Friday, December 28, 2012

A Holiday Memory

A Holiday Memory, aka Mom-Comment #7. This one goes out to all the moms and daughters, and all the relationships both sweet and twisted, sincere and sarcastic.

In the family room, 8pm, Mom is holding a cup of water. I am holding a holiday beverage. Not my first.

Mom: Are you trying to kill this ficus tree?
Me: Nah, I told it that you would be here soon, to save it. 
Tree Jesus.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Everything!

From the bustling brood, full of hale & hearty cheer...
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and may your days be warm and... quiet.
Yeah. Ssshhh...
It's so quiet here! :)
A slice of this moment:
Where are the rest of the matchbox cars? Let's go get them.
Phoenix, I don't want to play with you right now, but can I play with your cars?
Who has gas?! Ewww!! Get away from me! It's not me, it's not me, it's him! I know. Let's go over here &  play. Him: (very offended) Noooo! I have clean underwear!
Rick: What else is going back? Here's this, tape it up, it's ready. (Daddy, gathering up anything that didn't work out quite right.)
Me: (sleepily) Mmm, that chai makes me want a nap... Phoenix! You're jumping on me & elbowing me! Why??

Love and peace, friends. Peace and love.

Friday, December 14, 2012


It’s too much sadness
 a punch in the chest
babies don’t get taken
before all the rest.
Society has havens
in thee we must
you can’t break the rules
can’t breach the trust
where was your higher calling
your humanity’s in arrears
you dare to touch the babies,
leave us with our tears
Our hearts they now flounder
and wash up all cold
Eyes they well up
and tongues they scold
Little ones and guardians belong in a bubble
evil and ilk aren’t one with the muddle
You take your ugly and take your hate
walk it out down another way
you wound us, remind us of how very much faith
it takes to wave goodbye
and believe it all waits
for the learning and schooling, the hours they’re away
the honor we place in time spent afar
Don’t mess with our babies
they said in loud voice
Don’t mess with our babies
we’ll leave you no choice
Nostrils flaring, chins tilted high
energy rising, we don’t go to die
You leave our sweet babies
go off your own way
We’ll take your crazy and turn the tide
to the ultimate 

tragedy in CT

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Don't Wait

kiss your babies
hold them close
grab your fellow nose to nose
this life it's furious and rolling straight along
this life its brutal and wonderful all in one
we can't wait can't wait for one day to come
can't wait can't wait to say the words we know
tell them love them
crack your heart open and show them
there's never enough time
hand to hand and heart to heart
never enough time

With love, and a broken heart, for a dear friend's family loss. Not mine, no, mine I will bundle in my arms tonight. And thank God we have more time.

Monday, December 3, 2012

These Days

These days, ya'll, these days! I think I'm becoming a cliche. After all my efforts to the contrary, I just might be That Mom. You know her, you smile at her, you feel slightly relieved that she exists - because it means you've got your stuff together better than at least *one* person.
I mean, when did it happen? There I was, going along, brushing everyone's hair, buying new jeans to replace holey ones, keeping my van detailed & trash-free... and the next thing you know, here comes Mama. Here comes Mama with her hobo-children all snarly-headed with Goodwill-looking shoes and high-water jeans, tumbling out of a dusty van along with a spilled bag of library books & empty sundae cups. But she's got her earrings on, does Mama. No matter what, she has those ears dressed.
What is with that?! I mean, the brood can show up like a scraggle pack, but I will not leave the house without earrings. Must be my new major priority. Sometimes you cannot fight the Good Fight of Well-Coiffed Offspring, so you put on dangly earrings & lipgloss. And hope to fight another day.
Words to live by, I know, I know.
Please to enjoy my very own kitchen band. They drum, sing, dance & strum. All using large kitchen spoons with magical powers - microphone! Drum stick! Violin bow! Ukelele pick!

Wicker makes a very nice drumming surface - very whispery, sshhh, don't tell.

Friday, November 23, 2012

toil and trouble

I work my alchemy
with words
on pages only, if you please
Because kitchen magic
is beyond my ken
drink magic too
A domestic artsy bent here & there
But mostly
I am left to mix and stir
double double toil and trouble
on blank white pages
Wishing sometimes I could 
eat my words.

