Thursday, July 31, 2008



Wouldn't it be a fine thing
If I could just sink into you?
Blend between your molecules
Dilute myself in your breath?

I always stubbornly drift below
Or float above, never integrating.
Always with me the tiny space
Between love and belief.

I am the fire in love with the air
I consume it and inflame
But what gift can fire give to you?
Is the warmth enough if you can't touch?

I would that we were both water
And could stir together, cool as rain.
And all my faults could therein diffuse
Buffered by the goodness in you.

(c)Stacie Ferrante

Heavy Blogging Could Lead To Dancing

I have to wonder what got into me this month. I have never blogged so many posts in one month before! Sorry if you had trouble keeping up with all the posts and my mercurial mood swings. Here's the wrap-up and what's new:

From the looks of things, August is going to be equally hectic and filled with adventures. Just how I like it. :) I'm plotting a couple of trips out of town, since I generally am pretty valley-bound during the winter months. I'm going to get to the Bay Area to see my mom and hopefully to catch John P. for dinner and social lubricant in S.F. Once school starts I am going to be prettly buckled in, but if I make some good memories this summer, then I can remember them when I am shoveling snow in my driveway.

My life is never boring. It is a never-ending roller coaster. Sometimes that is fun and sometimes it makes me wanna puke, but I like it overall. I'm a little too intense for some people. I only get really irritated when I try to compare my life to others or behave too conventionally. I am happiest when things are in motion and opportunities for art-making are abundant.

Things are unfolding and changing and in flux a lot right now. Probably because I am excited about school starting, but I am almost optimistic about things. It will be a big load off to stop going to the office for a while and just focus on my education. School will doubtless contain its own set of stressors, but I generally excel in academic settings.

Things with Little A are pretty good, despite the ongoing legal issues. She is thriving and growing like crazy. I am really proud of the progress she is making, especially with her speech. I can actually have real little conversations with her now. Of course, she shines with beauty to me. I love her so much. It blows my mind how something (and by this I mean parenting in general) can be so frustrating and tiring and yet this little person is such a joy much of the time. In between the laundry and the power struggles over eating vegetables, there are little moments of such exquisite tenderness that I treasure above everything.

Tony and I were talking last night about how our long, fruitless struggle with infertility brought us to a place where we were able to be there for a child we otherwise would never have had. While we still both bear deep emotional scars from that experience, Little A is so precious and really needs us. I really admire him as a father. He is so playful and patient and affectionate with her. It is achingly sweet to witness. I always knew he would be an amazing dad, because children just gravitate toward him.

That's all the news that is fit to print. The unfit to print news will take a couple of cocktails to pry out of me. Please feel willing to try. :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Meet my new friend, Twinkle

Image by Kathleen Marshall

Kathleen and I are writing a whimsical little tale about this cute little misfit of a fairy. I am doing the text, and she will be illustrating. We sat down to storyboard it tonight and came up with some really cute ideas for it, as well as a sweet little story.

We are going to produce a book and hope to have it ready by Christmas for people to purchase and rave over. *Ahem* If I don't mind saying so. And I don't!

I think she's adorable.

It is certainly a different kind of project for me, but I adore working collaboratively with Kathleen. She brings out my inner pixie in a very lighthearted way.

Watch this space for news about her and her traveling band of mismatched but loving companions. There is dancing, there is glitter, and there are wandering chickens.

Have you seen this woman?

Because she is coming back!

I have decided to re-order some of my priorities lately, in favor of doing the things that make me the most happy and contribute to my health in positive ways. I have to cut some of the things that kept me from bellydancing. I miss it too much. The hiatus must end.

I am excited! Plus I think Little A might be interested in seeing me like this. Maybe I'll end up with a baby bellydancer. She'll at least be willing to play dress up and I can teach her to drum!

The bigger question is: should I grow my hair long again?

Monday, July 28, 2008

One Syllable is all Ye Get

In a lot of ways I always thought I was more like my grandmother than other members of the family, but lately I have noticed some of my grandfather's mannerisms creeping into my personality. Or at least I am being made aware of the ways in which I am similar to him.

Gramps was very emotionally reserved. He never said "I love you" to anyone that I saw. But the love was there, for sure. The above photo is the two of us when I was around 2-3 years old. He taught me to appreciate nature from an early age. He loved trees, especially, and seemed genuinely delighted whenever I brought him an acorn. We planted quite a few that later became beautiful oaks that now tower over that little brick house.

I never doubted that he loved me, even though he never said it, not even when he was dying. He did little things for me all the time that let me know he was thinking of me. He brought me British toffees and hand knit wool sweaters. On my last visit when he was still up and around, I had gone across town to see my father, and when I got back to the house he had already gone to bed, but he had left me a little note in the kitchen. It said "Have a good night", and sitting on top of the paper was the biggest, most perfectly shaped and succulent nectarine I had ever seen in my life. I just knew in that moment that he had taken time to select the very best one, looking each over to see which had no bruises and just the right blush. I felt a flush of love for him, and nectarine in hand, went to his room, not to wake him but just to look at him. He was snoring peacefully. I padded back to the kitchen in bare feet and bit into the fruit. Standing over the sink was a good idea, as the juice ran down my chin onto my hand and down to my elbow. Perfect. He didn't need to say the words, I could taste it.

