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 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 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


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,

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.


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.







2009 (missing)



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.


Thursday, December 15, 2016


It’s raining, the kind of rain that makes you feel soft inside, the kind of rain that makes you sad when a stranger holds the door for you, but happy/sad. That kind of rain. I have been thinking about Aleppo, so much so that I checked the weather there. It is sunny with a high of 74 today. Not sure why I checked or what that means, if it matters. The other night I made myself read about what is happening, watched coverage of the fighting, and when I couldn’t stand it any longer I shutdown my computer and watched Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I felt a little bit like a teenager, how I used to sit and stare at the stars trying to wrap my head around space. What does it all mean? Dorit’s husband surprised her with a Buddha-themed party plus a rose gold Bentley, because nothing says Buddhism quite like a new Bentley. How can that exist in the same world as children being executed by regime forces? Try to understand the end of the Universe, I dare you.

This morning Ozzy got his first cavity filled. The dentist used nitrous oxide rather than novocain because he believes kids shouldn’t be afraid of dentists. He called me over at one point to look into Ozzy’s mouth as he drilled a teeny hole in one molar, then showed me how he packed it with plaster. The office was clean and white. Ozzy hugged a dinosaur stuffie holding a toothbrush and giggled the whole way though. It was impossible not to think of the story I heard on talk radio, something about how a child in Aleppo with a life-threatening injury had to wait 15 days for medical help. Can you imagine being his mom? The helplessness?

Stop it, I tell myself, feeling grown-up Emo, my bangs in my eyes, always thinking of the bad stuff. What can we do to help? It’s almost Christmas and I have donated to as many places as I can afford, though I know that term is laughably relative. Last night as I was putting Ozzy to bed and singing one of his favorite night-night songs, he put his hands on my face and pulled me toward him. You have a beautiful voice, he said. For the record, I don’t, I really don’t, but later I asked Bryan if he would ever consider adopting a child from Syria. There will be so many without families, I said, but he said no. He is done having kids, and we don't have enough money, and, if I am being honest, I agree. But still.

Your skin
Oh yeah your skin and bones
Turn into something beautiful
You know you know I love you so
You know I love you so

I love rainy days, really I do.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

From Despair to Don't Care: A Hello

Once upon a time I tried to make it as a blogger, whatever make it means. More comments, some notoriety, increasing page views, site visits, a little money or maybe a lot, maybe a wee bit of fame in a world of But I didn’t make it. Instead I got a job job, and I continued to write because I like to write. Maybe not as much, certainly. My posts went from everyday to once a week, then maybe once every few weeks. But I continued to write, thinking maybe one day my children will read this and know me, not just as their mom, but as a 37-44 year old woman going through life in all of its delicate, durable life-y-ness, bad language, muddied musings, mistakes and all.

That is why I still write here. Because I like to write. What I don’t like is dealing with people that are unkind. People that are small-minded, bigoted, people who are looking to fight, or looking to sell viagra and cigarettes, people who turn a comment about diapers into an inexplicable Penthouse letter. Yes, I’ve had all of those comments, and worse (just check out the comments on the post below, although I regret to inform you I deleted the diaper p0rn).

Here’s the thing, and I don’t think it’s a popular notion in the world of blogging (which may or may not be deader than a blog about doornails)--but I don’t owe anybody anything. By blogging, I don’t owe anyone any explanations. Nor am I obligated to publish nasty comments. This is my blog. My tiny, little blog with a small readership that makes no money.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE it when people read my blog. I LOVE it when people comment, either here or on my Facebook page, or when I meet people who mention my blog. I have met some amazing people through blogging, and by “met” I mean I know their username and I am so glad to have them in my life. Maybe that’s how you make it as a blogger? By meeting new friends.

Which reminds me...lately I’ve taken to asking Ozzy each night if he had done anything kind for anyone that day. At first he didn’t know how to respond. Um, no? I don’t know? But I told him that I was sure he was doing kind things all the time. Sharing a toy, or helping a friend, those are the obvious ones, but also asking someone if they want to play, or just saying hi to someone. Ozzy is famous for saying hi, and saying it loudly. HI MATTEO! he shouts as we walk across the blacktop, HI OLIVIA, HI LEON, HI MAXIMUS! Now Ozzy has something to talk about every night before he goes to bed. It’s nice to end the day talking about kindness.

