To Look, To Listen, To Lose Myself

All about standing August 29, 2010

Filed under: family — bonnieodonnell @ 8:57 am

Now that she’s figured out that she can stand up, it’s all she wants to do.  Katie is not even close to crawling.  She’s doesn’t do any of the creeping the user manual refers to.  Nor is she inclined to roll anywhere.  I’d say that she has definitely set her sights on perambulation as her preferred means of getting where she wants to go.


It’s pahty time again

Filed under: family — bonnieodonnell @ 8:49 am

A rough day on Friday.  By the time I left for work at 9:30 AM, I was already exhausted.  Nevertheless, I decided to ride my bike to work to get some exercise.  I get about 4 miles down the road (and down the hill), when I realize that I left my computer on the kitchen table.  So I turn around and head back up the hill.  Dang – now I’m really going to be late.

I walk in the house and Katie and Andi are in the bathroom. Katie is on her potty and Andi tells me, “I think she has to go…she was just making her funny noises.”  Sure enough, about 30 seconds later, Katie poops on her potty – amazing!  And I’m so happy that I forgot my computer, because I got to come home to Katie’s first poop on the potty.  I have to say, she seemed quite pleased with herself.

Which brings me to babysitter jealousy.  I wouldn’t be able to not-work – I think I would go bonkers – but I do wish that I had more time to spend with Katie. The time seems like it’s flying by and it annoys me that the babysitter gets to spend more time with Katie than I do. ‘Nuff whining for today…


Katie’s first pee on le potty! August 24, 2010

Filed under: family — bonnieodonnell @ 8:35 pm

We’re so proud! Okay, so we’re not really trying to potty train her yet (she’s only 7 months this week.)  But we’ve come to recognize when she has to poop (and from day one she’s preferred to poop with her diaper off), so we thought what the heck – we’d get a little potty and see what happens.

The potty arrived from around dinner time tonight.  (Which I find kind of odd  – you’d think wouldn’t want to push the potty too much.)  Less than an hour later, Katie was going through the pre-poop motions so I plopped her on le potty et voila,  she made some pee!

Seriously – this parenting thing is a piece of cake.  Or maybe we just have the easiest kid in the world. Probably the latter.


Memory, jalapenos and not surfing August 22, 2010

Filed under: writing — bonnieodonnell @ 9:49 pm

Sounds sappy to say, “today was a perfect day.”   Sweating and panting next to a big ponderosa, I stood there staring at its cinnamon bark, wondering how many mountain bikers had flubbed this section of trail and found themselves panting CO2 into this tree.   It occurred to me that this tree had seen thousands of  riders and hikers, and stood as witness  to the many passersby for at least a generation or two.

Lucky me and lucky tree – today, this tree was witnessing one happy woman.  Earlier in the day, I had enjoyed waffles with my husband and daughter, biked to the park to play with Caitlin on the swings, and now, here I was, cruising along on one of Flagstaff’s best mountain bike trails.  It was one of those days where you tell yourself, “don’t forget this – don’t forget this feeling of bliss.”  Catching my breath, I asked this tree to help me remember.

I have a terrible memory.  Of course, I remember the high and low points – but the middle of the trip –  the boring but blissful stuff – I tend to forget.   Why is that?  I actually don’t have a great memory for physical pain.  Falling off a horse, crashing my mountain bike, breaking my ankle – I remember those events, but I don’t remember the actual hurt.  Emotional pain, however, seems to get tattooed into my core.

In fact, standing there on the trail, I was suddenly transported back to the trail in Colorado where we carved our initials into an Aspen tree because – well, probably because it was easier than getting a tattoo ourselves. (I still feel badly about tattooing this tree!)  At the time, it seemed like we would be together forever. I couldn’t imagine a different future.

This fact of human existence – or perhaps it’s just my existence – vexes me endlessly: the details of that particular happy day are a little fuzzy, however, my next trip to that tree is seared into my being.   My wonder dog Murphy was with me, the guy was not, and I can recall – despite my current happiness – the sadness and loneliness like it was yesterday.

This memory is like a taste of jalapeno in my mouth. At first there is a warm tingle on the tongue and then in about a minute, my entire mouth is burning.  Murphy is gone now too, and the memory of the day she died sizzles around me. With that tingle, I’m bracing for the spread of heat.   Our neighbors Liz and Mike moved to the East Coast, leaving town on Saturday. While I’m happy for them, I’m feeling sorry for myself.   We’re all just fine, but I still feel like someone died this weekend.  Someone light the funeral pyre.

I’m still standing in front of a Ponderosa tree on a trail in Flagstaff on a perfect Sunday afternoon in August, thinking  I should douse this fire. Suddenly, I’m back on a beach at Cape Cod (over 20 years ago!) saying goodbye to a family of friends.  And that loss feels like it happened yesterday.  The fire is out, but now the memory waves are rolling in one after another, and I’m knee deep in the surf.   A friendly betrayal – a small roller crashes around my ankle.  I’m moving again, and leaving close friends behind – a wave hits me just as I’m recovering from the one before. The “one” turns out to not be the “one” – a four foot wave knocks me over and drags me under for a few moments.

Why do these waves continue to pummel me?  Good question.   I turn my back on them and they don’t knock me over, but I can’t seem to escape the tides of memory.  The human body is comprised of something like 62% water, seasoned with around 7 tablespoons of salt. Leaving my memory ocean would be like ceasing to exist. It’s who I am, and yet it’s not. Today I am so happy – but still I get pummeled by memories.

Looking down, I see the water rake the sand around me as the tide recedes.  I dig my toes into the sand a bit, and then begin walking out of the surf.  Tongue burning, the humid scent of salt water lingering in my nose, I refocus on the rough red bark of the Ponderosa  in front of me.  At that moment, I remember to thank this tree for bearing witness to my happiness and the waves of memory.

Then I clip in and pedal on, damp with salty sweat.  “How many times will I have to stop at this rock on this trail before I learn to ride over it?”


Mike and lil’ K on swings August 17, 2010

Filed under: family,Uncategorized — bonnieodonnell @ 9:04 am


Katie’s first day on the swings

Filed under: Uncategorized — bonnieodonnell @ 9:01 am


Time for a walker July 17, 2010

Filed under: family — bonnieodonnell @ 8:28 pm

We’re ready to venture out of the hallway (the only place we can hang the bouncy chair) – so here comes the walker.  Her first day of “walking” today consisted of mostly chewing on cookie monster’s head and moving backwards.