He was kinda funny though about people's names. No matter how long your name was, it had to have a "for short". One syllable was all you got. I was obviously "Stace". In fact, so many people call me "Stace" that I don't even notice. You were lucky if you had a one syllable name to begin with, although almost none of us did. He shortened names that didn't easily shorten. Eileen was "Leen". I do that to people all the time, shortening their name to one syllable, said with affection.

I have started to do things like that, or maybe I always did and just now notice it. I do tell people that I love them, and that is a big difference. But I find that for me, saying it seems so inadequate. The words "I love you" seem to not be able to hold how I feel. I need to do things, too.

I wonder if people get it when I take a picture of a goose paddling lazily in the river and send it to them, or bake them cookies, or grasp them in an extra long hug or call just to say hello. They seem like such small things, but I don't do that for everyone, just the people I care deeply about.

I am a very poor judge of whether my love sinks under the skin of other people. Maybe I am not so adept at feeling it when they love me back, either, since I seem to need reassurance of it often. The juice of it really needs to run down my chin for me to get it, I guess.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The End of an Era

I use spiral bound notebooks for writing poetry. Not a very noble medium for what I ultimately hope will be art, but I find that the smaller format blank books are too narrow for my usual stanza width. I need room to scrawl. So I buy cheap notebooks and decorate them with collages. The one I have been using for the last few years has a collection of Impressionist art.

This notebook's first poem was written on 10-1-01 and the last one is 7-18-08. I need a new one ASAP, but I am not sure how I will decorate it, or if I will try to find something sturdier and a little more stately looking. I doubt it will matter, because nothing will rehabilitate my messy handwriting.

Friday, July 25, 2008

All Hail the High Priestess of Whoo!

Um, yeah. That would be me. That nickname "The High Priestess of Whooo!!" got applied to me about a 15 years ago because whenever I show up at a party, riots tend to break out. Well, not riots, per se. Certainly the crazy antics factor of the party goes up if you add my loopy personality into the mix. Especially if you get a couple of cocktails into me. I incite the craziness in others in a fun and festive way. I have been known to turn a normal party into a toga party at the drop of a hat. In fact, I think I was the only person in a toga (made from a rainbow sheet, no less) the night I met my (then future) husband.

I'm a friendly, affectionate drunk. Actually, I don't wait to get all the way drunk to start hugging people. But people like to drink around me, and I am a terrible encourager of vice in that regard. I can almost always talk people into having another, just for my amusement.

And before long, somebody will yell "Whoo!". They are my people. The Whoo! People.

I'm already planning my next birthday party, which isn't until December. But I need some Whoo! People around me for the event that will be turning 40. I need a drink to brace myself for that. So fair warning, it is bound to be a fun party, not to be missed. Plus, by then I will be done with my first semester finals of nursing school and will need painkiller for my sore brains. See you then, if not sooner.

This is sexy to me

Behold the croquembuche, or traditional French wedding cake. It is constructed, and I mean that in an Architectural sense, from pate a choux. That's cream puffs filled with either mousse or custard or creme chantilly or any other combination of delicate surprising flavors. It is cemented together with hard crack caramel. You eat it by cracking off a cream puff and going for it. The caramel cracks on the outside, giving way to the creamy center. Yum. A well made one is not only a thing of immense beauty, but they taste fantastic.

I got to thinking about these this morning for some reason. I have made a few in my time. In fact, I have a scar on my hand from a caramel burn from one that I made. The caramel you have to work with is about 340 degrees, so if you get a little drop on you, you are gonna feel it!

One of the croquembuche that I made for a Christmas party was filled with raspberry mousse (Chambord), drizzled all over with bittersweet chocolate and decorated with hand modeled white chocolate roses. At the end of the party there were a few cream puffs that got used in a drunken food fight. What a mess! They really explode when they hit their target!

I just think they are beautiful and interesting, so I thought I would share.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thrillers that DO!- In Bruges

Just watched "In Bruges" last night, and I really liked it. It is technically classified as a thriller, but the writing on it gave it some real comedic touches. The cast was amazing. I have heretofore not thought much of Colin Farrell as an actor, but he gave a nuanced and even endearing performance as a hit man in hiding after he accidentally kills a child. The script contains a lot of quirks that make the outcome less formulaic and so unique. Great performances and beautiful settings shot on location in Belgium.
For sure, people get shot and there is some graphic violence and language, but I would rank it among the best films of 2008 so far.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Oh, and your measles shot might give you measles!

Just call me the human pincushion. I had to go to the county Health Department today and get a bunch of vaccinations. Nursing school is really about just trying to not get sick while you learn to treat sick people. Geez. I am currently wearing 3 band aids on my upper arms. You'll be proud of me that I didn't cry or anything, but nobody even gave me a sucker for my trouble.

So the nurse tells me that two of the three shots I got today have the tendency to cause a disease-like reaction. So my measles shot may give me measles, and the chicken pox one may make me get chicken pox.

Dude, I am only taking the damn chicken pox vaccine because I never had it as a kid! I don't have wisdom teeth either, are they gonna insert them so I can get them pulled? *slaps forehead*

School starts in a month, and now I hear that in 6-10 days I may get terribly sick. Or, like, not.

