Dear Sparkleprincess Unicorn Slambook,

HI HOW ARE YOU? This is that post where I am saying I should be doing something else right now, specifically editing recipes. That’s going well. What a difference a day makes, as they say, or maybe that’s more like eight months. Sometimes you have to dump things for a while and have a good cry to find your passion for them again. In other news, I hate posts like this, because it’s sort of like when someone is making a grocery list in their head while they’re having sex with you.


“Yeah, EGGS, baby!”

“No, we are OUT of eggs.”

My boner!

Longcat is long, so you know it’s warm.

New contract is going well. It’s in one of Seattle’s “fun” neighborhoods and the commute if very reasonable. I am making zucchini bread. The recipe calls for “three medium zucchinis” but if your zucchini is the size of a baby, then the recipe should call for “half a baby,” eh?

I thought my Victorian recipes were pretty complete other than that pesky “conversion to British” thing, but it’s taking a bit. Cups are going over to grams, liquid measures are going over to ml. A British pint in not a US pint, but you are so smart and probably knew that already.

Goethe gerroff my zucchini batter.

That’s better.

I do still have my other two cats, of course, it’s just that Gertie Pie is the one who comes around.

I am listening to the Song of Ice and Fire series via audiobook. I think at this point it’s almost a habit more than anything. I hate it when I get into this loop where I can’t decide if I’m enjoying myself or not, yet I continue. This seems like a very human thing to do, eh? Deer are more “there is not try, only do,” I think. Sometimes I wake up while listening to them and I’m on some weird chapter and someone is getting stabbed and I’m all WTF is happening, you fell asleep again, dummy. But most of the time I am upright and listening properly.

Lemon cucumbers for days! I eat them like apples. Yum!

En dotry nouvelles

Franny called yesterday, from her father’s house. I’ve been so scattered with new job and the abrupt end of old job that I realized I’ve been blurting on Twitter but have not written properly about things. Franny called to say she misses me and cannot wait to come home on the first, and that she was delighted to receive a letter from her sister yesterday. It sounds like she’s having fun visiting as well, though. I told her that just an hour before I had walked to the local plastics store and bought two sheets of plastic to construct a guinea pig habitat–she’s getting guinea pigs for her eleventh birthday in October. It’s going to be her jam, with heavy supervision from me to make sure the enclosure stays clean and whatnot. So now I’m reading up on them on a few sites. Really enjoying this one–it’s chockablock with guinea pig “activists” among the actual decent information, so occasionally you can watch them run someone off for not doing everything exactly right. OH INTERNET.

Two things have happened. I received a letter from the prosecuting attorney’s office saying that all the 4,000 pieces of personal and financial information they had requested from me had been received; were adequate; were processed, and now I have a COURT CASE and that I would hear from them regarding court date etc. “soon.” I may hear from them soon, but I reckon that I won’t have an actual court date until sometime around Q2 of next year. That’s OKAY. I am a tortoise.

For my mediation appointment with SeaFed we were required by the mediator to submit a statement saying why we wanted to mediate. I’m grateful to her for this since it clarified everything for me like bang. I would not allow myself to reply “I don’t want to mediate” so I made myself put “to appear cooperative,” which is a pretty shitty reason to do anything you’ll spend a lot of money on and get nothing out of (forced parenting class during my divorce comes to mind as well). He replied, well past the courtesy deadline the mediator asked for, naturally: “My purpose in mediating is to nullify the temporary living arrangement we’ve been adhering to and return to the original parenting plan.”

Well, that tore it. What a colossal waste of time this expensive discussion would be. I was also lulzing at the fact that when SeaFed is put into some kind of grown-up communication situation, he never uses one word when three officious ones would do, much like I imagine a twelfth-grade honors English essay reads. With a great sense of relief, I cancelled the appointment, saying that I didn’t think it was the right venue in which to make a change like this…because…it’s NOT.

The plan for now is to carry on until things change somehow, meaning he gets mad enough about child support to sue me to move to 50/50 time and I lose. I know he will object to child support once he officially gets a chance to do so (it’s worth noting that he STILL has not mentioned that I’ve filed for child support in any of our communications). I’m relieved that child support and the state of the parenting plan are two separate issues, requiring separate efforts, paperworks being filed, attorney fees. I got an email from his father the other day that led me to believe he has no idea that his son is being sued for child support, which makes me think SeaFed hasn’t hit his dad up for attorney fees yet.

