Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ish Is My Middle Name (Not Really. It's Clay, But I'm Thinking of Changing It To Ish)

I think we can all agree that moving sucks ass. Therefore, logic would have it that moving twice in one month sucks ass, and then some, though I would be remiss to name the then some. In my case, it seems to have sucked any creativity out of me. (I guess I store my creativity in my ass. So?) I mean, I could go on and on about the best box for a blender, but right about now the only person who cares is Bryan. Last night we lay in bed and whispered sweet nothings of packing tape and dollies, sexy time in a box marked fragile.
So yeah, today I am calling this one in and posting about someone else's creativity. Paxton Gate's Curiosities for Kids. If you don't know about the original Paxton Gate store, you're missing out. Located on Valencia in the Mission, this store has long been my fave by selling taxidermied animals, fossils, bones, beautiful artwork, minerals, epiphytes and other out of this world plants. They have now opened up a store for kids down the street. Only instead of selling taxidermied mice dressed as the Pope, they sell hand knit frogs sliced open for dissection, wooden toys, science kits, metal trains and old timey games.

Zoey was entranced by the tangled strangler vine in the entrance, and later, she got to plant a California poppy seed in one of their daily workshops.
My mom bought Zoey one of these mounted animal heads. This is, of course, a pic of a bear, but we got the mounted stuffed giraffe head. Immediately I had to pack it away in a box and told Zoey it was for her new room. I don't know who was more disappointed--her, or me--because seriously, a mounted stuffed animal giraffe head is something I never knew I wanted but needed to have.
Anyway, if you live in the Bay Area, I highly recommend checking out Paxton Gate's Curiosities for Kids. And if you don't live in the Bay Area and got this far with this post, please know that I will be back soon with fresh content. Ish. Fresh-ish content. Ish. Yeah.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

No Mo' Beef Steak

Things I am equipt to write about today:
1. moving boxes
2. the zit on my chin
3. my sore throat, i.e. possible swine flu, i.e.i.e. for some reason I am not worried, e.i.e.i.oh I only worry about illnesses I could not ever have, i.e. prostate cancer.
4. My prostate hurts
Don't worry--I am not going to write about any of the above gems. Instead, I give you this: The Breakfast Song. My favorite line? One of these mornings/God is gonna' call me home/I won't need no breakfast/I'll be gone, gone...

Happy Hump Day, people (with a side order of no mo' Nuts of Grapes).

Monday, April 27, 2009

(A Completely Different Kind of) Help

Still no word on what went down the night before last. If anything. But I am choosing to believe I was a hero and that the night was a sign, visions of grandiosity and meaning where there is nothing but stars. Because, that's why.
Yesterday we signed the final paperwork on our house. Sold! To the highest bidder, sign here, initial here, andhereandhereandhere. Come Saturday we will no longer live behind the high school, (we will live behind the memory of once having lived behind the high school). Unfortunately, we can't move in to the new Casa Petunia Face until June 1, so we have a month long layover at Bryan's parents' house. In the meantime, I am busy nesting in my head, placing side tables in corners that I think I remember, pouring over the photos I took and wondering what goes where. And this is where you come in. I need help. This is our front door:

Please note: all decor belongs to current tenant, although we're keeping the flanking buddha statues. Anyhoo, I LOVE the cut-out door and the glass side panels. Bryan, however, is worried about privacy. Without covering the detail and the light, how would you recommend I maintain some privacy/hide from the Jehovah's Witnesses?
To give some perspective, here's a photo of the entire front porch. The house is set back from the street a bit, so I'm partial to leaving the door and glass as is. Would you? If not, how would you cover them? Thoughts?
Anyway, that's what I've got for you this Tuesday. What can I say? I'm surrounded by moving boxes.


So last night. Something happened and it's not funny, although I don't know that it's really that serious, either. I don't know anything but this: the middle of nothing. A dream, wading. Screams and yelling, me being pulled from sleep at 2:45am. I woke up and realized it was real, the screaming. It was a man's voice, or a boy, a teenager? He was screaming for help, blood-curdling helpohgodhelpmepleasesomeonehelpme. And then another voice, this one yelling for him to shutthefuckupbitchjustshutthefuckupI'mgoingtokillyou.

