yard. My fingertips are numb from the cold: the hot coffee cup stings
was my dream last
group of American and Russian officials were grimly sitting around my
living room, while I served them a dinner of Italian meatballs. As I
was dishing up the food, I was thinking, panicked, that "this will be
the last thing anyone ever eats" -- because, I guess, the Big Bombs
were about to go off. Suddenly an alarm went off, signifying that war
had begun. I ran to find Ray. I told him it was going to be OK because
"soon we'll be with the Lord," but I was still very afraid. Ray and I
turned ourselves into little pieces of paper and tried to hide in one
of Grandma Vert's flower beds, but the bombs were coming anyway ...
I was quite
wake up after that
I'm toying with the
going back to bed ... it's only 7:15, and the girls won't wake up for
another two hours. Should I or shouldn't I?
guess I shouldn't. The
already begun. I'll just chug down a couple cups of coffee and keep an
eye on the garbage until the truck gets here.
Monday Ray borrowed $30 from Judy down the street, and yesterday he
went to his parents and borrowed another $20. That kept us in milk and
diapers and the most basic groceries; we've had hamburgers two nights
in a row. I'm thankful that tomorrow is payday.
other day I was
about how glad I am that we named her "Jamie." Her name suits her. She
can't quite pronounce it yet -- it comes out "Dee Dee." ("No Dee Dee
bass?" "No Dee Dee bed?" "Dee Dee sots!" No Jamie bath, no Jamie
bed, Jamie's socks.)
She just looks
like a Jamie!
is beginning to
joy of making noise. "Ma-ma-ma-ma" and "Dih dih dih!" are her two
favorites. She shouts at me to get my attention. If I ignore her for
too long, the shout turns into a bellow. ("AAAH!!") When she's happy
she coos, sings and babbles softly, under her breath; I often hear her
doing this in her crib in the morning, before she signals that she's
ready to get up. (It is the happiest sound I know.) When she's
frustrated or angry, she waves her arms around and shrieks.
learns new words
There is practically no baby talk left in her vocabulary. The past week
or so she has started holding up unfamiliar objects and asking me to
name them for her -- last night's fishsticks, for instance. " 'Sat,
Mama?" she said. "Fish," I said. She repeated the word back to me -
"Fiss." I'm amazed by her retention of new words; she must have a
working vocabulary of 200 words by now, if not more.
sentences are still
short and simple. Here are some examples of things she says a lot:
done show! Show
En gah IN?" (The kitties
can Wendie come
Diddle GO?" (Where did
Peez. GA. PEEZ?" (Can I
get up please?)
Sissy. SISSY. NO
sha! No Dee-Dee
shower -- no Jamie shower)
has begun drinking
cow's milk on occasion, particularly during weeks like this when we're
low on money and can't afford both formula and milk. She seems to like
it, and I don't notice any change in her bowel movements. She also
likes apple juice in the mornings. She has begun eating some table
foods - things easily chewed with two tiny teeth! - last night she had
a french fry and some noodles from a can of chicken soup; She eats
happily, noisily, sloppily ... she puts her whole heart and soul into
it. (Putting her to bed last night, I found a noodle in her hair.)
only things she
eat are meat-flavored or strained-meat baby foods. Chicken, beef,
turkey -- it doesn't make any difference. She puckers up and refuses to
let the spoon into her mouth.
Yesterday she ate like a lumberjack -- cornflakes & toast for
breakfast, tuna sandwich, chicken soup, Fritos and Jell-o for lunch,
and the afore-mentioned "fiss," french fries and corn for dinner. Plus
a couple of bottles. Other days she subsists on soda crackers and a
couple of green beans. We got her to eat some scrambled eggs last
weekend, but that was because Daddy put some "oodle-doodles" (tomatoes)
in them. Jamie loves oodle-doodles. I don't think it even occurred to
her that she was eating eggs.
still takes two of
one in the morning, one late in the afternoon. Jamie takes one long
nap, from 3:00 to about 5:30. Kacie wakes up from her naps cheerful and
bouncing; Jamie wakes up groggy and cross.
is 8:30 for Kacie,
often refuses to go to sleep and I end up letting her stay up a bit
longer. Jamie often stays up as late as 10:00 or 10:30 so she can spend
some time with her Daddy. People may be amazed and critical that we
allow her to be up so late, but we just operate on a different sort of
schedule, that's all -- we go to bed later and we get up later. It
works out fine for us. When Jamie starts school in a few years we'll
have to amend this somewhat, of course.
mischievous in recent weeks. Yesterday I was sitting on the sofa,
putting on my makeup. She stood beside me, poking around in my basket
of cosmetics, as she always does. A minute or two later she sauntered
out of the room with exaggerated casualness, arms clutched tightly to
her chest. I was immediately suspicious, and I followed her into her
bedroom. She had hidden one of my eyeshadows in her sweater!
time I suddenly
she was nowhere in sight, and that I hadn't heard a peep out of her for
a long time. I found her in my bedroom, where she'd dragged a chair
over to my dresser and had climbed up to my jewelry box. Earrings and
necklaces were scattered all over the place.
took some of her toy
into the bathroom and "washed" them in the toilet. She sprayed her
clothes and hair with furniture polish. She dumped a bottle of fabric
softener down the bathroom sink. She climbed into the bathtub and
poured out a full bottle of shampoo, stopping to rub a handful of it
into her hair.
I take my morning
Jamie always used to come into the bathroom and watch me. Now she sees
this as an opportunity to get into mischief while Mom is busy. She
shuts the bathroom door while I'm showering and then scampers off to
get into the first forbidden thing she can find. Ten minutes later I'll
emerge from the shower, dripping wet, only to find all of the cats
running around the living room, or Jamie uncapping all the felt pens in
my desk, or Kacie locked in her bedroom screaming ...
a little bit
dismayed by how
deliberate all of this is. The business of the eyeshadow was so
calculated. Is she testing me? How am I supposed to respond? It
certainly wasn't a serious crime; nobody was hurt, nothing was damaged.
I took the makeup away from her and said "NO NO!" And that was that.
She was mad at me for catching her, but a few minutes later she was
sitting on my lap watching TV with me again, all anger forgotten.
has become so
is a typical morning conversation:
Mom: (putting bread into
toaster) "Would you like some toast?"
Jamie: "NO TOAST."
Mom: "You don't want any toast."
Jamie: "No TOAST, Mama. NO toast, Mama."
Mom: "OK, OK, no toast." (I continue fixing it anyway)
Jamie: "TOAST, MAMA!! PEEEEZZ!!" (stamps her feet, starts to cry)
Mom: "Oh, you do want some toast. OK."
Can now crawl at
speed of light (or so it seems)! She can zoom from one end of the room
to the other in seconds flat. (Daddy sits down in the armchair and sets
his can of beer on the coffeetable beside him. Kacie, sitting on the
floor in the kitchen, sees the beer. In five seconds she is standing by
the coffeetable reaching for the can before Daddy even realizes what's
has also gotten
at "cruising" -- moving the length of the sofa by holding onto it with
one hand and side-stepping along, for example. She can move all around
the room this way.
Kacie made the
discovery that by pushing the ottoman around the living room, she can
walk along behind and pretend she's "really" walking.
marvel at my little
sunny disposition. She's just so HAPPY. She loves to play, she loves to
eat, she loves her bath; when she's sleepy, she loves to cuddle. And
she is always smiling! (Just now I picked her up from her highchair,
where she's just finished eating her breakfast. She is sticky and
wiggly, and she smells of toast and strawberry jam. I kiss her ear and
is losing some of
fat. The big round belly, evident in last summer's swimming pool
photos, is gone. She is slim and lithe. Of course, there's still a lot
of toddler awkwardness, and she still has a baby's round pudgy cheeks
and nose, and stubby, dimpled fingers and toes. There is still some of
the baby in her. More often than not, though, when I look at her I see
a little girl ... the infant is gone forever. Sigh.
Thursday 9:30 a.m.
January 19, 1984
has ANOTHER tooth!
right side of her mouth. That makes three in two weeks. She certainly
has been a busy young lady lately!
has Mama's blue
eyes, shaped like Daddy's; JAMIE has Daddy's brown eyes.
- KACIE has Mama's
straight, fine brown hair; JAMIE has
Daddy's fine, thick, wavy brown hair.
- KACIE has Mama's
very fair skin; JAMIE has Daddy's
- KACIE displays
right-handedness; JAMIE, left-handedness
- KACIE began teething
late but will walk early; JAMIE
began teething & walking right on schedule.
- KACIE wakes up
cheerful and happy; JAMIE wakes up groggy
- KACIE doesn't mind
the vacuum cleaner -- she even follows
me around the house as I clean; JAMIE is terrified of the vacuum and
won't go anywhere near it -- she howls in fright when I turn it on.
- KACIE sleeps lightly
and fitfully; usually wakes up once
or twice in the night; JAMIE sleeps like a log, all thru the night.
- KACIE doesn't mind
having her washed, and has always
loved her bath; it took JAMIE a long time to learn to enjoy her bath.
Even now she still fights me sometimes. And she HATES having her hair
- KACIE hates broccoli
& cucumbers; JAMIE adores them
January 20, 1984
up this morning and
our water shut off. Ray was supposed to drop off some money at the
Kirkland Utilities office this morning, but evidently he didn't. I went
over and used our neighbor Mrs. Kennedy's phone to call him at work. He
said he'd had a "flat tire" and didn't have time to pay the bill. Mrs.
Kennedy overheard our conversation. Her husband Rex works for the city,
and she gave him a call, asking him to do us a favor & turn the
water back on. I'm still waiting, but I'm sure he'll come through for
girls got up a bit
than I would have liked this morning. They both started to holler at
the same time; I huddled under the blankets and tried to ignore them,
but they were very persistent.
Saturday 10:30 a.m.
January 21, 1984
and headachy. Ray didn't come home last night -- I've lost track of how
many times this has happened lately -- and I still have no water. Mr.
Kennedy never turned it back on for us. I guess it would be against
city ordinances or something, since the bill still hasn't been paid. I
had a heated conversation with Ray on the phone yesterday afternoon. He
was down at the tavern, of course, and clearly in no hurry either to
come home OR to take care of the water bill.
Tuesday 4 p.m.
January 24, 1984
the girls are napping; I have just fixed myself some instant coffee,
lit a cigarette and turned KEZX on the stereo. The house is
(temporarily) neat as a pin. I'm a little tired today, but feeling not
water was finally
back on this weekend: that was about the only good thing that happened.
Ray was out late again on Saturday night -- Joe and Karen's wedding
reception -- and then out again all day Sunday, running around with
Mike Ross. By the time he finally got home, I was touchy and mean. I
tried to pick a fight with him, but he refused to argue with me so I
dropped it. I guess I just wanted some attention from him, even in the
form of an argument. I've been feeling quite neglected recently.
night he surprised
coming home at 7:30 ... the earliest he's been home in months. I was
amazed and grateful. He was in a cheerful mood, puttering around in the
kitchen, making turkey burritos for dinner. He paid special attention
to Jamie, and she was positively GLOWING because of it. They sat at the
kitchen table together and ate supper. Jamie kept looking over at me
and saying "Dee Dee sit Dada!" (Jamie's
sitting with Daddy!) I acted
really surprised and said "Oh BOY!
Jamie's sitting with her DAD!," and she squirmed with pleasure and
is trying to stand
herself today. She lets go of the furniture and just stands there for a
second or two, without any support. She even tried taking one step but
immediately plopped down onto her bottom. I cut her bangs this weekend
and she really looks cute. It changes her whole appearance. I've got to
get some film in my camera and get some pictures of her at this
Wednesday night 8:30 p.m.
January 25, 1984
no TV, no stereo, no dryer running. I turned everything off for a
little while -- the constant noise was beginning to get to me. Jamie
doesn't understand, and she keeps requesting that I turn on the "tee
fee." I'm enjoying the peace, though. Ray is bowling, I presume. The
girls are in their p.j.'s, playing.
now has four
was the major excitement of this day ... that, and running four loads
of laundry. Oh yes, I forgot the REALLY big news -- Jamie fell and bit
her tongue this evening. Could life possibly be more exciting than
Thursday morning, just out of bed
January 26, 1984
I laid in
little while ago, wondering why I should even bother getting up ...
there is absolutely nothing to look forward to today, and very little
that needs to be done. It's still January. It's been January for about
ten years now. I am "in the doldrums," as they say, and nothing seems
to help ...
And then I tiptoe
Kacie's open bedroom door and stand there for a moment, hidden,
watching her rolling around in her crib ... chuckling, grabbing her
toes, clutching her blanky, blowing raspberries in the air ... her
private goofy antics bring a smile to my face. She is just so filled
with energy and joy. Her day is going to be a lot of the "same old
thing," just like mine will be, but that doesn't seem to bother her.
She's just happy to be alive! It occurs to me then that this day, while
probably not destined to be the most thrilling of my life, will at
least be another day without nuclear war ... another day alive, healthy
and comfortable ... another day with my children little and helpless
and sweet. Does this make sense? Someday I'll wish I could come back in
time and re-live some of these "dull & ordinary" days in 1984,
the girls were babies and I spent my mornings drinking coffee and
moaning in my journal about how bored I am
... Still. I wish there
SOMETHING in my life besides fabric softener and baby wipes and
leftover green beans. The most important decisions I make are what to
fix the girls for dinner, whether to shower before or after "All My
Children," whether I should wash the sofa pillows in hot or cold water
the shower I was
the idea of getting a job. Initially the idea was intriguing. It might
be kind of nice ... I'd be getting out of the house, meeting other
people, earning a little money ... it sure couldn't hurt our financial
situation. Then I started to think of all the reasons why I can't. I'm
too fat, I'm too old, I don't have any clothes, my office skills are
rusty, who would take care of my kids? So scratch that idea. It was
easy for me to find work when I was 20 ... I was young and pretty and
enthusiastic then. Everyone likes a pretty young receptionist. Now I
don't even have that going for me anymore. Who would want lumpy-dumpy
old ME sitting at their front desk? Maybe I could get work slinging
hamburgers at McDonalds, or sorting can labels in a factory. Wouldn't
that be fulfilling?
26 years old, but to
talk you'd think I was 70. Take everything I say today with a grain of
salt: I'm looking at the world this morning through the eyes of a
frustrated housewife. Where is Terri Vert? Whatever happened to her,
anyway? Millions & millions of years ago, I was a girl named
Vert ... I remember that.
who am I?
