Monday, September 30, 2013

This Window

In 1994 my friend Jennifer assured me that some day in the near future, we would all have computers at home that we would use for everything. I didn't believe her. I couldn't imagine it. Now, my screen is a daily window on the world. 

I love the internet and not just for the cute kitten photos, but I love them too.

I love Facebook. Who cares if that dude from my junior high basketball team is eating sushi in Sacramento right now? I do. That girl I worked with at a restaurant in 1987 just published a thriller? I'm interested. These are stories.

I love Instagram and the peek into the lens-eye of people whose lens-eyes I enjoy. I'll look at your babies and puppies and enchiladas and sunsets and all of the other stuff that makes life good. Picture stories.

I love blogs. I love the niche blogs (Mormon stockpiling moms, guy who posts photos of ephemera he finds in old books) as well as the old-fashioned slice-of-life personal journals. I love the friends I have made in these blog homes. I love the stories they tell.

I love Ebay and buying used stuff online because I do not like malls but I might like that sweater with the cute collar that you don't wear anymore. My things have had a life before me, a story.

I love the tiny film festival that is Vine. Perfect for my attention span and my schedule. Six second stories.

I love Twitter and the challenge to convey or digest a succinct thought. A limited novella of a story.

I love email. Letters delivered in an instant. Stories. Now.

I love YouTube. I will watch a cat dressed as a taco riding a Roomba or a full length U2 concert. More stories.

I love Pinterest because as long as it exists, I never have to buy another lifestyle magazine. Or cookbook. I am interested to see what other people are interested in. Pins are portals to other stories.

The computer does not take the place of real life, it enhances it. I love the universe that is handed to me every morning when I open my laptop. I am a sucker for words. And music. And faith. And animals. And snacks. And art. And people. And stories. I love the stories.

Guy Stuff

"Bob, that chapped lip is looking pretty rough."

"I know, Mom. I put Chapstick on it. Did you see the splinter in my finger?"

"Do you want me to get it out?"

"No, that's okay. How about this bruise on my side from when I ran into the table? Did you see?"

"Ow, Bob. You're kind of a mess."

"No, I'm just kind of a boy."

Friday, September 27, 2013

Mad Science

"That science teacher is the coolest teacher."

"I know, Bob."

"Yeah. And the three of us get to be together too."

"I know, Desmond."

"Science is awesome, Felix. Don't you know that it's awesome?"

"I know. Wait! You guys! You guys!"


"Wanna hear me burp?"



Thursday, September 26, 2013


"So Bob, I heard one of the girls from school tried to kiss you today."

"Yeah Dad, but she didn't get me."


"Yeah, she hugged me twice though. I guess she really embarrassed herself."

"Herself? What about you?"

"Well, yeah I was mostly pretty totally embarrassed too."

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

On the Clock

"Okay. Time's up, Bob."

"Two more minutes?"

"Screen time's over now."

"Thirty more seconds?"


"Mom, when I grow up I'm going to be a movie maker, then I can watch screens all day."

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

And That Was Monday

"Mom? It was more fun doing homework with Felix here."

"I'm glad you guys had a good time."

"When we were outside we made swords out of Styrofoam we found in the garbage and had a duel. Then we sort of took our swords apart. If you look out the window you can see all the little Styrofoams all over the driveway and in the street. It looks like it snowed!"

Monday, September 23, 2013


Artist: ilya Green

I can’t get enough of watching him sleep, that fast hard sleep of childhood. The whispery dream talking that I try to understand but can’t quite make out the words. The violent kicking and fluttery eyelids. The tiny sleepwalker who gets up for “one more glass of water” yet doesn’t remember his midnight thirst in the morning. 

When he is sleeping and I’m awake, I remember to slow down and watch. The little hands making a fist. The cheek seeking the cool side of the pillow. For a short time, the clock is still and I hold my breath and watch. I pull the covers up to his chin, the last tuck in of the night.

I can’t get enough of watching him sleep.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Friday, September 20, 2013

Little Gramps Returns

"Mom? Can you buy some pumpernickel bread?"