Bethany 11/23/12

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Clearing The Air

Well, I see you have been regaled with The Tales of Phoenix this week... and man, he tells a good story. It's like, exactly how it went down! But, as a small boy would, he forgets some other moments. Like, just this morning, when he woke me up at 6:15 to snap his pants. He was up and already dressing in his dress clothes for the school Thanksgiving Feast - without being told. And like yesterday, when I got him out of class to go to the school Book Fair. We walked around the media center, browsing and talking - only I could *barely* hear him! He had his major quiet voice on, and it is not a voice I am familiar with. I had to keep kneeling down to kiss him. No wonder he shouts all early morning and afternoon - he has used up his quiet quota.
When he arrived home, and we were sitting together looking through his Book Fair finds, he twinkled up at me and said: "I'm so proud you went to the Book Fair with me today."
Gah! Knock me over!
If he keeps rolling out the sweetness to go with all that cuteness, I am in t-r-o-u-b-l-e. I had to eat all his sugar, as my grandmother would say, smashing my face into his little soft neck. Then he got into a "soft" war with me, arguing over who was the softest! Swoon!
That kid.
My boy is changing.
I am torn.
The sweetness it melts me; the wildness I envy.
The boy who dances to unheard music, with hilarity and cool moves.
The boy who takes on all comers with a surefire attitude and a cocked hip.
The boy who can disarm an agitated situation with a comical shtick and turn us all into giggling fools.
Living with abandon is not to be underestimated.
When I think of the brief times I tried it, I get happy. I bubble inside.
I want his bubbles never to pop.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Guest Blog: I'm Still Awesome

Hey Fans, I'm back!
And I. Am. Still. Awesome! I mean, just this morning, before school, I totally was ramping up my house. I was like "I wanna snaaaack! Gimme a snaaaack! NOT a breakfast, a snack!" My Mom was all "Here buddy, how about a waffle..." "Come on buddy, let's get dressed..."and I'm all "ROAAAR! Not yet! I'm not getting dressed! ROARR!" And then she's all shutting my bedroom door with ME in there! Dudes! I yelled "Hey! Hey! I gotta go to school! Let me outta here 'afore the bus comes! I wanna get dressed NOW!"
Next thing I knew, I was on the couch with my mouth quiet, dressed and eating a broken waffle I didn't EVEN want. And if I'm on that couch, you know who I want beside me. So I get the pillow and put it all nice and flat, and pat it fluffy and then let it rip: "Mom! Mom! Mom! Mommy! Mommy! Mom! Sit with me! I got your spot ready. Sit with meee." And then I'm all:

Hey dude.

And she comes over to me, but she's all mumbly, saying I am just like some guy named Stewie. As if.
My name is Phoenix. 
Phoenix out.

Monday, November 5, 2012

On the Eve

Hi friends.
What a difference of a few years! Remember my constant pitter-pat heart posts of 4 years ago??
This year I have Facebook election fatigue.
I combat it by clicking "unsubscribe" on anyone who posts ugliness. It is disappointing; it is disconcerting. I wonder if some friends actually think they are more moral, more spiritual because of their choices. Can one be more anything than another? As though there is a separate level of humanity - the more humans. They are simply more.
I guess there is not much difference after all, in 4 years.
Our local Atlanta news anchor quoted a funny line tonight:

"Wow, your repeated political posts and status updates have really made me re-think my vote.... said no one ever."

This time around I have simply felt silent. No less committed to my beliefs, just less concerned with broadcasting them. Thankfully, my hometown NC relatives have been less broadcast-y too. Not a single right-wing defamation email all season. Last election,  I prepared a special rebuttal, just for all those emails I was zinged with day and night! Please to reminisce with me...

Over the past year you have sent unsolicited political emails to me, calling Barack Obama a variety of names. Some of the more colorful names given to him in the emails were these: Anti-American, Muslim, terrorist, socialist, Fidel Castro, racist, liar.

There remains only one name for you to call him now.

Mr. President. 

I am hopeful.
I stand for freedom and truth.
I am ever and always a patriot.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Life & Times of Learcats

These kitties, they are so tolerant. Well, Chloe is tolerant all the time, Peter is tolerant some of the time. I have more shots of Peter because he is often getting into trouble. It's hard to get shots of Chloe, as she is usually in my lap. Mah bebe! She blogs with me, reads with me, and generally shadows me all day. And who thought I would be alone, with all the kids in school!

