A Fool for Moore

Christopher Moore has a new book out – Fool. In it, he’s taking Shakespeare’s King Lear and re-telling it in his amazing Christopher Moore style. And it’s brilliant and funny. And I find myself in awe of his writing style, again.

I first found him through his book Lamb and I’ve read that book no less than 3 or 4 times. Most of his other books are written a bit differently than Lamb and now, Fool. They are still brilliant and hilarious, but the stories are different and the overall tone is just a wee bit different. With these two books, it’s as if he opens up this entirely other place within him as a writer. And takes his storytelling to a whole other level.

I mean I would give just about anything to be able to write a passage like this:

“I found Drool in the laundry resolving a wank, spouting great gouts of git-seed across the laundry walls, floors and ceiling, giggling, as young Shanker Mary wagged her tits at him over a steaming cauldron of the king’s shirts.
‘Put those away, tart, we’ve a show to do.’
‘I was just giving ‘im a laugh.’
‘If you wanted to show charity you could have bonked him honest and there’d be a lot less cleaning to do.’”

And that’s just what I found by picking a random page and typing the first thing I found. If I spent some actual time combing through to find something, the intrigue of his word play just goes through the roof. There’s just an utterly wonderful wit about his writing that I simply adore.

He’s crass and more than a little rude and at the same time manages to string the most romantic relationships through the stories he spins. In the end, I guess that is what gets me the most about his writing. His ability to not only speak to the witty and intelligent sides of me, but also the absolutely hopeless romantic in me.

“’You lying tart,’ said I. ‘A fool is no more born with bells than a princess with fangs, both must be earned.’”

Man I would love to be able to write like that.


Job Interview

I didn’t really know what to write about today. For the first time in a while I pulled a complete blank on what to babble on about. So as the day wore on and the hour got later and I still hadn’t written anything, I thought, well I’ll just write about my day. Because it was a pretty good day. It was a step forward kind of day. A day that tells me that I really am on the right path, even if it is a bit bumpy and the scenery is different than I had imagined it would be.

I had my first job interview this morning since well before The Girl was born. It’s time for me to go back to work. For a myriad of reasons. So I have been applying to just about every position I’m qualified for the last few weeks. And I finally got an interview today. Probably they will end up using me as a contractor to outsource projects for them, which is fine. Work is work right? And the meeting went really well.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with job interviews. I love that I get to meet new people and get a glimpse into different office cultures. I love to talk about what has brought me to where I am currently; everything I have learned, what I do well, what I want to do well, what I need help with. I hate being nervous. I hate second guessing everything that I say for fear that I’ll somehow stick my rather large foot into my rather large mouth inadvertently.

And I actually found as I was walking the long hall towards the office, that I wasn’t all that nervous. I think that maybe I’ve come to a point where I know what I want. I know what I’m capable of. I know where my boundaries are. I know which ones I can push to grow and which ones are not even remotely fluid. I just really know where and who I am right now. I cannot even tell you how freeing and empowering that is.

Maybe I’ll get this whole life thing figured out yet.


Idiosynchratic Love

I have pretty much always been a big ol’ ball of idiosyncrasies. It’s just part of who I am and over the years I’ve grown to embrace them. Relish in my little quirks and kookiness that sets me apart, or fits me right in. So I thought what better place to detail a bit of my own inner wonkiness than here?

I still sleep with my baby blanket. And it really is my baby blanket. I’ve tied it into knots to re-attach the pieces that insist on falling off and my mom used to sew it back together for me. The woman who used to watch me when I was little called naptime “mimi-time” and as that was the only time I was allowed to have my Mimi, I named it after that most glorious time of day. I took it with me to Germany and I’m sure I would still take it with me on any long trip.

When I was little I used to favor my left side. I figured that since I was right-handed that I should give my left side some extra special treatment. So I would always put my left shoe and sock on first. I would use my left hand to hold my utensils. Pretty much anything that didn’t require writing would be given to my left side to take a crack at first.

Whenever I spread anything on bread, I have to make sure it reaches the very edges of the bread. SH refers to this behavior as mania, but to me it just makes sense. I mean who wants to eat a lovely piece of toast with butter and jam (or Brötchen with Nutella) only to have the jam run out on the edges?

I can’t stand having my feet restrained while I’m sleeping. I also am not particularly fond of having my toes touching while I’m trying to fall asleep. It’s so distracting that it will keep me up for hours. The thought of sleeping with socks on is my own personal nightmare.

See? Don’t you love me just a little bit more for knowing this particular perspective on my crazy? I knew that you would.


Star Light, Star Bright

I was standing out on the deck last night with the kiddos and we all looked up in the sky to see the first star of the evening. On reflex I said:

“Starlight, star bright first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might have the first wish I wish tonight…”

They both giggled a bit and I told them to make a wish, without saying it out loud, which they actually did. I made my wish. And we went inside. I’m sure they didn’t think anything else about it.

But I was suddenly awash with memories. I’ve been wishing on the first star of the night for as long as I can remember. I can vividly recall standing in the middle of the pasture where I boarded my first horse, Magnum, him butting against my arm looking for last minute treats and my head tilted upwards, eyes closed, deeply immersed in concocting my wish for that evening. It was a nightly routine. I almost always wished for the same thing, which I will not tell you for fear that it will not come true, and Magnum always got the last treat in my pocket.