January 27, 1984
and I are sitting
kitchen table having "our" morning coffee (Jamie's is more milk than
coffee). Kacie is sitting on the living room floor eyeballing us, milk
all over her chin. My girls. Funny, funny little monkeys.
looks so cute
got her dressed in pink corduroy overalls and a flowered blouse with
short puffed sleeves. Ever since I cut her bangs, her whole appearance
has changed -- not to mention what the addition of those four little
teeth have done for her. She's at such an adorable stage that you just
want to pick her up and squeeze her (which I do, frequently).
said he'll be home
tonight to spend the evening with me. I'm choosing to believe him, even
though he has a lousy track record. At least it gives me something to
look forward to. I may even take the time to set my hair and put on
something pretty, just for the occasion. Of course, if he lets me down
& stays out all night, like he usually does on Fridays, I'm
to be crushed. (So what's new?)
January 28, 1994
He didn't come home at all last night. It's noon Saturday, and he still
isn't home. Am I crushed? Yes,
a little. I'm disappointed and angry, too. This is the SIXTH time in
one month that this shit has happened, and I'm sick and tired of it.
Tuesday 11 a.m.
January 31, 1984
finally came home at
Saturday night, with Mike Paynter, hungover and contrite as usual.
Apparently he drank himself into oblivion on Friday night and passed
out on Paynter's couch. He said he "slept" all day Saturday, which is
probably true. I was relieved to see him -- by that point I'd begun to
fear the worst, that perhaps I'd become a widow at age 26 -- but he
could tell I was also very angry.
Paynter left and
gone to the store to pick up some urgently-needed groceries, my mom
stopped in unexpectedly. She'd been out to the hospital to see Debi,
and she stopped by to see us on the way home. I had the girls in the
tub (Jamie screaming bloody murder as I shampooed her gunky hair) so I
didn't hear Mom knock ... she just walked right in and nearly scared me
to death when she called my name, right outside the bathroom door!
("TERRI?") I hustled the girls out of the tub in a hurry and we sat and
visited for about 45 minutes. Mostly we talked about alcoholism. Since
Debi has been in the Care Unit hospital, Mom has become quite an expert
on the subject. She's been going to A.A. and Al-Anon meetings, both.
One is to help her deal with the alcohol problems of her loved ones;
the other is to help her confront her own problem. She told me she's a
"controlled alcoholic" -- she's got it under control at present. She
asked me whether or not I was "aware" that Ray is an alcoholic. I said
yes, I've known about it since before I married him. And it's true, he
is. I've just never been able to say the word before. She suggested
that I try an Al-Anon meeting, the support group for family &
friends of alcoholics. I don't know. It's not the first time someone
has made the suggestion. Judy S. talked about it once; I guess
there's a local chapter here in Kirkland. I've thought about it, and I
keep coming up with reasons why I shouldn't. Wouldn't it be kind of a
disloyal thing to do? What would Ray do if he found out I was talking
about his drinking to a bunch of total strangers? And what about my own
"controlled" drinking problem -- wouldn't that be the pot calling the
Mom "oohed" and
over Kacie's pretty new teeth, and chattered with Jamie a little bit,
and then she had to head for home.
came home from the
store. I was still thinking about the things Mom had said when, to my
total astonishment ... Ray began talking about his
problem!! Mind you -- this was without any prompting from me.
just started saying that he knows he has a problem, and that he needs
some help. He even said something about a treatment center he could go
to "on the weekends." The only disappointment was that he refused to
admit that he was actually an alcoholic. He seems to think he can just
cut back, without having to stop altogether.
also said he wants to
spending more time with the girls and I, doing things like a real
family ... going to parks, for instance. I figured it was just so much
"talk," but to my surprise and pleasure, the very next day he took us
to the Kirkland waterfront. Ray and Jamie fed the ducks while I pushed
Kacie around in the stroller. It was really cold, but it felt
wonderful. We had so much fun. Jamie was totally in awe over the ducks;
the boats, the other children ... she kept saying "hi" to people and
jabbering excitedly at me. ("'Sat, Mama? S'at, Mama?") I felt
proud and pleased to be out in public with my little family. Is this an
indication of things to come? Ray says that next Sunday we'll go to
another park. Wouldn't it be nice if this turned into a weekly routine?
I can see us taking the girls to the zoo this summer, or to the Fun
Forest. Or maybe to Chuck E. Cheese for pizza. Just normal, fun,
"family stuff" ... things that millions of other
do all the time.
for Ray's drinking.
problem is there -- I know it, and so does he. At least he acknowledges
it. I told him that if he decides to get professional help, I'll
support him all the way. The next move is his.
Mama: "Oh boy! What have
Jamie: (shoveling a huge spoonful of yellow gunk into her mouth)
Mama: "No ... that's not applesauce."
Jamie: "S'at, Mama?"
Mama: "Peach cobbler."
Jamie: "PEE KAH." (Shovel shovel.) "ALLLLL done!"
"Garbage Day." This morning
she stood at the window and watched me struggle with the Waste-Wheeler,
finally dragging it down to the curb. Now, every time a big truck
rumbles down the street, she flies to the window to see if it's the
Street" is on
and I are sitting at the kitchen table; a few minutes ago she very
sweetly requested a bowl of cereal ("Sih ... peez?"), so now she's
happily munching Corn Flakes and watching Kermit The Frog. I hear Kacie
thrashing around in her crib, down the hall, but I don't seem to have
the energy to get her up yet. I'm savoring my first cup of drip-coffee
in two weeks -- infinitely better than the horrible instant I've been
forced to drink -- Ray brought me some Folgers last night, bless him. I
could drink a whole pot of this stuff. (In all likelihood, I probably
will.) Ray won't be home until after bowling tonight, so the day
stretches out very long before me.
going to write today
ordinary things. Not that I don't always, anyway! I just mean that I'll
go beyond humdrum a little and delve a little more deeply into the
details of life around our little house ...
night I watched a
TV called "The Master of Ballantrae," starring Michael York and Richard
Thomas, based on a story by Robert Louis Stevenson. Jamie sat with me
and watched, although she was much more interested in the Hallmark
commercials than the show itself. During the commercial breaks, I went
out to the kitchen and made dinner for Ray and I -- frozen Banquet
Chicken and Rice A Roni (to which I added leftover frozen vegetables --
peas, corn and green beans, to be specific). Ray still wasn't home by
9:30, so I went ahead and ate without him. On a whim I added some
horseradish to my rice, which made it painfully, exquisitely hot. I
have lately developed a passion for horseradish. Jamie, on the other
hand, recognizes the red label on the little jar and won't go anywhere
near it ... she still remembers the time last year she got into it and
stuck big fingerful into her mouth ...
movie lasted for
and was very exciting. I particularly liked Timothy Dalton, who played
an Irish soldier of fortune. Jamie and I made a big pile of pillows and
afghans on the floor in front of the TV and laid on the floor watching
the show. Jamie imitated everything I did exactly: if I rested my chin
on my hands, she did likewise, if I kicked my feet or drummed my
fingers, she followed suit ... it was so funny.
came home at 10:30.
brought home a small box of Pampers, a can of concentrated Enfamil for
Kacie, milk, a pack of Salem Slim Lights for me, one can each of Pepsi
and 7-Up, and a can of dog food. He immediately put on his p.j.'s and
took his dinner to bed. Kacie heard the commotion and began to cry, so
I let her get up for a few minutes and visit with her Daddy. (Every
time she sees him, she does the same thing: first, she just stares and
stares at him, motionlessly, frozen. Who IS that funny looking man??
Then, all of a sudden, she breaks into a huge grin and ducks her head,
kicking and squirming, burying her face into my shoulder, kicking me
happily. She'll sort of "give him the eye" for a little while, but any
time he says something to her directly, she ducks her head again, as
though she's shy, and holds onto me tight. Occasionally she'll approach
Ray on her own. If she sees him sleeping on the sofa, she'll
immediately crawl over and pull his hair. Or if he's sitting in a chair
eating or drinking a beer, she'll putter over to him and try to grab
some food off his plate or get his beer can -- all the time giving him
her biggest smile. Anyway. Ray talked to the girls for a little while
he ate his dinner. Then we put them to bed -- Kacie first, with half a
bottle of formula and her blanky (the lavender and mint-green blanket
that Grandma St. John crocheted for her). Then Jamie, with her bottle
and her foul-smelling "Liddle Diddle" and a cribful of stuffed animals.
Some nights Jamie puts up a struggle at bedtime, some nights she goes
down quietly & willingly. Last night was one of the easy
She gave me a big kiss and a quick hug and politely asked me to leave
the door open. ("No shut doh peez?") I think she likes to lay there and
listen to the sounds of the house being shut down for the night ...
windows being closed, the flush of the toilet, Ray and I talking in
bed, the TV in our bedroom ...
layed in bed and read
hours. Ray fell instantly to sleep and snored peacefully beside me; he
always sleeps on his side, with one fist resting against his cheek, as
though he's deep in thought. I'm reading a book called "Kinflicks."
Actually I've already read it once, a few years ago, but it's been long
enough that I don't remember much about the plot or the characters; I
might as well be reading a brand-new book. This weekend I read (for the
first time) "My Cousin Rachel" by Daphne DuMaurier.
are the things I
do today: shower and wash my hair, make the beds, wash last night's
dinner dishes, wash and fill Kacie's bottles, dry and fold the laundry
I did yesterday, and pick up the girls' bedrooms. There is also lunch
and dinner to prepare and the ever-present toys to pick up and diapers
to change. I owe eight penpal letters: to Janet Hubbard, Beth Stepp,
Linda Talbert, Tammy Cooper, Carol Baron, Amanda Prothero and Sue
Miseroy; also one to my sister-in-law Judy. I don't have any stamps,
though, so I've been putting off writing. Kacie's scrapbook needs work,
and my journals need to be sorted and edited. The drawers, cupboard and
closets in this house are a mess and in dire need of attention. The
fridge needs a good cleaning, as does the tub, and I don't even want to
about the oven. I
haven't had a vacuum cleaner for a year now, and the carpet always
looks terrible. The living room drapes desperately need to be
dry-cleaned, and the kitchen curtains are so old they're beginning to
disintegrate; how much would it cost, I wonder, to replace them?
When I'm done with my housework today, the place will look perfectly
presentable. I daydream about coming into some money and fixing things
up -- a new sofa to replace the peeling leather monster we've got now,
re-painting the kitchen and living room, replacing the curtains and the
carpeting -- but I know that these things are all out of reach. I've
got to be happy with things the way they are, and make whatever small
changes I can, slowly, one at a time. When we get our income tax return
(later this month?), maybe I can get a few things for the house ... a
couple of nice plants, some picture frames.
is out of bed now,
in a red velvet dress, white knee socks and small white shoes. She's
awfully quiet this morning, playing by herself in a corner next to the
living room window. Jamie is "allowing" Kacie to play with some of her
toys. Maybe that's what's keeping Kacie so engrossed ... the
opportunity to play with toys that are usually off-limits to her. Jamie
is ordinarily very protective of her toys, but this morning she's more
interested in filching coffee from me.
I want to have a lot of children, because there is a secret need in me
to be "connected" to as many people as possible
Monday 9:30 a.m.
February 6, 1984
morning. Jamie is
with me at the kitchen table again, happily spooning the leftover milk
from her Captain Crunch into a mug of lukewarm coffee; half of the milk
is on the table. Kacie is grouchy and unhappy this morning; she's got
another diaper rash and a mild fever, which I'm monitoring closely. The
house is filthy, but that's par for the course on a Monday. Ray made
dinner last night (beef stroganoff -- his isn't as good as mine), and
as usual he used every pan & dish in the house. There are torn
newspapers strewn across the living room, the ever-present toys
everywhere, bits and pieces of our weekend.
actually came home
night and spent the evening with me. Considering how many Friday nights
he's stayed out all night, it was a rare and pleasant surprise. I made
my version of the stroganoff for our dinner, and when both of the girls
had gone to bed, we sat up drinking beer and listening to records.
had to work on
he left me the car. On a whim I took the girls down to see Dad and
Valerie. The girls were utterly fascinated with Dad's junky, cluttered
house ... so many things to get into!! Jamie discovered
secret stash of Lifesavers and ate a huge handful of them; Kacie tried
to make friends with Dad's old tomcat, and got scratched on the cheek
for her efforts. Dad took us all to The Flower Drum and treated us to a
Chinese dinner. The girls were surprisingly well-behaved at the
restaurant. Jamie sat on a booster seat between Dad and Valerie and
worked on a glass of ice cubes, while Kacie sat in a high chair next to
me, nibbling on prawns and rice.
I got the girls
Saturday evening, we were all exhausted and went to bed early. I had to
get up around midnight to open the door for Ray, but other than that we
all slept soundly.
yesterday morning to pick up the vacuum cleaner we borrowed and to get
the rent money. I'd sort of been dreading their visit for days, and I'm
relieved it's finally over.
spent a fairly quiet
just puttering around the house. Ray was just paid last Thursday but
already we're broke. With our last sixteen dollars, Ray went out and
bought a few necessary groceries. I don't know how we're going to make
it through the next eleven days until payday. Sigh. I'm tired of being
so grindingly poor all the time.
Last night Ray
stroganoff again, along with salad and garlic toast. There were two
good movies on TV last night, neither of which I'd seen - "Chariots of
Fire" on CBS and "On Golden Pond" on ABC, but Ray and I smoked a little
pot before dinner and by 9:00 I was too sleepy to concentrate on TV.
Instead, I went to bed and finished reading "Kinflicks" and the Sunday
paper. I had strange dreams all night long. This morning I've been
trying to recall them, but I can only pick up bits and
(Climbing down a ladder ... being in love with someone who didn't
return the feeling ... driving around downtown Kirkland ...)
milestone last night: she "did her poops" in the potty chair for the
very first time. Without ANY urging from me, I should add. Ray and I
made a big deal out of it, applauding and congratulating her on what a
BIG GIRL she is. She just stood there and beamed. Of course I'm really
pleased, but to tell you the truth I have no idea what to do next.
Where do I proceed from here?
stood alone last
a full minute before "plopping." She's trying very hard to walk, but
she just can't seem to get those little feet to move the way they're
supposed to. In the meantime, she continues to learn other little
"tricks" -- something new every day, practically. This weekend she
learned how to tip her bottle up in the air, to get the milk flowing.
She also played a crude game of "peek-a-boo" with her blanky.