 Peter cooperated for this photo shoot, set up by the girls.
 Chloe doesn't even wake up for it. She's like Gumby-cat. 
 Peter is nosy. He is always in my business. I moved this table, put things on it, and there he was, inspecting my work.
 When he's not in my business, he's carrying bags around like a puppy. I caught him dragging a bag of grapes around this week.
This pink ball is his favorite. He hides and finds it all day long.
Pink, the manly color.
Wot? Just hangin' in the tent, me and my pink ball. 
 Chloe even tolerates Phoenix and his exuberant love.
 Peter again, bag in mouth.

 Isabella reads to them, like a mommy should. They have an enormous vocabulary for 5 months.

Peter sandwich!
And that's your Learcat update. I'm almost embarrassed to have 13 cat pictures.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Motley Crew

Last Saturday was my night out, with my co-conspirators Erin (Day of the Dead redhead) and Rachael. Thanks to Erin, who suggested the steampunk theme, which Rach & I grabbed & ran with. Victorian industrial sci-fi anyone? Do you like a little time travel in your life?
We've got your day of the dead, your steampunk & your day of the steampunk dead right here.

Jadyn the candy corn witch

Wot? Did Rickey play along this year?! The Cure & Cole the Reaper


Puppy Isabella!

Cole, Jadyn, Isabella Vega, Phoenix (Spidey!), Mattie
the BFFs

Chloe sez: "Plz let me scratch these down now! Halloween iz over! I been waiting so very long..."

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Daddy's Girls

"I am the wife of the Laird of Balnain, The Folk have stolen me over again." 

I thought of this line today when I realized what I have been doing online lately... Only instead of fairy folk stealing me, pinterest has stolen me. True. Too true. I put it off for many a month, but was finally dragged in by my friend Traci. Thanks, T!
Look what you've been missing around the border...
Jadyn had the idea of a photo shoot, for Daddy's birthday. I had to keep it a "secret" as Jadyn is smitten with Daddy, and doesn't like him to see her looking too pretty or caring too much. So the girls chose new shirts (Mickey & Minnie) brushed their hair all shiny and we had the "secret" photo shoot. Of course Phoenix was involved, much like Where's Waldo - but we got some sweet shots. I love these sweeties! They chose their favorite shot, cool frames, and the gifts are now on Daddy's desk:

PS I tried a Pinterest photo technique (of course!), where I was supposed to focus in tight on the subject, and the background would blur. Not sure it worked. Maybe because the sun was too bright back there? You know there's a "Pinterest Fail" category, too... :) There should be a Bethany Failed Photos Section, I am so challenged with a camera. I have such visions, such ideas! Alas... But! This group still turned out, even so.

And all this before poor Cole even got home from school... the long day of middle school has been a tough adjustment.
Stay tuned for a motley Halloween crew...

Sunday, October 14, 2012


My last (poem) post sparked some discussion with a couple of friends, and took the musing deeper. It seems that no matter what age we become, we never quite expect what it will mean to be that age. And sure there are friends and cliches to point the way, but... But. How is it that we can reach a point in life and still feel blindsided by what it means? Still assess it as a personal soul-search rather than a communal landmark?
I should be better prepared than many, having a husband that is significantly older, and close friends that range to age 80. "Should" must path the way to many a shoulda-coulda-woulda.
I should have titled the poem "What do I want to be when I grow up?" or "On being human." Who knew that many, most, or all of us desire a second act, a shake-up in the status quo at some point? I can tell you, it doesn't have to be a mid-life crisis.
Let's call it the mid-life chrysalis.
A chrysalis from which we hope to emerge purely ourselves with the wheat and chaff brushed off, the experiences learned and the satisfaction of the second act guaranteed.
I spoke of the busted forge, and as I've thought about it, my whole-hearted meaning was just that: authentic selfhood. No more trying to shape of myself something practical and easy to get along and be in the world. I don't have to will to be something I am not.
I used the math analogy because it is so concrete, to me. Putting aside esoteric mathematical concepts, it is an exact science.
I struggle with writing being an inexact science. There are so many variables, so many possibilities, so many qualities to being a good writer, being a successful writer... it seems simpler to not be a writer. (Why, oh why couldn't I choose accounting? :))
That poem was a heart cry, a banner uplifted for being exactly who we are.
And I am hearing from my friends that many of us are crying that cry and calling that call. Mostly inside, sometimes lamenting to others, but there it is.
I look at where I started, to figure out where I could have taken a different turn and delved into a career I would love.
That goes nowhere.
That road lies empty of family and children, as it was our choice to start our family right after college. Which leads me back to the beginning of this post: how can I be surprised to find myself exactly where we planned I would be? Lear Family Plan, circa 1996: family, then career.