I got attached to the tradition of it. Me making my nightly wish, wherever I happened to be. I always tried to go outside right at or just after dusk so that I could make sure to catch the first star. Occasionally I’d make it out there when there were already two. And I cheated. I still made my wish, but only on the first star I saw. I figured it would still count in some way or another. Maybe that’s why the same wish hasn’t yet completely come true. See kids? That’s what cheating will get you.

I think I grew to love this nightly event so much because it was a bit of magic thrown into my everyday life. And there was a romance to it. Standing outside night after night, a level of concentrated peace in my mind as I leveled all of my personal power upon convincing the universe that mine was the one wish, out of millions, that should be granted.


Brain Candy

I am a big fan of brain candy. It feels like my brain is going all the time. From the time I get up until long after I should be sound asleep. Running with ideas for what to write about, running with plans for the future, running with stuff I should do with the kiddos, running with daily to-do’s that need to get done. Running, running, all the time running.

So I’m a big fan of brain candy. Stuff that I can do or watch or read that just lets my brain run without me needing to pay attention to it all the time. I have a weekly TV lineup that I watch religiously. I’m reading The Watchmen right now, because I love superheroes and I wanted to know what all the fuss was about (and by the way, the fuss is really deserved). I love to go have cocktails with girlfriends. And there’s Facebook. I’ve been hopelessly sucked into a couple of applications that I’ve spent enough time on that I’m sure my friends who see me on there all the time must think the worst of me.

One Christmas break, my college roommate and I got completely obsessed with this video game at Dave & Buster’s in Denver. We spent entirely too much time and an obscene amount of money there trying to beat it. And because we’re both over-achievers at heart, we beat that sucker so bad it was calling for its mommy.

The Boy is totally into Webkinz and for a while I got just as into it as he was. We’d spend time while The Girl was napping looking up new animal releases and plotting ways to find them first. We spent countless hours on there playing games and “tending” to our pets.

And I’ve already detailed my love for action movies. Which would probably account for why I only saw one of the Oscar nominated movies this year even though I want to see them all.

As I get closer to my mid-30’s, I have to keep giving myself permission to play. Permission to be a kid with my kids. Permission to check out every once in a while.


Grandma Kinda

My grandmother died when my mom was only 18. When I was born my great Aunt Deanie, who had promised to take care of my mother when her sister died, came to the hospital to see me and dubbed herself my grandma. My mom reminded her that she wasn’t really my grandmother and she replied, “I am her Grandma, kinda.”

Thus, my Grandma Kinda was born. I actually didn’t know this whole story until just a handful of years ago. I never thought about it to be honest. The technicality didn’t matter; she was my Grandma Kinda and absolutely one of the biggest influences in my life thus far.

We used to go see her and my Uncle Don every weekend and Grandma Kinda would take me on dates about every month to this little soda shop in the old Cinderella City mall. In the back wall of her house, just off her kitchen, was a little milk box built into the wall. It was my treasure chest. That’s where all of my toys, coloring books, crayons and surprises were kept. Every week she’d add a little something in there for me to discover.

She always had two bags of marshmallows in her kitchen. One was kept carefully closed so that the marshmallows would stay soft and squishy for hot chocolate. The other was left callously open so that the marshmallows would get all hard and chewy. The hard ones were my little after lunch treats (or just given on the sly). I would go into the den, sit at her old spinning loom desperately trying to figure out what it was for, wish that her little Teacup Poodle, Twinkie, would come sit next to me, and as slowly as possible, eat my marshmallow.

Grandma Kinda taught me to say flutterbye and scutterbotch. Grandma Kinda taught me to always look at the eyes; if there was kindness there, then I should go out of my way to bring it into my life. Grandma Kinda taught me about the absolute beauty in peonies. Grandma Kinda taught me about perseverance in love, even when it changes and especially when it was hard, to never, never stop loving.


The Mojo Boots Strike Again

I learned the other day that Mojo Boots can even make Mormon boys blush. I took The Boy and The Girl out for lunch after school and sitting a few booths away were four Mormon boys with their name tags, ties and innocent smiles. I had to walk past them to get napkins at one point and saw one, the cutest one I might add, blush and look away as I passed.

And it made me giggle. Because even though I am sure he was blushing at thinking about how quickly I’ll be heading straight to hell upon my passing, I chose to take it as a compliment. Because I cannot even tell you how long it’s been since I’ve made anyone blush simply by walking by. And I know I’ve been talking about my Mojo Boots a lot the past few days, but you should see these suckers and what they do to my walk and attitude. It’s worthy of the capitalization and publicity I’ve been lavishing upon them.

I tried to look at myself objectively as the giggles were settling. I probably looked like a relatively hip, youngish (humor me here) mom of two gorgeous and mostly well-behaved kiddos. A woman who made the time to do her hair and who even got up early enough to put on a bit of lipstick. A woman who was pretty put together, had some style and knew it.

I thought about how that image was so radically different from even a couple of months ago. When I was hiding under baseball caps and way too baggy sweaters. When I actually spent time figuring out how to wear my pj’s to the grocery store. When it was just too much.

Now, here I was, pretty confidently taking an unsaid compliment from a boy in a restaurant. And not even really questioning that it was meant for me. I didn’t dissect it. I didn’t try to ignore it on the grounds of someone much prettier was over my shoulder. It just made me giggle. Although, I’m fairly sure that he wouldn’t have been blushing nearly as much if he had known about the hole in my sock.


