1984 - March 1985
25 & 26
"For the first time in my
whole life, I believe that I am an integral part of
something, and this is what gives my life meaning."
been trying to find
all weekend to write something "introductory" here, but between taking
care of two rambunctious toddlers and the constant flow of neighbors in
and out of the house (Terry, Mike, Rick, Phyllis, Marcy), I
had two seconds to myself.
has been a weekend
thunderstorms, hydroplane races on TV and potato soup brewing in the
crockpot ... Ray getting down on all fours and chasing the girls around
the living room ... watching "Mr. Mom" on Showtime three times, eating
pizza on Saturday night and steak sandwiches on Sunday, going
grocery-shopping on Friday while Terry babysat the girls.
invented a new cereal: Cocoa Krispies mixed with Smurf Cereal. She
pooped her pants repeatedly, in spite of our latest attempt at bribery
-- a basket of little gift-wrapped prizes (small toys, pencils,
stickers, etc.) that she can choose from, IF she uses the potty. So far
the prize basket hasn't proved sufficient motivation, I guess. Kacie
discovered our newest kitten, a month-old calico we've named Lucy, and
insisted on carrying her around by the neck until we finally had to
hide the kitten for her own protection. Kacie also discovered lollipops
this weekend: she rubbed them into her hair until it was as stiff and
spiked as Billy Idol's.
took a brief
housework, and by Sunday morning the house was filthy. I was horrified,
therefore, to look out the window at 11 a.m. and see my father-in-law
pulling into the driveway!!! He'd come to collect the rent
barely had time to throw a bathrobe over my ancient nightgown before he
got to the door. He brushed aside my apologies about the mess ("You
should see our place," he said, although I seriously
doubt that he has Smurf
Cereal and wet diapers all over his kitchen floor) and visited with us
for about an hour. He gave us some family news (hard to come by these
days, since we don't have a phone): Aunts Dora and Helene will be here
from Tucson later this month, and then Ray's sister Patty and her
coming at the end of the month. Grandma D. has postponed her visit from
Arkansas until Christmas. Ray's little sister Barbara starts high
school next month.
L.A. Olympics moved
their second week, Richard Burton died, the Miss Budweiser won the
Seafair trophy, and the price of bananas went down? ... up? ...
August 6, 1984
OK, is Jenny Gardner
what ... ? (On "All My Children")
morning. I can
the "old days," when Monday mornings were deeply depressing because it
meant going back to work ... now it's just another day of the week. I'm
not "going back" to work this morning, because I never got OFF work.
I'm constantly on-duty!
is slightly distinguishable
from other days. The house
morning has a funny, empty feeling it hasn't had in months ... Ray has
gone back on day-shift, after 4-1/2 months of working swing-shift. It
feels so odd to not have him here this morning! Sad, but
interesting, because the sadness is tempered by anticipation: he'll be
HOME tonight! I'll have someone to eat dinner with and talk to and
watch TV with. I've enjoyed my solitary evenings, but I'll enjoy his
company even more, I think. It's going to feel brand new.
when she came into our bedroom this morning and saw his side of the bed
was empty. "Oh, Daddy not home today," was all she said about it. She
accepts things so matter-of-factly.
plans for today are
small-scale. Dishes, laundry, bake some peanut butter cookies, set my
hair so I look nice for Ray, finish a letter to Melinda.
for Ray to come
It's been a long day of kids and cleaning, and I'm looking forward to a
little adult companionship ... and a cold beer.
pushed one of the
living room lamps off the stereo speaker and it broke into a million
pieces. I was very angry, but she was so upset about it that I didn't
have the heart to do more than scold her a little. Even that much
"punishment" from me completely broke her heart, and she cried
uncontrollably for half an hour. I finally had to pick her up and rock
with her in the rocking chair to calm her down.
at the height of her impish phase. It was tough
to get mad at her when she was THIS cute.
August 8, 1984
Wednesday 11 a.m.
This summer is
unbelievably slowly ... one hot sticky day melting into another, into
another, into another ...
gave us some temporary relief, but today it's back to temperatures in
the 90's. I'm so tired of it. I think longingly of autumn -- chilly
mornings, cool afternoons, icy nights ... leaves
fires in the fireplace, rainstorms, Halloween ...
all seems a million light years away. Sigh. I'm just not a summer
person. I don't like heat, I don't like blinding sunlight, I hate
sunbathing. Summer is the worst time of the whole year, as far as I'm
concerned, and I'll be so so glad when it's over and fall is here. I'm
sick of the heat, I'm sick of the damned Olympics on TV ( with all the
endless network hype and promotion), and I'm sick of feeling hot,
sweaty and grouchy.
There. Now that I've
complaining out of my system, on to other things.
yesterday from Arizona; he talked to them on the phone last night. I
have an intuitive feeling that Ray's Dad will probably bring them over
sometime today, undoubtedly when I'm least expecting them, so I've been
trying to pick up the house a bit this morning, while it's still
relatively cool (78º as opposed to 98º?!) The aunts
never seen Kacie -- I don't think? -- so it will nice to introduce her
to them. And of course they haven't seen Jay since she was a baby.
Ray has been home at
last two nights in a row. Both nights he's been dead-tired, the result
of getting up at 4 a.m. after months of sleeping past noon. It will
take a while for him (and for all of us) to get used to the "new"
schedule. It's nice having him here in the evenings, though. He doesn't
do much -- plays with the girls, eats some dinner, watches TV, falls
asleep -- but it's just the idea of having him here that feels good.
in their wading pool.
Jamie was a fan: Kacie, not so much.
August 9, 1984
Thursday morning 9 a.m.
morning. There is Smurf Cereal all over the kitchen floor: I just
stepped in it with my bare feet ... seven cats milling around my living
room ... the damned Olympics on TV for the eleventh
a row ... and although it's only 9 a.m., it's
the mid-80's. Jamie is in a bossy, imperious mood. ("Hey,
on my cereal! Hey, need cold milk 'nee my ba-ba!" )
Kacie just put her (half-empty) cereal bowl on her head. Ray wasn't
home last night until 8:30, and he was drunk, broke and mad at me for
spending my money on Avon. In bed he started in with the full-throttle
snoring, driving me out to the sofa, where I tossed and turned
uncomfortably for hours. When he left for work this morning at 4:30
a.m., I crawled back into the bed and finally got a little sleep. I was
having a lovely dream -- I was re-living that first chaste romance with
John R., circa 1972 -- when dogs barking and Jamie slamming doors woke
Journal -- I'm
you -- I
don't know how much more of this I can take. The month of July seemed
to last for a year, and August is giving every indication of lasting
twice as long. Will summer EVER be over?
August 10, 1984
Friday 10 a.m.
better in some
ways ... still the same in other ways.
It's not supposed to
today -- "only" 78º is the forecast. That's better. Ray was
yesterday at an unbelievable 4:30, in a lovely mood. He relented on the
Avon issue and said I can keep the ring I bought, even though it leaves
us flat-broke for another week. He made BLT's and french fries for
supper, and we drank a few cold beers together and talked. (A little
with a whole vanload of Ray's relatives (I guess they're my
relatives too, aren't they?) ... Ray's two great aunts,
from Tucson, plus Barbara, Judy,
Billy & Nathan. It was the drop-in visit I've been expecting
week, and now that it's finally over I can quit holding my breath.
Actually, it wasn't too bad. Kacie charmed the socks off her
Great-Great-Aunt Helene. Usually my younger daughter is a bit shy
around unfamiliar people, but she was smiling and flirting with Helene,
giving her little toys, as if they'd known each other for years. Jamie
was too busy tearing around the house with Billy to pay much attention
to the Great-Greats, even though it's been two years since she's seen
charmed the socks
off her Great-Great Aunt "Helene"
I'm never completely
around Ray's family, but yesterday I did my best to relax and be
myself. The trouble is, I never know if I'm successful or not. What
does Peg think of me? What did the aunts think of me, my house, my
kids? And why do I care so darned much??
I'm square with
Avon lady -- I gave her the $3.38 I owed her yesterday -- that's one
less thing for me to worry about. I do still owe Mike Bruff (our 16 yr.
old neighbor) three dollars for cleaning out the carport the other day.
He's been here several times already looking for his money, and I feel
bad about it. Later today I'll go next door and apologize for the delay
and explain to him how broke we are.
August 11, 1984
HALLELUJAH !!!! I
believe my eyes when I got out of bed a few minutes ago. Can it be??
It's cool, cloudy and OVERCAST!!!! I'm so thrilled about the
break in the heat, I've been dancing around the kitchen,
silly songs (much to my daughters' delight!) ... fixing toast and
Tang ... laughing at the Cocoa Krispies on the
Ray volunteered to
hours today (Saturday) because he says we need the money. We certainly
do. When he got home last night at midnight, I had to send him right
back out with a handful of pennies and nickels to get a quart of milk.
The dogs and cats haven't been fed in two days because we can't afford
pet food. (Later today I'm going to borrow some dog food from the
neighbors, and then I'll feed the kitties our last can of tuna fish.)
Ray usually isn't
around much on Saturdays, anyhow -- he's either sleeping or down at
Dave's Place -- so nobody has even noticed that he's gone. I'm in such
an unexpectedly and blessedly good mood (the goddamned Olympics are
over tomorrow, too!!) that I know this will be a good day, whether he's
here or not.
Kacie has a funny
week - "flowers." What's funny is the way she says it ... she purses
her lips and puffs up her cheeks and sort of blows the word out ...
Jamie has been
watercolors this week, under my close supervision. I've noticed that
she usually starts out holding the paintbrush in her right hand, but
then inevitably switches to her left. So far all she does when she
"paints" is make great muddy globs of colors, but she loves it. I'm
kind of watching to see if she's the daughter who inherits the Vert
family artistic talent, although I know it's much too early to tell.
August 13, 1984
Monday 10:30 a.m.
to say my depression from last week has (almost) completely lifted. The
externals have improved: today is another lovely, cloudy, cool
day. We may even get some rain. The Olympics ended last night
with one last blast of hype and hoopla ... today all the regular
daytime shows are back on at their regular times. We've gotten rid of
one cat this week (Deeky, an all-black from CeCe's early-spring
litter). The house is only moderately wrecked today -- I should be able
to get it back into shape in a couple of hours. I feel rested and only
residually depressed today ... like the final hours of a particularly
bad hangover. My bouts of depression are a nuisance, but they don't
Our weekend was OK
one of our
typical "broke weekends" -- scraping together every nickel and dime we
could find, drinking generic "Beer Beer," eating whatever was in the
cupboards, borrowing five dollars here, ten dollars there. The car is
completely undriveable now, so Ray had to hitch rides to the grocery
store with neighbors and friends.
Yesterday Peg came
picked us up in the van -- Ray, Jamie, Kacie and I -- and took us over
-- INTERRUPTED --
August 15, 1984
We'll try that
On Sunday Peg came
picked us up in the van and took us over to their place for the day. I
was expecting some of the other "kids" to be there (Don Jr. &
Sheryl & Jeff, the other grandbabies) ...
so I was
mildly surprised to discover it was just Ray and the girls and me, plus
of course the aunts. We stayed for six hours. Aunt Dora made her famous
chicken and noodles for dinner -- she made it especially for Ray
because it's his favorite. After dinner Peg wanted to watch
"grand finale" of the Olympics on TV so we had to wait until that was
over before she brought us home, around 10:00. (I pretended to be
really interested in the show, but of course you know how I really felt
Kacie paid all sorts
attention to Aunt Helene once again, following her all around the house
and out into the backyard. She also played in Peg's kitchen cupboards.
Jamie wandered around the house for awhile after we first got there,
looking for "Boy" (Billy), but when she finally realized he wasn't
there, she was content to collect pine cones in the backyard and chase
after poor old Joker, Barbara's cat. Both girls ate a healthy dinner,
to say the least! Jamie flattered the heck out of her Grandpa by eating
second helpings of the cucumbers from his garden.
Don and Peg are in
extensive remodeling -- new blinds & draperies, wallpaper,
furniture, carpeting, etc. etc. -- the works. I am
(naturally) envious, but even Ray and I got something out of it -- two
gallons of leftover off-white paint, which they can't use. Ray has
rather grudgingly agreed to paint our bedroom this weekend, which would
make me very happy.
Saturday night, by
Jamie finally succeeded in going "poop" on the big potty, for the first
time in her life! Ray and I made a huge fuss over it, telling her what
a big girl she is and how proud we are of her. We also allowed her to
pick two little presents from the special basket ... she got a tiny
deck of cards and a little box of candy. I thought maybe this was the
turning point we'd been waiting for, but since that night she hasn't
repeated the performance, preferring instead to hide away in her room
and mess in her pants. I am not disheartened, though.
Not feeling terrific
stayed up too late last night, and today I'm feeling wrung out and weak
as a kitten. There is also something worrying me -- it's too much of a
mess to go into at the moment -- but once again there is a very real
possibility that Ray may lose his job. He received another damned writ
of garnishment in the mail yesterday, and as I understand it, that puts
his job in jeopardy. I know he was very deeply worried about it last
Jamie is playing
is napping, Mama is slumped in an armchair, watching a "Family" re-run
Suddenly Jamie comes
into the house. "What's that,
Mom?!" she shouts.
"What, honey?" I
"What's dat out dere
she asks again, running back to the carport and pointing at the ground.
There is a very small - and very dead - gray mouse, laying beside the
"That's just a
says. "He won't hurt you."
"Ohhhh ..." Jamie
solemnly at the inert little creature. I figure I'll ask Ray to move it
when he gets home from work, and I go back inside to my television
Moments later Jamie
into the house and jumps onto my lap, throwing her arms around my neck.
"Oh," she whimpers, "I got sit here ‘nit Mom, so dat mousey
get me!" Lately she has been displaying a fear of bugs, squirrels and
birds ("Dat birdy almost get me now!"). Apparently her phobia extends
now to "mousies" ... even very flat mousies.
Just then Mike, the
next door, rides his bike past our house. Jamie runs out the door and
flags him down, chattering at him to "Come here and SEE! Come here and
SEE!" He pulls his bike into our driveway and Jamie shows him the dead
mouse, which he promptly scoops up and tosses into the garbage can.
Satisfied that "dat
GONE NOW," Jamie returns to her play. Mike is her hero for the rest of
August 18, 1984
Saturday night (big deal)
Why can't I wake my
It's only 8 p.m. on a Saturday night, and he is lying motionlessly on
Last night he promised he would come home and spend Saturday evening
with his wife. I guess that in the strictest sense of the word, he's
keeping his promise ... he's here. I guess I just forgot to make
"remaining conscious" a stipulation of our agreement.
I went to a lot of
earlier this afternoon, putting on makeup, setting my hair, even doing
my nails. More and more often lately I just haven't bothered with that
sort of thing, but tonight I feel tired of looking like a slob and I
thought I would make the effort to look nice for him. He came home at
7:30 ... mumbled a few unintelligible words at me ... and promptly
So here I sit on a
night. Not alone
... but alone.
Cartoon from the
August 20, 1984
He "revived," a
finally, on Saturday night ... enough to go out and get a pizza and
watch a little TV with me. I was looking forward to a bit more
excitement that evening, but at least he did follow through on his
promise to come home and be with us.
Yesterday -- for the
Sunday in a row -- we spent the day over at the in-laws'. (The aunts
are leaving for home this morning, so yesterday was our last chance to
visit with them.) This time, though, no one had to pick us up: Ray got
the car back on Friday night, and it's running beautifully. Also, this
time "everybody" was there ... Don Jr. & Judy, Sheryl &
and all the little ones. We had a nice visit and I took a lot of
August 21, 1984
Tuesday, early evening
Hot ... and muggy.
weather has returned with a vengeance. The air feels thick as pudding:
even walking down the hallway to change my blouse for the tenth time
today is more effort than it's worth, so instead I'll just sit here and
like a dock worker.
I just took a
girls, sitting together on the camphor chest. Jamie is wearing an
ancient, years-out-of-style blue sundress that somebody passed down to
Kacie is wearing a faded cotton dress that's miles too short for her.
Still, they look so sweet in their funny old dresses and their short
bangs and their bare feet - like a couple of little "country girls" -
that I had to take their picture. Will it be a favorite
girls perched on
their Great-Grandma's camphor chest
August 22, 1984
Haven't even had my first cup of coffee yet, which may be part of the
problem. I stayed up until 2 a.m. reading "The Clan of the Cave Bear,"
and I'm walking in my sleep this morning.
At least it's cool
today. I couldn't take another thick muggy day.
When I got up, Jamie
around in the kitchen. Nothing much seemed to be out of place, except
that my camera -- with three pictures left on the roll inside -- was
sitting on the counter. "Did you OPEN this?" I asked her sternly. If
she did, all those pictures of Dora and Helene are lost.
"No, I dint open
"You don't TOUCH MY
told her, putting it on a high shelf. "I mean it, Jamie."
Her lower lip began
"Hey," she said in a shaky little voice, "Don't talk 'me like dat."
This is her new, flippant comeback when I reprimand her, and it
irritates the heck out of me. I was too sleepy and grouchy to push the
point, though, so I just ignored her. I walked out of the kitchen and
down the hallway to pull the wet sheets off the beds and air out the
bedrooms. In the kitchen, Jamie began to wail. "I'M A GOOD GIR NOW!"
she sobbed. "I'm a good gir now! I'm a good gir now! I'M A GOOD GIR
If I don't assure
she's a "good girl now," she'll keep up the wailing for hours. This
particular morning I don't feel like hours of it, so I stopped and
hugged her and told her everything was OK, and she finally calmed down.
(Note: When we got
roll of film back from the store, there was a picture of the kitchen
table that Jamie had obviously taken, moments before I walked into the
kitchen that morning.)
I'm irritated with
morning, too. I asked for a lousy twenty dollars for my Avon, and he
left me a high-handed, snotty note this morning:
MORE AVON. THIS IS MONEY FOR CABLE. HOPE YOU CAN GET IT BACK."
He came home last
reeling from (quote) "four
four rum & Cokes."
can afford to be paying for drinks every damned night, why can't I have
an occasional twenty dollars for things I want and need? I never go
shopping. I don't buy clothes. Except for Avon once in a
rarely ask for
a cent. Twenty fucking dollars out of a paycheck, and he treats me like
I'm being unreasonable and money-grubbing.
Actually, I'm not
the Avon for myself: I've started buying Christmas presents. This time
I bought a
birthstone necklace for Mom. But that's not even the point, is it? The
point has something to do with not having any money of my own, and with
Ray's reluctance to part with a few dollars for his wife once in
awhile. The point is my resentment at having to beg for every dime and
nickel. The whole thing has got me doing a slow burn today.
How can I make some
money of my
MY MEATBALL RECIPE
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 c. dried bread crumbs + 1 slice whole wheat bread, torn into tiny
Salt & pepper
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1/2 c. celery, diced
1/2 c. grated carrot
1/2 c. grated zucchini
Mix all ingredients
bowl, shape into medium-size balls, place in pan. Top with one can
cream of mushroom soup mixed with one cup or so leftover au jus. Cook
in oven, uncovered, 350?, 40 min. Cook an additional 40 minutes
August 23, 1984
Thursday morning 10 a.m.
I'm in a MUCH better
I know it's difficult keeping track of all my emotional ups &
downs ... but if YOU think it's hard, imagine how confusing
It's like being on a roller coaster. Some days I feel on top of the
world ... other days I'm hitting bottom. There is
predicting how I'll feel on any given day ... the moods come and go
like changes in the weather, though not as easily forecast ...
Speaking of weather.
been one of those odd "combination" days ... you look out the west
window of our bedroom and see blue skies, and then you look out a
window on the east side of the house and there are huge, angry black
clouds laying overhead.
The girls are
on the camphor chest ... Jamie, in pink rosebud underpants, waving her
hands dramatically and singing along with Berlin ("No-more-wurds")
.... Kacie in a
pink jammy top and dry diaper, one ponytail on top of her head, happily
mouthing a green Lego ... both of them watching Madge The Manicurist on
TV with a concentration usually reserved for Sesame Street or MTV ...
My girls. I was such
to them yesterday. Today I look at them and see how very small they
are, how much they depend on me, and I vow that I'll make today a happy
day for them both.
Ray worked until 6
night and was home at 8:30. I made a big dinner -- meatballs, potatoes
and corn -- and he played with his daughters, made a quick trip to the
store for milk and lollipops, and then ate almost everything in sight.
August 24, 1984
Kacie has taken to
waking in the
middle of the night again. Every morning around 3 a.m. she begins to
wail at the top of her lungs, and nothing -- not a bottle, not a back
rub, not a few gentle words or a walk around the house -- will quiet
her for long. She may calm down for a minute or two, but the instant I
leave her she starts screaming again. This can go on for hours, and
it's beginning to wear me out. Ray and Jamie usually sleep right
through it all, but she's getting me out of bed three or four times a
night and it's starting to take a toll on me.
This morning she
until 10:30 a.m. I didn't try to wake her up: after a night of
thrashing and screaming, I figured she could probably use the rest. I
know I could.
Note from Terri to
Are we going over to see Patty & John tonight? (Today is John's
morning: No answer at
all! Not even an "mmmph.")
August 27, 1984
Woke up this morning
delightful surprise ... RAIN! Not just a few clouds, either, but
honest-to-goodness rain, the torrential, gloomy, altogether lovely kind
usually reserved for autumn. The house is chilly: the girls are both in
warm sweaters and pants, for the first time in months. I'm still
wearing my light-weight nightgown, enjoying the unaccustomed coolness
on my bare shoulders. This is my
kind of weather!
head this morning. Which neighbor can I borrow laundry soap
today? Should I make a crockpot of vegetable soup for dinner? How do
you freeze zucchini? The house isn't too messy today ... just the
bedrooms and the dishes.
We had a pleasant
weekend. I took the car on Saturday, and the girls and I drove down to
visit both of my grandmothers. It felt marvelous to drive again -- to
get out of the house for the whole day -- to do anything I wanted to
do. Neither of my grandmothers had seen the girls in months, since
before Kacie was walking, and they were delighted to see us. We visited
Grandma Vert first. The girls ran around in the big backyard, while I
took pictures of them and chatted with Gram. (Dad stopped by for
in front of my childhood home
The girls standing next to my grandfather's
One of my favorite
pics of the girls ... standing outside
their Great-Grandma's patio door after a romp in the backyard.
Afterwards, we drove
over to Grandma St. John's, where we
stayed for about an hour. Grandma's neighbor, Donelda (a girl I went to
high school with, now married and expecting her first baby next month)
came over to chat. It's been ages since I've seen anyone from school,
and although Donelda and I were never exactly friends, it was a nice
chance to catch up on a little gossip.
The girls visit with their Great-Grandma St. John (with
varying degrees of enthusiasm)
Sunday was a lazy day
home. Ray's sister Patty arrived from Tucson last night around 7:30 or
so, but it was too late to drag the kids over for a visit.
August 28, 1984
The rain is gone
still cool. Maybe the worst of summer is over? (Do I dare hope??)
I feel very far-away
"disconnected" from things today. I can't seem to concentrate on
anything for very long. Yesterday was productive, though. I made a huge
crockpot full of beef and vegetable soup ... it was wonderful, just the
thing on a cold and rainy day. We had it for supper, with hard rolls
and butter, and then the girls had some more for lunch today. I
froze several small batches of zucchini, borrowed some detergent from
the Bruffs next door and did a small laundry.
Kacie is napping.
running back and forth from our house to the Bruff's ... every few
minutes she brings me a handful of moldy blue flowers or a couple of
wilted dandelions. Each time, I make a huge fuss about how "beautiful"
the flowers are and I put them in my nicest vase ... but the really
beautiful thing is the look in my little girl's eyes as she gives them
to me ...
