Thursday, October 19, 2017

What a Time to Be Alive

Through a series of unsynchronized schedules, I was alone in my house last night for an hour or so, and I am NEVER alone in my house, like, ever. Giddy with the expanse of the hour, I wondered, should I take a nap? Watch tv? Do dirty things, paint my toes, shop online? But no, somehow I ended up unloading the dishwasher and asking Alexa if she thinks Trump will be impeached.
It looks like you're asking about Trump, she said, and then gave me NPR headlines on his latest embarrassment.
The house was so quiet with only me and the clink of clean dishes, so I kept talking to Alexa.
Alexa, do you believe in ghosts? I don't have a view on the supernatural.
Alexa, are my mom and brother watching me? Sorry, I don't know that one.
Alexa, when will I die? I'm not sure you really want to know the answer to that question. In 2015, the United States' average female life expectancy was 81 years.
Alexa, what is the meaning of life? The answer is 42, but the question is more complicated.
Alexa, what is the sound of one hand clapping? It is the sound of a High Five.
After I had asked Alexa about the chickens and the eggs, what I should be for Halloween, why do birds sing, and could I get more cowbell, my family finally came home and it was the comfortable chaos of baths and brushing teeth, books, bed. But that hour--it was nice. Like therapy, just me and agenda-less Alexa, monotone jokes, answers and matter-of-fact don't knows.
All images are from this amazing post of abandoned states, postcards of better days lined up with now. As the post says: They have a surreal quality. Ephemeral, disposable, they served only one purpose—to let someone know "I'm here. I'm thinking of you."

Lastly, I still don't know what Alexa meant when she said the meaning of life is 42, and I'd be lying if I said it wasn't haunting me, but nonetheless, here is a funny SNL bit on Alexa.

xo,
S

Thursday, October 12, 2017

My Heart Can't Take It (In a Good Way)

Wildfires, hurricanes, mass shootings, Harvey, Trump, the horizon like a set design of flat layers beautifully still with melting plastic and ash.


I force myself to remember that there are also school photos, library books, The Beatles, chai lattes, kitten videos, a piece of paper that Ozzy left on the table with a list of words he practiced writing in green crayon: egg, cow, vase, wagon, clock, pumpkin, nest, car, pretty, black, go. I tell my children that there is way more good in the world than there is bad. (I tell myself that, too.)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

This One

This one has a thing for blondes. A type, for sure. He currently has crushes on 5 girls, each one blonder than the last, and I try not to let it bother me, that I am not his type. His mother. Oedipal Ew notwithstanding, it's a glimpse into a future wherein I am not the only woman in his life, and I swear I am okay with that. Or I will work on it and will be when the time comes.
This one just came over to me as I am writing this even though I told him I need alone time, and he stood next to me and read, This one, this one has a thing for bananas? He has a dimple in the strangest place on his face, a little below his bottom lip on the left. Sometimes he makes me so angry, and thenthat dimple!
This one came with me car shopping the other day, for a used Audi. At the dealership, the man helping me was dressed in a 3-piece suit and clearly did not want to waste his time on me and my used (up) budget. Still, I asked for a test drive, and driving down the street in that butter-soft Audi, the man rattled off specs on the Bang & Olufsen sound system, seeming to know that I had no idea what he was talking about. He asked me what music I wanted to listen to as he fiddled with his phone. Anything, I said, when from the back seat, Ozzy said he wanted to hear The Buttcracker. The Nutcracker? the man said smirking, and Ozzy said no, not Tchaikovsky, The Buttcracker, in the tune of farts, please. I nodded yes, yes, that is what I want to listen to, to make sure the Bang & Olufsen sound system was up to par. So the man found it, and we drove on in plush, leathery silencebecause oh, how that car drove beautifully silent!listening to a ballet of farts.

You know, that one.

Friday, September 8, 2017

tl;dr: My Brother Is Not Talking To Me Through the Fart Machine

Just stopping in here to tell you that I thought my brother was haunting me through Ozzy's remote control fart machine, mostly because we lost the remote to the fart machine forever ago, and suddenly the machine started farting on its own. 