So I will end this with just that. I have thought about quitting this blog because I don’t have enough time and not a lot of people read it anymore and there are so many mean people out there and and and... But I won’t. Instead I will just do this. Because I like to write. Simply. HI.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

This is not a post about politics. This is not a post about politics. This is not a post about politics.

(This is totally a post about politics.)

Recently I found out that I am 99.9% as white as I always thought I was. I did 23 and Me, one of those things where you spit into a tube and send it away to find out who you really are.

Spoiler Alert: You are who you have always been.

I was hoping to find out something I never knew, like maybe I was part Sub-Saharan African or Broadly East Asian, thinking I would be able to toss that into casual conversation. You know, I'm 7% Yakut myself. A party trick, like tying a cherry stem with my tongue.

But no, I am mostly British, Irish, French, German, a smattering of Southern European, and disappointingly only >1% Native American. I have tried for years, but still can't tie a cherry stem with my tongue.

I am white.

How white am I? Well on Tuesday night I cried watching the election results. Scared, sad, pissed off, shattered. I stayed up to watch Donald Trump give his speech, sitting on my couch in my pjs as I used my Tria Age-Defying Laser on my face. I just got it, the Tria, and it hurts like hell. You're supposed to start at level 1 and build up to level 3 over a few weeks, but as I sat there watching that racist, misogynistic, homophobic small-minded man, I thought to myself this is what I get. For not taking the possibility that he might actually win seriously enough. For not seeing that so many people were that disenfranchised. For not changing my Facebook profile to the Hillary logo. What can I say? I was in shock. So I set my Tria to level 3 thinking that maybe a physical pain would make more sense in a world that elected Donald Trump as our president. Over my forehead, around my eyes, but holy mother of all that is no, it hurt! So I stopped. (I would make a terrible cutter.) This weekend I am going to return the Tria because I know I will never be able to build up to level 3.

Apparently I have more Neanderthal variants than 76% of people, which may explain my mono brow. My haplogroup is U4c1, my family of mitochondrial DNA tracing back to a single genetic mutation 25,000 years to Europe, Asia and Northern Africa. I am 61% likely to smell the asparagus metabolite in my pee.

I am 100% American. 98% enraged, 91% despairing, 22% surprised and 89% embarrassed to be who I am, a white American of privilege. I have never been good at math, but I am going to use the $495 from returning the Tria (yes, $495--I am also 90% vain) to donate to Planned Parenthood, The Human Rights Campaign, Next Gen Climate Change, and The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights. To start. Not sure what I will do next, but I know I will do something.

Not a tube, but we just got spit on. Now it's time to find out who we really are.

Spoiler Alert: We are all human.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Aw Buttons!

So it appears that Ozzy has Koumpounophobia. Which is just a bordering-on-Munchausen-by-proxy name for a phobia of buttons. (And this post is an avoidance-by-proxy game of talking about the debates last night, i.e. HolyphuckaphobiaWeAreAllGoingToDie.)

But seriously. Ozzy won't touch buttons. He won't wear anything with buttons, which at 5 is not such a big deal until you go somewhere fancy and have to resort to one of those tacky tuxedo tees. He also won't touch anyone who is wearing buttons. If I try to hug him while wearing a shirt with buttons he backs away sneering, buttons! as if I am covered in wet maggots sprinkled with shart.
This is probably the last pic of him in buttons. He is about 9 months old here, and is apparently shooting me stink eye to tell me to get this button-dotted monstrosity off me woman!

As soon as he could talk he told me that he hated buttons. Ok then, I thought, and ripped the buttons of his little cargo pant pockets. Every few months I check in with him. Do you think you might want to try buttons now? I ask. No. What about now? No. But big boys love buttons! I say when it appears we are getting nowhere. I picture him at 35 wearing sweatpants, dating women who dress in Minnie Mouse sweatshirts.