Since my brain is back with a vengeance and steel trappin up and down and all over town, I’m going to create a schedule for this next school year, holidays included, using last year’s calendar for reference to see whose turn it is to have Thanksgiving and whatnot. This is partly prompted by sadness and irritation at his lack of ability to get his shit together to figure out what time he’d like to pick his daughter up at the appointed location before the day of this summer. I don’t have time to fuck with this shit now that I am back to a desk job for now. It’s the same old shit as always, but I’d like to take a break from confused, last-minute emails for the school year, thank you. The last time I made a schedule for SeaFed to follow ended with him drunkenly screaming at me from a party. But that will not happen again, because we are older and wiser now, yes? (Ha.)

So, I have been validated by the County of King: I have a COURT CASE. Soon I will have a COURT DATE. I have cancelled mediation. I have lost my hobbles and this has become such a small part of my life and concerns…why my 2004 self would hardly recognize my 2011 self. Looking forward to having a last hurrah out of town before school starts.

Jacque Brel+Miss Piggy+CBT-Capoeira

Hey my camera came! I was just a tiny weeny bit depressed between the time the old one broke and the new one came. More like bummed, really. I love it except it’s so skinny and the screen is so big it kind of looks like an iPhone. I don’t want to lay it on its face, though. I hope it stays standing up well even when I am running around cooking and snapping or whatever.

You know what else came? A letter from the prosecuting attorney’s office (Child Support Division). BLARGH. The good news is that they are continuing to take my claim for child support seriously.

Whenever I get mail like this I honestly feel I’m going to shit myself, or at the very least have a panic attack. I almost did–I could feel my chest tightening up and everything. I was all alone when I got it. I could feel my brain racing around, what-ifing, predrafting the letters I have to write to continue to keep the ball rolling. I love how everything court related is HOOMHAH (me) vs. WHAT’S-HIS-BUKKIT. Let’s keep every interaction as adversarial as possible, even information requests.

I am completely Pavlovian with court stuff. I think it’s probably pretty normal to say “Oh shit, what does the government want??” but it’s certainly more dialed up in me now than it was pre-2004. Anyway, it should be pretty simple to send back what they want and then, I don’t know…wait another 6 months maybe?

Black, Italian, and Thai basil, in a place where they are both safe from the chickens and will get sun for most of the day.

I planted a gulfstream nandina. I love nandina.

My front flower garden is doing pretty well. I’m trying to aim for a balance of economy and beauty. I just bought some decorative grass on whoa clearance, which will continue to provide color and contrast even when nothing’s blooming. I bought the smallest number of lily bulbs I felt I could get away with knowing they would divide themselves, etc. Same with tulips and daffodils. It’s not too bad considering this was all grass when I moved in a year ago.

I don’t remember buying yellow lilies. I figured I just got a bunch of stargazers. Ah well.

This is the “sunset” rose, and was first to bloom. I forget its proper name.

Double Delight, looking crappy at the moment, but the bush is healthy overall and will bloom again very soon. Double Delight smells like Pond’s Cold Cream. I also have a Mr. Lincoln (red) and a Heirloom (purple) planted.

The solution to being stuck with this shitty decaying hot tub. GROW MY PRETTIES, GROW LIKE THE WIND! I’m hoping to have some decent screening by next summer. Hydrangeas, of course, are deciduous shrubs but I am not out in the yard much in the winter anyway.

Speaking of trashy crap…

The last of the carpet has been pulled from the garden. Before it is sent to Coventry, the chickens have decided to enjoy it for a while.

Molokai hangs out.

The coop has been enhanced a bit inside to accommodate the fact that the new ladies be laying now. There is also a new pop hole since it sits in the sun for part of the day at this house, but was constantly under a giant shady laurel before.

Also, my antlers I got in Idaho are mounted. Holy MAN was that something, the antler store. It was a huge fireworks store (POSTED: NO SMOKING WITHIN 50 FEET!!) and if you looked up, BAM, taxidermy. You could smell a musky reek in the store. “I hope your stuff doesn’t end up smelling like SKUNKS!” the register lady said. I had to sign a form swearing that I would not misuse my fireworks, even though I didn’t buy any.

I have not mentioned much about the trip, and I discovered when I was on my way when my camera was broken, but I stayed at my friend Kelly’s house and had a wonderful weekend.

Anyway, antlers. I have been wanting antlers for years, but the best thing about them is that I realized they were exactly what I wanted to display my rosary collection. When I was in college and ramblin’ around the Southwest I would stop at every little chapel and I ended up buying a lot of them.

So, camera. Court! An antelope head named “Jennifer Aniston.” I got nothin, really.

We’ve All Had Trouble/But Learned to Keep It Shut

Hey hey hey I’m leaving for a road trip tomorrow to see a friend. VERY. EXCITING. I will be driving across Eastern Washington for the first time ever and through part of Oregon to Idaho. I drove across country when I was 16, and I have been fortunate enough to fly to some hithers and other yons, but I have never taken such a long road trip by myself. The plan is to take loads of pictures and stop at every sign that says THE THING THAT IS A THING AND COSTS $3 TO SEE, 500 YARDS.