We live on a hill behind the high school football field. I've become accustomed to the bravado of seventeen year old boys as they saunter out of shiny SUV's, bumpers kissing no-parking signs. I know the sound of lacrosse games, of grunting, of brass whistles and Americana, the sound of humanity in all of its terrible teenage turmoil. I know shut the fuck up bitch and the mothers who come to watch their sons' games with big boy chrome sippy thermoses of Gatorade. But this, this screaming was gutteral. Was terrified. Was 2:45am on a Sunday night/Monday morning. This screaming was not right.
I wrapped myself in a blanket and stood on our front deck to listen for more. God! Help! and then this: I can't breathe. I can't see. Help! And then the other voice: Fuck you, Bitch, Shut the fuck up you little bitch, over and overandover, we were not getting anywhere. Disembodied voices somewhere down below, on the field or on the street. I didn't know. I scanned the neighborhood but saw no one else, no lights or shadows on decks like mine. I thought about calling 911. Should I call 911? What if it's just some kids screwing around? What if it's nothing? But what if it's not? The boy screaming--it was not right. The apathy of being wrapped in a plush blanket still warm from the couch. I had never called 911 before, but I went inside and grabbed my phone. 911, what's the nature of your emergency? Such a strange question, and I did not know what to say. I stuttered, and explained. Then I got off the phone and yelled as loud as I could I JUST CALLED THE COPS! hoping that I could make them stop, cold water on dogs before the jugular. Bryan came out and told me not to get involved, but I already was. I heard it, even if I don't know what I heard. The Central Park Jogger: I don't want to be an incredulous story told in psych101, the dehumanizing effect of urban life, or, in this case, the animalistic effect of suburban life: separating the weak to protect the herd, me on my deck. How could I just climb back in bed and close the window? And then the voices grew farther away as the boys walked, dragged--? As something happened and I stood on my deck until I saw searchlights from police cars cutting wide swaths against the trees.
I did not sleep. All day I have been scanning online news, but nothing. I called the Sheriff's department who would only confirm that they found the boys; they would not/could not tell me more. And so I am left with this: This is a good town, a good community, a good school system, a good that one searches out to raise a family, to build a life. But the balance of good is never just bad, it is evil. One boy making another boy scream like that. I don't know what happened. I am tired and I do not know the nature of my emergency.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Dear Zoey,
Today at 10:52am you turned 3. This is what I know about three: it is the first odd prime number and the second smallest prime, the fourth Fibonacci number. Plato split the soul into three parts, there are three branches of the U.S. government, reading, 'riting and 'rithmatic constitute the 3 R's, but that has always kinda' bugged me. Three. Me who hates math: it is so much easier to talk about you in terms of numbers, in terms of philosophy, in terms of things I have never understood because you exist in a space without language. A, B, C, D, we sing this song together, but the alphabet will never be enough to tell you just how much I love you.
Three years ago today I writhed on a hospital bed with you deep inside. Three weeks early, I went into labor on a Sunday night after watching Caddyshack with your Daddy. Bryan? I whispered around 11pm on April 23rd, 2006, I think I'm having contractions. And he mumbled something in his sleep and held me closer. Bryan? All night long I whispered your father's name (not yet knowing your own). Bryan? At 3am we called the hospital, our bag not packed. I remember bracing myself in the doorway, the way we the air felt cold on my skin when we left the house. I remember thinking that the night was so still, how could it be so still when the world was on the brink of being forever changed?
When we got to the hospital I was 8cm dilated. Good job! The nurses said, and I smiled and waited for a gold star that never came, a smiley face on top of my chart. I thought for sure I would be the pregnant lady in the movies who screams at her husband and demands an epidural, but I didn't. I didn't get an epidural; I held your daddy's hand and I pushed and I pushed and there are parts about this I don't remember, not because I am forgetful but because I was not really there. I went somewhere else, somewhere that was just me and you and pain and pushing and this intense pressure splitting me open. Push! and counting to ten, or was it three? (Weeks later your Daddy told me I pooped on the table, something I had been praying I would not do, but I did and I did not know, or care.) Push! I never once looked at my birth plan; the bag of lollipops someone had recommended went unopened. At some point they hooked you up to a fetal heart monitor and the doctor kept rushing in. Your heart rate was dropping each time I pushed and after three hours (3!), they said it was time for an emergency c-section.
Don't push! That was the most painful part--waiting in the room while the nurses prepped for surgery. It was so cold in there and I was no longer allowed to push. With each contraction I thought maybe I might die, my body cleaved by something sharp and searing that I could not see. I sat alone on a cold metal table, your Daddy was somewhere else getting scrubs and scared. Then they gave me a spinal tap and I couldn't feel anything from the neck down. I was no longer somewhere else, I was there, splayed on an operating table turning my head to puke into a pink kidney shaped bowl. I was being tugged. Pulled. And then a cry and there you were. I threw up again. Your Daddy cried. 5 lbs., 15 oz. Better than any gold star, my own happy face smiling. Tiny and pink and perfect. You.

2 days old.
I cannot imagine that there was a time before you. That the world existed, that I existed, that there was a family before the three of us. How can that possibly be? I think you might have been here all along, in the space between your Daddy and me. In the thin slice of air between our skin when we hug, in the condensation of our breath as we kissed. Ew, I know, right?

It's funny to me that I made you, because more than anything you made me. A mother. Somebody who now smiles at other children, who sees the real beauty in today, who sees tomorrow and the day after and wants the world to be better, who is not afraid to age. There is so much I want to teach you, but I have a feeling it will never be as much as you have taught me. Thank you for this and more, for everything, for feeling things that don't exist in letters, number, symbol or sound, for things I will never understand but am happy nonetheless that they are. My sweet petunia faced girl, princess happy feet, my happy birthday three.

