Archive for the 'Love Love Love' Category



Books are our friends. A small sign with this adage hung over the blackboard in my favorite class (College Prep English. High school) and saw me through the usual suspects (To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye) as well as extracurricular reading (Kristen Lavransdatter, Les Miserables). School was a safe haven of order and schedule and relatively easy success. As with so many other kids in my situation, books and school and for awhile religion, were a triumvirate of powerful support that carried me away from all the present troubles.

As we make ready for Talky and Tempest to enter Kindergarten next week, I’m reminded (over and over and over) that my love of reading, of school, of pencils and papers and lunchboxes and chalkboards is the religion I hope they carry with them as they grow older.

We visited their Kindergarten a few days ago and met the other kids and the teacher (for the second time). Seeing the little desks and sweet decorations and reading corner was like gazing into a secret hobby hole, where my first babies will be kept safe and learn to read and write. And gratitude and excitement don’t even begin to cover it…



What I Write is Mine, Isn’t it? Blogging and Identity


Hello my name is Rachael and I used to write at CrankMama. I started CrankMama on a lark in August 2006, wanting an outlet for all my naughty dark lusty and sassy mama thoughts. I was dying for somewhere to express the millions of ways I was not, could not ever be Donna Reed, could not ever *not* swear around my kids, cook a reasonably tasty meal, stay at home without meaningful work, give up a fabulous sex life, leave aside 100% of my own ego for my children. I was drowning in spiritual suburbia, and CrankMama was my express train to midtown Manhattan with a pocket full of cash and a brain full of daring.

My computer, anthropomorphized and worshipped, cuddled more than my husband, was my instrument of adventurous warfare on vanilla mommyhood everywhere. My solution for sleepless worry, my nascent feminism and amorous curiosities found an outlet.

As it grew bigger, I became known (albeit only to a few) as CrankMama, which was perfectly fine with me, and this persona of a sassy, shit-kicking potty-mouthed mama developed, at once more than and less than me.

But here’s the rub (and the clumsy hard, repetitive kind without lube), like many women writers, I lacked confidence in my abilities as a writer. I was comfortable “only” being a blogger because it seemed so much less risky than claiming to be a writer (if you say you’re a writer and they ask where and you say “a blog” you just sit there waiting for the laughter). I was chicken. I was shucking and jiving the sisterhood I claimed to defend.

Read more over at BlogRhet

And for those that are interested, I signed up at Feedburner so now have a feed


Writing Grrls Rule

Leaving in four days for another girls-girls-girls vacation. Some of the lovely people I cannot wait to meet include her, her, her, and since I’ll be rooming with her and she promised to show me her own naked self, I think there’s no denying this will be a fabulous trip (despite the fact that she isn’t coming).

Various employers will be hosting evening events that will require dresses and heels. Old and new friends will be chatted, clasped, and grasped.

Meanwhile, those of you not attending need not feel left out. You can attend virtually. Or, lord knows, you can certainly read about it just about anywhere.


And this, THIS, is my new favorite read.

I love you so much, BlogRhet, that I dedicate my soon-t0-be-arriving fabulous red shoes to your soul.



All of a Sudden it Was Hard to Leave

I’ve written before about the joys of work, the importance of being smart, sassy, full of joy and life beyond the boundaries of motherhood. And that is all still so true. But something has shifted and changed lately. Something like this is happening to me.

Is it Summer? The fun we’re having at our new trailer playing in the pool and riding bikes and making ready for Kindergarten?

I look at all of my daughters and love them of course, but recently I’m overcome with my like for them. Bubbles with her laugh and potato body and smooth silky hair, Talky with her personality and her demands and her language skills, Tempest with her soulful eyes and sweet joyful laugh.

And Kindergarten. Is. Coming. We’re getting shots, buying uniforms, making ready for school. School!! As a confirmed school junkie (the rules, the assignments, the grades, the teachers), the thought that my bright little girls get to enter the golden kingdom of education fills me with joy joy joy!

And somehow that makes us closer. So close I can smell them on my clothes and see them in my mind’s eye…. compare whatever I’m doing while away.. measuring it up against time with them.. their worth.. And everything. Everything is coming up short by comparison.





