Otto and That Other Guy


I waited two days to write this down somewhere, and I’m doing it here, now, because though I may not be thinking *entirely coherently*, I’ve already waited this long to make record of a dream that was more beautiful and vivid and is most definitely going to be the basis of the novel that I will actually finish and if I wait any longer or do it anywhere else, it’s going to disappear into an abyss of dirty dishes and cat fur.

On a boat, mostly a sailboat, lived two boys.  Otto and Eric. (Camilo?)  White sun was all they knew: it bleached the wood, it warmed their skin, it dried damp linen.  The sky was blue, the water was blue, sparkling, and they knew each other.

People were told they were brothers, but the men and the women laughed at that.  “You look so different, a sunny almond and a dark raisin, you are like the day and the night.  Maybe your mother wasn’t very honest,” they would say with a wink and a gut laugh.  The boys would watch the women clutch their throats, the men’s belly’s jiggle, enjoying a joke they didn’t yet understand.

Life was bare feet, scampering around barrel-chested men pulling sails, their mother and other women with soft voices feeding them bits of vegetables and oily, delicious fishes, and of course, Anna.  Eric was in love with Anna.  But so was Otto (along with anyone else who laid rites on her).  She was the queen of the water, dark eyes as big as the sea at night, slim wrists, a smile that was hard to find.  I think they both knew she was Eric’s.


Summer is Almost Over


I love the fall, like every other Michigander. It’s that muted, colorful, quiet space where hoodies mix with flip flops, beach days become reflective nature walks, and my house starts smelling like baking cookies and slow-roasting vegetables again. You almost forget that it’s also the begining of a swift descent into six months of freezing bull shit: shoveling, slushy sidewalks, freezing, dark mornings, and wet socks.

Fall is that sweet buffer between long and scorching summer days and seasonal depressive disorder.

The boys raided the community garden when we were at the park the other day, picking all of the ‘cherry matoes’ (in Ari’s words) that they could get from the plants growing into the fence line. We sliced and broiled them with mushrooms and feta cheese that night, though they preferred the taste of them raw, the sweet juices bursting out as the skins split between their teeth.

(I like how the thrill of something can override the unpleasantness associated with it. No way Ari really loves the taste of tomatoes, but he loves that mini explosion in his mouth.)

Before too long it will be hard to imagine food growing directly out of the ground.

But right now, I walk. Miles and miles if I can, checking out the neighbors’ houses, walking over the highway, just being out in it. I hope it’s a short winter.

Contraband Tomatoes


Coffee With Sugar and Cream


It always means my mom is visiting. She got Juniper to sleep on the couch in a pile of blankets and pillows, and stuffed animals that Ari brought to her. She walked Ari to the party store for a popsicle. She made sure current news was on the TV at top volume throughout her visit. Without her, we drink black coffee.

One of My Favorite People


Rosie Rosie

The only reason this kid let me take her picture is because I promised I would Tweet this pic to Misha Collins.  I’m not exactly sure how to do that.  #mishacollins ?  I’m doing my best here.  Her almost parallel obsession is Lin Manual Miranda, but I couldn’t get a pic of her with him on her shirt.  #isthattoocomplicated?

Isn’t she great, though?  I love this child.

Deep Land Exploration & A Butter Dish


Ari ExploringContentedness, for me, lies in exploration.  There are new things everywhere.  It’s easy to forget, but most of us have never even seen the inside of our neighbor’s homes.  (Never mind the unexplored cities, states, countries!)  When I’m troubled, depressed, slow, whining, crying, shouting, hiding out, this is the one idea that can help.  I don’t need a plane ticket (although that would be fantastic, so feel free to send one along if you’re feeling generous!  I’ll go just about anywhere!), I just need to sneak around a neighborhood I don’t know or meet some new people.

Today I bought a crystal butter dish from one of the loveliest trans women I’ve ever met, at a garage sale in Royal Oak.  She complimented my hair, which I had been irrationally crying over just hours before.  This maybe more than anything was necessary today.  No one has ever spent more time looking fabulous than this lady, and she liked my hair.

Coincidence is annoying and time consuming to hear about, but it keeps me going, so if you’re reading this, you are just going to have to cope.

At this same garage sale I snagged a hardcover copy of Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls for $1, which wouldn’t be that amazing if it weren’t for the fact that I was already considering sneaking off from my quick errand to read The Glass Castle by the SAME AUTHOR, because it’s an absolutely amazing book (and also because it was already in my car.)

Obviously, my sneaking, time-stealing ways were meant to be.  I took two hours.  ALL TO MYSELF.  NO ONE KNOWS WHERE.  But I did read the whole time, so I didn’t get into too much trouble.

Later, after baby bath times and dishes and vacuuming, I took a good long night walk all around our area, past houses I didn’t know, along the service drive for the highway, through the dark neighborhood.  I walked until my knee was sick of my shit.  I poured over Walls’ story, the horses, the floods, the ambition unacknowledged.

I didn’t go far, but I’m going to bed with the images of new houses, the faces of new people, the echoes of new words.  I’ll sleep with a bigger world wrapped around myself.  It’s amazing the difference it makes.

That damn butter dish brought it to me.  I actually don’t love it.  I will have to keep looking.  Garage sale season ain’t quite over.