I haven't taken enough time off. I am starting to panic a little. I need more vacation before this starts! Quick! Someone give me a good excuse to get outta Reno for a few days!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Tony Slang

One thing that Tony and I have in common is the tendency to make up words for things. The collection of funny slang we have between us is part of our shorthand. Since we have known each other almost 20 years, it saves a lot of time that we have our own language. I have covered some Stacie-isms in this space, but Tony has a few that are commonly used:

Ferrante Hive-Mind: The fact that after being married for 13 years, we are pretty sure we just have the one brain between us. There is a lot of finishing each other's sentences that goes on. Some of those sentences would be pretty obscure, too.

Lobster Shower: The fact that Stacie likes the shower so hot that the skin goes super pink. Tony likes it at least 10 degrees cooler.

There are lots more, but those two came to mind.

Always missing someone

It is no coincidence that my ultimate vision of heaven is a long, sumptuously set dinner table with all of my loved ones sitting around it. Everyone eats, drinks wine, talks, sings, and generally frolics in an unending banquet of lovely conversation and amusements. Paradise.

Because that will totally never happen in real life.

I have moved around, my friends and family have scattered to to point where we are literally spread all over the world. Not even a school reunion would get everyone in one place. I had one very bitter person tell me, upon leaving my acquaintance, that she thought there was some flaw in my character that made my friends move as far from me as possible. That was totally mean of her to say, and I know I am not the center of the universe so that isn't even possible.

I'm actually really proud of the varied journeys of my far flung friends and family. They are people going places. I get around a little myself. But unless I come into enormous wealth, I can't get to New Zealand, China, Alliance, New York, Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Boulder this year. I have people I love in all those places, and those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

Everywhere I go, I always miss someone. I just want to pull the strings and gather everyone a little closer today. I'm really blessed with a lot of love in my life, it just seems as far away as it really is today. Then again, I don't even spend enough time with my friends and family that are actually in town. Go figure.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Friendly Reminder to Wear Sunscreen

Don't let this happen to you...

We were up at Lake Tahoe, and I was so busy looking after Little A and making sure SHE was wearing sunscreen, that I totally forgot to put some on myself. OOOOOOWWWWWWWW!!!!

This pic was taken a few hours after we got home, and right after I took a cold shower to try and cool the burn.

I swear, I am a smart woman, but in some ways I am just dumb.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Quote- Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck, (1892-1973), recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 and of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1938, said the following about Highly Sensitive People:

"The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive.

To him... a touch is a blow,

a sound is a noise,

a misfortune is a tragedy,

a joy is an ecstasy,

a friend is a lover,

a lover is a god,

and failure is death.

Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create - - - so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating." -Pearl S. Buck

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I am a Spectacular Failure

That is, I am willing, to an extent, to fail. Of course it makes me miserable sometimes when I do, but when something is important to me, I'll go out on a limb. Following that metaphor, I do fall out of the tree entirely sometimes, but other times I get a spectacular view.

I like the whole "nothing ventured, nothing gained" approach. I adore trying new things and meeting new people. Maybe sometimes it looks a little random the way I throw myself into the deep end of new projects and try to clumsily swim. Luckily for me, if I can get into the right frame of mind, I don't mind looking like a fool if it gets a laugh out of my friends. Since I can't really pull off "graceful", I'll go with coltish and hopefully end up just like a cute little dope if I mess up.

I know so many talented and interesting people that I do feel like the court jester on occasion. My life feels like a slapstick, madcap comedy to the outsider's gaze. That suits me fine most of the time, but lately shit has been so damn serious that efforts to lighten things up have seemed Sisyphean.

I for one can't wait until school starts. Of course, the people at work are not making it easy for me. Some are just jealous, because my scholarship is a huge benefit that they have not worked to get like I had to. If they want to get all bitchy because they didn't choose to spend two years taking grueling biology classes to prepare for the nursing program, I can't really do anything about that.

I found out through the grapevine that even though I am leaving in a few weeks, they aren't content to leave me in my same desk until I go, and are moving me to a smaller one this week. I'm mostly just annoyed that I wasn't told earlier or, I don't know, by management. Geez.

But I get to throw myself into an intense course of study soon. I actually CAN'T fail at that. I have a contract that says I have to keep a certain GPA or risk severe penalties. Fortunately for me, I have a pretty good noodle on my shoulders, and tend to get very good grades.

I need to take up actual juggling, since I do so much virtual juggling. The fact that I can't juggle seems out of character for me. I should be able to do all kinds of circus tricks. I already twist myself in knots to try to meet the needs of the people around me!

New adventures are coming. I am so sick of waiting. Once I am neck deep in it I may regret saying that, but won't it be nice to have some measure of forward momentum again?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Song From My Mixtape #4

Lonely in your Nightmare-Duran Duran

Even on the darkest night when empty promise means empty hand
And soldiers coming home like shadows turning red
When the lights of hope are fading quickly then look to me
I'll be your homing angel,I'll be in your head.

Because you're lonely in your nightmare let me in...
And there's heat beneath your winter let me in...

I see the delta traces living lonely out on the limb.
And a passing glimmer warm beneath your skin
Please tread gently on the ground when all around you earthturns to fire
Only get a second chance when danger's on the wind.