This is still the beginning of our story, only our story starts with happily ever after.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

This Weekend Neil Patrick Harris Is Going to Ride Her

Calling all Lisa Frank fans! Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, it's all the same: rainbows and rad, glittery, flittery butterflies and unicorns galore. What is it exactly about a unicorn that gets the little girls all up in a tizzy? And please don't get all Freudian sexual subtext on me, what with the horse and the horn, because really--sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and a unicorn is just a total dickhead.
And then other times a unicorn is a 69 year old woman with a horn that looks very much like a piece of poop growing out of her head. Shockingly, this looks less magical than anything in my puffy sticker album from 1982. Apparently, this woman has had the horn growing from her head for the last 20 years, which begs the question: WTF? I mean, first of all--that wound from which the horn is growing looks like it hurts, like a nasty, painful anus in the middle of her head. That right there would send me to the doctor, like one of those under the skin zits that harbors its very own heartbeat. Get that head-anus a quick shot of cortisone, right? But then if a horn started growing out of said anus on my head? And that horn looked like a curling, hard turd, not magical at all? I mean, Jesus lady. The least you could do is smile with your eyes a little bit.
Next time Zoey hurts herself and demands a unicorn sticker I am totally drawing this mythical unicoranus lady on her owie. You know, to stop the crying. In related news: SexyTime Mythical Unicoranus--I know what I'm dressing up as next Halloween.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Sister-in-Law is Better Than Your Sister-in-Law

Okay, maybe not. I mean, for all I know your brother could be married to Mother Theresa. In which case he's now a widow and I am so sorry.
No, my sister-in-law Morgan is only saint-like, and I am pretty sure all this fawning will make her uncomfortable, but I am just so proud of her. In conjunction with the District Attorney's office of San Diego County and local community organizations, she has created, directed, edited and produced an online ad campaign aimed at teenagers and geared to prevent rapes by intoxication. Please visit the website here.

A too-small still photo of Morgan from her video. Mwah! Seriously, so proud.

Rape by intoxication is defined as taking advantage of someone who is too drunk to understand what is going on; if convicted, the felony can carry 8 years in a state prison and a life-time of having to register as a sex offender. The website gives tips for prevention and protecting yourself, as well as videos from law enforcement agencies, fraternity members and rape survivors. If you have any high school or college-aged kids in your life, please send them the website. Rape by intoxication is a preventable crime, and education is key. As a woman and as a mother, thank you, Morgan.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pulp Fiction

Whatever you do, just don't ask me what I think about orange juice. Because apparently, I am unqualified to discuss the weighty tome of morning citrus.

I am also unqualified to say my balls hurt.

Hold that thought and let me back up: This morning I was kicked out of a focus group, something about orange juice and how often do I purchase it? What kind, Tropicana this, leading supermarket brand that, $100 for two hours of my thoughts on ascorbic acid, potassium, folic acid and flavanoids. Having talked far more about much less for no compensation at all I signed up, donned my best "fresh squeezed" jeans and "not from concentrate" tee shirt and went to a non-descript office building in the city ready to take on the bigwigs of the erosion of tooth enamel. Please understand that I was pre-screened for such an honor. I passed with flying colors the inquisition of pulp. I was then sent an email telling me where to go, when, and that there were (and here I must quote) "no right or wrong answers in this discussion."
So I went, signed in, answered a few more questions about Florida's Natural, Dole, Minute Maid, and then sat down in the waiting room to read a tattered Newsweek from February 2007. There were five other women, each of us nose deep in a magazine pretending to care about what happened two years ago in the Senate, pretending that we were each of us not so hard up for cash that we answered an ETC listing on Craigslist about what we thought of orange juice. Totally! I got my Master's degree in Focus Groups with an emphasis on Never/Rarely/Sometimes/Often/Always! You, too? And a minor in Vitamin C? Yeah, we were King, thumbing the germ-laden periodicals of those that came before.
I remember when I was little and the Mobile Hearing Station rolled into the parking lot of my elementary school. How they herded us onboard and we sat in those sectioned off seats with headphones on, listening for faint beeps. Flash your hand when you hear the sound, they told us, and I was so afraid of not getting let off the mobile unit that my fingers fairly shimmied with nerves. I hear it! I hear it! I'm totally normal, let me off! A miniature Bob Fosse, jazz hands on spindly wrists in an exam room on wheels.
After waiting for about ten minutes and reading one riveting article about Wimbledon, they called us into a room. Except Susannah, and the woman with the clipboard scanned the room until she found me. Please wait here and we'll explain. One large woman looked down and called me lucky, and then they were gone. I was dismissed. No explanation really, other than that I didn't qualify. I was given the $100 just for showing up, a severance package of sorts for focus group drop-outs. But I drink orange juice! I wanted to say. I love orange juice! I have so much to say about orange juice! The woman pushed the elevator button for me, and this is how it happened that I did not revolutionize the orange juice market on this or any other day. Because I am not qualified.
Other things I am apparently not qualified for: being an egg donor. We welcome woman ages 21-29 of all ethnicities, academic achievements and creative talents! My eggs are too old. I am also unqualified to auction off my maidenhead, seeing as how I GAVE IT AWAY that ONE TIME when I was 33 and got pregnant with Zoey (total lie, of course, but my parents read this blog and need not know such details about my maidenhead, or considerable lack thereof). I am also not qualified to be a pilates instructor, to teach comedy traffic school en espanol. I am not qualified to donate sperm, or to be an Asian Female Model for something that sounds suspicously like porn. But orange juice? Dude, I was so sure I had that one.
What's a girl to do that was kicked out of an orange juice focus group? How is this going to look on my resume?
Lead Thought Processor on Citrus Marketing Campaign, April 21st, 10:02am --April 21st, 10:17am.
Thought a lot about orange juice and branding strategies, kinda,' okay, not really. Completed one questionnaire in which I copped to buying Tropicana but not Minute Maid. Lied on said questionnaire, a little bit. Because I don't really buy orange juice except if it's fresh squeezed and even then usually only for Christmas morning. Instrumental in nothing.
Next up: a paid market research stint at Stanford for Moms and Sons ages 9 to 11 and 14 to 16. It will be the one day I don't let Zoey dress in a pink princess fairy glitter mariposa Barbie outfit and I will tell her to act her age, which for that one day will be 10. There she will get a scan of her brain, and as the mother of my very short ten year old son named Zoey, I will be asked lots of questions. Because I have a lot to say about the brain activity of boys. For this, I am certain I am qualified.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Rhymes with Delores