I like being alone on occasions like trips, but I like being alone less now. I am thinking thinking thinking now that it’s been a month sans IUD. There were immediate effects as I have mentioned, like my hand stopped tingling and falling asleep. I am also not waking up several times a night, so sleep is better and I remember more dreams. I had my period and it was pretty normal for me, which is about 5 days, which felt like another milestone.

Looking at this on the surface, I know it all seems pretty trivial–it’s an IUD. I was overmedicated from it. Sadly, lots of women whose accounts I’ve been reading about online had similar problems. I did not die or have really serious permanent effects (as far as I can tell). On one hand this is just a bump in the road, on the other, three years is a long time and it’s weird to think that I was a different person, like an alternate universe me.

In March three years ago I woke up one morning and wanted eggs so badly, worse than I had ever wanted them in my life. I made a plate of eggs over easy, which I probably hadn’t eaten in about 20 years, and was never a regular eater of non-hard cooked or scrambled eggs. In fact, “undercooked” eggs used to turn my stomach. I inhaled them and considered having a second plate of them. I started having cravings for Frappuccinos, the blended kind you buy from Bux itself, and I bet I had only had one of those before ever. I drank them through April and May, telling myself I was unwinding from the stress of the auction I was running.

I was also craving burgers about three times a week. I’ve eaten fast food more in the past three years then I probably ever did through the whole of my twenties. In the meanwhile I was trying to tell my girls to eat healthy and not feed them fast food all the time. I felt I had changed and felt vaguely ashamed and hypocritical about it, since I always tried so hard to model good behavior. My solution was to get it during the day and hide the wrappers in the trash.

I think most parents (and most people) sometimes get treats they don’t want to share, and try not to flaunt that. I didn’t feel like my eating was disordered, since I was not ordering four burgers at a go or anything like that. I just felt off. I had gotten burned out on cow as a child since my parents would order a side of cow every winter and my mother would cook the crap out of everything until your tastebuds lost the will to lick. But cow was so delicious again. Who was I? All I cared about was scotch and raw eggs and bleeding cow parts. This turned into Year of Gravy. Was this part of turning 30? I tried to make sense of it, but could not, really.

I have mentioned I was depressed for the better part of the first year with seemingly no explanation, but the mood issues carried on after I climbed out of it and stabilized. I started therapy to try to make sense of what was happening in my life and the decisions I was making that were influenced by my mood. I had an overwhelming sense of anxiety that plagued me for a long time. I would lay in bed sleeplessly wondering if I had offended someone that day with an offhand comment.

I made some bad decisions about friendships. You might think a person in my position would lose friends, but the problem was more the friends I made at this time. People I had been (wisely) keeping at arm’s length were now admitted to the inner circle. Were they bad people? Not really. Just not a good fit for me. I started realizing about a year ago that I had picked up some people during my depression who were not working out for me, and made changes to rectify that. I really lost my good judgment for a while in a lot of capacities. Again, nothing earth-shattering happened, but I felt I was unsure who I was to have friends that I meshed so poorly with. I tried to regularly communicate with my older friends that I was going through A Mysterious Thing, and it was not them, and I feel lucky that I can say they stuck by me.

The worst thing that happened, though, was the effect my mood had with regard to my girls. I was pretty irritable most of the time and spent most of my time white knuckling around them. Sometimes I would snap and bark at them unnecessarily. I never experienced serious postpartum depression so I didn’t know if this was what it was like for some people. I knew before that I liked my girls and I wanted them. I still loved them but it feels really bad to have to force yourself to be around your children, who you previously found delightful.

I questioned my whole life. Had I made a mistake? Was I not the super domestic person I thought I was, who liked being partnered and raising children? Things I had delighted in before, like super elaborate projects with them, now seemed tedious and pointless, which made me sad for myself and them. I gritted my teeth to get through sometimes. It wasn’t their fault that their mom had turned into a short-tempered ADD monkey; they deserved better and I was going to do whatever it took to keep things predictable and normal. I was very deliberate about how I spoke to them and treated them, and made sure we carried on with our family rituals and that I spent time with them.

I think all of these things were getting better and allowed me to come out of my fog as bit as the hormones in the IUD naturally decreased over time, which I think was evidenced by the fact that I was recently spotting once a month, after not bleeding at all, ever. I got much less fierce and introverted after the first year, and projects and seeing people sounded like a good idea again sometimes. But now, with it out, I feel so calm. This is who I am. I feel happy as I chop almonds for cookies, as I weed the yard, and as I talk to my girls. I read novels for hours again and it is a pleasure and not a chore.

