Thursday, May 30, 2013


Dear Ozzy,

Today you are 2, which seems like a very small number for such a very big boy. You are in the 95th percentile for weight, 81st for height, 98th for head circumference and 172nd for spirit. I made up that last number, though I am 1000% sure your you-ness cannot be contained, even if you do have a big head. You are a boy who spills over, yogurt and bathwater, smashed blueberries that fall from your fingers splayed, laughter and funny faces, shrieks and sand and no as a question--always like that--rising. No?
There is something buoyant about you, something that dances behind your eyes. Oh, I know how cheesy that sounds, but it's true. You are all mirth, a bubbling up of possibility. Quite honestly, you are one of the funniest people I know even with your limited vocabulary. Here are some of your favorite things to say: Wake uh-up! Where'd it go? There it is! Hi guys! And somehow these are the funniest things anyone has ever said. Your facial expressions, hand gestures, even the way you walk is comedic--and I don't doubt it is all intentional either, how you do something and then look at us, expectant.
This is who you are at 2: a boy who runs straight for the water, who climbs anything and turns it all over, who jumps and blows kisses and denies ever going poop. Gucky? you say as you hand me things you do not want, yucky, and I take them and you lean into me like that and I cannot breathe you are so, so--you know that feeling when you are about to laugh? That bubble in your throat, how it swells before it bursts? This is how I love you, an absolute pure primitive joy of an ohmygod, this. You. Spilling over into my everything, my beautiful, blurry sweet boy.
Great big gulping gasps of zerberts on your belly. Thank you for everything that you are.

7 days old.

Monday, May 20, 2013

For a Good Time, Call*

The words fall from my mouth like tacks. Fuckfacescumbag, I am going to cut off your balls and shove them down your throat until you choke, you little bitch...sometimes it comes out so hard and fast it doesn't even make sense. Dickfuckfartface, and then I feel a little silly, like someone shaken awake from a fugue state not knowing where I am or how I got there, speaking in tongues, so I push the button to disconnect, say one last fuck you to nobody.

They tried to scam my mom. "They" a non-entity of a well-known scam wherein someone calls you saying they know you bought pharmaceuticals online and there's a warrant for your arrest unless you pay a $3,000 fine to U.S. Customs via a wire transfer to the Dominican Republic. Which, dude, I know. But when my mom told them she has cancer and needs pain relief, something to sleep, they said they didn't care, that the DEA was on their way to her house right now. She was scared, and let's face it: I feel guilty. I can't do enough, be there enough, say the right thing in this very wrong situation. How dare they make her feel small? So now I call them.

Another "they" this time...They say that you should envision cancer as a thing, a bundle of all the negative, that with each radiation treatment and chemo it is blasted and shrunk, made impotent, but I have not been able to envision anything until now. This scam. This phone number that I call now, it is the cancer. Cancer with an accent  on the other end of an overseas VoIP phone number. Drug Enforcement Agency, he answers, always the same voice gravelly and garbled, and while I have reported the phone number to the real Department of Justice DEA, I also don't expect they will ever catch him. So I call. Sometimes a few times each day. I don't try to disguise my voice but he is too greedy to notice. Sometimes I threaten him, tell him he has fucked with the wrong family, as if we are some mafia familia and not just a bunch of watered down WASPS. Tell me, I ask, when I kill you, do you want to be listening to Metallica, or maybe some Hank Williams Jr.? Other times I thank him, tell him that I don't know what to do with this anger I have over my mom being so sick, that I am grateful that I can direct my hate, track him down...sometimes I don't know where to go with this and I sputter.... Most of the time, though, he asks for my name and phone number so he can have the DEA agent call me before they "reach my house." Veronica Swish, I say, Gail Brinerd, Jennifer Rosenstonenstein, and I give him the phone number to the city morgue, mortuaries across the country, the San Francisco DEA Office, the FBI's Fraud Unit, and then I hang up, picturing him standing in a hot kitchen somewhere calling.
Of course "they" also say that revenge is a dish best served cold, and there is nothing cold about this. My heart lurches each time I call; I am alive, rattled. I think about that possibly fake Buddha quote, "holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die," but I can't stop. I find myself thinking of other phone numbers I could have him call me back at, things I could say, as if I could change his mind, make him say sorry, make it stop. Because the thing with cancer is that it renders you irrelevant. None of this matters, nothing that came before and nothing that comes after. Cancer is a fake voice on an island halfway across the world via an ip address you cannot trace, and all I can do is set my phone to private and call back.

*Seriously. If anyone needs a good outlet for anger, I'll give you the number.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Wanna See the Ugliest Photo of Me Ever? (You Know You Do.)