Unfortunately, Kacie has simultaneously discovered the bathroom and the
fireplace -- both of which are "off limits." In the bathroom, she likes
to tip over the wastebasket and rummage through the garbage, chew on
the toilet bowl brush (yecccccch) and unroll the toilet paper. When she
gets a chance, she likes to poke around in the fireplace and munch on
soot until her whole face is black.
spent some time this
reading an old journal I wrote during the spring of 1975, when I was
seventeen and a junior in high school. It was the Scott K./Rick H.
period. I was amazed and embarrassed by how ridiculous it all
sounded. Was I ever really that young and dumb and desperate?
complained incessantly. Every entry sounds the same. I complained when
I didn't have a boyfriend, and I complained when I did. I went out with
any loser that showed the slightest interest in me. I imagined myself
this hip young druggie, and did a lot of bragging about the booze I
stole from Dad and the drugs I'd take very occasionally. I thought I
was really stepping up in the world. It's incredible. I remember at the
time I was trying to pattern my journal after the book "Go Ask Alice"
(the diary of a teenage girl in the 60's who experimented with drugs).
I was trying to be really shocking, but instead I sound pathetic and
stupid. Reading the things my seventeen year old self had written, I
kept feeling this urge to go back in time and slap her around! I
thought I was so grown-up at seventeen, but now I see that I was
this what is known as
I'm reading this
nine years from now, will I gasp at how naive my twenty-six year old
noon and I still
started on the housework. It's a clear and almost-sunny day, so I
opened the kitchen door for awhile and let the girls play with the
kitties. (I latched the safety gate so the girls couldn't go outside.)
They enjoyed the cool fresh air and the cats running in and out the
door, but after half an hour it got too cold so I shut the door. Now
Kacie is down for a nap and Jay has curled up in an armchair with her
bottle and Liddle Diddle. It's almost lunchtime. Jamie and I are going
to have leftover stroganoff and noodles.
February 7, 1984
been hearing and
lot lately about something called "PMS" ... pre-menstrual syndrome.
Headaches, backaches, nausea, breast tenderness, psychological tension
and depression are some of the symptoms. I seem to recall reading that
thousands of women are afflicted with it, within the week to ten days
immediately preceding their periods. I also seem to recall that other,
more complex problems can be caused by PMS, including psychological and
emotional problems. I want to find out more about this. My period is
due today, and I've been feeling horrible for a week. I'd like to find
out if I'm imagining things or if I might be one of those women who
suffers from PMS.
night I put both
to bed at the slightly-earlier-than-usual hour of 8 p.m., and with the
exception of Kacie waking at 5 a.m. for a bottle, they both slept
soundly until 8:30 this morning. I think we might continue this new
schedule for awhile. It was great having a little extra time to myself
last night. (I watched "Arthur," with Dudley Moore and Liza Minelli.)
The only drawback, of course, is that Ray missed the girls completely
-- by the time he got home at 9 p.m. they were both sound asleep. Kacie
heard us rustling around in the kitchen and gave a little squawk, so I
wrapped her up in a blanket and carried her out to the kitchen to visit
with her Daddy for a minute. (She was so warm and sleepy and confused
... I kissed her fuzzy hair and told Ray, "I'm falling very deeply in
love with this little person.") She really wasn't awake at all, so we
put her right back to bed. I do like the idea of an earlier bedtime for
the girls, but I also think they need to spend time every night with
their Daddy, for his sake as well as theirs.
cramps. My period
this minute. I feel so bloated and uncomfortable this morning, but
there doesn't seem to be anything I can do about it. Aspirin and hot
coffee are my usual remedies, but they're not helping much today. This
will be a lazy day. I made pancakes and bacon for our breakfast this
morning. I'll do the minimum amount of housework necessary, open a can
of stew for dinner tonight. I know Ray will understand.
the mail today.
February 8, 1984
broke. I just don't know
how we're going to squeeze by another week. We've got food in the
house, and I've got enough diapers to last until this weekend, but
unless we come up with some fast cash we're going to be in real
trouble. Maybe I'll take the girls down to Grandma Vert's tomorrow and
request (another) loan, just to tide us over.
day. I fixed
cheese sandwiches and chicken soup for our lunch. There is something
familiar and comforting about soup and sandwiches for lunch ...
something out of my childhood, maybe? It makes me feel warm and
Feb. 13, 1984
post-weekend. I am out of bed early -- crazy dreams and a rotten
stomach ache (due no doubt to my midnight taco) woke me up. The girls
are just beginning to stir, but I need a minute or two to ease the
sleep out of my head before I have to deal with little wet screaming
people. The house looks awful. I have a full days' work ahead of me --
washing the dishes alone should take two hours. I just let the place
fall apart this weekend, as I am wont to do, and now it's going to take
the whole day to undo the damage. I have set some rewards for myself at
the end of the day, though ... some cold white wine in the fridge, a
stack of barely-glanced-thru magazines, the second part of a miniseries
that started last night ("Celebrity") ... these things I will enjoy
when my day's work is finished.
had a fairly pleasant
weekend. Ray worked swingshift on Friday -- that meant he went in at
3:30 p.m. and worked until midnight. I spent the evening home alone
with the girls, as I almost always do on Fridays, but this time it
didn't bother me a bit. I knew exactly where Ray was and what he was
doing. Jamie and I munched on McDonalds food and watched "Dallas," and
then we all went to bed early. I heard Ray come in around 1:30 a.m.,
but he didn't want to disturb me so he slept on the sofa. Saturday,
Terry watched the girls and Ray and I went to Dave's Place until 10
p.m. I spent all day yesterday relaxing and recuperating. My stomach
has been giving me trouble lately, and the beer I drank Saturday night
didn't help: I felt vaguely nauseous all day yesterday.
night Kacie learned
climb up onto the sofa and the chairs without help. This is her new
favorite thing to do. She practices it over and over again.
Unfortunately, this poses all sorts of new problems ... she doesn't
know how to get back down, for instance. There's also the possibility
of her climbing further -- from the sofa to the end table, or from the
armchair to the coffee table. I'm going to live in constant fear that
she's going to fall and split her little head open.
Valentines Day 1984
crummy. I had a
glasses of that wine last night with dinner, and this morning I have a
splitting headache. Luckily this was one of those mornings when the
girls slept late. We didn't get up until 10:30.
policeman was here a
ago, asking for Ray. I was very polite and told him Ray was at work. He
said he would "try again later." Shit. I have this awful feeling that
they're going to come and put Ray in jail again tonight, probably for
missing a court date or not paying a fine or something. Crap crap crap
crap. We've run out of relatives to borrow bail money from! Guess I'll
have to call him at Dave's Place after work and warn him not to come
home. That means a lonely Valentines Day ...
fix!", over and over this morning. I think she's referring to the smoke
alarm. He replaced the batteries while Jamie watched, and she was so
February 15, 1984
police never came
yesterday, so I still don't really know what that was all about. I went
over to Mrs. Kennedy's yesterday afternoon and called Ray at the
tavern. Just as I predicted, he decided not to come home, in order to
avoid the police. I spent my usual solitary evening eating supper alone
and watching TV. Ray finally came home around 10:30, parking his car up
the street. He said that he called the Kirkland Police Dept. and asked
them what was going on, and they told him it was a "traffic citation"
for something like $200. Frankly, the whole thing sounds kinda fishy to
me, but I won't say anything. Ray looked so forlorn when he got home.
He said, "Why are they always picking on me?" I sat with him for awhile
as he ate some canned stew for dinner, and we talked. I felt very
tender and protective towards him.
February 20, 1984
days later ... a
rainy Monday morning. Ray has finally gone to jail. I went with him
down to the police station last night so he could turn himself in,
after spending a horrible, nerve-wracking weekend dodging the police.
It turns out that the warrants -- three of them -- were for unpaid
traffic fines totally $425. We've got $250 of it, but now I have to
come up with the remainder ($175) and I honestly don't know where I'm
going to get it. I wasn't kidding when I said we've run out of people
to borrow bail money from. Grandma Vert gave us $200 just last week;
Gram St. John bailed Ray out the last time, for which we never
completely paid her back. Neither one of my parents would have the
money, and I refuse to ask Ray's parents. Hoo boy.
spent some time last
prayer, asking the Lord to help us raise the bail money and get this
whole mess straightened out. It's been such a long time since I've
talked to Him, and I felt awkward. Was He listening? I hope He was.
February 22, 1984
like a Monday to
the last few days have been so irregular and unsettled, and only today
do things appear to be back to normal. The house looks the way it
usually does on a Monday morning ... like the hurricane struck again.
There hasn't been time for housecleaning or laundry, but today I'm
going to set everything to rights.
got out of jail
afternoon, after I spent two frustrating and exhausting days raising
his bail. I finally went to Western Kraft and threw myself on the mercy
of Ray's boss. It was humiliating, but it worked: Frank wrote a
personal check for the rest of the bail money.
looked awful --
rumpled, dirty, tired. Still, I was so happy to see him. The girls and
I were sitting in the lobby of the police station when he was released.
When Jamie saw him come through the door, she shouted "DAH-EE!" and
launched herself into his arms. We brought him home and tossed him into
the shower and fed him a hot supper. He told me about jail -- the awful
"food," the odd assortment of jailmates, sleeping on the hard floor.
February 24, 1984
fixed Kacie a bowl of
cereal this morning, gave her a little spoon and let her have at it. It
was her first attempt at feeding herself with a spoon, and it was
hilarious ... oatmeal ended up EVERYWHERE, even up her nose and down
the front of her overalls.
is coming: I can
Today is another gray monotone of a day, typical for February, but
there is a trace of spring in the air. The buds on the cherry tree have
swollen to twice their normal size: the blossoms are only hours away.
don't feel like doing
had to sleep on the
the two nights he was in jail, and consequently he's come down with a
very bad cold. Given my penchant for picking up other peoples' "bugs,"
I wouldn't be surprised if I'm down with it before long. (The power of
suggestion?) Almost in anticipation of that, I'm feeling oddly run-down
and listless this morning, in spite of a better-than-average nights'
sleep. I just want to sit here and look out the window and daydream.
almost wish I had a
today. Jamie is resisting all attempts to engage her in conversation
this morning; she refuses my hugs and kisses with a cross "GO, Mom."
Kacie is such a wiggle-worm these days (the days immediately preceding
walking) that she won't sit still long enough for a hug and a cuddle
anymore. It would be nice to just sit and hold a baby this morning,
someone little and warm and willing ... someone who won't tell me to go
away or pull my hair or try to run away when I hug them ...
I'm feeling the
pangs of "baby hunger" again. At the moment I'm between periods, and as
always at this point in my cycle I hold my breath and wonder "What if
... ?" My body seems to be saying, "Hey - where's the baby??" My heart
says, "Wouldn't it be nice ...?" My head says -- "NO WAY."
really is being a
today. She absolutely refuses to do anything I tell her.
got some little
pieces of cleaning to do, but I can't seem to get started. I'd like to
just let it slide today, but I live in constant fear that the in-laws
are going to drop in unexpectedly, and I'll be damned if I'll let them
see how icky everything looks -- including me. (Mousy dirty hair pulled
back into a messy ponytail, no makeup, frumpy-dumpy blouse, bare dirty
still look like hell,
least the house is picked up -- somehow I managed to scrape up the
energy. The house is quiet as a tomb -- the girls are in the final
minutes of their afternoon naps. Soon the house will explode into noise
and chaos once again, but for the moment things are deeply peaceful. I
was fantasizing a minute ago that it was 1981, before either one of the
girls were born. I had the house all to myself ... no children to take
care of. I could go to bed right now and sleep for 18 hours straight
and nobody would care. I could spread my cookbook materials all over
the living room floor and no little people would be poking around in
it, tearing pages and eating my Glue Stick. I could go sit in the
bathtub without an audience. Sigh.
lady ain't feeling
"baby-hunger" at the moment. No way. Unh-unh.
But then I gave the
their bath this evening. I sat there on a stool and watched these two
absolutely beautiful little people, with their perfectly formed little
bodies and their wet eyelashes and pink cheeks ... splashing, shouting,
giggling when slippery soap escaped chubby fingers ... I sat back with
a sigh, glad that it isn't 1981 again. Watching my children bathe
evoked in me feelings of peace, pleasure, awe ... the way I imagine
mothers down through the ages have felt, bathing their children ...
February 25, 1984
for the mailman
we get our income tax return today??
February 27, 1984
Biodex in the
predicted an odd day for me today:
- High. You'll
in your work
Emotional - Low. An unhappy day
Intellectual - Critical. Rash action likely
that means I
throw myself into my housework and avoid doing anything "rash." Hmph.
had a nice weekend.
home early on Friday night -- for a change -- because he was sick with
the flu. I fixed him some tomato soup, slathered his chest with Vaporub
and tucked him into bed, happy to have someone to fuss over. By the end
of the weekend he was feeling a lot better. I'm still waiting to see if
I'm coming down with it, but so far I feel fine.
date and time: Friday,
February 24, 1984 5 p.m.
should you be doing
right now that you're putting off? Getting the
their nap, fixing their Spaghetti-Ohs, taking a shower
is the best thing that
has happened in the past week? Ray
got out of jail
has been the worst? Ray
went into jail
you happy? Why or why not? Oh
... I don't know. I'm not unhappy. Things are just kinda
was the last thing you
had to eat or drink? Leftover
fried chicken (2 pcs.), fried
you have a phone? Nope.
the vacuum cleaner fixed? Nope.
is your favorite song? "Girls
Just Wanna Have Fun," Cindi Lauper
Ann, b. 11-9-83
is Jamie and what is
she doing? Sleeping
in her crib.
about Kacie (Mrs.
Kacie walking now? A
little bit, this past week.
biggest worries? 1.
Money (lack of) 2. My weight 3. Wondering if Ray's folks know he was in
is making you happy
Saturday night was particularly nice. Ray made a blazing fire, I made a
big pot of Swiss steak, we turned off all the lights and watched "The
Howling" on Channel 13. Ray and I saw that movie at the drive-in a few
years ago and it was pretty scary. Jamie sat in the big armchair with
her Daddy; the two of them together were so sweet, it made me wish I
had film in my camera.
walked for the
-- officially -- on Saturday. Actually it was more like running than
walking ... she ran on her tippytoes while flapping her arms in the
air, about five steps' worth. It looked for all the world like a baby
ostrich trying to get off the ground. It was so funny!
she seems to be
inordinate number of spills and tumbles. Every two or three minutes
she's screaming again, and I'm running to make sure she's still in one
piece. She persists in climbing on the furniture, particularly onto the
end table where the living room lamp sits, and
nothing Ray or I say or do will dissuade her. She's just like a little
mountain goat. I seem to remember Jamie climbing a lot when she was
that age, so I suppose it's a natural instinct babies have. Luckily she
has finally learned how to back down off the furniture, so I'm not
having to constantly "rescue" her. Still, the continual tumbling and
screaming gets a little grating after awhile. She doesn't just scream
when she's hurt -- she screams when she's mad, surprised, reprimanded
or thwarted. Her normally sunny disposition has given way to perpetual
crabbiness. She's thrilled to be moving around and climbing so well,
but I think she's distressed by the limitations she still has.
cartoon from the journal
got a lot of work
today so I'd better get started.