There is one funny thing in all this–I think I am having a tiny bit of mourning for my previous self now. I don’t really want cheeseburgers every day anymore, but I kind of miss wanting them. Shrinking has been pretty fun–my clothes fit better. A dress I bought for the memorial did not really fit right when it was time to wear it, and I did not think to exchange it, but it was okay. I’m glad I’m less ship-prow boobsy, and instead of looking four months pregnant all the time I just look kind of regular fat. And this is the last I will say about this, because it’s done now.

IS TROPICAL – THE GREEKS (official music video) from EL NINO on Vimeo.

Thanks to Spock for this.

My Own Personal Wampeter

“Love is where you find it. I think it is foolish to go looking for it, and I think it can often be poisonous.” –Kurt Vonnegut

Yesterday I was asked if it was ever a poor idea to send a condolences letter. I thought about it, and it was apt, because we were in Portland visiting family before the memorial service next month.

“Well,” I said. “I think if the presence of the condolences would insert an unpleasant person into your thoughts, if it’s really someone who’s not wanted, then it’s best not to express your condolences.”

The real question is, of which I was blissfully unaware at the time and therefore free to just make smug pronouncements, do unpleasant people know when they are not wanted? Of course not, because this is a very important facet of being unpleasant.

We arrived home from the store this morning and I looked in the mailbox. I had not checked it yesterday since we were traveling and out of town all day. There was a letter to Strudel’s father in there in disturbingly familiar handwriting. I thought for a minute.

Click…click…click…DING. Aw fux, it was my mother. PRESTO! What could be more timely or topical. It was like out of the Emily Post Casebook.

“I bet I know what this is,” I said, handing it over to him.

“This probably does not even need to come into the house,” he said, standing near the recycling bin. He ripped it open. “Yep.” He sighed and opened the bin’s lid, sending it off to its destiny to become toilet paper or something.

“Condolences? From the woman who is leaving me $100 in her will?”

“Yes,” he said.

What can you do with people who are so unpleasant they estrange others who could, if the situation and attitudes were only slightly different, cleave to them? I report, joylessly, that I sense some desperate scrabbling now that my mother has alienated her other daughter as well. Franny is really her last hope and since she’s got her hooks in via SeaFed’s insistence that she should know her grandmother, no matter how toxic, unpleasant, or undeserving she might be. No matter that no one else in the family will come within spitting distance. Based on past decisions, sometimes I think that SeaFed’s motivation in any given situation is simply to do the opposite of what I would do.

There is another thing, too–my mother has just been diagnosed with Graves’ Disease. Treatable, and manageable, and not my concern besides. Sadly the text she sent my sister informing her of this also said that she “might have cancer.” What is this crap? Who does this without knowing anything for certain and via TEXT? I might have cancer. We all “might” have cancer. I am also pre-med, as it turns out. Fuck me if I ever update my girls on serious health conditions via multiple texts. “LOL hernia TTYL”

I get into sharp disagreements with people who believe that family members are entitled to access by virtue of being blood relatives. How preposterous. Family needs to earn the right to be present in a person’s life, just like everyone else in the world. And I have a stronger opinion now than I did yesterday–political condolences are disgusting and helpful to no one.

In other news I’m kind of enjoying this super quick call and response thing I have going with the universe lately. It’s good for the diligent life-examiner on the go.

“We can paint a picture that the devil can’t erase”

I’m working pantsless! For a reason! Not that I need a reason! I went to another doctor yesterday, which is starting to make me feel like one of Those People who trot around town to every doctor. “Is there anyone in Seattle who has not had their hand in my vagina? YOU? I’ll see you next Tuesday.”

And so I went, referred off to a good women’s clinic that also does lipo, apparently, because I think all small medical people have a sideline in something cosmetic now. It was fine though. There was no surprise fat suctioning. I had my junk looked in YET again.

“Okay,” the nice doctor said. “I know everyone has prodded you and looked at you, and I’m sorry to say I’m going to hurt you again.”

“Alright,” I said, resigned.


“Hmm, looks like you’re ovulating,” she observed.

“ALREADY? Oh goody.”

Though I did not have SURPRISE! FAT SUCKS! I did, however, have a man take a romantic stroll around the lake, AKA, rootling around with vagina ultrasound wand! WOW! The things you can see in there.

“Are you doing okay with this pressure?” he asked me. Feet in stirrups, groovy, cool, FML, etc, a man I just met 5 minutes ago is attacking me with something that is like a cross between a plumber’s snake and a Sonicare, awesome, rad.

“Yes, it’s fine,” I said. “Have you found my keys yet?”

The nurse lost her shit. “I’ve never heard THAT one,” she said, once she stopped laughing.

The diagnosis was: ANGRY UTERUS. Angry uterus with sad abrasions all over it. No wonder I was having pain pretty regularly. Also, the rest of my junk was kind of generically inflamed and I was running low grade fevers, so the doctor gave me a round of antibiotics, which I have not taken in years.