The good news is that he might invent something really cool and buy me a mansion to pay me back for all the elastic waistbands I have bought him over the years. After all, Steve Jobs had Koumpounophobia. It's what eventually led him to create the iPhone with its touchscreen user interface. For now, I try to understand what it is about buttons that Ozzy detests so much. Is it the look? The feel? Do they seem dirty or scary or make him feel trapped? I don't know. I don't know if he does either.

And so it is that buttons! has become a swear word in our house. Stubbed a toe? Buttons! Your husband ate the last of the cold pizza? What a buttonhole! Watched a debate that makes you fear for the future of your children and the very culture of this great nation? Holy fuck, that is some socketing buttony shanked up shit right there.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Because They Want To, Because They Can

It's eighth grade and I'm "going" with Bryan, Bryan who is now my husband, though where we were going then was on a few hikes on the hill behind his house, to the mall once to buy a UB40 tape, that night we were going to the bowling alley with a bunch of friends. 

I don't remember if we even bowled that night, but what I do remember is being a good girlfriend and standing next to Bryan as he played Asteroids at the arcade. Pushpushpushpush, Bryan punching the button over and over intensely, and a man suddenly behind me pulling me backward, wrenching me around, his face on mine, his lips pressed hard on my face and his tongue. His tongue was huge.

Over the years I have told that story as a comedy.
I don't know how long it lasted, 30 seconds or 3 minutes, but at some point I pushed the man away and he ran out the back door of the bowling alley. He looked like he was in his 30s. I was 12.

I ran to the bathroom of the bowling alley to wash my face. It was covered with the man's spit. When I came out Bryan asked me where I had gone. He didn't even see what had happened, so intent was he on getting the high score. I have used that as the punchline when really that part didn't happen. True, Bryan didn't see, but he didn't make high score. That is the only part I made up. The rest is true, how the man gripped me against him, how hard I struggled to make him stop, my face covered with his spit, how scared I was and how we all laughed about it on the bus on the way home.

That was the first time I was sexually assaulted, luckily the worst. Other times "just" being touched when I didn't want to be touched, men grinding themselves into me on dance floors, one time a stranger showing me his penis from his parked car. Catcalls are compliments, aren't they?

I think maybe I have told this story here before? Or told you in person if you know me? But I am telling it again to get it right. It is not a comedy or "locker room" anything. It's a tragedy. All of it. 

All of it.


Friday, September 16, 2016


Last weekend I went to Target with the kids, which is nothing to write home about, let alone worthy of breaking a month-long blog silence. Target-run, the meaning of which has come to be mundane, safe in its very basic-ness. Except it wasn't. Kind of. I don't know. You tell me.
I was in a long checkout line when the man in front of me turned around and abruptly asked me where I got my sweatshirt. Um, Modcloth? I said, a little surprised that he was in the market for a skateboarding Snoopy sweatshirt. So is that like a gay thing? he asked. Is that a gay rainbow? His tone was off. Edged. Sneeringly flat. I could sense Zoey listening next to me, Ozzy not sure what was going on. Yes, I said, it's a gay pride rainbow. I made eye contact with him as I said it and did not smile. He turned back around.

I am not gay. And sadly there was a sense of safety knowing that as I stood there in that line with that man who obviously did not like gay people. At any point I could have said, I am not gay. A get-out-of-jail-free card for homophobia. I am not gay. The knowledge of which almost made me feel worse because what if I was? Exactly how much did that man hate me? What would he say or do in front of my children?

The kids were uncharacteristically silent, not asking for gum or those stupid little plastic toys at the checkout. At one point the man turned around again and with the same flat voice asked Ozzy how old he was. Five, I answered for Ozzy. The man did not look at me. I wondered if he would follow us to our car. I am not gay, I thought, but I love and support my friends and family that are, so it actually doesn't matter to this man, to me.

The man was buying a coffee maker that was supposed to be on markdown but came up at regular price, so he had to wait for a manager to adjust the price. Rather than wait at customer service, he stood right there at the register closely staring at us while I was rung up. He was still waiting as we left.