Mantra Revision

I spent quite a bit of time not talking to much of anyone. Not relaying much of anything about what was going on with me. About this journey that I’ve been on. But that’s all changed lately. I’ve come out, guns blazing, unabashedly willing to show off my newly found self and strength in all of its Mojo Boots glory.

And the last few days I’ve had some worry about how people in my life were reacting to that. Worrying because the comments on this blog have fallen off. Worrying because I saw my friends writing and talking about my decisions. Worrying because of the general reaction in my immediate vicinity.

So I turned to H of course, because he is my friendly port in the storm. And he said, in his most loving and unfriendly of tones, that he’s going to have “Fuck That” tattooed across my fingers. So that every time I ball up my fist in shame or silliness I can see those words and remember that none of that bullshit matters.

And it dawned on me that those who are closest to me, those who have loved me long time, have been waiting for this journey to begin for quite some time. They have been waiting for me to wake up and start living again. And now that I have, they refuse to let my own fear drive me back into the shadows.

Thank God for that! Because even with my Mojo Boots, there are still days when it’s hard to keep putting one foot in front of the other. And so I thought about taking a sharpie to my knuckles, but The Boy is learning to read and I didn’t think that would be the example his teacher is looking for me to set.

I think I will incorporate it into my daily mantra however. So that when doubt starts to creep, or I take something personally, or I don’t get the job I want, I can say to myself: I am worthy of the life I am creating, I am beautiful, I am strong, I can do hard things, and fuck all the fear. Yep. That’s how I roll.


Nurture or Nature?

I love gardens. I love the soft petals of flowers bursting with color. I love to watch the ground push forth its bounty in tangles of leaves and stems. I love the smell of freshly tilled earth. I love to stand and pick out seeds – imagining how it might all look as it grows together. I love to stand in the sun and watch the drops of water bounce off of the rinds of melons and cucumbers. I love that you can see progress almost daily.

Gardens take a lot of work. And while I admit to not loving the weeding and the feeding and the waiting, most of the time everything I love about them outweighs the more tedious aspects of bringing a garden to life. I can be a bit lazy with the tending occasionally. Letting the weeds blur the edges of the rows or carefully plotted placement of blooms. But I always wind up out there, working one section at a time to free the plants I love from the ones I don’t.

But once in a great while it’s possible to come across a patch of earth that is barren. No matter how much you water, feed and love it, it simply cannot provide a nurturing place in which seeds can prosper. It’s been worked too much, or been taken over by some other inhospitable force that has rendered it moot when it comes to growing. It needs time to heal and figure out once more how to go about sustaining life.

So what do you do? Do you pour all the love and resources you have into it? Hoping against hope that you can save it? Bring it back from nothingness into the light place where things can grow and prosper once more? Of course you do. And sometimes it works. Sometimes you are able with the right tricks of the trade to turn that earth back into a fertile and loving cradle for life.

But there are times when nothing you do can fix it. Because you didn’t do anything wrong. There just wasn’t life there to begin with. And all the mulch in the world can’t fix that.


The West Wing

I discovered The West Wing when The Boy was just a little bitty and refused to let me put him down. I fortunately had the room in my business at the time that I didn’t have to fight much with him about that fact. So we spent day after lovely day with him attached to me in some way and me sitting on the couch watching movies, playing with him and eventually watching The West Wing.

After seeing the first 10 minutes or so of the first episode I couldn’t believe that I had never watched it before. Aaron Sorkin ranks right up there with Joss Whedon in the can-do-no wrong department. I love his wit and unabashed hope mingled with sardonic dialogue.

Now that my beloved series is over, I DVR the re-runs on Bravo. They often coincide with my kids’ favorite morning shows, so we’ve had many discussions of how they are NOT allowed to stop the recording of my show in favor of Scooby Doo. Much to their utter and complete dismay.

What still gets me about the show is that no matter the subject matter, whether it’s a reporter being killed in the Congo, Josh getting shot or watching CJ and Charlie duke it out in a monumental feud of practical jokes, I spend much of the time on the verge of tears tempered by outbursts of laughter. This show quite simply, and quite sappily, speaks to my heart.

I love politics. I love to watch the human dynamic. I love to watch brilliant writing come to life. I love to watch elegant characters tackle the craziest of issues. And it must be said, I love Bradley Whitford. He makes me a wee bit giddy. Also? John Spencer. I don’t think I need to say much more about him. Except for maybe that I still cry when I think that he’s no longer walking this earth.

I think mostly the show speaks to the part of me that will always believe in our political system. And with The West Wing comes a hope that if this one man can think this way, that maybe there are more where he came from.



Holy cats do I hate the wind!! It has been gusting and buffeting here on and off for weeks. I’d rather it be downright freezing than blowing the kids’ sandbox toys all over creation.

It’s probably the only weather condition that truly has an effect on my mood. It just really puts me on edge and makes me super crabby. It takes the joy out of driving for me as it blows even my large SUV all over the road and whistles through the windows. It screws up my hair. It blows The Boy’s papers from school out of my hands. It makes it entirely unpleasant for me to be outside. It just drives me crazy.

And since we live one row of houses away from hundreds of acres of farm and ranch land, the dust is just unbelievable. When it really gets blowing out here I can have just dusted (assuming that I dusted that is) and within a day it will look as if I didn’t dust at all. It makes the house smell just a bit gritty, if that’s possible, because I can’t open the windows.