February 29, 1984
P. is really
walking now ... nine or ten
steps at a time. Yesterday Jamie took her by the hand and walked her
around the kitchen. For the zillionth time I wished I had film in my
camera because it was such a special moment; big sister helping little
sister take her first steps.
cartoon from the original journal
Jamie is glued to the
waiting for her beloved garbage man; Kacie is crawling around the
kitchen floor in relentless pursuit of Wendie Kitty. (Kacie walks for
the pure fun of it, but when it comes to moving quickly she still
chooses to crawl.)
in kind of a dreamy,
mood this morning. I stayed up late watching the Grammy Awards last
night (as predicted, the big winner was Michael Jackson, although The
Police, Culture Club, Irene Cara and Duran Duran won also). The show
wasn't over until 11:30. Then Ray's snoring drove me out of our bed and
onto the sofa, where I absolutely could NOT fall asleep. I tossed and
turned -- our couch is not the most comfortable world in the place to
sleep. In desperation, I finally took a couple of antihistamines,
hoping they would make me sleepy. Instead, I just sort of drifted off
into weird surreal dreams, half-awake and half-asleep. The odd sleepy
feeling persists this morning. I just want to sit here and look out the
window ... at the cloudy gray February morning ... at the baby
blossoms, sprinkled here and there, on my cherry tree ... at the smoke
curling out of a chimney across the street and drifting across the tree
tops. I'd like to be sitting on a hilltop right now, something like the
Maxfield Parrish print that hangs in our living room. I'd like to be
able to just sit and lean my head against the tree in the painting and
see for miles and miles ...
I have laundry
and dishes to wash and a shopping list to compose. Thank the Lord
tomorrow is payday. We are practically out of food. As a matter of
fact, we're practically out of EVERYTHING. (I must remember to put FILM
on the list!)
* * SPRING PROJECTS * * *
- Organize coupon file
new index tabs
- Label cassette tapes
- Make "tape log"
- Clean out our
- Kacie's closet
- Jamie's closet
- Re-organize my chest
- Clothes, books,
"stuff" to charity
- Re-organize my desk
- Make 2 family photo
albums (past & present)
- Frame family photos
and make wall grouping
March 1, 1984
persisted all day yesterday; I got next to nothing done. (Baked a batch
of banana muffins, made the beds.) Today must be different. It's a
lovely spring morning ... the first of March. Somehow I must manage to
get the girls outside for some fresh air and sunshine.
playing to an
empty house in the living room this morning (the Count is happily
counting to eight) ... Jamie and Kacie have holed themselves up in
Kacie's bedroom. Occasionally I hear Jamie shouting "No-no Siss!," and
Kacie responding with indignant howls, but I resist the impulse to open
the door and intervene. I must leave them alone to battle it out. These
are the beginning days of their relationship as sisters; I have a
feeling that the things that happen in these earliest days will have a
profound influence on the rest of their lives. I hope that they will be
close, and that they'll love each other. I hope they'll be friends. But
if that happens, it will happen without any help from me; it has to
develop all on its own. I can make suggestions, and smooth ruffled
feathers, and prevent them from killing each other ... but I can't make
them love each other. They have to work that out for themselves.
is delighted by
walking. She runs to grab Kacie's hand and leads her all around the
since Kacie began
(and now walking), there has been a definite shift in their
relationship. Kacie has become more a participant and less a mere
observer. Jamie senses that. Kacie doesn't just lay helplessly on the
floor and giggle at Jamie's funny antics; now she follows Jamie, and
mimics everything she does. She wants to do EVERYTHING Jamie does. Some
of the time Jamie is delighted by this, other times it seems to annoy
March 4, 1984
very, very good
It is a gorgeous morning. I am freshly showered, shampooed and dressed,
and I've just poured my first cup of coffee. Ray is sleeping; the girls
are running around the house, Kacie in her long nightie, Jamie
buck-naked except for her socks. Stereo is playing, my favorite radio
station, KEZX-FM. It definitely feels like spring today, and my spirits
has just plain been
weekend. Ray left me the car on Friday, so late in the afternoon I
drove to Bellevue and met him at Dave's Place. For once my hair turned
out just the way I liked it and it looked pretty; the men at the tavern
were flirting with me, and it was tonic for my ego. Even Ray was
complimentary: he said, "You look pretty tonight." He and I sat and
talked about our favorite subjects -- Jamie and Kacie -- and I felt
very good and very close to my husband.
(Sat.) Ray had
work. It was a sunny day so the girls and I spent a couple of hours
outdoors. I put Kacie in her playpen and let Jamie run around the front
yard while I cleaned out the carport. Old Mrs. Pierce from across the
street wandered over to chat and get a look at my girls ... now that
we've buried the hatchet, we are actually quite friendly to each other.
It made me feel glad that I took the initiative last year and made the
peace. I felt good about it all day.
was home early last
and he fixed us steaks and baked potatoes for dinner. I went to bed at
10:30 and slept straight through until 8:30 this morning ... it was
heaven. Maybe that's why I feel so good today; my first decent nights'
sleep in months and months.
got our income tax
Saturday -- $708.91. It comes at a time when we have a huge number of
bills to pay, including rent, so none of it will be used "for fun" this
year. However, Ray says his next payday will be a good one, and
hopefully I might get $200 for spending. I could use some new clothes.
today Ray and I
girls with Terry for a little while and went down to Dave's. To our
surprise, though, the tavern was closed. So instead we went and for a
hamburger at McDonald's, and then did a little grocery shopping. I
picked up three rolls of developed pictures at Safeway, mostly
Christmas pictures of the girls. Ray and I packed up the girls and took
them down to the Kirkland waterfront for an hour, late in the
March 9, 1984
days later. This
been an uneventful - but not unpleasant - week. Spring has arrived
early and the girls and I have spent a lot of time outside, enjoying
the unseasonably warm weather. I feel light-hearted, optimistic,
content. The winter blues have finally let up, and things look brighter
than they did a month ago. The cherry tree is in full bloom: Jamie and
I sit here and count the bumblebees.
March 10, 1984
only problem is that
STAY "light-hearted, optimistic and content." Today it is completely
the opposite. Ray overslept this morning and was two hours late getting
to work. He's been on probation lately, for coming in late and missing
so many days, and today I'm living in fear that he'll be fired. He was
distraught when he left this morning, cursing at me for not waking him
up (I slept right through the alarm), so I'm bearing the brunt of the
guilt. This will be a long, tense afternoon, waiting to hear if he's
been sacked or not.
the weather is the
of what it was yesterday: today it is soggy, gray and cold.
trying not to let
sense how disturbed I am, so we're just going about business as usual
this morning. I made pancakes for breakfast, and now the girls are
playing in Kacie's room. I'm three days behind on the laundry, and
there are enough other little things to do to keep me busy and
playing a tape on
stereo. "99 Red Balloons" (Nena) just came on, and Jamie immediately
came FLYING out of Kacie's room to dance around the living room. I
can't believe how much she enjoys this song! Next to "Southern Cross"
(Crosby, Stills & Nash), it's her very favorite. Even Kacie is
kneeling on the floor, bouncing up and down in time to the music. Jamie
is whirling and prancing around the room, clapping her hands, singing
in her funny little one-note-voice, clutching one of her baby dolls ...
song I've just
discovered Jamie is crazy about -- "Baby I Lied," by Deborah Allen. Jay
climbed up on the camphor chest and very clearly sang the chorus -
"Ba-by ... Ba-by ... BA-BY!")
makes the possibility of Ray losing his job all the more ominous is the
fact that my period is late.
cartoon of Kacie from the
Just out of bed. Ray
fired on Saturday -- as a matter of fact, he wasn't even reprimanded.
Apparently a couple of his co-workers didn't bother to show up at all
that day, so they were glad to see Ray, two hours late or not. We
stayed home Saturday night and all day Sunday, doing virtually nothing.
The weather was unexpectedly crummy so we just holed ourselves up in
the house with the Sunday paper and relaxed. This morning I'm feeling
crampy and achy, so I know my period is minutes away. Not much fun on a
chilly Monday morning, but at least I'm not pregnant.
Jamie discovered the
headphones this weekend. Any
time I turn the
radio or the tape player on, she sits cross-legged on the sofa and
holds the headphones against her ears. (They're too big for her head,
so she has to hold them up.) Then she sings along in her funny
monotone, oblivious to everything else.
(Cartoon from the original journal)
This morning she's in a
mood. We've only been up for half an hour and we've already had three
major skirmishes. Right now she's mad at me because I won't give her
some coffee. ("Need fah,
Dee-Dee cup!") A minute
later, she's mad at me because I won't
look at the J.C. Penney's catalog with her for the one billionth time.
... I can tell this
be one of "those" days. I finally get Jamie settled and pacified at the
kitchen table with her catalog, and then Kacie begins to howl because
we're sitting at the table without her! Kacie is too little to sit at
the table, and she feels excluded. So I pick her up and set her in my
lap, and she promptly reaches out and knocks my coffee cup over ...
March 17, 1984
Several days later.
reprimanded, after all ... Western Kraft gave him an official letter
and three days off without pay. He was home Tuesday, Wednesday and
My period finally
Thursday. I'm so happy to have escaped pregnancy for another month that
I don't even mind the discomfort and inconvenience.
I just took a
hair and put on some light makeup. I expect my new Avon lady to stop by
with my order later today, but other than that I don't expect (or want)
This is St. Patricks
Terry has offered to sit for us if Ray and I go out tonight. I thanked
her for the offer, but I doubt we'll be going anywhere. I'm in a tired
and grouchy mood, and all the green beer in the world isn't going to
help. My only plans for this day are to clean my house, work on my new
photo album and make a big pan of lasagna for dinner.
March 20, 1984
Tuesday 2:30 p.m.
We embarked on a new
yesterday ... a way of life that is going to require me to be brave and
tolerant and uncomplaining and resourceful ... none of which I feel at
the moment. I'm sitting here on the first official day of spring (dark
and rainy), trying to sort it all out: Ray has gone on swingshift. He's
been talking about the possibility for a couple of weeks now, but I
never really expected it to happen. I thought it was just idle talk.
Sometimes Ray gets an idea in his head but never actually carries it
off, but this time it turns out he was serious. For a long time he's
been concerned about his attendance record at work. Three or four times
lately he's slept through his alarm and been late to work, and he's
been genuinely worried about losing his job. He thinks that going on
swing is the answer. There's less chance that he'll be late if he's
getting up at 1:00 in the afternoon, he thinks.
If I thought my life
"solitary" before now, that's nothing compared to the way things will
be from now on.
Ray is optimistic
schedule so I have no choice but to be supportive. I can see the
advantages. He's not going to be spending so much time at the tavern --
he won't get off work until 1 a.m., and by then his watering hole is
closed. He'll be here in the mornings, so the girls will have a chance
to at least say "hello" to him every day before he leaves.
sees only the lonely afternoons and evenings ahead and panics.
It's true that I've
enjoyed my solitude. Having an entire house all to myself was a
cherished dream five years ago. I can eat whatever and whenever I like.
If I don't feel like washing the dishes after supper, I can let them
sit. There is no competition for the TV or the stereo. If I want to put
on my bathrobe at 6 p.m. and wash off all my makeup and look horrible,
no one is going to know - or care.
Still, my cherished
solitude always included having someone special to talk to at the end
of the day ... someone to curl up next to in bed. Ray will be home at
2:30 a.m. every morning, and I suppose that's better than nothing.
Still. My waking hours, my living-and-breathing-and-existing-time, will
be spent from here on with a two year old, a one year old, and myself.
That's it. No other adults, no adult conversation, no adult
companionship. No phone, no car.
I hope I'm going to
enough to handle it, but I'm afraid I won't be.
In all fairness,
should say that being alone this particular afternoon isn't so bad.
It's storming wildly outside. The house is neat, there is some white
wine chilling in the fridge, we have plenty of food and
-- INTERRUPTED --
Wednesday 9:30 a.m.
March 21, 1984
Kacie is ONE YEAR
At the moment my big
girl is sitting on the ottoman, eating a piece of toast and quacking at
me like a duck -- she's wearing only her diaper and one pigtail (the
other one fell out). The other day I cut her bangs very short, and it
gives her whole face a sweet, elfin quality. Her mouth is covered with
toast crumbs. I catch her eye, and she breaks into a devilish smile;
the "quacking" was designed to get my attention, and it
She is pleased with herself. I "quack" at her in response and she goes
wild. A conversation!
Has it really only
It feels like Kacie has been with us for years & years. She is
makes us complete as a family.
I think back to the
I've felt about her over the past year and beyond, before she was born
... how astonished (and initially despairing) I was when I first
realized I might be pregnant. Jamie was only seven months old then. Two
babies sounded like more than I could handle ... and then when I took
the home pregnancy test, and that moment of pure euphoria when the
black ring appeared at the bottom of the test tube. A positive! I was
pregnant, and I was jubilant! ...
... Kacie's easy
after attempts to turn her around in utero had failed -- how her dark
hair was wet and curly, and I thought she was going to have Ray's wavy
hair ... I remember my first glimpse of her, off to my right, as the
nurses were cleaning her off. Her eyes were tightly closed. She was
very red, and she looked just like Ray: she was beautiful ...
... When she got
summer and we took her to the emergency room in the middle of the night
-- the frightened helpless way I felt as she struggled to breathe ...
... And the way I
today, right now: proud, amused, tender, protective, deeply loving. I
have a crush on my daughter!
Kacie's first birthday!
Celebrating with Mama (left) and with "Wendie Kitty" (right)
March 21, 1984
March 24, 1984
I'm in a rotten mood
morning, and it just keeps getting worse and worse. The house is
unbelievably filthy for a Saturday. We're broke again and running out
of everything. Ray has to be at work at 1 p.m. (he says), so I've got
another long afternoon & evening alone ahead of me. I HATE Ray
The girls and I are
go to Sheryl's today, for Peg's birthday dinner. I already know we're
not going to make it, and I'm dreading the phony excuse I'm going to
have to come up with, not to mention the in-laws' reaction to our
skipping out on yet another family get-together.
Kacie's birthday was
for the fact that we didn't get so much as a card or a phone call from
Bev & Henry, Dora & Helene, Patty & John, Dad
... my daughter's first birthday, and no one gives a damn.