Er, that would be slow loris, you dirty minded Mondaynities. Watch this video if you want to smile:

If you don't want to smile, let me be the bearer of bad news and tell you that it is illegal to have a slow loris as a pet. Because of course after seeing this video, I imagined a montage of me and my new pet slow loris named Delores: me tickling her, the two of us frolicking across a field of wild yellow mustard flowers real sloooow-like, Delores feeding me Cadbury Creme Eggs and then lazily wiping the sugary yolk from my chin. So I Googled "slow loris as pets" and saw that they are endangered. Oops. They constantly mark their territory with urine. Yuck. And if you do buy them illegally most likely their canine teeth have been broken or pulled as they bite in captivity and their bite is toxic. Oh, Delores! We will always have this video of not you and not me in a strange room with ugly green bedding, your armpits and my nails freshly manicured.
Happy Monday.

Friday, April 17, 2009

5 Things I am Not Going to Do This Weekend, and One Thing That I Will

I am not going to get a face-lift this weekend. In related news, I am also not going to consult Dr. Brian S. Glatt on any medical issues because WTF Rupert Everett?

I am not going to play with duct tape.

I am not going to buy this book for Bryan because we got in a fight last night.

I am not going to worry about Dutch Elm Disease. Or Jehovah's Witnesses.

I am not going to do Chad.

One Thing I Am Going to Do This Weekend: go to the beach. Make that: slather myself in sunscreen and then go to said beach.

Happy happy, friends.
Susannah and the Petunia Faced Girl (but not Bryan because he really pissed me off last night)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bubbly Toes

Remember yesterday, when I was all "Today! Today this is Zoey!" How I was all live in the moment! Stop with the cameras, the cell phones, the clockwatchers, the blogs! Well, I was. And for two full minutes there was a unicorn in my living room farting rainbows and glitter (it smelled like a mix of fig and Skittles). Zoey and I were dancing to Jack Johnson, as simple as something that nobody knows that her eyes are as big as her bubbly toes... and then Wham! Not wake me up before you go go, but wham! As in she put the boom boom into my heart because Zoey dropped the CD player directly onto her foot, no more jitterbug, no more bubbly toes, just a sudden scream that would not stop.
When I was 9 years old I was making dinner with my friend and poured a pot of boiling water down my chest, resulting in third degree burns, my turtleneck melting into my skin like a bad acid trip tie-dye as I ran down the hallway in my purple corduroy knickers. Yes, knickers. Now all that remains is a very faint scar in the shape of Africa and the memory of a fashion choice that should never have been made.
My brother had terrible asthma, had to be hospitalized multiple times because he was not breathing. One day he was petting our new pound dog, Max, who suddenly lunged at him and bit a chunk off his eyebrow. My mom ran out of the shower when she heard the screams, much to the confused delight of my brother's friend Ben who just stood there taking it all in: the blood running down my brother's face and the naked woman standing before him with the palm tree tattoo on her ass. Later, my brother was sitting on a concrete bus bench, just sitting, when it toppled forward, pinning him beneath and severing his Achilles tendon completely.
How do parents do it? Watch their children fall and skin their knees? Listen to the sudden scream of shock? How do parents quiet the wild look in their child's eyes when they do not understand the pain? (I'm not even sure who the 'they' in that last sentence should refer to, the parents or the child. In a way, it's all the same. In the moment of pain there is no separation and it's confusing to feel, to be felt, like a phantom limb, so certain the pain is your own.)
I called the advice nurse who then asked me if Zoey's foot was broken. I don't know! I said, when really I wanted to tell her I had misplaced my comic book x-ray glasses decades ago, so sorry madam medical professional. Then she asked me if there were any bones protruding from the skin, and I said no, but thank you for asking because I can totally see how a mother might navigate your automated phone system and then patiently hold for the 4 minutes wait time to speak with you while the jagged white of bone is jutting out of her child's tissue, skin and muscle. And then I got in the car and took Zoey to get an x-ray. Here she is accessorizing a Hello Kitty tiara with the lead apron compliments of radiology.

