Monday, January 28, 2013


The snow is falling.
My butt is falling (thank you, gravity).
Temperatures are falling.
Artifice is falling.
My boobs are falling (thank you, wise old years, and kids).

But I can still do a pretty good headstand.  For 25 breaths!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Nolie.  With a little chocolate on her face.

This is Nolie.  Sweet as can be.  Bright, funny, effervescent.  Loves:  animals (especially cute, furry ones), movie night, being in your lap, telling you everything that comes to mind, her friends, her family, being included, making things, reading, taking hot baths.  She can now go upstairs by herself without collapsing with anxiety.  She sleeps through the night.  Her knees hurt her a lot right now, I think because of growing pains, but who knows.  She hates being embarrassed, and embarrasses easily.  She's also a performer and loves being the center of attention.  I understand these contradictory feelings.

She wants to be a biologist, or an entymologist, or an artist, or a teacher when she grows up.  She doesn't like being the littlest one all the time.  She loves being the littlest one sometimes.  We talk a lot about how this is the year of her becoming an individual, and that this takes time and patience and can be trying but is also fun and exciting.

She had a parasite in her tummy named E. Nana (I know, I know).  We don't know how long it was in there, but it was probably making her tummy hurt for a long time.  Her immune system isn't working just as it should, but the doctors say she might grow out of that.  She just finished antibiotics, so she's still have some tummy aches, but they don't seem as severe as they did before.  But just as before, it is hard to know.  We'll just have to wait, and listen, and respond when it seems time.   The next step is all the outpatient exploratory "-oscopies" so I'm hoping just getting rid of the bug gets her better.

This Nolie still gets pretty mad sometimes.  Last week she took a mirror off the wall and slammed it on the ground and stamped it with her foot.  How she did not get a bloody foot, I do not know.  Still, we're all getting better at the anger and frustration.  Acknowledge her feelings, the best parenting book in the world says.  Another trick:  when you see your kid's frustration start to mount, help them to draw it.  

Nolie was getting pretty mad the other day because her sister got to go on a playdate and she didn't.  I saw it starting to happen and grabbed a piece of paper and pen and drew a big black mark, dark and scribbly, and said, "This is how that would make ME feel!  How does it make you feel?"

Here's what she drew:


Totally.  And then she was over it and we went and had some pasta.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Meet Emma

On Saturday, we adopted a new cat, Emma.  Here's a pic:

What do you mean, you can't see her?


We managed to adopt an invisible, six-year old cat.

When I say "we," I mean to say, "E."

We had good intentions.  I had good intentions.  I took some time off on Friday to go to the local animal shelters and scout out animals.

Wait.  I'm making this sound all rational.  The truth is, I needed an animal to fill the hole left by Prudence and Sadie and I was hell-bent on filling that hole this weekend.  So sue me.  It's why most of us get pets, duh.  They make us feel better.

The problem was, we hadn't really decided what to get, pet-wise.  Or how many to get.  I was thinking a cat.  Or two.  Or two kittens, maybe.  Yes, two kittens.  Or maybe a dog and a cat.  Or just a dog.  Or maybe a puppy, though that sounded like a lot of work.  I raised these possibilities to E. and got little more than a grunt.

I learned at therapy last night that this does not necessarily mean E. is on board.  He learned that he has to do more than grunt if he wants to prevent me from steamrolling processes like these.

You'll remember, too, that we already have Milo.  And having him is like having a drooling baby camel following you around all day, trying to get into your lap.  He's in the mix, obviously.

Anyway, I played around with all the combinations and identified what I thought were some suitable candidates.  I took the girls around after school to meet all of them, and there was general agreement that we had a good batch.  The plan was that Saturday morning all four of us would go around again and make the decision.  I wanted E.'s input and buy-in and he (reluctantly, I see now) seemed with the plan.

Unfortunately, a stupider, more cockamamie plan was never hatched.

First, I woke up with a quarterly superperiod.  Weepy, temperamental, scatter-brained.  Should have just gone back to bed for a few more hours.