I've got the
sore throat this morning and I just plain feel crummy. I caught Jamie
in the bathroom a little while ago busily slathering my cold cream all
over her face, and I came unglued. I whacked her on the bottom and
screamed at her as though she'd just poisoned her little sister or
something. My reaction was completely overblown, and I felt
about it immediately. I just sat here at the table and felt like
crying. Jamie came wandering out into the kitchen soon afterward,
saying ‘I sorry Mama," and we kissed and made up. Still, I
see that this is going to be a rocky day, and I pray that the girls are
quiet and good and don't give me a reason to lose my temper. I don't
think I'm capable of physically abusing them, but if they push the
wrong buttons today I'll probably be pretty mean. My girls need a
mother who is friendly and receptive, not the hostile ugly monster I
feel like this morning. Guess I'll take a long shower and drink some
hot coffee and see if I can shake the "uglies."
1984 Academy Awards
April 9, 1984
Nicholson, "Terms of Endearment"
BEST ANIMATED SHORT: "Sundae In New York"
BEST LIVE SHORT: "Boys & Girls"
SOUND EFFECTS EDITING: "The Right Stuff"
BEST EDITING: "The Right Stuff"
BEST SOUND: "The Right Stuff"
CINEMATOGRAPHY: "Fanny and Alexander"
FOREIGN FILM: "Fanny and Alexander"
DOCUMENTARY SHORT: "Flamenco at 5:15"
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: "He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin"
SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT VISUAL EFFECTS: "Return of the Jedi"
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: "Fanny and Alexander"
BEST SONG: "Flashdance (What A Feeling)"
ORIGINAL SCORE: Bill Conti, "The Right Stuff"
ADAPTED SCORE: "Yentl"
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Linda Hunt, "The Year of Living Dangerously"
(also nominated: Cher, Amy Irving, Glenn Close) ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
SCREENPLAY ADAPTATION: "Terms of Endearment"
JEAN HERSHOLT AWARD: M.J. Francovich
BEST DIRECTOR: James L. Brooks, "Terms of Endearment"
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Hal Roach
BEST ACTOR: Robert Duvall, "Tender Mercies"
(also nominated: Michael Caine, Tom Conti, Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay)
BEST ACTRESS: Shirley McLaine, "Terms of Endearment" (also nominated:
Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander, Julie Walters, Somebody Else )
BEST PICTURE: "Terms of Endearment"
(also nominated: "The Right Stuff," "The Big Chill," "Tender Mercies,"
Saturday morning 9:30 a.m.
March 31, 1984
It is a lovely
... sunny, warm, balmy. I got out of bed early, mainly because the
whole house was flooded with sunlight at 7:30 a.m., and have managed to
get an astonishing number of things done, even before my morning
coffee. I feel light-hearted and optimistic again today. The world
ain't such a bad place to be.
Freshly showered and
I'm sitting here in my kitchen, planning my day. Ray is asleep on the
sofa -- miracle of miracles, he doesn't have to work today! Jamie has
dragged the huge white wicker basket out to the living room and parked
it in front of the TV; now she's laying in it, feet dangling over the
side, watching Saturday morning cartoons and sucking on a small bottle.
Kacie was up for a while but now she's back in her crib, apparently
The last couple of
been rough on me. I'm having a difficult time adjusting to Ray's new
hours, and never being one to handle depression very well, I've been
drowning my sorrows in food and beer. The first few days were the
worst. One night I ate three dinners -- one with the girls, one after
the girls', and another late at night, while watching TV! I haven't
been out of the house, except for puttering around the yard, in three
weeks. Today I'm feeling a little better about the whole thing, but
that's because Ray has the next two days off. When he goes back to work
Monday afternoon, I'll probably slide back into my blue funk again.
(Look out, refrigerator -- here I come.)
Jamie and I watched
Of Oz" last night. She liked Toto, the "Mun-kins," and the good witch
Glinda's arrivals and departures in her "boon" (balloon). When the
Wicked Witch of the West arrived in Munchkinland, in an explosion of
fire and smoke - my favorite part of the movie - Jamie looked startled
and said "BOOM!" This morning when we were having breakfast, I said
"Jamie! We watched The Wizard of Oz last night, didn't we?" and she
Kacie has two real
The first word she ever said was "No-no," and a few days later she said
"socks." She's very interested in what goes on her feet.
Tuesday 5 p.m.
April 3, 1984
Late afternoon ... I
out to the carport for a minute and the air was charged with
electricity ... it feels like a tremendous storm is brewing. I can tell
it's going to be a doozy. Better bundle up my kids, lock all the doors
and windows, put a pot of beef stew on the stove and get ready for a
April 7, 1984
Rainy, soggy, sneezy
Ray has the weekend off again -- I'm glad. He won't go back to work
until Monday afternoon. When he got home last night I heard him banging
around in the kitchen fixing something to eat, so I got up and talked
to him for awhile. He was in a jolly mood. Work appears to be going
well for him, and he was full of little anecdotes and funny
observations. He loves his new hours. (I held my tongue, not wishing to
spoil his happy mood with complaints.) Now of course he's sound asleep
in bed. I would like to let him sleep late, but we're nearly out of
milk and I'm going to have to send him to the store before too long.
Jamie has four
right now, and every day she literally demands to hear them ... IN
ORDER! (She gets very upset if I play them out of order.) They are, as
she calls them, "Sun Coss," "Girls Song," "Dee Dah Ah," and "Boon
Song." ("Southern Cross", "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", "Baby I Lied",
"99 Red Balloons".) She's got me playing them right now -- I'm in a
Some things have
lately. The first is the way I've been stuffing myself ever since Ray
went on swingshift. Food has suddenly become the focus of my life, and
in rational moments (like now) it scares me. I see myself becoming
obsessed; eating like a pig, and then eating more. I can feel the extra
weight hanging from my chin and my stomach. I look in the mirror and
what I see is an obscenely bloated version of my younger self ... the
hairstyle is the same, the makeup is the same, but from the chin down I
barely recognize myself. I look horrible. It has now been a whole month
since I've been out of the house, and I'm facing the fact that I don't
even WANT to go anywhere, because I don't want to be seen.
Today I'm going to
little. I'm going to try and stay so busy that food won't be on my mind
all the time. Ray is home today -- that should help fill up some of the
empty places in my life.
Still, a larger plan
is obviously called for.
Also on my mind --
with the in-laws, which seem to have reached an all-time low. I may be
imagining things, but it seems like Ray and I are on the outs with his
entire family. It's not that we're not getting along, so much, as that
we're just not seeing them much. (I can't write worth a damn today.)
April 11, 1984
Let's see if I can
today. What I was trying to say the other day, about relations with the
in-laws, is this -- Ray and I haven't been over to the folks' since
Christmas. We haven't seen Don or Judy since the holidays, either.
Except for Kacie's birthday party, we haven't had anyone in the family
over for dinner, for coffee, for even the briefest of visits. Without a
phone, we've been unable to keep up any regular contact with Ray's
family. Judy and I exchange occasional letters, but the fact is that we
seem to have neatly & completely removed ourselves from the
To be 100% honest, I don't know if it was intentional or accidental. A
little of both, I suppose. I've never been comfortable with Ray's
family; family get-togethers are full of stress for me. Still, I never
intended to withdraw from the family altogether ... the girls need
their grandparents. The night of Kacie's party I got the feeling that
our absence has been misinterpreted as hostility. We don't go to the
folks' every Sunday for dinner anymore. Does that mean we're "hostile"
I guess we should
an effort to get over and see Ray's parents more often, for the girls'
sake if for no other reason. I am reconciled to the fact that I will
never be the favorite daughter-in-law. I will never be their favorite
anything. We rub each other the wrong way. But I'm just going to try to
grin and bear it. We'll have to have a couple of big family dinners
here at the house, sometime this spring or summer. We must dutifully
recognize every birthday and anniversary and holiday (I still feel
guilty about missing Peg & Billy's birthdays last month). I've
to get a long, chatty letter off to Judy. The effort must be made, and
SOON ... before relations become any more strained.
Jay said this
pay Dees 'oom now." ("I'm going to play in Jamie's room now.")
radio toy, pulling her socks off, Hand-Wrap commercial, Ray's wide
Some Jay favorites:
(pancakes), squirrels, brushing her teeth, "Sun Coss" & "Girls
a poo-poo feece!" ("Mom's a poo-poo face.")
can pronounce: "Ba-na-na," "A-pa-sauce"
A naked Jamie is
fourth or fifth tantrum of the morning, lying prostrate on the living
room floor, wailing in agony because she wants Wendie Kitty to come
inside. ("ENNNNNNNN-KEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!") Kacie, nightgowned and
bangs newly trimmed, is bouncing around in her highchair, a cinnamon
muffin squished in one pudgy hand. There is a wild wind blowing outside
my kitchen window. The trees are all in full bloom; the sky is slate
gray; it is a combination of light and dark that I love.
Today is payday ...
deep sigh of relief. I am literally down to Jamie's last diaper, and
equally low on the other "essentials" of our lives ... milk, laundry
soap, pet food, pop, cigarettes. The freezer is completely empty; the
cupboards are bare, except for two cans of corn and a box of Rice A
Roni. Payday has come at precisely the right moment.
Ray is meeting his
mother at the
bank at 2:00 so she can cash his check for him. We
didn't even have a bank account.
have time to run to a store and pick up a few things before he has to
leave for work. The bigger grocery shopping will probably be tomorrow.
Still, that means that later today I'll be able to put the girls back
into disposables (they wear cloth diapers when we're broke &
hate it) and run some laundry and feed the animals. Just knowing this
has raised my spirits this morning and made our humdrum morning rituals
(Jamie's temper tantrums, the struggle to get the two of them dressed,
the morning housework) somewhat more bearable.
I owe a bunch of
family (Mom, Judy, Valerie, Gram Vert, Gram St. John) but can't seem to
get started writing them.
Early Spring 1984 is:
in blossom ... rain ...
french-dip sandwiches ... "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" ... Kacie
walking and learning a couple of words ... Kool-Aid ... new lipsticks:
Precious Pearl and Sweet Vanilla ... antique glass on the living room
windowsill, glimmering in the late-afternoon sunshine ... big photo
albums ... white wine ... no vacuum cleaner, no phone again ... nachos
... CeCe, Wendie and Dee-Kee ... discovering Big Country, Kevin Kline
and The Pretenders ... Princess Di is pregnant again ... Budget Gourmet
Frozen Dinners ... "Mines!" JLP ... Murphy's Oil Soap ... dreaming
about a third baby (Kimberley? Brett?) in 1986 ... books on top of the
piano ... "Mystery!" on PBS ... our lives, spinning on and on and on ...
April 23, 1984
Twelve days later.
Some days I look at
sitting on the shelf of my desk, and I think about writing something
... but I decide against it because I don't have the time -- or the
energy -- or the motivation. That's what has been happening these past
couple of weeks. Writing has seemed like too much trouble.
These have not been
weeks, however. Let's see. There was Ray's 29th birthday last week, and
a nice visit from my mom last Wednesday night. Ray fixed my vacuum
cleaner, Kacie finally got birthday cards from the Arizona relatives,
and I got a long and amusing letter from my new stepmother. Kacie
learned to wave, kiss and say "hi," and Jamie ran away from home --
half a block. Yesterday was Easter Sunday, and we had an amazingly
pleasant and uncomplicated family dinner at Ray's folks' house.
Gretchen was hit by
this morning. One of our neighbors, Terri Something (not Terry S.,
but a different Terri) accidentally hit her. Ray and I were awakened by
Gretchen's howling and pounding on the door. Our neighbor was deeply
upset and offered to take Gretchen to the vet. Fortunately the vet said
Gretchen was fine, except for one of her front legs, which was bruised
and bleeding. He gave us some medicine and sent Gretchen home. Right
now she's asleep in her doghouse; I peek at her every hour or so, to
make sure she's resting comfortably.
I STILL wish we
dog -- she's been more trouble lately than ever -- but I don't have the
heart to be angry with her today. She's obviously in pain, and who
knows? Maybe she learned her lesson about leaving the yard.
Thursday morning 10 a.m.
May 3, 1984
Ten days later this
passes. My first cup of coffee sits, steaming, on the table before me.
I am groggy from sleep, and from the remnants of a nightful of weird,
absorbing dreams. (In one dream, I dropped out of college and took a
job swimming nude in the campus swimming pool ... ????)
The girls are
of Life Cereal & sliced bananas. Jamie's is nearly untouched,
Kacie's is all but gone already. Another long day of motherhood
stretches out before me. I wonder: who will be the crab today? Lately
they've been taking turns. This morning (so far) they're both in
delightful moods ... Kacie is laying on the floor at my feet now,
kicking at the hem of my nightgown and giggling; Jamie, naked and
braided, clutches a hunk of banana and chatters idly. ("Terry home
t'day?" she asks.) The "delightful moods" are destined to disappear by
lunchtime, so I enjoy it while I can.
We are continuing to
life. So far this has been a peaceful, predictable spring, with only an
occasional break in the routine ... the impromptu party Ray and I threw
last Saturday night with a few friends; my developing friendship with
the new Avon lady, Maureen; Gretchen discovering ingenious new ways to
escape the yard. The days appear and disappear with comfortable
regularity; it is almost impossible to see the time passing. It's like
we're suspended here in Spring 1984 ... not an entirely unpleasant
place to be. Each noisy, busy, happy day is much like the last. Still,
there are occasional small reminders that time is indeed passing ...
quiet little "nudges" that remind me these days are precious, that they
must be valued and appreciated. Jamie outgrows a favorite jacket ...
the blossoms on the cherry tree disappear, replaced by reddish-brown
leaves ... Daylight Savings Time begins, and the days grow longer. The
girls get bigger and bigger each day, leaving their babyhood further
behind, and I want to preserve these days with them, keep them forever
Ray is still working
It's been seven weeks now, and the most amazing thing has happened ...
I have completely reversed my position! It seems incredible to me that
I spent the first two weeks of swingshift moaning and groaning about
how terrible it was, and about how "lonely" I was. I think that somehow
I'd gotten the idea that I was supposed
to feel that way, so I did. Once I stopped complaining long enough to
decide how I really feel about it, I was pleasantly surprised. At a
family dinner a couple of weeks ago, I talked to Judy about it. "I
LOVED it when Don was on swingshift!" Judy said, so emphatically that
it made me stop and think. Now that the initial nervousness has worn
off (being home alone at night, I mean), I've begun to enjoy my
solitary evenings. Now I adore them. Before Ray went on swing I hated
being home alone at night, but that was mainly because I never knew for
sure where he was, or when he would be home (or what condition he would
be in when he got here). Now I know exactly where he is, and I can
relax and enjoy myself. What Judy said rang a bell with me. The
evenings are pleasant, the mornings are nice -- I like having Ray
around in the morning -- Ray's drinking has dropped off, everybody is
happy. What a dummy I've been! Always so quick to gripe.
May 4, 1984
I'm actually writing
two days in a row -- amazing!
