Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cinnamon Girl

My sister is celebrating the anniversary of her twenty-ninth birthday today. I wish I could make her a ginormous red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and twenty-nine candles. Or that I could whisk her away for a girl's weekend of shopping and running and wine (white for her, red for me, natch).

Real life gets in the way, so instead I can just send her a gift. Send her good vibes. Call and sing to her until she begs me to stop. Send her the cards that I buy because we share a sick love of Hallmark and all cards, funny/sweet/twisted. Lift her up in my thoughts and prayers and tell her that I would have picked her as my best friend even if we weren't sisters.

I should also apologize for being such a bratty little sister. I harshed her gig more than any other little sister ever could have. I tagged along on sleepovers with her friends, I tagged along on her  dates. I followed her to her after school job, and probably jeopardized it with my endless questions. I blabbed her secrets, and my big mouth guaranteed that she spent a large amount of time grounded. I stole her earrings and may or may not have pilfered some of her clothing. Every time I was annoying the holy heck out of her, I was trying to be like her. I should have spent less time being Ramona the Pest and more time telling her I looked up to her. I cannot go back in time, but I can tell her now how much I look up to her and admire her. Every day.

Happy Birthday, sister of mine. You are loved and adored! XOXO

PS- Sorry your gift is late. You know me, pretty sure I was born late and will die late.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Silvery Strength

I haven't taken this necklace off since the beginning of April. Not once. It's been in the shower, in Brazilian salt water, chewed on by my friend's chunky monkey babies, up mountains, and down steep descents. It's caused a permanent knot in my hair, and I may have a funky tan line from it. But the last five months have been so hard, so fucking hard. They have been a lot of pushing a boulder up the mountain, without knowing how I could even take the first step. They have been falling down and getting back up again, sometimes literally wiping the dirt off and continuing on.

I needed a tangible reminder that I was strong enough. That I got this.

Silly little necklace, but it has been a reminder every step of the way that I am braver than I believe, stronger than I seem, and smarter than I think. It's been one that I could literally touch the silver and breathe in the words if I started slipping.

I took it off my neck yesterday. Seems like such a tiny thing, taking off a silver necklace. In some ways, it is a tiny thing. In another way, it is huge, this not needing a physical reminder that I am enough.

Peace and bravery and strength, buttercups. XOXO

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


We are all a little bit cracked. Some of us maybe more than others. And sometimes a person gets so many cracks and has so many broken pieces that they don't know how they can ever put them back together again. This doesn't make them weak or cowardly or less than. It makes them feeling and hurting and in need. Whether this person is Robin Williams or a twenty-two year old kid back from his second deployment, they are one of us.

Anne Lamott, in a tribute to her friend Robin Williams, touched on the fact that one in three people will be either an addict or diagnosed with a mental illness or both. One in three, buttercups.  Think about that when you are in your next spin class or waiting in a line of fifteen people for your latte. Think about it when you throw around terms like 'nutjob' or 'crazy' or 'mental', because chances are that you are talking to someone who might technically indeed be 'mental'.

So remember, we are all cracked. And we can all be the light. At the very same time. Hug your monkeys, call your friends, and be gentle with the people around you.

Peace and love and light among the broken pieces. XOXO

Monday, August 4, 2014

Beacons in the dark

Today was such epic suckiness that I truly thought about taking sick leave from work to curl up in my bed with the covers over my head. From stepping out of my bed into pee (not mine, thank you very much) to the Comcast fail to work fail to a nonfunctioning lawnmower to a stolen/missing iPad to a garage infestation of earwigs and black widows... It. All. Sucked.

However, sometimes, when things are awful, the good things stand out like beacons in the dark.

You want to kiss this face. Admit it.
This girl. Oy vay. She was so sick last week while the monkeys were gone that I thought she was going to die. I had to carry her out to the yard, and she would just pee on herself, not moving. When she did move, she would stumble and fall. Bloodwork and stool samples and neurology and various doggie indignities, and nothing came back except a lot of questions about ingesting mushrooms/chemicals/xylitol and an ear infection. Six days later, antibiotics and anti-fungals and lots of love, and she is her old puggie self. She may well have incurred brain damage or who knows what, but she is getting back to normal. When she was barking like mad at air earlier, I had to smile. At least she is barking.

Another beacon? Perserverence. When I checked on the price of equal lawnmowers, I got ticked. So ticked that I downloaded the troubleshooting PDF for my lawnmower, tinkered, changed a blade, cleaned it out, and it worked. My lawnmower roared to life like she was supposed to. And she cut grass like a sword-wielding Samurai.

More beacons. Monkey brought me a Reese's Cup and brought the trash cans in from the curb. Without being asked. Sweet texts, reminding me that I am loved even when I am stabby over Comcast. A forged metal butterfly from the amazing Jodie Bliss, pure happiness as art. An unexpected letter in the mail. Yummy brisket sammich with my monkey, the part-time vegetarian.

Lest you think I am done with wallowing, let me leave you with this...

Don't ever ask me to make you toast. Bad things happen. Really really bad things, y'all.