Because you're lonely in your nightmare let me in...
Because there's heat beneath your winter let me in...-

Must be lucky weather when you find the kind of wind that you need
C'mon show me all the light and shade that made your name
I know you've got it in your head, I've seen that look before
You've built your refuge turns you captive all the same

Because you're lonely in your nightmare let me in...
And it's barren in your garden let me in...
Because there's heat beneath your winter let me in..
Because you're so lonely in your nightmare let me in..
And it's cold out on your stone range let me in...
coz you've waited through your ice age let me in...
Because you're so lonely in your nightmare let me in..
And it's cold out on your stone range let me in...
Because there's heat beneath your winter let me in..

Do, do-do, do do do do
Do, do-do, do do do do

Monday, July 14, 2008

Seems Pretty Simple

I was just outside in the courtyard at the hospital, sitting on a park bench, when I witnessed a hasty date between a pair of what I am guessing were Mountain Chickadees like the one pictured above. Well, the male looked like that, anyway. They were sitting side by side on a length of pipe.

In the space of about a minute, he mated with her like 6 times, until he knocked her off of the pipe. She looked at him for a second, ruffled her feathers, and then took off.

He sat there chirping for a minute, trying to get the attention of another female. She pecked around on the ground near him for a while, but ultimately did not succumb to his charms and flew away.

He repositioned himself in a nearby tree and kept trying, bless him. He's probably out there working it still.

Trying to be different by being the same.

I'm choking on my own quirks, here. It has stopped being hilarious to me that I am wired up so differently from everyone else. I know I can't change a lot of that, but I am working on the little things:
  • I have recently started doing a "double knot" on my athletic shoes so they don't come untied. I have a phobia that I'm going to get a bug in my shoe if I can't get it off right away, but it is just annoying that I can't seem to tie my shoes so that they stay tied. I'm a grown woman; I shouldn't have to have my husband tie my shoes for me.
  • I force myself to go out when I would rather stay in and draw the curtains. I don't always like it, but the fresh air (when it isn't all smoky) has to do me some good.
  • I'm cutting back on my caffeine consumption. Having the heart rate of a hummingbird will not help me get any more work done.

It's a start.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Holy Hell-Anyone want some SPERM?*meltdown alert*

*Cue Stacie's head falling off*

Fuck, fuck, FUCK!!!!!

I just got around to opening the mail, and I got a letter from our old fertility specialist. It seems that, despite our request that they destroy it, they still have a specimen of donor sperm that they kept in cryo storage for us. Ugh, They sent us a hefty bill for the storage fee and asked us what we wanted done with it. AGAIN.

Mind you, we stopped trying to get pregnant almost 2 years ago. Me and my modern fucking problems. I am not in a place emotionally right now where I want to make decisions about what to do with live (albeit frozen) sperm. Seems an easy solution to just bin it, right? Yet I find myself doing a double take over it.

I had to really wrestle with the decision the last time this came up. I really thought that was over. After numerous unsuccessful tries with two different donors, a pregnancy was just not forthcoming for us. Now, I am 39 and about to enter a challenging nursing program and we are dealing with the emotional upheaval that is the situation with Little A.

Oh, bloody hell! Why is the subject of pregnancy coming up so much lately? Two of my sisters-in-law just gave birth to beautiful baby boys. The family is not hurting for grandchildren.

I might as well face it that I am going to go into menopause without ever having given birth. I thought I was okay with that. I thought I had grieved that and put it behind me with a disingenuous but cheery wave. I joked to myself about the superior muscle tone of my pelvic floor. I joked to myself that out of all my in-laws, Tony and I have the only girl in the family. My reproductive life, although not productive, is over. Taking their essentially clerical error as a sign that we should try again is a dangerous recipe for heartache that I would not be able in any way to tolerate. It ripped my heart out to do that stuff when I was really motivated to do it.

This fucking sucks. It is like a huge, cold slap in the face. I didn't need this right now. Obviously we are going to have to deal with this: fighting with them over the bill and getting that sperm chucked out. If I really have to pay the bill on that I am going to be pissed.

And yet when they do throw it out I know I will be unaccountably sad. Not that I attach any romantic ideas to it. I was always ambivalent to entering into potential parenthood in those science experiment conditions, instead of an act of love. It was painful, clinical and devoid of passion. But scant hope though it was, it was all we had in the way of options. Really, I have no business passing my DNA to anyone, anyway. Maybe it would be nice to have a kid that looked a little like me, but I never really placed importance on that in the first place.

I did not know this still had the power to cause me this much pain. It is just bad timing, really. Just a stupid mistake. Somebody stop the ride, I wanna get off.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Need more of this

Photo Caption: Kari's wedding (her new hubby John in the background)

Laughter and tears of joy. I need WAY more of this in my life right now. I'll take the laugh lines and everything.

Don't have much to say about it, but it is a great photo and reminds me of how overcome with emotion I was at Kari and John's happiness. Seriously, I'm weeping in almost all of the photos. But so happy.

Of course, being on the beach on the north shore of Oahu didn't hurt either for calming my psyche. Something about the softness of the perfumed air there that unravels the knots in my noggin. Even making the wedding cake in such humid conditions didn't dampen my fun, although schlepping the cake down the road about gave me fits. Once the cake was set up on the table and I could relax, it was all good.