...I'm in the kitchen cooking dinner. Fart from the other room.
...Sleeping in on Sunday morning. Fart across the house.
...In the bathroom, big fart. It totally wasn't me. 

I tried to ignore the fact that unlike most siblings, my brother and I did not have a relationship rich in flatulence, that if he was going to communicate with me from the dead it was unlikely to be through farts, but I guess I miss him so much I was willing to think maybe? That is until we had a massive heat wave and figured out that our ceiling fans run on the same frequency as the fart machine, so whenever anyone turns the fans on or off or up or down, the fart machine rips one from the other room. (Please nobody show Ozzy this new trick.) Consequently, I have requesting a reading from Tyler Henry because something tells me he is true and does not fart either; he has yet to get back to me.

So there's that. 

It's been a few months. We went to Costa Rica. Spent the summer swimming, surfing, fighting, reading, trying to find the best mascara. I think this might be it. Zoey is now in middle school, Ozzy now a Cub Scout. There are hurricanes and wildfires, earthquakes, North Korea. The world might be ending but I kind of doubt it, because it is September, and everything is too beautiful.

Xo,
S



Thursday, June 29, 2017

Tragedy Porn

I never meant to become a tragedy porn (star). Of course I don't think anyone does, really. It just happens. The first bad thing. Another. (And then another, if you're me, another after that.) How people turn to look, and they are nice about it, how they slow down. But you can feel it, the looking. It's human nature, after all. I have looked at a thousand tragedies myself, still do. The meaningful squeeze of a shoulder, faces crumpled in concern but also naked curiosity, relief. There's nothing wrong with it.


And maybe I did this to myself. After all, I write about it. Even when I sit down to write something funny, the sorrow spills out. Grief unspooling like those black snake fireworks coiled and lazily roiling, a sulfuric intumescent sadness that twists itself uncomfortably until it's just a pile of ashen turd on the pavement. Yes, that's what it's like. Sodium bicarbonate sadness in my belly.

Of course it's also like this: Alexa! I say. Play Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah by James Basket! And we dance in the kitchen, me, Bryan and the kids, Ozzy so proud that he taught himself to whistle. My oh my, what a wonderful day. I post happy photos on Instagram because I am happy. It is summer. I go out to dinner with friends. My brother recently died of a drug overdose, I am able to say now with what I think is a normal look on my face, knowing that they are getting the wrong impression of my brother. He was not a drug addict like that, I want to say but I don't, except I guess he was a drug addict like that. I'm sorry, they say. Thank you, I say. Plenty of sunshine, comin' my way...


I called the Medical Examiner's Office every few days to see if the toxicology reports were done. I couldn't understand how Chris Cornell's report took a week, but my brother's report would take over 12 weeks. We finally got my brother's report on the day that Carrie Fisher's toxicology reports were made public. Carrie Fisher had cocaine, methadone, ecstasy, alcohol and opiates in her system, although cause of death was sleep apnea. WTF? My brother's cause of death was listed as accidental, an acute hydrocodone, carisprodol, meprobamate, and gabapentin intoxication. A bigger WTF, if you ask me. I think I was hoping for something harder, like heroin, so I would know that he was in deep. But maybe that is me being naive, not understanding yet that an addiction to prescription pain meds, muscle relaxers and nerve blockers are just as hard as heroin. I have ordered the full toxicology and autopsy report, looking for answers that I know are not there. Sometimes I think if he was going to die doing drugs he should have at least had more fun. Again, me being naive, stupid, and I shouldn't think that.

Instead I think about how I look when I am crying while driving home from work. Stopped in traffic on Valencia Street, I wonder if anyone sees me. I put my hand to my face and feel dramatic. Then I think about how we are all on stage now with social media, or maybe it's just how it is being a girl, thinking about how you look even when you cry. That thought feels very un-feminist, and I push it away. Analyzing the crying makes me stop crying, but I try to squeeze out a few more small sobs because I can feel it in my chest all tight and kinetic. More than likely it's that I feel as if I am in a movie, that this is not my life, that this is not me driving down the street trying to cry in my car because my brother is dead, because I don't have a brother anymore, because I have no one to talk to about the smell of the rotten plums from my childhood. I poke at my insides with these thoughts as if they are a sore in my mouth.

