Wednesday, August 27, 2008

From "The Death of Flora May"

This is a scene from Chapter Four in "The Death of Flora May" that I'd like feed back on. Charlotte is trying to build a relationship with her estranged mother Flora as she (Flora) is dying of lung cancer. At the same time, Charlotte and her husband Kevin have been trying to conceive for over a year. This is an argument they have after breakfast. Faiyaz gave me some good pointers for this scene, but one of them I didn't agree with, so I want to see if anyone else has the same thoughts he did. Here we go.

The omelets were a little runny. Charlotte chewed, the warm cheese mixing with the liquid. He must have forgotten to drain the frozen spinach, she thought.
“Next weekend I thought we could do something to celebrate me surviving this week. That’s if I survive, of course.”
“I was actually wondering if you’d go with me to Tallahassee on Saturday.”
“So you can meet my mom,” she said, making it sound the most natural thing to do.
“Why would I want to meet her?” His eyes shone dangerously.
“Please, Kevin.”
“That woman is horrible. I don’t even understand why you are going all the way out there to see her.”
“Because she’s my mom, Kevin, no matter how horrible she is. I have to go.”
“You don’t have to do anything, you’re choosing to go.”
“If I don’t go, she’s going to die alone. No one else is visiting,” she said.
“Then let her die alone!”
“She deserves it!”
“No one deserves that. And if she dies all alone, with no visitors, then I’ll feel guilty for the rest of my life, knowing I could have been there for her.”
“She pushed you away, she pushed everyone away, so let her die alone,” he said, anger beginning to show in his voice.
“She’s different now, Kevin, I don’t know how to explain it. It’s like this cancer has beaten something in her. She’s already given up. She’s not like she used to be.” Charlotte thought back to their last visit, how talking with her mother had almost felt normal.
“I can tell you why she’s different, she’s using you. She’s just going to suck you in until nothing’s left, that’s what she’s doing.”
“You don’t understand; she’s dying!” Charlotte could feel her face reddening in frustration.
“She wouldn’t even come to her only daughter’s wedding! That’s not natural, Charlotte.”
“She’s only got a few months left!”
“I can still remember you crying on our wedding day, because your mother wouldn’t come, and your father was dead.”
“I have to do this!”
“There were no family members on the bride’s side, just your old college roommates and a few friends!” he said, beginning to shout.
“Why can’t you understand?”
“Your only living relative, and she wasn’t there!”
“Please come meet her, you’ll see.”
“Charlotte, I don’t want you driving around like this when you’re pregnant. You could be pregnant now. What if you were in a car wreck? You could miscarry.”
Charlotte’s face clouded with tears.
“I’m not pregnant, Kevin. My period came last night. I’m never going to be pregnant.”
She turned, and went into the bathroom, tears blurring her vision as she went into the bathroom closet and pulled out a large bucket of cleaning supplies. When she came back into the living room, Kevin was still standing in the kitchen, holding a coffee cup and looking as if something heavy had just hit him. The kitchen had lost some of its brilliance; clouds were starting to cover the sun outside.
“Just, just go, Kevin, go somewhere.”
“In the bedroom, to your office, anywhere. I want to be alone.”
“Can I do anything?” he asked, not looking at her as he spoke.
“No, please, I just don’t want to be around you right now.”
Kevin went into the bedroom for a few moments. He came out with his laptop and briefcase. Charlotte felt almost certain he was heading to his favorite coffee house.
“I’ll be home this afternoon, alright?”
“Alright, that’s fine. I’m sorry,” she said.
“It’s okay, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have brought up, I just didn’t know.”
“I know.”
Kevin opened the front door onto a dark grey sky threatening rain. After it closed, Charlotte looked out the back kitchen windows. Over the ocean the sky remained a brilliant blue, sun light reflecting on the white sand. For a few moments she thought about walking on the beach before the rain, but she knew the storm was coming up too fast. She could feel it now that she was paying attention, the tension in the air that comes before lightning. Even as she watched, the view out the back began to change. Clouds covered the house, their shadows spreading out over the sand, onto the beach, and then out over the water. Charlotte looked out at a patch of ocean by the horizon, shining and reflecting the morning sun, and then it too was covered by the dark heavy cloud.

This scene is followed by Charlotte doing a stress-clean of her home, and then of course Kevin coming home and them making up.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


So for many weeks now I've been having trouble sleeping. Some of the normal pregnant type, getting up to pee, getting kicked by baby, and my feet cramping up, but also more than just that. And feeling sick keeps me up some too. Whatever the reason, I'm waking up many many times each night. For a time I had vivid terrifying nightmares, but those have been replaced by some dreams that are just plan weird, starring many of you, my dear friends. In fact, odds are if I know you, I'm dreaming about you. Here's a few gems from the past few nights:

Lindsey Miller (gotta love that girl!) trying to feed me pickles. Yes, in the dream she was convinced that pickles would help me stop throwing up, so she was following me around with a giant jar of pickles trying to get me to eat them. Right now I don't like pickles.

Potty training Anjali. This isn't so weird as it is sad that I'm so obsessed with potty training that I'm dreaming about it.

My dad moved in with us, and was trying to set up the bassinet. Not pleasant, I think he broke it, lots of yelling involved...

Darling D'Arcy and her sister April (who I've only met once, not sure if I even remember what she looks like) came by when I was in the middle of folding laundry and the house was a mess. They proceeded to clean my house as I tried to stop them.

Is there a connection in these? The only one I could find is me having little control in them. Very odd. And they are all those really vivid kind that make you wonder for a few minutes if it's real.