Second, E. woke up grumpy.  He had a conflict with the girls before we even got out the door which I will not describe in detail here, but you might imagine:  Kurt Cobain + hotel room + smashed instrument.  Really.

Third, the girls are always whiny on Saturday mornings.  They've been at school all week and they're tired and churlish and all they want to do is walk around the house in their underwear flinging legos at each other and making superhero capes out of old satin scraps.  Try to get them out before 10am if they haven't had cartoons and chocolate chip pancakes and they turn into banshees.

But I pressed on.  Because that is what I do.  I ignore any and all signs and I just push on through, goddammit.

We made it to one shelter.  One.  Needless to say, we did not leave with an animal.  There was weeping and gnashing of teeth and high dramatics.

That was just me.  But everyone else lost their shit, too, and we all ended up back in bed when we got home, our arms thrown over our eyes.

We would have stayed that way all day, I think, but we were literally out of food by 4pm so I had to go to the grocery store.  Nolie agreed to go with me.  I whispered to a napping E. (God, what is wrong with me?) on my way out that he and Addie should just go pick out a cat.

He hissed venom from a half-opened eye-hole.

But when Nolie and I got home from King Sooper's, E. and Addie were gone.

They found Emma and liked her.  She's super-lovey.  About six.  With cool rings around her tail.  By some miracle, neither Nolie nor I are allergic to her.  She doesn't claw.  She uses the litterbox.  She sleeps on the girls' beds at night, which they love.  She helps me to type when I bring her into the office with me and shut the door.  She doesn't cry.  She's playful.

But she is utterly and completely terrified of Milo.  If he is in the room, she is not.  And that is why I call her the invisible kitty.  Or Madame Bossquatch, for the squalling beast she turns into when he comes near.

She's also the same color as our carpet.

Sadie hid under the bed for a month when we got Milo, so I hope Emma grows out of it, too.  We'll give her time.  And even if she doesn't grow out of it, she will officially count as the lowest-maintenance pet on the planet.  So that's okay too.

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Leaf in Her Cup

A Leaf in Her Cup
By David J. Daniels

When your mother thought she was the dog,
you were the government. And when the dog
started in through the telephone, she became
its listening. You were the thing with the secret
weapon, she the cornered thing. Then you
were the Virgin Islands again and she was Mexico.
You the colonizing space, the space that space
took over through the hospital safety glass. Then you
were the dog and she the phone, the phone
you’d given her, and then she thought that she
was the sinner and you the end in sight. Why,
she asked, should ridiculous grief be the thing
the leaf plunks down in my cup, why
should the leaf chewed down one side like a scrap
of haute couture, a remnant tossed to the dresser’s
floor, conjure this in me? And the dog did nothing
but stare back, being what had locked her there.

(Thanks, N.).

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The What Next

I just finished wiping down the studio floor, picking up the last bits of kitty litter, catching up with the last floating wisps of hair.  We had to keep her locked in here for her last few days because she was throwing up so much blood and we needed to know whether she was eating or drinking.  She wasn't.  The bedding is in the washer, and I no longer need to put down a cloth at the foot of the bed to catch everything she sheds for easy washing.

One of the girl's stuffed animals is on the work table, needing mending, and out of the corner of my eye I register the furry blob and think it's her, just for a minute, before I realize it's not.  I wouldn't have paid her any attention any way, because she preferred to be left alone, didn't like to be petted or even talked to most of the time, just wanted us around.  We could tell because she would be very needy when we came back from trips and would sit with us for a brief bit before going back to her cat-as-an-island thing.  This had shifted a little in the last few months, and she was sleeping on my feet every night.  I thought it was probably because some soft part of her missed Prudence, but maybe it was because she wasn't feeling that good and that overcome her reluctance to touch.  She'd crawl up every morning once the girls were snuggled in our bed, waking up, and sit in between Addie and I, paws tucked beneath her, loud purring and seemingly contented until someone dared touch her.  Then she would arch her back and be off.

Addie thought of her as her kitty, because Sadie would sometimes let her pet her one nobody was looking..