Ray called Patty
got us off the hook for not being there Sunday evening when they got
into town. We'll be going over for dinner on Thursday.
August 31, 1984
Very tired this
feeling the cumulative effects of the past few days. I have no plans
for today other than folding towels, keeping an eye on the monkeys and
reading "Mistral's Daughter." I have earned this day of rest.
Wednesday was our
anniversary. In fact, Ray and I have been together for almost four
years -- October 13th is our "other" anniversary, the date that Ray
brought me home with him and I never left -- but August 29th is
course the anniversary that counts. Married three years!
This year it fell on
before payday, so we had to postpone any celebration until this
weekend. On Wednesday night both of the girls fell asleep unusually
early - before 7:30 p.m., both of them - so I sat out in the living
room drinking white wine, taping songs off of MTV and waiting for Ray.
When he finally got home, around 9 p.m., we drank beer out of the
champagne glasses from our wedding.
September 8, 1984
Saturday morning 10 a.m.
Over a week later.
morning. Jamie just shouted "GOD DAM'T, SISSY!!" when Kacie slammed the
kitchen door shut ... an obnoxious "new" cartoon is playing in the
living room (The Chipmunks) ... a load of clothes is whirling around in
the washer. It's too early to assess my mood, but I think this may be
one of the better days. It will be busy, anyway. Right now I'm sitting
at the kitchen table, enjoying my coffee. I cleaned out the coffeemaker
with vinegar last weekend, and Ray bought some "real" coffee filters --
instead of the usual paper towels -- and the coffee is 100% improved
today. Both pairs of my jeans are in the washer, so I have a good
excuse to sit around in my nightgown awhile longer. Kacie is in the
throes of agony at the moment ... her beloved blanky-blanky is also in
the washer. She watched me put it in, and from her outraged reaction
you would have thought I'd just put JAMIE in there ...
Ray had to work
left the car. No big thrill -- the girls and I are expected over to the
folks' for one last visit with Patty, John and Gerald before they go
back to Tucson. I'll be leaving the house around 2:30 and will pick up
Ray at Dave's Place, then we'll go over and spend the rest of
day at the folks'.
We were there AGAIN
Sunday for dinner. I can't believe how much time we've been required to
put in at the in-laws', the past month or so. Every single weekend. I
shouldn't gripe too much, though -- at least it gets us out of the
house. Gerald (age one) is an absolute dumpling of a baby, the very
image of Patty, a cluster of little curls at his neck, fat stubby legs.
Very sweet little boy. Last Sunday, for the very first time ever, all
six of the P. Family grandchildren were under the same roof: Billy (4),
Jamie (2-1/2), Kacie (1-1/2), Nathan (1), Gerald (1) and Tanya (10
mos.) Will be the same story again today ... better take my
camera, because who knows when we'll all be together again.
Ray has had a very
emotionally. Last Friday night (Aug. 31) he came home in tears: a guy
he'd worked with for ten years, a good friend, had been killed the
night before in a motorcycle accident. Craig was a young guy, newly
married with a four month old son. For several nights in a row Ray fell
asleep crying. It hit him very hard. This weekend he seems to have
snapped out of it a little, on the surface, but I know my husband, and
know what he's thinking whenever he sees a motorcycle now ...
Ray's work wouldn't
time off to attend the funeral, which sort of added insult to injury.
They also cancelled his upcoming vacation. He was planning to take a
week off in October, but now it looks like he'll have to wait until
November. All of this has put Ray into a real emotional slump.
September 10, 1984
We have been touched
again over the weekend: on Saturday night, while we were over at the
in-laws', our beloved kitten Lucy was struck by a car and killed.
series of mix-ups, I didn't find out about it until Sunday morning. I
wept all day. Today I still feel a twinge every time I look out the
window and see her empty bed. We only knew Lucy for two months, but she
was a sweet and special kitty and I loved her deeply.
Poor Wendie is
desolate ... she looks for her baby everywhere.
Ray buried Lucy in
last night, putting a couple of new evergreen bushes on top of the
grave as a sort of "living memorial."
September 12, 1984
Wednesday 9 p.m.
And today, two days
still grieving for my little calico kitten ...
With Lucy's death,
population has been reduced to two -- CeCe and Wendie. It feels strange
not to have any kittens around at all. We want to get CeCe spayed, but
think we may allow Wendie to have one more litter. I suppose we're
hoping she'll produce another special kitten like Lucy was. Maybe we'll
name her "Lucy Too." It won't be the same as having Lucy back, but it
might be the next-best thing.
The special thing
the relationship she and Wendie had. Because she was the only kitten in
the litter, and because she had to face almost insurmountable odds just
to survive the first few days of her life, Lucy was coddled right from
the start. She and Wendie were given the privilege of staying indoors,
day and night, so I had plenty of opportunity to watch them up close.
Wendie loved that baby the way any mother loves her firstborn. They
would nuzzle and nip each other; when Lucy got out of hand, Wendie
would growl and swat at her, gently but firmly. If Lucy wandered too
far away, Wendie would "call" for her and the baby would come running
back to Mama's side. It reminded me, for all the world, of the girls
and I. It was the same kind of intimate, one-on-one interchange. I
remember thinking one evening not long ago, as the two of them cuddled
by the fireplace, that I should probably "enjoy this while it lasts."
getting bigger, and pretty soon it would have been time for her and
Wendie to move outside permanently. Now I'm glad I appreciated them
together while I had the chance.
Goodbye, Lucy. You
moments of joy, and I will miss you.
TYPICAL JAMIE COMMENTS
1. I bring a new
paper into the bathroom while Jamie is sitting on the pot. She says,
"OHHH! Daddy bought SOME. Good girl, Daddy. I'm gonna wipe my BOM!"
2. Jamie: "I wanna
Mom: "How come?"
Jamie: (grinning hugely) "Cuz I'm your GIR!"
In spite of the sadness
over Lucy's death, I can't help but feel generally happy this week
because autumn has finally arrived. It won't be official until next
week, but for all intents and purposes fall is here. The neighbor kids
in school. Mornings are chilly -- no more open doors. The leaves on the
cherry tree in the front yard are looking decidedly droopy, as though
they're about to drop. No signs yet of the lovely golds and reds I
adore, but there is that special, "alive" feeling I love so much in the
air. Football season has begun, and the ice cream man has disappeared
until next year. I've packed away the girls' swimsuits and summer
clothing, and Ray tossed out the wading pool, which saw us through two
summer of splashing but finally fell apart. (There will be a brand-new
"swimmy pool" next year.)
September 17, 1984
A week later. Monday
uggh. Some Mondays DO feel like "going back to work," after all ...
this one does, anyway.
The house is a
It's 11 a.m. already, but the only person dressed is Kacie ... I'm
in my nightgown, and Jamie is naked (as usual). I'm not being totally
lazy, however. Already this morning I've run a load of laundry and
browned some ground beef for spaghetti sauce. I feel so run-down though
that I don't know how I'm going to get everything else done today.
Maybe a shower and some coffee will help.
Ray stayed out all
Thursday and Friday nights. In the meantime, I ran out of diapers and
milk, and by the
time he finally came home Saturday morning I was frantic with worry and
rage. One night is bad enough, but TWO must surely be grounds for
divorce ... or at the very least (since I don't really want a divorce)
grounds for one hell of an argument. I was amazingly controlled when he
came in, though. I fought back the urge to rant and rave. It wasn't
easy, but I did it. I calmly asked for an explanation and an apology.
said he worked a double shift on Thursday night, and on Friday night he
partied at Mike Ross' and crashed there for the night. Basically the
same worn-out old excuses he always uses, but probably the truth.
Well anyway. Let's
part. I had big plans for Saturday, and luckily Ray was feeling
compliant ... or was it guilt?! At 1:00 we left Kacie with a sitter,
and Ray, Jamie and I went down to Dave's Place. After a couple of quick
beers, Jamie and I hopped into the car and drove to Redmond. (Ray
stayed at Dave's to watch the Huskies game.) I had $54 in my pocket, so
we went to Value Village, where I bought myself seven blouses -- all
but one fits -- and a lot of paperbacks. Then Jamie and I went next
door and had lunch at McDonald's. Spent all but four dollars of my
After we picked up
home, I discovered that I had lost my purse. Ray drove back down to
Dave's Place to look for it, but he couldn't find it. I was upset --
all my makeup was in that purse! (Fortunately, nothing else of
consequence.) Mike Paynter came by just about then, wanting Ray to make
a run with him to Seattle. Ray left, leaving me with the car and
another $20. They promised to be back at 7:30.
Terry fed the kids
while I ran down to the drugstore and bought replacement makeup -- I
spent $19.98! Two cents change!
It was actually 11
the guys got back, but I was still awake and feeling like a party. We
sat up until 4 a.m. ... great fun.
September 19, 1984
Some Things About My
Kacie now eats her
big table with Jamie and I ... that's because we inadvertently left her
highchair over at the in-laws' a couple weeks ago. I put her on top of
two phone books and she does just fine.
Jamie has a new
when I get angry with her -- "You hurt my FEENS" (feelings).
also started saying "No way, José!" all the time, something
got from her Mama. Her use of profanity has been increasing lately,
which I try to ignore completely in hopes she'll drop it.
Kacie loves to rub
... we call it "nosey-noseys."
Jamie is now both
bowel-trained: it's been weeks since she's messed her pants. We do
still have a little problem with bed-wetting, though, at night.
Kacie has turned
adorable little pixie, with twinkling blue eyes and an impish grin. Her
shoulder-length hair is as straight and fine as my own -- she loves to
have me brush it -- and I keep her bangs purposely on the short side,
because of the cute elfin quality it gives her face. She mugs and
prances and hops and dances ... teasing, flirting, showing
Jamie, copying me. I call her Bumblebee because she is always so busy.
One minute she's climbing on top of the camphor chest to do a little
jig, the next minute she's sitting in the middle of the kitchen,
surrounded by all my pots and pans. She babbles constantly, in that
ancient foreign language of babies; occasionally a word or two of
English pops out. ("Stand UP!" I said this morning after I diapered
her. "STAN!" she echoed happily.)
was a handful ... but a CUTE handful.
I gave her a red crayon
morning and showed her how to scribble with it on a piece of paper. The
crayon went directly into her mouth. "No no, Sweetie!" I said. Kacie is
sensitive to criticism or reprimand; she stood stock-still for a
moment, her lower lip jutting out, her whole mouth an unhappy
upside-down smile, her eyes cast to the floor. I tried again to show
her how to draw; once again the crayon went into her mouth. "Not in
your mouth!" I said, a little more sternly. This time the lower lip
wobbled as it jutted out, and she gave a hiccupy-sniffle. Finally I had
to take the crayon away from her: her lips were covered with waxy red
flecks. By this time, fortunately, she was too busy tearing pages out
of a Penney's catalog to notice that "coloring time" was over for the
September 20, 1984
Yikes! Payday is a
away, and our cupboards are bare. The girls are having pancakes for
lunch today -- not because that's what I feel like making, but because
it's practically the only thing left in the cupboard, and all I have to
do is add water.
some pink mensin (medicine) ...
for my EARS, please." Jamie P.
Pouring rain this
girls have been milling around at my feet all morning, looking to me
for entertainment. Oh well. I always wanted to be a camp counselor ...
here's my chance.
So. How do
a 2 yr.
old and a one yr. old on a rainy day in September?
You make "panmakes."
start, anyhow! The novelty of having them for lunch has intrigued
Oh shit. I don't
Are they going to stick to the pan? (Yes.)
Well ... while the
and the girls content themselves with the kitties, I'll scribble a
quick word. Why does rain always turn me toward my journal? And why
does it make me feel so happy and content? I'll busy myself around this
house all day long, happy as a clam. Yesterday I finally finished
typing Kacie's pregnancy journal. Today I'll put it into a notebook and
September 21, 1984
I've only been up
hour and already it's been a totally crummy day. Kacie hit her little
head HARD against the base of the piano. I figured it was just a
run-of-the-mill "bonk," the kind that happens a million times a day
around here, so I have her a kiss and said "All better!" and went off
to get her a diaper. When I came back a minute later, her forehead was
covered with blood! There was a little gash about this big: º
it and gave her a baby aspirin, but I'm wondering now if it needs a
the fact we have no phone ...
Then I looked out
saw Gretchen making her merry way down the street, dragging her rope
along behind her. When I called to her she stopped for a moment, looked
me directly in the eyes and then tore off down the road, as fast as she
could run. That dog is nothing but a giant pain in the rear.
Today is the day
by to collect the $4 I owe her for Avon, and of course I don't have the
I have four and a
cigarettes to last this entire day.
Ray has promised to
home by 9
p.m. with McDonalds for dinner. (On Fridays he gets paid for running
the bookie cards.) There is no food at all in the house, so I'm
counting on him to keep his promise, although I know there's every
chance in the world he'll just sit down at Dave's Place and get wasted.
Feeling glum over the prospect.
Jamie Lynn P. keeps
(in her most imperious tone) that I "Come HERE Mom," for one reason or
another ... to watch the cow jump over the moon on Sesame Street, to
get the spider out of the bathroom, to see why Sissy's crying again.
Her bossiness is actually kind of comical, so I'm allowing her to get
away with it. I need a laugh or two this morning.
Kacie has discovered
morning I saw her "feeding" one with a toy baby bottle, then covering
the dolly with a blanket. Jamie is extremely possessive of her toys
ordinarily, but she's been generous with her dolls, allowing Kacie to
"adopt" one or two of them. I also gave Kacie one of the little dolls
from my childhood -- "Candy," the blonde doll in the pink nightgown --
and she has become Kacie's prized possession.
Jamie comes into my
sleeps with me in the mornings after Ray goes to work. Before we get
up, we lay in bed and talk about what we're going to do that day.
("What else we godda do?" Jamie says happily, as I list my chores for
the day, the meals we'll have, the games we'll play.)
Jamie says "I love
comes out "I wuv eyoo") in a way that would melt the hardest heart.
an ad for Windex. A man & wife are cleaning their windows when
guy says, "Sweetie ... clean your streak!" It's basically a boring
commercial -- no music, even -- but for some reason Kacie is fascinated
but it. She loves "Family Feud" ... it just started, as a matter of
fact ... she bounces all around the room, clapping her hands. She's
beginning to show some interested in Sesame Street, especially when Big
Bird come on. She likes Mr. Rogers, too, and she tries to snap her
fingers when he sings, "Till then, I hope your day is (snap-snap)
September 26, 1984
A few days later.
laryngitis .. it just hit me yesterday. I've got Vicks Vaporub
slathered all over my chest and a towel pinned around my neck ... fuzzy
wool socks on my feet ... no makeup, hair pulled back into a frumpy
ponytail ... I look really LOVELY. I long to go to bed and sleep the
rest of this day away, but it's out of the question, of course.
I won't know until
the week after, if I'm pregnant again, but the idea has been ticking
away in the back of my mind.
October 1, 1984
I'm sorry to report
the Western Kraft picnic this year (held on Sunday at Lake Sammamish,
as usual) was a fiasco. Last year & the year before were so
fun, but this year it was just awful. I couldn't wait to go home! I've
had the flu & laryngitis all week, and although my fever was
by Sunday, I was still hacking away with an irritating cough. It got
quite hot later in the afternoon, and I felt sticky, uncomfortable and
grouchy. Ray and I sat at a picnic table with the girls, and I talked
to very few people: I felt shy and reserved. Plus my cold made me
miserable, so I just sat there alone, feeling terrible. I lost my
sunglasses early in the afternoon and had to squint for the rest of the
day. I drank a few beers, but the combination of hot sun, alcohol and
coughing gave me the worst headache I've ever had in my whole life. For
the last hour & a half of the picnic I could barely move; I
like my brain was going to explode. Ray was exasperated with me. He
said, "What's the matter, you having a stroke or what?" His complete
lack of sympathy did me in. When we got home he went straight to bed,
leaving me the ordeal of getting the kids undressed and into bed. I
took some extra-strength aspirin, but by then the headache was so
fierce, I was seeing stars. Somehow I managed to get everything done
and collapse into bed, but then I realized I was starving ... I'd
skipped dinner at the picnic because I had no appetite. Ray and the
girls were asleep, so I cooked a TV dinner, watched a good movie on TV
("Heartsounds" with James Garner and Mary Tyler Moore) and read the
Sunday paper. The headache was a little better by midnight, but my
cough kept me awake all night. I didn't want to keep everybody awake
with my coughing so I slept on the sofa. Actually, "slept" isn't the
word ... I tossed and turned. I slept maybe five minutes altogether. I
took twice as much cough syrup as the label recommended, but it didn't
help. Whenever I got really restless, I would turn on the light and
read for a while ("The Shoemaker" by Flora Rheta Schreiber, the
biography of a serial killer). Finally this morning when Ray left for
work I crawled into my own bed and got a couple hours of sleep.
digging for pennies at the annual company picnic
Back to the picnic.
Jamie had a
good time this year and was reasonably well-behaved. She played with
some of the other little kids, and politely requested that I take her
to the bathroom whenever necessary. We'd been talking about "the
picnic" all week, and she was so excited about being there. Kacie, on
the other hand, was a holy terror. By the end of the picnic I'd
completely lost patience with her. Nothing she did was so terrible,
really ... she wandered away at least once every five minutes, she
climbed onto other peoples' picnic tables, knocking over drinks and
helping herself to food, she layed down with her blanket in the mud and
rolled around, she ate brown popcorn she found in the dirt, she grabbed
toys away from other children, she chased after a dog that was big
enough to bite her in half, she threw her whole plate of dinner on the
ground. I tried to relax and let her have fun, but it was impossible.
One minute she would be doing a merry little dance in the grassy field,
and I would be watching her with great pleasure: the next minute she
would squat down and begin stuffing broken peanut shells into her
mouth. Then I'd be the Nazi Mama again, barking at her to "Get back to
this table!" She takes any harsh words so personally; by the end of the
day her high spirits had been pretty effectively squashed.
There was one moment
especially bad. I can't get it out of my head. Kacie was prancing
around in the field, several yards from our table. I was keeping an eye
on her, prepared to dash after her if she wandered off. She twirled and
jumped and kicked up her heels. As I watched her - pigtails flying, Osh
Kosh overalls covered with dirt and peanut shells, cheeks rosy, eyes
bright - I was filled with a very tender, amused love for my little
daughter. There were two hundred people at that picnic, but for the
moment the universe was composed of Kacie and I.
That's when it
a sudden there was a boy standing in front of her, maybe twelve years
old or so, wearing a yellow hat and kicking a volleyball around in the
grass. Without even thinking about it, I leapt off my seat at the
picnic table and ran towards Kacie. I don't know what I was thinking: I
suppose I was afraid this big brute was going to hurt my baby. It was
pure instinct. The boy leaned down with a smile and handed the ball to
Kacie, and she smiled back at him. It all happened in the blink of an
eye, and by the time I realized how harmless the situation was I was
already on the two of them. The boy saw me coming, grabbed his
volleyball away from Kacie and shuffled off, looking embarrassed. Kacie
watched him walk away, bewildered. I took her in my arms and carried
her back to the picnic table. She soon forgot all about the boy in the
yellow hat, but I couldn't forget it. I couldn't push the image from my
mind: Kacie's sweet expression of trust and delight when the boy handed
her the ball, and her two or three seconds of happiness before I came
charging onto the scene like an enraged rhino. It made me feel sad and
stupid ... like one of those people who pop little kids' balloons, just
for fun ...
won't even remember this day. Even if she did, I doubt that she would
read much into it. I imagine there will be lots of boys in yellow hats
in her life, and that this won't be the last time Mama spoils her fun.
Still, whenever I think about those two minutes at the picnic, I wish I
could do it all over. I wouldn't budge from that picnic bench: I would
let Kacie have her moment with the boy in the yellow hat.
I got halfway
yesterday before I realized that it was the first of October. Then I
had to check the date on the newspaper because I didn't quite believe
it. October! Already! My second-favorite month, second only to December
... cool, beautiful October, when autumn really begins to feel
autumn. The leaves are starting to turn color, just the slightest bit.
Last night we had spaghetti (from frozen leftover sauce -- it always
tastes better the second time), and I drank some rosé wine,
everything just seemed to taste "autumny." That sounds goofy, I know,
but it's true. Certain tastes evoke a sense of the season. Cranberries
and hot chocolate are winter tastes. Also pumpkin pie, candy canes,
bread stuffing, oatmeal with brown sugar. What is spring? New potatoes
and peas in white cream sauce, the way Grandma used to make. Or maybe
that's more summer.
Ray didn't come home
I ran out of milk yesterday afternoon, and Kacie has only one clean
diaper left. I'm angry, surprised -- this rarely happens on a weeknight
-- and worried. How will we get through this day? I suppose I'll have
to go knocking on neighbors' doors again this morning, asking to borrow
the stuff I need. Humiliating.
Ray has been doing
more often lately, and I'm beginning to lose patience. It's a cyclical
thing: months will go by and he'll be very conscientious about coming
home every night, and then BOOM, all of a sudden he's staying out all
night again. His excuses are usually always in the same vein ... he
"had too much to drink" and he slept on the sofa at Mike Ross' or Mike
If I didn't know him
might suspect him of having an affair. But I can honestly say I don't
think this is the case. The problem is substance abuse, pure and
But I don't even
writing about it now. It would just be a boring rehash of the same old
stuff I've written a million times. I'm going to be doing some thinking
about it today, as I clean house and do laundry. If I come up with any
brilliant observations, I'll share them with you at the end of the day.
I've been sick for a
Last night I had another attack of fever & chills, but some
and an OK night's sleep (no Ray snoring beside me) helped chase it
away. My chest feels like it's full of mud this morning and my cough
shows no sign of abating,
My period is two
Ray came waltzing in
today, so the milk and diaper situation has been taken care of.
excuse (and I quote) was: "I crashed at Paynter's." No apologies, no
further explanation. He immediately went to bed and slept for four
hours, while I cleaned house and did laundry. Now he's off again,
meeting with some guy to buy life insurance (he said).
Stung by a bee last
index finger -- that's twice this year.
Woke up with a sore
morning. On the verge of tears, for no obvious reason ... I'm just so
damned tired of being sick! The cough, the fever, the swollen finger
(from the bee sting), the constant fatigue, now a sore throat ... it's
just too much. I haven't felt like my normal self in almost two weeks.
I 'have go poo-poo,
everybody." Jamie P.)
The house is just
around me because I haven't had the energy to do my work. I've been
taking naps in the afternoon while the girls sleep, hoping to get
"caught up" physically, but instead it just makes me sleepier for the
rest of the day. I'm a mess, too. My hair is dull and stringy, my face
is pale. I look like a ghoul but I just don't feel energetic enough to
do anything about it.
Jamie sits on the
tin canister of Duplo building blocks and begins to build a "car."
Kacie watches her from across the room for a while. What interesting
games Jamie comes up with! Beaming, she toddles over and sits
floor next to Jamie, giving her big sister a sunny smile. "NNN!
AAAH-AH-AH!" Kacie sings pleasantly, reaching into the can for a Duplo.
"NO!" Jamie says
yanking it away from Kacie.
Kacie's good humor
squelched. She jumps up and grabs a pair of plastic spoons, which Jamie
had abandoned earlier. Gleefully mouthing the spoons, Kacie wanders
around the living room, humming. She watches some TV commercials,
climbs up on the camphor chest, waves the spoons at Mom. Then, leaving
the spoons on the camphor chest for a moment, she wanders back to
Jamie, who has been surreptitiously watching Kacie's every move the
past few minutes.
