I think February is getting me down. I’m not really against winter but I have to admit there may be a little seasonal affective disorder going on. I just don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to wear anything that isn’t super comfy. I don’t want to deal with dinner. I really don’t want to do all the paperwork I really need to do. Really, really. I want to be in bed, under the covers, napping. Maybe reading. I wouldn’t turn down deliveries of tea and cookies.

No one is bringing me tea and cookies.

I also don’t have a television in the bedroom so Netflix binging in bed is out.

Is that Midwives show any good?

I have watched at least half the British crime dramas listed on my Netflix recommends page. The kid and I are halfway through season four of Gilmore Girls. We haven’t met Logan yet. I wonder what she’ll think of Logan. She hasn’t come out and said it, but I think she’s a Jess girl.

I keep pretending that maybe I’ll lose weight just by wanting to. FYI, this hasn’t worked for the 20 or so years I have tried it.


alison and kimWhen my sister and I were small.

I don’t think we got a long very much at any point in our childhood, but I was still glad she was around. She was always taking care of animals. She nursed found baby birds who had been left or orphaned. She built little homes out of cardboard boxes for neighborhood strays. She took charge of the care of our hamsters and our dog.

I was the comedian. And the one that didn’t get in trouble. I was the lazier one, the dreamer, the antiestablishment, the good girl with a rebel heart. My sister had boyfriends and paramours. She was disciplined. She had jobs and friends she went to parties with. She knew how to do her hair and make up. She didn’t like school, but she was smart and organized and focused on the things she loved. She knew how to decorate her room. I was a hodge podge. I still don’t know how to do my makeup. I didn’t date. I didn’t keep jobs. I liked school, but didn’t worry about being the best. I wanted to get away and make movies and live in big cities. She wanted to get married. She wanted to have animals. We are very different. And yet we share something alike in our core. Some understanding of the world and each other. And we both crush on English guys. And I know she’ll have my back.

She lives far away. And should anything happen to my husband and I, it is she who will take care of my kid. And my dog.

being cultured

I’ve told my daughter we are going to memorize a poem. Seems like a good thing to do. I like the idea of knowing a poem by heart. I’ve chosen William Butler Yeats first sonnet to Helen which apparently is also known as When You are Old. Mostly because I like the line, But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you. Because Pilgrim Soul!

We are also watching all the seasons of Gilmore Girls and laughing a lot about Kirk. This is culture, too.

And she is still obsessed with drawing dragons. Right now she has many pieces under a dancing dragons series. In color! With markers. Orange and green. Orange is always nice.

Today was full of snow. I did some shoveling. It was mostly pre-shoveling for my husband’s more productive shoveling. No one left the house. There were unfulfilled plans to go sledding. School has been cancelled tomorrow. It will be a good day for sleeping in. More Gilmore Girls. Poem memorizing. Dragon drawings. I’ll try and fail to catch up on paperwork, no doubt. Snow, Yeats, Stars Hollow, and naps.

imaginary pets

I like to go online to the sites of various local or local-ish websites (or Petfinder or animal shelters in cities I don’t really live near, like Chicago) and pick out the animals I would likely adopt if I were to be planning to adopt another pet. We have a dog and a cat and probably shouldn’t be getting any new pets any time soon, despite my daughter’s obsession with having a lizard. I mean, I’m not opposed to having more pets, but my dog and cat are already demanding of my attention and my dog is already way jealous of my cat. And my cat is old and she doesn’t need any more upsets in her life. Plus, you know, I’d like to visit Japan someday soon and I’d feel guilty about boarding all the pets AND it would be expensive. The list–it goes on.

But in that parallel universe I have some awesome pets. Cats with faces of character. Dogs with big, wounded hearts. They just want to snuggle and be your forever buddy!

There are a lot of needy, lovable stinkers out there. I hate to think of them with all their yearning while someone instead heads to the breeder for their designer puppy.

Just look.

I mean. 

Let’s Talk about Serial

I listened to every episode of Serial only once. I am not religious about the Reddit posts, but I visit and skim some. I do read Rabia’s blog, though. I have listened to some of the Slate podcasts and some of the A.V. podcasts. And I have read pretty much every article I have come across. And the Jay interviews, of course.