I am defiantly nesting. I started unpacking baby clothes today. Anjali thought it was fun to help at first, but soon tired of it. "Mommy done yet? Mommy done?" and "Mommy, look at me, you done yet?" I don't know if she understands what's going on, I've been talking to her about it a lot. She's so adaptable that I'm confident she'll adjust well. I want to make her a quilt, I have the fabric for it, but I'm intimidated. Plus I'm still trying to edit the novel, and am hesitant to start anything that will cut into writing time. I think though that a home-made quilt would be a nice gift for her transition into a big girl bed. Still trying to find a twin bed for her, but I think she's ready for it now.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Some news, some thoughts, some rants.

Today we had our ultrasound done, the baby looks great, right size, growing good, going to be another tall one from the looks of it, and it's a girl! Unlike Anjali, she wasn't shy at all to sure off her stuff, lol. We're excited. So far we're thinking about two different names, Mariska and Cosette. One is (possibly) dutch and the other is french. We're going to end up with international children. Already I'm itching to starting tearing through those boxes of old baby clothes, I think the nesting is starting to kick in.

Last week Anjali was in New York. The house was strangely quiet. I cleaned on Monday, and the house actually stayed clean. Very strange. I did get a lot of editing done, a third of the novel in fact. So close! I'm hoping I can finish soon and start looking for an agent/publisher. I want to get the ball rolling on that before the new baby comes. Still outlining the next novel.

Once I took the train into Alexandria with Faiyaz in the morning. I love cities in the early morning, when they're just waking up and all the stores are still closed. Some say that New York never sleeps, but catch her around seven on a Saturday morning, and you'll see her groggily waking. Deliveries being made, all the stores closed, people just starting to stir. Alexandria wakes up slowly. Once you move away from the big buildings where people work and into the Old Town area, you'll see the joggers and the people walking their dogs, shop owners getting ready to open their stores. The stores in Old Town are very enjoyable for window shopping, but very much out of my price range. One store I checked out was call "An American in Paris," and was owned and run by a crazy French woman. She keeps the door locked, you have to knock to get it, and then she instructs you not to pull on the clothes, if you want to look at something, lift the hanger. Her clothes are designer, and are in the triple digits, so I didn't linger long. She's a hoverer, so I used my pregnant belly as an excuse for not buying something, and wouldn't you know it? She's a belly grabber. I had my first stranger-touching-my-belly moment for this pregnancy. I also took Langston to a dog park about twenty minutes away from here. He had a great time, as always, and finally got to burn off all his energy. I really need to take him daily, but with Anjali so young that's impossible. Not to mention the gas to get there. Fai and I got lots of quality time together, we went to the county fair and out to eat. Thrusday night we went to the temple. I love the Washington DC temple, it was only our third time going to that one, but it looks so impressive as you approach it on the Beltway. I love how calm I feel after going to the temple, the only thing that comes close to that for me is a day at the beach.

Now for a rant. Anjali is still not potty trained. I'm starting a propaganda campaign to expedite the process as much as possible. Today I checked out a bunch of kids' books on going potty, and I'm in the process of making up some potty songs. I bought her more underwear. No more trips till this is over. The biggest hurtle I think is overcoming her fear of public restrooms. She just won't use them. GRRR!!!!! I've done this before, with other people's kids, it really shouldn't take this long. I think my daughter is especially stubborn. (understandable when you think about who her parents are) Oh well. We will get there. I am NOT buying any more diapers, so we're going to have to get there, and soon!

My love of animals is waning. My cat, Toby, is on my last nerve. Last weekend when we dropped Anjali off in New York, and came home, he'd pooped and peed in the kitchen. I discovered that darling Fai had been slacking off on little box duty, so I excused the cat because his box was really really nasty. This weekend, however, he had a nice, clean fresh box, so there is not excuse. When we got home last night, he'd pooped in three different spots, peed on the floor, and knocked down the trash can and peed inside it. Yep. This is a new one for us. Toby doesn't like change, his normal reaction is to pee in a sink, which is easy to clean, but this is outrageous. Either he's mad at us for leaving, or he knows I'm pregnant and he's mad about that. Today I was out running errands, and I came home briefly and he'd peed in the kitchen again. I had to mop it up with bleach water. Then I had to go out again, and when I got back, he'd pooped. As all of you who have kids know, one of the biggest no-nos during pregnancy is changing a litter box, or cleaning up cat mess, and here I am mopping up mess all day. I tried not to get it on my hands, and I washed really good when I was done, but this has got to stop. He knows better, he's doing this on purpose. I'm a cat/dog person, I love my crazy animals, and I'm willing to put up with a lot to have them, but Toby is about to make me snap!

So there's my news, my thoughts, and a healthy dose of ranting.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Here we go...just for all of you who have been wanting pictures. Here are pictures of us hanging out in DC. I don't have any pics of our house yet, unless you want to see pictures of the mold in the basement. There's also a lovely picture of Faiyaz in his birthday crown. All the good pictures of Anjali were taken by Faiyaz, of course. He's got some serious skills with the camera for sure. The Anjali rain dance pictures were taken at the National Zoo. They have these mist machine mounted along the sidewalk to keep you cool in the summer and Anjali just couldn't get enough of them. So far we're really enjoying the DC area. Woodbridge is pretty much just a commuter town, with nothing to do but shop (and shop, and shop, and shop!) and while you've got some great prices and good deals, there's not much in the way of parks and communal space. We've got to check out the state parks that are near our house, but haven't yet. We also need to explore the mountains and the beaches, which are both about 2 to 3 hours away. And of course Fai loves being just 4 hours from New York and his family. Now if only gas was cheap again...