I’ll be 39 in a few days. What is there to say about 39 except ‘Thank God it’s not 40.’ How unoriginal. I’m not sure how much Man Candy will be necessary to see me through, but for some reason it does feel better than 35. And if you’re “only as old as the boys that you feel” than I’m not a spit over 35. So THERE.

And turns out since teens today are such chubs, I actually only feel embarrassed sashaying around the pool in my swim gear because of the octogenarian fitness freaks with 6 pack abs.

I think I’ll have some chips.

Meanwhile, I made my reservation for Blogher finally and plans are shaping up (I have a roomie and plans for drinks and to reconnect with some grad school pals). You going??


Tantrum Zen


Tantrums are an opportunity to find the depth of patience and love and failing that, a sweet secret quiet place to hide while the storm passes. If one were a zen monk, perhaps some cross-legged chanting would do the trick. If one were a sanctimommy, perhaps a good “use words!” discussion would ensue. If one were a grandparent, long long since well rested, vacationed, and slept, one would laugh it all away.

But alas, CrankMama is neither a monk, nor a sanctimommy, and certainly not a grandparent.

At best, the impact of a tantrum on the nervous systems of adults in my house is similar to the visceral gut punch of listening to George Bush talk about the Iraq War: It just ain’t right.

You know that old saw about a premature explicator repeating in his mind “dead puppies, dead puppies, dead puppies”? Well, a similar (if perhaps not as effective) mantra is: “She’s a puddin’, she’s a puddin’, she’s a puddin'”

And when the three of them are Stalin and my ass is thrown in the Gulag, I simply concentrate on them as babies. And think of how darling and precious they were. Back then before they could sass.

Sometimes this operation is more successful than others.


Thanksgiving Past

I met David when I was 19 and a Sophomore at Whitman College in Eastern Washington State.  Back then, Walla Walla wasn’t the hip gathering place for vintners that it is today.  An exciting weekend involved walking downtown for a bad hamburger at the Red Apple with M (the one who reminded me of this story, for which I’ll pinch her later).

David was a transfer student, a musician, and an avid cyclist –the wheat fields around Walla Walla were stunning and unpopulated and ideal for riding.  He was, to my 19 year old eye, gorgeous.  Gorgeous.  Semi-hippie, long-ish hair, and smart smart smart.  He charmed me with poetry, feminist theory (ack!), and his deepening love for me.   I held back, arguing that my position of important authority (I was a Sophomore living in a Freshman dorm serving as an academic advisor), precluded any romantic entanglement.  That this piqued his interest and determination should have set off numerous alarm bells.  But alas, part of that first freefall into love is the open-heartedness and trusting ignorance of innocence. 

I remember going home with him for Thanksgiving to meet his parents. His was a lovely house full of books and classical music in an old section of town with grand trees and lush lawns and old but well-maintained sports cars.  His family was welcoming and intelligent and they didn’t seem to mind at all when David and I went upstairs and disappeared for a few hours to "talk about our relationship."  I remember the talking well…

That evening after dinner, I looked over at him and realized I was in love.  It was dark outside and we walked along a quiet road, and I watched his face as he moved in and out of streetlamp light.  In and out of shadows, he would turn to me then away as we discussed books we loved, life at college, and other unnumerable things.  His loveliness was like a golden thread weaving us together and my heart, not easily lost, was released then to him.  Fully and openly.

A few weeks later, after he realized that his two month pursuit of me had finally reaped the reward of my returned affection, he began acting strangely and withdrawing.  And because you know how this ends, I’ll skip the harrowing slow decline.

David broke my heart.

I headed home that Summer after Sophomore year, wrecked, broken, and disconsolate.  I missed many days of my overachieving internship, cut my hair short, sobbed and sobbed to my parents, called friends, slept and slept.  By August, I managed to recover enough to start running again.  I started making lists of things to do each day…. reasons to get out of bed.  One day it was to see a new gallery down from my office.  Another day it was to eat a candy bar.  Little by little, I returned to myself and to the world I remembered before David.

As Junior year began and my new gig for Whitman’s women’s dormitory commenced, I saw him across campus.  As the electric shock coursed through my body and I steeled myself for that first meeting, I realized if I could put one foot in front of the other and keep walking, I’d get on…and get over.

And I did.