In the end, nothing was broken, except possibly me because Jesus Fucking Christ did that suck! My skeleton hurts is what Zoey kept repeating, and I held her close and felt it, too. The sudden realization that she actually has a skeleton, that her skin can be torn, that she can break, that she is real. That this is most likely the first of a few owie's. My skeleton hurts and the doctor didn't give me a unicorn sticker. Have you ever seen a not-quite three year old limp? It's pretty freaking cute, and so when we finally got home I drew on her bum foot, her very own battle wound tattoo, a unicorn snorting a fine fog of bruises, and on the backside, farting a steady stream of glittery rainbows onto her sole.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

With a Spoon

Nobody ever told me that motherhood is a constant gnawing hunger, a confusing mix of envisioning future ages and milestones, cars and boys and the way her grown up hand will feel in mine, and simultaneously mourning tiny pink socks that surely only ever fit seashells.

Off to live in the present. Today. Today this is Zoey.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bleeth and Teeth, Blech

I overdosed last night. Which sounds so Less Than Zero, especially when coupled with my sturm und drang post from yesterday. Of course like a true suburban mom I did not OD on cocaine or heroin, but on hormones. Birth control pills. Yasmin. I'll let you have a moment to think about how crazyhotsexycool I am. (It might help you to picture me in my Honda station wagon, the fresh glitter paint job glinting in the sun, the Cheerios scattered like so many parties. Oh yeah, there you go.)

Wrong Yasmin. In fact, this is Yasmine Bleeth (Whatever happened to her? She should totally be the face of Yasmin), but the photo is a pretty good picture of how I felt, curled up in a ball in bed and then bleething all over the bathroom. Come on, we've all done it, right? Realized we forgot to take a pill at some point and then took two too close together? And then rode out wave after wave of hormone poisoning, hunched over in the bathroom betweens bouts of puke, staring much too closely at that one obligatory stray pubic hair on the floor vowing never to have the sex again if means no more hormones, ever? No? Just me? Well then I guess you also didn't have a dentist appointment first thing the next morning which you did not cancel for godonlyknowswhy, and I guess you did not have to raise one polite hollow finger to make the dental assistant stop scraping your molars so that you could run to the bathroom and throw up some more surrounded by framed illustrations of apples and teeth? Okay, now this is just getting awkward, the sentence structure, the you, the royal we. Alls I'm saying is that it was a morning, much like it was a hockey game for this little boy.

I'm sure he won't forget his birth control pill again any time soon.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Certain Slant of Light

Today I am made of onion skin, yellow trash, crunchy thin and see-through. Of incomplete sentences and the stuff of bad teenage poetry.

Smallnesses. Still no job and nothing on the horizon. Bryan ran out of his long-acting insulin this weekend and woke up in the middle of the night with his blood sugar at 500. I think of the time we will lose on the back end because of this 500. Does this mean he will die a week earlier than he would have? A day? When we are 80? 77? 68? (I cannot go any lower.) Will I know? Does it matter? Today is made up of me being macabre. I think of that one time years ago when he woke up with his blood sugar at 20, how I stuffed his mouth with bread while ransacking the fridge for a quicker form of sugar. When I turned around he was looking at me through a hole he had poked through the slice of bread like a boy with a piece of bologna. Hellooooooo! he giggled, a grown man giggling in the unnatural overhead kitchen light of 3 in the morning, his blood sugar at 20 and plummeting, how I pushed that piece of bread into his mouth and hated him for losing control. For letting it drop. For laughing when I was so afraid my hands shook while cramming bread into his clammy face, the dough dry and brown and dead.
There are things I am afraid to write but they are there and me not writing about them does not make them go away. If only I had that power. Any power. Like I said, teenage poetry, my thoughts too big for me to understand, dramatic and dark, my i's dotted with just dots because I have never been the girl who goes for hearts or happy faces. Okay, there is this: blogs with children who have died.
I let the cursor blink there for two full minutes while I tried to think of another way to say it. Something softer, maybe, something that makes sense. But of course nothing is soft there, nothing makes sense, nothing gives respect really but the truth and so there is just this and this and this. I ask my friends if they have read that blog. The one? With the little girl? Who? And my friends, their eyes grow wide as they shake their heads and tell me another story. Of another little girl. Who. And then there's that boy. The two year old? Who. The stories are swapped and we cannot imagine. We need to keep them stories, of a blog of a mother I have never met, of a friend of a friend of a boy of a girl of a child, once upon a time in a faraway land there once was a child who--
I hold on, knowing that things drop. Blood sugar and the stock market, things that make sense and can be enumerated and then things that can't, that won't, things without numbers that I will not say because maybe just maybe words have power and I can keep those things at bay. No, not mine. I hold on tight.
Years ago I read an article about poetry, how to tell the good from the bad, or maybe the point of the piece was how subjective it all is. I actually don't remember the point. What I do remember is that included in the article were several famous poems and some not-so famous, supposedly terrible poems. I felt a Funeral, in my Brain, and I could not tell the good from the bad so I stopped reading poetry. How stupid is that?
What is the fucking point?
There is none, that's the joke. There is just this: beauty and loaves of bread made of yeast which turns to sugar which converts into energy and we all know that energy can neither be created nor destroyed and so I close my eyes and feel both fragile and invincible all at the same time. The world is too much. Thankyouthankyouthankyou, even though today is a sad day full of incomplete sentences. I hold on because if I let go I will be flung apart, scattered and lost like dandelion seeds and dander. I have no faith but I have my hands.