The part I hate the most is figuring out what to do next.  Nolie and I are allergic to cats, so a part of me is pleased to see the last of the cat hair thrown out, sucked into the vacuum, the carpet a deep brown again.  Maybe we will feel better, breathe easier.  Things are a shade simpler and there is less to worry about.  But the lure of having kittens, their little paws, their raucous purrs, is strong too.  Or maybe another dog, a companion for Milo, so we could get new couches and they wouldn't get scratched up.

The problem is the absence and how to fill it, knowing we're not quite ready to fill it, but the time is coming, and what to do then.  We could leave the absence, let it dull, get used to it.  But we are an animal family, at final blush, and so the what next is the thing.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2012 and 2013

For a while now I've been mulling over the idea of doing a "Best of 2012" or a "What I'm Looking Forward to in 2013" post but different things have been stopping me.  Chief among them laziness, but also not wanting to post a pushy, materialist, you-should-buy-this-stuff vibe on folks and also because I'm revisiting some habits I developed in 2012 and letting some of them go.  Dangerous to post in such a period of transition.

But, ah, fuck it.  You can handle it.  With the knowledge that the kind of list I might post a month from now could be totally different from this one.  Because this is all non-deep lifestyle shit.  So, here goes, my "Some Stuff I Liked This Last Year and Also Some Stuff I Might Like in 2013" List, in no particular order and maybe adding up to twelve things but maybe not.  We'll see.


This stuff is $3 a bottle at Whole Foods and slightly less in the organic section at King Soopers.  I'm not sure what Kombucha is, except that it involves some sort of fermentation process.  I'm sure there are some health claims that makers of this stuff have about what it does for you.  I don't care.  I'm totally uninformed.  All I know is that I crave this stuff everyday like it was crack; it's a good hangover cure (not that I've been drinking much, but, you know, on occasion); it settles my tummy, and it's seventy calories for a huge, refreshing bottle.  If you have access to studies that shows it will erode my stomach lining or give me SuperPeriods, just keep them to yourself.  Because, yum.


I've had this book for a long time, bought on a whim because Soule Mama recommended it, and if she says to do it, I generally just do it.  But then my Sephora addiction hit, and also my addiction to subscription Beauty Boxes and I sort of just forgot about it.  But as I posted recently, Sephora addictions can get expensive, and then there was the back-of-the-mind nagging concern about a) what all these little box deliveries are doing to the environment, b) what they are doing to my soul, c) the message I'm sending to my girls, and d) the chemicals in all these cosmetics.  I mean, don't get me wrong--you'll have to pry my Naked 2 palette from my cold, dead hands--but there's a lot of great stuff to be made and used rather than bought at Sephora.  Or better ways of purchasing, like from companies such as Lush and MyChelle.  Still, these aren't cheap.  So I'm slowly moving in that direction.  First move:  I made lip balm last night, and MAN IT'S AWESOME.  So much better than most of that pricey waxy shit out there.  And once you have the basic ingredients, cheaper, too.  So we'll see if I stick with it or if I succumb to mass marketing numbness.  Keep your fingers crossed.  Because I use lip balm like it was Kombucha, which I use like it was crack.  CRACK.

10.  Along those same lines, I developed a serious fashion magazine addiction this summer.  I've always liked them, and probably always will, but when I lugged twenty pounds of magazine (fall previews, yo!) with me to the Lyons Folk Festival in August, I probably should have guessed something was wrong.  So I'm easing back into the magazines that I love, that are beautiful, and that actually make me feel better, not worse.  Standbys like


which, I'm sorry, is probably the closest I'll get to reading political magazines in my spare time because OTHERWISE IT FEELS LIKE WORK AND I TRY NOT TO WORK WHEN I'M TRYING TO RELAX.

But also, this new magazine, which is Soule Mama's new project and is so incredibly fantastic you should get it now:

I haven't canceled my People Style Watch subscription or anything, but I'll let Bazaar and Marie Claire lapse.  You're welcome.