The only redeeming aspect it has really is that it blows massive amounts of tumbleweeds all over the place. They collect against old barb wire fences and against utility buildings. They wrap themselves around fire hydrants and car tires. I’ve always thought that tumbleweeds were cool and when the wind is crazy, it allows me to really see them instead of just looking past or driving over them. Tumbleweeds are an odd homage to the image I’d like to create in my own life. They stay rooted, grounded, until they reach maturity. And then they just let go of their roots and fly away, ready to plant seeds along their way wherever they may end up.

Although I gotta say that if I’m going to let go of my roots and go where the wind takes me, I’d much rather be sitting in a plush plane in first class rather than rolling along the ground trying to make it through traffic without getting squished.

But ridiculously reaching metaphors aside, I just really, really hate the wind.



I’ve always wanted to write about motherhood. Ever since The Boy was born more than 5 years ago, I have been trying to figure out how to put into words the change of state that has occurred. Trying to turn the perfect phrase that encompasses the journey of motherhood and how it has changed my entire world view. But I haven’t been able to do it. I either wind up with pages of personal experience that I’m unconvinced anyone else would want to read, or I wind up with a more academic appraisal of motherhood as a whole. Which I feel wholly unqualified to write, because, let’s face it, I’ve only been doing this a very short time.

But as I was thinking about all of this yesterday it dawned on me that I may never be able to really write about motherhood, because it’s an organic, ever-changing sort of thing that I will never be done with. I doubt I’ll be a master mother because every day brings some new thing to learn and digest. And while with motherhood, hindsight is most definitely 20/20, that can only bring you so far.

While I am tempted to hold onto The Girl as my baby, she is so far from that baby I brought home that there are days when I struggle to recognize her. If I feel this way when she is not yet 3 years old, I cannot imagine the shock that will happen when she is 12 or 17 or 25.

I think for a while, I thought that maybe as your children grew you sort of desensitized to motherhood in a way. Sort of stopped keeping track of the huge and small changes and everything in between. But I’ve found that actually my sensitivity to my children has sharpened. As they continue to grow into their own lives, and I into mine, that awareness has become acute.

As I watch their orbits expand into the world, I want to memorize the tracks they make so that I can recall them at will. I want to keep their colors vivid and their paths determined. I want them to leave a trail of breadcrumbs.


These are a few of my favorite things...

I know with this post coming so close to Valentine’s Day that I’ll be seriously putting into doubt my aforesaid loathing of said holiday.

But I figured that I’d spent a lot of time talking about pet peeves and the many things that drive me crazy, so why not spend some time thinking about the things that make me really, really happy.

I really love the smell of concrete after it rains and my favorite way to drink water in the summer is straight out of the hose. It’s ultra cold and there’s something about the taste that just beats out every glass of water I’ve ever had. Barbeque chicken and potato salad is just about one of my most favorite meals ever. Wash it all down with a Grolsch and I am a very happy camper indeed.

I love to cook. When I was pregnant with The Boy, instead of nesting by cleaning, I baked and cooked. Every. Day. I came up with a killer scone recipe; I made coffee cakes, muffins and breads. I tried my hand at different dishes like gyros and cioppino, many different kinds of pesto and risottos. And it wasn’t even the finished product, it was the process, the problem solving that went into it. Figuring it out as I went along, putting the pieces together by taste and experimentation. And I’m quite sure that I could live on sushi.

I love a chivalrous man. One that opens doors for me and gently puts his hand on the small of my back as he guides me over the threshold. One that knows how I take my coffee, who hands me the salt shaker before I can ask for it. One that says bless you when I sneeze.

I could watch beat ‘em up blow ‘em up movies all day long. There’s nothing like a good chase scene, preferably in really fast cars, to get my blood pumping. I love the special effects and the gorgeous people finding themselves in outrageous situations armed to the teeth and fighting their way out with carefully choreographed fight scenes.

These are just a few of my favorite things. So, who’s up for sushi?


Mush and Gush

So yesterday was stupid Valentine’s Day. And I stayed up entirely too late watching ridiculous chick flicks. And on one of those channels, they had a little tag up in the bottom right corner of the screen that just stayed there the whole time the movies were on. It said “Love out loud.”

Every time I looked at it, I alternately wanted to cry and scream. Also, I was reminded how all the romcom movies from the mid-90’s all seemed to quote the same statistic – “women are more likely to be struck by lightening than to find a husband after the age of 35.” Seriously, it was in like 3 out of the obscene number of silly movies I watched.

But they proved it wrong of course. Because all of those leading ladies got their man. In the most romantic, cheesy way possible. One way or the other. Which brings me back to the screaming and the crying.

Crying because, well, I’m a sap I suppose. Screaming because I’ve tried for most of my life to be a hard cynic, mysterious and impossible to figure out. And I usually manage to succeed at all the wrong times. But the rest of the time, my heart is just swinging in the breeze, clipped to my sleeve, for all to gawk at. And man does that make me crazy most of the time. Both literally and figuratively.

Literally because I wind up sitting up way too late crying about Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Figuratively because well, I don’t particularly enjoy being a sap. I am not particularly fond of waiting for the love of my life to come back to me. And holy Nora Ephron Batman am I tired of writing and thinking about all of this gushy crap during one of the least romantic times of my life.

I mean, if I’m going to be all wistful and woebegone, I’d much rather be doing it in the Whedon-verse. Where things don’t make sense on purpose and they do it with style. Everyone has and knows their roles. And they deliver their lines with razor sharp wit and perfect comedic timing. Hell yes. I’ll take that.