Late Summer


This has been the summer of the spider. A giant spider (what we think is an orb weaver) has been building a web that is maybe 4×5′ every night along the side of our back deck.

After the internets reassured me that it wasn’t luring in housecats, I welcomed it into the family.

His name is Francis.

Every morning he’s gone, and every evening around dusk he’s back, moving in quick little circles around the frame of what will be the fresh, giant, web.

Last night I threw small moths at the finished thing, hoping to see some action. None of them stuck. But I couldn’t help but attempt to feed our newest family member.

He looks bigger tonight.  Obviously he’s eating plenty without my help.  Moths were too small maybe?  He’s probably used to catching bats.  Or raccoons.

Here is a pic of the boys today, discovering a very tiny spider on the porch. He had a large ant in his little web. After quite a struggle, the ant escaped. The boys were relieved. I sort of was also. This little guy is obviously not the Amazonian hunter that Francis is.

Baby spider



The Age of Miracles

It’s Friday afternoon and June fell asleep and Rosie and Ari were watching a movie and Ed was *about to* mow the lawn, and so I snuck out for a few to read.

I like the open air feel of this new and painfully hipster food truck restaurant, Fleat. I like that the girls here, out early from work or maybe not yet punching in somewhere, aren’t wearing makeup on their pretty, plain faces. And they are happy and relaxed. I like the young social worker next to me with her gorgeous black boyfriend, just sipping lemonade. I like the girl outside with her little baby in the stroller. I like the guy in the dirty boots who looks like he went in early and got out early from build site and is ready for some wings and a beer.  It feels very ‘live and let live’ here.

(I 95% forgive them for replacing my favorite shady Chinese restaurant.)

After all of this Nazi ‘Alt-right’ bull shit in Charlottesville, I needed this. Someone on FB said that there were only hundreds of those nutjobs at this gathering. And that is after months of planning the event. Someone else spoke of the young age of most of the protesters, and of their repeated mention of having ‘big balls’. Is this an angry young man thing? Is it a phase? Can we try to brush it off?  Who ARE these people?  I’d like to think the ideal of equality and acceptance and fairness is a real, attainable concept. I know conflict is part of human nature, but if enough people knew and were raised with such peace and inclusion, couldn’t we continue to do better as a whole society? Is that naive to think?

I sure hope not.




Current obsession:

The contradiction between what the video seems to be at first and what it really is… love it.

Also I kind of get off on seeing things like organized Tupperware being knocked from off the counter and neatly shelved books being knocked around.



JuniperSome moments should be indelible. I want to pick them. Here: nursing June on an empty beach, on a smooth cool sheet, from a swollen breast that I was just complaining about not fitting into a new swimsuit. Whispy curls of her baby hair trembling, watching her face fall from tense to sleepy to achingly still. The sound of the girls splashing in the distance, playing like children ignoring that they are growing out of childhood. This is where i want to live.



Father's Day

I was a neglectful s*** this year and didn’t get Father’s Day cards out to my dad, or my step-dad.  They both deserve at least a card.  I called and left Facebook messages, but I’ll feel guilty for at least a month about the lack of cards.  I wasn’t even lazy, just didn’t make time for it.

It sounds like an excuse, but this is someone who gets 4-5 hours of sleep a night and then even during waking hours can’t regularly bathe.  If something needs doing, time needs to be carved out of the rigid stone of already occurring activities.

We went out to dinner with Nick’s family, for Japanese of course.  And then we just managed the day, driving, keeping kids alive, tidying house.  I watched the boys fill buckets with cool water in the little pool, play in the dirt, investigate the yard for bugs.  June ate spinach from a pouch in the yard.  The evening turned cooler (a welcome relief right now) and we sat out front and lit ‘snakes’ from the dollar store.  The boys said they were like scary ‘arms’ growing and reaching out.

We had a bonfire last night and the kids (mostly strangers to each other at the beginning of the night) spent an hour catching fireflies in the dark.  The tore around the yard in a loose group, directing one another in technique and style, until they had a jarful.  After, they sat in a circle on the trampoline and had a ceremony to release them back into the night.  They took turns offering a word about the fireflies, their glowing, the meaning of it, a little something they had learned about the creature.

Cleaning house today I found the open jar in a pile of clutter.  One little firefly was still in the bottom.  The poor little guy was still kicking.  He was obviously wounded from some marshmallow-pumped 7-year-old’s exuberant capture, not alive enough to fly away upon release, but not squashed enough to rest in peace.

The hardest decision I had to make today was whether or not to kill this damn bug.  His sacrifice was admirable.  Every parent out there knew that screeching pack of hyenas were probably accidentally killing fireflies by the dozens, but their joy and innocence was too great; how could we stop them?  Yet here was a victim, staring me in the face.  Did I have to put him out of his misery?

Hell no, I decided.  I’m not a damn bug doctor.  He looked ok. Maybe he was just lazy.  Maybe he had gotten into one of the many open containers of alcohol and was just then waking up with a horrible hangover, twitching back to life, wishing his little butt-glowing companion would bring him some coffee.

I dumped him in my favorite flowering plant out front and wished him well.  I’d just watered it and the day was warm and humid and pleasant.  If little dude cashed in his chips today, at least his final moments were not in a mason jar on my dishwasher.



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