Good memories of that weekend. Lots of love and lots of tequila with cinnamon dredged orange slices. For a cynical old crab-apple, I really do love weddings. Maybe, like my mother, I really am a romantic at heart.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Why I love my friends so much

Doesn't this picture say it all? That's Will and I, circa 1988 or so at a party in Santa Cruz. It wasn't a a date or anything, we were and are still just good friends, albeit with heavy flirting. He was spinning my chair until I got SO dizzy. We were cracking up. I don't even have my eyes open, but this is one of my favorite photos of myself. Good, good times.

I think I am going to sort through my old photos and do a series here of either old friend photos, or just pics of me laughing my head off. I have quite a few.

So, obviously I have been on an emotional roller coaster the last few weeks. I was feeling very isolated and sad and not so lovable. In the last week or two, my peeps have been coming out of the woodwork to show me some love, so here's my open letter of thanks. I fucking love every one of you guys. Big time.

Will: We will start with him since I'm using his pic today. Will's a total dude. He's a great combination of smartass and sweetie. He e-mailed me a few days ago, just shooting the shit with me. He always makes me laugh. He reminded me that my loopy antics and affectionate nature are part of my charm. And he's a new parent, so his non-sleeping time is at a premium.

Colin: The other bookend to Will, Colin saw my gloomy blog posts and sent me a hilarious note full of funny links, videos, and even a photoshopped picture of himself in drag, with the admonition to "Smile, darnit!" He's good at making me smile.

Kari: Kari's the goods. She reminded me that I have always needed a little drawing out, but that I am really only a "wannabe hermit", and my social nature generally wins the day. She makes me feel good when she admires all the nutty artistic things I do. Being praised for my creativity always makes me smile. She knows all about being a Type A alpha girl, and how being a "moody bitch", while funny, isn't exactly good for harmony at home. Happy=Better, right?

Audrey: Audrey talked me off the ledge gently but firmly when I was hitting the nadir of my self-loathing this week. She pointed out that I was beating myself up over how I "should" feel and how I "should" act, and if I didn't remove that word from my vocabulary that instant, she was gonna let me have it. Without her love and concern I doubt I would have made it this week. She pretty much took a hold of me and told me, in a very loving way, to get a fucking grip and stop obsessing over stuff I can't change. Oh, and to lighten up and try to have a litte more fun, especially with the Mister in my house. She loves me and she says so.

Tony: Yes, Tony is my friend as well as my spouse. Most people know that we were actually friends for years before I woke up and decided I wanted a nice man to marry. Luckily, he was stalking me at the time. Hee hee. He told me that if I am having insomnia and even he's deep asleep, he wants me to wake him up so I won't feel so lonely. I don't know why that had not occured to me. I never give him enough credit. He's a peach. He also did a lot of daddy time last weekend with Little A so that I could go out and take an improv workshop and go to the gym.

Chris: She gets appropriately outraged on my behalf when I tell her all the loopy things that go on with Little A's legal woes. That and even though she is totally busy with a schedule that puts mine to shame, she makes time to swap funny parenting stories with me. She's going to be my dance teacher as soon as that place sets up her dang classes!

Keith: Just came back into my life by total random chance (I generally don't believe in coincidence at all) after 25 years apart and has been a total doll to me. He reminded me that I always was a bit of a klutz, but that it has always been sorta cute what a spaz I am. The word that always comes up when I think of him is "lovely". He's a lovely person.

Kathleen: She understands. She gets it. She will get a cocktail with me next week if I have to drag her by the hair. She knows about balancing art with the "day job" and how it sucks that we have to do that. She knows that even when I am flailing about, I will still offer my shoulder for her to lean on. In fact, it snaps me out of it a little to be of use to someone else. Plus, she likes it when I make cake.

Kelley: My brother from another mother. Kel's got the stuff. I want every good thing in the universe for him. He puts up with my antics and also helps me understand some of what goes on with Little A, since that is his field of expertise. I almost never pick his brain on the child psychology thing with him as much as tease him mercilessly about why he is single when he is so damn sexy. He's a cutie, but so much more than that he is brilliant and possessed of a dry wit. We talk about Freud and Jung and have good natured discussions about writing.

Ted: God, I have a lot of dude friends, don't I? Ted is so supportive of me cussing a blue streak. I don't know anyone else who would cheer me on when I am being so repulsively crass. He's a good friend to me and especially to Tony. He's promised to take Tony out and ladle Black Bush into him until he is nice and pliable again. I'm gonna make sure those two get some golf course time soon. Then after we'll work together on whatever dinner strikes our fancy. When Ted and I cook together there is a sure chance that something awsome will come out of it. Ted roasts the brined chickens in my personal version of heaven.

John P: We always have good talks. He gets the whole adoption thing. I love his smarty-pants humor and the fact that he just gets me without a lot of seeming effort. We simply must end up in the same city very soon for drinks and dinner.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sometimes Sorrow Serves

Image credit (to the best of my ablility) : Madrigal of Sorrow by_restmlin

I know I have been gloomy lately. I'm working on it. I have been on the phone the last few days with some of my most trusted friends, and one of the things I have promised to do is keep talking, keep checking in as it were. I have promised lots of things about calling them first before...whatever stupid thing I am contemplating at the moment.

