Monday, October 31, 2011

Blueberry Girl

"Ladies of light and ladies of dark and ladies of never you mind--This is a prayer for a blueberry girl."

Nor and I have taken to reading and rereading and reading one more time for good measure Neil Gaimen's Blueberry Girl.  It starts with a beautiful picture of a reclining redheaded woman, almost 9 months of babe in her belly.  Nora points and says "Mama."  I neglect to tell her that I looked more like the planet Mars with a small pimple of a head on top.  And then she points to the belly and grins.  "Nora." 

"Keep her from spindles and sleeps at sixteen, let her stay waking and wise.  Nightmares at three or bad husbands at thirty, these will not trouble her eyes."

I venture into asking her what she remembers about growing in my belly. 
 "Warm," she says plainly. 

What was it like when you were born? 
"I was really sad.  I cried a lot.  And then I had milk, strawberry milk."

"Words can be worrisome, people complex, motives and manners unclear....this is a prayer for a blueberry girl."

When I ask her if she is a blueberry girl, she tilts her head and grins with astonishment.  "No!  I have no costume."  A strawberry girl?  She just shakes her head.  Silly mama.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dinner Time

This is the drill. I suddenly become aware of the time.  Usually 30-40 minutes past the time I had intended to be on my way home from the gym.  I shut off my computer screen, rush a student out of my office, and toss a few books that I intend to review at home.  (And dutifully will return to my office the following morning still tucked in my bag.)  I keep my head down as I speed walk to my car, so as to avoid eye contact with anyone that could derail my singular quest to make a delicious meal.

As I dart through side streets to get to my abode, I concoct recipes.  I think through what we have in the house, briefly reflect on the food pyramid or food circle or food plate.  I burst through the front door with visions of vegetable-based protein sources and delicious sauces.  I settle on roasted pumpkin risotto with slivered almonds.  I get to work.

Dave calls breathlessly from his race to pick up the kids with short updates on their days.  If the lights at 32nd and Hiawatha cooperate, I have about 12 minutes to finish the meal before the kids shoot through the door and start poking in the kitchen.  A bit of movie magic somehow happens and dinner is on the table, the kids hands are mostly washed, and we are about to eat.

Upon seeing the meal, Spencer just asks if he can have broccoli instead.  Nora demands pasta.  I want to bang my head on the table, but am wary that my red wine may spill.  When I get gruff and muffle something like, "I worked really hard on this meal and this is what is for dinner," Spence asks to be excused.  Nora starts wailing.

Just another dinner at the Snyders. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Perhaps I should be a bit embarrassed in admitting this. 

I love pumpkins.  Passionate about pumpkins.  I want to hoard them.  Pile them up on my front porch.  Stash them on every stair on my case.  I want to name them, cuddle them, comfort them from the inevitable knife that is waiting to slice into them.

When I was small, I would bathe them.  More than once, in the sink like a wee baby.  I would steal a laundry basket and turn it into a pumpkin crib.  Name them.  And weep when my mother mentioned carving into her.  It was haunting to see the gourd start to decompose, despite my best efforts to hold back time. 

And I would pine for the next October to do it all again.

I am a bit more grown up about it all now.  I slyly wash the pumpkin, just once, and never with bubble bath.  I am all business-like about the carving.  And there are no pumpkin cribs.

So you can imagine my heart flutters when Nor decided to cuddle her baby pumpkin.  Bring it into the bath and scrub it with her butterfly wash cloth.  Sleep with it right next to her on her nightstand.  Demand to take it to school and introduce her friends to her sweet little pumpkin. 

And a new generation of pumpkin-lovers begins.