I do not think Adnan should have been convicted. There was no hard evidence. The evidence presented wasn’t trustworthy. The system failed here. I don’t care how thoughtful the jury might have been; they took one person’s word over another and that person wasn’t a trustworthy witness.

I also believe Adnan is innocent.

The story Jay gives makes no sense to me. I can’t see why Adnan would need Jay to help with anything, if Adnan were the killer. He would just be opening a door to being found out.

Jay’s many stories have too many holes and too many random inconstancies.

Adnan’s character holds up. I could go into detail here but there is too much to say. The stealing as a 12-year-old doesn’t trouble me (at that age many of my peers stole). I heard nothing troubling in all accounts given. Many people said he was a nice guy. A thoughtful and helpful and kind guy who often went out of his way to help others and who was genuinely interested in his friends. Sociopaths aren’t helpful (unless it provides some pay off for them). They can be charming and friendly, but only to a point. For a sociopath, all things are about their own needs and wants. Nor was he abusive. Nor was he violent. Nor was he angry.

Of course I might be wrong. And I’ll accept that with humility if proven so.

But the bottom line for me is, there is nothing absolute to say he is guilty and yet he sits in prison and that’s a tragedy.


In my childhood—

There were periods of time I hated clothes, jeans, pizza, and hugs.

My sister had a serious obsession with that movie Somewhere in Time.

It seemed like all my friends had their first kisses done with by junior high. Not me.

At one time or another these things were all the rage: Coco-Cola clothes, Neon, french braids, perms, Stixx, mullets, parachute pants, roller skating on Friday nights, friendship pins on shoelaces, friendship bracelets, cruising the town’s main road, hanging out in the Pizza Hut parking lot, Guess, Esprit, malls, E.T. t-shirts, metal lunch boxes, wearing saddle shoes and poodle skirts (a comeback!), jelly shoes, Woolworths, break dancing, movies about break dancing

I went to a fine arts camp for ballet. I was really not that good at ballet. It was obvious. One of the girl’s in my cabin asked if anyone had “popped my cherry”. Another girl lived most of her life as an American in South Korea and was a prodigy at some band instrument. We all stayed up late talking about boys, AIDS, hating our bodies, liking our bodies, divorcing parents, and other 12 year old girl topics of interest in the 1980s. I still had blonde hair.

My sister cried hysterically at the end of King Kong.

We saw a good number of films at the local drive in. We also had a yellow van with a shag carpet.

I thought our house was haunted. We lived adjacent to a cemetery. The house was really old. There were noises.

I loved to dance and took dance lessons but I never worked very hard at it. Regrets.

I thought for sure I would be a famous actress someday.

Our small town had a record store where I bought the Annie Soundtrack with my allowance along with actual 45s, and stood in line to get a autograph from Weird Al Yankovic when he was in town to perform.

I participated in numerous (and often bad) community theater productions directed by a man I’m certain is a sociopath (or close). While in high school we most certainly put on the worst production of GREASE there ever was (and will be). I was only in the chorus. Sandy and Danny were played by people in their late 20s/early 30s. The rest of the cast was 14-16. The director was known to hit on his young, male leads and berate and humiliate the kids in the casts.

2014: the top, the greatest, the best, my favorite

Arcade Fire show in Minneapolis in March. Right up front. It didn’t matter how bad I had to pee. Pure bliss for the whole show.

Writer’s Conference in Madison. Always good to visit Madison. Meeting Nathan Bransford. Getting some good momentum going.

Saturday morning donuts.

Oatmeal on weekday mornings made by the husband.

Daughter promoted to Junior Team in fencing.

Christmas at home with the whole family (sister and her brood, included)

Movies: Under the Skin, Boyhood, Interstellar, Gone Girl, Only Lovers Left Alive, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Micheline by Sun Kil Moon

Serial podcast

Being introduced to Philly Boy Roy and the Best Show

That spicy Korean ramen I can get by the box

Future Islands

St. Vincent on SNL

TV: True Detective, Girls, Game of Thrones, Hannibal, The Killing, Walking Dead, Mad Men, Veep, Broad City, John Oliver, Orange is the New Black, Fargo, The Americans, Louie, Parks and Recreation, the Leftovers, Homeland, Community, Penny Dreadful, Justified, the Affair, Review, Outlander, Cosmos, Black Mirror, Adventuretime, Broadchurch, The Fall, Project Runway, Key and Peele (I’ll have to catch up on more in 2014. Especially Transparent, Rectify, The Comeback. Maybe The Good Wife?)