"A pumpernickel toasted with just some butter on it is beautiful."

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Oh, Man

"What do you like best about soccer, Bob?"

"Nothing. I don't like soccer."

"But you said you had fun at practice today."

"I just didn't want to make you feel bad."

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


"Okay, Bob. Here's the spelling list. First one, Pig."

"P-I-G. Got it."

"Good. Next is Jig."

"Jig? Okay J-I-G."

"And then, Fig"

"Pig, jig, fig. It's really a classic combination, Mom."

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

One and Only

I belong to a family of three. My son is an only child. For the past few years, he has expressed his desire for a sibling. In his mind, having a sister or brother would be one life long play-date. Perhaps it would be. Sort of. At this point though, that is not in the cards for him. I too am an only child, growing up in a family of three. As a kid, I often wondered what it would be like on the other side, to be one of a larger family.

In the summer of 1977, the three months between seventh and eighth grade, I spent many days at the home of my friend Emmy Franklin. Emmy was one of seven kids. She had five older siblings, one younger, all of them impossibly cool. Her sisters were smart and beautiful, her brothers surfed and skateboarded. We all hung out around the Franklin’s pool listening to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album on repeat, the air smelling of chlorine and Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil.

I noticed with great interest, the constant teasing, the long lines for the bathroom, and the general loudness of their home. It was an exotic foreign land, filled with constant camaraderie and inside jokes. I tried to picture myself in a crowded house, vying for attention with so many other people. It seemed wonderful, it seemed scary. I was not built for that.

One day, after lunch, Emmy’s mom said that we could have ice cream after we finished our tuna sandwiches. Emmy grabbed the carton of rocky road out of the freezer, pulled off the lid, and found it was empty, save for one small folded piece of paper that read, “Ha ha ha.” It instantly occurred to me, this would never happen at my house. It was then I realized that being an only child had its benefits.

The Franklin’s was an exciting place to visit but going home to my family, where no one had borrowed the sweater I wanted to wear, and no one had used my bath towel to dry off their bike, was the right place for me. It suited me. And the quiet, I longed for the quiet. And the undivided attention from my parents was priceless. Being an only was my normal.

Bob too spends time with friends of larger families. I believe he sees it as a constant party. In time, I hope he will settle in and enjoy his normal. I think he already has, more than he even knows.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Have A Seat

And the little boy is now doing another bigger boy thing. Bob will be bringing home homework for the first time tomorrow. Today Mr. Rosenberg bought him a desk. One thing made me feel like the big boy isn't too big yet: Bob requested a "spinny chair."

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Smacksy Saturday Photo: Presents

For my birthday, Bob gave me some of his favorite rocks from his collection. Treasures.

Friday, September 13, 2013


Baby Me, on my first birthday

Today is my birthday. I like birthdays - yours and mine. I like cake and balloons and candles and presents and good wishes and cake. Love that cake. Today I am forty-nine. It feels a little odd to be pressing up against fifty, knowing the AARP Magazine will start being delivered to my house soon, and I will be looking at it through those little reading glasses you get at Rite-Aid.

The part about growing older that I hadn't anticipated is all of the physical upkeep. Thank God for the doctors and dentists and hairdressers and aestheticians and people that make me work out that are all on call to assist the project that is me. As I yank myself out of bed in the mornings, I feel as if I should be pulling into the living room to meet a pit-crew. 

I am grateful for every one of my forty-nine years. I hope to have a time where I can look back on this birthday and shake my head that I was thinking about being "older." I hope to know what really old is like. Perhaps in another forty-nine years.

Today I will try to keep in mind that right now, this second, is the youngest I can be.

Today I will eat cake.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Inside World

Following is the piece I wrote for the LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER and The Partnership at live-streaming event of personal stories to #EndMedicineAbuse.

The Inside World

You’re only seven now Bob, but when you’re older, a little older than now, we will have a talk. We will sit down and I will assure you that you’re not in trouble but that we need to talk about something. You might roll your eyes. You will tell me that you know everything already but I know that you don’t. 