Alexa! Play Poop in My Fingernails! says Ozzy when I get home, even though I asked him not to play that song. I take away his Alexa privileges but not before I hear, I wipe really hard, and my toilet paper is weak, sometimes I break right through and my fingernail is rubbing up against my poopy butt-cheek... How long is too long to not get over your brother dying? Oh, I know there is no right answer to that, and I know that even if there were, I am only 3 months out, so not even close to a time limit that doesn't exist. Still I feel like maybe I should get over it. Move on. Write about the way my hair feels now that it's long enough to brush against the tops of my shoulders, how Zoey is going to middle school next year. (!) I really don't want to be anyone's tragedy porn, but here I am, making jokes because grief is embarrassing, and because resting on it too long is annoying. Like the song says, you're never gunna get it completely clean, poop in my fingernails, poop in my fingernails. I grab Ozzy's hand and we dance, me hoping that him telling Alexa to play that particular ditty was a non-sequitur, not a segue of action into song.

xo,
S

Images of the incredible Chromatic Typewriter by artist Tyree Callahan, a conceptual art piece about the translation of art into words.



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

6

Dear Ozzy,

Here we are at 6, and oh, but you are a beautiful scheisse of a boy. Such a Gemini, I told someone the other day, the softest, wet-lipped thing I ever did see, one minute squeezing my heart with ohmygodIlovehimso, the next, that same heart squeeze a grip of fuckingstopitrightnow! But always I love you. I love you, I love you. I love you so much I can't breathe.
You sound like you hate me, you say in what is either the saddest thing a boy in trouble has ever said to his mother, or the most genius manipulative thing a boy in trouble has said to his mother. No matter. Either way I tell you I will always love you, even when I am mad at you, even when I yell at you. I love you. I hope that you hear it, because I will keep saying it, just as certain as you will keep not listening. This is who you are, my Ozzy boy. Had I named you Robert maybe you would have listened, an Eli would have been quiet, but I didn't. I named you Ozzy and you do not listen. You do not toe the line. You whine. Yell. You laugh too loudly, say hello to everyone who passes by, you color with crayons as animated and hard as road rage, you fall to the floor just because you think it's funny, even when there is no one around to think such things. You fall simply because it is. Funny. You are my Ozzy, and I love you, my wild-eyed boy who kisses me each night with carbonated lips mid-story, your face smelling of swimming pools and coins. 

I love you, I love you, I love you.
Mommy

5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 7 days old



Thursday, May 18, 2017

Want to Come Over for Dinner? (Kitchen Remodel Reveal!)

Unfortunately for you (and my family), I suck at cooking. BUT THAT DOESN'T MATTER ANYMORE BECAUSE WE FINALLY REMODELED OUR KITCHEN!

Let me back up to 1979 when our kitchen was last updated. Then fast forward to a few years ago when I entered a contest I saw on the Ellen show--she was partnering with Houzz to remodel someone's ugly kitchen for free. I had an ugly kitchen, so I took a bunch of pics and submitted them. Before you get all excited for me, this is not a post about how I was on the Ellen show and got a free remodel, because me and my ugly kitchen were not chosen. Apparently my kitchen is not Award-Winning Ugly, which makes it even uglier so it should have won on technicality.



I just mention the Ellen show because I found my pics from when I entered that contest. And no, I did not artistically stage the pic with that cupboard open; it simply wouldn't close. Ever. Closed cupboards are for Ugly Kitchen Posers.



I believe this photo was to illustrate the mold growing beneath the sink. Whenever you ran the garbage disposal, you had to open the these doors because sometimes, inexplicably, just as a fun surprise, the pipes would burst spewing water and food bits.



