Friday, December 26, 2014

For Christmas, There Were Stories

Bringing in Christmas with books, a celebration of turning life into stories, turning chaos into structured chaos, turning love into timeless love, turning action into detail, turning relationships into narratives with bloody, beating hearts, turning the incomprehensible into meaning, turning, turning the great world in our hands, page by page.

Books Given and Received

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham from Lola to Momma

Hild by Nicola Griffith from Maggie to Mom ( her mom :)

Robert Parker, two novels from Grandma Mary to Ed

A Life by Keith Richards from Ian to Blonde Mom

Hickory Daiquiri Dock: Cocktails with a Nursery Rhyme Twist by Tim Federle from Maggie to Aunt Kristi

My Paris Kitchen by David Lebowitz from Maggie to her mom

The John Green collection from Momma to Lola

The Story of Christmas Eve from Momma to Ever

The Naked and The Dead by Normal Mailer from Momma to Ian

The Gunslinger Series Book One by Stephen King from Momma to Dakota

Trespassing on Einstein's Lawn by Amanda Gefter from Mom to Maggie

Lesser Known Stories of Sherlock Holmes on CD from Maggie to Mom

Sunday, December 21, 2014

People In Your Neighborhood

take a dream and read!

My first piece in Your Tango with a headline I didn't create, ten truths about being married to someone with bipolar disorder

Beautiful Wildlife Crossings made by man around the world

Tia Jensen's non-fiction essay in The New Southerner is absolutely worth your time:  Empty

Help 9 year old Luke kick cancer to the curb

I recently found this blog- which I love- and this particular entry, which I love even more: Why I Told My Husband He Could Walk Away

How Exercise Changes Our DNA in the NY Times

The Heartbreaking Truth About My Mixed Race Family by Ramou Sarr

The Best Movies of 2104 in HuffPo

What Science Tells Us About the Heart's Intuitive Intelligence in Collective Evolution

I am fascinated by Jemima Kirke

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Good Girl

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I felt sick and then I was sick. I felt happy and then I was happy. I felt sad and then I was sad. I felt angry and then I was cleaning. I clean when I'm angry, another in a long list of unfortunate cliches I swore I'd never fall into. Fall into: a lovely phrase, sounds Asian? Fall Into. I'd like to have a cat and name it Fall Into. A bad cold turned into a worse cold and I went running anyhow, the second I thought my body would allow it. I ran four miles and shook the sticky phlegm out of my lungs and up my throat . I listened to Bruce

i'm sick of sitting round here trying to write this book

came home, showered, mothered, sat and wrote a paragraph on my novel, which were it a baby in utero, would be in the sixth month. formed, but struggling to survive if outed. I lay in the dark of my room and watched the night sky out the window. Expansive is not a word I thought I'd associate with the sky in suburbia, but the layout allows for it. Lola sleeps with Ever and I almost every night, Mr. Curry in the bedroom upstairs for the last month as he needs that space. Often Lola and I fall asleep on either side of Ever, murmuring to each other, shushing each other to be quite if peals or snorts of laughter threaten to wake Kins. 

Lola is such a perfect person. she is many things i am not ( without hard work ) such as naturally graceful in her speech, radiantly kind, good natured, sweet hearted. i have a hard time disciplining her at all because the things she does wrong are so expected for her age and so trivial. she doesn't remember to do her chores on her own, for example, even though i had her make a prettied up list that sits splayed on the front of the fridge, bedazzled within an inch of its life and screaming LOOK AT ME I"M A FREAKING LIST. but she looks past the list. so i tell her, two more chances, blah blah, but my heart isn't in it. she comes home and tells me about her new friend at school whose house i drop her off at for two hours last week. a girl who knows she is a guy- was supposed to be born a guy- so she dresses as a boy, has a boyish rhythm to her speech. liars could say this was nothing, but we all know the hell of conformity that middle school is, and it is something. it's something that Lola doesn't even CONSIDER not being friends or being seen with someone because of the teasing she might get, or the social standing she might lose. in the most ladylike way possible, she doesn't give a fuck. when her other new friend, months ago, was being tormented for being openly gay, Lola stuck up for her repeatedly in her quiet persistent way until everyone simply…dropped it. she has a social deftness that i definitely give myself partial credit for- many long talks on handling all and every kind of relationship and social issue since she was five- but is largely due to her own natural charm, trust in people's essential sanity, and kindness. 

Lola's face shines with a true innocence- not an innocence born of not knowing the depraved and horrible things that go on in people's minds, homes and lives, but an innocence born straight from her soul, something there from the moment she was born and uncurled those long fronds of ladyfingers and looked up at me with enormous blue eyes. She has always been loved within an inch of her life, and has a faith in that that is the exact same of kind of earnest faith in God's goodness i used to crave and long for myself s a lonely, anxious child, but could not force on myself. whereas for some reason, so many children i meet seem to have the soul of a middle aged housewife, already wearied and disgusted with the world in a way that breaks my heart. Lola's faith is in love and the natural world. these are the twin towers of my own life and what i can offer to my children.

i think many people confuse the innocence of a child with a complete lack of knowing about the world. this is not the kind of Christianity i grew up learning about. i wasn't raised religiously, but my best friend was Catholic, and many of my favorite books involved deeply religious families. those families did not hide their children from all the hardships of life, but instead began empowering them from an early age to enact kindness onto those suffering. this is a value and action i pass to my children. 

in the same way, i talk to them about uncomfortable, sometimes upsetting realities they encounter. for instance Lola recently, unfortunately heard the phrase ' i fucked her ' in a movie, said by a guy, talking about a girl he had sex with. i hadn't expected this, so i turned the movie off and started talking. i told her about how that phrase, to me, feels particularly yucky not necessarily because of the use of the 'f' word, but because of the use of ownership implied between a man and woman, and the lack of any joy or respect. i told her that as a woman, when i hear that phrase i always get a little sour feeling in my stomach, because i hear a man that says that saying ' i took something from her, and i'm proud of it ', and that is disrespectful, arrogant, stupid and unmanly. sex is something between two people, i told her, they share it, and it is powerful and without respect, it is always bad. without respect, even more than love, sex becomes a weapon of power, not an exchange of pleasure of love. i told her that for some reason as a very young woman i understood this, and as i got older, i never had a boyfriend who treated or talked about me like a piece of property, or a trophy, if i was sleeping with him or not. 

