Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chapter 238... which our heroine is nearly finished with final edits on her book. In between fits of terror, she is quite jublilant.

Honestly, she is.

(Well, she's sure it's coming, anyway.)

Up next:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Tax season mournful thought for the day:

“No one can stop you from writing. They can only stop you from getting paid for it.”

--Bobby Moresco, Hawaii Writer’s Conference, 2009

Silver lining: writing off this.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Try Die

It has been said that all fear is fear of death.

I’ve managed to get my head around the fact that all negative emotions are fear. Envy is fear. Anger is fear. Anxiety is fear.

But I hadn’t gotten my head around all fear being fear of death until I came to live with a kid obsessed with death.

Two weeks ago: after a half-hour lost to the ephemeral delights of Screaming Flailing Crazyland on account of who-remembers-what transition, probably that it was time to go to gymnastics, I finally cornered Noodle, gave her a fierce hug, got down in her face, and said gently, “I know you have a hard time when things change when you aren’t ready for them to change.”

Her face crumpled. “I don’t want to grow up! I don’t want to die! I want to be five forever!”

Whoa, dude. And I thought I was existential.

Yesterday, on the way to swimming lessons, apropos of nothing: “Is everybody going to die, the whole world, everybody?”

I’ve learned to just cut to the chase. “Yes.”

“But that’s sad! I don’t want to die.”

“You aren’t going to die for a long, long time.”

“But, actually,” she brightly reconsidered, “ I want to try die, like, die for a minute and come alive again.”

“Well, sweetie, it doesn’t work that way.”

“Why not? I want to. Then I would know what it would be like, you know, for later.”

Before I could respond to this (who knows how) we arrived at our destination (“Land Ho!” hollered Chicken Little) and I was off the hook until next time.

Surely, if not before then, in May, when her brother’s birth/deathday rolls around. Unsurprisingly, Noodle thinks his cemetery plot is the most fascinating place on earth (“Is he really in there?”).

She recently told her entire preschool class about the cemetery (“We go and visit him at the place where all people go to die”) and her brother (“he lives there, but not really lives, because he’s dead”) with an enthusiasm akin to if he were, say, a newly acquired guinea pig.

To Noodle, the whole dead-sibling thing is like, seriously cool.

It’s given me a totally refreshing take on that particular situation, I must say.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Interesting Things That Have Happened Recently

A postcard I sent to my parents from New York City to Oregon in October, 2008, turned up in their mailbox. (Where it has been in the interim might make an excellent plot for a novel. Or not.)

My husband presented me with a tube of bacon chapstick. (Note to the manufacturer—An appealing food does not necessarily translate well into an appealing personal care product)

Chicken Noodle burst into a near-perfect rendition of Carole King’s “It’s Too Late” at the dinner table, a song I am fairly certain she has heard only a few times in her life and not at all recently. (I am considering the possibility of her reincarnation. Do you think she was at Woodstock? Do you think she died at Woodstock?)

Someone put $3000 on my credit card in a restaurant in Beverly Hills. (Sounds fun. Wish I'd been there.)

I rewrote and saved an essay three times, each of which the changes were not there when I reopened the document. (God? Are you trying to tell me something? Is it about my writing? Or Windows Office?)

I did a four-day no meat, no dairy, no eggs, no sugar, no corn, no wheat cleanse, and felt strangely non-plussed about the whole experience. (Wasn’t I supposed to be transformed instantly into a younger, more vibrant me? Made to levitate? Or at least lightened by a few pounds?)

Someone offered me a leech. (OK, this was in a dream. I declined. Still, I can’t help but wonder if it means something. Is there bloodletting in my future?)

I went to Kindergarten orientation but failed to realize I was supposed to take my future Kindergartner with me. (No one tells you anything, apparently. You have to figure it all out yourself).

Captain Daddy went in the women’s restroom of a new local restaurant, peed and washed his hands before a woman came in and interrupted his reverie. (He was completely unbothered by the whole affair. This is why I love him.)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Rockin' the Bard

Of particular interest to anyone who has ever made-out in the back of a school bus...or wished they had...

An essay from my upcoming book, Chance of Sun: A Perfectly Imperfect Oregon Upbringing, is in this month's Oregon Quarterly Magazine.

Rockin' the Bard

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Happy New You! Part IV

The chickens turned three and five last week. I am still not sure how we all got here, let alone in one piece. But I suppose every parent feels that way.

At the park over the weekend, a father, while pushing his 20-month-old son in the swing, asked, “How old are your girls?” After my answer, he said, “Oh, so you’re on easy street now, huh?”

Easy street? Is that where I am? I do vaguely remember things being more difficult even just a year ago. But I wouldn’t say parenthood has morphed into a day at the spa.

Yes, there is very little ambiguous, ear-piercing crying in my life anymore. I gave away my stroller two weeks ago. If you hand the chickens a hairbrush, they just might brush their own hair. And never again in this lifetime shall I wear breast pads.

But these days, when Chicken Noodle finds my actions disagreeable, she lets me know with an ear-piercing and entirely unambiguous insult. “You stupid pooty booty head Mommy!”

And when I haul her off to her room for a time-out, she brings to the battle new advantages—40 pounds of muscle and a strong left hook.

And this morning after I started the bread maker and left the room, Chicken Little got into the cabinet, climbed up on the counter, and added several new ingredients, including dishwater.

And if I leave them alone together for too long, the scene inevitably transforms into four-star girl-on-girl wrestling, complete with biting, scratching and occasional nudity.

I suspected that Park Dad didn’t want to hear any of this.
I finally answered, “Things are pretty great, yeah. But they just change. Some pieces get easier, some get harder.”
He looked at me like I was a three-headed alien bearing news of the world’s imminent demise. Then he chose to treat me as an unfortunate anomaly. “I can’t wait until he’s four!” he proclaimed.
The one thing I hope I’m learning after five years of motherhood is to quit waiting for the perfect tomorrow and start living the imperfect today. There’s always frosting somewhere, if you look for it.