In the car Zoey asked me what happened. I told her the truth. We had a good conversation about how some people don't like other people because of their skin color, religion or sexual orientation, and how it's important to stand up for human rights. That guy seemed weird, she said, and it was true-there was nothing he said explicitly that was threatening, but we felt it. So we also talked about trusting your instinct, how it's the most important self-defense tool we have. Something was wrong with that man.

Here it is almost a week later and I can't shake the feeling. I am not gay, but that fact is inconsequential when there are people who hate me just for wearing a rainbow Snoopy sweatshirt at Target on a Sunday with my kids.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

5 and K

Oh Time, you relentless son of a bitch.
Zoey's last year in elementary school. Ozzy's first. The only time they will overlap in school. A year of me holding back tears while I draw on lunch napkins, cars and skateboards, wondering when Zoey will want me to stop. I have always been an emotional fish, but this--this is some Cat's in the Cradle next level shit.


Friday, July 22, 2016

A Wind Along the Northern Coast of Africa

So many people have been asking me where I am, that is if "so many people" means "no many people," because if a blogger fell in the forest, would it make a sound? 
No. It wouldn't. But I will tell you this: I haven't really been anywhere. Just, like a lot of you, laying low, feeling like maybe I just want to put one gentle finger up against the lips of the world and say sshhhhh, let's all be quiet now. No one say anything, not one thing more, let's all just sit here quietly for a second to calm down.

It was a Volkswagen Scirocco that brought me back. Or the lack of one. A random thought that popped in my head the other day, when's the last time I saw a Scirocco driving down the street? How strange it is how slowly things change until one day you realize it's been ten years since you saw a Scirocco, a car that I once coveted to the point of tasting the smell of the seats, two-toned leather, like the Scirocco that my friend's older sister drove. Oh, how I wanted that car and her hair, like Proust's madeline, and I thought, I bet the people who live inside my laptop might like to hear about that. 

So here we are. Ozzy has an imaginary friend he calls The Ghost Kid sometimes, other times Mr. Nobody, although around Zoey's friends he calls him Flabeeo. The Ghost Kid is black, not African American, but actually black like a shadow. He hangs out in Ozzy's room and scares him, and I can't help but wonder--imaginary? 

Sshhhhh. Let's whisper-talk. The world is a blown-out eggshell. This weekend we are going sailing as a family, will listen to the fog horns and sleep on the boat. The boat's name is Adagio. Marked by a slowing of the tempo.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Sabrina Jumpsuit

I am being followed. You, too? I mean, it looks so easy. Like maybe it's the most universally flattering thing in the world if only you never had to go pee in a public bathroom and figure out how not to let the top of it touch the floor. 
I am being followed. You, too? On the tv and on my Facebook feed, so many posts about guns and hate, homophobia, Islam, fear-mongering Trump. Like maybe it's the most universal thing in the world if you never had to leave your house. Did I just segue from a targeted Facebook ad to a massacre? Yes, yes I did. Because this is what it has become, tragedy doggedly following us wherever we go. Video of a kitten giving itself a bath! Carpool Karaoke and a petition to regulate semi-automatic assault rifles!

On Sunday I woke up and heard the news. You, too? Then we took the kids to the park where there were a dozen 7 year olds playing war with Nerf guns. "I shot you! You're dead! No, you're dead! You're dead! You're dead!" I tried very hard not to be judge-y at the parents who thought this was ok on any day let alone that day, but a little judge-y slipped out like a fart, and even Bryan who isn't as knee-jerk pc as I am admitted it seemed wrong for kids to play with guns like that, even if the guns were semi-automatic assault Nerf.

(Later we were driving somewhere when we saw a guy slam on his brakes and get out of his truck to punch another man through the open window of his car. For days now I have been checking my local newspaper to see if this made the news, but it didn't. Cold-cocking and road rage ho-hum.)

I remember after 9/11 how we were all unified in our grief. The world may have been ending, but at least we were in it together, mourning not only the dead but the loss of a time before we knew. I felt like maybe we were all kinder then, that there was a shared sense of the need to walk past each other gently. I don't feel that anymore. We are not in this together. We know, each of us certain and right.