Valentine's Day

Today is Valentine’s Day. I really, really don’t like Valentine’s Day. I never have. Even when I happened to be blissfully content in a relationship full of sunshine and rainbows, this day always brings out the cynical crank in me.

I don’t know whether it’s the over-commercialized nature of this day with its ridiculous heart shaped everything or whether I was seriously wronged on this day in a previous life. But it just brings out the least lovey feelings in me.

When I was in middle and high school, I started a tradition in an effort to overcome my intense dislike of this day by getting 1 or 2 dozen roses on Valentine’s Day morning and giving one rose to all of my friends throughout the day. Their faces would beam at me as they gushed a “Thank you!” and I would walk away muttering a barely audible “welcome.” And it did nothing to reduce my disagreeable visage.

One would think that with my unadulterated, unfaltering, hopeless romantic tendencies that Valentine’s Day would be one of my most favorite days of the year. But it’s really, really not. I never expect anything grand on this day from my loved ones. And I never plan much of anything to give to my loved ones. Anyone who has been in my life for any amount of time, knows my disdain for this day, and therefore has learned to just avoid me. It’s the best thing for everyone really.

I’ve never really tried to put a happy face on this day for myself or anyone else around me. But this year, in my current state of hyper-awareness of my children, I wonder how they will take my crabby disregard for this day when everyone else around them is busy handing out valentines and making smoochy faces at each other. I wonder if I am unwittingly confusing the hell out of them. I wonder if I make them just a bit sad on this day. I wonder if I’ll ever really figure out why I hate this day so much. I wonder if it really matters.

In the meantime, I’m going to make my family cheesecake. Happy Valentine’s Day.



My husband is a much better housewife than I am. He says he gets it from his mother, which I believe as she always has a clean, put together house regardless of how many houseguests she’s happened to have. It’s habit for him. But it’s also just how he likes his house to be. Clean. Put away. Organized.

I on the other hand, just don’t care as much. I mean yes I vacuum, dust, do laundry and dishes on a regular basis. All of the stuff that is necessary to keep my children happy, healthy and clothed. But until just a few months ago I had never once thought about cleaning the baseboards. And I can confidently say that I never would have completely emptied our garage just to sweep the leaves out. And I have always hated cleaning bathrooms. When living by myself, I’d do it, but now that he does it so easily (and frequently) it’s just not something that I think about anymore.

I don’t mind piles. I don’t mind having to dig through a laundry pile to find a particular shirt. I don’t mind having a few dishes piled up in the sink. My husband on the other hand, had been home for about 10 minutes before he was cleaning. Keep in mind that he had been gone for close to 5 months. And what does he do the moment he arrives? Clean. Put away. Organize.

It drives me crazy sometimes. I mean, yes, I’m grateful that he’s so on top of it. But there just seems to be better ways to spend our weekends. And every time he steam cleans the carpet I feel like I should be wearing a giant sandwich board that says “I’m a horrible housewife!”

It’s just really not that high of a priority for me. I like to have a clean house, don’t get me wrong. But there are plenty of things that I like more. Probably I should just put my sandwich board down and walk away. Simply be grateful that my husband likes to clean. Or I could purposefully make more piles for him to organize. But that would be mean wouldn’t it?


Parent/Teacher Conference

When I went to my first parent/teacher conference at The Boy’s school, his teacher pretty much told me what I expected. He was pretty much where they expected him to be. Right in the middle of the pack. I was fine with that. He’s just in kindergarten after all, and at this point I’m much more worried about setting him up to love school rather than making sure he’s reading by a specific age.

But at today’s conference, I started to get a bit worried. He’s shown improvement, but not much. And there are some areas that he was excelling in originally that are now falling off. He’s kind of always treated language with a bit of distain. As if he didn’t really understand why it was all that important. He had these appendages after all, using them and going really fast were much more important than talking about playing. He’s a doer, not a talker. Which is fine, he’s a boy and I suppose that is somewhat typical.

It also speaks to the main disconnect between my son and I. Words and language have always been central to my identity. I taught myself to read when I was 4 because I was tired of not understanding all the writing on the walls. I was reading Shakespeare in first and second grade. I was writing my first short stories in kindergarten. As you can tell, my love for all things written has only grown with time. So there is a part of me that just flat doesn’t get him in this respect. And that makes it very hard to help him.

I guess right now I’m most worried about not having the tools necessary to help my son. I desperately want him to love learning and to have confidence in his intelligence. I don’t so much care if he winds up with some label as long as that label gives us the tools to help him reach his potential, whatever that may be. I want to help him figure out how he learns. I want what every mother wants. For my son to be happy and successful. For me to have helped, not hindered him.


Culture Shock

I spent the second half of my sophomore year in college in Germany. I spent about four months total in Bremen and another two months in Freiburg.

I was extremely lucky in the fact that my dear friend SH was also living in Bremen at the time on a Fulbright Scholarship. He picked me up at the airport. He showed me around town. He introduced me to his friends. He taught me the alphabet and numbers. He also had the unasked for joy of taking me grocery shopping for the first time.

Before I went to Germany, I didn’t really understand the whole idea of culture shock. Especially going somewhere as “civilized” as Germany. And it was almost two weeks before I understood it. We walked into the grocery store and as I stood surveying my surroundings, it occurred to me that I had no idea what to do. I had been grocery shopping at least a couple of hundred times in my life. But as I looked at this grocery store, I might as well have been standing on the moon.