Maybe it is as simple as saying: The time has come. (dum-dum-DUUMMMM...)
I am ready for the next act. I have soaked solely in this mother-calling for 12 years. I have raised my babies with care. I'm not going anywhere. I'm just going to find the resolve to move forward. To set aside some energy for chasing the dream. Once I figure out exactly what that dream is.
Am I a poet, to claim and charge forward?
Am I a memoir-writer?
Am I a memory-keeper?
Am I a bit of each?
Whatever I am, I am better at it because of friends. Friends who volley, talk, inspire and commune.
Friends who give me faces to envision and input to chew on as I muse on and around These Life Topics. Holla, ya'll.

A chrysalis is a tubular construction, and sometimes we have to travel around and around and around, re-treading and retracing that path inside until we burst free.

Fair warning, this ain't the last you've heard of this...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

On Being Me

Sometimes I try to forge
of myself
a thing of practical sensibility
and future potential
Mold my dreams into
those of an accountant or risk manager
or some-such concrete job.
Turn my feathers into pencils and protractors
Take my spiral-tipped musings
and make them dollar bills
Turn these words that spill out of my
ear-tips and toe-tips and split ends
and finally to the correct metacarpals and phalanges
(ear bone connected to the...neck bone
arm bone connected to the....hand bone...)
Turn these cloudburst moments
into a puddle of numbers
For everyone knows it’s only mathematics.
Only. Only only only.
To fight against a foregone conclusion
And light that fire
to torch that forge
t’would be a short-lived flame.
Wordy girl with a phrase on the lips
call it a day.
That forge is busted.

BL 10/9/12

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

An Update on "Po"

Hey there, all you Po followers!
(He's a big hit.) (All the rage.) ( Like Psy.) ( See below!)
This week, in an astounding leap of preK skill, Po has gained a few letters.
He calls name-writing his "homework" so that he can be as big as his siblings, and have the dreaded HW.
Now, I don't have photographic proof of this letter gain, more's the pity, but I'll vouch for it.
Yesterday, just yesterday, Po wrote "Phon."
I KNOW!! Amazing gains! Now, hold your breath, because he also wrote "iPhon" and then he did also write "oPhon" immediately after that, as well as some distinctly lopsided stick people. But, still! from From "Phon" to "iPhon" in only a day - call The Man, we have his next techie!

My friend Rachael, and Cole, have pointed out an Asian tendency, from Chinese to Korean. It all lines up, people. The Asian cultures have a clear history of legends of The Phoenix.
Now, this also *could* be an indication of PreK fandom. Gangnam Style was sweeping the country just a few weeks ago, so this is barely a lag in real-time. With Psy such a Korean phenom, Phoenix is on the right track!
Please to be amused at Gangnam Style (first the original). This one, my kids, and oh, let's face it, me too, have enjoyed.... A dedicated Mom, ya'll. :)
Your Gangnam cheat sheet
OK. That's all the info I have for you today. You're welcome.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

What September Brings: Po

Hey hey. Here's what's going down around here. Lots of kids, lots of cats, lots of commotion. I can tell you, upon downloading (uploading? onloading?) this last batch of photos - 80 out of 86 were of the kitties. And I only took 70 of those. :)
But this day is not about kitties.
This day is about the alter-ego of young Lear.
Mr. PreK has been signing his name on everything, and is proud as punch.
Check him out:
"Po" doesn't see the need for all those extra letters. "Po" says "Let's hit the high notes, ya'll. Yeah, yeah, I gots other numbers in my name, but this? This I can WRITE!" I was laughing with my friend about his school persona, and how the kids & I call him "Po" whenever we talk about School Phoenix. "Po" is very well-behaved, and in fact his teacher calls him a "joy in class." "Po" recites the classroom rules and follows them each day.
But when the day is done, and that bus rolls into our neighborhood...
Phoenix surely gets off that bus, and "Po" is left for the next day.
Roaaaarrrr, where's my snack? SIT with me! You idiot! Cry-baby! I wanna hold Chloe! Waaaahhhhh!
Crash bang boom, jump off the furniture onto the table and then onto Isabella's head.
Phoenix is a rather loud boy. But, you knew that already.
And yeah. He does call everyone mean names. Including me. 
He's very familiar with his room and time-out after school. In fact, his attitude could be characterized as After School Tourette's, as he blasts through the house, letting loose all that has been held in through the school day.
At the end of the day, after he's done all that other great stuff, but still won't go... to sleep...
Then, we have bedtime Phoenix.
Bedtime Phoenix requires snuggling and hand-holding (of course), and likes a little role-reversal at the end of his day. And so every night:
"You be Phoenix, I'll be the Mommy."
I channel me some Phoenix, and recite things that he's told me about his day. And that's when I learn other things about his day:
Me, as Phoenix: And then, on the bus, Jack sat on me! And he spit on the girls and Vega!
Phoenix, as The Mommy: Well, Sweetie, you spit on Jack first and you shouldn't do that.
Me, as Me: Wait a minute! Phoenix! Did you spit on Jack? Buddy, you didn't tell me that.