Perhaps I ought to have entered the contest with a video as so many of the uglies were ugly in action, such as the dishwasher, which popped out of the counter with a loud ka-thunk every time you opened it.



Oh 1979 kitchen, you sexy linoleum beast, you.



It took a few years of me giving the stink eye whenever I'd open a cupboard and the entire panel would come off in my hand, but eventually Bryan agreed that Ellen or no Ellen, we needed to remodel the kitchen.

As an aside, it makes me laugh a dark, sinister laugh whenever people say to me, oh, how lucky your husband is an architect! He can just remodel your house whenever you want! To which I pull out the ol' cobblers children go shoe-less line.

I will say that having an architect husband is lucky in that he has connections, said sans dark sinister undertones. Bryan got us deals on deals, and for that I owe him a back massage (safe to say that here as he doesn't read my blog).

It's hard to compare photos because we took out a wall to open up the kitchen, or perhaps I should say Ozzy took out a wall. 



Try explaining to a 5 year old boy why sometimes it's ok to swing a hammer into a wall, but not other times. 

You ready for an After?



New counters, new cupboards, new floor, sink, appliances, new everything.



I am a sucker for a pop out window (which we did not replace, and which Bryan regrets, but whatevs, I needed a spot for my neon rainbow, duh.)



This is the wall we took out, and it makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD. (Note: we did keep some chalkboard wall, which should be a staple in all households, in my opinion.)



The view into the kitchen now. And yes, we totally play "restaurant" and yes, I did get a bell that I ding and I do yell "order up!" to call the kids to dinner.



Also yes? I got a print of Rapper's Delight by the Sugar Hill Gang. Once you get it down, nothing makes you feel more bad ass bouncy cool than rapping it a cappella.



Everything about this makes me happy.

So take that Ellen and Houzz, that's that, a wrap on our kitchen remodel. I still suck at cooking, but who cares when I have a fresh kitchen with a neon rainbow and can rap a hip hop, the hippie to the hippie, to the hip, hip-hop, and you don't stop, the rock it to the bang bang boogie, say up jump the boogie, to the rhythm of the boogie the beat.

Order up,
S

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Other Than That, How Was the Play, Mrs. Lincoln?

Last weekend was my brother’s memorial service. Which still makes no sense to me, typing that sentence. It’s not real, it’s not real, it’s not real, except it is.

I could tell you about what it was like seeing a large photo of Andy on an easel at the church, how it was so iconic of a funeral that I immediately began to choke-sob ugly cry, but I won’t. I could tell you about my eulogy, or my dad’s eulogy even, how my dad told a story about Ozzy asking him with all the shameless curiosity of a 5 year old why he was still alive. My dad said it was supposed to be him who died next, the order of death unnatural with a son dying before his father, how even Ozzy knew that, but I won’t tell that story either.

Instead I will tell you that we went to Disneyland the next day. I mean, in a world where nothing makes sense, why not go to The Happiest Place on Earth?
Unflattering photo credit: my cousin, Oliver.
I hate Disneyland. Which is to say I hate crowds and lines, other people’s kids, other people period (kind of, super fine print a mile long on that one). Lucky for me, Disneyland was thick with people who looked as emo as I felt inside. Seriously, as far as the eye could see were people dressed in black, goth women carrying dark lace parasols, their boobs spilling out of black leather corsets, men in steampunk suits clanging with buckles and chains, white makeup spackled on faces. It was...weird to say the least, but also right? Already we felt surreal going to Disneyland the day after my brother’s funeral. Everything felt disjointed and wrong, so finding ourselves surrounded by the dark subculture at The Happiest Place on Earth seemed to make as much sense as my brother not being there with us.

Not my pic, not my people. Although let's be honest--fashion aside, these are "my" people.

There was just too much black lipstick for it to be a fluke, so I finally stopped a goth man and asked what was going on. Apparently, it was Bat Day in the Fun Park at Disneyland, which he emphatically told me is NOT a themed dress up day, but an annual “meet up” that attracts people in the goth community from all over the U.S. What this meant for us is that the line for the Haunted Mansion was 70 minutes long, while the line for It’s A Small World only took 20 minutes.