You don’t know that your brain, your vast and magical one-of-a-kind brain, will be developing until you’re twenty-five. You do know that you’ve been wearing a helmet when you ride your bike for as long as you can remember to protect your brain from the dangers of the outside world. You don’t know about all of the dangers of the inside world. I want to have a talk about that inside world.

There will be friends that offer you things. They may not know better but they will ask if you want to try something. These little somethings look like vitamins, or sports drinks or maybe cough syrup. They will say, “It’s okay, I got it from my house,” or “It’s my dad’s or it’s my grandma’s or it belongs to my mom.” “It’s fun,” they’ll say. Or they’ll tell you, “It’s okay, she got it from her doctor.” Our talk right now is about me telling you it’s not okay. These things will hurt your brain. They are seductive. Don’t fall into the arms of these things. 

I will tell you that we’re going to talk about me for a minute. You may let out a heavy sigh, sure you’ve heard this story before, but you haven’t. You know a little about when I was younger. I altered my inside world, with chemicals in an irreversible way. I was lured by those pills and drinks with the promises of fun and escape and I had fun until my fun turned to horror. Then I kept chasing it into the fire, willing the fun to come back. The fun didn’t come back. 

I have altered my brain and it has altered my life. Getting well from that is hard. Most people can’t. It requires constant vigilance and upkeep.  It also requires a team of like-minded people that I can talk to in order to stay safe today. I have been doing it everyday for a long time now. I am grateful for this recovery but it is a tough piece of road to travel. I hope this thing will pass you over.  

I will tell you that I want so much for you. I want you to be happy and kind, smart, loyal, and brave. I want you to know your inside world and explore all that your pristine brain has to delight you. 

We are going to have this talk. I will kiss your forehead. Then, maybe we’ll hug or eat ice cream. I will tell you that we will be having this talk again and often. We will have this talk until you know it by heart.

*            *            *

Follow these links to read powerful stories from the women I was honored to read with:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

This Much, He Knows

"Mom? I changed my mind about what I want to be when I grow up."

"What are you going to be?"

"I don't know but I probably won't found a national park."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

It's Tonight (Tuesday)

A reminder - It's tonight (Tuesday)!  I'm so honored to be a part of this.
Please join LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER and The Partnership at as we present a live-streaming event of personal stories to #EndMedicineAbuse.
Date: The evening of Tuesday, September 10th, 2013
Time: 6 PM PST
RSVP (optional for Google + users)
View live:
If you are unable to watch tonight, know that our essays will be posted on our sites for a Blog Tour this Thursday, and we will share the link to the recording so you can watch later.
To learn more about The Medicine Abuse Project, visit and follow the conversation online at #endmedicineabuse.

Monday, September 9, 2013

It Has Begun

"Have a seat, Bud. We just have to wait here in the office for a sec."

"Oh my gosh. Hide me, Mom!"

"What are you hiding from?"

"Shh! It's Adelle! You know, the girl who chases me!"

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Friday, September 6, 2013

About Next Tuesday

Hi Everyone. I'm honored to be a part of a powerful project to help raise awareness for an important cause. 

Please join Listen To Your Mother and +The Partnership at this Tuesday night at 9PM CST for a live-streaming event of powerful personal stories to #EndMedicineAbuse

There will be a Google Hangout On Air Featuring 12 Inspiring Women for Powerful Story Sharing on the subject of medicine abuse – a health issue that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now calls an “epidemic.”

These readings will feature new and original work about each of the women’s personal connections to addiction, substance use, and/or what they want children to know about the medicine abuse epidemic in a powerful story-sharing hour. Join us at this engaging kickoff to a blog post tour featuring these wonderful writers. Watch the livestream broadcast at  beginning at 9 pm EST on Tuesday, September 10. A representative will be on-hand to field questions via the chatbox.

The event features:
Brandi Jeter –
Sherri Kuhn – 
Lyz Lenz – 
Judy Miller – 
Polly Pagenhart – 
Lisa Page Rosenberg –
Ellie Schoenberger –
Melisa Wells – 

Hope you can make it.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

'Tis the Season

"How did you like soccer practice today?"

