My lovely stranger


I heard a poem on the radio about a man with a wife who noticed him as a stranger. It was simple and raw and it didn’t rhyme, but it made me think of you, who I notice as many things.
You and me, who change like rocks beneath a river.
You and me who don’t rhyme, but flow together,
Converging, diverging, running parallel.
Always a pair.
Always strangers.



I got this catalog in the mail a few days ago. I thought I read the title wrong. It seems cruel or a total joke to put, “Gear up for the best school year ever,” on the cover, followed by a reference to lunch bags and backpacks. I mean, kids aren’t even out of school yet. For those of us living in northern states, we just got leaves on the trees. We are NOT thinking about fall. Seriously, people.

I told my husband, loudly, how stupid it is to pimp back to school stuff in mid June. But I’m a big fat hypocrite. I am. I’m constantly anticipating, projecting possible outcomes. Now, if you are a writer working toward traditional publication (like me), patience is essential. If you don’t have it, you must acquire it somehow––steal some from a zen person, grow it in a jar, whatever––because there is a lot of waiting. Waiting to hear from agents. Waiting to hear from critique partners and beta readers. Waiting to hear from editors, and then, if you are very fortunate, waiting for your finished book to be released.

That said, I possess zero natural patience. I appear to have some (in an effort to be professional and not crazy), but it’s all show. My internal dialogue is that irritating kid in the backseat chanting, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” Nobody wants to hear that. Least of all, me. We’re supposed to enjoy the journey, be in the present. All easy––and excellent––advice to give, but living it is another thing entirely. Mindfulness is an elusive state for many. Elusive, but worth chasing. And I am chasing it. Really. Or I will, right after I order this cute monogrammed lunch bag for my daughter. September is only two months away, after all 🙂

Choices, even the bad ones…

I didn’t say anything when my nearly two-year-old daughter dipped her cheese pizza in strawberry-banana yogurt and ate it. I stopped myself, and the horrified expression cued up on my face. It really did look disgusting. The yogurt was supposed to be dessert, by the way. The kid must have thought it was okay, because she kept eating the stuff. In the end, her hands coated in yogurt and pizza sauce, and she seemed to think that was okay because she licked her fingers. I just tried not to look too much. You should be thankful I didn’t post a photo of it. This is much more palatable:

But who am I to judge? I treat sugar and salt like their own food groups and drink honey straight out of the bear. But that’s perfectly normal. I once knew an adult person who dipped french fries in ice cream. For realz. I witnessed this act of heresy with my own two eyes. Didn’t say anything, of course.

I’d like to think I’ll always know when to intervene (or not) with my daughter’s choices. I’d like to think I won’t butt in and try to “help” her in life when she needs to work shit out on her own. I probably won’t. I’m not that wise. And I’m way too interested in her. But today, I patted myself on the back for letting the kid eat her nasty lunch without so much as a curled lip. It’s a victory, and I’ll take it. Even the little ones count.

(This post also appeared in my tumblr)

Dad and his new-fangled-gadget

My father got an ipod for his birthday. This is the conversation that followed:

Dad: (examining ipod) It’s so small. How do I get my music on this thing?
Me: You have to put your CDs on your computer, then load them onto the ipod.
Dad: (frowning) All right, but what about my tapes?
Me: Tapes?
Dad: I have old songs I taped off the radio. How do I get them on my computer?
Me: Um…maybe you can buy the songs from the itunes store.
Dad: (looking confused) The ice cream store?
Me: The eye-tunes store.
Dad: I’ve never seen one of those. Is there one in the mall?
Me: No, it’s online. It’s an online store.
Dad: (looking really confused) But why would I buy them, anyway? I already have them.
Me: (rolls eyes) Yeah, on tape.
Dad: (grunts, eyes ipod skeptically) Damn useless thing. What good is it, if it doesn’t even play tapes?

There you have it. My father does successfully operate a computer, and so far hasn’t given his bank account number to any Nigerian “business associates,” so we figured he could handle an ipod. It’s a work-in-progress, like all things.

Not really there

It happens sometimes. The following is an actual conversation. This is what happens to writers when regular life gets intrudes.

Setting: Me and Hub (short for my husband) in the car, pulling into our driveway after several numbing hours in big box stores.

Hub: Did the mail come today yet?
Me: (not really there) I don’t know.
Hub: Today may be some sort of mail holiday. I’m not sure.
Me: (still, not really there) Yeah, I don’t know.
Hub: I saw the neighbors had their flag up.
Me: (finally tuning in, confused) What flag? The American flag?
Hub: (parks the car and makes a face) No, the Iraqi flag they insist on flying. Their mailbox flag. Were you listening?
Me: (laughing) No. No, I was not. I was wondering if people could live on one of the moons of Jupiter. And what they would eat there.”
Hub: (getting the baby out of her car seat) Oh. Okay, then. (pause) Can you grab the diaper bag, please?