“So, this may give you a massive yeast infection,” she said, handing me the script. “Here’s a coupon for some medicine for that.”

“Ten dollars off! Zoinks, I wonder how expensive it is?” I said.

“Come back if you’re still having problems,” she said.

“Maybe I can come back and you can install a Barbie crotch,” I replied.

The doctor’s jaw dropped, but I was very popular with the nurse that day.

And that’s it. Now I am practicing pantslessness, gobbling acidophilus and changing my underpants 7 times a day when I do have to wear pants. I feel better! I think this is about over unless my transmission suddenly falls out or something. DUN DUN DUN melodrama.

Monkeychow out!

Today Is The First Day of The Rest of Your Vagina

I don’t want to make this into a Mirena recovery blog, since A. I prefer to think of this as a life-recovery blog and B. there are some out there already (similar URLs, different blogs). I have to say, though, I’ve had a couple of triumphs in the past few days already.

The first two days involved torrential, non-stop peeing, every five minutes if I was allowed, accompanied by night sweats. My body was flushing itself really quickly and efficiently. I decided to step up my water consumption to make sure I didn’t get dried out. Lucky me, I had also scheduled a massage in my ongoing attempt not to feel a thousand years old. I allowed someone I know well to check me over (teeth, hoof, VIN, udders, etc.) and the conclusion was, yes, I had lost a couple of pounds already, at least. My arms were less puffy. My everything is less puffy. I had a similar feeling to after you first give birth and your body does a huge chemical/hormone dump, except without the residual bobsled-through-babycannon pain.

Also, my right hand! It does not hurt! For the first time in a couple of years! Recently I was completely “losing” my right hand while trying to sleep, type, and while sitting in particular positions (like on an airplane). My toes started going numb as well. I did yoga today and did not have hand/wrist pain in downward dog for the first time in years.

I have also lost the urge to snack and drink at night. I think I’ll still enjoy cocktails and whatnot whenever I damn feel like, but I had an almost-nightly jones for chips, candy, or wine, anything that was going to give me a large hit of calories before bed. I was drinking a lot of alcohol, and have been for the past three years (especially in that first year), and immediately I feel like my old self, not starving after dinner, and not jonesing for one more cookie/glass of wine/etc. I was never really worried about my alcohol intake and cravings in and of itself, but I did note that it was part of my overall calorie and sugar fiending and overeating.

Probably the most important thing, though, is that the symptom known as “brain fog” is lifting, quickly. My brain is racing along, but it’s happy, instead of anxious, as I often was for a long time. I can sort out complexity again and my focus is improving. I completed about an inch of court paperwork today, which took me two hours. I imagine a few months or a year ago I would not have even attempted it. I got hit really hard yesterday with an “attack” of brain fog where I felt weighed down, slow, drugged, like someone had thrown a hot damp blanket over me, so I felt a sharp contrast between that and “normal.” I elected to take a nap and sleep it off.

I’m not irritable, not grinding my jaw, and not reminding myself to be patient, patient, calm, and not snap at the girls. I can hold lists in my head again like I used to. I feel mentally neutral, if, admittedly, a little giddy from feeling my proper age, fitness level, and actual smartyness.

The thing that is killing me about all of this is people who are coming to realizations like I did about their Mirena and look back at what it did to their lives. Too many times on message boards I have read “I am on the verge of divorce” or “my relationship ended around this time.” It’s really sad. I feel bad, too, for the little people who do not have the choice to get away from their Mr. Hyde mothers.

I’m going to see my NP this week about lingering pelvic pain. I’ll be interested to hear what she has to say in contrast with the doctor who removed it.

Anyway, I think this is all I have to say about this for now. I anticipate that the crash may be coming as the last of the synthetic hormone leaves my system and my body readjusts its levels. I’m also sure there’s a ways for me to go over the next few weeks and months. I may look into some kind of “detoxing” program with vitamins or supplements (nothing extreme) and I will continue exercising and trying to get enough sleep. I’m really happy I got it out. So that’s how I’m doing.

Cave Canem! Mitten Fugit!

Things I learned this weekend.

First, the good news.

1. I am less afraid of dogs than I used to be. I went to a bar to meet Trixie Biltmore, draweress extraordinaire, and there were DOGS DOGS DOGS. At one point I was in an actual sea of dogs, being bumped and buffered from all sides by them. I knew what I was getting into, and it was really okay. And Trixie is VERY funny and nice and it was a blast. I feel so lucky to be able to meet people via the internet, because while I luck into certain people at parties or whatnot, I think I might have been very lonely at certain points without my digital tentacles.

