Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

I stopped eating gluten. Developed a taste for ghee. I learned the fine art of pomade and we swam in the pool, the lake, the ocean. (Not that those things are necessarily related.) We watched Charlotte's Web and Stand By Me, both of which took some fast forwarding. I told Ozzy to say please when he yelled at me from the bathroom to wipe his butt. I did this 243 times.

This is the slow end of that particular montage, and while I know sentiment is cheap, I can hear the music rising.

Today was the first day of school. It slips in quietly surrounded by noise, and before you know it you are taking photos of a 4th grader and your son in Pre-K, standing on your lawn brown from the drought.

Don't. Stop. Don't. Stop. Remember how Popeye would say that in the old cartoons when Olive Oyl was kissing him? The joke being that as he said it faster it sounded as if he was asking her not to stop. I thought that was so funny when I was a kid. Don't. Stop. Don't. Stop. Don't. Stop.

4th grade and Pre-K. This is the first day.


Monday, August 24, 2015


I am so in love with my family. And I'm not just talking about Bryan and the kids, although yeah, I have to watch how hard I hug them, because sweet Jesus, they are squeeze-y. No, I'm talking about my family family: aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins once removed, removed from what, I don't know because I love them so.

When I was in Israel, which--well let me just back up. I kind of hate starting anything with when I was in Israel because I don't want that to be my thing. I don't want that to be the most interesting thing about me. Whatever. Moving on. Love. My family. When I was in Israel I felt terribly far away from everything that made me me. So I pulled the chemo card and sent an email to my extended family to initiate a family reunion. It had been too long since we had all been together. I didn't want to wait for another wedding or god forbid a funeral to see them.

My Aunt Eleanor offered up her farm in New Hampshire along with a family summer cottage 20 minutes away, and after months of exchanging emails it was set.

So last week we traveled from San Francisco, Boston, Denver, Phoenix, Oregon, Nebraska and Santa Fe and spent time teasing each other, laughing, swimming in lakes, kayaking, looking through old photos, and staying up until 4am to talk. It was one of the best vacations I have ever taken.

The farm, aka Uplands.
Oz walking from the cider press barn with all the tractors to the original barn with the chickens.
He was more than a little infatuated with the chickens. In fact, I am trying to figure out if I should do the whole urban-chicken-thing, although cleaning cat litter is already too much for me.
Me and my cousin, Tess. She is my sister from another mister, although that other mister is my uncle so technically that means she is my cousin. But she may as well be my sister. One of my favoritest people on earth, and the only one who likes to do bad accents as much as I do.
Zoey and cousin Ian chilling in the hammock. Some of my best childhood memories are with my cousins, and I so hope Zoey and Oz have the same experiences.
Speaking of cousins, mine are tall. Farish, 6'8", Lucas 6'6", and Georgia, 6'. Not pictured: Oliver, 6'4". I got the hair that flairs red with the sun, freckles, brown eyes and the twisted dark humor, but sadly I did not get the tall gene.
Lake swimming! So much lake swimming. It was a first for my west coast kids, but they loved it, hard. 
How could they not? There was a Sunfish, kayaks, a canoe, a row boat, a rope swing over the lake, and a thousand water skeeters that stopped no one.
Zoey and Ian in the kayaks.
Ozzy was pumped on jumping into lakes.
He also loved the tractors. So chickens, lakes and tractors = his new favorites.
Also...children of the corn. Or El Hombre of the corn. Whichever.
We stayed at Tip Ridge, my aunt's summer cottage on a lake and it was straight out of On Golden Pond. Here are the cousins reading a book. I mean, right???
The sun porch might replace a remote beach on Mykonos as my special place I go to in my head when I am getting my blood pressure taken. So. Freaking. Peaceful.
Forget freaking. It was FUCKING AMAZING.
Back at the farm we went to the frog pond, picked apples and played field golf.
And this happened. But I don't like to think about it because creep-to-the-New England-eee.
On the last night we had dinner in the barn and watched old family videos including one that all of us older cousins made on Christmas 19 years ago called The Real World, Santa Fe. I hadn't seen it since we made it in 1996. We were 24 and drunk and stupid and wow, it was embarrassing. But fun. Fuck, we have fun together.
You know, chemo sucked. I cried, I puked, I even pooped my pants a little, but goddamn if it wasn't worth it to remind myself of the importance of family. I love these people, my tall freckled witty smart family who not only reminds me of where I come from, but where I can always go.

Do me a favor and call a cousin today. ;)

Love you all,

And a special thanks to my Aunt Eleanor for hosting, and to Susan for organizing.

Thursday, August 6, 2015


The year I was born a Big Mac cost .65 cents. I wish I could taste it. I bet it tasted different.

Zoey hates her camp this week. Feels left out from her friends, is afraid of Stand Up Paddleboarding, told me to throw away the camp shirt because she is never going back there again. 

She has been on Instagram for a few months now, set to private. We sit together and look at her friend requests and delete anyone I don't know. She posts pictures of Cinque and Ike, her Littlest Pet Shops, of her brother asleep. She "likes" every single photo people post, and when I told her you're not supposed to do that, only the ones you really love, she asked me why. I don't know what I said, only that she told me that's stupid. Why not "like" every picture because it makes people feel good?

Tomorrow she is not going back to that camp.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Check Out My New Hair Don't

This is for those of you who say, oh, but it must be easier! Right? Short hair. Just wash and go! Except this is how it looks when I wake up in the morning. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.
Straight up Don King. So no, it's not easier, or even easy. It's fuzzy and weird, curly thick and downright lofty. Which means my sink is littered with pomades and creams, pastes, and god I hate the word paste. (Product is not much better.) So when you see me looking like this, kind of awkward and wrestled, patted down and pulled, know that this is the best I can do and please don't look at me too long.
Seriously. Look away. A great big nasally meh

I thought maybe I might be ready for hair accessories, the very thought of which filled me with exclamation points and the hope of a thousand Lisa Frank stickers! Except this:
I don't know but something about it feels very Ethel Mertz, and I do not aspire to being anyone's neighbor. Maybe it's the polka dots? Maybe women over 40 should stay far away from polka dots? *sigh* So I tried another headband/scarf thingie, only...
...only there's not enough there there. Enough hair or 'do or even don't. I just kind of look like I forgot that there is a something on my head because clearly it is not serving an actual purpose.

Oh, I also tried bobby pins, barrettes, both of which were too sad to photograph, plus a metal leaf headband that would look absolutely darling on Michelle Williams. But.

It's kind of my fault. I was talking to my friend who said I just need a hair stylist to partner with, to help me grow it out gracefully and teach me how to deal in the meantime. The problem is I've always been a total hoary slut when it comes to my hair. Never seeing the same stylist twice, going wherever Groupon takes me, trimming my own bangs, Supercuts because sometimes you just need a little, you know? And now here I am needing a real relationship with someone who knows me, my hair, and I got nothing.

Nothing but a big bush. And you. Anyone have any ideas? Tips? I mean, I don't even know if I should get haircuts to clean up the back and the sides, try to maintain a short cut until some mystery switch is ready to be flipped to go long, or do I just go full bush from the get go, close my eyes and think of England?

Please send help. Especially if his name is Chaz Dean.