"It was really good, Mom."

"Yeah? That's great. What was the best part?"

"The best thing was that giant praying mantis by the drainage ditch."

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


It's not good, people.

Tonight at sundown marks the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the celebration of Jewish New Year. In times past I have used this day to make resolutions for the year to come. This year, I have just one resolution. It will encompass a physical, intellectual, and spiritual problem that I have been avoiding for some time now: The floor of my bedroom closet.

My bedroom closet floor is stuffed with grocery bags. These bags, in turn, are stuffed with paper; miscellaneous paperwork, magazines, and unopened mail. In my daily efforts to "organize" the house, the inbox (our dining room table) is cleared of all paper and set in a stack on the counter. When the stack gets too high, it is moved to a grocery bag which is then slammed into the bottom of my closet to be dealt with at another time. That other time never comes. The shame spiral begins.

I can see a manila envelope peeking out of one of the bags that is labeled: Deal With ASAP. Clearly, that didn't happen.

I have tried unsuccessfully to deal with this issue before, moving the bag project from to-do list to to-do list, never being started. The bags are just so darn... heavy. Now, finally the emotional weight of the bags is pulling me backwards.

While I am tempted to throw away the bags and begin my new life, I know that I can't. Buried somewhere in my personal Hoarders episode is, among other things, our 2012 tax return, the Volvo registration, and Bob's passport. No, the only way out is through.

I resolve to go through these bags of crap and make actual files so that the important crap will have a new place to live and what's left will be tossed. In this way, I will let go of things that are no longer meant for me and I will be free. Perhaps this is a metaphor for other things in my life. Or not.

The Jewish Year is 5774. I will start it with a clean slate, my slate just happens to be a closet floor.

L'Shanah Tovah, everyone. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Me and Pottery Barn

 Pottery Barn catalog, page 17

I will admit I enjoy the occasional spin through the Pottery Barn catalog. The drum-sized decorative votives, the fluffy reading-the-New-York-Times-with-tea-and-scones-on-a-Sunday-morning beds, the abundance of holiday specific tiny reindeer flocked linens, and the color coordinated books on bookshelves that resemble wee ladders, all serve as a reminder of what I might do if the real life of actual living wasn’t in the way.

In the decorator-calculated world of Pottery Barn I will never find the details that speak to me of my actual home. There are no marshmallow “projects” stuck to the dining table, no inside-out pants with the underpants still in them on the floor of the bathroom. The glossy pages are inspiration for an American life that never includes a dirty fishbowl. Pottery Barn dogs, do not shed. Some days, most days, I would like to crawl into the catalog for a moment and enjoy espresso in a tiny Parisian demitasse cup while luxuriating on a Solano Grand sofa.

My obsession with the catalog focuses most often on the kitchen chalkboards charting the PB lifestyle. Reminiscent of Martha Stewart’s monthly calendars, these To-Do lists include tasks like “Learn Portuguese,” “Install chandelier in barn,” “Book trip to Napa.” My own To-Do list is far from chalkboard worthy. “Check dog for ticks,” “Super-glue flip flop,” and “Pay past due moving violation before it becomes a bench warrant,” are specific to my dusty and loud reality.

I love my reality, but a girl can dream. And sometimes that dream involves Gabrielle's art opening and a really, really big candle.

*You guys, this is not a sponsored post.

Monday, September 2, 2013

We Are Not Getting A Lizard

"Mom, what should I do right now?"

"Find something to play with in your room."

"I don't like toys anymore."


"No, really. I only like basketball and Minecraft and lizards and rocks."

"That seems problematic. What are you going to do with the other twenty-three and a half hours of your day?"

"See? That's why I'm asking you."

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Smacksy Sunday Links

National flags created from the foods each country is commonly associated with.

Photo essay of people who look like twins, yet are not related.

And a couple with their pet hippo, Jessica.

Happy Sunday.