If you can, please donate to March of Dimes, or to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. I don't know what else to do.

*Image of Shark Girl--I have been coveting this image for months now, I love it so. Sadly I have no idea where I got it or whose it is. Please let me know if it rings a bell and I will gladly credit the artist. It is so good. UPDATE: Thank you, Sparkie, for pointing me in the right direction! The artist is Casey Riordan Millard, and I am her new #1 fan. And how perfect is her artist bio for this post? Awesome.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Pretty Good Friday, La La La La La

It is important to note that I am something of a heathen. Which is why it is particularly fitting that I am headed to Vegas this weekend to celebrate Easter.

I don't even know if heathen is the right word as it connotes a violent rejection of religion, and that's not entirely fair. Or true. I think there needs to be a new word, a modern spin on heathenism in which the person is just kind of peacefully and lazily spiritual. Not agnosticism really, although that's closer.
May I suggest the term lalalalistic? As in yes, there is something else, something bigger, something grand and beautiful and scary and more but I am not quite sure what it is so instead I will just sit here and watch The Real World Duel Challenge II knowing that it is there whatever it is, I feel it and in this we are one, Amen. The Church of LaLaLa, now accepting flock.

When I was little I believed in the Easter Bunny who brought me jelly beans and quiet glittery spun sugar eggs housing small yellow chicks, later Sweet Valley High books and green mood lipstick. If I still believed in the Easter Bunny I would ask him to bring me one of these paintings by Marion Peck. Aren't they beautiful and eerie and then beautiful again? I love a delicacy that can stun. Alas, I no longer believe in the Easter Bunny, and yet when I wake up on Sunday there will be the fuzziest big-eyed chick in my bed softly snoring, i.e. Zoey, not Bryan, although he'll be there, too, less chick and more monkey man, also snoring.

This one is my favorite. It is titled "Nice Girl," and pretty much completely captures how I feel 99% of the time. Don't you just know there is something going on behind those big brown eyes, that there is potential energy waiting in her clasped Nice Girl hands?

So yeah, Vegas baby, Vegas. Truly it's a quick vacation with Bryan's family, but if I just so happen to pass a slot machine or roulette table and you just so happen to have a feeling about a number or a color or an odd or something of that jazz hands and showgirls ilk, please let me know in the comments section. Bet it all on black? 17? Cherry! Cherry! Cherry! Happy Good Friday peeps, and a very sugary Easter.
Susannah and the Petunia Faced Girl

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spring Chicken

Oh cursed, fowl foul working mother!
I did not get the job. More importantly, I did not WANT the job. Because it was for this guy, gah. Game over. I am embarrassed to say I considered it, would have probably taken the job if the company had been more open with my schedule. But no--their working hours are from 7:30am until 6pm, usually later (not to mention travel to Asia, trade shows and accounts). WTF? Tack on the hour commute each way and I would be gone from 6:30 in the morning until 7 or later every night. I would never see Zoey, much less be able to drop her off and pick her up from school. When I told Bryan he said, "why wouldn't you have been able to do those hours?" To which I replied, "because of a little thing called the space-time continuum, the love of my daughter and the distaste of dick bosses." Okay, I didn't really say that. I just sort of whimpered into my cell phone while pulling over to the side of the road in the rain. Big talk at the Petunia Face manor tonight regarding Shared Priorities and Goals. And then we'll watch an episode of Breaking Bad and discuss the relative merits of pushing meth (between the hours of 9 to 5 only, natch).
I'm not gonna' lie: I feel angry right now. Discouraged. Scared and then, oh? What's that? Ah, yes, more anger. I want to write a post on working mothers, but right now it would surely come out sounding whiney and annoying as fuck. So I won't. Instead I give you this: not mine but I wish it were, especially the part about the sweatpants.

That is all.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dear Reader

This photo has nothing to do with everything.