To make a long, and rather embarrassing, story short, I completely lost it. I started sobbing in the middle of the store, much to SH’s chagrin. As he was trying to gauge the situation, he sort of softly said to me, “If you’ll just tell me what you’d like to eat, I’ll show you where it is.” And that made it all worse. Because the real problem was that I had no idea where to start. Not only could I not read the words on the packaging, but I hadn’t a clue as to what people eat in Germany. And the enormity of that was simply too much for me.

The breakdown lasted for probably 15 minutes or so before I calmed down enough to get bread, milk, cereal and lunchmeat out of me. We gathered, we bought and we high tailed it out of there. I look back on this now and can’t help but laugh. And send SH mental bear hugs.

But I will never forget, wandering aimlessly through that store, tears streaming down my face, desperately searching for Frosted Flakes.



Among all of my least favorite things, among the absolute hatred of people chewing with their mouths open, or the ticking of clocks or the sound of clay pots scraping together, the worst of them all, what I detest the most, is missing people.

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out why this brings out such a strong reaction for me. And I think what it boils down to is that there is nothing I can do to change missing someone. And that, quite frankly, drives me fucking crazy. When I’m uncomfortable feeling something, my first instinct is to fix it or make it different in some way. And when I’m missing someone, that is not an option. If I could change it, then I wouldn’t be missing them.

When I was studying in Germany, I had a good friend from Sao Paulo who taught me the Brazilian word for when you are missing someone. But he qualified it with the fact that their word transcends the English word. In Portuguese, the word has a much stronger intonation. It carries with it a feeling of loss, like not having that person with you leaves you incomplete in some way. I’ve always remembered that word because, in its definition as well as the way it feels being said, it captures so much more eloquently how I feel when I miss someone. The word is saudade, but the last d comes off as more of a soft g when he said it. It’s such a beautiful word to describe such an unwelcome feeling.

I’m always missing someone lately it seems. Missing old friends. Missing old loves. Just missing. And I can honestly say that the Portuguese way of summing that up is much closer to how I feel than the simple act of missing someone.

Like even though my strength has multiplied exponentially over the past several months, that there is still a part of me that is not entirely whole because of the lack of these people in my life. While I know I can stand on my own without them, the world is so much more beautiful with them by my side.


Body of Love

I hate bras. They’re just so constricting. I’ve never been a fan of them. Before kids, I could almost always get away without wearing one at all. I went completely commando on my wedding day. It was pretty liberating, although, I admit a bit nerve wracking when it was time for the garter to be removed.

But in the more than 5 years since our first was born, I’ve spent the majority of the time in nursing bras. They aren’t quite as constrictive as regular bras, but they don’t do anything for your figure either. You sort of wind up with a uniboob thing going on, which is pretty much anything but attractive. Although when you’re nursing for two years or more like I did, worrying about how your rack looks is pretty low on the priority list.

But now that I’m no longer a nursing mother, and I’m working on re-gaining a body in which I feel beautiful, it’s moving up the priority list. Which brings me back to my original sentiment, I hate bras. I’m a good cup and half bigger in size than I was pre-baby, and most women would be stoked at that development. I’m pretty sure that I was the only woman I’ve ever known who loved having small breasts. Because it meant that bras were optional. And that was a perk I most certainly took advantage of.

Like so much about my body that is radically different now versus pre-baby, a bra is not only needed, but mandatory. As the baby, quitting smoking the first time and unhappiness weight continues to come off, I’m forced to take a different look at my body. Forced to give it a pat on the back for a job well done for growing, birthing, feeding and raising two gorgeous and healthy children. And I’m also learning that the judicious use of foundation garments can bring me closer to the picture I’d like to present to the outside world. I’m learning how to look at my body in a whole new light. One that is radiant with strength and whole new kind of sex appeal. One in which I’m searching for the perfect bra.



Things have been shifting in me pretty rapidly as of late. I’ve had my ass kicked a couple of times lately by some old friends. And even though I was grateful for the effort they put into it, I wasn’t really expecting the effects to last more than a couple of days. I expected the doubt and uncertainty to start creeping in. The fear to set up camp and light a fire.

But there’s no sign of those unwelcome guests at the moment. They’ve not sent postcards signaling their imminent arrival. They’ve not called right in the middle of dinner. There is simply no sign of them.

And that’s got me a bit disconcerted. Part of me is waiting anxiously for them to show up carrying a picnic of self loathing and distraction. But part of me is just done. In a fuck it, let’s do this thing sort of way. I think maybe during one of my much needed and much deserved ass whoopings, that I made a decision.

I think I made a decision to stop screwing around and just get to work. And keep working, regardless of whether my own personal sky was black with rain or full of sunshine.

That maybe I just decided to start believing everything that those who love me have been trying to tell me for years. That I deserve to be happy. That I am worth the love that has been given to me so freely. That I am beautiful and talented and capable. And mostly, that I am strong. Really, really strong. That I can make it through anything. I just had to make the choice.

And made it I have. Right now my life, my mind, my heart are full of huge things. Gigantic ideas and feelings spanning time and definition. I know that eventually, as I get good at this, that the day to day will carry with it as much joy as the big stuff does now. That I will once again embrace meal planning as much as I do life planning.

My feet will come back to earth as the rest of me stays flying. It’s all about the balance baby.


