Sunday, April 23, 2017


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,

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 Beyoncé. 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 Beyoncé 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,

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.


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 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.