I'm going to be okay; I always am.

Getting to a really sorrowful place is not the worst thing that can happen to a person. It is a crucible of sorts, where non-essential things are vaporized and you can see what is really vital. I can see the ways in which I have been childish and self-indulgent. I can see the ways I have hidden from my life behind petty and irrelevant distractions.

What really matters:

  1. My family: My husband and child, my mom
  2. Friends: they give me perspective and love.
  3. Art: being around my artistic companions, feeding my soul with their energy and giving something back.
  4. My health: I need to keep doing those things that nourish and support my body.
  5. My dog: Just because I know she loves me.
  6. Music: I am having a love affair with my iPod. That probably can't hurt.

What doesn't really matter:

  1. Stupid co-worker gossip: What they think of me going off to school is irrelevant.
  2. What Little A's parents do to me or say about me or think about me.
  3. All the choices I have made in the past: I can't change them and twisting in knots over them now might literally kill me.
  4. Toxic people who want to prick me to see if I bleed. I do. Enough said.
  5. My own opinion of myself: to a degree, I can't be trusted to have a high enough opinion of myself at the moment.
  6. My house: Yes, we have outgrown it a bit. Probably won't move until next year, so no point worrying about it now.

That's about it. I need to make art and love those who warrant it. That is enough for now. Trying to reach beyond that with current serotonin levels is too much. I hate placing limits on myself like that, but I also need to stop the self-flaggellation, I have already gone too far with that. I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Case for Being Closed

What is inside? Who, me? Who cares?

Despite my scientific leanings, I'm really more of an alchemist. I consider myself an artist in search of the ultimate day job. I was a chef and I know what it takes to make money off of your art, and it involves sacrifices in the realm of family life that I just wasn't willing to make at the time. Sometimes in my dark heart I worry that means that in making the choice to walk away from that career, I chose to never be a great artist.

I still write, though, and do other artistic things. I am coming to realize that I would much rather that people look at me through the lens of my art than looking too close at me personally. My art is something that I can edit and polish and hide altogether if I am not happy with it. To a degree I like to hide behind it. It is still me in that it is an expression of who I am, albeit a more abstract or esoteric one.

Me as a person, though? I'm messy, intemperate, and self-deprecating. If you tell me that you like a piece of art that I have made or a performance that I have put on, I will beam and carry that compliment with me for weeks. If you tell me that after a look at the insides of me, that you like me, tongue firmly in cheek, I'm sorry to say that I will probably think you are a little nuts.

Not that I don't have my good points. I know I am the life of the party. I know that I make complex and delicious birthday cakes. I know that I am a loyal friend. I know that in the right frame of mind I am as cute as a speckled pup under a red wagon. But I also know that I can be a pestering, insecure pain in the ass. I'm untrusting and cynical.

I try very hard to show the world my bright and cheery side. It isn't artifice, I really am trying to be positive and allow my destiny to unfold the way it is meant to. But I can't resist the temptation to stick my fingers in it, and that's when things go all sideways.

What's inside me? Like everyone, what is inside me is a measure of pain along with all the other good things. An inner child with a compulsion for picking the fuzz off of her blankie until it is threadbare.

I don't want you to look at what is inside me, because for the most part the things that cause me pain are things that no one can do anything about. It seems almost pointless to talk to people about what makes me sad. Everyone has their burdens, right?

Most people don't have a concept of what doing legal risk foster care placements is like. Honestly, unless I am talking to another foster parent who has been there, people just get overwhelmed when I tell them what is going on with Little A's case plan. Their eyes glaze over. I'm not trying to be a martyr here, but it is horribly painful and terribly scary, so much more so that I could have imagined. I mean, you take all these training classes and everything, but the reality is something else. People wonder aloud why I don't just stop, but at this point we are talking about the life of a small, defenseless and very sensitive child. I remember being a kid like that. I would rather suffer a hundred times daily than see her come to harm. Luckily for her, even though I am damaged in some ways, I know how to shoulder pain. Doesn't mean I don't feel it, but I can take it if it means that she can maintain a little of her remaining innocence.

The fact that I can make art at all right now has to be some kind of proof that I have more grit than I give myself credit for. I can be the strongest woman in the world and still hurt like hell.

If you want to know me deep down, that means knowing the depth of how sad I am sometimes. The benefit that gives me is that I can really give you empathy if you are going through grief and loss. I like to think that the understanding I bring to Little A as a parent will help her in the long run. I hope she is better than me in every way.

There is beauty in me, I know it. I run a metal detector over that beach every day looking for buried treasure. It might not be the shining, incandescent jewel of unmitigated artistic genius I hoped for. It might still be something rare and something good and something true. I hope you are there when I find it. Maybe it will be something I can feel proud of and I'll want to show you every facet of it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Two A.M.

Two a.m.; time to arise from dreaming

Sweet silence ignored for the inner buzzing.

To my right, continuous positive airway pressure

To my left, glaring clock and resting dog.

Time to lay hand on his chest; still breathing.

Time to nudge for canine twitches,

Time to notice that it is two a.m. again.

Time to wonder about my objects.

Objects of desire, far flung and unrequited.