Lola listened and said in her unique, direct and sweet way, i understand momma. and i could see that she really did. and we moved on. yet i did not see any of her radiant sweetness and innocence stripped from her. she was not reduced. she was strengthened, aware, empowered, more connected to me, and understood something that will probably one day in the distant future allow her to have compassion for friends, and to make better choices for herself. her innocence, children's innocence, does not come from the protection of all that is outside, but the protection of all that is inside- their hearts, their vulnerabilities, their love- to have someone who believes without a single doubt that they are capable of great love, goodness and work in this world. to protect my children has meant to me to put myself in their line of sight, not as a blindfold, but a filter. everything seen with love, intelligence, a yearning for betterment.

she is a brave, and good girl, in what i believe is the true meaning of that. a good girl, not a girl who is always good, or even always wants to be good, but a girl who always believes in the goodness in herself and the possibility of goodness everywhere she goes and inside everyone she meets.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Ridiculous Love

Sunday, December 14, 2014


at least she said, your bald yeast
loiters in the thigh places, where
bad girls go:
girls who eat too much sugar
have too much sex, 
finger themselves.
it could be worse than!
for example, you could be ugly.
but i am,
i said sadly. i am very ugly.
she licked her finger
an aloof cat in black and white.
well, she said,
i wasn't going to tell you.

People In Your Neighborhood

take a seat and read!!!

My and Lola's new favorite Christmas movie: Nativity!  ( song above from movie )

My new piece in Purple Clover on Dakota's new neck tattoo (!!!) and relationships with adult children

Malls Across America- photos from malls in the 80's

This was wonderfully written, interesting and sad: a piece in The Broad side by Veronica Arreola on her experience being pregnant and birthing after her mother died tragically young, vs. Cheryl Strayed's experience of being able to escape to the wild.

I loved this post by Rebecca Wolff about being overwhelmed and not that into the holidays until suddenly, she is Made me smile!

I can't say I understood all of this, but it's fascinating: Groundbreaking Idea of Life's Origin

This letter from Dylan Hockley's mom absolutely will crack you open. It's so important on a number of levels. Read.

Please do not buy goose down jackets. 

I liked this The Cost of Getting Lean because fitness and health is a number one importance in my life, and I have been thinking a lot this last year about the balance between being fit and being 'amazingly fit'.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


my mom sent us to Disneyland for Ever's 4th birthday. here we are in front of a tree that stretched to the sky like the tree in The Grinch, in the Who town square. i squealed like a kid when i saw it, it was my Christmas fantasy tree come true. yes, i have a Christmas fantasy tree. i have many Christmas fantasies. Christmas might be my favorite societal creation. i love everything about it, and i love it harder every year, not less. i love the deeply spiritual meaning, i love the story of Christ's birth, i love the malls lit up like the hot greedy heart of American consumerism, i love exploding glass bulbs, i love Christmas tree lights half working, half not, i love Christmas music, i love dragging the tree through the house and needles flying everywhere, i love the cheesy, terribly acted Christmas movies that fill my Netflix, i love the old Christmas cartoon classics, i love presents!, i love wrapping paper, i love decorating, i love the magical frissure that overcomes me every year in December, that something magical is not only possible, but quite likely.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

People In Your Neighborhood

Wanderers - a short film by Erik Wernquist from Erik Wernquist on Vimeo.

If you are looking for a Holiday giving, please consider three orphaned daughters: 3 years old, 8 years old, and 10 years old. Here in San Diego, where I live, their father just ran their mother over multiple times until she was dead. It's beyond awful. The elderly grandparents on a fixed income are now the sole providers for these three children. Leonor's Daughter's GoFundMe

Large scale, enormously moving and deeply sad images of displaced Iraqis.

Salvage, Salvation, Salve by Jennifer Lunden   "For a long time, I felt like a victim of my own body. Struck by a debilitating case of chronic fatigue syndrome when I was just twenty, I was forced to resign from my job and eke by on welfare benefits, flat on my back in bed day after day, uncertain if I would ever recover. "

How We End Up Marrying The Wrong Person in The Book Of Life

For Tamir, Who Was Stolen by Stacia L. Brown

Rampant Prosecutorial Misconduct in NYT

A Revolutionary Approach To Treating PTSD

Yet more information on the link between gut bacteria and mental health by Clio Korn

Wolf Hall - an amazing work of historical fiction about Thomas Cromwell, the poor boy who grew to be the closest man to King Henry. I'm reading this and the sequel to Neither Wolf Nor Dog right now.


the silent face of space
noise from a mouthless ocean
that moves across our face
in one endless motion

how far would i go to be with you?
as far as i could go
what would i endure to please you?
only god can know

the world each world within
yet contained each in the other
i love, you love, we love
for without one, what is the other

i hear the song within the song,
i see the face within your face
i have loved you now for so long
this note held in place

your suffering, far below
the plow does not strike your heart
buried asleep beneath the snow
a silent, prehistoric art

how far can i deliver these medicines?
as far as air to breathe
how can i go on when i cannot go on?
when, is time to leave

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