Category Archives: Uncategorized

That big list of things to do before I can’t do them

I’m taking this idea from Alex Beauchamp who recently posted (reposted, I suppose) her list comprised of 101 things from karaoke to ride on the roof of a train in Ecuador on her website Hygge House. 101 things is a lot of things. (P.S. Alex takes the most beautiful pictures)(Side note: this is what I’m doing instead of writing. this is procrastinating.)

In no particular order (just how it pops into my mind), Ladies and Gentlemen….


  1. Visit Norway and see something too beautiful
  2. Take an eating and wandering and shopping trip to Brooklyn
  3. Own expensive linen sheets
  4. Turn the garage into a guest cottage
  5. Publish a book (or 17)
  6. Have a meal at The French Laundry
  7. ride the Empire Builder
  8. See The National in concert
  9. Meet John Green
  10. Stay in fancy treehouse
  11. Train ride across Canada
  12. Go vegan
  13. Spend a week in Quebec
  14. Take our daughter to Japan
  15. Make lamingtons
  16. Stay at the Ace Hotel in New Orleans
  17. Decide on a favorite cocktail
  18. Return to Austin for a visit, eat at all the new places, see the old friends
  19. Publish a list on McSweeney’s 
  20. learn how to like coffee black
  21. Sit in some natural hot springs
  22. Read Infinite Jest
  23. Kayak around the Apostle Islands
  24. Visit Door County during each season.
  25. Make a homemade pumpkin pie
  26. Rewatch all of Wes Anderson’s movies
  27. Rewatch all of P.T. Anderson’s movies
  28. Learn to play Pickle Ball
  29. And take tennis lessons, too
  30. Go to the Toronto Film Festival
  31. Make my perfect kitchen
  32. Ride Space Mountain (again. the last time I was 15)
  33. Go to Glacier National Park
  34. Vacation on a tropical island
  35. See my book for sale in a bookstore (see number 5)
  36. Have high tea in Savannah
  37. Be able to have a conversation in Spanish
  38. wallpaper the bedroom
  39. kiss a cow (on the forehead or cheek) (do cow’s have cheeks?)
  40. a stay at a spa
  41. Read every book written by Cormac McCarthy
  42. Meet Wes Anderson
  43. Meet Noah Baumbach
  44. Meet Greta Gerwig (which could easily be at dinner with Noah Baumbach. We will talk films and tv and pop culture and favorite things.)
  45. Be interviewed
  46. Donate a lot of money to one thing
  47. See Vancouver, pretend I live there
  48. a month long stay in Oregon (I wouldn’t make my sister have us for a month. We could get a rental/hotel for a good portion of that. In case you were worried, sis.)
  49. See LCD Soundsystem in concert
  50. go berry picking
  51. take brunch in a fancy hotel room
  52. paddle board
  53. cross country ski
  54. successfully make a loaf of bread
  55. successfully knit a scarf
  56. Eat a meal and drink something fun at Agrikol
  57. take a pottery making class. make something.
  58. See a live taping of a late night talk show
  59. eat a southern meal (breakfast sounds good) in Charleston
  60. Meet Spike Jonze
  61. Meet Jane Campion
  62. Have a comment or tweet liked by Win Butler
  63. Give a reading in my hometown bookstore
  64. Meet Abbi and Ilana
  65. See The Northern Lights with my kid
  66. Get a hot stone massage
  67. return to Amitabul for some soup
  68. own a velvet couch
  69. feel satisfied with my back yard
  70. View a coral reef from a glass bottom boat
  71. Love my wardrobe
  72. dye my hair blonde (but not forever)
  73. stay at a Waldorf Astoria
  74. See those dinosaur tracks
  75. Pedal through the Adirondacks
  76. See Crater Lake
  77. Try every entree at the Chicago Diner
  78. go on a ghost tour
  79. see David Sedaris live
  80. a stay at Blackberry Farm
  81. meet David Lynch
  82. have a reason to wear a fancy dress
  83. Be able to work from home
  84. buy an entire outfit from Gudrun Sjoden
  85. Visit an orange grove
  86. See the Grand Canyon
  87. Successfully grow flowers
  88. Write and send a fan letter to Philip Pullman
  89. see the New Pornographers in concert
  90. Look at space from one of the NASA observatories
  91. Visit a sloth sanctuary
  92. Hang with a happy elephant
  93. A meal at Katz’s in NYC
  94. Own a Marimekko dress
  95. Memorize a Yeats poem
  96. Go to all the Smithsonian museums
  97. swim with manatees (if they don’t mind)
  98. Do the iFly thing
  99. Attend a murder mystery dinner
  100. Attend a Comicon
  101. Attend a tea tasting





I have questions about Twin Peaks: The Return

I love it. I really loved it. Yes, the ending was uncomfortable. Yes, it was inconclusive. Yes, it was maddening. And maybe also brilliant. Totally David Lynch. Anyway, here are my lingering questions. It helped me to write this list. It was therapeutic. Humor me.