Quick! Bryan is working from home this morning, hogging the computer. He's in the--ahem--bathroom right now so I have a minute (make that 15 minutes) to write something--anything! I had an entirely different post drafted for today but it keeps crashing my computer so I have to believe the government is following this blog and doesn't want me to say what I was going to say and yes I know this is a run-on sentence but hopefully you get the urgency. The heretofor lost Petunia Face post may or may not have had something to do with butts and Easter hats. Don't ask too many questions!
So instead I am here to be safe and boring and to ask your advice. Really--blah, but can you help? Here's the thing: I have an interview tomorrow. A third interview. And everyone knows what happens on a third interview. You have sex with them. So I need to know: they've already told me their office hours are from 8am until 6pm, sometimes later. And because of Zoey's daycare hours I can only work 9 to 5. I mean, whatever happened to 9 to 5 anyway? Why is that slacking??? What happened to the American dream, Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, and a little rat poison? How do I word it so I get the job? Personally, I think if you can't get your job done in the hours from 9 to 5 then you're doing something wrong. Inefficient assholery. But maybe that's not the best way to phrase said situation. Any advice? Aside from putting out? I mean, I'm going to do that regardless.
Crikey! I hear the toilet flushing! Thanks in advance, and, as always, Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Once upon a time in a faraway land called My Former (Former) Job Back When Life Was Simple I was the Queen of What Would You Rather Do. Each day at lunchtime my friends and I would convene in an office and pelt each other with questions while eating overpriced sandwiches from the store down the street. What would you rather do? Have a 30x40" hi-def poster of your mom in a spread-eagle Penthouse pose framed above your bed for one year, or have your boss walk in on you masturbating for ten seconds? (Please note: you and your boss would have ten seconds of eye contact, and in the framed photo of your mother she is smiling with her eyes into the camera.) There was something about the futility of each question that I liked. It was easy, making decisions between public humiliation and making out with blubbery-lipped co-workers. Back then, life was egg salad on a croissant for $6.99 and a shared box of seasonal sugar cookies for dessert. Nothing more.
There is little I miss about work, not the meetings or the bitchery, not the passive-aggressive notes left above the sink in the office kitchen or the way the bathroom constantly stank of the collective moan of humanity. But I do miss the everydayness of co-workers who turn into friends. Of did you get a haircut? and happy birthday! in a high-pitched voice, of what did you do this weekend? asked by the guy who works in the warehouse to what would you rather do? asked by your friends behind a closed office door during an hour when you can be yourself and still get paid for it.
Nobody is paying me now, and Nacho still hasn't noticed my haircut, so instead I turn to you, my imaginary friends of the www. What Would You Rather Do?
Wear these heinous cotton-printed Hammer pants every day for one year without being allowed to explain it to anyone (white Reeboks included)...

Or, wear these acid-washed bikini jeans to your next big social outing, again without being allowed to explain yourself to anyone?

Too easy? Okay, how about this one: Would You Rather...

Have a 15 minute full-on makeout session with one of these crackheads (blonde or brunette, your choice!), complete with open-mouthed tongues and saliva...

Or, give this man an hour massage using only your tongue and a bottle of Drakkar Noir?

Now can someone please offer me a freaking job already as clearly I am wasting all of my talent alone in my kitchen with nary a co-worker to bug. Perhaps I should list on my resume: Queen of What Would You Rather Do? along with some sample questions, of which there is never one right answer.
So? What Would You Do? (Please pass the sugar cookies before answering.)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Further Evidence of My Immaturity

Remember that show Growing Pains? How Mike Seaver had that dopey Italian friend named Boner? I've always wondered how they got away with that. In related news, if I ever get a dog I'm going to name him Boner. He'll be fixed, of course; I just really want to stand in front of my house and yell Boner. Boh-NEERRRR!

Now I've typed the word so many times it's losing its meaning. Bonerbonerboner, l-m-n-o-p. There are many reasons it would be awesome to be a man: running without boobs, no periods, watching tv with one hand absentmindedly on my junk, the ease of public urination, never being called a bitch (unless of course I go to prison, in which case I don't think gender matters). But there are also a few reasons I am god-oh-so-lucky not to be a man, not the least of which is prostate cancer followed closely by the embarrassment of boners.

(Note to self: The Embarrassment of Boners as potential title of my autobiography. The cover would be an image of me with a photoshopped boner. Totally. You'd buy that, right?)
(Okay, if you wouldn't buy that book, how would you like to get a Christmas card next year of me and my family. Everything would be normal except I'd have a boner. No? Hm, I'll work on some other ideas.)

Since prostate cancer is not funny, I'm choosing to focus on boners. And so does this website: I love it in a schadenfreudey ugh-I-have-PMS-but-at-least-I'm-not-sporting-wood-at-the-mall kind of way. Yeah. Happy Monday to you, too.
Seriously--Happy Monday. Because this weekend Bryan and I sold our house and found the cutest house to rent, a 1940's 3 bedroom California bungalow in the most perfectest neighborhood and for almost half of what we were spending on our mortgage. And I've had a bit of a chubby ever since. I think things might be okay, after all.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Bonus Friday Post!