Objects of focus, uninviting and recalcitrant.

Objects of consternation, shrouded in malice.

Objects of loss, far beyond tearful grasping.

Up and out to try to change things

Fiddle with the thermostat, the window

Close the blinds against a reproachful moon

Avoid my reflection in the dark bathroom mirror.

Nothing gets solved, no one is called.

Nothing gets healed, no one is touched.

Nothing gets written, no one is reading

It's two a.m.; all eyes are closed.

I could move as a ghost through my halls

Bare feet on carpet, pacing amongst the living

As though dead, I drag my chains

Back to bed to curl against unresponsive forms.

(c) Stacie Ferrante


The only thing that helps

I like this quote, and I like (good) champagne, even if it does cause me to do crazy things and gives me a wicked hangover. At least that is my excuse du jour for why I do crazy things. Champagne just makes me wanna get naked.

But that isn't the point of this post. What I do when I drink too much champagne and get naked is for a select few to comprehend.

What I set out to discuss today is self-soothing behaviors. One of the problems with being the adult child of an alcoholic is the constant need to try and "keep it together". We don't give ourselves an ounce of slack, like ever. And given that the addictive tendencies tend to run in families, I don't exactly feel safe cutting loose and getting all drunk to relieve stress. It is too scary. Look what happened to Ryan. He chose that and he's dead now.

Even though I am quite convinced that smoking an occasional bowl would enhance my personality in positive ways, I don't go in for doing drugs at all. Not even because I am a foster parent and the legal risks are too high. I just don't need to take a drug that will make me want to eat brownies. I like brownies too much as it is. Sheesh.

So, as Adam Ant would say "Don't drink, don't smoke, what do you do?"

I have a lot of hobbies that don't get enough attention. Trying to find a balance with the whole parenting thing is my life's challenge right now. Trying to find time for the stuff that helps make life worth something and to break up the tedium of my domestic concerns is tough. Here's a list of the things that help:
  1. Writing: The sound of a nice messy pencil scratching on paper or clicking keys is one of the few ways I can effectively get the circling sharks out of my head. It feels like I am actually physically removing something from myself. Part of the point of writing my first novel was just to get some of my stuff out of my head and put it on paper where I can print it out and burn it as many times as I like. Making time to write is a priority for me right now, and I am having mixed results. Not all of it is publish-worthy, but if I can get a good streak going, it feels pretty good.
  2. Dancing: Minya just needs to start that Wednesday Belly Dance class and I am so freaking there. My hiatus from hip drops must end. It must be something about the drums. I just need to find the joy in my limbs again. I need to be embraced by a bunch of women wearing dowries' worth of shiny objects. Something. I just need an excuse to unpack that box of Kuchi jewelery and buy some damn Melodia pants to show my commitment.
  3. Singing: I need to hit up Jill Snyder for some lessons, or see if she knows someone who will work out my occasionally rocking mezzo-soprano. Singing forces you to breathe. Breathing is good.
  4. Theatre: Oh man. I so don't have time for it, but I like it. I went to an acting improv workshop with Michael Lewis from Empire Improv- over the weekend and felt spent but good afterwards. I actually felt some of my old power coursing through me. I don't know how well I did, but it was cathartic how that blew the sticky substance that is the mundane off of me. My neurotransmitters were on tap for that. My brain was shouting "Yes! Awesome!". That should tell me something and I had better find a way to listen.
  5. Friends: Ok, that still involves the occasional cocktail and often travel to the far flung cities my pals have scattered to. I hate crowds of strangers, but my friends can press as close as they want. Preferably on the dance floor more than one at a time. Whooo!

So, how am I gonna do all that and still hang out with my family? Puzzle, puzzle. Oh yeah, and going to school etc. No wonder I have insomnia. I want it all and can't have it, at least not right now.

And how am I going to fit in the new things I want to try? Fencing, race car driving school, and whatever else catches my fancy? Dangit.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Public Service Announcement

Hey Gang! Guess what? It is time for a public service announcement from the Stacie User Manual!


Today's lesson: Stacie doesn't behave.

The sooner you learn this the better. If we are going to be friends you need to learn to delight in my subversive nature and funny little ways. I say audacious things and delight in blasphemy. I give the finger to authority on a daily basis. I flirt openly with my friends, despite being married myself and the fact that most of them are also married. If you have a poker up your bum about it, you probably won't stick around long. If you try to put me under your thumb and make me play nice and be demure and respectable, we are going to have a problem.

So, why should you put up with that? Sounds like a pain in the ass, right?

I'll tell you why. Because once you are in my inner circle and I am quite certain I love you, I will do ANYTHING for you. I'll make you soup when you are sick, hold you against my soft body when you are grieving, and rail against anyone who comes at you with all my might with no regard for myself. I will sit up with you until the wee hours of the night and think of all the ways we can rend petty revenge on your boss, your ex, and your personal trainer. I will think up more and more elaborate schemes while ladling you with beer until you are laughing again.

I will tell you with total honesty and no hesitation all the little reasons why I love you, and why everyone else should too. I will derisively mock anyone who doesn't think you are fabulous.