Read this book on the Kindle Fire and am following the method.  Won't bore you with it in detail (just google it if you're interested) but next time you see me I will probably be in some state of crusty frizz as I try to figure out how to let my curls go natural.  Exciting.  Scary.  Anxiety-inducing.  Also, telling a borderline-OCD cosmetics addict to stop brushing and shampooing?  This might be an area where I will be experiencing some personal growth.  But getting rid of all that stuff jumpstarted some other things in me, like wanting to get off all the other chemicals I slather on my and the kids' bodies and then let run down the drain and into the environment.

Again, not preaching.  I might be back to the Motor Oil Facials and silicone hair straighteners next month. This is just where my head is at right now.  Only, don't touch it, or your hand might get stuck in there.

8.  Exercise Technologies

I'm still running, maybe more than ever, but less frequently and with a bit less intensity.  I feel like I'm in training but don't have a particular race in mind.  I'm building mileage slowly, and on Monday, did an eight-mile run at a decent pace and didn't feel sick or dizzy afterwards.  This feels like significant progress.

I'm also making sure to do some cross-training.  I don't make it to the gym much for scheduling purposes and also the aforementioned laziness, but greatly appreciate technology for keeping me fit.

I'm a big fan of the streaming Jivamukti Yoga video on Amazon (you can also get the DVD)

even though bits of the workout are annoying.  I do it at least once a week, and notice a significant improvement in my strength and overall flexibility.  I also like the "Daily Ab Workout" app for Droid, though I interpret the word "daily" quite loosely.

7.  The Coin Jar.

I don't know how it happens, considering that my main mode of commerce is plastic and the internet, but we have a big old plastic coin jar that is perenially full of coins.  Several hundred dollars' worth, it turns out.  We pay the girls' allowance out of it every Sunday, and this year before Christmas rolled $100 in coins which we then cashed in at the bank.  I decided to use the jar to force some philanthropy on the family.  I saved all the brochures we received in the mail requesting money for a few weeks, and then we decided as a family who would receive our money (the girls wanted to give 1/2 to St. Jude's, and E. and I like to give to the Denver homeless shelter, so they got the other half).  We also ask the girls to set aside 10% of their allowance every week to donate at the end of the year.  We started in August, and they don't get a lot of allowance, so it wasn't much, but they did end up donating a small amount to ASPCA.

Please don't point out the irony that I could just give up my Naked 2 Palette and donate that money instead to St. Jude's to save babies with cancer, and probably also avoid giving myself cancer from all that chemical eyeshadow.  Nobody likes a downer.

6.  The Berry.

If I was someone who wasted time on the internet, some of that time would be wasted here.

5.  And also here.

This is NOT the same as my fashion magazine addiction.  Read it before you judge, Judgy Judgerton.

4.  Things that do not make the list of favorite-ish things for 2012 and possibly 2013 are a) when people who ask me what I do for fun, because the only three answers are to list my hobbies, which, um, boring, or to say I don't have any fun because I work for a living and have two young children, duh, or to say that my whole life is fun which is also sort of true, but in any case this is not suitable cocktail party conversation in any case and b) when people ask me what my kids are like because how the hell do you describe a human being for Christ's sake, particularly one you live with all the time and whose poop you see on a regular basis and may even comb through for stool samples but who also sometimes seems perfect in every way and is just about the most important thing in yoru life.  Enough with the clever, deep small talk at parties, people!  Also, quit drinking so much everyone and then trying to be clever and deep!  We're getting too old for that shit.

I'm mostly talking to myself here.

3.  These books should really be at number one, because they have revolutionized the way I parent and have made this Christmas vacation--even with us all staying home together and both kids having a five-day bout of the flu--very, very pleasant.

But I'm not doing ranking, remember, so just know that I think these are very, very important, and I think THEY should be handed out at hospitals and birthing centers with newborns instead of swaddling blankets and formula.  Both of which I would have died without.  So there.

2.  Therapy.  Saved me, saved my marriage.  Enough said.

1.  Duh.  No-brainer.  Best of the year?  Best of next year?  These people:

And you.

Happy new year.