You know that moment when you go to take a photo with your phone and your kids are in front of you doing something freakishly adorable, or maybe it's a stupid delicious salad, the image of which you must upload to Facebook immediately as proof that once upon a time a tomato glistened just you click on the little camera icon all quick-like and HolyMotherofSweetJesusFuck! The camera is set on the reverse function and there's your big-pored, double-chinned shiny ass face staring up at you with that line between your brows and your eyes looking down all dumb and caught off-guard, you know? No? Just me? Well then.

Eff the reverse camera mode is all I have to say about that.

For the past 20 years there have been a dozen lost, mythical boxes from my childhood, boxes my mom said she had in storage somewhere. Photo albums and yearbooks, boxes of notes I passed in class, home movies, my prom dress, dried roses and issues of my high school brother and I were convinced it was all gone, the storage unit invoice lost, the contents auctioned off to a very disappointed man with a goatee on Storage Wars. Well slap my ass and call me Judy, as my mom has never said (but I have always thought she should say, seeing as how her name is actually Judy), but apparently the bill remained in good standing and I am now the proud owner of 12 boxes of my past, which is surprisingly like suddenly staring into a camera in reverse. For example, this gem:
HolyMotherofSweetJesusFuck! Note: the haircut that was supposed to resemble a photo of Famke Janssen that I tore out of a magazine and how it accentuates my most-decidedly non-Danish bone structure, the electric blue Space Invaders-meets-Bill Cosby sweater, the or-just-look-like-one Barbizon pose with arms crossed all cool-like, because nothing says nonchalance like standing like that.

It was 1986, the summer before 9th grade on a trip to North Carolina to visit family. My uncle had taken up photography so he took my picture, and the thing of it is, I remember feeling beautiful that day. In front of the camera in that horrible sweater with my bloated awful 13 year old face and puffy hair I remember thinking maybe I was a Danish Supermodel who just so happened to be having a modeling session photographed by her uncle in the basement of a tract home in North Carolina. Surely this happens.

I don't know why I am posting this, the ugliest photo of me ever taken...partly because it's funny, yes. Look how brave I am, posting this picture! I made it to the other side of that round face. But also because maybe there is something beautiful in the fact that I felt pretty then when I was really very not, when there was no reverse function on the camera and how I felt was dictated only by who I was in my head.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

It's a 5.8.13 Party!!!!

If, like me, you have a thing for Fibonacci's Sequence, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, French, Joseph Gordon-Levitt speaking French, and poetry, then a.) it's pretty creepy how much we have in common, i.e. we are both pretentious assholes and should totally hang out, and b.) you should watch this video.

Apparently JGL made this short film* inspired by Fibonacci's Sequence, and although I don't quite see the connection other than the spiral of a snail**, I'll take it seeing as how today is Fibonacci's Sequence*** day and I don't know how else to celebrate. 5.8.13. You know? 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13...the sequence wherein each subsequent number is the sum of the two previous numbers. The golden mean, the unfurling of a fern frond, nautilus shells, the flowering of an artichoke, the branching growth of bronchi in the lungs, pinecones and pineapples, the mathematical key to beauty. Don't worry...tomorrow I will be back to posting about farts and cancer, complete with pictures of my kids.

*How do I know this? Because I am friends with JGL†.

**The film is basically JGL reciting a poem by Jacques Prévert titled Chanson des Escargot Qui Vont à L'Enterrement, or The Song of the Snails Who Are Going to a Funeral.

***I just might explode into a pile of dork at 9:34 when it will be I add :55 seconds?

†i.e. I "liked" him on Facebook, ok?

Sunday, May 5, 2013


This is a terrible picture taken at an unflattering angle in horrible light with my mom who is in immense pain--hence the heavy filter--but it's all I've got for now, so. This is how I am brave right now--posting this not kind photo--but that's about it.
There are many awkward-ities when your mom has cancer, such as when the doctor asks about her sex life with me right there, or when I mistakenly sit on one of her nephrostomy bags full of urine. But I never expected it to be so awkward when people ask how she is doing.

How's your mom?

People at work, friends, the guy at the corner store...seemingly innocuous, it comes from everywhere, and I know people mean well. Hell, if your mom was sick right now I would ask how she is doing. Actually, how is your mom?

What's awkward is that brief moment when I weigh the situation: the person asking, how they know my mom, where we are, how tired I am. How do I answer? And so it ranges from she's good, fine, you voice trailing off hoping we can change the subject, to facts about the upcoming internal radiation, how medieval it sounds that they are going to surgically drill up to 24 needles into my mom's cervix and then blast them with radioactive material. No matter the degree of detail, inevitably I get a cocked head from the person who asks, eyes that grow just the teensiest bit bigger, lips pressed thin in sympathy, and then we both kind of nod our heads, like yeah. I know. Yeah. It's not a conversation that flows and certainly not one that can be backed away from gracefully.

Which leaves me with this post that I don't know how to end. Do I want people to stop asking me how my mom is doing? No. Really, please don't. This is happening and no matter where you run into me you can bet I am thinking about it. Just understand that sometimes I don't know how to answer, and that sometimes I just want to--