Jamie has taken her
apart and has put the blocks back into the can. She dashes over to the
camphor chest, grabs the momentarily unattended spoons, and dumps them
into the can with the
Now she has all
the spoons. Jamie shoves her away and says, "NO."
At this point I
decide to intercede. "Hey!" I say to Jamie. "You give her those spoons
back right now." Jamie casts me a baleful look. Then, without meeting
Kacie's eye, she hands her one spoon ... very
My period is now five
but that's one thing I'm not going to sit here and stew about
morning. I know I'm pregnant. I think I've known it for weeks now,
since the morning after we conceived. I feel neither one way nor
another about it at the moment, neither up nor down. The knowledge is
simply THERE ... a little kernel of awareness tucked away inside, just
below the surface. I get caught up in day-to-day concerns and rarely
even think about being pregnant. When I do think about it, my
ambivalence is a blessing. If I allowed myself to think about it, I
could probably work myself into a real depression. Or maybe not. But
the point is that I've put all thoughts on the subject on temporary
Besides. This third
has very little mystery surrounding it. I already know my due date:
June 10. And I already have the names picked out: Kimberley Jeanne or
Angry and disgusted
is getting worse and worse and worse.
Monday 5:45 p.m.
God, these have been
couple of weeks. I have now been sick for TWO WEEKS. My cold, the chest
congestion and the hacking cough, are just as
- INTERRUPTED -
Another week later.
get a chance to finish what I was writing, about being sick. That's
just as well. Here it is another week later, and yes ... I am STILL
SICK. Three weeks now. Amazing. The painful chest congestion and
accompanying symptoms have all deteriorated now into a sloppy wet cold,
the annoying kind that leaves your nose raw from blowing and your eyes
bleary from coughing all night. Sounds like great fun, doesn't it?
Aside from the fact that I'm just plain sick and tired of feeling sick
and tired, it's also ruining October for me. Last year financial
problems made October a nightmare: this year, it's a chest full of
sludge and an aching head. The leaves have turned, all around town ...
the brilliant scarlets and oranges I love so much. The nights are crisp
and cold. I should be enjoying it, but instead I just want to curl up
on the sofa day after day with the drapes closed and sleep. The house
still has a forlorn, neglected look about it ... the same toys laying
in the same spot on the floor for five days running ...
The good news is
pregnant after all. My period started on Friday, much to my
astonishment (and relief!). The other good news is that Ray is "back"
... the Ray we know and love, that is. The horrible, crabby, never-home
monster we've had to put up with lately has disappeared for awhile --
hopefully for good. Ray was kind and attentive all week last
was home at a fairly decent hour every night, and he spent a lot of
time with the monkeys. Thursday night he took me out grocery-shopping;
Friday night we went to Dave's Place.
Kacie has had
diarrhea - and constant diaper rash - for a week now. Wish we'd paid
Friday night, late.
out: who knows when he'll be home? Pizza in the oven. Rosé
Bouquet of chrysanthemums on the table in front of me, yellow, purple
and yellow/red mixed. Jamie refuses to go to bed and is perched,
pixie-like, on the table next to the flowers. Earlier tonight she took
one of my eyebrow pencils and drew herself a pair of false eyebrows,
above her real ones: it gives her face a weird Kabuki appearance.
October 26, 1984
I've been looking
this day for two weeks. Ray is taking me out tonight at 6:30, and then
afterwards we're going to have a late-night party here at the house.
Terry is going to watch the girls. I was so excited last night, I
barely got any sleep at all: this morning I'm exhausted. Must try and
wake up ... there are a zillion things to be done. I want the house to
look good, and if at all possible I want to look good, too. (I'm going
to trim my hair a little bit and set it carefully with the new styling
mousse I bought last night; I'm going to do a slow, meticulous job of
putting on my makeup.)
October 29, 1984
Depressed ... but
terminally. I'm often blue on Mondays, because the weekend is over. The
depression never lasts more than a day or two.
Friday night was OK.
-- just OK. Our "party" turned out to be just Mike Ross, who has never
exactly been one of my favorite people. Some girl named Liz was here
for a little while too -- a friend of Mike's -- but she didn't stay
long. Towards the end of the evening I made a total ass out of myself
in front of Mike. I won't say how -- I feel cruddy enough about it as
it is, without recording it here for posterity. Suffice it to say that
I was too high. I've been feeling sick and embarrassed about it all
weekend, and the feeling lingers today.
I would give
I don't know why I'm
so difficult to write in this journal. The last month has been
especially bad. Things happen in my life that I want to write about --
Jamie and Kacie grow and change with each passing day, and I long to
record the changes, to read and enjoy in years to come -- but actually
picking up a pen and WRITING is so hard to do! I feel guilty about it,
too ... as though a unique, special part of my life is slipping past me
and there will be no record of it.
October was awful. I
for four weeks, altogether. I couldn't get anything done at all. Not
only did I let my journal-writing slip, but other things fell by the
wayside as well. The house fell apart, and I felt so crummy that I all
but neglected the girls. Ray and I had a rash of problems, and he
retaliated by staying away from home as much as possible. Even little
things, like writing to my pen pals or putting on makeup, just became
too much of an effort in October.
Today is the first
though, and I'm determined to make a fresh start. October is over; now
I'm back to my old self. I've still got a shadow of a cough, but for
the most part I feel healthier and better than I have in weeks. One of
my first priorities this month will be to resume writing in my journal
on a regular basis ... daily, if possible. I want to write a little bit
about my monkeys, every single day. They're so impossibly cute these
Wild storm outside
girls and I are sitting here on the sofa -- they've both got their
blankies & ba-ba's, I've got an excellent cup of coffee (the
pot from a new can). "All My Children" has just come on, punctuated
occasionally by commercials for toys, fruit drinks, toys, cold
medicine, laundry products, toys, toothpaste, more toys. Every time a
toy commercial comes on, Jamie says (very smugly), "Santa Claus gonna
bring me one of dose!"
Kacie has a runny
morning, and a faint rattling in her chest. I'm praying she doesn't get
Last night was
clear, very cold ... it even snowed night before last, and certainly
felt cold enough last night to do it again. Rick Bruff stayed here with
Kacie for half an hour while I took Jamie trick-or-treating around the
block. She wore her red & white striped "Garfield" pajamas, a
paper hat from last New Year's Eve and clown makeup. She made an
adorable little clown, and elicited all kinds of admiring compliments
from the neighbors.
in her "clown" costume
(Note the ever-present
half-case of Rainier Beer on the kitchen counter)
I would have loved to have taken
Kacie, too, but her runny nose had me worried. I thought it was best
not to drag her out into the cold night air. As it was, Jamie had two
sets of clothes on under her costume, and she was still cold. (When we
got home and I wiped the clown makeup off her face, under the
artificial red nose was a REAL red nose, frozen from the night air.)
We left the makeup
on long enough for Ray to see -- he got home about ten minutes after we
finished trick or treating. Jamie met him at the door, and when he saw
her funny little clown face he scooped her up in his arms and roared
with laughter. His enthusiastic response delighted her.
Jamie almost burned
house last night. A few days ago Kacie tore the lampshade off Jamie's
bedroom lamp, leaving only a bare bulb sticking out of the base of the
lamp. Last night Jamie draped three of her shirts over the bulb,
apparently in an attempt to dim the light. I smelled smoke and walked
into Jamie's room just in time to see the shirts beginning to smolder.
November 4, 1984
Sunday morning: the
discovered an old Shirley Temple movie on TV and are stuck in front of
the tube, munching on graham crackers and drinking Kool-Aid. (But not
for long. Even as I write, they have dashed off down the hallway and
discovered their sleeping Daddy: Kacie is screaming "DAAA!" at the top
of her lungs.)
November 5, 1984
try to pick up the thread. We had a pleasant and busy weekend. Compared
to the way I felt a week ago - last Monday morning - life seems a
hundred times brighter. The house is a post-weekend disaster, it's
nearly noon and I still haven't showered, and the girls are showing
signs of being crabbier than usual ... no one slept very well last
night. Still, in spite of it all, I feel quite light-hearted and
nonplussed by all the usual Monday morning turmoil. The sun is shining
and it's a beautiful autumn day. I'm going to clean my house from top
to bottom -- put some new pictures on the girls' walls -- make teriyaki
chicken for dinner -- and try to spend some time with my children. Not
an altogether unpleasant way to spend a day.
Ray took me out on
and then on Saturday the four of us drove out to Don Jr. and Judy's for
dinner. Sunday was spent quietly at home. Ray fixed the bathroom sink
and watched the Seahawks game, I took the day off from housework and
curled up with a good science fiction book ("The Anything Box," Zenna
Jamie curled up on
lap a few
minutes ago and plaintively said "I tired, Mama." It's only 9:00 but I
tucked her into my bed ("Kate & Allie" is on - she and I both
this show), and told her she could snuggle there until Daddy gets home.
Busy day! The house
sparkling. I even cleaned the refrigerator (a disgusting job) and did
Jamie's room (even more disgusting).
November 12, 1984
Well, so much for
little bit every single day." My good intentions have proven to be
merely that -- intentions. But I'm not giving up yet!
Friday off. We took the girls to Albertsons and did a fairly large
grocery-shopping, Jamie in one shopping cart, Kacie following behind in
another. (What a sight! We were a regular caravan.) Friday night Ray
and I went to the tavern, as usual, while Mike Bruff babysat.
Sheryl & Jeff's to help celebrate Tanya's first birthday, with
and presents and family. The folks wanted us to come over afterwards
for hamburgers, but we were tired and Kacie wasn't feeling well.
Instead, we spent the evening in front of the fireplace, eating
take-out Chinese and drinking hot spiced wine. Very pleasant and
two hour visit. She brought each of the girls a new stuffed toy (a
monkey for Kacie, a raccoon for Jamie) and a big box of old books for
me. We visited over coffee and caught each other up on family news.
Debi is living with a nice family near Sea Tac for awhile to try and
pull her life together; she's back in high school, too. My brother's
girlfriend Gina is pregnant. Mom says she went by their place to visit
and the pregnancy was "obvious." My reactions to THAT little piece of
news were mixed: pleased surprise that I will finally be a "real" aunt,
by blood instead of marriage, and also some concern. Mom says that Gina
is emotionally unstable, and I wonder how Dick is feeling about all of
Pitch dark outside.
so short this time of year. I'm so sleepy I can hardly keep my eyes
open -- it's Day Two of my period and I feel at low tide -- I made
myself a cup of coffee in hopes it'll help me spring back to life.
The girls just had
broccoli for supper, and then I popped them both into the tub. Jamie
got into my makeup pencils again this afternoon and drew blue and gray
lines around both of her eyes; a little cold cream and a vigorous
scrubbing with a warm washcloth removed most of it. They screamed in
misery when I shampooed their sticky hair -- and again, later, when I
trimmed their bangs -- but now they are clean and dry and p.j.'d, and
they've got cold milk in their bottles & are snuggled up with
blankys. This is one of the nicer parts of the day ... things are
beginning to wind down, the girls are starting to get sleepy. There
will be one or two more major blasts of noise and mayhem, probably,
before they finally call it a night ... they'll go off and play in
Kacie's room, perhaps, and the next thing I know they'll be battling
over toys, letting out a series of blood-curdling screams, beaning each
other over the heads with baby dolls ...
November 19, 1984
gotta go to
Gramma's HOUSE, Ha Ha Ha! Dat's very, very funny! Dere's your WILLIE
BEAR, Sis-see. No! NO! Sis-see's bear's crying. Leave those alone! What
else dat can hurt me? OW!" --
Jamie P. --
A week later. The
mess but I just can't seem to get started cleaning yet. For some reason
I feel "Christmasey" this morning, and it makes me want to get STARTED
on SOMETHING!! Making lists, cookies, gifts, plans, etc.
November 20, 1984
Jamie (holding up
finger): "I can push ONE chair an'
get ONE drinka water. Cuz I'm very firsty.
November 20, 1984
Today the place
worse, and I STILL haven't gotten around to cleaning.
Jamie is a real
morning. (Mt. Rushmore T-shirt, rosebud underpants, blue ankle socks
... I have no idea what happened to the blue pants she was wearing a
little while ago.) "Mom-mee. Wook at ME!" she says impatiently. She's
bending over with her rear in the air and is peering at me from between
Dat movie's ALL DONE,
my Tom & Jerry's gonna come on."
(Her beloved Tom & Jerry
cartoons, Channel 11, 3 p.m.)
year as the holidays approached, I would write myself a quick note and
put it in the box of Christmas decorations, to be opened and read the
following year. This is my letter for 1984, written a bit
in the season than usual.
Kacie and I are sitting in the living room this morning, enjoying our
usual morning routine ... coffee for Mom, juice for the girls, "Sesame
Street" for everybody ... when suddenly a big UPS truck stops in front
of our house and drops off a package for us! Amidst
much excitement we open the package and find the Christmas
ornaments I ordered from a magazine ad, a few weeks ago -- little
painted wooden ornaments, thirty of them altogether, for $6.95 -- all
kinds of Santas, funny little animals, birds, angels ... even a tiny
airplane for Kacie (She Who Loves Things That Fly in the Sky), and a
baby in a cradle for Jamie (The Little Mommy).
who is one month shy of her third birthday, and Kacie, who at twenty
months is becoming a person in her own right, carefully examine each
ornament in turn, exclaiming with delight at each pretty discovery.
Jamie has promised me that she will "help" me put our ornaments on the
tree when we get it. She is living in a state of happy anticipation
these days, looking forward to Christmas for the very first time in her
mouths each of the ornaments, holding up the red bell to me and saying
"Ehhh!" (Maybe that means it passed her not-so-stringent taste test ...
love both of my girls with my whole heart. This year, they
will decorate my Christmas.
Terri Vert Polen
November 25, 1984
My idea of an ideal
* Tidy house
* Big fire in the fireplace
* Beef stew, simmering in the crockpot
* My favorite movie of all time, "King of Kings" on the tube
* Jamie in a delightfully friendly mood
* Kacie napping
* Ray grocery-shopping
* December less than a week away!
* A cold beer and the Sunday paper!
Mom: (looking at
eating an apple using a toy hammer as a "spoon") "And God bless Jamie,
best of all!"
Jamie (mouth full of apple): "Amen."
November 26, 1984
Well, it was an
afternoon" until about 7 p.m., when a bath towel somehow or another
wound up in the fireplace ... the next thing I knew, our house was
filled with City of Kirkland fire fighters!! I'm not kidding. While Ray
was at the store getting whipping cream and I was in the kitchen making
salad, "somebody" -- I'm not saying who because I don't really know for
sure -- put a large white bath towel into the fire. By the time I
smelled it burning, the towel and the small area rug in front of the
fireplace were burning away quite merrily. Amazingly, I didn't panic. I
grabbed a pitcher of ice water from the fridge and dumped it on the
fire, dousing most of it. Then I tucked the kids under my arms and
carried them, in my bare feet, next door to the Bruff's house. Mrs.
Kennedy call the fire department for me, and within five minutes the
fire fighters were at our house, lights flashing and sirens wailing. I
watched them from the Bruff's house; the girls stood on the sofa and
looked out the window in astonishment.
The damage was very
just one big burn hole in front of the fireplace. Ray was upset, angry
with ME a little, I think, for not being right there when the towel got
thrown into the fire (instead of IRRESPONSIBLY making SALAD in the
KITCHEN.) He was also extremely uncomfortable around the firemen. He
doesn't deal with "authority figures" very well ... policemen, doctors,
lawyers, firemen, librarians ... they make him nervous. In this case he
was nervous because the fireplace is so old & decrepit, and
were all these firemen, going over everything with a fine tooth comb.
They gave us strict instructions not to use the fireplace AT ALL until
it's up to code. My heart sank when I heard that: not because I'll miss
the fires, but because I know Ray will completely ignore the warning
and will use the fireplace anyway,
in spite of my protestations.
means I'll be nervously watching out the window every night for firemen
to show up and fine us. Any minute I'll be expecting someone to come
pounding on the door shouting "You in there! Douse that fire and come
out with your HANDS UP ... !"
Ray's supposed to be
tonight. It's 6:30 now, pitch-dark outside; the kitchen smells like
blueberry muffins. We've got a couple of top sirloin steaks in the
fridge for dinner, and "Testament" is on TV at 10 p.m., on PBS. The
girls are sitting in front of the TV watching "Diff'rent Strokes" and
tickling each other.
Now they're bathed
this was a
"wash hair night," which of course they both hated -- and we're settled
in front of the TV with my beloved "Entertainment Tonight." Ray isn't
home yet. All of a sudden the wind outside has picked up; I went to the
carport a little while ago to pick out some potatoes for dinner, and I
could feel the storm brewing all around me. Winter is here ... perhaps
not officially, but in every other way that counts. The autumn leaves
are gone; it is always bone-chillingly cold outside, all the time -
even when the sun is shining. Thanksgiving has passed and the Christmas
season has begun, on TV anyway. I have yet to hear my first Christmas
song on the radio, but there is an onslaught of holiday commercials on
the tube, mostly for toys.
Jamie has fallen
the sofa next to me ... covered up with my big afghan ... green "owl"
bottle hanging out of her mouth. She looks so sweet and comfortable.
Kacie is prancing around the house in damp pigtails, pink p.j.'s and
striped socks - she INSISTED on the socks, even though her p.j.'s
already have "feet" on them. So I just put the socks on right over the
Still no Ray.
about cooking the steaks myself - getting tired of waiting for Ray to
come home and do it. During the past four years I've become a
more-than-passable cook, but there are still a few things I leave
strictly to Ray ... pancakes, omelets, turkey ... and steak. I have a
tendency to take a perfectly good cut of meat and reduce it to the
consistency of shoe leather. So I always let Ray take charge of the
steaks. Besides - don't tell him this because I don't think he realizes
what I'm going - it gives his ego a little stroking (he just pulled in)
when I make a big fuss over his cooking. It makes him feel like the
resident expert in the cooking/barbecuing department. Doesn't everybody
like to feel like an expert at something?
I AM EXPERT AT:
* Making scrapbooks
* Getting spaghetti stains out of children's clothing
* Cooking meatloaf, spaghetti sauce, homemade french fries and fried
* Catching colds
* Applying liquid eyeliner
* Trimming Christmas trees
* Making pointless lists of stuff
don't seem to have written anything about Thanksgiving this year,
but this is a
pic of Kacie and me taken at the in-laws' house
on Thanksgiving Day 1984
November 27, 1984
Another wild, stormy
last night got up to 60 mph -- I kept thinking about what we would do
if a tree blew over and crashed through a window (which actually
happened to Don Jr. and Judy last year!), but Ray assured me that the
chances of such a thing happening were very small. It would be far more
possible, he said, for us to lose our electricity (and heat) during the
But fortunately that
never happened, either. Today the wind has
subsided a little, but that prickly "electric" feeling lingers in the
air, and the rain continues to fall steadily.
Dinner last night
I started to watch "Testament" on PBS -- the story of a family after
nuclear war -- but it began to upset me too much, so I just went to bed
with a couple of magazines and Ray brought me dinner on a tray. I feel
like a coward, giving up on the movie before it was even half over, but
it took me so long to get over "The Day After" last year that I just
couldn't bear to go through that all over again. Things like that -
movies, upsetting stories in the newspaper, etc. - stick with me for
weeks and weeks, leaving me feeling hopeless and sad. "Testament"
said to be a very fine movie, but I just didn't have the courage to see
it through to the end.
Jamie is STILL
fire the other night. "Last NIGHT Sissy 'most burn our house down jus
an ACCIDENT gonna tell dose FIREmans ... "
Ray brought home a
last night but -- to my relief -- didn't attempt to make a fire. "Only
if the power goes out," he said. Whew.
these potatoes are all ROTTEN!"
Jamie (standing on kitchen counter, rummaging through cupboards):
"ROCKIN? I don't LIKE Rockin ... ROLL. Ha ha."
November 28, 1984
Ray didn't come home
until well past midnight -- I was asleep when he got here, so I don't
know exactly what time it was. I was so angry with him today that I
"cheated" and listened to my Christmas tapes three days early.
November 29, 1984
Took the girls to
afternoon to have their picture taken ... what a hassle! Sure coulda
used an extra pair of arms to handle wiggly Kacie and exuberant Jamie
Lynn ... !
I can't even begin
the pictures turned out -- they won't be ready until Dec. 18. I don't
think they both smiled at the same time, though. The whole procedure
seemed to make them tense and uncomfortable: sitting on a table in a
studio, having a strange lady telling them to "sit up big and SMILE!"
... Jamie was frozen, and Kacie wouldn't sit still for NOTHIN' or
After the ordeal at
treated the three of us to lunch at Burger King. I was very limited
moneywise, so we split two small burgers and an order of fries, but
that was more than enough for everybody.
Ray is home weirdly
evening ... he was here at 4:00! Mike Paynter dropped him off. That's
the good news. The bad news is that he's got a huge fire going in the
fireplace, in spite of protests from me and from Terry S. I
relax & "enjoy" it at all.
and Kacie Pauline
December 1, 1984
First day of
hurray. Wish I were feeling more festive. As it is, I've got a hectic
day ahead of me and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. We're having a
birthday dinner over at the in-laws' house today, to celebrate the
of Judy (Nov. 27), Don Sr. (today) and Jamie (Dec. 9). I don't know if
they're including me (Dec. 15) -- but then again I don't care.
I'm a little nervous
day. Ray and his brother are in the middle of another ugly feud -- this
one over the football cards -- and I know there's going to be a lot of
tension in the air, particularly if Judy or the folks get involved in
it. (I am very pointedly staying out of the whole mess.)
On a smaller scale,
about my birthday gift to Don Sr. While Sheryl will doubtless be
him something lovely and expensive, I'm giving him homemade "cookie
ornaments, six of them, handpainted & bearing pictures of each
his six grandchildren. I worked on them all day yesterday, and in the
evening Terry came over and helped me paint them. I have mixed feelings
about the whole idea. One minute I think they're quite beautiful and
unique and I can't wait to give them to him; the next minute they
strike me as crude and tacky, a last-minute sort of gift. We're very
low on money this week and I just couldn't afford to buy him anything.
December 5, 1984
A few days later.
pretty good this morning -- I've already cleaned the kitchen and made
breakfast for the girls -- it's a cold and frosty morning, although the
sun is shining -- very pretty outside.
I'm still trying to
into a "holiday" mood. I guess it's still too early in the month,
though. I've gotten out all the Christmas decorations and I spent two
hours yesterday, putting them up all over the house. (Wish I had a
TREE.) There are two red stockings hanging from the stereo, with
"Jamie" and "Kacie" spelled out on them in black construction paper
letters. The Styrofoam snow-people (Mr. and Mrs. Frosty) are on top of
the canisters by the coffeepot this year, to keep them out of Kacie's
reach, and all of the other decorations are similarly placed so as to
be "out of danger." Kacie woke up from her nap yesterday and
immediately noticed all of the new "holiday pretties" ... she pointed
at each one in turn, babbling excitedly. She loves the Christmas
carolers on top of my desk the best: if she could, she would have them
on the floor and in pieces so quick it would make your head
delight in her enthusiasm, but I'm keeping a close eye on her, to
ensure the safety of my treasured Christmas things.
The birthday party
was just fine ... no problems at all. As a matter of fact, it was
remarkably pleasant! Ray and Don Jr. went out for a few beers with
dad, and although there is still some trouble with the football cards,
it doesn't seem to be a problem between the two of them personally.
to be a big success. I was even embarrassed over the fuss that was
made! -- but relieved also.