The most visceral thing I have heard about Orlando is about the constant ringing of cell phones on the bodies of the dead as the first responders entered the club. Details like this. I have signed all the petitions. Called my senator. Talked to my kids. Is that the answer? 

There is a question, right? Do we all agree that there is a question?

This is the beginning of a slow healing, a slippery slope into merciful forgetting. I think of the children of Sandy Hook and feel sick. Watch a video of a kitten giving itself a bath and feel better. You, too? There are more good things than bad, I tell myself, the world a paradox of terrible beauty. I click on the link of The Sabrina Jumpsuit knowing that it will now follow me forever and ever until I do something about it. Buy it. Anything.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Going to California (speaking of night-night songs)

Someone told me there's a girl out there, with love in her eyes and flour, in her hair...
Flour, flower, potato, potahto. Here we are on Famous Californians day at school. Zoey is someone whom I have never heard of, a Newbery Award winning children's book author with white hair and oversized glasses. I want to squeeze those Sally Jessy Raphaels right off her face, she is so delicious as an old lady. 

It is June, and there are Famous California days and field trips, end of year parties, preschool graduation, kindergarten orientation. I have to make an appointment with the endocrinologist to have my thyroid checked. Of course with a new job I have no accrued PTO but do have a Google doc with the summer dotted with different camps. Drop off at 9am on Monday here, pick up at 3 there. None of this is particular to me, all of us moms standing around saying how cute they all are, John Muir with a stick-on beard, Steve Jobs recognizable for his black turtleneck, a boy dressed as Nancy Pelosi if Nancy Pelosi were blonde and short and a ten year old boy in a woman's blazer.

When my mom was very sick I remember fumbling with Ozzy's stroller in her room at Hospice, pinching my fingertip so hard that I screamed. The week that she died I had a nasty blood blister right at the bed of my nail, and then later, as we planned her service, a ridged, white mark across the nail. I remember watching it grow out, feeling sad as it got to the edge, like somehow that white mark kept me connected to when my mom was still alive. 

My hair is almost at a bob now, time carbon-dated by its growth. Newscaster hair, I say, thinking how strange it is that people at my new job might think this is just my style when really I am a messy top knot kind of woman, someone who wears her sunglasses inside because they are prescription, jeans, always jeans, hoop earrings, a gold bangle bracelet, not famous, but a Californian. It's the end of the school year, it always does this to me, though if I am being honest so does the beginning of the school year, March, October, July. My daughter with white flour hair on a mountain of dreams.Telling myself it's not as hard, hard, hard as it seems.

la la la la...

Monday, May 30, 2016


It's the only time you slow down long enough for me to hold you really, when you go to bed and we do a night--night song, how I tickle your back so buttery it slices me into pieces. (For the longest time it was Powder Blue every night. You knew the words by heart and would sing with me as we lay together face to face, go to sleep my baby, sleep now little you...)

You are 5 now, a number that signifies, among other things, that I will no longer wipe your butt. This is the deal we had, and you are solemn about deals, how you shrug your shoulders and cock your head as if to say, it is done, yes? Yes. I hope I remember this, how you like to do pretend homework each night, pretend only because no one has assigned it but you. Kite does not start with C, you say, with that same shrug, because it, too is done, so you do not circle kite with your crayon.

Every day you play with ok. Is this? What about this? And because I am tired and you are always moving the answer is mostly no. No, that is not ok, how I absentmindedly say no and then catch myself sometimes. I mean yes, yes of course you can [insert totally acceptable something here]. But you cannot climb to the top of the batting cage and we cannot go to the zoo and you cannot eat a fourth cookie while running with a sharp colored pencil and a glass full of watered down grape juice. I watch my words from a long way off, from 10 years off, 15 maybe, and I cannot breathe because you fill everything, spill over, and so I tell the world to slow down. Stop. Breathe. We are just going to bed and we just have this night, what song do you want? Lately it has been Beautiful Boy, the Ben Harper version. Still, we lay face to face and sing it togetherClose your eyes, have no fear, the monster's gone, he's on the run and your daddy's here. Only I say mommy, and when you look at me funny because that is not how it goes I shrug my shoulders as if to say it is done, yes? You're my beautiful beautiful beautiful beautiful boy...