What this also meant for us is that we laughed. Not at the Bat People, per se, but at everything. What else were we going to do waiting for over an hour in line for the Haunted Mansion, snaking between fake tombstones, squished between people dressed in the Victorian cult of mourning? Laugh. That’s all we could do, all we can ever do, and so we laughed. Together.

How was the memorial? Thanks for asking. It was gut-wrenching agony, another step forward in me accepting that my brother is really gone. (Why is there no analogue word of "orphan" for someone who has lost their only sibling?) But it was also healing. Being with my cousins and aunts, my sister-in-law, my nephews, old friends I haven't seen since I was 10. Despite so much tragedy, I am lucky. So freaking lucky, and so, so loved.

Thank you,
S

Sunday, April 23, 2017

11

Dear Zoey,

Oh Zo. You are 11 and the world is a crazy beautiful mess. At 11 you are just beginning to see this. My heart breaks for you, that you have to wade into knowing that things are not always right. I can see it sometimes there at the corner of your eyes, the knowing. I wish I could stop it, but that is not my job. My job is to hold your hand as you see it, to help you celebrate the blown-egg fragility with resilience and a fine Welsh dark humor.

The other day you convinced me to let you ride in the front seat while I drove us back from the city. It changed the dynamics immediately to have you sitting right there next to me. We sang to Gwen Stefani and cracked jokes as if we were friends. Which we are, but I am careful about that, about everything, and the next time you tried to get in the front seat I said you couldn't. It's not safe yet, I said, and I can't help but wonder what would be the harm of putting you in a rear-facing 5 point harness? (I used to have a friend who said that growing up he and his brother made fun of his cousins because their parents made them wear helmets in the car. Is this such a bad idea??? Why do we all not wear helmets in the car?)

Middle school must be getting to me. Sure, it's 4 months away, but if you have taught me anything, it's that time means nothing. You are still 4 months old yourself, Smurf-faced baby girl, and in 4 months you will be in middle school where the stakes are higher. Pretty please can we find a cute first-day-of-school outfit that goes well with a helmet?

Don't stop talking to me, I tell you, whatever you do, please keep talking to me. The hormones have not yet fully kicked in so you squeeze my hand and tell me you will. Seriously though, I say, because you still let me be earnest, you can tell me anything, I am your safe place. Even if you think I will be mad, talk to me. I will help. 

This is me at 44: I am bewildered, cautious, ferocious, tired. I grab your hand to cross the street. This is you at 11: you are kind, sweet, silly, smart. You grab my hand to cross the street.

Sweet girl, the world is a crazy beautiful mess, and I wish I could tell you (tell myself) that middle school will be ok, that the world will not shock you with how painful it can be, but I can't. But I can tell you this: by far the most shocking thing to ever happen to me is how much I love you. It far exceeds everything else, this relentless tender truth that is you. 

Happy birthday, Zoey. As much as I wanted to, I didn't get you a helmet for your birthday.

I love you,
Mommy


98, 76, 5 (too pregnant and cranky to write), 432, 1 (pre-blog)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

All the Shingle Ladies (All the Shingle Ladies)

Now put your hands up!
Wuh uh oh uh uh oh oh uh oh uh uh oh
Wuh uh oh uh uh oh oh uh oh uh uh oh...

This is not a post about BeyoncĂ©. Nor is it a post about single ladies, or even a post about me getting shingles. 

No,this is a post about how we went to Cabo last week, a pre-planned spring break trip with the kids. Which, if you want to feel extra surreal about your seemingly healthy brother suddenly dying, then go to Cabo and cry openly in a restaurant when a mariachi band inexplicably plays 'Let It Be.' 

Halfway through the trip I thought maybe I was having a heart attack. Only the intense vise-like pain was under my right boob radiating to my back, and I know that your heart is just left of center, but who am I to question the sensation of a dull, burning knife slicing my heart until it is difficult to breathe, wherever that heart may be?