Jamie blew out the
the cake that day and opened her gifts: a gorgeous nubby sweater and
corduroy pants from Peg & Don, lacy underwear from Sheryl, and
"Sesame Street Yearbook" from Judy. (She got a couple of other Sesame
Street storybooks, but in the general confusion of gift-opening, I
missed who they were from. Barbara, maybe?) My birthday was also
observed - I
was a little surprised, but pleased. Barbara gave me a "Frosty The
Snowman" candle (too pretty to burn!) and Sheryl gave me a basket
filled with soaps and bath stuff. The best gift of all was from
Peg - a
soft, brushed nightgown of robin's egg blue, the prettiest nightgown
I've had in a long time. I practically lived in it for the rest of the
Ben and Lori next
baby on Monday morning at 2 a.m., a little girl named Katherine
("Katy") Lee. Chris and Charlie came over yesterday morning to tell me
the news. I've got a "new baby" card for them, and I've promised to
loan Lori some baby clothes. She and I have always been friendly,
although no more than that: we're both too shy and too busy with our
to begin a real friendship. Maybe that will change. I would dearly love
to have a close female friend, but I've never been one to make the
I'm starting to
Christmas shopping. Where will the money come from? The same worry I
have every year at this time. I haven't even made a DENT in my shopping
yet. I haven't started my Christmas cards yet, either, and I'm getting
the teensiest bit panicky about everything, even though I know from
experience that it all gets done in time for Christmas. I'll just feel
better when I have some money in my hands.
Got a letter from
(she and Gram St. John will be here on Sunday for Jay's birthday party
-- good). Here are a couple of excerpts from her letter, dtd. 12-1-84:
... I enjoyed your
letter - I always do. Actually, except for the fact that there are
times when it's really inconvenient, in a way I'm glad you don't have a
phone. Your letters are so entertaining!"
DeGrasse's journals have been in the bottom drawer of Mom's dresser for
years. I'll bring the age 15 diary with me on the 9th ... I want you to
know what's in it, and what a really special bunch of ladies our
forebears were! They left us a legacy of love for the written word,
fantasy and life in general I think it's important for us to know about
The journals she
written by my great-grandmother, Pauline Lambe DeGrasse (for whom Kacie
was named) -- and until a week ago, I didn't even know they existed.
I'm very excited about the journals, and very anxious to read them.
Ever since Christmas 1981, when Mom & Grandma gave me a framed
photo of Pauline (taken when she was 15 years old), I've felt a
mysterious "connection" to her. I have no real memories of her, but I
definitely feel linked to her. She was Grandma St. John's mother, part
of the mother-daughter chain ... Pauline, Carla, Karen, Terri, Jamie
& Kacie ...
Reading her journals
like hearing her voice for the first time. There's something romantic
and magical about that.
Both the girls have
and slight fevers this week, which I'm closely monitoring and treating
with Children's Tylenol, Vicks, and plenty of apple juice. Don't want
anyone sick for the holidays! Or for Jamie's birthday party on Sunday,
December 6, 1984
The world is so
frozen-over this morning, at first I mistook it for snow. I've picked
up the girls' head cold, and my sinuses feel as frozen as the ground
outside. I spent most of the night on the sofa (Ray was doing his
buzz-saw impression again) and didn't get much sleep, so I'm groggy,
too. In spite of the cold and the lack of sleep, though, I'm still
feeling kinda "chirpy" today ...
Ray is taking me
grocery-shopping today at 5:00. We'll finally have some FOOD in the
house again! (The girls are getting pretty tired of scrambled eggs.
) I'm also going to get some things for Jamie's party, decorations and
cake mix and such, and my Christmas cards.
Watching my two
playing together with their Legos. Kacie: bright red pullover sweater,
red pants, red socks ... she looks like a little red apple. Jamie: pink
nightgown, bare feet, hair pulled back into one messy braid. Jamie is
in one of her imperious moods and just threatened Kacie with bodily
harm if she touches any of Jamie's "Way-Goes." Kacie, feelings hurt,
ran to the comfort of her blanky, and is standing now at my knee,
seeking affection. Excuse me while I love my baby.
Sometimes I get
with Jamie's selfishness towards Sissy ... then I have to remind myself
that she is, after all, only three years old. A lot of the time I
forget just how young Jamie really is. I spend so much time with her,
and she seems so adult sometimes ... she speaks so clearly, she helps
me around the house, she voices her opinions, she contributes love and
laughter and energy to the household ... and it's easy sometimes to
think of her as being more "grown up" than she really is. And then when
she acts her age, I'm surprised.
Jamie doesn't like
ANYTHING unless it's her idea (and then she's more likely to share her
lima beans than her Legos!!!!).
will only be
Kacie's second Christmas but Jamie's FOURTH!
- This is the
year that Jamie is actively looking
forward to the holidays. This year she knows about Santa Claus,
Christmas trees, stockings, presents ... all of which she is vitally
- Mom: "Jay! What
Santa Claus say?"
Jay: "San Caus say ‘ho ho ho!' "
- Kacie is going
a problem this year where the
Christmas tree is concerned: I know it already.
December 8, 1984
will be three years old.
At the moment, my
soon-to-be-three-year-old is in the throes of agony because no one will
play "Weggos" with her. It's not that we haven't tried; Kacie and I
were sitting on the floor with her a little while ago, trying to
interest Jamie in a three-way "Lego game," but she was cranky and
unwilling to share her toys with anyone. She'd yank them out of Sissy's
fingers, and burst into tears any time Kacie tried to pull the little
pieces apart. Finally I got up and walked away, and Kacie followed
right behind me. "If you don't want us to play with you," I said to her
-- not unkindly -- "then we'll leave you alone." Then I sat down here
at the table with my journal, while Kacie decided to dance whirl around
the living room to Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams." This completely did Jamie
in. "SOMEBODY PWEESE GOTTA PLAY WEGGOS WIF ME!" she sobbed and sobbed,
until I finally had to gather her up in my arms and hug her tears away.
I'm feeling odd this
cold medicine has some kind of stimulant in it, and it's not very
pleasant. Ray never came home last night. He left here at 8:30 p.m.,
planning to get the money someone owes him and vowing to be home
10:00. I had a restless night ... I kept listening for Ray to come in
... plus Kacie started hollering around 4 a.m. and kept it up for three
solid hours. I'm tired this morning, worried about Ray, and have a
million things to do in preparation for Jamie's party tomorrow.
Ray and I went
on Thursday night. Besides food, I also got two boxes of Christmas
cards and the ingredients for a big batch of Christmas cookies.
Yesterday I got started addressing my cards, and Jamie and I baked
We shopped at G.O.
Jamie's birthday. I really wanted to get her a "Chatty Patty" doll this
year but we didn't have the money for it, so we got her a nice dolly
with three outfits and accessories for $10. I also got her three
coloring books for a dollar. I'll bake her cake this evening after
she's gone to bed.
I'm hoping against
get our tree tonight, but it all depends on Ray -- and on money. After
we finished grocery shopping we were left with exactly $30 for the next
two weeks. I'm not too worried about the money situation, even though
it means I have to postpone all my Christmas shopping until the weekend
before Christmas: things are always tight in December, but we always
seem to manage.
December 9, 1984
evening 5 p.m.
Jamie's third birthday
Deeply happy at the
a long and busy day we've had today! Jamie is laying here next to
on the sofa, sound asleep ... Kacie is napping ... Ray has gone to
Renton to pick up money owed him. I'm wearing a fuzzy new bathrobe -
deep lavender - a birthday gift from Mom. I've got a cup of hot spiced
wine, an old episode of "The Waltons" on TV and a tall, beautiful
Christmas tree sparkling and glowing in front of me.
rousing success! Mom, Grandma St. John, Ray, Terry and Erica were here
for cake and presents, from 1:30 to 3:30. Jamie was full of high
spirits, thrilled to be the center of attention!
December 10, 1984
I will continue with
I remembered the
feverish way I
scrubbed house and made preparations for Jamie's birthday party last
year -- and then what a disappointing evening it was, in terms of
family turn-out -- so this year I just relaxed about the whole thing.
True, I did get up early yesterday morning to give the house a
thorough going-over; but this year I wasn't manic about it. (No
scrubbing the ceilings and polishing the ashtrays!) By noon the house
looked lovely, especially with the Christmas tree.
I have to back up a
Saturday night. That afternoon, after I wrote in this journal, the
mailman came and Jamie got $20 from the Arizona relatives for her
birthday. That gave us $33 altogether -- enough for a tree and a tiny
amount of groceries. We were jubilant! I was very polite and asked
Jamie if we could use her birthday money to buy our Christmas tree, and
yes. She was proud to be included in such an important
took her tree-shopping, while I spent a quiet afternoon with Kacie.
they got home, Jamie was enormously excited: not only had they found
the perfect tree, tall and full for only $14, but they'd run into SANTA
CLAUS at Albertson's! Jamie was clutching a Polaroid snapshot of her
and Santa, showing her sitting on his lap. For the rest of the evening
the photo was her prized possession. "Santa Caws had a little bit runny
nose!" she whispered to me confidentially. This was her first
face-to-face encounter with Santa, and I'll never forget how excited
she was that afternoon.
first face-to-face "Santa encounter"
Terry S. helped us
the tree that evening, after Kacie went to bed. (Kacie got a good look
at the tree earlier, before it was decorated. Ray laid it across the
kitchen floor, attaching the tree stand. Kacie looked at the huge tree,
grinned from ear to ear, and happily shouted "FOWRF!" Then she and
Jamie plunked themselves down on the floor beside the tree and
pretended to "fix" it with Daddy's wrenches and hammers.)
from the original journal
we put the ornaments on the tree, we listened to my Christmas tapes,
hot spiced wine and ate the tacos Ray made for dinner. All very jolly
and spirited. The tree, when finished, was splendid. All the tiny
ornaments I ordered by mail this year gave it just the right, special
touch. I strung a lot of popcorn this year, too, and it makes the tree
a bit "homier" and old-fashioned looking. I think it's perfect.
when Kacie got
saw the big decorated tree standing in her living room, she was quite
pleased! She toddled over and gingerly touched the lower branches, the
tinsel and the few non-breakable ornaments I purposely hung on the
lower branches for her to enjoy. When one of the colored glass balls
fell on the floor she gave me a stricken look, but I just smiled and
showed her how to hang it back on the tree. I am determined not to be a
big grouch about the tree this year, especially where Kacie is
concerned. I want to foster in my children the same love for Christmas
that I have always felt ... the same awe, the same sense of wonder I
feel whenever I see a particularly beautiful Christmas tree. I want
them to feel free to touch and smell and enjoy every part of the
holiday season -- including the tree. So what if they wind up with a
little tinsel in their hair?
Back to the
the little girl
the street, was the first to arrive, with a new coloring book &
box of crayons for Jamie. The two of them gleefully chased each other
around the house, growling like "monsters." When my mom and Grandma St.
John pulled up, Jamie shrieked "MY GRAMMA'S HERE OH BOY!" and threw
open the door, giving them a noisy and exuberant welcome.
visited for a bit,
we got right down to the important business of present opening. Erica
could only stay for an hour so we wanted to do the "party stuff" early.
Jamie got a Rainbow Brite sweatshirt from her great-grandma, which she
promptly put on and wore for the rest of the day. From Grandma Beeson
she got a R.B. nightgown (she's wearing it now), a new lampshade to
replace the one Kacie tore up, and a new storybook, "Bonnie Rabbit
Learns What's Important." From Ray and me, she got the doll w/clothes
and accessories, which (to my immense relief) she truly loves, although
for some unfathomable reason she has named the doll "Duke." (She
changed the doll's name later to "Michelle," then later to "Kimberly.")
wore that Rainbow Brite sweatshirt until it was in tatters.
(And check out my VERY 80's earrings. Gack.)
The moment of glory was
Terry walked in the door carrying a brand-new goldfish bowl and two
tiny goldfish for Jamie!! More about the "fishies" in a moment: for now
I'll just say that Jamie was delighted.
fishy fishy fishies ...
I received some gifts
my birthday next weekend. Quite unexpectedly, Mom gave me an absolutely
PERFECT new bathrobe -- pullover style, with a zip front and deep
pockets, in a shade of lavender that I love. She said she noticed
during her last visit that my robe was looking a "little ragged."
Grandma gave me a set of six soaps in my old favorite "English
Lavender" scent. I'll try one out in a few minutes, when I shower.
Kacie got a
Grandma St. John -- a "Talking Baby Bevns" doll. Grandma was in the
hospital last spring when Kacie had her first birthday, so this was a
belated b.day gift.
surprised myself. The
made for Jamie was the best -- THE BEST! -- cake I've ever baked in my
I'm not much of a baker, but for once everything turned out right.
giggled when we sang "Happy Birthday" to her, then she blew out her
candles and launched herself into a gigantic slice.
the party ended --
Grandma and Terry went home, and Ray went out for a couple of hours to
pick up some money owed him -- I popped Kacie into her crib for a
late-afternoon nap, and Jamie voluntarily layed down on the sofa and
soon fell asleep. That's when I wrote about being "deeply happy." I
truly was. Just sitting there in the darkened living room, writing by
lights of the Christmas tree, Jamie sleeping beside me ... the house
was so quiet and tidy ... I haven't felt that peaceful and content in a
long time. It was special. The nice thing is that the feeling persists
the fish. They are
one is solid orange, your standard goldfish, and the other is white
with orange patches. I named the orange one "Cornflake" (actually his
full name is Cornflake S. Peshly, from a character on Mr. Rogers).
Jamie named the other one "Billy." We've got the fish bowl
the piano, out of range of little fingers but in full view for all to
enjoy. (Note: moved it to top of fridge later, when Kacie attempted to
the piano.) There is something remarkably serene and tranquil about
watching fish. Jamie is fascinated with them. When Kacie is sleeping,
we put the fish bowl on the kitchen table so Jamie can get a close look
at her new pets. "Hey fishy fishy fishies!" she shouts happily. I have
to restrain her from throwing stuff into the bowl ... last night she
tried to "feed" them a big chunk of apple and a piece of paper towel.
With any luck, Cornflake and Billy will be more than just a flash in
the pan (or is that FISH in the pan?) ... they will teach Jamie
something about responsibility, and about caring. It will be her job
(under my direct supervision) to feed them.
December 11, 1984
good mood continues,
in spite of the fact that I slept lousy last night - dogs barking, Ray
snoring, too much coffee - I got up this morning and saw the Christmas
tree and my spirits soared.
"Why did you
these two chairs together like this?" (Fish
bowl on table, two chairs
sitting side by side)
"'Cuz I want
be friends wif my fishies ... an' I wanna sippa your pop!"
is circling the
batting at the tinsel and poking at the ornaments. Jamie is sitting
here at the table with me, looking glum because I won't let her take a
pen and scribble in my old journals. "I wanna WRITE sumpin!" she says.
Their moods don't seem to match mine this morning: they're both a
little on the crabby side. I'll fix that!
December 12, 1984
only thing I don't
about this time of year is the constant "ticking" in my head ... the
noisy buzz of plans and lists and worries, even at moments when I'm
supposed to be concentrating on something else. Example: trying to
write a letter to Grandma Vert a little while ago, I suddenly caught
myself sitting here with pen in hand, motionlessly staring out the
window and thinking about the girls' stocking stuffers ... people I've
still got to shop for ... Christmas card lists ... Christmas Eve plans
tick, tick ... It
drives me crazy! Sure wish my brain had an
on/off switch so I could give it a break.
minute ago I
was in the shower, happily lathering up with my new lavender soap,
humming "Frosty The Snowman," telling Kacie to "Put down that BROOM!"
... and the whole time, in the back of my mind -- tick, tick, tick
-- we need
and Scotch tape, where should I mail
Rhonda's Christmas card this year?, more white candles, candy canes,
should I bake more cookies? ...
Onto a totally different
for a minute. There is a sign hanging in Jamie's bedroom, as of two
days ago, which says:
CLOWNS - DO NOT COME IN JAMIE'S ROOM."
made the sign and hung
above her bed two nights ago. I was tucking her in that night, and we
had just finished our prayers ("And God, please make sure Jamie has
only happy dreams" is something she insists I add to our nightly "Now I
lay me ..."), when she anxiously blurted out, "And no bad clowns can
come in Jamie's room!" After
a little probing,
learned that "bad clowns" are something she has scary dreams about.
"Bad clowns can 'most eat me!" she said, very worriedly, at which point
I came up with the idea of the sign hung above her bed. It worked like
a charm, and seemed to greatly comfort her.
I sympathize with
fears, I was also kind of thrilled to get my first glimpse into the
world of her dreams. I can't explain how it made me feel -- like taking
a peek at the wheels turning inside her small head. It was neat.
we finally discovered the origin of the mysterious "bad clowns" ... it
from the movie "Poltergeist," which we'd seen on cable the summer
Apparently the movie made more of a lasting impression on Jamie than
Every morning now Jamie
dress herself ... she's quite offended if I offer to help. She does
pretty well with underwear, pants and socks, but often gets "stuck" in
her shirt or dress. And usually things wind up backwards or inside out.
But at least she's trying.
write when I'm tryin' to get my brown sweater on!"
Mom (smiling): "Yes, boss! You're the boss!"
Jamie: "I notta big boss, I'm the little boss."
some cheese spread
the big block of cheddar that Ray's Grandma D. sent us (she'll be in
Saturday, but the way) -- two big crocks' worth. I mixed the cheese
with milk, mayonnaise, chopped onion, bacon, Worcestershire and a dash
of red wine. It's real spicy, but Jamie likes it spread on crackers.
sent out a batch of
December 13, 1984
girls are sitting
the table with me, eating the special breakfast I made them -- my
famous "Peanut Butter Banana Boat Surprises!" (That's an English muffin
spread with peanut butter and honey, topped with shredded coconut,
banana slices and brown sugar, broiled for 3 minutes).
is home today! As a
of fact, he's home for the next four days, due to a temporary work
shortage at the plant.
December 14, 1984
eve of my
birthday. I'm feeling too warm and sleepy at the moment to write much,
except to say that all is very right with my world tonight.
December 15, 1984
going to try and
something worthwhile today -- something substantial -- at least a
couple pages' worth. I'm in the mood for a good write, although I
haven't the faintest idea what I'll write about. We'll just play it by
ear, I guess.
is my birthday. I
myself last night that this would be a day like any other -- no big
deal at all -- we've only got a couple of dollars so any kind of
"celebration" is out of the question. I figured I'd just go about the
business of laundry and housecleaning per usual, and leave all that
"birthday nonsense" to people who are glad to be another year older.
... now I find
hoping for more, almost in spite of myself. A little gift, or a cake
maybe. Even a birthday card from Ray. In spite of the fact that I told
the trappings weren't necessary, I find that I haven't outgrown them
completely, after all. There is still a need for observances in me.
Secretly, I still long for someone
to make a fuss over my birthday.
that isn't likely
happen today -- Ray isn't much of a fuss maker, on any occasion, and
Jamie and Kacie couldn't care less! -- I think I'll just make a fuss
was up at 5 a.m. this
for one reason or another -- I don't remember why -- when I noticed how
unnaturally bright the living room looked. "Must have left the porch
light on," I thought to
myself. That's when I looked out the
window and discovered that the world was covered with SNOW! It was a
delightful surprise. I ran back to bed and told Ray -- his reaction was
a bit less than enthusiastic, I'm afraid, since he has to go back to
work today! (He got up right on the spot, to make sure he had plenty of
driving time.) Then I went and got Jamie. I wrapped her up in a blanket
and carried her out to the big picture window and showed her the snow.
She was happy, in a sort of sleepy/confused way ... 5 a.m. was way too
early to get excited about ANYTHING, even snow ... so I tucked her back
into bed next to me, in the spot warmed by her Daddy. I opened the
bedroom curtains so we could see the snow-frosted trees outside the
window, and we both dozed off again for a few hours.
always, Jamie was up
before me. I heard her puttering around in the kitchen, turning on the
TV, etc. She's grown up a lot in the last few months: unlike last
summer, I can now lay back in bed and rest assured that she's behaving
herself. I don't have to fear that she's tearing the house apart. When
I got up, she was sitting at the table eating a bowl of Fruit Loops
(without milk) and a tangerine, which she'd peeled herself. The whole
house had that lovely, bright, white-washed look of a snowy day. "Hi!"
Jamie said cheerily. "I just touch that snow a WIDDLE bit!" (She'd
opened the door and poked her finger into the snow.) I dressed her in
her warm birthday sweater and red corduroy pants, promising her we
would go outside later. She is in a fantastically cheery, festive mood
Kacie got up and
snow outside, she was all wide blue eyes and open mouth. She's been hit
with so many new, strange things lately, though -- the Christmas tree,
rearranged furniture, goldfish, unexpected company -- that snow was
just one more in a long line of "new" things. Within minutes the thrill
was gone: she toddled off in search of oranges and cereal, the snow all
divided. On the one
I'm totally crazy in love with the snow, and with the way it makes the
world look and feel. That's the inner child, alive and well, inside of
On the other hand, the ADULT in me looks at the snow as a possible
hindrance to Christmas shopping ... a driving hazard ... a
runny-nose-inducer. The adult part of me is a real pain in the ass
birthday was as
I anticipated ... even Terry forgot all about it! That's not to say it
wasn't a pleasant day: it was. I did a lot of blessings-counting. I
thanked the Lord for things like the coziness of our home on chilly
winter nights ... for little daughters who snuggle in my lap, smelling
like shampoo and M & M's ... for my faithful husband who toils
the kitchen all evening producing supper ... for this happy time of
Kacie words: shower,
feel any different than 26 (or 22, for that matter). I can't "see"
myself aging. I know I'm getting older, but I don't feel it happening.
Inside, I'm the same Terri I've always been ... with a few 1980's
modifications, of course. I'm vain and self-centered and I depend on
other people too much, just like always. On the other hand, I'm also
imaginative and empathetic and loving. At least, I think I am. The way
I've always been. The 80's have added a new dimension to my life, too
-- motherhood and marriage have made me stronger, in new ways. Loving
purely for the sake of loving has given my life added zest. Not love
love alone. Love
for love's sake. The love I feel for Ray
and the girls gives me hope for myself. If I can love this absolutely,
without qualification, there must be hope for me.
Jamie out in the
snow for a
romp! Bundled up like a little Eskimo ... her nose & cheeks as
as her mittens ... she ran and jumped and kicked up the snow with her
feet and squealed when it stuck to her shoes.
from the original journal
IN THE MAIL
- $20 from Bev &
- Me - $10 from
& Henry (birthday)
- $20 from Bev
& Henry (Christmas)
- Kacie - $20 from
December 18, 1984
was a great
around: the snow, and Jamie's delighted reaction to it
... the money
and cards we got in the mail ... Ray home at 4:30
unexpected treat) ... also a new McCall's magazine, the Christmas
issue, and in the evening the BEST Christmas movie I've ever seen, the
new George C. Scott version of "A Christmas Carol" (I cried at the
doll, $10; Color Cottage $10
$10; See & Say $10
December 20, 1984
snow again this
... I took both the girls outside to play in it. Kacie was fascinated
with the way it fell from the sky, and she stood there, looking
straight up, giggling when the snowflakes fell on her face. Jamie was
an "old pro" at playing in the snow, and she merrily showed Sissy how
to tromp around in it and catch snowflakes on her tongue.
and I were supposed
Christmas shopping tonight, but the roads are a mess and I doubt that
Ray will feel like driving to Bellevue. I'm trying really hard not to
panic: Christmas is in five days, and except for a few Avon things, I
haven't even started
December 21, 1984
morning 7:30 a.m.
nearer, and I haven't even made a dent in my shopping. As I predicted,
Ray didn't think we should drive to Bellevue last night because of the
snow: it took him over an hour just to get to the grocery store and
back, ten blocks away. There's a chance we may go tonight -- it's
supposed to rain later and wash the snow away -- but that depends on a
number of things ... whether or not I can scare up a sitter, what time
Ray finishes work, how he's feeling when he gets home ..
ready and eager to
the job. I'm not an especially good shopper -- I'm too impulsive, often
buying the first thing I find rather than shopping around -- but some
of the spirit of the season has managed to rub off on me this year, and
even something ordinarily as distasteful to me as spending huge amounts
of money seems like just another fun, Christmasey thing to do.
most fun will be
for Jamie & Kacie! The TOY department!!
got up much earlier
morning than usual -- 6 a.m. --
in order to
make Ray a hot breakfast
before he left for work. I don't usually do this. He never eats
breakfast, except sometimes on Sunday. So I rarely bother getting out
of bed when he does. This morning, though, it just seemed like a nice
thing to do. I made oatmeal and coffee for him, and the coffee smelled
so good I couldn't resist pouring a cup for myself. Ray ate his oatmeal
in a hurry and slugged down two cups of coffee before giving me a hasty
kiss goodbye and hurrying out the door. It was still dark outside, so I
turned on the Christmas tree lights and the TV. Jamie heard the noise
and came wandering out to see what was going on. The house was still
chilly, so I put her on the sofa and covered her with an afghan and
found the early-early-morning edition of "Sesame Street" on TV for her.
just gave Wendie
bowl of raisins for "breakfast.")
