Ruby, age 5: Scientist
Ruby: Why is a dolphin a mammal?
Me: Because it gives live birth.
Ruby: What's that?
Me: Remember when Henry was born? How he came out of my body? Snakes and birds lay eggs instead of giving birth and they're not mammals.
Ruby: So boys aren't mammals?
I have two parents. Between those two parents, eight marriages have happened. I have four siblings that I am related to by blood, an extra set of grandparents that I got to keep, and a long list of step parents that I wish I couldn’t remember. With every new marriage came a new home and a new school. I went to four different schools in 2nd grade alone. I was good at saying goodbye. You...
Thanks, Yahoo Shine
What do men hate about your hair? What do men hate about your body? What wardrobe items does your man want you to throw out? What do men think about your flirting signals? What do men think about your GPA? What do men think about your BMI? What do men hate about the way you move your lips when you talk? What does your personal style remind men of? What are you doing to make the men dislike...
How to choose a spouse
When you walk through the door holding a cup containing a dead, desiccated frog you found at the park and then tearfully decided you couldn’t possibly “leave behind,” make sure you have chosen a spouse who kisses you and says, “That thing is awesome. Where should we put it?”
"Truth," or what is passing for it at the moment
We’re okay. We’re having good days. I’m feeling better: eating, sleeping. The kids are okay: I’ve really scaled down my internet/phone use and they are basking/being wonderful in the glow of all the new-found mama-attention. We’re living with a big shadow of uncertainty, though. Tony has had some odd little health complaints over the course of the last few weeks: a...
dictionaryofobscuresorrows: n. the inexplicable urge to push people away, even close friends who you really like—as if all your social tastebuds suddenly went numb, leaving you unable to distinguish cheap politeness from the taste of genuine affection, unable to recognize its rich and ambiguous flavors, its long and delicate maturation, or the simple fact that each tasting is double-blind.
A discussion with an internet commenter
[scene: daylight, I am sitting on the side of a wooded path]
Me: [is bitten by snake]
Me: [to myself] Oh god, that was a copperhead. Those are poisonous! Fuck.
Internet Commenter: [passing by, looking down at phone]
Me: Hey! Hey! Can you help me? I've been bitten by a poisonous snake and I don't know what to do.
Internet Commenter: [looks up from phone; snorts] That's impossible.
Me: What! I was just BITTEN by a poisonous snake and now I am BLEEDING. [shows Internet Commenter the bite marks] What do I do??
Internet Commenter: [rolls eyes; adjusts glasses; sighs] I think what you mean is that you were bitten by a VENOMOUS snake. Snakes aren't POISONOUS. They secrete VENOM. You see, they have these glands--
A friend just posted a photo of a Ferrari SUV with a Romney bumper sticker that he saw downtown. I googled it and, even though they have not been officially released to the public, they apparently START at $160k, which is twice what my house is currently worth (LOL HOUSING MARKET). All I can think about is driving down there, somehow finding a way inside that car, and peeing all over the leather...
A short list of the father figures I have...
George. I was 5. He was 8. He was homeschooled, due to “emotional problems.” I think he had ADD. He always stuck up for me, and we’d spend our days rummaging around the free lumber bin at a local hardware store, nailing 2x4s together in the crude shape of a cross. They were “airplanes.” We’d climb to the top of the tallest tree in his front yard and throw them,...
This is where I am today
Every so often my brain breaks. The part of it that is responsible for ensuring that I remain a sane, non-weeping, productive member of society just ups and turns itself off. Goes on vacation. Takes a Long Winter’s Nap. I’ve had panic attacks and bouts of depression (hysteria? bad humours?) for the last 26 years, but I’ve never been officially diagnosed with anything besides,...
When I was seven, we moved to the country. Brown County, Indiana. My parents bought an enormous house that sat on almost fifty acres of land. We had pastures, woods, a lake. We had an apple orchard and a tractor. Our house was almost half a mile back from the road, at the end of a windy and wooded driveway. Everything there was beautiful and I loved it, but we were very isolated. There was a...
On the bittersweet nature of certain holidays
My dad doesn’t know he was abusive. He probably doesn’t know that his mom was abusive, either, or her dad before her. He doesn’t know that he laid the groundwork for a series of abusive stepfathers, and that all of these things combined made me ripe for the picking by the Most Terrible Person I Have Ever Met, the boy who broke me in high school. I know that my dad loved me, he...
Fight me, Adam Sandler
I was scrolling through a Yahoo article (why, god?) about Adam Sandler’s newest movie That’s My Boy, and I saw this line: “To reconnect with his son, Donny (Adam Sandler) calls on the help of his good buddy Vanilla Ice. And honestly, what could be funnier than that?” Oh, I don’t know…EVERYTHING? Literally everything on this planet could be funnier than that.
Me: [to brain] Why so dizzy?
Brain: [to me] You've only eaten raw foods for the last 48 hours.
Me: [to brain] Why am I doing this?
Brain: [to me] Too weak to remember.
Me: [to brain] We're stupid.
Together: [sad Beaker noises]
The Double-Bed Dream Gallows
Driving through hot brushy country the late autumn, I saw a hawk crucified on a barbed-wire fence. I guess as a kind of advertisement to other hawks, saying from the pages of a leading women’s magazine, “She’s beautiful, but burn all the maps to your body. I’m not here of my own choosing.” —Richard Brautigan
Misogyny and Triggers
I know we’re all joking all of the time now. We spend so much energy trying to be funny and writing jokes. The more absurd the better; so many people try to walk that tiny, infinitesimally small line between “subversive” and “absolutely truly horrifying.” I joke that I’m sensitive and that I have too many feelings. I get upset sometimes and unfollow or block...
Parenting is just childhood on the other side of the mirror. Her fears are reflected by the lines on my own face. Her nightmares make my stomach queasy. She gets in trouble; is upset; she cries. I can feel the hot flush of her embarrassment and shame on my own cheeks. I can recall countless times at her age that I got in trouble for similar things. Ruby is five. Her first loose tooth....
On a walk with Henry
Henry: [sees a little white dog on the path] Nana had a dog like that!
Me: Yes! His name was Edgar.
Henry: What happened to him?
Me: Oh. Well, he got very old and then he died.
Henry: And then you ate him up?
Ghosts of Roadtrips Past
Two years ago, with 9 month old Henry shrieking inconsolably in his rear-facing car seat. Passing cars and farmhouses as I managed to somehow nurse Henry without unbuckling my seat belt. Both one of badassy moments as a mother and the most uncomfortable I have ever made my mother in law. Six years ago, on our way back from a New Years Eve party; hungover and paranoid about how long I’d...
Here are some words that broke my brain.
Sod farm. Sod farm. Sod farm. Vinyl Siding Farm. Laminate Farm. Landscaping Rock Farm. Mulch Farm. Concrete Pond Farm. Granite Countertop Farm. A Sod Farmer is a thing that exists. I would like to make prolonged eye contact with one while slowly shaking my head “no” someday.