What can I say--I did not want to go to a hospital in Mexico, plus the kids were having so much fun swimming, so I did what so many dead women did and I drank my margarita.

tl;dr I didn't tell anyone I was in so much pain until we got home last night and I got undressed and finally saw blisters all over my right side. OH SWEET JESUS, THANK YOU FOR SUPPURATING BLISTERS. I was going to share a photo of them here but Bryan didn't crop out my boob, and while I am surprisingly not vain regarding sharing the bubbling shrapnel-scarred, pizza-like appearance of my torso, I am vain about my saggy boobs. 
In a very strange way that makes me sounds like a cutter, it's kind of nice (?) to have a physical pain right now? Like somehow my outsides now match how my insides feel, raw and confused, weeping.

But like I said, this is not a post about BeyoncĂ© or single ladies, or even a post about shingles. Instead I like to think of it as a post about me NOT having a heart attack in Mexico.

small things,
S

Thursday, April 6, 2017

How I Am Doing (Not Dancing in the Street)

How am I doing? Kind of you to ask, thank you, hanging in there, you know, it’s hard. Yeah. As it turns out, death is embarrassing. Crunchy awkward, don’t-know-what-to-say, side-hug squeeze kind of awkward, the kind of awkward that happens when you’ve been caught being much too human. Because no one wants to make eye contact with Death with a capital D. You, yes--YOU--look at me. We are all going to die.


See? I’m totally doing fine! Smiley face emoji maybe add a dancing girl!


Seriously though, I am fine. I wake up, remember, feel as if I might throw up, don’t throw up but instead get ready for the day. Do the day. The day looks like this: I am fine. Which really means that I am not fine at all, but I know that not-being-fine is where I am supposed to be, which makes it fine. I am fine in my not-fine-ness, the word ‘fine’ having lost its meaning the way words do if you think too hard about them. Finefinefinefinefine…


Fine. I will explain it another way. This video.



This video illustrates exactly how I am doing, how normally Mick Jagger and David Bowie would rock the shit out of those streets, but here their voices are thin, not even their own, the echo-y scuffle of their shoes, crickets. The day looks like this: somebody has dubbed my voice talking to friends, laughing, at work, small talk, crickets. It doesn’t matter what you wear, just as long as you are there…


I am here. I know that one day the music will creep back in without me even realizing. One day my voice won’t be dubbed into my days. One day I won’t wake up feeling as if I’m going to throw up. But for now, it still can't be real, nothing is, and I just really, really fucking miss my brother. That’s how I am doing, and I am fine.

xo,
S

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Truth About My Brother

The truth about my brother is this: he died sometime in the very early morning hours of March 22 of an accidental drug overdose. Norco, vicodin, other stuff, we are not sure yet. Toxicology reports take 8-12 weeks, so maybe we don’t know if he truly died of a drug overdose, but we do know.


The truth about my brother is this: I loved him so fucking much and might not have known him at all. For example this: I did not know he had a drug problem. I did not know he did drugs at all. We used to say both incredulously and smugly that we don’t know how we escaped the addiction gene so prevalent in our family, but we did.


The truth is he didn’t.


We did not always get along. There were times I did not understand him, did not like him, but goddamn if I didn’t always love him. I was so mad at him for so long because he was not there for me when I was sick, when I went to Tel Aviv. He disappeared and I was so hurt and baffled. How the fuck could he not be there for me with what I was going through? The truth is he was a fucking drug addict and couldn’t handle it.


The truth of my brother is this: I used to have dreams when we were little that someone was beating him up and I would have to save him. A boy named Lachlan, the bully up the street with the Dickensian name of Josh Maggot. In these dreams I would bite the bully on the arm and save my brother, and everything would be ok again. When I was afraid, my brother used to let me sleep on his floor, even in high school, I slept on his floor. He was my big brother, and I only ever had to save him in my dreams.


The truth about my brother is that he told a lot of fucking lies that are just coming out now that he is dead, and not just the lie that he was addicted to pain medication and whatever else, but other lies to help hide that, little lies that didn’t fucking matter, lies that didn’t need to be told at all, big lies, hurtful lies, lies that shatter.