I'm going to clean
house and do an immense laundry. I'm trying to keep myself busy. As
long as I've got plenty to do, I don't have time to panic about
Christmas being four days away.
December 22, 1984
morning 8:30 a.m.
angry with Ray. He
come home last night, and I have no idea where he is this morning. To
make things worse, some guy named Jeff has been here twice looking for
Ray -- he was here once at 2 a.m. and nearly gave me a heart attack.
Both times he left Ray a nasty note, of the "pay up or else" variety.
This has done very little for my mood today. I don't know why Ray owes
this asshole money, but the whole thing has become very irritating.
drank too much wine
as I waited (pointlessly) for Ray to come home, and this morning I have
a splitting headache. The girls are still asleep -- the house is
absolutely silent. Gray, cold, rainy day. I've been so happy this
month, but this morning I feel so blue. If I could just get my
CHRISTMAS SHOPPING DONE ...
now, as I was
at the kitchen table writing this, a fat squirrel suddenly appeared on
a branch of the cherry tree outside my window and peered in at
For three minutes we both sat still, watching each other. He was a cute
little guy, all bright button eyes and sleek glossy fur. I cocked my
head at him, as a gesture of good will; he began to elaborately wash
his face and arms. The way he held onto one small branch for support
looked so human, it made me smile! I got up and put some bread crumbs
and rolled oats on the porch for him and his bird friends to share.
Some tiny portion of my Christmas spirit has been restored ... enough
to share a meal with a squirrel, anyway, should he choose to reappear
this morning. Right now the chickadees have found the crumbs: they will
be followed by the jays and the crows. Lately I've been feeding the
birds every day.
December 24, 1984
have time for a
hastily-scribbled page or two. We're leaving at 2 p.m. to visit my
family, and there's a million things to do before we go.
shopped on Saturday,
finally got home. The days he was laid-off last week cut deeply into
his paycheck, and the result was that I had very little money for
gifts. The girls have three gifts apiece: Jamie has a red trike, a
"Rainbow Brite" doll and Rainbow Brite's "Color Cottage." Kacie has a
Tyke Bike, a Glo-Worm and an ABC's See & Say. I wanted to get
so much more, but my money ran out. I couldn't even afford anything for
Ray, and although he hasn't said as much, I'm sure he didn't get me
anything, either. This doesn't have me depressed, though. If we didn't
have children, I might be sad about not having any presents under our
tree; but I'm so excited about the girls getting their trikes tomorrow
morning, it makes up for everything!
am THRILLED with the
pictures from Sears, by the way. ($40 for the whole package, including
a 10 x 13 wall portrait.) Jamie and Kacie are SUCH gorgeous children
December 26, 1984
annual case of the
post-Christmas-blues has wasted no time setting in. The minute I opened
my eyes this morning and realized what day it was ... the day AFTER
Christmas ... I was flooded with a sinking, empty feeling. It only got
worse as I got up and started my morning routine. Our house is strewn
with toys, paper, empty boxes, dirty clothes, jackets, shoes, towels,
TV trays, broken cookies, paper bags, newspapers and four days' worth
of dirty dishes. It will take me the rest of the week to restore order.
The Christmas tree looks as sad and worn-out as I feel ... all the
spring and life has gone out of it, and the lower branches are drooping
-- I'm going to
fight it. It seems wrong, somehow, to be downhearted so soon after the
holiest day of the year -- ungrateful, somehow, and mean-spirited.
After weeks (months, really) of preparation, enjoying the spirit of the
holidays, feeling the peace and love of this time of year, suddenly
feeling miserable the day-after is too jarring. I need to work into my
post-holiday depression a little more gradually! So today I'm going to
fight back any feelings of gloom. The girls are running around in
pretty new clothes, happily playing with the piles and piles of
toys they received. There is leftover turkey in the fridge, so I can
make my favorite sandwich for lunch, and the cookie jar is filled with
Judy's good Christmas cookies. I can do laundry and wash dishes and put
our new things away ... perhaps keeping me too preoccupied to give in
the girls. I've got
up a happy face for them. This holiday season I have tried to teach
them a little bit about the good, happy things Christmas brings ...
I've tried to instill in them my love for the Christmas tree, Christmas
music, snow, candles. I brought all the good things to their attention:
we made Christmas cookies and decorated the house and sent out cards.
Jamie learned to sing "Up On The Housetop" and "Frosty The Snowman."
Kacie had her first candy cane. Time enough in the future for them to
see the down side of Christmas: money problems, shopping hassles,
family troubles, hangovers, messy houses ...
fairly smooth and happy one. I might be a little too "close" at the
moment to view it objectively. There were highs and lows, just as there
are every year.
nice this year. We went to see Grandma and Ted first. The girls each
got a beautiful new dolly and I got a pair of pearl earrings. Grandma
wrote us a $50 check also.
(Another Kacie picture that I absolutely LOVE.)
Christmas Eve 1984
we went to Dad and
Valerie's, which, interestingly enough, turned out to be the highlight
of the evening.
Ray left a funny
(but unprintable!) message for me
I woke up this morning that left me in good spirits all day. Got a lot
done today, including half a letter writen to Carol Baron, and a huge
pot of spaghetti sauce made. Spent some special time with
today: we had an afternoon "tea party" with the toy dishes she got from
her Aunt Judy, worked on some of her new puzzles.
Terry was over
briefly, in another one of her
"moods" -- this time, crying because she can't go
father during Christmas vacation. (Every time she comes over
visibly upset like that, she confuses and worries Jamie.)
from Michele Manzo in Ontario.
Ray home at 6:30. Started to snow quite heavily around 9:30
tonight. I hope that it sticks so the girls can play outside
The snow was all
gone by this morning
Kacie gave me a
terrible scare by shoving a
earring up her nose. I had to use tweezers to extract
-- it bled for twenty minutes afterward, and frightened her
had frequent nosebleeds for years afterward.)
Later in the afternoon, Jamie made her contribution to my future ulcer
by eating a whole box of gumballs -- at least a
them. Ah, motherhood!
I spent my day
sorting through a giant stack of
magazines, tearing out interesting articles and tossing out the rest of
the magazine. This may sound like a frivolous activity, but
actually part of my plan to streamline my life in '85
reduced a 3 ft. stack of magazines to one small folder of magazines,
thereby giving me some much-needed closet space.
Ray was home
(incredibly) at 6:00
-- I made hamburgers for our dinner. More snow is
December 29, 1984
having a heck of a
getting this account written!! For some reason, recounting all the
details of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is proving to be an
impossible task. Every time I get started writing about it, something
happens to distract me.
any more time
I'm going to sit here and FORCE myself to give you a capsule account of
the holidays ... no distractions allowed!!
St. John's was
my brother Dick was there, also his pregnant lady-friend Gina -- also
my sister Debi and, as an added surprise, my step-brothers Pat and
Ronny, who I haven't seen in ten years. We gave pictures of Jamie and
Kacie to everyone. Ray played "Santa." (Remember Jamie in tears - "I
want another PRESENT, Dad-dee.") I got a diary from Grandma St. John,
kitchen towels from Mom, and a necklace from Gina ... Ray got two
"Garfield" books, a polo shirt and some Old Spice. The girls got rag
dolls from Mom, and other toys I couldn't keep track of. Also
corduroy overalls and a "Garfield" nightgown for Jamie.
dad with his granddaughters
Christmas Eve 1984
We got home Christmas
midnight. Ray and I put our sleepy little girls to bed, and then we
played "Santa." Fun! I filled up their stockings, and Ray
their new toys, including new (wrapped) ones from us, under the tree.
We set the new trikes under the tree unwrapped, right in front where
they couldn't be missed. Then we arranged some "evidence" of Santa's
visit on the kitchen table ... a plate with a dab of mayonnaise and a
bit of lettuce on it, an empty can of Sprite and a crumpled napkin next
the morning - 8:30
a.m. - I
was the first up. I turned on the Christmas tree lights and put some
holiday music on the stereo. Then I got everyone up! Jamie noticed her
trike first thing. "Oh!" she said. "Santa Claus give me a BIKE, Mama!!"
She was so excited! Then she noticed the fat stockings hanging from the
stereo, and Santa's dirty plate on the table. She hardly knew where to
was kind of sleepy
confused at first, until I started
the two of them emptying their stockings ... the sight of all that
candy woke her right up.
loved her Rainbow
& the Color Cottage ... I knew she would. We put it together
on the spot and she played with it all morning (when she wasn't sitting
on her new trike). Kacie loved her little Tyke Bike and the candy from
her stocking, but she didn't pay much attention to the Glo-Worm or the
See & Say.
girls with their Christmas "bikes"
Christmas morning 1984
I fixed everyone some
and Ray went back to bed for awhile.
noon we were all
on our way to Ray's parents' house. By the time we got there -- we were
last to arrive, as usual -- all the gifts had already been opened
except for ours. We sat in the living room and tackled our huge piles
of presents while the others watched. We got SO much stuff. Jamie: four
new outfits, a nightgown & pink bathrobe, socks, underwear,
barrettes, dolls, books, puzzles, toys, a tea set and a toy nurse's
set. Kacie: more of the same. Ray: a flannel shirt, a down vest, bath
towels, underwear and socks. Me: a pullover sweater, houseslippers,
nylon knee-hi's, a decorative pillow, kitchen towels, candy, cookies, a
book ("Valley of the Horses" by Jean Auel).
this year, because for the first time all six of the little
grandchildren were together. Also Patty & John, and Ray's
grandmother Cecil D. from Arkansas (a crusty old gal who I like very
much). We had a long, lazy day ... lots of quiet visiting, watching the
little guys play with new toys, football on TV, etc. Dinner was at 3
p.m., turkey with all the trimmings. Jamie, Kacie, Billy, Gerald and
Tanya sat at the table in the kitchen (Nathan sat with the grown-ups: I
don't know why). There was wine, but I was feeling a bit hungover (hot
rum drinks at Dad's the next before) so I skipped it.
got home around 6
enjoyed a quiet Christmas evening at home. Terry came by at one point
and took a family picture of Ray and the girls and I in
now to the present.
It is a
snowy Saturday morning ... so far the snow isn't sticking much because
it's so wet, but I have hopes for this afternoon. Ray is home -- he has
an "important" Seahawks game on TV, and is dividing his time between
watching the game in the living room and fixing his omelet here in the
kitchen. The house is warm and cozy this morning, a little messy --
just enough to be comfortable -- and smells of ham, coffee, Jamie's
Christmas bath powder, last night's fried onions. Kacie is in a
delightful, impish mood this morning and is sitting next to me here at
the table ... purple striped overalls, blue shirt, yellow socks, sticky
hair ... playing with her new "Get Along Gang TV." Every few minutes
she carries it out to Ray and "asks" him to wind it up again. Jamie is
plopped into an armchair with a bottle of juice; all I can see of her
are her feet, dangling casually over the edge of the chair.
are completely broke,
usual, but I am not panicked.
steadily and heavily all day today ... but,
none of it stuck! By nightfall it was
washed away by rain. I'm very disappointed, and so are Ray
Jamie: we were looking forward to being snowed-in, but no such
Took down the tree and all the Christmas decorations (except for
cards); the house looks stark without them. Ray watched the
Seahawks lose on TV, cleaned out my vacuum cleaner and fixed Jamie's
lamp (he was in one of his "handy" moods. We have eighty
our names -- I've got Kacie in cloth diapers
don't have enough $ for disposables --
talking about going over to the folks' tomorrow to visit Patty, John
and Grandma D. before they go home -- maybe they'll
some money till payday.
Oh -- Kacie has a 100° temp. and runny nose
this evening: her cheeks look like two little red crab apples.
December 30, 1984
... it looks like
finally getting "The Big Snow" this morning. Zillions of tiny, dry,
unhurried snowflakes have been coming down steadily for the past hour.
This may squelch our plans to drive to Peg & Don's today, to
the Arizona relatives before the head for home tomorrow -- also our
plans to borrow some $ from them. We have eighty cents to our names,
morning I AM slightly "panicked." I'm out of milk, and running
dangerously low on all the staples ... butter, bread, laundry soap,
cigarettes. Help us, Lord!
the tree down
and all the Christmas decorations except the cards. The living room
looks a little empty without that big, bushy tree, but the snow outside
lends a bit of belated holiday feeling.
steady snowfall most of the day (some of
stuck), but we seem to be "just missing" that one really BIG
and I took Jamie and Kacie over to the folks'
afternoon, from 3 p.m. till 8 p.m. (Sheryl, Jeff and Tanya were there
also). We had a long and relaxed visit. For some
Ray's Grandma D. seems to have taken a special liking to me
-- we spent a long time talking, about Ray's grandfather,
family history, etc. Before we left, Barbara loaned
so we could get diapers, milk and a few groceries.
Once home, we cooked
small steaks for a late night
supper. Watched two movies on TV --
of the Third Kind" and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High"
didn't get to bed until 2 a.m.
Kacie is feeling better.
JIBS & JABS
(Ray's irritating habit of squelching any comment or suggestion I make)
"... When we go
your folks' today."
He: "IF we make it over there." (Jib.)
Me: " ... I need diapers
and milk very badly."
He: "They might not have any money." (Jab.)
"Maybe Daddy can
Jamie make a snowman today!"
He: "I don't have any gloves." (Jib.)
Me: (referring to the
snowfall) "This is the big one, I think!"
He: "Naw, it's too wet - it won't last." (Jab.)
overnight in cold
c. navy or pea beans. Drain in the morning: save the bean water. Chop
onion, crisply fried bacon. Mix with beans: onion, bacon, garlic, 2 T.
maple syrup, 6 T catsup, 1/2 t. dry mustard, 1/3 t. pepper, 2 t. salt.
Cover with fresh water. Simmer 2 hrs. Put into 2 qt. casserole dish,
add just enough bean liquid to cover. Cover pot and bake at 300? (slow
oven) for 2-1/2 hours. Remove cover and bake 1-1/2 hrs. longer.
to self: These
weren't all that
great ... plus I made enough for an army. Cut
half next time?)
December 31, 1984
final day of 1984 -- a basically uneventful but
Ray was home today: he fixed the broken drawers on Jamie's bed, nailed
a board over the busted bathroom heater (to keep the girls from poking
their fingers into it) -- lately he's been making a
needed repairs around the house, and I love it! Got $100
from our insurance agent, which we used on groceries, cold medicine for
Kacie, snacks, a new shower curtain -- also some
my camera, with which I took pictures tonight of the girls and
We got silly on beer this evening; Ray gave Dink a bath and clipped his
matted hair; made ham sandwiches for a very late supper. I
to stay up till midnight but I konked out early. However, the
firecrackers and noise around the neighborhood at 12 woke me briefly,
and I gave my dear husband a kiss to celebrate the New Year.
girls negotiate a salary increase with Dad
January 1, 1985
We had a fairly pleasant day today, ushering in
new year. Jamie went to play at Ericka's house this morning
an hour (Terry took her) -- that left Jay in a
for the rest of the day. Ray watched football, I
chocolate chip cookies, with a little "assistance" from Jamie. Later,
Ray made a big pile of blankets and pillows on the living room floor
and watched football there all day, taking turns snuggling with each
and I tried our hand at finger painting ... what a
but fun! (Jamie didn't like getting her fingers messy,
My hopes for '85: health and happiness for my children, my
husband and myself ...
January 2, 1985
I'm sick. Late last night I started feeling
crummy, and by
morning I was down with a fullblown case of "the crud." I'm
congested, achey and deeply fatigued. The girls and I
some careful maneuvering on my part) spent most of the day
napping. I passed most of the evening in a hazy fog, dopey on
cold medicine and groggy from too much sleep.
Got a really great Bob Dylan (?) song on one of my "radio
-- I don't know the name of it, but it goes something like "I got an appetite like a
millionaire ... I ain't got a dime."
Played it over and over tonight. Even when it isn't on, I
endlessly in my head. (I like the music
-- the lyrics
are secondary.) Many,
MANY years from now, my second husband David will find the song for me,
and it isn't Bob Dylan: it's Tom Rush, "Blow, Whistle, Blow."
Jamie took her Rainbow Brite doll's temperature ... rectally!
January 3, 1985
here we are in
Happy New Year, Journal!
year I made only
resolution for 1984 -- to avoid getting pregnant -- and I'm happy to
report that 1984 was one year when I kept all of my resolutions!
year, things are a
more complicated. My list of resolutions is enormous. It ranges from
losing weight (a perennial favorite), to cleaning out all
the closets, cupboards and drawers in the house, to starting a new
scrapbook for Jamie. There are a lot of little resolutions and a few
big ones: taking steps toward the writing career I've always dreamed
of, earning money of my own, deciding whether or not to have another
baby. I want to take more pictures and make fewer promises. Read more
and worry less. Spend more time with my kids (if that's possible!) and
less time with the vacuum cleaner ...
today I'll put all
resolutions into a list. For now, on to other things ...
is the state of my
this (unexpectedly) foggy day in earliest 1985 ... another head cold,
this one a "gift" from Kacie. Jamie has it too. Our noses are stuffy,
and tempers are riding a little higher than usual.
kitchen sink is
Ray made a feeble attempt to clear it last night but failed. Three
days' worth of dirty dishes are piled up and there's no way to wash
them. Today is payday and I'm hoping we can afford to have something
done about it: the mess is getting to me.
I'll take down the
Christmas cards ... the last vestige of holiday decoration ... and
Christmas '84 will finally, completely be over.
Feeling better, though
still congested. (Same with the
girls.) Our kitchen sink is stopped up --
sure is a
mess. The pile of dirty dishes is three feet high.
afternoon (payday -- thank goodness), Ray went
shopping, bought some tools and stuff to clear out the drain.
also surprised me with a brand-new automatic coffeemaker and a pound of
coffee! He said, "I haven't seen you smile in a week; maybe
will cheer you up." I was so thrilled --
touched -- that I cried!
Later in the evening he
succeeded in fixing the sink, and then went out
and got us a pizza.
January 4, 1985
Worked hard all
day. Took me three hours just to wash the
dishes -- sure am glad my sink is fixed!
loads of laundry, cleaned the bathroom, made beef stew for
This evening Terry
watched the girls for a couple of hours while Ron
and I went to the movies. We saw "The Terminator" with Arnold
Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton. I found it a little too
violent and graphic in places, but enjoyed the "time travel" theme and
the love story. (Ray enjoyed it all the way
were going to go to dinner afterwards, but decided to save our
money -- came home and ate beef stew instead.
Had dreams about 6001
and Scott Wolf all night.
Felt great when I
up this morning, but my energy
level sort of dissipated as the day went by. By afternoon I
so tired I went to bed for a little while and let Ron take care of the
Terry took Jamie over
to play with Ericka and Rebecca for a couple of
hours this afternoon. Kacie wanted to go too, but she's still
Watched "Go Ask Alice"
on TV (1972 movie) -- got a good
letter from Melinda R. in New Jersey -- other than
this was a day without highlights, unless of course you count the
pleasure I get just from spending time with my daughters and my husband.
January 6, 1985
Sounds we hear:
in the frying pan ... Ray's football game on TV ... Jamie rummaging
through a box of pencils ... Kacie's happy "Hah! Toe. Hah! TOE!"
(meaning unknown) as she scribbles on a piece of paper with a colored
pencil ... dogs barking outside ... Ray's car pulling into the driveway
... Jamie's squeaky brown pencil ...
we smell: bacon
... coffee ... cigarette smoke.
feel of Mama's soft,
- The taste of hot
- The sight of a
of cookbooks on the kitchen table ...
also on the table are Mama's red plaid scarf, some neatly-clipped
coupons (for candles, biscuits, sponges), a portable TV, a basket of
letters to be answered, shiny scissors, felt pens.
- Cold air on my
as the kitchen door is opened.
drowsy day -- I had no energy at all. I
think I may
be pre-menstrual, because along with the lethargy I also felt mild
cramps and had cravings for sweets. Watched "Paint Your
the afternoon with Ray. This evening Ron cooked steaks
the Weber while I watched the first part of "The Thorn Birds."
Kacie's new favorite
thing to do: scribbling on pieces of paper with my colored
January 7, 1985
A little more energetic today. Fueled by the thought that I
might have unexpected company (Cathie Walden is supposed to drop by
sometime soon), I cleaned house, set my hair, even put on
makeup. When no company materialized after all, I
relaxed -- made a pot of baked beans, worked on my
cookbooks, watched cartoons with Jamie. Ray was home by
4:30 -- brought me a bottle of Liquid Paper.
Watched the second part of "The Thorn Birds" this evening
-- I am thoroughly enjoying this miniseries, which I missed
when it aired initially in March '83 (I was in the hospital having
January 8, 1985
still feels kind
to me ... how in the world can it possibly be 1985
remember 1975 ... for that matter I remember 1965 ... as clearly as if
they happened last week. It will take me awhile to grow accustomed to
the fact that the future has arrived.
day. The sun
shining, and even though it's bitterly cold (too cold, even, to crack
open a kitchen window), there is an odd, prematurely springlike feeling
in the air. I felt it yesterday, and I feel it again today. It raises
my spirits ... makes me feel more optimistic and energetic.
are going fairly
my life at the moment. All traces of Christmas have finally been
removed and packed away in the hall closet; for a couple of days I
fretted over how bare the house looked, stripped of all holiday
decorations. But today it just looks cleaner and tidier, to my eye. I'm
sorry that Christmas is over for another whole year -- it always come
and goes much too quickly -- but now it's on to other things.
have good feelings
year ahead: I feel primed and ready. This is going to be the year I
begin moving in a forward direction again. No more holding myself back.
year at this time I
struggling with a deep and debilitating depression. 1984 seemed
loom ahead as a year without promise ... a long, dull year of drudgery.
Beginning the year with that kind of fatalistic attitude proved to be a
handicap I couldn't get past, even later in the year. The result was a
year without any real highlights. I didn't feel motivated to try
anything new. It wasn't a bad
year -- it was pleasant enough -- it just
didn't turn out to be anything special. I want 1985 to be different.
still working on my
resolutions. I'm trying to be specific and thorough and about it. When
I've finished putting together my plan for 1985, I'll share it with
Felt more like my
self -- got a lot of work done, wrote a long letter
to Melinda, visited with Maureen Blair (my Avon lady) when she stopped
by. The sun was shining and the world felt oddly
spring-like ... my spirits were high.
