savagemama: j.crew Lost This Mama's Address

The other day I got a catalog in the mail with an attractive woman on the front. An older woman. As I flipped mindlessly through it I thought it I saw women with lines around their eyes, some with full salt and pepper hair, some with a few streaks of gray. The clothes in the catalog were nice, seemed to fit well and offered some allowances for women who may not be as firm as they once were: longer, yet form fitting shirts, flowing pants, accessories in the right places. I tossed the catalog aside thinking it must have landed in my mailbox not by mistake necessarily, but by some fluke. I chalked it up to mailing lists being sold and swapped and didn’t think another thing about it. Until Eliza’s second birthday party. [Read More]

savagemama: New Mama Role

This morning Eliza heard a snipet of Madonna’s “Holiday” on the radio (on NPR no less) and started dancing in the kitchen. I spent the next twenty minutes searching for my one Madonna CD so she might keep bending her knees and moving her shoulders from side to side. “More dance,” she said as I finally put my hands on the “Immaculate Collection” CD I bought so many years ago in college.

CD-silver with blue polka dots, it was unmistakable in the flip book that holds our music collection. One day we’ll get around to storing our music digitally – maybe when Eliza is high school – but for now we flip and take a bumpy ride down the bad music choices of days gone by. My one Madonna CD lives in the flip book—along with Dave Matthews Band (circa 1994), Indigo Girls, Lenny Kravitz and Al Green—that we only open in moments like these when I want to dredge up memories of middle school dances and sorority formals, or when I need to have a dance party with my two-year-old. [Read More]

savagemama: This Mama Has Come Undone

When I was pregnant with Eliza I couldn’t write a word. I could barely manage more than a few-sentence email. I thought if I started typing, I might never stop. This last month I’ve been feeling the same way with this pregnancy. One word and I keep thinking the dam holding back a tsunami of emotion will break, the stitching holding me together will come unraveled.  [Read More]

savagemama: A Pumphouse of One's Own

In graduate school, when I left the man I was engaged to but not in love with I moved into a dark little house that had for years belonged to a woman named Frieda. I didn’t know Frieda but I loved the signs of her that remained in her house. The green and red tiled kitchen floor, the red countertops, the pink bathroom. Frieda had moved to an assisted living facility and I was renting her house. I didn’t think she would mind if I slapped a few coats of paint on the walls of the living room, which was paneled in dark wood. I was unspeakably poor but somehow found the money for a few gallons of paint and I spent the first few nights in my new house alone, painting and mentally whitewashing the past two years. I took down the dark curtains and let in the white light of a Eugene winter. I cleaned the kitchen and stocked the cabinets with the things I liked to eat: tomato soup, saltines, pasta, cookies. I packed the fridge with cheese, lots of cheese. Feta, havarti, Gouda and some yellow kind with chives that I would cut into slivers and eat with olives. I filled the crisper with lettuce, spinach and good, dark beer.

Some nights when I stared at the walls I’d painted flat white that first week I would think they were the most beautiful things I’d ever seen. [Read More]

savagemama: George Bush Bought me a Maytag

These past two weeks Seth and his dad have been giving our little farmhouse a serious upgrade. Two rooms to which we’ve always kept the doors closed are becoming a part of our house with pocket doors, paint and electrical outlets that work. Our spare bedroom is turning into a kids’ room with cornflower blue walls, an insulated floor and heater. Our laundry room has a shiny tile floor to replace the painted concrete that’s been there for God only knows how long and a cold water line that does more than drip. And tomorrow, America’s favorite home improvement box store will deliver our new washer and dryer. [Read More]