Cussing like a Sailor

I really like to cuss. From the moment that my friend B and I first dared each other to say “damn” for the first time, I’ve loved that particular sub-set of words. I guess you might even look at my prolific and persistent use of swearing as a vice of sorts. They are such an integral piece of my own personal vernacular, but there is always a thrill that comes when they roll off my tongue in mixed company.

I’ve learned to control my mouth most of the time. Especially after one particular incident at a friend’s house in high school where I dropped the f-bomb in the middle of dinner with her parents and little brother sitting right next to me. That was bad. I put my mouth on a leash after that one.

I’m self-aware enough to curb that impulse when talking to doctors, clients or my son’s teacher, but get me with a group of girlfriends and watch out. My mouth develops a mind of its own and there’s just no telling what’s going to come out.

I’m also especially bad when I’m driving. Like today some silly woman decided to make a double turn lane where there was none and without even thinking I exclaimed, “What are you doing you dumb bitch?!?!” The Girl was in the backseat and without even skipping a beat immediately parroted back to me “Who is a dumb bitch mama?” It was awesome. Only not.

She’s much more of a mimic than her brother ever was in that once she finds a phrase she likes, she continues to use it over and over, whether it’s appropriate for the situation or not. So I’m just waiting for her preschool teachers to call me aside after school one day to regale me with a tale of how my perfectly sweet 2 ½ year old daughter just asked for the fucking glitter during craft time.

I do worry sometimes about how my use of cuss words will influence my children’s burgeoning grasp of language. And I wonder how to explain to them how to judiciously use those words when the situation calls for them. Jiminy Christmas, I’ve no idea.


People Watching

I think those little booties that workmen (or women) wear to come into your house are ridiculous. I mean I know that there are people who don’t want any trace of the outdoors in their house. My Aunt Ila would have been one of those. I just happen to find them ridiculous. I mean every time the person has to come in and out of your house they have to take them off and put them back on again. If that were me, I’d be totally irritated.

I actually really don’t mind having workmen (or women, you get the point, I only have 365 words here) in our house. I think it appeals to the voyeur side of me. It gives me a chance to interact with people that I probably would never meet otherwise. My world is pretty kid-centric, so I rarely hang out with people that I don’t already know who don’t have kids. So the workmen who come to our house usually appear to be outside of my normal realm of interaction.

Like yesterday, the people who came to clean our ducts, one of them was probably about my age, seemingly married but didn’t interact with my kiddos at all, which usually means he doesn’t have any kids of his own. Another was a spunky woman who was so little I thought maybe they’d send her into the vents instead of the hoses. The last was a younger guy, probably late teens/early 20’s who must have been new to the job and didn’t say one word to me, but kept looking at me out of the corner of his eye.

They were all so extraordinarily nice. And they were here for 5 ½ hours. So we chatted a bit and I got to watch them work together. It was a nice window into someone else’s life for a few hours. It was cool to watch the supervisor teach the other two as they went along, to see him pass along information he had obviously studied for quite some time. And fun to listen to them give each other shit and mess around.

I love it when people watching opportunities come to me.



We’re having our ducts cleaned today. When I called to set up the appointment, the man I spoke with was sweet and funny and called me ma’am. At the end of our 20 minute long conversation a fantasy started to build. You know, the man in uniform shows up at your door, all business but with a trace of a smile in his eyes. And the smile gravitates to the rest of his face when you open the door.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve not really ever been one for delivery or work man fantasies. I’ve never really been one for fantasies at all actually. But the ones I do have are generally very boring in that they never revolve around a specific person or scenario. My biggest fantasy is always that some stranger will be so taken with me that he can’t help but sweep me off my feet.

It’s almost embarrassingly simple. There’s no bending me over the Xerox machine or throwing me down in the back of his delivery truck. It’s just that some beautiful man will, upon seeing me, quite simply realize that he can’t live without me.

I don’t usually make it beyond that one detail. But that’s me though. When I was younger I didn’t really dream that much about the details that would make up the man of my dreams. I never dreamt about the details of my wedding. But I did think about how it would feel to walk up the aisle with his eyes seeing only me.

It must all sound terribly self-centered. But isn’t that how most fantasies are? We give ourselves permission to think only about how it would feel to be the most beautiful, the most successful, the best, the greatest.

I guess the flip side of that coin for me is that not only do I want to feel the most in my fantasies, but I also want my presence in his life to make him feel that way. I want to make someone else feel like he could conquer the world or fly to the moon simply because I’ve got his back.

I’m a hopeless fucking romantic.


La Foret

My dearest T brought me to La Foret halfway through my freshman year in high school. It was a UCC affiliated camp that she had been going to for years. Like the guardian angel she is, she knew that it would bring me the safety I needed to learn how to be me. And it did.

Even when I was an absolute mess, which was more often than not through high school, it was one of the safest places I’ve ever known. Full of people ready and willing to accept and love me for exactly who and where I was at any given time.

Some of my most favorite memories happened at La Foret. There were secret kisses in the meadow, under a veil of fog. There was my corner on the smoking porch. There was singing “Landslide” and “You are my Sunshine” at closing circles. There were mud fights after the rain. There was running through the forest in the dead of night carrying out glorious pranks. There was head banging until I’d lost all control of my neck muscles. There was writing, and sharing and connecting.