For fun this morning
re-read my 1981 journal, the one that covers the final days of my first
pregnancy, Jamie's birth, and Jamie's first couple of weeks. It has
left me feeling nostalgic ... and oddly depressed. I have no idea why.
I suppose it might be the same old "bugaboo" about time passing;
wishing I could go back and re-live something special, but knowing it's
impossible to do so. The final days of that pregnancy were so
idyllic. It was the happiest time of my whole life. What I
wouldn't give to go back and live it again!
That's not to say
is so bad. Like I wrote yesterday -- it's not an entirely unpleasant
place to be.
There is the special
having toddlers in the house. I'm able to stay home and take care of my
daughters; years from now, when I'm back in the pink-collar ghetto, I
may long for the domestic life once again. I'm still young. Twenty-six
is still young, isn't it? And most of my problems are of the
small-scale variety. I'm probably much luckier - and much happier -
than I realize.
Now Ray is at work
housework is all done. This is the quiet, shut-down part of the day ...
the girls nap, I sit and recoup my energies before the hectic dinner
The dinner hour
"hectic," after all ... the girls both gobbled down everything I fixed
for them (something new -- canned chicken ravioli, along with frozen
mixed vegetables and chopped tomato!), and immediately after dinner I
popped them both into the tub. For the first time in recent memory,
Jamie didn't cry when I shampooed her hair -- as a matter of fact, she
SMILED! Not even a whimper. I was amazed. Kacie, on the other hand,
screamed bloody murder the minute she saw me with the shampoo bottle in
my hand. Now they're both in p.j.'s, hair glistening, happily running
around the house with cookies and ba-bas.
Monday morning (noon, actually)
May 7, 1984
A perfectly awful
over now. Whew. I had a Grade-A stomach ache all day Saturday and
Sunday, lasting until midnight last night ... the very worst, ever. All
I could do all weekend was lay around in bed, or on the sofa, and
suffer. We had some "pseudo-Chinese" food for dinner last night
(canned/ frozen stuff from the supermarket) and that just made me feel
worse. It'll be a long, long time before I'll be able to look a Mary
Pang Frozen Egg Roll in the eye again! In the meantime, though, I'm
feeling somewhat better today. I've dressed and put on some bright
makeup and brushed my hair, and now I'm thinking about picking up the
house ... it looks pretty bad. I just let everything slide this
weekend. Crud all over the place. It should take me a good four or five
hours, at least, until I can even see the floor again.
Whew. (Again!) I've
around like crazy for a solid hour, and I'm pooped. Guess I don't fully
have my strength back yet. At least I made a tiny dent in the housework
... gave the girls some lunch (chicken ravioli again -- they weren't so
crazy about it the second time around) and I'm now rewarding myself
with a coffee break.
Jamie is playing in
backyard. Every once in awhile she comes and brings me a handful of
crumpled violets or a scraggly dandelion. "Here Mom," she says, "I got
fowers for you." These funny little bouquets are more beautiful and
precious to me than all the roses in the world.
Wednesday 3:30 p.m.
May 9, 1984
Kacie just said
think. She's sitting in her highchair eating a muffin smeared with
peanut butter and a part of a banana ...
The other night
her fried chicken and vegetables, and she paused for a moment, leaned
back in her chair and said "Good dinner, Mom." I was startled - but
The past two nights
up until 1:30 or 2:00 in the ayem, watching The Tonight Show and David
Letterman. I love both shows. I love David Letterman's bizarre sense of
humor. At that time of the night the house is so beautifully still and
quiet; I curl up on the sofa with my afghan and revel in the solitude.
The only trouble with my budding addiction to late-late-night TV is
that it plays havoc with my schedule the next day. I'm up to ten cups
of coffee a day just for maintenance!
These are some
Give Mama a kiss-kiss
Where's your blanky-blanky?
Kitty, doggy, cup
Would you like a cookie?
Let's go find Jamie
Get away from the fireplace!
Sit down, Sissy
Comb your pretty hair
Do a little jig-jig! (her funny little dance)
May 9, 1984
Tomorrow is payday,
grimly announced this morning that it's going to be a very slim
paycheck after he pays the rent, the power bill and the water bill.
That shoots down my plans; I was hoping for some spending money, as a
Mother's Day gift. As a matter of fact, I was scraping up the nerve to
ask for a hundred bucks. Now I guess I'd better just keep my mouth shut
and hope I even get a Mother's Day card on Sunday.
Kacie learned a new
today. If I'm not paying attention to her, she grabs my hand. For
example -- she toddles over to where I'm sitting, clutching her toy
purse. The purse is shut and she wants me to open it for her. I'm not
paying attention, though, so she grabs my hand and lays it on the
purse. OK, so it's not exactly an earth-shattering development ... what
it is, though, is her pre-verbal way of asking me a question.
Requesting something. Communicating with me. And I think that's neat!
Wednesday 10 a.m.
May 16, 1984
A week later. This
eventful seven days!
Last Wednesday night
by for an unexpected visit. She said she had "bad news and worse news,"
so I fixed us both a cup of tea and sat with her at the kitchen table.
The bad news and the "worse" news were actually about the same thing.
It's a complicated and unpleasant story, but the gist of it is this:
last week Debby and four boys stole a car and ran off to Idaho. The
police are looking for them now. I'll write more about this when I hear
more. When I first heard the news I felt shock, and anger at Debby for
being such a dope ... but now I just feel sad. My sweet baby sister.
She is determined to hit bottom, and this time she may actually have
This weekend Mom and
into the new Renton apartment complex where Ken has been hired as
manager. As a result, we have inherited their dog, Dink. On
Sunday evening they came and dropped Dink off with us. My feelings are
mixed. On the one hand, I feel dismay. Another dog??!? On the
other hand, I'm thrilled to be helping Mom in some concrete way. And
Dink is such a sweet old doggy ... a "mutt" in every sense of the word,
all hair and tongue and wagging tail. He's been very lost and lonely
the past couple of days. It can't be easy to suddenly find yourself in
a strange place full of unfamiliar faces! I've been letting him stay in
the house, where the girls clamber all over him and shower him with
attention, and he seems to like that.
On Sunday we moved
her crib and into a regular bed. The transition was amazingly painless.
Jamie is thrilled to have a "big girl's bed," and there have been no
problems at all. We gave Jamie's crib to Kacie, and moved
old $10 crib out to the carport. Recently it had taken to collapsing in
the middle of the night, so it's a relief to finally have Kacie in
something sturdier and more reliable. Kacie was utterly unconcerned
about the change of cribs -- I don't think she even noticed.
Sunday was Mother's
predicted, this paycheck was tiny, so we were already broke by the
weekend. Still, Ray got me a small houseplant for Mother's Day, and he
made a special dinner -- shish kebobs, onion rings, garlic bread and
frozen cheesecake for dessert. We ate dinner and watched Jane Fonda in
"The Dollmaker," and it was a sweet, pleasant Mother's Day, just our
I found out last
next door neighbor, Lori H., is pregnant again. I forget when her baby
is due, but I think it's November. This will be her second; Charlie is
1-1/2, although she and Ben also have the two kids from Ben's first
marriage. That means four kids! Any sane person would feel sorry for
her, but you know me ... the minute I heard the word "pregnant," I
turned eight shades of green. The longing to have another baby comes
and goes in cycles. Some days I can hardly stand it. Last week I was
sorting through all of the outgrown baby clothes, and the longing for a
new baby was suffocating ... I wanted to use all those tiny p.j.'s
A Day In The Life
8 a.m. I am deeply
snuggled warmly under the brown comforter. If possible, I am prepared
to sleep another two hours ... I was up until 1:30 a.m. again last
night watching David Letterman, and I could use the extra sleep.
Suddenly Ray leaps
and dashes into the bathroom. I am instantly awake. "Please don't let
him flush the toilet!" I silently implore The Fates. A flushing toilet
will wake up the girls, and I am simply not ready to face the day yet:
even another half hour of sleep would be a blessing. I burrow further
under the covers and listen to my husband thrashing around in the
bathroom. Just when I believe I may saved ... there
it is. CRRRR-EEEEE-AAAAAK,
GURGLE GURGLE GURGLE,
SWIIIISH, SPLASH!! The
plumbing noisily springs to life, and my
heart sinks: I know there will be no reprieve now.
Seconds later, I
happily announce to her Daddy, "Dee Dee up now!" Jamie is sleeping in a
regular bed for the first time this week, and she has discovered the
delights of getting up and down whenever she feels like it. Ray crawls
back into bed and I glare at him. "Thanks a lot!" I mutter blackly, but
he doesn't hear me. Enviously I watch him snuggle under the blankets
and hear him heave a comfortable sigh. I sit in bed for a minute or two
and listen for further communication from my two year old. Nothing but
ominous silence. OK folks, this is it. Ready or not, gotta heave the
ol' bones out of bed. No telling what Jamie might be getting into ...
Jamie, amazingly, is
quietly standing in front of the sofa, waiting for me. I yawn and give
her a sleepy "Good morning!," and we hug and kiss. She chatters at me
while I plug in the coffeepot, take off her soggy diaper ("I take
T-shirt off now!" she says) and try to shake the cobwebs from my brain.
We turn on the TV and watch all Jamie's favorite shows ... the
nauseating "Polka Dot Door," "Mr. Rogers Neighborhood," "Sesame
Street." Mr. Rogers is visiting a nursery school today, and I tell
Jamie that when she's a big girl, she'll go to school, too.
After a while the
start getting on my nerves, so I pour myself some more coffee - half
the pot is gone already - and I sit at the kitchen table with my little
tape recorder. Jamie is instantly standing at the table beside me,
munching on toast and watching me intently. For the next hour we play
with the tape recorder. We listen to an old tape of Jamie and Kacie,
and then we tape a new conversation between the two of us.
At ten o'clock Kacie
wakes up. I
hear one long, anguished howl from her room. There is a lot of fuzzy
black dog hair all over the living room (our new temporary dog, Dink,
slept in the house last night) so I hurriedly run the vacuum around ...
otherwise Kacie would be taste-testing the dog hair within minutes.
Kacie is delighted to see me when I go to her room: she's anxious to
get up. I lift her out of her crib and plant a huge kiss on the top of
her head. She's not in a cuddling mood, though - she rarely is, these
days - and she wiggles and squirms, trying to get out of my arms. I set
her down and she toddles off in a big hurry to find her Jamie ...
Kacie has her toast,
change her diaper. She rubs the toast, jelly side down, all over my
nightgown. "Icccckkk!" I say, playfully, and pop her into the highchair
to finish her breakfast.
Time for a long, hot
one of the highlights of my morning. I wash my hair with chamomile
shampoo, standing under the shower head and letting the hot water
envelope me. It is heaven. Kacie stands by the edge of the tub and
grabs at my legs, giggling every time I "scream" in mock terror. Jamie
doesn't watch me shower anymore, but when she hears me turning off the
water she runs into the bathroom and hands me a towel. I call her my
Good Helper, and she beams.
Ray is sound asleep
tiptoe into our room to get dressed - my one & only pair of
and a black polo shirt I've owned since college. A few minutes later I
dress the girls: red coveralls and a flowered shirt for Kacie, a clean
T-shirt and training pants for Jamie. It's a cloudy, chilly morning so
I put slippers on both girls. They disappear into Jamie's room after
they're dressed, and I sit at the table with one more cup of coffee and
I put on some light
I watch "Ryan's Hope." (Siobhan had a baby yesterday; Roger is
terrorizing Maggie again.) The rest of the morning passes in a familiar
and comfortable way. The girls drink bottles of juice. Kacie plays with
the empty Avon boxes, until Jamie takes them away from her. Later,
Jamie appears at the table with an armload of Sesame Street books and
sits next to me, "reading." Kacie tosses her toys out the door, into
the front yard. My favorite soap comes on, "All My Children."
Today we learned that Ross is actually Palmer's long-lost son, Edna is
burned up because Zach turned out to be a male prostitute, Hillary went
out with Tony, Tad quit his job as a gigolo, Erica had her daily temper
tantrum. The girls fight over toys. Kacie climbs onto Jamie's bed, but
then she can't get back down. I finish the pot of coffee and make
another one. Johan, the old basset hound from down the street, pays us
a visit. Kacie brings me her empty bottle and hands it to me,
wordlessly requesting a refill: the first time she's ever done this.
Jamie pees in her
We are perilously
open a can of beef stew for lunch, adding some leftover carrots and
corn to make it stretch a little further. The girls and I have big
bowls of it for lunch, with bread and butter, and it tastes
surprisingly good. "Good dinner now!" Jamie says. "Lunch," I tell her.
"Munch," she agrees. Both girls eat every bite and ask for seconds.
After we're done eating I wipe their messy faces and fingers, and put
the lunch dishes in the sink to soak.
It is 1 p.m. - time
up for work. I go into our bedroom and lay down next to him on the bed.
The girls are right behind me, and within minutes they are happily
climbing Daddy Mountain. Ray pretends to be annoyed, but it's all a
front: where his girls are concerned the man is a marshmallow. He
tickles Kacie under the chin, and teases Jamie about her training pants
("Pew!" he says). When he gets up and shuffles out to the kitchen, the
girls follow him. I rest for a minute or two, fantasizing about how
lovely a "real" nap would be.
Ray showers, and I
Kacie in the rocking chair. She is getting sleepy and cranky, and the
rocking soothes her. Jamie finds an old Band-Aid (from my bee sting
last night) and puts it on the nose of her Pink Panther. I hear the
mail truck up the street and suddenly remember I have a letter to mail,
to my sister-in-law Judy. (We have no phone again, so letter-writing is
my only means of communicating with the outside world.) Barefoot, I
dash across the street to the mailbox. The girls stand at the window
and watch me. Jamie waves; Kacie looks astonished to see Mama outside.
Later, Ray checks to see if we got any mail. "Maybe I got a check for a
thousand dollars," he says wryly. No such luck. (No mail at all, as a
matter of fact.)
Kacie willingly goes
down for a
nap with a cold bottle of milk and her blanky. Ray takes our last two
dollars and goes to the store. I snap off the TV, wash the dishes and
listen to more tapes of Jamie as a baby.
intolerably cranky, so I carry her, kicking and screaming, to her bed.
"Need COX!" she screams, so I obligingly put socks on her feet. "Need
CUZ!" she screams, and I "cover" her with a blanket.