2. Renewal.
Earlier I was talking to a friend about how spring is for renewal, like babies and flowers and weddings and crap. Portland was GORGEOUS. Sunny, warm, flowers puking out of every container and every empty patch of dirt. Somehow seeing all that and thinking about death and loss compounds the unfairness and the awfulness of it all. Renewal, I guess, is not just creation. Sometimes it’s what life feels like after you leave someone behind.

3. When your ex-spouse dies, you need to sack up and remember that your child’s parent has died, and you (and I will) need to deal with that child accordingly. That’s all I’m going to say about this.


I’m getting my IUD out tomorrow. I am thinking really, really hard about the IUD. I got the Mirena, which has the hormone as well as the baby scraper or whatever. Technically it’s early to have it out, but I’m just done with it. The one benefit was that it completely disappeared my cycle for a while–no PMS, no bleeding, in addition to no babies. Now I am having monthly cramps and pain again and have been having breakthrough bleeding, so there goes that benefit.

I was thinking about going round two with it, and have been reading about other people’s experiences with it, and I’ve been getting this creeping feeling of unease that I’ve been dealing with the side effects as well. I’m kind of a fucking moron when it comes to medical stuff. I have a really high pain tolerance and I just don’t notice things. When I was first pregnant with Strudel, my midwives tested me and told me I was anemic and had a UTI, and I had no idea about either. This means that I can just stop digging trenches or whatever and crank babies out at home, but sometimes I worry my first sign I’ll have that something is wrong will be when my leg falls off or something.

So I got the IUD installed in February of 2008, and then I had this crash in March that dragged on and turned into an unexplained depression that culminated in me breaking up with Strudel’s dad. I keep thinking about that. Did my IUD make me so crazy that I broke up with my babydaddy?

I felt TERRIBLE. Terrible, like, I am embarrassed to tell you how bad I felt and how awful my thoughts were. I got into therapy and took a lot of GABA and ran A LOT and kind of crept along until I started to feel better after about a year. Now I am reading stories about hormone changes, depression, suicidal thoughts, all related to this IUD, and how it ceases when it comes out. I became afraid of dogs around this time as well, which, who the fuck knows. I also gained about 15 pounds that never really came off, even when I was running 5Ks and whatnot.

It makes me wonder. I don’t have a history of chronic depression. Any depression I’ve experienced in the past has been situational. I really liked my life when I got it in–nothing was happening that would have triggered a year of depression. I’m really interested to see what will happen. I’m going to try to overcome my inherent medical dumbassery and really pay close attention this time. Do I need to be more tough? Less tough? I don’t know.

I hope they let me keep the IUD. I think it’s crying out to be a necklace.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one

Off to Portland for the weekend…it’s not happy. Strudel’s grandfather died very suddenly. He was just here two weeks ago taking care of the girls and I am so happy for that. The skipping record theme of my life is that family is what you make of it, or unmake of it, I guess. We’re going to be with his partner of ten years, who was never a mother but has become a grandmother-type for the girls. It makes me boggle a little that of all blood relatives in Portland the person we want to cleave to right now is an “unrelated” person, but nevertheless a person we have spent many happy hours with, and whose house we’ve spent weekends at. The girls are looking forward to seeing her.

The number of people who I have loved but am not actually related to certainly surpasses my actual blood relatives who I love. (Do my children count? I made them.)

I guess I am a big raw wound this week. I am also mentally willing P.’s brother to CALL HIM BACK ALREADY. Please don’t let the living dangle.

Strudel DESTROYING her grandfather at Uno last August.

“I can’t believe you like money too. We should hang out.”

“Well—I mean, your friends. What do they say when someone is under the weather?”

“Oh,” said Gloria. “Well, I don’t think you’d like what they say.”

“Really? Why? Is it risque?”

“Yes, a little.”

“Tell me. What is it? I won’t be shocked.”

“Well,” said Gloria. “Most of my friends, my men friends, they say ‘I was stewed to the balls last night.’ My girl friends—“

“Really. I took you for a lady but I see I was wrong. Excuse me,” said the woman and stood up and left the room.

–John O’Hara, BUtterfield 8


Something happened before I left town. I was going to tell you about it when I returned, but here I was lying in bed at 5 a.m. just thinking about it, turning all the pieces over in my head. Franny came back on Monday and told me she was gaining another sibling at her father’s house. I cannot adequately describe to you the simultaneous feeling of petty elation and schadenlulz combined with a sinking feeling regarding Franny’s chances over there. Imagine: you are having an orgasm and someone explodes in and tells you your favorite pet of all time has just died. Maybe I need to dial down the hyperbole a little, though, because mostly I was enjoying the news very much, and Franny has spent most of her time at my house for a long time now. So fast on the heels of his third child, and apparently it was a surprise. SeaFed will have at least four children. I did not see this future for him when I was five months pregnant in 2000, his wife, and he was on a table getting his tubes snipped.