Going to Chicago to see Win Butler DJ

Sia’s Chandelier (especially the video)

Jenny Lewis’ new album

new job

OH WINTER! Or oh, winter.

Oh Winter! You bring us cozy nights and reasons for hot chocolate with marshmallows and Christmas lights and dreamy showers of snow.

Oh, winter. Because it is so much easier to nap than it is to do all those other things. Because my skin is dry, my scalp is itchy, and I have even less motivation to exercise than usual. It is cold. It is forever and ever cold. And I’m running late and now I have to spend 5 minutes scraping the windshield.

Oh Winter! Snow angels and sledding and carols on the radio. Fires in the fireplace and your mom making some warm drink with alcohol and Christmas shopping and getting out the thick socks and slippers. Curling up on the couch. Pumpkin pie. Nothing like a blizzard to make you feel safe and warm inside. Just don’t go out driving in it.

Some Things That Are Good

It’s easy to get down. You know I’m right. Look at the news. Read the comments. Humanity is full of ugliness, cruelty. The world is full of injustice, harm, hatred. You are waiting for that amazing thing to happen. It is not happening. It’s hard–so, so hard–to stop eating sweets. You really love your sweets. Also, winter is here. Wearing scarves is fun, but it can be so cold and no one likes to have to scrape the windshield at 7:30 in the morning. You know it’s easy to get down and be disappointed.

But here we are. We are in this life. For now, anyway. We’ve got to keep going and figure it out and do things. We’ve got to take care of our kids, our pets, ourselves. We’ve got to get the bills paid and do the laundry. We’ve got to remember to take our vitamins and antidepressants.

So let’s take a moment to reflect on some good things. Isn’t life wonderful? kinds of things. There are really so many.

Like Peanuts. Charlie Brown! That beautiful, melancholy Christmas special.

And Jon Stewart and John Oliver and Rachel Maddow. They get it! They understand! And that make you laugh. Belly laughs, sometimes.

How about donuts? Aren’t they (mostly) just so delicious? You gotta go to the right place, get the right one, but when you find that perfect cream filled long john, oh man.

Staying at a nice hotel. Taking a long shower. Exploring a city and then getting cozy in a comfy bed, a new skyline in view out your window.

The library is an awesome place. It is full of books! You love books. And you can check them out and read them for free! You can also skim magazines, rent movies, and even borrow some cool art! I love the library. Iowa City has a great library.

Sitting on the vent when the heat is on. Such a nice thing to do in winter.

Curling up on the couch, bowl of cereal, great television on. It’s an evening and it’s good.

Clean sheets on the bed.

People saying hi to you when you walk down the street.

The whimsical way someone has decorated their house.

A Tweedy song on the radio.

The gentle snores of your old cat.

A giant cup of Earl Grey tea.

Being a grown up and having your parents cook you dinner when you visit.

Nick on The New Girl. He’s my favorite of all things lately. Nick makes life better.

The kid laughing to herself as she plays Minecraft.

A full moon appearing bright and low in the sky.

Fresh, warm bagels.

People who get it.

Good hair days.

A favorited tweet.

Knowing all the words to songs from the musical HAIR.

Remembering that you are on a giant ball floating in space along with other giant balls and what does it all mean? and isn’t it crazy? and wow, just wow.

Turtlenecks and Black Holes

Happy Belated Birthday to Carl Sagan. His birthday was yesterday (11/9). He wore a lot of turtlenecks (way before Steve Jobs did) and he was smart and cool and full of good stuff to share with the world. I’m learning more about the universe in my old age, but it is true that the more you learn the more you realize how little you know. I know so little. I understand so very little. Physics is amazing and it is also, often, so far above my head. I admire the men and women who help inform our understanding of the world by dedicating themselves to understanding its ingredients. I envy their brain power. I’m still baffled by atoms. And gravity. And black holes. But, damn, it’s cool stuff. Weird and bizarre and freaky and cool.

The other day my daughter brought up the idea of the universe being infinite and what that means. And she said “but if it were to end, what would be there?” And, too, “what does it mean to be infinite?” I wonder the same thing every day, kid.


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