Part III of "The Thorn
January 9, 1985
HUGE moving van just
in front of the house next door (the Bruffs moved away last month), and
Jamie said "OH! Our new friends is here!"
- turned out to be
alarm. The Kennedy's daughter Candy (two doors down) is moving out. No
one's moving in next door, yet. Jamie and I are both a little
disappointed. We've been looking forward to new neighbors ever since
the day the Bruffs moved out. "Maybe dere'll be a friend for JAMIE and
NEW friend for Mama," Jamie said. I'm hoping the same thing.
Tired and run-down
again. The beers I drank last night with Ray gave me a rotten
stomach ache today. I skipped the morning housework and just
spent time with the girls. We went out to the backyard and
they played in the fresh air and sunshine for 45 minutes.
Later in the afternoon I managed to get the dishes washed, made
meatballs for supper. (They were GREAT.)
Ray was home at
4:00 -- he fixed the living room lamp and the
No "Thorn Birds"
Energy to spare
today! I was up at 7 a.m. to enjoy a little
morningtime peace, quiet and solitude: made myself a hot breakfast, got
some things ready for mailing. I sent in my "aptitude test"
to The Institute of Children's Literature (still don't know if that
outfit is legit or not). Thoroughly cleaned Jamie's room, did
laundry, vacuumed the whole house.
Maureen stopped by
again, and I gave her a small Avon order even though I still haven't
paid for my last order.
Ray was home on the dot
of 4:00. I made BLT's and home-fries for supper
-- I did the preliminary work, anyway --
when "The Thorn Birds" (conclusion) came on at 8:00, Ray took over the
sandwich-making so I could enjoy my show. The end of "The
Thorn Birds" was very moving ... I cried, of course!
January 11, 1985
can't believe what a
I am today. The only things I've accomplished today have been putting
on a lot of heavy eye makeup, taping the song "Jokerman" (Bob Dylan)
off the radio, and reading a lot of old journals, the ones I wrote
during the first years here with Ray. The dishes are
stacked a mile high in the sink, nothing is thawed out for dinner, and
I'm still schlepping around in Ray's p.j. bottoms and a baggy old
blouse. If things go the way they have for the past six weeks, Ray will
be home in an hour. (He's been a superlative husband lately: I really
ought to tell you about it sometime.) Guess I should shake a leg. He
doesn't care about the housework, but I should at least get out of
these ratty clothes and brush my hair.
One day of energy,
followed by a "low tide" day -- that's the way it's
been all week. Today was another "low tide" day.
All I did was watch a little TV, listen to the stereo (FINALLY got
"Jokerman" on tape), monitored the monkeys. Jamie got a big
kick out of pushing her dolls (and later, her little sister) around in
the old denim stroller. Kacie has inherited Jamie's old set
of Fisher Price dishes (Jamie gave them up willingly and cheerfully)
and she plays with them constantly.
Ray made dinner (BBQ
beef sandwiches) because I felt so sleepy and wrung-out this evening.
January 12, 1985
just out of the
my first cup of coffee of the day, feeling like I could do ANYTHING
today. Very energetic. The only problem is that I'm also feeling
"meaner than a rattlesnake" ... I've got a fresh crop of zits and I
know my period must be on the way. It puts me into an ugly &
vicious frame of mind. I've snapped at the girls and Ray all morning
The girls wore their new Christmas sweatsuits and played in the
backyard for a long time after lunch -- they got
muddy and cold, but had a fine time.
Ray and I cut up some
big cardboard boxes and made them a playhouse, complete with roof,
windows, a door and a chimney -- it's tall enough
for Kacie to stand up in! -- they played in it all
day and all evening.
We have no money, but
still managed to make a nice dinner from odds and ends
-- ribs, chicken drumsticks (Ron BBQ'd them outside) and
Terry came by late in
the evening to show us her new $200 portable stereo (she calls it a
"ghetto blaster") and to play her new Prince tape.
January 13, 1985
early to tell if I'm
more or less human today, although I did blow up at Kacie a little
while ago when she pulled a bowl of raw eggs off the kitchen counter.
Yesterday was awful in that regard. Ray did his best to be sweet and
attentive and to draw me out of my blue mood, but nothing helped much.
positive that it's
case of pre-menstrual blahs. I'm due to get my period today.
and I built the girls a playhouse out of cardboard boxes
... a BIG one,
complete with roof, windows and doors! It's big enough to fit them both
comfortably -- Kacie can even stand up in it! Right now it's sitting in
the middle of the living room, looking for all the world like one of
those shabby, makeshift shanties that
hobos live in. But I expect it to remain a semi-permanent fixture in
the living room for awhile. The girls adore it. They play in it all the
time. I'm just going to have to shut my eyes and ignore the way it
taking us over to
folks' this afternoon; we want to spend some time with Grandma D.
before she goes home to Arkansas. I think Ray also wants to borrow a
little money from his parents, since we're flat broke (as usual).
girls are here at
with me, enjoying their sausages and scrambled eggs. Kacie has dried
egg in her hair, the result of her kitchen accident earlier this
she is uncharacteristically solemn. I think it really hurt her feelings
when I yelled at her, and I feel terrible about it. I love her so much.
She's been crabby and irritable for several days, but then again so
have I. I
suppose it's inevitable that we should clash on occasion. Even knowing
that, though, doesn't make me feel any less like a monster. She's
ALWAYS been ten times more sensitive to scoldings than Jamie ever was.
Jamie had an excellent
First, Terry took her
over to Ericka's to play for an hour. Later, Ray and I picked
her up and we (Kacie included) went over to Pat and Doug's for the
day. We were expecting Grandma D. to still be there, but she
had already left for home (in Arkansas) so it was just Ray and the
girls and me, plus Ray's parents and Brenda. We visited for
several hours, had dinner -- lasagna and
pizza -- I think the folks enjoyed having us
over. (They got to spend some time with their granddaughters.)
Used the phone at the
folks' and called my mother, just to "chat" and wish her a happy
Kacie's blanky at the folks'.
Woke up this morning
with a strange pain on my right side, near my ribs. Bothered
me off and on, all day long. Wonder what it could be?
Cleaned house, did a large laundry, read a little bit (I'm reading
Stephen King's "Christine" again. I don't know why, since
I've got a whole pile of unread new books. Guess I need
something I don't have to concentrate too hard on
-- something familiar.) Got a letter from Deanne
Vasiles in Alaska.
Ray was home at 4,
usual. By evening my side was really sore and tender, so he
volunteered to cook dinner -- cube steaks, fried
potatoes. Sat up late watching my favorite shows ("Kate
& Allie," "Cagney & Lacey") and reading. Fell
asleep with a heating pad on my side.
Pain in my side has
diminished to dull ache if I bend or stretch the wrong way
... no big deal. I sound like such a hypochondriac
in this diary, already -- all I do is write about
my little aches and pains. No more! I'll only write
about my health if there's nothing else to write!!
Had a tea party on the
kitchen floor with Jamie; wrote to Amanda Prothero in Burnaby; more
laundry, more dishes, more vacuuming; no decent
Ray home at
4. I made "Hawaiian Chicken" and white rice for dinner.
Sure am glad tomorrow
is payday ... we are running low on nearly
everything. I wonder if it will always be like this
-- just barely making it from payday to payday?
We've got a lot more than some people, and I'm grateful, but it would
be nice to have more breathing room, financially.
Cleaned the fishbowl,
washed bedding, made spaghetti (from frozen sauce) and
meatballs. Taped a fabulous song today that I love, "I Want
To Know What Love Is" by Foreigner. Maureen stopped by for
her Avon money, but I had to tell her I didn't have it.
January 17, 1985
had dreams all night
was pregnant again. (In the dream I was just beginning to "show," and I
felt a little dismayed but also happy.) Then I woke up at 6 a.m.
because, in actuality, my period had finally started. The cramps woke
me up, and the flow started soon after. At about the same time, Ray and
the kids all woke up too. I knew I would be too uncomfortable to sleep,
and the kids were all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, so we just got up.
That was three hours ago. I have spent the morning doing my "paperwork"
(sorting through clipped magazine articles, putting things in my
"Mama's Happy Book," drinking coffee). The girls watched "Sesame
Street" twice, once at 7 .m. and again at 9 a.m., and now Kacie's eyes
are beginning to droop. Should I put her down for a nap now? Or will
that throw the rest of her day off balance?
"This would be
day for pancakes!"
Jamie: "And sausages!"
Mom: "Yah! You're right about that!"
Jamie: (pointing to me) "You can
cook the sausages, and Daddy
Mom: "Hey, any dummy can cook the sausage ... why can't I make the
Jamie: "A'cause you ‘most BURN yourself. Dat's why."
Mom: "Oh. I almost burn the pancakes, too! Mama doesn't make very good
Jamie: "But Daddy
Hurray! Ray went grocery shopping this afternoon after work
and he bought a ton of stuff. Feels great to have food in the
Had a real long day
today. The girls and I were up at 6:30 a.m., and then Ray and
I didn't go to bed until nearly 3 a.m. I'll be
(Period started this
morning. Better late than never!)
Sheryl went into the hospital this evening: she is scheduled to have
her baby by C-section tomorrow morning.
I was right:
I was dragging today. Very tired. I still managed
to do a fair amount of cleaning and laundry, though, and spent some
"special time" with each of the kids (with Jamie, it was puzzles: with
Kacie, tickling and cuddling).
Ray didn't come home
tonight. I sat up and watched a new show that I like, "Miami
Vice," and had a TV dinner, then went to bed. Jamie slept
with me. Ray came home sometime in the early hours of the
morning, crashed on the sofa.
Sheryl gave birth to an
8 lb. 4 oz. baby boy today!
Ray was asleep on the sofa when Jamie and I got up this morning to
watch the Saturday morning cartoons. I'm not angry about him staying
out late last night -- he's been spending so much
time at home lately, and he deserved one night out.
Today he fixed and cleaned our ancient oven like new
-- it works great now. Good mail: a long and funny
letter from Melinda, and the reprints I'd sent away for, of Jamie
& Kacie's picture. Didn't feel like cooking tonight
so Ray went out and got us fast food (Rax roast beef sandwiches).
January 20, 1985
Sunday. Ray was planted in front of the TV all day, drinking
beer and watching his game. I think it was Miami and San
Francisco, but I have no idea who won. (I don't care much or at all about
football.) I made pancakes and sausages for the girls, then I
took a long nap.
When I got up around
4:00, I discovered that Terry had dropped off her tape recorder for me
to borrow. I had great fun all evening, taping songs and
getting silly on beer. TOO silly, actually.
today -- I feel completely shitty.
Inauguration Day: nothing on TV but Ron & Nancy, all day long.
Jamie and Kacie were
good as gold today -- I thinked maybe they sensed
that Mama was under the weather. We spent a lot of quiet time
cuddling in bed together and reading.
I made a delicious
dinner this evening: a New England boiled dinner (corned beef, potatoes
and carrots) and a beautiful mushroom and avocado salad. To
my anger and dismay, however, Ray never came home to eat any of
Worked my tail off
today, trying to put things to rights after the past two (disastrous)
days. The house sparkles and the laundry is done; I even
cleaned Jamie's room. Terry took Jamie for a walk this
afternoon. They found a My Little Pony (a toy horse for
little girls), which has now become Jamie's constant companion.
Angry with Ray for most
of the day. Twice in the past week he has stayed out all
night. Does that mean that the shit is starting up all over
again?? I HOPE not.
He was home tonight
around 7:00. I gave him last night's dried-out corned
beef -- and the sharp side of my tongue
-- for supper.
Wednesday 11 a.m.
a week later. The
have been piling up in my heart, and I figured it was time for a good,
long "write" in my journal.
tie up some loose
first. My period came and went, and I survived. My crabby mood
eventually dissipated for the month, and I stopped snapping at Ray and
the kids. This week I feel slightly downcast and sad, though, for no
apparent reason. Well ... that's not exactly true. There are
have a couple of things nagging at me, and an embarrassing incident
last weekend to live down. This is also the five year anniversary of
the hellish day Scott W. walked out on me -- the worst day of my life.
The pain is long gone, but there will always be a vague melancholy
associated with this date. Perhaps maybe even more than that: an
uncomfortable reminder of how suddenly disaster can alter your life. No
one wants to be reminded of something like that.
and Jeff had
last Friday morning, January 18 ... a little boy, Michael. One of my
nagging worries is that Ray & I still haven't been to the
to see Sheryl and little Michael: we haven't even telephoned. Today we
must do something about that.
other worry is a
one: no money for Avon, and I'm expecting Maureen to drop by this
afternoon. I owe her almost $40. I expect she'll be quite angry when I
tell her, for the millionth time, that I can't pay her.
weekend is too
write about ... sorry. It was nothing
that can't be survived, however.
have no idea what this was about, although I can guess: I probably got
too high and made a fool out of myself in front of somebody.
is starting to
... another reason, perhaps, for my slight depression. For weeks he's
been as good as gold ... coming straight home from
every day at 4:00,
spending lots of time with the kids and I, making repairs around the
house, grocery shopping, etc. It's been strange but wonderful. His
newfound attentiveness and conscientiousness made him seem like a whole
"new" Ray, and I found myself feeling better about him and about
marriage than I ever have. Twice in the past week, however (Friday, and
then again on Monday) he stayed out the whole night, leaving me here to
stew and worry. I'm hoping against hope that these were isolated
incidents and that they won't happen again. But the pessimist in me
fears this means it's all starting up again: the late nights
tavern, the kids going for days without seeing their Daddy, my lonely
evenings and solitary dinners ... all the SHIT. I don't know
bear to live that way again.
guess I've got the
Blahs. It's one of those gray, foggy mornings - the fog is lifting a
little now, but the whole world still looks grim and colorless. I feel
a definite lack of "zip."
kids are doing fine,
They NEVER run out of zip! Even when gloomy old Mom is
around the house with a frown on her face. They still run and play and
giggle and make up funny little games. (Two new "Jamie-Games": she
pretends she's "More-EEN," the Avon lady, or else she pretends our
kitchen is Dave's Place and that I'm the Dave's Place lady who serves
pop and chips.) Even when I'm feeling my gloomiest and doomiest,
watching my two baby chicks playing puts a little cheer back into my
heart. Watching any children is pleasurable, but there's a special
thrill connected to watching your own children: a special
... my annual case of the "January blahs," I
suppose. There are a couple of worries eating away at me
(money I owe for Avon; the fact that we haven't called or gone over to
see Sheryl and the new baby yet). Life seems colorless at the
moment. I cleaned and laundered, wrote a letter to my penpal
Debbie Devaney in Indiana, made Jell-O for the kids, finished reading
"Christine." Ray is working overtime so he wasn't home until
past 7. I hadn't had any dinner yet and he made moaning
noises about how "starved" he was, so I had to fry him some pork chops,
which I detest. (I had a frozen meat pie instead.)
There is a lot of static between he and I.
blah. Maureen stopped by this afternoon to pick up the $40 I
owe her; talk about awful moments. I gave her this long
schpiel about how broke we are (which is true) and how I just can't pay
it all. So she cut my bill down to $27 and asked if I could
try and pay by Saturday. I know I still won't have any money
by then, but I said OK.
Ray wasn't home until
nearly 9:30 tonight. I guess that the shit IS starting
again. It was nice when he was getting home by 4:00 every
day, but nothing lasts forever.
I made chili and salad
for dinner, watched all the good Thursday night shows (Cosby, Family
Ties, Cheers, Night Court, Hill St. Blues).
January 25, 1985
Ray was home from
today -- things are slow at Western Kraft. He took
Jamie over to his parents' around noon, to pick up some money his dad
owed him. (I had him drop off a 'congratulations on the new baby'
card for Sheryl while he was there.) Family news: Don Jr. was
seriously burned in an industrial accident last Monday. I guess
he's OK now, but for a while it was touch & go. Sure wish we
had a phone, so we didn't have to find out about these things four days
after the fact!!
Great letter from Mom
today. She also sent some pictures of the kids, and a packet of
letters written by Great Grandma DeGrasse in 1912, 1916 and 1919.
Special two-hour "Miami
Vice" tonight. It has quickly become my favorite TV show.
January 26, 1985
Feeling a little
happier. Ray got up and fixed breakfast for the kids, letting me
sleep in until 11:00. Later in the day he took Jamie to the
Kirkland waterfront to feed the ducks -- Kacie napped
-- I had some time all to myself. (I used the time to
write Karen a letter.) Maureen never showed up to collect her
Avon money, which was a relief!
Got a long letter from
Dad today. Isn't that funny? -- I just heard from my
mother yesterday, and then today, from Dad. He sent me an old
photo of me with Great Grandma DeGrasse, which I'll treasure. My
interest in this woman I barely remember grows and grows. I've
still got the diary she wrote in 1895 (when she was 15) ...
the old letters Mom sent me yesterday ... and now this
photo, to add to my collection of memorabilia. I feel a deep and
inexplicable connection to Pauline Lamb DeGrasse: the things she wrote
are like a window to the past.
this is the photo Dad sent me (mentioned in this diary entry).
It was taken on Christmas Eve 1957, when
I was nine days old.
L-to-R: my grandmother, Carla DeGrasse
Torgrimson St. John (age 41); Great-Grandma Pauline Lamb DeGrasse,
and my mother, Karen Torgrimson Vert (age
January 27, 1985
I borrowed the car (while Ray watched the Pro Bowl on TV) and took the
girls to the 9th Avenue park. We were the only ones there: the
girls played on the swings, ran, jumped, rolled in the mud
... they had a ball! And I had a chance to do some quiet
thinking. I have decided to try and quit drinking beer
completely. It's been one whole week already, and I feel
good. Can I stick to my decision?
Jamie went over to
Terry's, after we got home from the park, for 2 hours.
broke -- as usual. Still, the atmosphere around the
house this evening is one of contentment, warmth, love.
January 28, 1985
brand new week ...
a cheerier and more productive week.
Yesterday we actually had a few snowflakes: I don't think it's that
cold today, though. I am just out of bed, and so are my liddle dotters.
dressed in her Cabbage Patch sweatshirt and multi-colored pants, is
prowling around the living room searching for last night's discarded
dinner dishes ... maybe a forgotten glass of melted
cubes ... maybe a
leftover scrap or two. She's not hungry: she just likes to play with
the dishes! She loves dishes, toys or real ones, and she's always
pretending that she's "cooking."
is tired and
in her Rainbow Brite nightgown, she's sitting on the living room floor
watching "Trivia Trap," drinking an apple juice bottle. (When will she
give up the darned BOTTLE??)
too early to gauge
of this day. We all slept very soundly, and it's taking a little while
this morning for the fog to lift ... we're all sleepier than usual.
Jamie and Kacie have already had their first squabble of the day, over
a banana. A few minutes later Kacie spilled coffee all over a stack of
my "paperwork" (coupons, articles, etc.) and I blew my top at her.
Still - I have hope for this day. I sense that, under the morning grog,
I'm in a fine mood. My mind feels sharper and clearer than usual: I've
been "on the wagon" for a week now.
are a number of
would like to tackle today: weight-loss plan and shopping list,
coupons, recipes, sort articles, letter to Sue Miseroy in Florida,
kitchen cupboards (clean!)
had a nice weekend.
Friday off, so it was a three day weekend. Jamie had an outing each
day. On Friday she and Ray went over to Peg & Don's to visit
briefly: Ray had to pick up some money his Dad owed him. While they
were there, I had Ray drop off a card and note for Sheryl and
thereby relieving me of one worry. I hope this gets us off the hook for
not visiting them in the hospital. On
Saturday, Ray took Jamie to feed the ducks at the Kirkland Marina. I
could have joined them, but I chose to stay home and enjoy some quiet
time alone while Kacie napped. Yesterday (Sunday) I drove the girls up
to the little Ninth Avenue park, to play for an hour and a half. We had
the whole park to ourselves, which was nice. The kids ran and played
and got completely muddy, with my blessing. They had a ball. While they
played, I walked around and did some thinking in that cold winter air.
There are some important things on my mind these days, and it felt good
to do some "outdoor cogitating."
were broke (as usual)
weekend but managed (as always) to scrape by. There is still plenty of
food in the house. On Saturday night Ray and I split a lovely
Portherhouse steak, and last night we just had fat baked potatoes for
dinner -- a meal in themselves. I'm off beer completely, but Ray used
his pennies for a six-pack of Black Label, to drink while he watched
the Pro Bowl on Sunday. But basically we were both stone-cold sober all
decision to quit beer
awhile stems from last weekend's "embarrassing incident" and the
four-day hangover that followed. All of a sudden, I'm just sick of the
taste of alcohol ... I'm sick of the hangovers ... I'm sick of the
I may indulge in an occasional glass of wine from time to time. But
other than that I'm off alcohol completely, beer especially.
want to lose some
think I may be able to do it, now that I'm not drinking beer. The few
times I've attempted to diet seriously, beer has always been my
was walking down the
the other night, wearing my nightgown, and suddenly I was aware of the
fat hanging all over my body
... I could feel it wiggling and
as I walked along, and I felt thick and cumbersome and disgusted with
myself. I look so bad. It's gotten to the point where I feel too
uncomfortable to leave the house anymore, even to walk across the
street to the mailbox. I know how disgusted I've always been by the
sight of fat people, and now I'm sure other people feel that way about
me. (I'm sure they're sneering behind my back. "How could she let
herself GO like that?") So I hide here in my house, safe from stares
and snickers. Ray has never complained about my weight. I even delude
myself, sometimes, into believing that he likes it. But I'm sure he
would be pleased to see me lose some of the blubber.
go take a shower
get Jamie dressed.
I'm psyching myself up
to begin dieting at the end of this week (after payday)
... I really believe I can do it this time. Ray is
supportive and encouraging.
Average day. I
made meatloaves this afternoon -- a large one for Ray and
I, a tiny one for the kids. (Next week will it be DIET
a dumb afternoon movie, "All My Darling Daughters" ...
clipped coupons from the Sunday paper ... tried but failed
to write some of the letters I owe. It felt like I picked up the
house all day long, but by evening when Ray got home (7:30) the place
was still littered with toys and junk. Hopeless!!
Watched "The American
Music Awards" on TV -- big winners were Prince, Lionel
Richie, Cyndi Lauper, Tina Turner, The Pointer Sisters, Kenny Rogers,
Huey Lewis & The News.
January 29, 1985
dreams last night:
dreamed that Ray and Pam (a girl from Dave's Place) were spending a lot
of time together down at the tavern, and I was jealous. So I moved back
into the mildewy apartment I used to share with Terry Hunt, during the
summer of 1980, only now the apartment was filled with my
present-day furniture and
belongings, and Terry had turned into Ray's sister Patty. There was
also something about me getting a job at Lamont's, and a quick visit to
the set of "General Hospital," where Rick Springfield told me I was too
fat! The whole tone of the dream, as a matter of fact, was that I was
fat and ugly and no one wanted me. I woke up feeling melancholy. Who
wouldn't, after a dream like that??
about starting a new diet at the end of the week. I talked to Ray about
it last night; he was surprisingly supportive and
even offered to go on the diet with me. (He's got quite a "beer belly"
himself ...!) I'm not going to spend a lot of time writing about it
until after the diet has started. I have too many other things to do
today. I will say, however, that I hope that once I've lost some
weight, I'll begin feeling better about myself. My self-esteem is very
low these days. This is reflected in everything from my dreams to my
sex life. Maybe once I start feeling better about myself, the weirdly
self-berating dreams will cease.
