Wednesday, July 28, 2010


"But the real life of a writer resides in showing up at the keyboard every day, with the necessary patience and mercy, and making the best decisions you can on behalf of your people. It’s a slow process. It often feels hopeless, more like an affliction than an art form."

steve almond via

Sunday, July 25, 2010

i never thought

I'd spend a Sunday afternoon learning to play the ukelele alonside my kids and husband.  And I never thought my teacher would be the wonderfully energetic Heidi Swedberg, aka George's fiance Susan on Seinfeld.  Thanks, Laurie! 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

did you hear?

For the first time, Amazon sold more ebooks in the last quarter than real books.  180 digitals for every 100 old schools.  It's unstoppable.  Like the impending end of summer, the accumulation of dust around the edges of my baseboards, and the devastating hair that accompanies puberty.  

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

a first

Today I made my first visit to a book club in a church.  It was a nice time.  Here's the thing I left thinking about, though.  One of the passages that inspired discussion was when Miranda realizes why Mr. Scrap did what he did:

He's afraid, she thinks.  He was afraid of Jared.  Preemptive strikes and hasty decisions all over the world.

One reader in particular really loved this and the commentary it provides on the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Others were quiet.  Very quiet.  And I wondered--which I know is ignorant, because spirituality is not politicality, but, then again the personal is political--how do people who believe in God  accept what's happening in the world?  I mean, I know there are different conceptions of God, and some are quite distant and abstract, but, really.  Are they angry at God?  Just disgusted with humanity?  And if your idea of God is like some distant, uninvolved figure, then why bother praying?  It confuses me.  But I'm a heathen.  Words created God and Allah and all the rest of them.  I bow to words.  

Sunday, July 18, 2010

everything matters

While at Anthropology, shopping for doorknobs (?) I had to restrain myself from buying a certain blue and black blouse.  I was with T.  He held my hand as we exited and I said to him, but mostly to myself, "I don't need that.  I don't need that.  It's not like it will change my life.  Right?"
"Actually, Mom," he said, full of 8 year-old wisdom, "everything matters.  Like, right now, if I said it instead of and, that would change what happens in my brain, which could change what I say next and could change absolutely everything."
"Hmm," I said.  "You're right.  Maybe if I bought that blouse and wore it, I would be the victim of a case of mistaken identity and attacked.  Or be seduced by a royal prince and end up living in the hills of Portugal.  Either way, I wouldn't be here having this conversation with you.  Which would be really terrible."
"Let's go to the Apple store and see what that will change," he said.
Point taken.  But I didn't get the blouse. . .

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

things i'd tell my 11 year old self

  1. Be nicer to everyone, including the people you're afraid of.
  2. You are not yet afraid of speed and heights--enjoy.
  3. Don't smoke those cigarettes during lunch.
  4. School is actually for learning.  You'll regret all the things you aren't bothering to learn (geography!).
  5. Please, please don't spray your bangs to stand up vertically. 
  6. You're never too young to write a book.  Crank the Depeche Mode and do it, sister.
  7. Fourth grade was the best year you'll ever have with boys.  Don't bother trying too hard.
  8. Eat healthy.  Or at least healthier than a Nutter Butter and ice cream sandwich for lunch everyday.
  9. Listen to the stories your grandfathers tell.  When they're gone, they're gone.
  10. If your parents' cars are the worst things about them, you're doing pretty good.
  11. Someday you'll have a daughter and she'll be eleven and she'll already know all of this.  She'll be wiser, braver and nicer than you.  And you'll love her more than you can imagine.
in honor of E, inspired by hula

Monday, July 12, 2010

small, unintended consequences of large corporate blips

Since we don't have cable TV, the children are always excited to spend a Friday night with Gma, who has the luxury of Disney channel, etc.  Lately, they are like zombies when we come to retrieve them.  The TV has stolen their brains and replaced them with grumpy, ungrateful sacks of rocks.  This Friday, the Mister and I had a long-awaited "date" and nearly the best part of the night was that when we went to fetch the children, they were playing a game with Gma.  Imagine that.  Smiles all around.  They were laughing and loving one another.  Comcast was on the blink.  As we walked home in the dark, they (the children) said how thankful they were for the respite.  How much fun they'd had:  eating outside, chatting, playing.  Being old fashioned.  Ahh. 

Monday, July 5, 2010

pix from the 4th

on nests

Bad news for our renegade mother.  I thought about keeping this to myself, but why?  Is a collective disappointment worse than an individual one?  The nest did not survive, nor the eggs.  Should we have moved the nest to higher ground?  Would the mother have abandoned it?  Is she still courageous, still admirable for forging her own way?  Or is this a reminder of why sometimes ignoring our own history and the wisdom compiled by our ancestors is reckless?

Strangely enough, we found another bird, stuck in our sprinkler head, like a perfect little trap.  What up, aviary nation?!?  The Mister, with the help of another chivalrous friend, managed to untangle the poor little broken bird leg and release it to the air.  I was too traumatized for photos.  Blood on the sprinkler head. . .

And, another incredible nest found to remind us of how often things go right.  This one was huge and empty, having already successfully served its purpose.  Behold:

great waters

Once again, we crossed the waters for a weekend getaway.  Special thanks to Ben Kweller for turning our van into a music machine and giving us pure joy as we crested the hill outside Taos.  This one was our favorite.