I have some quiet
afternoon while both girls nap. I listen to more old tapes, read the
newspaper, plot how to get my hands on some Pepsi. (We only had enough
money for milk and a newspaper.) I go next door and ask my neighbors
(the Bruffs) if they have any pop I can "borrow." Phyllis says no. I
ask her to send Rick over when he gets home from school ... maybe he'll
go to the store for me. I have 35 cents in pennies and one Canadian
The girls nap long
It's 4:15 before I hear the first stirring ... the music box in Kacie's
crib, which plays when she pulls a string. I'm feeling a little lonely,
so I go in and get her. She's wide awake, sitting up in her crib,
jabbering at me a mile a minute. I let her scamper around the kitchen
for a while; she plays with her beloved Avon boxes and some empty
cassette cases, climbs onto my lap once or twice, then walks down the
hallway and stands outside Jamie's door, waiting for her sister to wake
Jamie is up not long
and I begin fixing dinner for them both. I boil two hot-dogs and a
handful of spaghetti noodles, and I warm up half a can of leftover
green beans. Jay turns on the TV, and we watch an old "Eight Is Enough"
re-run. I pour a little tomato sauce on the noodles and franks and call
it "Hot Dog Spaghetti." Personally I think it's revolting, but such is
the depleted state of our cupboards. Desperate times call for desperate
measures, and all that. The girls like it, though. Jamie sits at the
table and Kacie sits in the highchair next to her, and they happily
suck spaghetti noodles and smear tomato sauce all over themselves.
After dinner I pop
into the tub. Kacie doesn't want to take a bath - she's afraid of
having her hair shampooed - and she runs in terror when she hears me
turn on the bath water. I wash their hair quickly, with as little fuss
as possible. Kacie screams at the top of her lungs, but Jamie is pretty
good about it. After the trauma of the hair-washing is over, I let them
splash and play for half an hour. While they bathe, I finish up the
dinner dishes and fold the laundry. Rick from next door comes to the
door with two cans of Shasta Cola. I offer him my 35 cents, but he
tells me to "forget it."
When the girls are
tub, dried off, diapered and p.j.'d, I put a spritz of instant
conditioner on their hair and comb it through. It makes their hair
incredibly soft and shiny. Jamie's bangs needs a good trim, so I sit
her on the camphor chest and spend a frustrating fifteen minutes trying
to get them even while she wiggles and howls in protest. The results
are so-so ... a little crooked, but a definite improvement; I can see
her eyebrows again, anyway.
The evening passes
comfortable, routine familiarity as did the afternoon. The girls run up
and down the hallway, dashing from Kacie's room to Jamie's and back
again. Doors slam, toys are fought over, voices rise and fall. Kacie is
in a hot-pink blanket sleeper, Jamie in powder blue. I watch them run
and play, and I feel a powerful surge of love for my children.
Kacie goes to bed at
fix myself a hot dog and some french fries for dinner, and then I eat
while Jamie and I watch "Benson." Jamie sits with me on the sofa for
the rest of the evening: we watch "Webster" and "Dallas." Kacie gets
back up once, for a couple of minutes, but goes right back to bed. I
munch on peanuts and sip a weak rum and Shasta Cola while we watch the
season finale of "Dallas." (An unknown assailant accidentally shoots
Bobby Ewing!) At 10 p.m. Jamie announces that it's her
and goes to her room. Surprised (but pleased) I tuck her in. She kisses
and "squeezes" me and says "Ni-night, Mama."
I'm asleep by
May 19, 1984
"Dirty Laundry," Don Henley
"typical" day, by the way ... usually there's a LOT
housework! I was pretty lazy yesterday, as a matter of fact, but once
in awhile I guess everybody needs a day like that.
Ray tried to get a
week's paycheck but his work wouldn't let him. We have about one dollar
in change to our names, but I'm not worried ... Ray said he would
"figure something out," and for some reason I believe him. Rainy day. I
feel pretty good today. My only complaint in this damned bee sting, on
my left index finger ... I got it on Thursday night. Jamie and I were
sitting on the floor watching "Cheers" when I felt something fuzzy
crawling up my leg, under my bathrobe. I swatted at it, and that's when
I got stung. My first bee sting since I was nine? ten? It's swollen and
hot and it itches like a sonofabitch. I had forgotten how unpleasant a
bee sting actually is.
against the window, clutching her coat, waiting for her Daddy to return
from the phone booth so she can go bye-bye with him ... if he
disappoints her, I'll kill him.)
May 20, 1984
Ray spent most of
yesterday trying to get hold of his folks on the phone so he could
negotiate a small loan, but there's been no answer. Later in the
evening Judy S. loaned us five dollars for milk and cigarettes, but
of course this morning we're back to being broke. I'm still not
worried. I just know we'll be taken care of.
Ray finally got in
his parents, around 9 p.m. tonight ... they've been "clam-digging" all
weekend. Even though it was late, he bundled Jamie up and popped her
into the car for a quick trip over to their house. (Kacie was in bed
already, so I stayed home, monitoring the pot roast and watching "The
Mystic Warrior.") The two of them were home at 11:00 with a small box
of diapers and a few badly-needed groceries. Jamie finally got the
"bye-bye" she'd been promised all weekend, and her eyes were shining as
I tucked her into bed.
The day before
the poorest ... but somehow the easiest to endure.
girls have to wear icky cloth diapers because I'm out of disposables,
we're down to the bottom of the barrel food-wise, and I'll have to
borrow laundry soap from one of my neighbors this afternoon again. But
knowing we'll have money tomorrow night somehow makes it bearable.
We had a rough night
last night after Ray got home from work. She absolutely would not stay
in her bed! We battled
with her until 5 a.m. This morning I'm exhausted and headachy, and
Jamie is uncharacteristically solemn. I'm going to fix her a little
milk and coffee and see if that doesn't jolly her up a bit.
Kacie has an
"game" ... she pushes the ottoman around the house and uses it as a
step-ladder, mostly to get up to the stereo and fiddle with the knobs.
I took one of the wheels off the bottom of the ottoman this morning so
it won't roll freely anymore. You should have seen the look Kacie gave
me when she tried to push it and it wouldn't budge. It was almost as
though she was saying "Why
spoil my fun, Mama?"
Sometimes I worry
... I worry that she doesn't get enough of my time and attention. Jamie
can be so demanding, and a lot of the time Kacie sort of gets lost in
the shuffle. I've been making a concerted effort lately to spend time
alone with Kacie, to give her a little of my undivided attention ... I
walk around the house with her in my arms and we look out the windows.
She has this funny little whispery thing she does in my ear ("Cussa-cussa-cussa").
She points at
the dogs in the backyard and barks ("Ack!") Sometimes we sit in the
rocking chair and just rock back and forth for twenty minutes ... for a
wiggly one year old, she's amazingly still as we rock. I want to get to
know this daughter for herself, not as part of a "matched set." Kacie
is a completely unique, special little person, and I love her dearly.
One reason it's so
me to recognize Kacie's individuality is because she and Jamie are so
If it weren't for
the fifteen months' difference in their ages, they could be fraternal
twins. Developmentally, physically, emotionally, verbally ... they are
so alike, it's spooky. I look at Jamie and I can see precisely where
Kacie will be fifteen months from now. Similarly, I can look at Kacie
and see the way Jamie used to be. They have so many of the same quirks
and tricks and little games. They even sound alike. Sometimes it takes
me a minute or two to figure out which one is crying
laughing. The two of them are so wonderful together, so perfectly
matched, that sometimes it's hard to mentally separate them -- they're
"the girls." "The girls" do this, "the girls" do that ... and that's
not fair to either one of them. I must consciously differentiate
between them. I've got to start looking for the differences.
P., two years old
Sits in her wading pool eating a popsicle
On the first fine day of summer.
May 27, 1984
I haven't written in
in a long time, have I? Usually I'm writing in the morning over coffee.
It's Sunday night, though, and there's nothing worth watching on TV (a
dismal TV movie with Stella Stevens as a lady sheriff in the Old West,
the Indy 500 or the obnoxious CBS comedies). I've been reading some of
my old diaries today, and as always when I spend time re-reading thing
I've written in the past, I get a sudden urge to write something
Ray is bustling
kitchen, watching the Indy 500 and fixing our dinner ... we're having
lovely thick steaks and baked potatoes. I just put a drowsy Kacie to
bed; Jamie is sitting at the kitchen table in her Strawberry Shortcake
shortie pajamas, eating butterscotch ripple ice cream and keeping an
eye on her Daddy. I'm woozy from a codeine pill and a small glass of
white wine, but it feels good. Friday night I had an accident; Jamie
pushed the TV off its stand it fell on my arm when I tried to catch it!
At first we thought my arm was broken. Our neighbor, David, took me to
the hospital for an x-ray, but fortunately it's just a bad sprain. The
doctor wrapped it up in an Ace bandage and gave me a prescription for
codeine for the pain (which has been considerable). Today my arm is
covered with the most amazing collection of purple bruises, very tender
and sore to the touch. (Kacie inadvertently bumped my arm this today
and I hit the ceiling!) Considering the fact that the TV weighs 150
pounds, I guess I'm lucky I didn't break anything.
I didn't do much of
today ... I've been slightly hungover. Ray and I went to Dave's Place
for three hours last night, while Terry and her friend Jeannie watched
the girls. The tavern was practically deserted -- I spent most of the
time talking to Pam about hair -- but it did feel good to get out of
the house. We stopped at Godfather's and bought a pan pizza on our way
home, sat in bed eating and watching TV until the wee hours.
Terry and Jeannie
out for a walk in the double stroller today, and later they went to the
park and had a picnic. While they were gone I worked on my photo albums
and read the Sunday papers. The house is kind of a mess, but I didn't
feel much like cleaning.
I got the wading
storage and Jamie splashed around in it for an hour this afternoon. If
it's sunny again tomorrow I'll let Kacie have a little swim. She's
never been in the wading pool and I bet she'll love it.
My favorite pen pal
in New Jersey) got married today. I thought about her all afternoon; I
hope the wedding turned out as planned. Now she's Melinda R. That'll
take some getting used to! Right now she and Bob are probably off on
Jamie is trying to
my lap, so I'm going to have to close and spend some cuddle time with
June 4, 1984
Ray just left for
weekend is officially over. Sigh. I'm always a little sad to see the
weekend end, particularly when it has been as pleasant as this weekend
has been. We didn't do anything wildly exciting -- Ray brought home
Chinese food Saturday night, I watched "How Green Was My Valley" and a
PBS special on Princess Diana, Terry got Jamie over to play with the
little girls down the street (Rebecca & Ericka), Ray worked on
car, I took pictures of the girls -- but I felt very happy and very
much in love with my little family, and the girls & Ray seemed
pick up on that. A lot of the time I tend to take our lives together
for granted, but this was one of those weekends when I was acutely
aware of how blessed we are.
Ray's fortune cookie
through the joys of home and
marriage." We both liked his
fortune so much that I stuck it
into the frame of our wedding picture ... it's still there.
I'm being lazy
potato soup in the crockpot and a sinkful of dirty dishes.
June 5, 1984
Tuesday 8 a.m.
A wrenching dream
much earlier than usual this morning ... a dream I can't get out of my
old boyfriend, Steve P.,
was living in a house up the street from my grandparents. I was dying
to see him, but -- given our tortuous history
wasn't sure how to approach him. I sent him a couple of notes saying
that I would like to see him, but he never answered them. Finally, on
Christmas Eve, I took a walk past his house. He saw me from his window
and excitedly ran to the door to invite me inside. He seemed very
pleased to see me, and I could feel all those old feelings begin to
stir inside myself again.
talked. He was living with
a girl (DB?) in what appeared to be -- or what I hoped was -- a
platonic arrangement. She sat in the corner watching us, and I sensed
that she disliked me. There was also a baby in a bassinet, sleeping on
one side of the room, but I ignored it. "Did you know I have three kids
now?" I said to Steve, and he said yes, he'd heard.
my immense excitement, he
asked me if I would like to go to a party with him that evening. Some
of the "old crowd" was getting together for a keg at a friend's house.
Happily I accepted, saying that I would have to go home (to Grandma and
Grandpa's) first and change my clothes. I promised to return shortly,
and in a fog of sheer happiness I ran back down the street to my
grandparents' house. I could hardly believe my luck! I knew I
being given one last chance to make this relationship work.
my grandparents' house,
many of my relatives had gathered for Christmas Eve. Grandma was busily
making Christmas dinner. "Take off your coat and wash your hands,
Sister," she called out to me. "Dinner will be ready soon." My heart
did a flip-flop. How could I tell her I wouldn't be staying for
Christmas dinner? Most of my happy feeling evaporated. I set my hair on
electric rollers, and when Grandma saw the rollers in my hair, I told
her that I had a "date." I asked if she was angry. She said, in a very
cold tone of voice -- I could tell that she was deeply hurt -- "I wish
you people would just come visit the weekend before Christmas, instead
of dropping in for only five minutes on Christmas Eve."
this point in the dream I
heard my own voice saying, as if I were the narrator, "Here is your
chance to do the noble thing, Terri." And that's when I woke up.
The dream is
me on a
couple of levels. First of all, it has brought Steve back to mind, and
there is still more hurt than pleasure in the remembering. Secondly,
there is the business of "doing the noble thing." Believe it or not,
I've actually been spending a lot of time lately thinking about things
like honor, and about doing what is honorable and noble. I don't know
what started it, or why I've been dwelling on it, but it has occurred
to me recently that I've never done a really honorable thing -- a
really altruistic, selfless, courageous thing -- and for some reason
that has been bothering me. My dream this morning reflects this.
Choosing between a date and a family dinner may not sound like the
weightiest decision in the world, but actually it's symbolic: a choice
between the selfish and the selfless. Most of the time I choose the
selfish. If this dream had really happened, I know exactly what I would
have done: I would have gone on that date. (But I would have wallowed
in guilt all evening ... )
Maybe I'm being
time when I'll have to do the noble thing ... perhaps the Lord has
purposely started me thinking about it, because I'm going to be called
on to do something truly honorable soon? The thought is scary
and exhilarating. If the time comes, would I be brave enough? Selfless
When I think about
something "honorable," I think of squaring old debts, settling a
long-standing argument, apologizing for a past wrongdoing ... but I
know it could mean more than that. What if, for instance, I were called
upon to risk my life to save someone else? What if I had to give up my
life in order to save one of my children? Would I be strong enough --
honorable enough -- to do that? In the case of saving my kids, I think
I would. I believe I would die to save Jamie or Kacie. I can't say
whether I'd be willing to die for anyone else, though. But I guess
that's something you can't really speculate about in advance ... it's
impossible to know for sure what you would do in such a situation.
I've just never
much about these things. It's always been easier not
Wednesday 11 a.m.
June 6, 1984
24 hours later, and
enough distance between yesterday's dream and today to make the dream
seem totally insignificant. All that stuff I wrote about "honor"
doesn't seem insignificant, though. I know it probably doesn't make a
lot of sense, but I wasn't kidding when I said that the concept of
altruism and honor has been on my mind a lot lately, long before I had
the dream. I think it may be a sign that I'm growing up. I'm concerned
about the person I am, and I'm ready to make the break with the
thoughtless, self-centered girl I've always been. Having children is
teaching me about responsibility. Now it's time to learn about honor.