It was sort of like a fairytale land. Not because it was always perfect, because it wasn’t. There was heart ache and tears and loss. But regardless of whatever was happening there, or whatever I brought with me, it was always safe. It was always a haven for me to process and heal. And because everything was always just a little bit more beautiful there. And even when I was living at the very core of sorrow, my pain grounding me in the real, it always had an element of surreal to it.

I reveled in that piece of fantasy. I indulged in the notion that anything was possible there. That there was a place where a wish coming true was an actual possibility. That no matter whether joy or anger streaked my face, that I was always beautiful there.

These memories are one of the biggest gifts my past has brought me. Because they bring with them the safety of the place. The permission to create everyday in its image. To play architect to my present.


Songs of Remembering

I have songs for just about every significant memory I have. I can be a million miles away from a point in my past and then a certain song will come on the radio or my iPod and suddenly I’m transported back in time as if it had just happened yesterday.

Men at Work and Heart take me back to elementary school. Depeche Mode warps me back to middle school. “Love Shack,” “Forever Young” and early Indigo Girls take me back to the camp I went to all the way through high school. Old school Metallica takes me back to a girlfriend I had in late middle school/early high school and us learning together how to be rebels and push boundaries.

My old friend DS introduced me to Sarah McLachlan and Utah Saints and I will forever find myself riding shotgun in his white pickup truck when I hear anything by either one. H brought me to Low, Kristin Hirsch and The Verve Pipe. One listen to any of them and I’m in my happy car, his vintage Mustang.

“Brown Eyed Girl,” “American Pie” and “Cherry Bomb” puts me in J’s maroon Subaru sitting outside of the pool hall, smoking cigarettes and talking into the wee hours of the morning. Anything off of Pretty Hate Machine takes me to the bedroom of my first high school crush, having my mind blown by this new band and the simple fact of being granted the wish of seeing the inside of JK’s room.

Live and Jane’s Addiction take me to my first love. Pearl Jam, The Cranberries and The Counting Crows take me to Mackinac Island.

Dave Matthews’ “Crash” reminds me of saying every time it came on the jukebox at the bar “This song makes me want to fall in love.” And the first dance at my wedding.

This is such a short list. Music has been such a defining element in my life. Helping me suss out the mood in any given situation or permanently etching a moment into my memory. Songs can just as easily bring a giggle as tears to me no matter my present situation. It’s a bittersweet tie to my past.


Breathing Beauty

“…it's fuck everything else, until you have the room to breathe beauty again.” – H, my own personal rock star guru

I sat down to write today’s post and found nothing. Like, literally, nothing. Since I’ve started this project my mind has been a swirl with so many ideas that most days I have to parse them out to find one upon which to focus. But this morning? Nothing. Utterly and completely drained of all creativity and notion. It was disconcerting to say the least.

So, I turned to H of course. Because he always bails me out and sets me back afloat in a better direction than that from which I came. I threw every excuse in the book at him, but the main one was that my husband was home. And I didn’t know how to keep walking in this journey with him here. That I was getting really good at doing it by myself and then he came home and threw me for a loop. It’s always easier to look to my environment and who happens to be coexisting in it with me, than to look at my own ulterior motives.

But in all reality, it’s me that tying my own hands. Veiling my own creativity. It’s only me that is in the way. And bogging myself down with “I don’t knows” and “I don’t think I can write what’s real anymores.” It’s infuriating really. Because I’ve worked my ass off the last month to get as free as I was and then without even realizing, without even thinking about it, I slapped cuffs on both wrists and swallowed the key.

It has always been me. Whether that be convincing myself that I was broken in some way, standing still for some imagined reason or strangling my own creative voice in an effort to fit in.

And so now I have to figure out how to wiggle out of my own self-imposed bondage and just be free. Regardless of who is sharing my bed or my coffee. Regardless of fear, guilt or distraction. I have to put it all down and walk away. Into my own sunrise and sunset. Into my own future.


Superbowl Sunday

Today is the first day I’ve spent with my entire family for almost 5 months. We put my husband on a plane bound for Texas that many months ago for his work assignment on the hurricane catastrophe unit after Hurricane Ike. He was supposed to be gone for 6 weeks. Yeah, that obviously didn’t happen.

He actually got home on Friday afternoon, but I ran away to Denver yesterday. I sent him and the kiddos to a birthday party without me (yes, I’m fully aware of the extent of my cruelty) and I went to Denver. I had no plans, no agenda. I just wanted to run away for the day. And it was a lovely day, the weather was just gorgeous and I was able to hang out with some dear friends for the day.

So tonight is actually the first evening since he got home that we’ve all been together. And it’s the Superbowl, which is always a big evening in our house. And even though my Colts are not in the Superbowl this year, my Steelers are (Go Big Ben!), so all is well in my football universe.

And it’s been strange. Strange to actually have to cook dinner again. Strange to not have to do the dishes. Strange that there was someone else around to put the kids to bed. Strange to have someone talking to me in what has become my quiet time of the day. Strange to have to wait for someone else to get in the car. Just strange. In ways that I never could have predicted.

In so many ways some of the things I thought would be the easiest to relinquish are the hardest things. Like bedtime. Before he left, I really didn’t like to put the kids to bed. But now I actually really like it. We got into a good routine and we figured it out. And now, I’m sitting on the couch watching the Superbowl and writing instead of listening to The Girl wiggle and sneakily play with toys. Or listening to The Boy sing himself to sleep with the Star Wars theme.

This is going to take some getting used to. Again.