Kacie was mischevious
all day long: I could barely control her. Jamie was only a little
better. The two of them together successfully managed to tear
their bedrooms apart, threw most of lunch and dinner on the floor and
soaked the bathroom carpeting so thoroughly, it squishes under your
feet when you walk into the bathroom. Ray brought them home some
Valentine candy: by bedtime they were completely sticky! (Those
sticky-sweet little faces ...)
Drew up some menu and
shopping plans, in preparation for the upcoming diet. It is
slowly turning into a Very Big Deal to me. I'm still off
beer -- no problem there -- I'm primed and
ready. This time I'm gonna DO IT!
Jamie turned her empty
candy box into a "camera" tonight.
Spent over 2 hrs. this morning writing a letter to
... then Kacie knocked over my coffee cup and turned the letter
into a wet, hopelessly muddled mess. Then Jamie's soup went on
the floor at lunchtime. HONESTLY! The coupe de grace was
when Jamie decided to "wash her baby's hair" ... with baby
cream! Took me half an hour to wash the sticky stuff out of the poor
Baked peanut butter cookies; mailed letters to Mom and Karen; Kacie has
a painful diaper area rash, the result (I think) of drinking too much
Ray wasn't home until 9:30.
January 31, 1985
Another one of "those" days. I think the girls
must be suffering from cabin fever; all this cold winter weather keeps
us cooped up indoors, and their usual high spirits are elevated to an
almost frantic level. They literally tore Jamie's room apart
today. At one point Kacie tried to climb Jamie's dresser and
brought the whole thing crashing down on top of herself. It
caught her in the chest and pinned her to the floor.
Miraculously, she wasn't hurt at all -- I still can't
believe it -- not even a scratch. (Naturally, I was
so relieved she wasn't hurt that I spanked them both.)
Ray was home at 7:30 -- I sent him out to grocery shop.
February 1, 1985
morning 8 a.m.
not kidding! We were
this morning by a blinding snowstorm, which began around 5 a.m. and
continues now, three hours later. We've already got more than two
inches and it's still
Ray called it a "blizzard." (He left for
work at 6:45 a.m., but fifteen minutes later he was back. "I ain't
goin' NOWHERE!" he announced happily. Now he's back in bed, reading the
newspaper and drinking coffee.) I'm so surprised! But it's a
surprise. Snow was the last thing in the world I would have expected
today, but it's just what we needed to lift us out of the doldrums. The
world -- or at least our tiny part of it -- is clean, white, quiet, and
very, very lovely.
we discovered what
going on outside, no one wanted to sleep. The kids were both up at 7
a.m. I fixed them a hot breakfast of sausage and eggs, and now they're
watching kiddie shows on TV and wandering over to the window every few
minutes. ("NO!" Kacie says excitedly -- her way of saying "snow.") I
scattered some bread crumbs and popcorn on the front porch for the
birds and squirrels, so there is plenty of wildlife action going on
outside for the girls to watch, too. Between the snow and the birds,
Jamie and Kacie are beside themselves with excitement.
TV just said that most of the country is experiencing severe winter
storms just like ours.
Woke to a lovely
surprise this morning -- snow! And LOTS of it!!
I could hardly believe my eyes. The roads were so bad that Ray
couldn't drive to work, so he was home with us all day. Jamie
played outside with Terry for a couple of hours -- they
made a snowman in our front yard.
painted the hallway with the white paint his folks gave us last year:
it looks so clean and wonderful! He says that he'll do the living
room and our bedroom this weekend.
by -- I gave her $20 for Avon.
"Miami Vice" on TV
tonight -- I LOVE Edward Olmos! Had TV dinners (Ray
and I) for a very late supper.
Kacie said " 'No!"
today -- her way of saying "Snow."
February 2, 1985
No snow today: the sun
was shining and melted a lot of it away. Very cold, though.
Ray painted the living room today while the kids napped ...
the same white (actually it's more of an off-white) he used for the
hallway. He did a meticulously smooth and even job, and it looks
I didn't do much today:
worked on (another) letter to Melinda, clipped some recipes, taped a
song off the radio ("Naughty Naughty" by John Parr). Made tacoes
for dinner. I was in bed and asleep by 9:00.
Ray painted our bedroom
today. He wasn't able to find a blue-gray paint (my first choice)
at a price he could afford, so he painted it the same off-white he used
on the hallway and living room. We also moved our bedroom
furniture around in a different way. The result is a very nice
looking bedroom! The bad news, however: I washed our (dry
clean only) curtains, and they shrunk terribly -- they look
awful. Also: the vacuum cleaner appears to be inoperably damaged,
so I can't vacuum anything. (S--t!!!)
I spent my day reading
a book my mother-in-law loaned me about the late Montgomery
Clift. Still haven't started my diet because Ray still hasn't
bought my protein powder (said he will tomorrow). Big steaks for
dinner, French fries and salad.
February 4, 1985
aftermath of the
a disheveled house
... freshly-painted walls in the hallway, living room & our
... three baskets of laundry -- two clean, one dirty
... a melting snowman in the front yard
... the lingering odor of fresh paint, taco meat, broiled steak,
onions, laundry detergent, coffee
... the kids have colds, and I have no energy
have a billion things
today and ought to get started NOW!
Well -- I
finally heard from The Institute for Children's Literature, about the
test I sent in 1/10 -- they welcomed me to join their
correspondence course ... for a mere
$530!!!!!!!!!! Needless to say, that's the end of THAT idea.
I spent a lot of time
today fixing up our bedroom. With the paint job and the new
furniture arrangement, it looks and feels like a whole new room.
I love it.
Got an unexpected
letter from Melinda -- she sent me a bunch of coupons,
including one for a free pair of children's tennis shoes.
tonight. I made a chicken pot pie for dinner. No diet yet.
February 5, 1985
wetter, though, and melting faster. Jamie has a little head
cold -- I gave her some Children's Tylenol and rubbed her
chest with Vicks. Kacie doesn't appear to be sick at all, thank
goodness. Spent the day doing little odds and ends of
housework. Watched a Wonderworks special on PBS, "Bridge to
Terebithia." Finished a letter to Melinda. Got a letter from
Georgia Rodriguez in Illinois -- her baby is due in May.
Made porkchops for
dinner, which I despise -- we're running out of food
already, and payday is more than a week away. Baked peanut butter
cookies for the kids. Terry came over to visit.
February 6, 1985
morning 8:30 a.m.
by the living
window, watching what may prove to be the final snowfall of the season
... small flakes, shooting directly down from the sky like icy bullets
... it is beautiful to watch, but sad also, because I know it's
probably the end of the snow ...
is sitting at the
eating a bowl of Alpha Bits (no milk, per her request). She woke me up
a short time ago, when I heard her shouting something at the TV. I was
having awful dreams anyhow -- I dreamed that Grandma St. John died --
so I decided to get up. The falling snow took me by surprise. I thought
it was all over and done with. This is like a special "P.S." from
don't see no CARS. Cuz
cars are missin'? Cars, cars, cars! Let's go see Nissus Rogers. Oo!
Eee! Daddy couldn't drive in him's car? So him's friend got him? What
him's friend name? Huh? Mike Pan-mer? Why you call him dat? Him's name
not dat! Him's friend name GRAMMA BEESON! Ha ha ha!"
did a lovely job of
the hallway, living room and our bedroom, all in off-white. I'm so
pleased with the results, in our room especially. We moved our bedroom
furniture around a new way, too, and I threw out a lot of junk that had
been cluttering our bedroom and giving it a messy, juvenile appearance.
The result is a clean, pretty, grown-up bedroom: a nice potted plant, a
couple of framed pictures on the big dresser, more framed pictures on
I a ferry GOOD Mama,
vacuum cleaner is
again -- this time is appears to be down for the count. Keeping the
house vacuumed is the only housecleaning chore that I'm fanatical
about, so the loss of my vacuum cleaner comes as a blow.
diet has been
Ray never bought me the stuff I need. The Slimfast protein powder alone
costs $13, and he balked at that. He did get me some Dexatrim, though.
(The only thing I don't like about Dexatrim is the nervous, jumpy way
it makes me feel.) Ray said that next payday for sure he'll get
everything I need, and then my diet can begin in earnest. In the
meantime, I'm making a casual effort to cut down on calories, move
around more, drink lots of water. I've also switched to diet pop, which
may not sound like much but which is an achievement in and of
was a big article
newspaper the other day about how cold, snowy weather causes people to
eat more and become less active physically, thereby putting on weight.
It's universal: it happens all around the world (in places with cold
winters, that is). Somehow I found that oddly comforting.
Kacie is up. With
braids, long pink nightgown and huge blue eyes, she looks
little porcelain doll. She sits next to me, nestled into the crook of
my arm, happily chewing on a cinnamon roll. She looks up at me
occasionally and smiles, her mouth covered with butter and crumbs. She
is so dear to me. The crabbiness and moodiness -- hers, not mine! --
have leveled off, and she has once again become sweet-natured,
friendly, affectionate and completely charming. She wants to be at my
side nearly every moment of the day. We play funny little games
together: we talk on the toy phone ... I whisper in her ear ... she
examines my necklace and earrings ... I poke her belly button with my
finger ... she jabbers at me in her funny baby language, increasingly
peppered now with "real" words. She loves zippers, necklaces, blankets
of any kind ("deh-deh" is how she says blanket), shoes and socks,
crayons, TV commercials, the song "Ghostbusters," little dolls, hats,
airplanes, her new toothbrush, kitties, balloons, cookies, toy dishes.
She has learned to close doors, but she can't open them yet. She can
climb into her crib, but she can't climb back out. She can turn the TV
on and off. She loves photographs of herself, and she can't resist a
mirror. Jamie is still very important to her - as a playmate, and
(increasingly) as a role model. But now ... finally ... Mama has also
become her friend.
One last flurry of snow
this morning, then it rained for the rest of the day and washed it all
away. Extremely average day. Jamie and Kacie put together a
row of big cardboard boxes, as a "choo choo train," and played with it
ceaselessly, Jamie sitting in one box, Kacie in another. I put a
diaper on Jamie's doll, "Maggie," and Jamie pretended to be "Mrs.
Jones" all day long. She kept asking me, "Am I a FERRY good Mama,
The pain in my side is
back. I know I vowed not to write about my little aches andpains,
but I'm starting to get a bit scared about this one. Any sudden
intake of breath (a sneeze, a yawn, a cough) and it's like a knife in
February 7, 1985
pain this morning. Wish I could see a doctor!!
I didn't do a thing
today, partly because of the pain in my side, partly because I'm
feeling "blue." The girls and I napped most of the
afternoon. Maurren stopped by just after I got up from my
nap -- I looked terrible! -- apparently just to
"chat." I owe her $7.00 still, but she made no mention of
it. I'm not used to having conversations with adult women
anymore, and I was very uncomfortable. (She thinks the pain in my
side might be pleurisy!) I was glad when she left.
considerably by evening.
February 8, 1985
is playing with
Bits ... identifying the cereal letters and then requesting that I
write them down for her. (She has correctly identified J, P, B and A so
far.) She sings her alphabet flawlessly, but now she's beginning to
connect the song to the actual written letters! Time, I think, to get
her some alphabet magnets.
said last night that
have $200 out of the income tax refund, due later this month. I am
elated. Please, Lord ... let this be one promise that sticks.
The pain in my side has
disappeared again, leaving me completely perplexed! But
I did a lot of stuff
today -- cleaned out some kitchen cupboards and the kitchen
"junk drawer" ... baked the kids a few (very plain)
cookies ... finished letters to Georgia Rodriguez and Sue
Miseroy. Mourning the loss of my vacuum -- the
carpeting is a MESS.
Ray wasn't home until
very late, but I enjoyed a little time to myself. I cooked a
piece of chicken for dinner, sorted through a box of old letters,
watched some excellent TV -- "Dallas" and "Miami Vice,"
which gets better every week.
February 9, 1985
Another flurry of
this a.m. Every time I think we've seen the last of it, there's
more. Today's snow was very wet and gloppy, gone by noon.
Ray went out and got doughnuts for breakfast. Terry took Jamie to
Ericka's for 3 hrs. this morning. When she got home, Jay and I
layed down on my bed together and took a long nap. Lazy day,
basically. Ray did the dishes for me and cooked dinner
(hamburgers, homemade fries and onion rings) so I could just laze
Watched an old favorite
movie on TV this evening, "Support Your Local Sheriff," then the stupid
"Love Boat" and "Finder of Lost Loves." Wish I had a really
engrossing book to read.
February 10, 1985
P., three years
wearing Daddy's huge, baggy white T-shirt, bare feet, clean long hair
tumbling to the middle of her back ... hears a siren wailing in the
distance, asks me worriedly "Maybe somebody got hurt?" ("Maybe the
sirens are going to help them," I reply) ... dances to a new song she
likes by Madonna ("Dis is ME-donna!" she announces happily) ... her
doll, "Maggie," is her constant companion -- this morning Maggie is
resplendent in one of Kacie's outgrown baby dresses and a straw cowboy
hat. "My baby's havin' Christmas to-day!" she says. She tenderly puts
her baby down for a nap on the camphor chest, then dashes over to me
and peers closely at my face. "I wanna see Jamie in you eyes!" she
says, looking for her reflection in the blue eyes of her mother. (I can
see my own pale, unwashed face in her huge, chocolate-brown eyes.)
day is just
Kacie, the only person dressed so far this morning -- all in pink --
has pushed one of the little red chairs over to the kitchen table, and
is standing on it next to me, grinning widely and peering at my
notebook, my coffee, proud of herself for figuring out a way to meet me
at eye-level ...
... Sunday papers to read, old movies on TV ("Young Mr. Lincoln,"
"Yours, Mine & Ours"). Ray worked most of the day cleaning
out the carport and the shed. I found a $20 bill in the laundry,
which was a godsend -- Ray used it to buy groceries.
I tried drinking a couple of beers this afternoon but discovered that
it tasted positively VILE. Rather than feeling disappointed, I
was glad to discover my taste for the stuff has vanished: I happily
drank pop for the rest of the evening. Made meatloaf for
Very sad movie on TV
tonight, "Surviving" (Molly Ringwald, Zach Galligan, Marsha Mason,
Ellen Burstyn), about teen suicide.
February 11, 1985
Ray has to be at work
at 5 a.m. every day this week, and won't be getting off until after 5
some Valentines to our niece and nephews -- also
mailed letters to my pen pals Melinda, Sue and Georgia. The hot
water in the bathtub is leaking, which makes it impossible to get
enough hot water for a shower, a load of laundry or the dishes.
Think we need a plumber!
Debbie DeVaney paid me
a compliment in her letter today, regarding my writing: she said it was
"crisp and alive," and that I have a "super vocabulary." She's
the only published writer I know personally, so I regard it as high
praise. I've got a basic idea for a short story, but am having
some trouble getting it onto paper.
Ray borrowed his mom's
vacuum -- it's mine until Thursday. Wish it were mine
February 12, 1985
"Valentine bookmarks," with the kids' pictures on them, and mailed them
to Mom and Gram St. John; also a letter to Gram Vert.
house, top to bottom, using Peg's vacuum cleaner -- did the
girls' rooms, too. The hot water is still all screwed up but
somehow I managed to do two loads of laundry. Busy,
a break this afternoon and went out in the backyard with Jamie for
awhile ... we sat at the picnic table and talked. She
is quite the conversationalist!
Made little pigs in a
blanket and au gratin potatoes for Ray's supper, which he loved.
He is worn out and sore from 10 hr. days at work. I'm concerned
February 13, 1985
Took the girls for
a walk this morning: Jamie held one hand, Kacie held the other, and we
slowly plodded our way up the street and back. The kids adored
it. Stopped next door at the Harlans and finally got a glimpse of
little Katie: she's very sweet, all blonde hair and blue eyes.
Jamie was "More-EEN"
all day today -- her alter-ego, Maureen The Avon
Lady. When I asked her to "be Jamie" again, she go mad! So
I guess "More-EEN" is here to stay for awhile.
The kids got Valentines
from Ray's grandparents, Gram St. John and Valerie, which I taped to
the fridge for display. Ray was home at 7:00 -- I
fried chicken for dinner.
My period hit early and
unexpectedly, but no cramps.
February 14, 1985
The girls and I made Valentines for Ray this morning --
even Kacie took a turn, scribbling with a crayon. The results
were very cute and Ray loved them.
This was payday, so I spent a lot of time today making shopping lists
and sorting through coupons -- needlessly, as it turned
out, since Ray was home late and didn't do any shopping tonight.
(Hope he does it TOMORROW because we're low on everything.) He
did, however, stop by G.O. Guy Drugs and pick up the four rolls of film
I had developed -- delightful pictures of the kids last
summer, Christmas, etc. There is one picture of Kacie looking in
a mirror that is VERY special.
February 15, 1985
Beautiful sunny day, but bitterly cold. Jamie and Kacie wanted to
go outside and play, but within 15 minutes the cold drove them back
Routine day. I wrote some letters, sorted negatives, did
laundry. Both Terry and her mom Judy were over this evening to
visit ... Terry played with the girls, Judy and I discussed
our plumbing problems.
Ray was home at 9:30. He bought a pizza (Godfather's
... yuck), we drank a few beers -- I know I shouldn't
have, but I couldn't resist -- and watched "Miami
Vice." (Gregory Sierra instead of Edward James Olmos: it wasn't
as good.) Jamie fell asleep early but Kacie was a little
night-owl, playing with her Daddy until very late.
February 16, 1985
today ... I felt run-down and tired but managed to get a
few "little" things done (planted an avocado seed, made Jell-O for the
kids, revised the grocery list). Jamie went to Ericka's for a few
hours, and then this evening Ray took her to McDonald's to pick up
dinner for the family.
evening -- Ray and I watched "The Birds" --
first time I'd ever seen it.
Jamie has another new
personality ... "Dr. Jones." That makes four now:
More-EEN, Mrs. Jones, Jamie and Dr. Jones.
February 17, 1985
kids have pushed the
out here to the kitchen and are sitting on it, side by side, pretending
it's their "boat." They are both in boisterous spirits today. It's too
early to tell what kind of mood I'm in. I watch the two of them
charging around the house, and I wonder what it would be like to have
that much energy, first thing in the morning ...
Distinct lack of energy
today ... final day of my period, and I felt crabby and
out-of-sorts. I longed to be ALONE! Most of the time I
adore my family, but today I felt crowded by them, wished they would
just go away for a day and let me have some time to myself.
Ashamed of myself for feeling that way, but there it is.
Ray finally did some
grocery shopping. As usual, he pretty much ignored my careful
shopping list and just bought whatever caught his eye.
(Porkchops ... chili beans ... pot pies.)
He did get me the $20 money order I'd requested, though: I'm ordering
some bras from Lane Bryant. And he finally got the protein powder
for my diet, which will begin on Tuesday. I'm not as psyched
about it now as I was last week -- I've lost some
momentum -- but it's worth a shot.
-- also another day off for Ray. He was busy all day raking
leaves, making chili, fixing the hot water and finishing up the grocery
shopping. Compared to him, I was a lazybones! (I took the
kids to the park at noon, then spent the rest of the afternoon
napping. I'm SO TIRED TODAY.)
Cute Jamie words:
"Uh-oh, spaghetti hose!"
"Rock-a-ROW!" (rock and roll)
February 19, 1985
After much delay,
finally began today. I had the protein powder (mixed with skim
milk) for breakfast and lunch, and ate nothing during the day.
There was tons of housework and laundry to keep me busy, so I couldn't
dwell on food. This evening I ate dinner with Ray --
BLT's (mine was mostly lettuce and tomato, with diet mayo). The
only real crisis points today were around 3 p.m. when I craved a
sandwich (but resisted), and then immediately after dinner when I
wanted something sweet (but resisted again). When the bad moments
struck, I pictured myself the way I'd like to be this summer: 125 lbs.,
new clothes, new haircut, smiling, admired, proud ... and
that helped give me the strength that I needed.
February 20, 1985
Something is ALWAYS breaking around this house: last week my vacuum
cleaner, and today the washing machine!!!! Water and soapsuds
came gushing out of the bottom halfway through the first wash cycle
this morning, while I was washing a few odds and ends. Ray says
not to use it anymore, until he gets a chance to "look at it."
(Which could be a month from now.) What a pain.
Nice letter from Mom today. She and Ken have moved to Federal
Way -- Debi might move back in with them --
Dick and Gina are living together again. (I love family
gossip!) Also a letter from Karen, same old stuff.
The diet goes on, and so far no slip-ups. I LIKE the protein
powder: it tastes like a chocolate milkshake. Lean steaks
(roundsteak, broiled) and salad for dinner, Jell-O (low-cal) for
February 21, 1985
starting off the day by making a big fat fool out of yourself, is
there? (Good morning!)
problems for the last two weeks ... the hot water leaks in the bathtub,
which saps all the hot water for dishes, laundry and showers. And then
yesterday we also had trouble with the washing machine. Ray has been
fix things as best he can. He got our hot water back, for one thing:
now the tub is only leaking cold water, a slight improvement. Anyway. A
few minutes ago I tried turning on the water in the bathroom to wash my
face. No water. The pipes gave a huge, moaning sound, and then ...
nothing. I ran all around the house, trying every faucet. Nothing! No
water at all.
I threw some
and stormed over to Mrs. Kennedy's house to call Ray. I figured that
one of two things must have happened: either Ray's amateur plumbing had
gone awry and busted the works, or else Kirkland Utilities had cut us
off for non-payment again.
Either way, I was pissed. I had no emergency water stashed in the
fridge, and I couldn't get through a day with two babies and no running
Kraft was completely snotty and said I couldn't speak to Ray. ("No, you
she said. "Hey!"
I snarled at her in reply. "I'm calling from a
neighbor's phone, and this is an
That put her into a royal
snit, and she transferred me to Ray's supervisor
wouldn't let me
talk to Ray, either! ("He's busy," the supervisor snapped.)
Exasperated, I gave him the Kennedy's phone number and asked that Ray
call me there in five minutes.
hung up the phone and
into the Kennedy's living room to wait for Ray's call. Mrs. Kennedy
gently asked me what
was wrong, and her kindness did me in: I burst into tears and began to
tell her about our plumbing problems.
no!" she interrupted
I told her about the water being cut off. "There's nothing wrong with
your plumbing ... it's a broken water main, down the street!"
was too embarrassed to
for Ray's phone call - not after the big stink I'd made on the phone
with the people at Western Kraft Mrs. Kennedy gave me a pan of water,
enough to last the morning, and offered to explain the situation to Ray
when he called. Embarrassed, grateful and relieved, I fled her house
with my precious water and came home to the girls. When oh when will I
learn to stop and evaluate a situation before running to Ray for
well. Let this be
to laugh about later. It reminds me of the time back in 1980, when I
was sharing the apartment with Terry and I came home from paying a
$200 phone bill to discover our phone was out of order. I
immediately called the phone company (from work) and began to chew them
out thoroughly, only to be informed a little while later by the
apartment manager that the phones were out all over the complex. It was
some kind of phone company malfunction.
girls are sitting
the table with me, coloring and chattering. "Know what? My friends have
color crayons too!" Jamie says. ("Oh, sis wees gis pwis sis!" Kacie
says conversationally in reply.) Lately we've been getting up earlier
and earlier in the mornings ... no more lolling around in bed every
morning until 10 a.m. This morning it was 7:30 when I heard Jamie turn
on the TV, which of course had Kacie awake minutes afterward. Our new
"schedule" means that Kacie is napping by noon, which is good and bad.
(Good because it gives me some relatively "free" time while I'm still
energetic enough to use it ... bad because it means she's awake at 3
p.m., when I'm feeling my most lethargic.)
just amazed me by
a completely recognizable face -- complete with eyes, eyebrows, nose,
ears, mouth and hair. It is astonishingly good!