How can I teach my children, after all, if I haven't learned the lesson
As of yesterday,
terrible war going on in the Middle East, between Iran and Iraq. Walter
Mondale yesterday won the Democratic Primary, and this is Donald Duck's
Is it any wonder I
though the world is standing on its head?
June 15, 1984 (nine days later)
Today is my
birthday." Fourteen years ago today, in Long Bevch,
invited Jesus Christ to be my personal Lord & Savior. I realize
that my journals have not always reflected my faith ... indeed, it
might be impossible for anyone reading my diaries & journals to
detect that I'm a born-again Christian ... but I am. Underneath it all,
I do still believe.
It's been eight
set foot into a church for any reason other than a wedding or funeral.
Throughout my teen years, church was very important to me: Boulevard
Park Presbyterian was like a second home to me. I had my happiest times
there, with the other kids in the youth group ... retreats, the Bus
Caravans, roller-skating parties, the youth choir. I still feel linked
to some of the people I loved there, especially Karen and Phil, and I
will through all eternity. I stopped going to church during my senior
year in high school. In my journals I blamed it on a series of
fallings-out with some of the people in the choir -- disputes which,
looking back, I think I probably engineered myself, to give me an
excuse to leave. Actually, it was the lure of "the wild life" that led
me away. I had a new, non-Christian boyfriend (Scott S.) and we were
interested in drinking parties, recreational drugs, sex, rock &
roll ... all very powerful lures. I can't say that Scott "introduced"
me to these things, because I'd had a taste of them all before I met
him, but with him as my steady boyfriend they became a regular part of
my life, and church was abandoned.
In high school I
double life. There was The School Terri and The Church Terri. At school
(and in some of my free time away from school) I did a lot of things
I'm not proud of. There were too many boys, too many beer
parties. I dabbled in drugs, and began binge drinking on occasion.
Doing these things gave me a dangerous, exciting feeling.
-- even when I'd been very, very "bad" --
I could go
to church and be with my Christian friends and feel loved, accepted,
forgiven, clean ... my Christian friends and youth leaders were aware
of some of my non-Christian activities but they were never judgmental.
I was still one of them, underneath it all, and they gave me love and
But by the time I
with Scott and graduated from high school, the hold that the world had
on me was too strong to resist. Scott made fun of me for going to
church, so I turned my back on it and walked away. In the years between
that time and now, I've often thought about finding a new church and
re-establishing myself as a member of the Body of Christ. I've never
completely lost sight of my relationship with Jesus, even during my
darkest and most troubled moments. Still, something holds me back.
Fear, maybe. Attachment to the world. Addiction. Lethargy. I want to
make a new commitment, but I'm frozen in one spot.
day beside the ocean, when Tom Horton led me to Christ, these things
are on my mind.
June 18, 1984
My journal has been
serious-minded lately, hasn't it? Almost grim. I don't know why.
Today is a lovely,
and I am cooped up in the house with a rotten cold. Ray came home sick
one day last week and, one by one, the rest of us have all come down
with it. First Kacie, then Jamie, and now me. My whole head is stuffed
up, and I feel groggy and out of sorts.
got a couple of little gifts for the girls to give their Daddy --
soap-on-a-rope from Jamie, musk after-shave from Kacie. In the evening
I made a big dinner for Ray, chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and
gravy, creamed corn. He had a fairly nice Father's Day, he said, even
if we were all feeling lousy.
Got some new jeans
size 16. Yikes.
My period is one day
June 19, 1984
This is Day Three of
I'm carrying a roll of toilet paper around the house with me this
morning to blow my nose with. Mrs. Kennedy gave me half a bottle of
liquid cold medicine yesterday, and that appears to be helping: I don't
feel as achy and feverish today.
Kacie has climbed up
kitchen chair next to mine and is happily swiping at my pen ... she's
happy now, but her climbing is becoming a major source of irritation
around here. I know that climbing is as natural to toddlers as
breathing, but Kacie really isn't very good at it yet and I'm afraid
she's going to fall and hurt herself. So I pluck her off the chair and
plant her safely on the floor, where she bursts into angry tears ...
Jamie has taken to
her bedroom light on at night. Last night she fell asleep in my bed
while the two of us were watching TV, so I carried her to her own room
and tucked her in -- without turning her light on. She woke up at 2:30
a.m. in hysterics. "TURN MITE ON!!!" she screamed, over and over, until
I rushed into her room and hit the switch. Then she quietly went back
got out of
school for the summer yesterday. Terry came over and talked to me for
awhile in the afternoon while I baked cookies; her conversation is full
of boys, boys, boys. Next fall she starts junior high. I look at her
and I feel light-years removed from her ... the summer I was twelve was
a million years ago.
Oh wonderful ...
diarrhea, I've just discovered. At the moment she is sprawled on the
kitchen floor, sound asleep. (But only temporarily -- Jamie walked past
her pushing the toy shopping cart, and Kacie woke up in a blink.)
July 6, 1984
Almost three weeks
would you believe it -- I am still sick. Actually, I'm in the final
stages of my SECOND summer cold, a cold that followed right on the
heels of the first one, with only a day or two of health in between.
This second cold has been ten times worse than the first one, too. And,
just like me, Ray and the girls also got sick a second time. We were so
sick last weekend that we had to cancel our plans to go to the folks'
for dinner. (Jamie was feeling pretty good that day, though, so Peg
came over and picked her up for the day.)
Today I've got a
and my nose is peeling from three weeks' worth of blowing ... but I am
getting well. At last.
This virus affected
a different way than it hit Ray and me ... it went right to their eyes.
For several mornings in a row they woke up with conjunctivitis --
little eyes practically "glued shut" with a crusty film. Kacie had it
the worst. She also had the highest fever. Today her nose is running,
but her eyes are clear and she appears otherwise to be feeling fine.
We had a pretty nice
July ... we went over to Peg & Don's for a hamburger barbecue.
(Sheryl is pregnant again -- due in January.) All of the regulars were
there ... Judy looking tanned and trim, Sheryl just beginning to "show"
in a striped bathing suit, Don and Peg both sick and dopey with summer
colds ... it was overcast and hazy most of the day but very
and the little kids spent the afternoon running in the sprinkler while
the adults sat around the patio drinking beer.
Ray was still very
day, so we came home fairly early -- around 7:00. Kacie went to bed
without any fuss, and Jamie got into p.j.'s and sat on the front lawn
with me, watching the neighbors shoot off fireworks.
We had cable
of weeks ago -- HBO, Showtime, The Playboy Channel (ick) and MTV.
My period started
a week late, but it started.
July 10, 1984
Summer evening ...
just going down. Doors and windows open, cool and breezy.
"Moy," (her name for me) "Solid Gold on now!"
Jamie: "That not Solid Gold, that Star Search now!"
Mom: "That's not Star Search, it's Solid Gold."
Jamie: "Oh, dat Solid Gold."
(It's actually a
"special," the top forty summer songs of all time or something like
that. Something's wrong with the color TV -- the cable is on the fritz,
and the TV doesn't work at all -- so we're reduced to watching Channel
11 on the black & white.)
JAMIE HAD HER BOWEL
HER POTTY CHAIR TONIGHT!!!! The big event of the evening! (I
think she did, anyway. I didn't actually see it. She came running up to
me, shouting "I went pooy Moy,!" and I just accepted it at face value.
There is no evidence that she actually went, if you know what I mean,
but she is so adamant about it that I want to believe her.)
July 17, 1984
Tuesday evening ... one week later
I'm not writing much
summer. I think about writing, but it's either too hot or I'm too busy
... or too lazy. (Old Mary Tyler Moore re-run on TV / Tropical Punch
Kool-Aid / Chicken TV dinner in oven / Jamie chattering at the dogs out
July 22, 1984
Sunday 10 a.m.
It is a beautiful
... sunshine, blue skies, just a hint of breeze ... and if I weren't so
exhausted and so down at heart, I might be able to enjoy it.
("Somewhere In Time" just starting on Showtime -- the girls milling
around the house with bananas and bottles of apple juice.) Ray went out
early yesterday evening, ostensibly to get a pizza and make a few phone
calls, swearing that he would be "right back." When he finally got home
at midnight, of course, he was so drunk he was literally bouncing off
the walls. It's been a long time since I'd seen him in such disgusting
condition, but I didn't say anything ... I kissed him, ate a slice of
(cold) pizza, told him goodnight and went to bed. I was dead tired. I'd
been asleep for about ten minutes when he suddenly burst into the
bedroom, turned on all the lights and started picking a fight with me.
I told him I didn't want to sleep in the same bed with him (he smelled
TERRIBLE, for one thing -- like empty beer cans and full ashtrays), and
I went out the living room and layed down on the sofa. He followed me
out there, once again throwing on all the lights, and told me I "had a
choice" -- to either go to bed with him or to "get out." I ignored his
drunken tirade, and he eventually went back to the bedroom for a little
while ... only to emerge a few minutes later,
threatening me. All I wanted was a little sleep, but he wouldn't leave
me alone. By 2 a.m. I was exhausted and sobbing. "JUST LEAVE ME ALONE
AND LET ME SLEEP!" I yelled at him, but that just provoked him all the
more. He tried to act like he was sober, and he got very sarcastic and
ugly - I have never seen him like that - he was utterly repulsive. I
pray I never see him that way again, because it has left me feeling
very cold towards him today. I did absolutely nothing to fuel the
argument except to ask that he leave me alone and let me sleep, but for
two hours he made my life hell and I'm still mad about it this morning.
I finally did go
and lay down next to him. He mumbled an apology and passed out, and
then I went back to the sofa and spent the rest of the night.
The house is a mess
morning, and I plan to spend the entire day (unless it gets too hot)
immersing myself in housework and ignoring Ray. It's possible he may
not even remember his disgusting performance last night -- or pretend
he doesn't remember -- but I'm not letting him off the hook for this
one. He gets my coldest shoulder today.
Kacie is in a rotten
got a diaper rash and she's crabby as hell. Jamie won't leave my side.
She heard most of last night's fight, and today she's sticking to me
like glue, saying things like "Mama take care of me now?" We've got two
litters of kittens running around -- CeCe's and Wendie's -- a total of
seven cats altogether -- and this morning Gretchen broke off her chain
and ran off for the third time this week. I feel claustrophobic. All of
these living things, crowding me ... dogs, cats, kids, drunken
husbands. Kacie is crying, Jamie is crying, huge fat houseflies are
buzzing around three bulging sacks of garbage in the kitchen, the house
smells like pizza and dirty diapers. I feel wrung-out from all the
crying and from (when I finally did sleep) a lot of weird &
meaningless dreams. It is going to take every ounce of character on my
part to be Mommy today, and not Atilla the Hun ...
I relented. You knew
didn't you? Two hours of chilly silence were enough; I asked Ray for an
apology and he readily gave me one. "I was too high," he said
(needlessly) ... "I'm sorry." I still feel a little down, but I'm
fighting it. All the turmoil of the past 24 hours has given me a rotten
stomach ache but I'm fighting that, too.
ON JLP 7/10/84
"Gee you" (Thank
Mom - when
I gave her aspirin)
Little green bug in her hair (mythical)
Spider on ceiling in kitchen - I told her it was a little girl spider
Smurf Cereal - spreads towel on table beneath her bowl
"Dat pree good Moy!" (That was pretty good, Mommy)
Little yellow radio - "DAT TOO MOUD!"
Mom: "What's your
Jamie: "Big Girl."
"Jus' doon some
doing some things)
"Jis' ONE now."
When Jamie gets
Kacie, Kacie comes running to me and begins hitting me and babbling at
Jamie trying to sit
my lap as
I'm writing: "I want oo, now. I needs oo, NOW. Take care me NOW!!!"
state of my house: "Disheveled and dirty today, with prevailing grime
and odor and slight chance of condemnation by State Board of Health ...
Not funny, I know. I
of writing the same old thing all the time -- "The house is a mess
housework is not the most fascinating topic in the world.
This might be one of
if not THE last -- entries in this journal. I'm getting the itch to
take off in a whole different direction and begin something new. We're
down to our last $26, but the larder is full, so to speak -- plenty of
food in the house -- so hopefully there will be enough to buy me a new
notebook. I've been really bad about writing this summer, but with two
full-fledged, rambunctious toddlers, my life is peppered with
interruptions. Writing time is hard to come by. Kacie has turned into a
mini-cyclone, twirling ceaselessly around the house from the moment she
gets up in the morning until she collapses at night, leaving in her
wake disorder, destruction and diapers ... her moods are approximately
two and a half minutes in length, shifting from giddy delight to total
anguish in the blink of an eye. Jamie is alternately aloof and
demanding -- one minute pleading to sit in my lap ("I want talk-a
yoo!") and the next minute holed up in her room, shouting at me to "Go
'way, MOM!" She is forever helping herself to things, and I must
forever monitor her to make sure that what she's helping herself to is
Smurf Cereal and NOT Murphy's Oil Soap ... her own toothbrush and not
my makeup ... her coloring book and crayons and not the drawers of my
jewelry box. Her moods are longer in duration but just as sudden to
change ... from idolizing me to despising
from being my sunny, cooperative "helper" to an angry,
changeling ... from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde ...
With all the moods
mischeviousness and mayhem -- ah, alliteration -- I'm lucky if I can
squeeze in five minutes writing time per WEEK. I think that a new
journal might "rev me up" a bit, get the old creative juices flowing
again. It sure couldn't hurt.
This summer I am
years old. Ray is twenty nine, Jamie is two and a half, Kacie is
sixteen months. We are a young family. There are some days when I feel
old and "weathered," but more often than not I can't resist the impulse
to get down on hands and knees and play dolls with Jamie ... my
childhood feels only minutes behind me. I view that as a distinct
advantage when it comes to caring for two little girls.
This has been a
-- if uneventful -- summer. The weather, for the most part, has been
warm and sunny. Jamie has been able to spend lots of time playing
outside, with a minimum of supervision. Kacie at the moment is too much
of a "wanderer" - she toddles out into the street whenever she gets the
chance -- so mostly she stays in the backyard with the gate shut, or
stays in the house with Mama ... neither of which she's exactly
thrilled about, but such is life when you're one year old. Next summer
she will be afforded greater freedom.
Jamie loves the
door, and every day she wanders over to their house to visit. As our
yards are adjoining and our houses are very close to each other, I
don't really mind. The boys are always very kind to Jamie. Sometimes
Mike will take her by the hand and walk with her to the mailbox.
(Journal ends abruptly here)