Back in Ye Oldie Days, our post-breakfast routine included a thorough hand-washing. Sticky maple syrup was only one reason, and that was only on Sundays, when Dr. Science made pancakes.*
Every other day of the week it was fingers smudged with newspaper ink that ended up under the faucet. Back then, we hated newspaper ink. Back then, we held newspapers by the ink-free edges. Back then, we shook our fists against scientists who could send a man to the moon but not invent ink that blah blah blah.
Now we are proud to be part of the dwindling (and perhaps only) print subscribers in Our Fair City. Our ink-smudged fingers are a gray badge of honor. Even the kitties ignore their ink-smudged paws.
Why? Dr. Science says Sports. Never mind that he watched the game the night before, that he can look up the box score on the web. He likes reading the sports section with breakfast. He Who Shall Not Be Named likes the comics. And I like the headlines. Plus? There’s something cozy about sharing a newspaper between the three of us. Sometimes we talk and laugh about what we’re reading. Other times we read silently. But we always leave for work and school the same way: with smudged fingers, each of us carrying a reminder of how we started the day, as a family, sharing the paper together.
* Scientific pancakes are in the shape of letters, sometimes spelling out short words. Go ahead. Try to make a pancake that spells CAT.
A giant bag of mystery.
Because ONLY ONE CUP.
Here at MomBrain HQ, we keep things simple. Short sentences. Pretty pictures. Light and airy spaces. Chocolate chip cookies are in the oven, and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee fills the air.
Wait – that is not coffee. It is Dr. Science, whose coffee intake can be measured only with extremely advanced Scientific Tools. This is a true fact. But Dr. Science is no connoisseur. Any caffeine wrapped in a bean will do, unless we are in another country. That is because foreign coffee is too scary. So wherever we travel, we must be able to see Starbucks. Even in Canada, the friendly 51st state, Starbucks is the only safe option for Dr. Science’s extreme caffeine needs.
MomBrain: How about the free breakfast in the hotel lobby?
Dr. Science: Meh.
MomBrain: How about the cute little café on the corner?
Dr. Science: Meh.
MomBrain: How about breakfast at Starbucks?
Dr. Science: SURE!
So yes – Dr. Science smells like coffee. But this is better than smelling like hotel soap, or airplanes, or poutine. And the best part is MomBrain is never homesick. Because no matter where we are, no matter what time zone or country, Dr. Science smells like home.
Life in the slow lane,
with a sad face
Reporting live from the MomBrain Newsroom, the traffic report is DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT GETTING IN YOUR CAR. In the eight years MomBrain spent driving home from the mall, she picked off an entire manicure, did car yoga, practiced making a pencil bun, played the alphabet game against herself, and listened to Hugh Laurie’s newest CD (twice).
Fortunately, MomBrain remembered something from the Twitter: Someone said the theme from Darth Vader makes traffic jams feel better. AND she remembered that she actually has that music on her phone.* So she hooked it up and set it for Repeat. Suddenly MomBrain was piloting a Super Star Destroyer. The Force was strong within her. The enemy starships that surrounded her were specks of nothing.
BUT my car still didn’t move. Darth Vader’s flagship Executor did not appear from the clouds to rescue me. And the Force had obviously left me. Worse: A powerful earworm had embedded itself in my Brain. (And now you have it, too! You’re welcome!)
In the end, I simply persevered. Had a good stretch. Sang the blues. The Twitter and Darth Vader had failed me. But I somehow reached home without them, with only time and patience on my side.
* This is a true fact.
The Little Guy He Who Shall Not Be Named went through a movie soundtrack phase a couple of years ago. We’ve got everything. Go ahead. Try me.
MomBrain is lucky, lucky, lucky to have three Wizard-of-Oz friends: one is her heart, one is her brain, and one is her spine.
MomBrain recently took a walk in the woods with her spine: a willowy Eileen Fisher type who makes MomBrain feel like a dumpling. Unfortunately the trails were not dumpling-friendly. “Eileen” strode joyfully over hill and dale. MomBrain whimpered and crawled. Eileen’s dog bounced along merrily. MomBrain’s dog sat in the gravel and dug in. Eileen recounted a two-day backpacking adventure with a thirty-pound pack, bears, and torrential rain. MomBrain debated whether she should drive the little car or the big car for errands.
Yes, MomBrain is a delicate hothouse flower. But this does not stop Eileen from doing her job as my spine. She calls it tough love. I call it smacking me upside the head when I am a cowardly lion.
The original Cowardly Lion from
“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”
by L. Frank Baum
Eileen: Crawl out of the rabbit hole! That idea sucks!!!
Eileen: When will you stop thinking and start doing???
Eileen: Let’s go two more miles!!!