Happy birthday, sweet Oz. My wish for you is that for the rest of your life, whenever you need it, you can pull up this memory of me singing this song to you and tickling your back, our faces just inches away.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Fun Fact

I have a Geographic Tongue. Which I didn't know about until quite recently when my dentist mentioned it offhandedly as she was cleaning my teeth. "Has anyone ever told you that you have a Geographic Tongue?" Which made me feel slutty with the light shining down into my mouth like that, my tongue apparently one that gets around.

(I guess I always thought the patches on my tongue were an indication of an extremely rare oral cancer that was going to kill me, one of those things that I keep silent about because it is all eventual anyway, how I am ashamed of my own embarrassing mortality. As it turns out, my tongue is not going to kill me. It is just a harmless condition of unknown origin that affects 1% to 3% of the population, patches on my tongue that change shape like a map of political unrest.)

At my new job there are screens at the elevator banks with a running slideshow of employees: a photo, title, plus a fun fact. Wendy in Marketing bartends on the weekends! Shauna likes to hang out with her dogs. Deborah is a karaoke nut. Mike in IT has died twice!

I very much want to hang out with Mike.

Thinking of a fun fact about yourself is kind of like when it's your birthday and people ask you what you want. I don't know. A gift certificate for a massage? I prefer sweet over salty. I love me some Real Housewives. I have met Sting. Once I swallowed a weeble wobble whole. What is a fun fact about myself? The perfect balance between telling and benign, something that says now this coworker is a real hoot, but not so interesting as to suck the energy out of a room. Once I thought I had MS for 15 years but they said it was all in my head because my step-dad (no blood relation!) had MS, then he died a terrible death right after my mom died her own terrible death and not two months later I was diagnosed with MS. But wait! There's more! I researched a cure and went to Israel to have a stem cell transplant to kill my immune system and now I hopefully, probably, most certainly don't have MS anymore. 
Hi Mike in IT!

Or maybe I just like bananas a whole lot, insalate caprese, when I was born I was named Amanda but my parents changed it when they realized people would call me and my brother Andy and Mandy; I have one vaguely lazy eye. 
My tongue is a map constantly changing.


Sunday, April 24, 2016


I got you a phone for your birthday. Your face when we went to get it—oh, how I hope you hold onto that face. Pure, unchecked joy! Skipping. How we did a little dance in the parking lot. The dance of the first phones. I smiled with you, squeezed your hand because you still hold my hand when we walk together. Squeeze squeeze squeeze, how many more times do I have before your hand swings aimlessly next to me, not even noticing mine? The phone an opening to a world beyond being my daughter. Why did I get you a phone?
I got you a phone for your birthday because you know more about the California Missionaries than I do, because you can play Yellow Submarine on the guitar, because you hesitate before dropping in at the skateboard ramp, that hesitation sometimes stretching into minutes, the fear clinging to your face like a new skin. You are kind to your friends. You are kind to your not friends. Your tender heart shatters me the way possibility only can.

I got you a phone because you wrote me an essay telling me why I should get you a phone. You said that it would make you safer, that you would text me when you got places, call me if you had any problems. You said that we could chat throughout the day. You said that all your friends are getting a phone, but that is not why I got you a phone.

After we got you your phone we went to the grocery store to get ingredients to make you a cake. After I parked, I called you from the front seat, and you answered from the back seat. Hello? Hi, it's me. Hi! Both of us talking excitedly, shyly even, as if we had never spoken to each other before, the two feet between us a chasm of new. Later still I sent you a text when you were just down the hall in your bedroom, both of us fumbling to read who we were in those expectant gray dots...

I got you a phone for your birthday because you are right, you don't deserve everything, none of us do. I certainly don't deserve you, my 10 year old everything who teaches me so much, my beautiful spirit of a girl with a mouth the smile of water. I got you a phone because I never want to stop listening to you.

Happy birthday sweet girl.

9, 8, 7, 6, 5 (too pregnant and cranky to write), 4, 3, 2, 1 (pre-blog)