If you are reading this and I call you "friend", then you are the following:

  1. Gorgeous
  2. Talented
  3. Sexy
  4. Funny
  5. Smart
  6. Witty
  7. Honest
  8. Loving
  9. Kind
  10. Smart-assed
I have excellent taste in people, and I don't put up with bullshit for one second. If you are mine, then I am yours. I'm in your corner, your boon companion, your bodyguard and your playmate. If that means you have to try to refrain from rolling your eyes when I joke that I wanna put my tongue in your ear, well isn't that a small price to pay? And on my bad days when I feel broken, tell me that there are good, good reasons that you love me, too. Soon I will curl up next to you and be back to plotting, whispering in your ear all the adventures we can have, and feel ready to have some fun.

That is all.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

New Stacie-ism

"Shark Head"

The condition of having so many worries and obsessive thoughts going around in your head, you feel like you have to "keep moving" or you will die. Experienced most often by extreme Type-A personalities. Usually results in downward spiral thinking. In advanced cases, leads to...

"Nuttin' up"

Going bonkers.

Don't ask me how I know this, but I know I am not the only one.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Song from my Mixtape # 3

























Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Forget the lens, the open window
Look only through the cathedral stained glass.
And if you see me, flickering within
Bent around the photons, in peace leave me.

Better to be seen between the lines
Barely glimpsed, a shard in the whole.
Shattered bits of colored glass reassembled
A simulacrum of a pattern in God's realm.

See me in the lead-lined spires
In the gargoyle's leer, the swinging smoke.
See me in the blessed saint's entreating hands,
In the monstrance that carries the knuckle bone.

Behold the mosaic floor beneath your feet
And there find me in perhaps every indigo tile.
I am the wood that resides beneath the gilt,
The honey-scented beeswax, but not the candle flame.

Think not to find me in a singular place
As a penitent kneeling at the altar rail.
I am more the third from the last bead
In a long and weary rosary.

(c) Stacie Ferrante

Chien Perdu

Oh, dude. Bad dreams all around last night. Little A woke up from a nightmare in the middle of the night, and it took Tony a while to convince her that there were no monsters in her room.

Then we all got back to sleep, and I had a nightmare that I was out walking Ember by the Truckee river, and someone threw a ball beside her. She ran after it and fell in the river and was swept away while I ran along the bank trying to get her. It was awful. I woke up all upset to find her mink-soft little body right where it belonged, next to me and very warm in sleep.

I gathered her up in my arms and stroked her while my heart hammered. She sleepily gave my face a little lick and wagged her tail.

When Ember came home with us, she was a tiny little thing, and very much still a baby in many respects. At the time, she massaged my mothering need and also helped heal the loss of my beloved Heidi, who had passed away just months before. She was so soft and cuddly, I had no trouble bonding with her.

When I came home from my trip on Sunday, I got a hug and a peck on the cheek from my husband, an ecstatic, leaping, smiling greeting from Little A, and an absolutely crying hysterical reception from Ember, who would not be content until I picked her up and held her against my body. She must have bounced her long body on those stubby back legs for two full minutes while I put my stuff down. It was really funny and only a little annoying and very sweet.

Dreaming that I lost her was horrible. She's my baby in some ways. It really drew my attention that I have an enduring fear of losing those I love. After losing my Grandparents, my brother, and my dog Heidi in the last 7 years, that isn't that surprising. Add to that the multiple losses that we don't even talk about: all those babies we tried to conceive and couldn't, the one time I was just sure I was pregnant and then I wasn't, and the friends that I have fallen out with in the last few years, it is no wonder I stopped talking to God and everyone else.

Funny that I should actually make my living by talking to people. All day. But I am talking to people about themselves, their problems. I'm the fix-it gal. I'm the one they come to when they are sick or suicidal and need assistance. I'm the one they chalk up either as an angelic presence of helpfulness, or as the very personification of the bureaucratic mess that is the VA. I talk to dying people, angry people, mentally ill people, and people that otherwise would be lost in the cracks of this world. I get alternately thanked profusely and berated with long looping strings of profanity. I'm a blank screen onto which they project themselves. In other words, I'm not real to them.

I talk to my pen. I talk to my manuscripts. I talk to my poetry. I talk in soft touches to my dog. But people, not so much. Oh, sure, I prattle on into my phone, but everyone is usually so busy that to take the time to actually deeply talk seems the provenance of old friends that already know much of the back story.

But I have gotten a few things back. Some old friends have come back to me and that is really nice, even if I don't feel nearly as fun as I used to be. It must be entertaining to watch me fall down or something. I never was very graceful.

I did have a pretty deep conversation the other day and found out how out of practice I am at it. My throat closed up a couple of times when I tried to say things that the other person especially needed me to say with the kind of grace I lend to my poetry. I needed to be fluid, and instead I got all twisted in knots trying to protect what felt like a sucking chest wound. It is pretty wounding to my ego that there was just no way for me to keep my cool and I was as awkward and stilted as I was when I was 15. How frustrating. I feel so lame.

I ended up talking about how my brother died and just bitterly weeping over it. Afterward I just felt cracked open and eviscerated for about 24 hours, as evidenced by the previous blog post. It makes sense that I would retreat to being nonverbal, curling around the body of my dachshund like a bizarre semicolon in my bed. My restless hands find acceptance there. It is one of the few things in my life that isn't hopelessly complicated.