I suspect Eileen did this on purpose. What better way to force MomBrain to listen without talking back? But … Eileen is right. So I have (mostly) crawled out of the rabbit hole, despite the scary sunlight. I have – with a little wrenching – discarded the sucky idea. And I have resolved to stop thinking and start moving forward, even if I wheeze. Next step? I do not know. But maybe knowing isn’t the point.
Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, MomBrain wore miniskirts. This is a true fact. Also, she had big hair. So big, in fact, that drunk men would bury their hands in it and use it to tie her to a pole in a subway car. (Okay, that only happened once, but STILL.)
Between the miniskirts, the big hair, and the simple fact that I had lady parts, I needed a “bar name” to give to any drunk man who might possibly want to tie me to a subway pole. I chose the easy to spell “Lisa.”*
Fast forward. I no longer have big hair, and I’d have to be drunk myself to wear a miniskirt. But I’m still “Lisa.” It’s my Starbucks name. My pizza delivery name. My take-out Thai name. I have used “Lisa” so much and for so long that I answer to it when someone yells it in a crowd. In fact, my tombstone will probably say “Lisa: We Hardly Knew You.”
* I also used the phone number 867-5309 and NOT ONCE did anyone raise an eyebrow. Maybe they were too drunk.
Pity poor MomBrain. The little thought pebbles rolling around in her head are starting to echo and ping off the inside of her skull. Even the Dog is startled, less by the pinging and more by the fact that we’re starting to speak the same language. For example:
The Dog thinks about: food, walk, food, walk, food, walk, food.
MomBrain thinks about: food, walk, food, walk, food, walk, food.
Dr. Science (the Scientist Formerly Known as Big Guy) thinks about: baseball, brains, Chuck, damn politicians, Nick Hornby, coffee, Ben Webster, calamities that might swallow the earth.
Clearly it’s time to refill my skull; to reinvent (if not reclaim) my life. So. With resolution and beating heart, MomBrain tried to register for a writing workshop at the ridiculously awesome Richard Hugo House. Except every other writer in My Fair City beat me to it. So I am on the waiting list, which means HA HA HA CHORTLE maybe next time. So I will look elsewhere to prep for NaNoWriMo and at the same time STOP THE PINGING PLEASE OH PLEASE ANYTHING TO STOP THE PINGING.
The Meaning of Life
The Hitchhiker’s Guide
to the Galaxy
MomBrain is a salty writer. At least, she hopes she is. Because any writer worth her salt keeps a notebook beside her bed in case midnight lightning strikes.
Creative lightning does not strike often, and it almost always looks brighter at night than it does in the light of day. For example, my own notes are usually the burning equivalent of “Feed the cat” or “Where are my keys?” Last night’s note was different, though. “Glee ship tuna” it says.
I sort of remember writing it. I’d had one of those key to the universe dreams and thought Must. Remember. Or. Die. It made sense at the time – something about going in circles? but doing it in spikes? instead of arcs?
- Was a ship circling a school of tuna while the soldiers sang with glee?
- Were gleeful tuna circling a sinking ship?
- Was a ship called the Gleeful Tuna floating in circles?
I do not know. But I am bereft at losing my own version of 42.
Star Fleet Academy
United Federation of Planets
MomBrain’s mouth wears a size 8 shoe. I know this because today when I put my foot in my mouth, it fit perfectly. And no, I can’t tell you what happened, because HELLO new reader!
In other news, nothing reveals my rusty Brain more than meeting a cheerful and friendly Alpha Mom who, with a family much like mine, is running her own business, meeting international clients at schwank restaurants, traveling around the country, and wearing expensive, grown-up jewelry. Most telling: She actually brushes her hair. She puts my LinkedIn profile to shame, not to mention my ponytail and Star Trek ring.
But MomBrain did not hang her head in despair. She did not take out her ponytail or remove her Starfleet Academy class ring. She did not order another Manhattan and dive headfirst for the cherry at the bottom. She smiled, shook hands, and congratulated Alpha Mom on her success. This morning MomBrain brushed her hair and polished her LinkedIn profile. Next up? I do not know. But I’m thinking in the right direction, even if I am not moving in it (quite yet).
Here at MomBrain HQ, things are mighty cold. In fact, this blog has been on ice for five long years. But this hiatus was not without much weeping and gnashing of teeth. Five years of blogging and hundreds of readers were hard to release. But when the Little Guy learned to read and squawked about privacy, MomBrain was put in Time Out until she promised never to do that again.
Why did it take five years to emerge from my corner, facing the wall? I do not know. But here I am, full of promises to play more nicely.
I considered starting a new blog, but I will always be a Mom, even though the Little Guy (who is now taller than me) has retired into privacy. As for the Brain part, it’s definitely still there, though perhaps more like a shriveled raisin than an actual human brain. So MomBrain it is, with a little less Mom and a little more Brain, ready to sound my barbaric yawp.
Tick tock, tick tock … 5 years goes by … tick tock, tick tock …