Peace and love and pugs and lawnmowers. XOXO

Thursday, July 31, 2014


Today is your birthday.

You have been gone for almost a year. Not a day goes by that I don't think about you. One of my biggest regrets in life is that I thought we had time.

I thought we had time to heal wounds and make amends and love and live. I was wrong.

I am glad you are no longer hurting. I am glad you are free from all of the chains that held you, free from your pain.

I am thankful that you taught me things I never got a chance to thank you for. You taught me curiosity about the world around me. You taught me that learning is a light that should never flicker out. You taught me to laugh deep and to laugh hard. You taught me to read voraciously. You taught me to love soulful music. You taught me that love doesn't really leave. You taught me to believe in second chances. You taught me the value of a beautiful watch.

You taught me more than you probably realized.

Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sixty days and counting....

Today marks two months of home ownership. Two months.

The amount that I have learned in two months of home ownership is astonishing. Every day is another lesson waiting to be learned. Sixty days of wisdom, right here, some of it hard-earned.

I now know the difference between hobo spiders and wolf spiders. I know that there is a weird house spider that looks suspiciously like a black widow, but that black widows prefer the far corner of my garage. I know which ones get a reprieve and which ones get a shoe.

I know that this is Poison Oak. It may look like an innocent little greenery in the front corner of the yard, but it is in fact a vicious beast that will make you want to soak in a tub of Benadryl. You are welcome for the heads up.

I know that IKEA has nothing on furniture ordered through Amazon. IKEA may have directions written by drunken monkeys but IKEA has directions. I have now put together a bed with one hundred and sixty pieces. Truthfully, one hundred and sixty one pieces. After a half hour of trying to figure out where I had forgotten a crucial piece, I realized the manufacturer put in an extra piece. To be helpful. Or to screw with people trying to do it themselves. I would have killed for directions when I opened this package. Even directions with blob people smiling and telling you what NOT to do. 

I know that I love mowing the lawn, which I avoided for forty years. My slight obsession with orderliness works well with mowing. My allergies have a different take on the mowing of lawns. I now know that I should take two different antihistamines, strip down and shower as soon as I am done mowing, and avoid the Poison Oak. For the love of God, avoid the Poison Oak while mowing.

I know that plumbing in an older home is like a needy toddler. If I plan on leaving the house for a day or for a week, something is going to go wrong with the pipes. They are going to throw a tantrum that requires the sitter to call. I now have the number for a local plumber that shows up in my favorites on my phone. True story.

I know that every night that I go to bed in my house, including day fifty nine, I lie down and am thankful that I am lying down in my house.  Day fifty-nine, after I jumped on my newly assembled bed (again, true story), I lay down in my bed, and literally thought, "MY bed. MY house." With those thoughts, I went to sleep happy and satisfied.

And finally, I know that I love my little house. It is a work in progress. I thought I would get everything done in the first couple of months, but then we just got busy living. I thought I would take pictures of the progress, but we just got really busy living. Pictures still need to be taken, Timesboy's ocean blue walls artfully decorated with duct tape. Superteen's cherry red walls lined with mandalas. My dove grey and butter walls gracing a bed that will not ever move, thanks to my mad skills and sweat. 

We will take pictures soon. When we take a rainy day break from living.

Happy Two Months! Peace and love and Benadryl and paintbrushes, buttercups! XOXO

Thursday, July 17, 2014

These Days.

As I swept up a handful of dog fur and finished cleaning yet another spot on the carpet, a realization took my breath away.

Look at this face. Look. At. This. Face. Pure joy.

I am going to miss these days.

These days. Full of dog fur and dog vomit. Messy rooms and milk left out on the counter. Escaped crickets from the gecko cage. Wet towels on the floor and pizza boxes. Mysterious fur on my pillow, complete with a pug-shaped indentation. 

All of these things that drive me absolutely batshit, I am going to miss these days. 

Every one of these things that drive me mad, they are just part of what I love fiercely. 

Someday, I might have clean floors with no dog fur. I might have perfectly made up rooms with everything in its place and everything just so. I might only have crickets outside in the summertime, where they belong. I might have crisp pillows and linens with no dog shaped indentations in sight. 

I am going to miss these messy days. 

Every bit of the mess and the chaos and even the stench (We will blame the pug, every time) are proof of the living that is occurring within these four walls. 

These dogs are adored. They are thriving and happy and excited- they know where their toys are and where the creeks to splash and play in are. They know which beds to sleep in at night, and that they will be held tightly when the storms roll overhead.

Kid messes are signs of joy. Art on the kitchen table, experiments strewn across desks, mud caked on bikes, they are all signs of thriving kids. Games left out on the living room floor, pizza boxes waiting for the recycling, sticky counters, they mean that several kids felt comfortable spreading out and being kids in these four walls. Sometimes a stray kid even wanders through, looking for a safe place to fall, and I am honored that this is becoming that messy safe place.

I stopped sweeping tonight, and just sat on the floor with Squish,' til he fell asleep in my lap. I realized that the fur will still be there tonight or tomorrow, but these messy magic moments might not be.

Peace and love and magic and furballs, cupcakes. XOXO