Sometimes the Universe is a real bitch. Other times she hears your cries and gives you this:

Cadbury Creme Egg Muffins. Hello Saturday morning! What a pleasure to meet your friends Jiggly Gut and Gee I Have Some Pain Spreading From My Chest, Down My Left Arm and Into My Jaw But Oh Well Somebody Get Me An Aspirin and Another One Of Those Muffins Please (middle name You're Fucked). Who woulda' thunk it? Has anybody ever made these? And? And???
Genius recipe from here, pasted below for your Happy Friday Petunia Faced pleasure:
Cadbury Creme Egg Muffins
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
12 mini Cadbury creme eggs (not full size)
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.In a small mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, melted butter and vanilla until smooth. Whisk in milk.Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined and no streaks of flour remain. Evenly distribute muffin batter into prepared pan. Place 1 mini Cadbury creme egg in the center of each muffin. You can use a small knife to pull a bit of batter over the top of the mufin, if you like.Bake for 14-16 minutes, until the top of the muffin springs back when lightly pressed and the edges are a light gold.Cool on a wire rack before slicing.
Makes 12.

Just This

Our house is in contract. On the market one day, two offers, a 30 day escrow, and now there is this: me very almost slightly freaking the fuck out, sad, like a break up, only my house will not get jealous at the thought of me moving on, nor does it notice that I have put on lipstick to make myself feel better. I kiss Bryan. He is happy. Zoey says our house is broken, that is why we are moving and as always, she is right.
I wonder how I got here.

Last week we had painters at the house, two guys: Tony and James. James brought donuts and talked to Zoey about the color pink. I sat in the living room and pretended not to be uncomfortable with two strange men working on my house while I did nothing. Later Zoey started crying, screaming really. I HAVE TO FART! she kept yelling. I HAVE TO FART! She crawled onto my lap, tried climbing up my chest and into the crook of my neck. I HAVE TO FART! Well then fart, I whispered quietly into her ear, not knowing what else to say. But she wouldn't, or couldn't, and she kept screaming. Sshhh, I was embarrassed, knowing that Tony and James were just down the hallway painting the rooms not pink but ecru. Just fart, a Nike swoosh endorsed by this mother, but she would not stop. Do you have to go poo? I asked. But I HAVE TO FART! is all she would say.
I don't know why, but these stories are somehow related, the selling of my house and that. Shit happens? I don't know. Am I embarrassed about having to sell my house? Yes, I think so. I mean really, how did I get here? But everybody poops and I choose to believe that this will be good in the end, a release. Faith, a trust without proof that someday soon I will once again buy chicken breasts knowing full well I will never cook them.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Trouble (Please Be Kind)

This is what we did the day I was a bad mother: Went to the park. Twice. Ate chicken salad for lunch, cookies for dessert. Had lollipops. Bought a dress for Easter Sunday. Took a nap in the redwoods by a creek. Story time at the library. Dinner with Daddy at the Indian food place where we sang Cat Stevens songs sitting at an outside table, the warm evening air heavy with jasmine and samosas. Trouble! Oh trouble, can't you see-ee-eee, You're eating my heart away, and there's nothing much left of meeeee... Trust me when I say you have not seen cute until you've seen a two year old girl sing "Trouble."
Our house went on the market yesterday, the day I was a bad mother. All day long Zoey and I were displaced persons bumbling from one event to the next while strangers walked through our home, trailing their fingers over our countertops. At the park I thought of these people who might sit on my bed. Mama! Mama! Zoey jumping off a purple polkadotted frog. Did you see me? But what I saw was this: business cards on my kitchen table. The look a wife might give her husband when she notices the way the dryer is vented. I saw chocolate chip cookies in my oven not meant to be eaten, the scent false security where really there is none. Who do I think I'm kidding anyway? The way I set the table before I left just like our realtor asked me to do. Three plates, three napkins, three placemats, one family, ours. Motherhood: I called it in yesterday, short and distracted. Discombobulated. Displaced. Zoey did not nap well under the redwoods, and later, she was cranky. Zoey! I called her a brat and then apologized. She ran away from me in the parking lot, laughing. Get in your car seat! Now! Yesterday I was somebody else's mother, the mother I quickly look at in the grocery store, half with sympathy but more so with scorn, Zoey's shoulder alarmingly small in my grip, my table set for a dinner I would not be serving.
Cry me a fucking river, right? We went to the park. Twice. Still--later, after Zoey went to sleep I stood above her in the dark and whispered yet another apology. Kissed her warm hair and resisted waking her up to watch her jump off a polkadotted frog. Yesterday I was weak, brittle, split between a house and a home, the fabric of my motherhood sewn from crinkly white hospital paper, each move a sound waiting for something. But today, today I will be made of silk, of velvet, of skin and eyes and present, yes, I see you. Today I won't look away. Trouble! Oh trouble, please be kind. When Zoey sings she warbles her voice and shakes her head back and forth, she feels it. She knows.

And I know this: There will always be trouble. Of one kind or another. But I need to be better. I need to be bigger. I need to be more. Mama? Watch this! Did you see me? I must look, really look, because I have seen HER face, and it's too much too much for me.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Portrait of a Mother/Daughter at the Seashore

"Simple." ~Photography Today
"Beautiful." ~Art & News
"Speaks the quiet language of motherhood." ~The Artist's Quarterly
"A mother/daughter portrait for our times." ~Lee Jeans

Joke's on me. Keep your wits about you and your pants hitched up--Happy April Fool's Day!