Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Birthday Time Capsule

Our generation, born in the late seventies, was certain we could become astronauts to fly to the moon or maybe just around our city wearing a jet packs. Or perhaps we'd have to find a way to survive in a post-nuclear bomb nightmare from Miklowitz's After the Bomb or the Republic of Gilead from Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. We were preparing for the future and it was a varied vision.

I'm hoping our son's future, real and imagined, is more consistently optimistic and full of opportunities. To mark his first year of life and help him see where he started, we're collecting items for a time capsule that we'll open when he's in high school. What should we put in it?

We want to commemorate both what happened in his life and in the world. Perhaps we'll include one of his favorite rice crackers, so he can taste the quickly dissolving, airy (expired) cracker later. We'll probably add a physical newspaper and include a tiny onesie or two and a toy he's outgrown (and I haven't given away or sold.)

There are some things that would be fun to include, but we're not burying (or storing in a closet): iPhone, Apple Time Capsule, or any other technology that will surely be outdated years before we open the capsule.

We'd love to include a video or two of him, but perhaps the DVD/thumb drive/file will be unreadable by then (uh oh, how should we store everything we have?) Perhaps we'll print out some photographs, in addition to the thousands we have stored on our computer.

Would you share your ideas below? If you'd like to contribute something, email me for our address: chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Need Something? Selling Something? To the Lists!

I buy many clothes, toys and other baby-items used. There's craigslist, eBay and some local Yahoo groups: GloverParkFamilies and AU Park Parents, that list all kinds of groovy things for sale. We've found carriers, window gates, activity tables and more very cheaply (and sometimes free!)

And then when the bambino has outgrown something, we list it for sale. It takes a little extra time, but we've saved and recouped money (that we'll need for more things as he keeps growing and changing). Of course the toys and clothes need to be cleaned (or really hosed down,) but we would do that with new items, too.

I'm not one who is particularly fond of shopping, but this reselling/barter/recycling system has become a fun hunt. If we've received a hand-me-down from a friend, then we'll try to share that item with another friend or donate it to an organization like Goodwill or So Others May Eat. 

And, happily, in 2014 this all qualifies as, "green," instead of simply, "cheap."

If you're just starting out, you might find the book Baby Bargains helpful, too, as you decide what you need. Here's an earlier post on the book. As we've continued on this journey, we've discovered that the local used stores sell higher end items that we wouldn't buy anyway. It has been cheaper to buy online or through individuals. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Our Son's First Poetry Reading

Last week, our son heard me publicly read my poems for the first time. Alongside Finishing Line Press poets Dorothy Bendel, David Ebenbach, and Pia Taavila-Borsheim, I stood at the front of a room in the Georgetown Neighborhood Library and recited poems. Seeing him in the audience was just delightful.

Knowing that this would be our son's first poetry reading, I chose my reading selection carefully. While I write a lot about grief and mourning, I wanted to read more celebratory poems, which meant a lot of poems about him. (Yes, my poems have changed greatly; that's for another post.) Of course, he's only a little over ten months old and can't understand the words, but he can understand tone.

My husband was holding our son in the back of the room and when I first started talking, our son turned his head towards me, made an O with his mouth and started to (vaguely) point and coo towards me. He seemed very surprised. I couldn't help but smile; it was all I could do not to run to the back of the room to snuggle with him. After a few moments, my husband took our son into the hallway outside the room so he could crawl, make noise, but still hear me.

I was proud of our son and look forward to taking him to many more readings. Perhaps the Dodge Poetry Festival this fall? 

Monday, April 7, 2014

April: National Poetry Month

Time to celebrate! April is National Poetry Month. Throughout the month, I'll be hosting guest poetry-related posts on my writing coach blog. I hope you'll stop by!

I'm also looking forward to reading at two Washington, D.C., library branches with other local poets this month. I'd love to see you there:

Georgetown Neighborhood Library
Finishing Line Press reading: David Ebenbach, Chloe Yelena Miller, W.M. Rivera, and Pia Taavila-Borsheim
Wednesday, April 9th, 7 PM
Facebook event page

Chevy Chase Neighborhood Library (D.C.)
Poetry reading: Dan Brady, Michael Gushue and Chloe Yelena Miller
Wednesday, April 23rd, 7 PM
Facebook event page

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Always an Aunt

Aunt Dora and I in 2008

When something, like a meatball or the phrase, "so long!," reminds me of Aunt Dora, I tell my son about his Zia Dora. I tell him how she was anxious for me to get pregnant (long before I was ready) and how she would put her arms out as if rocking a baby to show how she'd care for him, even if she'd have to sit while she held him.

I want my son to know Aunt Dora. Of course, he's too young to remember (or perhaps understand any of) what I say, but why wait until he's too old to be interested? This habit will stay with us.

Even though she passed in 2011 on April 1st, she is very present in my life. Two years ago, I shared this found epistolary poem that I wrote for her. She also appears in some newer poems in my current manuscript.

Anyone who knew her remembers that she was feisty. Sure, she'd say beautiful things like, "I'll always love you," but she'd also comment on the size of my "bottom" after asking me to spin around so she could get a better look. Like a character in a novel (or memoir?) all of these aspects of her add up to who she was.

Aunt Dora would describe how she sat with her knees against my grandfather's and help teach me how to walk when I was a baby; she said she'd do that for my child with my mother. She was ready to be my child's great-great aunt.

And she is, through memories and words.