The water was off for a
long time this morning. I borrowed Mrs. Kennedy's phone and tried
calling Ray at work for help, but Mrs. K told me that a water main had
broken, up the road -- everybody's water was off
temporarily, not just mine. It was back on by noon.
... no ups and no downs. Made a big pot of spaghetti sauce,
wrote to Mom, made an "incentives book" to help me with my diet.
Terry came by, seeking help with her poetry homework. Jamie
surprised me by drawing a wonderful "face" with her crayons, complete
with eyes, eyebrows, nose, ears, mouth. Will she inherit her
Mama's artistic talent?
Ray was home at
8:00. We had spaghetti and salad for supper. I ate a
moderate portion, resisted second helpings.
February 22, 1985
day ... same time,
place, except that today the girls are munching on cinnamon toast
instead of coloring pictures, and my water is running just fine, thank
"Can you say Mama?"
Mom: "Can you say Daddy?"
Mom: "Can you say Jamie?"
Feeling vaguely nauseous from my diet pill and a hurried cup of coffee
... I want to sit here quietly until the queasiness goes away. My diet
began on Tuesday. So far things have been going fairly OK ... I'm still
feeling motivated and full of incentive.
I WANT TO LOOK GOOD BY THIS
The nausea won't
of a sudden this has
into a lousy morning. First, I threw up (no more Dexatrim on an empty
stomach), and then Jamie informed me that "there's too much water in
the potty." The whole damned thing is stopped up. It's a disgusting
mess, and I don't have the faintest idea how to fix it.
has been so strange
everything in the bathroom -- all sources of water, I mean -- have gone
on the blink, one by one. First the water faucets in the tub, then the
washing machine, now the toilet. Do we have some really colossal
problems that we don't even know about??
fixed the toilet,
the help of a plunger I found in the carport. And I found some
Alka-Seltzer in the cupboards, which has helped my stomach and my head.
(No, I'm not pregnant. I just shouldn't have taken that stupid diet
pill on an empty stomach.)
Rainy. Not one of
the world's great mornings. My diet pill, on an empty stomach,
made me violently nauseous -- I got sick a couple of
times. Then Jamie gravely informed me that there was "too much
water in the potty." The whole $%#& thing was stopped
up! (Just the thing for a queasy stomach!!) Managed to fix
Things improved later
in the day. I borrowed Lori Harlan's vacuum cleaner and did my
whole house. Whew. Then I got a two-page letter from my
sister-in-law, chatty and friendly. (Don Jr. has recovered from
his burns.) The kids were busy and silly all evening,
greatly raising my spiritis ... they are quite an
entertaining pair of little monkeys.
of my evening taping songs, then watched "Miami Vice" (EJO was back).
February 23, 1985
you ever had a
was so vivid, and so pleasant, that when you woke up you wanted to cry
because it was only a dream ... ? Or how about this: you dream about
someone you haven't seen in years, and for the rest of the day that
person is on your mind ... ? I had dreams all night about George
Stonesifer. He was a guy I dated during my "wild oats" summer of
a tall gorgeous guy with the most glorious long blond hair,
wavy as a lion's mane ... dimpled chin ... blue eyes the color of faded
denim ... (sigh)
back to reality. My
this morning: Kacie, fuzzy braids and blue shirt, eating a bowl of Pac
Man cereal beside me here at the table ... Jamie has gone to Erica's
play ... dreams are just dreams. Everything that is real to me is here
in this kitchen, solid and ordinary and tangible. Time to put George
back in the memory closet and get on with my day.
we receive our
refund today? Ray and I are counting on it, and I've been predicting
all along that it would arrive on the last Saturday of February (which
is today). I've got $250 coming, Ray has promised.
am fighting to regain
mood, but it may be a losing battle, I fear.
felt so good this
Jamie was over at Erica's for five hours today -- I spent half that
time with Kacie, and the other half alone while she napped. I moved my
living room furniture around, planned what I'm going to do with my
money (clothes - picture frames - plants), taped some songs off of
radio station KKMI (oldies but goodies). Kacie and I had a lot of fun
together. She can repeat virtually any word you give her to say now:
you can see her vocabulary expanding by the minute. (She even said
"Good cracker!" today.)
the mail came.
all, we didn't get our tax refund, which immediately plunged me into
despair. I was so sure it would come today. Then, a letter from
Melinda, informing me that our pen pal club ("Sealed Sunshine") is
folding. I don't know why, but that made me feel almost as glum as not
getting our check did.
isn't home yet. It's
to five now ... I'm smoking my next-to-last cigarette, Kacie is wearing
her next-to-last diaper. I'm not sure but I think we're broke. We spent
last weekend's paycheck in a hurry - partly because we were so sure our
refund would show up this weekend. I don't know what we're going to do
now. Ray is going to flip when he gets home and finds out the
hungry, but I'm
ignore it. That isn't so easy: I'm cooking bacon and french toast for
the kids' supper, and the delicious smells are making my stomach turn
cartwheels. I've fixed myself some coffee ... maybe that will help.
Ray worked today, and
Jamie spent almost six hours at Ericka's ... that meant
that most of my day was spent with Kacie, and then when she napped I
had some time to myself. (Either way, it was nice.) I taped
more songs from the radio, moved the living room furniture around a
little, waited for the mail.
To my GREAT
disappointment we didn't get our income tax refund today. I was
so sure it would be here today. Also got a brief letter from
Melinda, telling me that our penpal club ("Sealed Sunshine") has folded
from lack of interest ... sad news.
Felt kind of flat and
depressed this evening. Ray didn't come home, so I just baked
myself one of those frozen meat pies, watched "Love Boat" and went to
bed. When Ray finally came home he slept on the sofa
-- Jamie crawled into my bed with me.
February 24, 1985
Very broke. No
disposable diapers for Kacie, so I had to put her in the old cloth
ones: when they were soiled I tried to launder them, but the washing
machine is now completely screwed up and it flooded the bathroom again,
dammit. (For a little while I even had to put her in a TOWEL
until her real diapers dried.) Finally Ray and Jamie went over to
the folks', to drop off some dirty laundry (Peg offered to do it) and
borrow $15 for diapers and groceries.
Cooked a small roast
for dinner. So far the diet is still going well. I wish I
had a scale, though, so I could see if I'm really losing weight.
February 25, 1985
OK day. Got
the housework done early -- so the house was looking really
nice (I even did windows) when my father-in-law dropped by
unexpectedly, just to visit. He stayed for about 45 minutes;
Kacie was napping, but Jamie got to spend some time with her Grandpa.
Got my first issue of
"Writer's Digest" in the mail today. What a great magazine!
Ray was home around
6:00 with the clean laundry he'd picked up at this parents'
house. I made meatballs for supper. Late tonight I cheated
on the diet by having a sandwich and part of a candy bar
... I don't know what came over me. I paid for it, though:
I was up half the night with a rotten stomach ache.
February 26, 1985
Sent an anniversary
card and letter to Don Jr. and Judy this morning -- also
two Book Club orders.
about the way the place looks: with no washer, the laundry has really
piled up, and with no vacuum the rugs are a mess. I feel like I'm
losing control of things: if I can't keep my house clean, I have no
control over anything.
Ray came home at 8:00, just as I'd started watching the Grammys
... he hadn't gotten diapers or milk, both of which we needed,
and then he jumped all over ME ... said it was my fault for
taking $20 last week and ordering those bras. Then he MADE me go
over to Terry's house and ask to borrow money. I did, in
tears. Judy was kind and sympathetic and gave me all she had, six
dollars. When I got home I called Ray a choice word and we didn't
speak for the remainder of the evening. He is a CLOD.
Sometimes I hate him.
February 27, 1985
This is my brother's
26th birthday. Wish I had a way to reach him, but I don't have a
phone and I haven't got his address. Also Don and Julie's 6th
Happy surprise today
(and I really needed one) -- finally took a look at the old
typewriter Mom gave me six months ago, and discovered (to my
astonishment) that it's perfect! All it needs is a
Judy S. did a load of
laundry for me this evening, which was nice but also mortifying,
considering that she loaned us money last night. She must think
I'm an awful pest.
Baked some fish for
dinner, but it smelled so horrible that I didn't have the stomach to
eat it. When Ray came home at 10:30, he wouldn't eat it
either! He was in a good mood, though -- sober
-- and apologetic about last night, blaming his long hours at
work for his "grouchiness." Said he's going to get me a vacuum,
washer AND dryer this weekend.
February 28, 1985
Things are looking
up a little. Today was payday, so even though we haven't gotten
our tax refund, at least we've got money again.
I was pretty lazy
today. I think all the dieting is running me down a little
-- watched a silly movie, "The Girl Most Likely To" (Stockard
Channing), didn't do housework until late afternoon, then took a
Ray was home at 7:00
with a few groceries -- in a wonderful mood --
I sent him back out to try and find me a typewriter ribbon for Mom's
machine. He found one that fits, but then we realized we also
have to get an empty spool to run the ribbon on. I was a little
disappointed ... I was hoping to get the typewriter working
tonight, but I've gone this long without one, I suppose another day
won't kill me.
March 1, 1985
morning 9:30 a.m.
Jamie woke me at 7:30 -- I wanted to stay in my warm bed and finish my
dream about John Lennon, but sleep wouldn't resume so I crawled out of
bed. I've got a headache and a teensy, tiny hangover: last night Ray
brought home some light beer (96 calories) and I indulged. I haven't
had alcohol in quite a while, and it only took a couple of beers to
me light-headed. It was a "payday evening" and the mood was festive, so
I couldn't resist. Now I wish I had
resisted. The house is messy,
there's laundry to be folded, and I'm supposed to make a beef stew this
morning ... but I feel thick and slow and tired. If I'm even showered
and dressed by noon, it will be a small miracle.
house is a jumble.
living room floor: a green, yellow and white baby afghan, a pillow
without pillowcase, Jamie's muddy blue tennis shoes, Kacie's Tyke Bike,
a nearly-deflated red balloon, a large cardboard box with Kacie's
"deh-deh" in it, a crumpled piece of paper, Maggie, a Mickey Mouse
storybook ("The Haunted House"), a pink wool cap, a pot-holder, another
small pillow without a pillowcase, Jamie's fuzzy coat, my Raggedy Andy
doll and a few of Kacie's toy dishes.
the kitchen table: a
pink hand towel, an ashtray containing one Marlboro cigarette butt, my
book ("The Second Twelve Months") and Jamie's book ("The Sesame Street
Yearbook"); part of last night's newspaper, an envelope from my pen pal
Sheryl in Florida, a Viacom bill, some blank Western Kraft invoices and
a basket of fabric vegetables.
the kitchen counters:
pot of coffee, a bag of green bananas, an unopened can of Kal Kan cat
food, one of Kacie's shirts, a grocery list, an old Polaroid snapshot
of the girls, a few dirty dishes, my Mom's old portable typewriter, a
new black typewriter ribbon, an unripe avocado, a can of Slim-Fast, a
crockpot cookbook, two garbage bags and a box of generic facial tissue.
top of the piano: a
mother loaned me ("Lord of the Far Islands" by Victoria Holt), a letter
from my sixth grade teacher, a wicker basket full of makeup, a yellow
Tommee Tippee cup half-full of old Kool Aid, a ponytail holder, a small
black mirror and Mom's Happy Book.
least I don't have to
about laundry or vacuuming today ... the washing machine is still
broken, and we threw the vacuum cleaner away (it was a piece of JUNK).
If I just get the dishes done, throw some meat and vegetables into the
crockpot for tonight's dinner, and keep an eye on the girls today, I
will consider this day adequately spent.
has learned to
doors. She just opened the kitchen door and is standing now on the
porch, ignoring my pleas for her to come back in the house.
... spent it doing little odds and ends of housework, including
making a crockpot full of beef stew (delicious).
Ray didn't come home
tonight. Jamie and I sat up and watched "The Wizard of Oz."
"Ooooh Mama! Dis is a scary movie!" she said when the Wicked
Witch was attempting to dispose of Dorothy and her friends. Toto
was her favorite character.
Jay went to bed at 10,
so I watched my beloved "Miami Vice" in solitude. It's been years
since I've been so thoroughly addicted to a television show
... it's almost embarrassing to admit!
Ray came home about
morning and immediately went to bed for the rest of the day (said he'd
been "too drunk to drive" last night). When he was asleep and
Kacie was down for a nap, I grabbed Jamie and the two of us drove to
G.O. Guy to spend some money. I bought another spool for the
typewriter, a big photo album, a hanging kitchen basket, felt pens,
Play-Doh for Jamie, envelopes, a new journal, magazines and beer.
Once home, I finally got Mom's typewriter working. Hurray!!!
on a whim -- Ray and I decided to go down to the tavern for
awhile. It's been ages since I'd been there. We sat and
talked to some people, drank a few beers (my diet was suspended
temporarily) and watched "Cujo" on cable. Terry watched the kids
March 3, 1985
Weak as a kitten today. I felt absolutely horrible all day
long ... spent most of the day laying on my bed trying to
read magazines and keep an eye on the girls. Ray was no help: he
slept on the sofa all day.
Later in the afternoon he went to Taco Time and picked up some dinner,
also a few groceries. We were all in bed by 9:00.
March 4, 1985
enough to get my day started ... maybe some hot coffee and a few words
in my journal will help. I abused my body all weekend, and today I feel
dazed, stiff, sore and exhausted.
just found CeCe in
closet, where she apparently has just given birth to three kittens. "I
foun' some baby KITTENS in Sissy's closet!" Jamie shouted happily. Oh
Trying to get back to
normal today ... still feeling the residual effects of
CeCe had a litter of
kittens in Kacie's closet this morning ... two black ones,
one gray & white one. Jamie was the one who discovered them,
much to her delight! I had to keep Kacie's bedroom door locked to
prevent Jamie from "loving" the newborn kitties to death!
The girls and I took a
long nap this afternoon. Rainy, stormy day.
Ray took all the dirty
clothes (three baskets' worth) to a laundromat this evening
-- washed and dried EVERYTHING.
How long will it be
before I have a washer again??
March 5, 1985
sore. Frankly I don't really know - or remember - what it was I did
this past weekend to make my muscles ache like this. Most of the
weekend is a blur.
slept lousy last
Before bed I transferred the box of kittens from Kacie's closet to a
corner of the living room. CeCe spent a good part of the night parading
up and down the hallway outside our door, yowling at the top of her
lungs. I'd get out of bed, scold her, let her outside for a brief run,
fix her a saucer of milk ... but nothing worked for very long, and
pretty soon she'd start yowling again. Amazingly, it never woke Ray or
the kids ... just me.
took all the dirty
and towels to a laundromat last night. Today I've got the massive job
of dying and folding all of it. I'd also like to borrow Lori H.'s
vacuum cleaner and do the whole house. Should be a busy day, if I don't
fade away this afternoon.
are two black
one gray and white one -- a standard litter for CeCe. Jamie and I named
them this morning: Coffeepot, Cocoa and Cloudy. Dumb names, I know, but
they're only temporary!! I tried explaining to Jamie that eventually
we'll have to find homes for the kitties. She was near tears. "But dose
baby kitties can live here wif us!" she said sorrowfully. So I just
dropped the issue for now.
them yet (thank goodness). She's too engrossed in her toast, juice and
"Sesame Street" to even notice the cardboard box sitting behind the
fireplace. I don't know how she'll react when she finally does notice
them. Our last kitten was Lucy, last summer. Kacie probably has no
memory of her at all anymore. The kittens will be a brand-new
experience as far as she's concerned.
finally got our income tax refund in the mail today!! (I won't
get my money until tomorrow, though. Now Ray is saying I might
not get the whole $250 he promised me, which has me vaguely
depressed.) Folded all the laundry -- borrowed Lori
Harlan's vacuum cleaner and did the whole house -- worked
on my new photo album. Maureen stopped by briefly to visit this
Ray went out and got a
few groceries tonight. Cooked BBQ'd chicken drumsticks (with my own
special sauce) and low-cal scalloped potatoes.
Jamie played "Library"
and "Dave's Place" all evening.
March 6, 1985
journal is drawing
close, I see. Seven months of my life, contained within these pages ...
I didn't always write as consistently as I wanted to, but overall I
like the things I wrote in this notebook, especially the things about
Jamie and Kacie. In years to come, will I be glad I chronicled their
lives so thoroughly? Absolutely.
the moment the kids
up in Jamie's room, playing with toy dishes and jabbering at each other
... Jamie's bossy voice, Kacie's completely unconcerned, cheerful voice
... I know the bedroom will be a shambles by the time they finally
emerge. The two of them put together have the destructive force of a
wrecking ball. Then they'll move on to Kacie's room ... sigh.
sitting here on the sofa, half-listening to "Merv Griffin" and drinking
my beloved black coffee. Haven't taken my shower yet but I'm in dire
need of one, SOON. My plans for this day are few. Yesterday I was busy,
busy, busy ... I got all the laundry put away, and then I borrowed
Lori's vacuum and did the whole house ... so today things are
finally got our
refund yesterday ($747). Ray is cashing it today, and tonight I should
have my $250 in my hands! For some reason, this has me feeling a little
nervous. This may be the only substantial chunk of spending money I'll
get this year, and I don't want to spend it unwisely. My head is
buzzing with lists of things I want to get ... plants, picture frames,
a pair of jeans ... which stores should I go to? Fred Meyer? Value
Village? Ross? ... What if I buy a jacket at one store and then find a
better one, for less money, at the next store I go to? It's all jumbled
together in my brain and it's DRIVING ME CRAZY. I just don't want to
thing is for sure: I
am going to spend it, and
I'm going to spend it as quickly
as possible. I have learned the hard
way that if I don't go ahead and buy the things I want, right away, the
money is frittered away and I have nothing left to show for it. Ray
"borrows" $30 here, $20 there ... I blow some on Avon and on other
stuff I don't really want or need ... the next thing I know, I'm
sitting here with two dollars left and nothing to show I ever had the
money in the first place. So my motto this year is: SPEND IT! QUICKLY!!
I've showered ...
relief. The munchkins have emerged from Jamie's room, too ... Kacie is
looking at an Avon catalog, Jamie is dancing around the living room
with her Little Pony. The fog is lifting -- outside and in my head. In
a few minutes I'll have to get off my duff and wash the dishes, pick
the dirty p.j.'s up off the floor, begin the endless cycle of cleaning
the new kittens last night. She was SCARED of them!! She didn't like
them one bit!! I was so surprised. I expected her to be
about them, but she ran off, screaming. Kacie never fails to surprise
me. In that, at least, she is consistent.
both kids are
the house wearing mittens ...
The fog outside
lifted - it is a gorgeous day.
girls for a little walk this morning, up the street and back.
has discovered the kittens, but she doesn't like them very much.
The first time I showed her one, she actually burst into tears!
She continues to be slightly wary around them.
letters from my step-mom and my pen pal Georgia.
gave me $240 tonight; I decided not to quibble about the other
$10. If all goes according to plan I'll go shopping (hopefully
alone!) this weekend.
for supper -- "Dynasty" on TV.
March 7, 1985
think I'll let this be
final entry in this journal. Last weekend I bought a new journal: a
notebook the same size and style as this one, with an orange cover.
This morning spring feels like it's just around the corner, and it
seems like a good time to start something new ... even if it is "only"
a new journal. But that means it's time to wrap things up.
myself in the last year or so: I am terrible at endings. I don't end
things well, be they projects, relationships, jobs, short stories,
letters ... or journals. I panic and rush through it blindly, leaving
everything a confused jumble ... or, worse yet, I just walk away and
leave things dangling. I'm not good at tying up loose ends and leaving
things neat. But ... I'm going to try. This morning I'm going to
attempt to end something in a neat, orderly way.
in this journal, cover to cover, one might get the impression that I'm
never satisfied with my life. Well -- I'm not. Not 100%, anyway. But
then again, who is? There are plenty of things I would gladly change if
I could, especially where A.) My marriage and B.) My flagging
self-esteem are concerned.
the record, however,
like to say this: for the most part I am very content. If you had asked
me eight or nine years ago, during my smug,
I-know-everything-about-everything college years, what the chances were
of me becoming a housewife and stay-at-home mom, I would have bitten
your head off. I
fancied myself as something of a feminist in those days. I was forever
shooting my mouth off about how "demeaning" it is for a woman to stay
at home, cleaning house and tending babies. Most of that was just
noise, though. I think that deep down inside I have always secretly
a home and family of my own. Now I have that, and I find that this
lifestyle fits me as comfortably as a favorite pair of shoes.
adore my kids. They
very light of my existence. Jamie and Kacie are bright, busy, adorable
little girls, and I thank God that I'm able to spend these early years
at home with them, watching them grow and change. They often try my
patience -- being a stay-at-home mom is sometimes a lonely existence,
and I often feel cut off from the outside world -- but motherhood is a
special gift from God, a gift not to be taken lightly. And we always
get through the hard times. For every bad moment, there are twenty
marriage has its ups
downs. But what marriage doesn't? At least I picked a man who is gentle
special pride and joy
house. I'm almost embarrassed to admit how much I love it! It's old and
worn and messy, and things are always breaking -- at the moment I'm
living without a phone, a washing machine and a vacuum cleaner -- we're
furnished with other peoples' cast-offs, and the only new piece of
furniture we've ever
the crib. But in spite of all that, this
is home. This is the one tiny corner of the universe where I am in
charge. Here I am free, comfortable and happy.
... I'm a happy
an optimistic person, I think. I expect the best in people. Even when
they fail to deliver (Ray stays out all night, Jamie and Kacie battle
with each other all morning, someone breaks a promise to me), I still
expect the best of them eventually. I like to think I can see the good
in everybody. And I expect good things out of life. We may be broke and
struggling now, but I always think optimistically of the future.
the heartbeat of our
It is up to me to keep things running smoothly around here. More
importantly, it's up to me to keep everyone's spirits up, to maintain a
mood of warmth, love and optimism. When I'm down, everyone is down.
This is a heavy responsibility -- a burden, sometimes -- no one is "up"
all the time. Some days I feel like staying in bed with the covers
pulled up over my head all day. But without me, there wouldn't be a
center to our little family. At least, I like to believe this is true.
I may be overestimating my own value. But I don't think I am. For the
first time in my whole life, I believe that I am an integral part of
something, and this is what gives my life meaning.
can't say how long
content with this lifestyle. The girls will grow up, and they won't
need my constant attention. I may need something more then ... a job,
maybe. I will surely need to branch out then and pursue other things.
But for right now - here in 1985, when the girls are little and our
family still feels new - this is where I belong. There is honestly no
other place in the world I would rather be.
"OK, let's say our
Jamie: "You can say piece and I can say other piece."
Mom: "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my SOUL to KEEP! If I
should die before I wake I pray the Lord my SOUL to
God bless ..."
Mom: "And God bless ..."
Mom: "And God bless ... "
Mom: "And GOD BLESS ... "
Jamie: "JAMIE!" (or Dr. Jones, Mrs. Jones, More-Een ... whatever she's
calling herself that night)
Mom & Jamie: " ... BEST OF ALL!"
Jamie: "And bless Cornflake and Billy, and let Jamie have GOOD dreams,
and no bad clowns. NO, NO, NO!"
Mom & Jamie: "AH-MEN!"
JAMIE WORDS: "may-pup"
(makeup), panmakes, hossibill (hospital), dokker (doctor),
FAVORITE SONGS DURING
On Emotion" -
- "It's My Turn" -
- "Turn To You" -
- "Jokerman" - Bob
- "New Girl Now" -
- "I Want To Know
Love Is" - Foreigner (this was my
to throw a rock?