It all made me think of YEARS ago, when the whole crack up happened. I don’t talk about this very much, and I don’t think I’ve ever written about it. Really, there’s too much in this world to spend all your time obsessing about the small shit. As an aside, sometimes I wonder if I look like a person obsessed with…all the things I write about here, how I keep dipping into the same deep grooves over and over. I think I am sorting shit out, like most of us do. You will have to take my extremely unreliable word as a narrator that having a conversation with me involves more than three topics.

When you are in a long term relationship sometimes you hit those moments where you reach your hand out and say “I’m sorry, something is changing. Will you take my hand and leap over this canyon with me?” Sometimes the other person balks. How they balk is almost as important as if they had said “Yes, I will jump with you,” but you don’t always realize that at the time. All you want to hear is “YES, I will jump.” The balk, though. Sometimes it’s a gentle balk of “I need more time,” and it’s real and not stalling. Sometimes they say “I will watch you” and you jump and turn around and they are right beside you, having taken a donkey down and up the canyon while you did all the heavy lifting yourself. How clever!

Sometimes there is a balk and it is the Balk of Finality. You turn around and the gap was bigger than you thought, and they look kind of small and sad and alone on the old lame ledge, and their clothes look slightly out of fashion. You miss them and feel unburdened at the same time. Well, this is unfortunate. Now what?

A million years ago when I was still married, I found myself attracted to someone else. It happens! Does it ever. I’m not going to try to plead my case here. I think what happens after the realization is more important than the alleged crime of it happening at all. I approached SeaFed and told him how I felt, and wondered what I should do. Before Franny our marriage looked like the outline of a typical dull marriage: petty battles, small grudges, the occasional mutual victory, the occasional serious blowout. After her it was really going off the rails because I figured out very quickly that I would be happier as an actual single parent than as a person who acted as a single parent, but had this secret obstacle that I had to work around, who would pass out drunk instead of putting his toddler to bed or would corner my friends at the parties I threw to tell them that he delighted in cornering my friends and making them uncomfortable.

Anyway, what ensued after me realizing I was attracted to someone else is that I told him, and armed with nothing more than “and you’ve been disinterested in sex for months now, so I was wondering if you would consider…”

“No,” he said, toweling off after a shower. I think at that point he had been shooting me down for so long his damp nude body just looked like another object in the house, since it was not something I was allowed to touch, nor was there any point in bothering to have carnal thoughts in the direction of it. He laughed a little, as if I had suggested we blow off school and work and take the rest of our grocery money for the month and go parasailing all day. How ludicrous!

Oh if only, I thought. As if this person you have known for years could surprise you and suddenly grow a new head, which would issue up out of their back and replace the old one, and it would be a sensible head that would say things like, “Of course, I have been inconsiderately withholding sex from you for months, so it’s natural that you would want to have sex with someone. Go ahead, if you exploded we’d never get all your guts and brains out of the parquet flooring.” How luxurious it would be to hear the words “I understand,” or “This must be difficult for you,” without having them come from your own mouth.

There followed a period of silences and loneliness and heartbreak, which was hardly about the other person I was attracted to and killed contact with, but more about the feeling of being next to someone who is supposed to be the person who knows you the best (this was my view of marriage at 23) and in reality you are completely alone.

Things happened after this time, the next year. I was busy with grad school and Franny and making new friends and adjusting to my life as a person who was apparently supposed to be completely neutered at 25. Sex, like breathing, is something we take for granted until the second we don’t have it anymore. A hand was around my throat, hard.

The things that happened around the spaces where I was busy were confounding, and I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about them. The summer before I left I found a pair of women’s sunglasses in my Jetta. This was puzzling. There had been no talk of SeaFed going out with anyone, or him having any plans at all beyond “I’m going out to practice” his saxophone with someone else.

October, there I was on the verge of moving out. All the pieces were sliding into place for me. I had been pricing rentals since summer, choosing my new neighborhood. I had taken a thousand leaps over canyons at this point and I didn’t even think of him much. We were coexisting, he was the upright piano gathering dust in the corner, and I was the broken lamp with the pretty shade that you try to remember to fix the next morning after company is gone and there are dirty glasses all over the living room. We were at a party on a houseboat for one of his friends from one of his attempts at college, a couple of weeks before my birthday. I was cornered out on the deck by one of SeaFed’s high school friends who had attempted to hang himself a couple of years before. The attempt had slashed his vocal chords and he was not able to speak much above a harsh whisper, a difficult obstacle to conversation at a party. I spent most of the night leaned in close to him on the relatively quiet deck. He was an interesting fellow. I could see through the window that SeaFed had spent most of his night talking to one person as well, a small mousy girl wearing glasses.

