My closet could indeed use some magic

sad_dogI hesitated for just a moment recently before posting a Facebook photo of my dog cowering in the closet during a thunderstorm. Just for a second. It was a really cute picture.

There she was, my little, brown dog, apparently anxious about the cacophony happening just outside. Or that’s how I played it off on social media. Actually, given the fact that she was in my closet, she could have been just as distressed to realize she was in imminent danger of being crushed by falling shoes.

Forget thunder, that freaking closet is the stuff of nightmares.

Oh my God, you guys, the clutter bomb of my life is making me INSANE. And I work from home, so all day long I’m surrounded by some combination of laundry, books and papers, dog toys, kids and dishes and dust and it has reached a point where it’s generating a constant low, steady hum. Always there, creating anxiety that could be released at any moment on my unsuspecting loved ones. Really, anyone who comes within in arm’s reach at the wrong moment is danger of getting stabbed with a ballpoint pen. (more…)

In search of a not-so-crappy first car

the_carI didn’t have a car in high school, but I had friends with cars. One girlfriend’s dad used to buy used heaps and work on them as a hobby. He regularly had one in working condition for her to use. It wasn’t always great condition, but it got her from one place to another. Janet went through at least four cars from sophomore to senior year.

One such vehicle was an oxidized red Cutlass convertible, probably chosen because it was a boat of a thing, capable of withstanding a bigger impact in an accident than something smaller. That car eventually went away before actually falling apart like some of the others. I suspect Janet’s dad got wise to the fact that a red convertible is not a car in which you want your teenage daughter and her very loud and reckless girlfriends cruising around town, the propensity for causing a ruckus being that much higher in such vehicles. (more…)

2 Vans, 12 Runners, 30-Some Hours. A Grand Teton Relay Recap

sasquatch

Mike and I with Sasquatch … all the pictures I’ve seen of him have been so blurry, I never knew he had a ‘stash.

When the starting gun sounded on Friday, I was still messing with my Garmin. Everybody else took off like they were shot from a cannon.

It’s possible our venerable leader made a mistake assigning the first leg of our rely event to a chronic procrastinator. I had the honor of putting our whole team behind, first thing. (more…)

Mammogram-musings and things about which I am not an expert

Mammogram MachineI had my first mammogram when I was in my early 20s.

I’d felt something, and a doctor confirmed I wasn’t imagining it, and then after considerable poking and prodding and squishing, a full, surgical biopsy confirmed what I’d found was a big lump of nothing really to worry about.

I didn’t have another mammogram until my 40s, and it actually took a lot of pluck for me to return.

… And that’s coming from a person who’s done stuff scary enough to make her tummy turn to Jell-O. I rode the Stratosphere in Las Vegas. I do a live radio show every week (worrying each time that I’ll bump my knee or something and unwittingly unleash a torrent of profanity worthy of a truck driver). I’ve taught a fifteen year-old boy to drive on the freeway. I’ve hailed a cab in Buenos Aires and made it to my destination even though I was pretty sure the driver couldn’t understand my crappy Spanish.

I picked up a snake once, thinking it was a stick. (more…)

Of food snobs, the apocalypse and people who just want some jelly

French PastriesMike was telling me a story the other day about his experience in a local restaurant. Oh, not restaurant: pâtisserie. Excuse me. That’s French for specializing in pastries, you ee-dee-ottt.

I’ve been in there exactly once, pastry not being my thing. I think someone called a meeting or something, which is how Mike ended up in this establishment the other day. Pastry isn’t his thing either. Not that there’s anything wrong with pastries, mind you. Pastry wasn’t the problem.

Mike was there for the meeting he didn’t call when some hapless guy asked the lady behind the counter for some jelly to go with his croissant.

In my mind the guy is holding his plate up, pointing at the flaky lump – his cress-ant – looking as doe-eyed and humble as Oliver Twist requesting another portion from the workhouse master. (more…)

Mom’s new camping checklist

boys_at_camp“Mom, when I’m at camp, what will you be doing?”

“Well … when I finally stop crying,” I said, “I’ll probably write a sonnet describing my love for you. Then I’ll call and leave you enough messages to fill up your entire voice mailbox. … And then I’ll find a picture of you and gaze lovingly at it, memorizing every strand of hair until it’s time to go to bed. … And then I’ll get up and do it all again the next day.”

Jack gave a little laugh that said he wasn’t sure if I was kidding. Clearly the kid needs to recalibrate his sarcas-o-meter.

Jack left for camp Monday, Colin will head up next week. Every year for six years, the night before the camp departure has consisted of the same exhausting routine: sorting, folding, and labeling clothes, shoes, and jackets, shoving teensy bottles of shampoo, sunscreen, and bug spray and blister packets of allergy pills into little baggies, filling another baggie with pens, paper and stamped postcards, and stowing the whole collection of way more than they’d ever need for the end of the world – much less a week at camp – into a couple of battered suitcases. (more…)

A Semi-Comprehensive Guide to Raising Kids in the Digital Age

"Who wants to play video games?"What’s missing from those What to Expect books is a chapter (or maybe even a whole volume) on parenting in the age of the World Wide Web. Right about now, something like: What to Expect when your Child Gets Sucked into the Matrix and their Brains Turn to Jelly, would be helpful.

I’ve done my usual exhaustive research (i.e., read a couple related articles online before getting distracted by lists of celebrities who Botox their pets), and come to the conclusion that no one really has a handle on the convergence of kids and the Internet. (more…)

You know it’s a real party when …

“Look, boys, someone called the cops on your parents!” I hollered as soon as we walked in the door, flashing the picture on my phone at anyone who cared to look.

Mike heaved one of his big sighs. He should have seen this coming. On the way home, he’d lobbied against telling the boys about the cops, an idea with which I was not fully on board. I’d been looking forward to earning a little cred. Mike worried about getting into a sort of one-upmanship thing with the kids.

But then I was scrolling through Facebook on my phone as we walked in the house. Up pops a selfie of our hostess with the cops who crashed her backyard party. What was I supposed to do, besides gloat confess? (more…)

PiYo isn’t actually a dessert

I call this pose "sure, I'll take another slice."

I think this pose is “sure, I’ll take another slice.”

The biggest news I have for this week is Mike and I took a new class at the Y together.

I know. Living la vida loca. Right?

My standard thirty-second internet research showed that PiYo was developed by a trainer whose photos indicate she hasn’t discovered the joys of the meat-and-microbrew diet I’m currently on. That and the fact that PiYo is not named for a Rocky Balboa-inspired desert were kind of letdowns. (more…)