My brother was a good man, the kind of person who said please and thank you almost too much. He was kind and generous and I could talk to him about small silly stuff and effortlessly slip into talking about something deep. He did not shy away from talking about what really mattered, so why the fuck didn’t he tell me what really fucking mattered? That he was so addicted to drugs that everything was a lie? That the pleases and the thank yous were so we wouldn’t question the truth?


In the last few weeks my brother and I had gotten closer again, and we texted or talked almost daily. I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing or if it’s just a thing. We told each other how much we loved each other and how lucky we were to have each other, but of course now I look at those texts and I wonder: was that the truth? His house of cards was crumbling and he came to me and my dad with lies so big we believed them. We rallied around him, fed him, loved him. Was I just so eager to have my brother back in my life that I swallowed it whole?


My brother used to say that I was the only person in the world with the same childhood as he had, and I didn’t really understand why that was so awe-inspiring to him. Well, yeah, duh. But now I do, and it is too late.


The truth about my brother is that I will never know the truth, and that’s the biggest loss of all. For a very long time he lived without any real connections because of his addiction and lies, and that’s what I cannot stand. The fact that he must have felt so alone for so long. That he died alone in an apartment and we could not get to him for days. Did he know that we loved him? Would have done anything for him? That he could tell us the truth and we would still love him?


My brother was a good man, a kind man, a talented, accomplished, respected film director with a beautiful, loving wife and two amazingly adorable kids that he loved to distraction. I am going to do my best to remember him this way: smart, funny, his uncontainable laugh, the best one-eyebrow-raiser I have ever known, the brother I knew before or despite or beneath the drugs and the lies. Because all of that is still true, but so is this: my brother died alone of an accidental drug overdose sometime in the early morning hours of March 22. He told so many lies and lived without truth for so long that I think it’s important to be truthful now. If he could not live in truth, then I will give him truth in death, a real connection. We deserve that, he deserves that, not in a malicious way, but in a loving way. He fucked up. And I still love him. I will always love him.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

In Times of Uncertainty, Many Reach for the Heavens: Hello There Trappist-1

I wake up and check my phone for news of what may have happened over night. Bad news, worse news, meh news. I used to not be like this B.E. (Before the Election). Which might be the problem. All of this, my fault. But there are 7 new planets now, so there is that. 7 new planets to put us in our place. We are small. This is all so small. I am very, very small. It will all be ok, or it won’t, or it doesn’t matter. We are to take heart from that, the not matteringness of us all. Don’t know about you, but I feel better already.

Still, I trip out that my mom never knew about the 7 new planets. Isn’t that strange? That she never got to know that all this time there were 7 Earth-sized planets orbiting a tiny star not too far away? 235 trillion miles, but also–that Trump is our President? WTF, mom? Also, I may or may not have MS, the wishy washiness of it as incomprehensible as 40 light-years and the fact that she is gone, that she does not know that I now take my Earl Gray tea with milk.

I am pretty sure I have written this post before. Dead mom? Check. MS? Check. Jokey joke emo suburban mom here. You guys, I swear I am happy and super fun to hang out with at parties. (Ok, maybe not super fun at parties, but I am happy.)

Cocktail party question right here: I’ve been wondering...do you think it’s better to live your life as if you might die tomorrow, or to live your life as if you are going to live forever? Don’t worry–I still watch Vanderpump Rules and spend too much time online shopping for a serum that will make me look 30 again, but yeah, I do wonder. This MS thing. I say it as if it’s a pesky problem, a hangnail, an errand I have to run before I get home. Do I have it? Do I not? If this were a first kiss, the anticipation would be thick with delicious, but it’s not. It’s the possibility of terrible, the anticipation thick with oh, fuck.