“Well, what a coincidence,” SeaFed loudly and deliberately said, as we walked off the docks and to our car.

“What’s that,” I said.

“Did you see that woman I was talking to?” he asked.

“Sort of?”

“I went to middle school with her. I have not seen her IN YEARS.”

“Ah,” I said. It all seemed kind of overly-elaborated at the time, and some small chime went off in my brain then, but I let it go. It got filed away with the mystery sunglasses to be considered later, much later. A week after I moved out we had dealings at the bank and he turned up with what was possibly the largest hickey I have ever seen on his neck, administered by the mousy girl at the party, who was probably so thrilled to be able to finally publicly claim him.

Months later, on a day I did not have Franny, I got a call from Franny’s school. “Where is Franny, is she unwell?” I was worried about her, and irritated that her father had not called me or called the school to report her absence, something I assumed was common sense. I called his phone, no answer. I decided to go to his house in Crown Hill, our old house, and knock on the door. His wife, who was not his wife yet, but still the mousy girl who my friends said looked like a smaller, plainer, and less stylish version of me, answered the door. She was taking one of her sick days to care for my daughter. Franny capered in the background in her Hello Kitty panties, BOING BOING BOING with a woman who was not me, who was enough of a sucker to stay home with his kid. She wanted him badly, I could see that then.

I had this unsettling feeling like I had moved out, and nothing had changed. Someone had immediately slotted into my place to take care of my child and clean up any messes. Did I want my position back? Was I jealous? No, it wasn’t like that. I think I was egotistical enough to want to be missed, but it was clear I was not going to get that. Overall I was immediately happier, was relieved, and was sleeping better.

But here was my doppelganger, the one who would put up with all the tedious bullshit I had outgrown after seven years. She wanted more than Franny, she wanted her own babies, and she got them, and a house (her mother’s house, who is now sleeping in a mother-in-law SeaFed fashioned out of a garage). And a husband.

Franny stayed over there recently on the last weekend of the month and she told me that she was hungry, and how little food there was in the cupboards at the end of the month, and I told her she should walk to the store and buy herself some food if that happens again. I felt such relief that she has a pragmatic survivor for a mother who can tell her how to do things without subjecting her to them and making her figure it all out on her own. Still, I was angry. I would prefer that she have enough to eat. Franny reports whinging about not enough money. She did some work for him last weekend to earn money and her father agreed to pay her, but he opened his wallet and basically moths flew out.

“Are they happy about the new baby?” I asked.

“No one seems happy over there,” Franny said.

In the wake of the announcement of the fourth child coming, Franny inquired about the previous promise of her getting her own room there now that she is becoming a preteen and her stepmother snorted and said “That’s probably not going to happen now” and was told that having her visit was going to be a pain now. Franny told me this factually and unflinchingly, because like I was as a child, she is very accepting of every ounce of bullshit adults can lay on her. Reader, I tell you this kind of nonsense is one of the only types that can invoke my vestigial necksnap. “THAT IS NOT OKAY!” I said.

I think about That Poor Woman over there, and yes this is preposterous, but I feel there was a break in the timeline and she is living my life. How grateful I am now that there was a stand in, someone to pass the ferryman’s paddle to, though none of us knew it was happening at the time.

Here is your writer, sitting in tropical climes with sunrises and obnoxious tropical birds happening, feeling like Hemingway except with less glamorous hangovers, a blotchy sunburn, and scoring with 100x fewer bitches.

If I Had Nickel for Every Time Someone Asked Where My Blog Went

I would have a cool $1.15 right now, I tells you. Don’t worry, I did not leave you! We are coming up on ten years with this crapheap, so I am like those creepy BEHOLD I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS Jesus paintings. If you really want to know if I died, I have a Twittergraph which is overshare central and am microblogging at Tumblr and flickr too (TOO MUCH ASSHOLE). Or you can email me. WHATEVAHS!

What happened, though, is that my registration with Godaddy was about to expire, and I was putting off re-upping it (lazy, ADD, malaise, etc.) and THEN the news broke that the CEO of Godaddy hunts elephants for fun. SAD PANDA x INFINITY. I mean fuck that. So I transferred to a new host!

I got spraytanned today! WOW! I actually look just like when I spend weeks mutating my cells the old-fashioned way. Yay to no cancer, except possibly for whatever you’re breathing in. It was funny to be naked with goop all over my hands and feet to prevent what the tanning clerk lady called “TERIYAKI FINGERS” (rad).

Tomorrow morning I am leaving for tropical vacation, hence the fake bake, and I will be back on the 15th! I will probably update before then though, because I’m bringing the slaptop. Am I also bringing my leopard dress and my head-sized earrings and my ridiculous bling blang wedges? Of course I am. Be good!