Oy vey, this boy.... he smiles and sucks his thumb contentedly, flashes two fingers and says: 
"Two more minutes. Stay with me two more minutes."
And when he's supremely tired and can't be bothered to pull his thumb out and speak, he flashes those two fingers and blinks heavily... on his way to dreamland.
Where Po and Phoenix meet, and all their differences are of no consequence.

Friday, September 7, 2012

B Quotable

The other day I read this sappy  darling blog post by a mother of 4, who is relishing the act of mothering during multiple nighttime wakings by her toddler. In other words, cherish the moment. Only, the particular moment in which I was reading that particular post, was more like a grrrr-rage-rock moment, not a teary-eyed mommy moment. You know the one.
I curled my lip at the screen and walked away from my desk to find Rick & tell him about it. He listened and chuckled and eyed me for foaming at the mouth. Good man. Always be aware of the possibilities. I hemmed and hawed about child challenges, the frustrations of night-waking, bed-wetting (them, not me. whew.), fit-throwing, and many, many more as I aired out ranted. And then I summed it all up with a sentiment you may feel free to use, as needed.

I have crowded nest syndrome!

You're welcome. Now go forth and let go. No need to rant, when one simple phrase will do. Why let the empty-nesters have all the fun with the phrase? Happy Friday!

Sunday, September 2, 2012


When you're grinning this big, it's hard to say a word. Promise.
Phillip Phillips and...???

I only wish I could enlarge it. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Phan Girl

Oh, do you know what this is about??? Hold on...
I should be put in the naughty corner for leaving poor borderland sitting alone on the interwebz, no updates on school days, no updates on Life When You Can Do What Want All Day... (let's just debunk that one here & now: as yet, there have been zero days where I got to do nothing, while the kids were in school. Zero. My friend Louise said that day will come... when the last child walks down the aisle. Ha!) And, importantly, not recent shots of my kitty babies! Oh the sweetness of them... That Chloe is my lover girl. She stalks me and waits in my seat and sits on the counter to watch me wash dishes. Uh-oh... she's Phoenix with fur!

Anyway, instead of doing nothing, I'll be doing something later today.
It involves a GA cutie, let me show you his adorableness...

Phillip Phillips, at Centennial Olympic Park tonight! I may or may not be rushing the stage. I may or may not be holding a homemade "Phil Phan" poster. Want to get in the spirit of Phillip with me?
Maybe you know this one from the Olympics:

Pay no mind to the dark-haired chick in the video. She may or may not know I'm his new girlfriend...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Introducing Pete & Chloe

Stop the presses! The Lear kids have pets now! Our new 2 lb babies are 3 months old, adopted from the Humane Society, and the perfect kitties for our family. We held a lot of kitties last weekend, and it was evident immediately if the kitty-personality would mesh with our busy crew. One orange tabby tried to crawl out the celing the minute he got a look at our octo-armed mass of squealing offspring. (He was adopted an hour later by a one-child family, with a tween-aged son. He was snoozing in the boy's arms when last we saw him.)
Chloe put her paw against the glass, up to Jadyn's hand, and the minute they handed her to us we knew she was the one. She loves being carried around, cuddled, passed from lap to lap... a sweet pea! Pete was the next one that we knew would be ours. Like Chloe, he purred immediately and was fine with being passed around. Our litmus test, the pass-around.
 Chloe is white with grey, Pete is grey

Sadly, I am not getting much done these past 2 (quiet) days. I watch the kitties and laugh at them playing... they are just so darling...
On cue: {awwww}