It’s fine. No, really, I am good. Great! It has been 2 years now since I had the hematopoietic stem cell transplant, and I am stable. Stable! But still, either due to my brooding Welsh genes or the mere facts of what the fuck--or both--I can’t help but think...in 10 years? In 5? What about when Zoey graduates from high school? Will I be in a wheelchair when Ozzy is a freshman? Or never? Pray for never. You know, that kind of thing. Creeping Paralysis. That’s what they called it before it was given a scientific name, and that’s how I think of it in my head. Insidious and slow. Will I know? Do you?

Sometimes I feel like a lying liar face because I think about it All. The. Time.

Other times I feel like I am lucky because I think about it all the time. How fucked up is that? But seriously. Most people don’t know that they exist a thin membrane away from something they don’t think they could ever live through, and here I am–knowing. And living through it. I wear it like a heavy coat or a bag, sometimes a fanny pack that I am ashamed of and try to hide. I check my steps on my phone each day. Today I walked 3,116 steps, 1.1 miles, 2 floors, but that’s because I work! A desk job! This is the immobility of modern life, not disease! I walk up the steps and maybe I catch my toe, but still, I walk up the stairs.

There is so much we don't know and yet it exists anyways. There are 7 new planets and I am small. We are all so very, very small, and even though the world seems like it may be ending sometimes, I check my phone each morning knowing that I am lucky, that none of this matters, that I am happy, ripe as we are with fear and enduring kindness, after all, you don't know if you will still be walking in 5 years, you might be dead! Like I said, I may or may not be super fun at parties, our only difference being that I have caught a glimpse into the knowing, and I am here to tell you, to tell myself: it will all be ok, everything rich with existing at once.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

ZoLuZo

Sunday night, rainy, folded the laundry, cleaned up the toys, now it's time for me to slice into my heart. But in a good way. Like maybe I'll sprinkle some sugar on it afterward instead of salt. Who's with me?

Because last night this happened. No seriously. WATCH THIS VIDEO OF MY CHILD.


Zoey with her two friends, Luella and Zoey, (hence the stage name ZoLuZo). Call me a stage mom, but holy mother of all that is Dina Lohan, I am just so proud. This was at their school Variety Show, in front of more than enough people to make me self-conscious just walking to the bathroom down the dark aisle, let alone play guitar and sing and debut a stop-motion video. 

Frame of reference: My Zo is the one playing the guitar. Perhaps you might recognize her from her earlier work circa 2009, Beautiful Things...


In a world where brave, creative girls wear patent leather Docs and sing about friendship, it's all going to be okay, right? It simply has to be.
Love, love, love,
S

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Pillow Talk

One day Ozzy is going to have a daughter named Dottie and a son named Zack. At least that’s what he says, and I cannot wait to meet my grandchildren. Well, I mean I can wait--at least 20 years or 30, but still, the idea of them is there. I can feel it.
In the meantime, I have this. This Slurpee-lipped boy who says he wants to marry me. He told me so the other night as I was putting him to bed, and all Oedipal-Ewness aside, I would totally say yes if I weren’t already married, 38 years older than he is, plus his mother. Instead I will settle for saying yes to whoever he chooses to love. Yes, I will love him forever, her, too, or him, whatever, plus little Dottie and Zack. I love them already, the family that he will one day have. Which is good since, as he just told me tonight as I put him to bed, he will probably have to find someone else to marry when he grows up, because I will be dead.

xo,
S

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

(The Invention of) Tradition

...implies a connection with the past that is not necessarily present. I would argue, however, that it is not that the connection is not present, but that there is no connection at all, as connection refers to linked separates. These are not separate, these years, these children, this time. It is all one fluid standing in front of a tree.

2016

2015

2014

2013


2012


2011


2010
2009 (missing)

2008

  2007

My apologies for sounding like a stoned undergrad. Time does that to me, maybe Christmas, too, how it is that I was just laying beneath the tree with my brother, the lights, the very large teddy bear I got the year my parents played Randy Newman's "Short People" over and over. How there is another year out there with a song that has not been thought of yet, the same tree, the same curve of a cheek, everything thick, the love carved deep and close to the bone.

I swear, I am not stoned. Just lucky. Just really, really fucking lucky.

Happy holidays, to you & yours.

xo,
S