What happened to Audrey? Where is she?

What/Who was people eating demon?

What was the box in New York? Was it Evil Coop’s? For what purpose?

Why did Evil Coop have to go through portal to get to Sheriff’s office? Couldn’t he have just driven there? Walked there?

Did he get to the coordinates he was looking for? And that was to Sherrif’s office?

What did Chad have to do with anything? Other than being a jerk. Chad was the worst.

What’s going on with Beverly’s husband?

What is the sound she hears at the Great Northern?

Who are all those people having conversation at the Road House?

Why is Jeffries’ a teakettle? (I mean, I do like tea, but…)

How did Major Briggs end up headless? What happened in that hotel room?

Where did Cooper and Diane go? Where did they intend to go? What was that sex scene all about? Why did Diane see herself standing outside? Why did Cooper end up in a different hotel with a note to Richard from Linda? Who are Linda and Richard?

Is this an alternate reality?

What is going on with Sarah Palmer and her scary opening head? What makes the noises in the other room?

Why was that girl crawling on the floor and screaming?

How does the Roadhouse seem to schedule such awesome acts?

Again, what is up with the coordinates? What is everyone looking for?

Who or what exactly is Judy?

How has he Cooper previously met Judy?

What happened to the girl who had the frog bug crawl into her mouth? Who were all those people in that town and why did the grimy Convienence Store dudes want to murder them?

What did all the numbers mean?

What was up with Balthazar Getty and his magic tricks?

Why did Steven kill himself?

What kind of name is Janey-E?


Please feel free to help me/contribute to the convo. Fun!

I want to go to Brooklyn and eat

I want to go to Brooklyn with my husband and stay in a boutique hotel and wander the streets and eat many things and visits shops and look at the people and see art and music but mostly eat. I don’t even care if I see Manhattan.

I want to go to Norway and pretend for a moment that it isn’t 2017. It is ancient times. It is another world. I want to see the fjords and feel the earth’s magnificence. I want to lie by rushing streams and feel 16 and lovely and full of future.

I want to ride a train across Canada. I will admire the beauty of the landscape and have tea with toast and marmalade.

I want to kayak on Lake Tahoe and read and nap in a hammock by the water.


I’ve got a problem

Anyone who knows me well knows I’ve got quite a thing for the band Arcade Fire. I’m a big fan. Maybe I’m not a super fan. I don’t have any Arcade Fire tattoos and I haven’t gone farther than 5 hours (by car) to see them (though I sure would if given the opportunity and cash). But I’m a big enough fan that I make sure to see them on tour and maybe we did drive the four hours to Chicago (on a school night/work night) to see Win Butler DJ at a club and maybe I check all the twitter feeds and Facebook news and tumblr pieces every day. Multiple times. And I get really excited about new music and interviews and, well, anything.

I love them.

I put them in a book I wrote. Not as characters. They don’t have lines. But they do play a show and one of the characters is obsessed with them in the way I’m obsessed with them. I figure this is cool. Plenty of the books I read (YA or otherwise) mention bands and love of bands and identification with musicians. Even Franzen. And music and our music tastes define us in very specific ways. What we love shares about who we are. Are you a girl that loves country or a girl that loves emo? The poster on your wall–is it Gerard Way or Rihanna? Not that you can’t love both and all, but most of you won’t or don’t. Most of you out there know your people by the band shirts they wear and the playlist on their phone. My 8th grade boyfriend told me his favorite band was Heart. As a worshipper of the Violent Femmes, I knew our relationship was doomed.

I try not be weird about my love for Arcade Fire and my somewhat giant crush on the lead singer. Does it help that his wife–fellow bandmate, Regine–is also on my list of the most awesome people I don’t know in real life? I wouldn’t want them to break up. But also, man. It’s a fantasy so it’s okay. Because I’m happily married and I have a kid and I live in Iowa and couldn’t even play one note on the piano. But I love him. I love them. I love them in that big way you love things that speak to you and keep you company through this life. Members of the same tribe, even though you might never meet, might never have a conversation. You feel understood and you feel lifted out of the mundane and the mediocre and even the terrible. Art helps us live better lives. Win Butler, Régine Chassagne, William Butler, Richard Reed Parry,  Jeremy Gara, and Tim Kingsbury make stuff that makes me happy. They make stuff that gives me meaning. They connect me with the universe.

They have a new album coming out. Finally! And a new song. I love it. Of course I do. Now I’m watching streaming of concerts happening in Europe, more obsessively checking all the things, and feeling that feeling I always get when this happens. That feeling of wanting to be part of it all and yet so far removed. Excited for the songs and the videos and news, but sad that I don’t really know them. I’m not invited to the party. I only get to see the pictures. Is that called bittersweetness?

Are you like me?

Do you find yourself reading the plot summaries of horror movies you are too afraid to watch but really need to know what happens?

Like this new movie coming out called Raw? It looks interesting. But based on descriptions in reviews I will never be able to watch it.

I also know what happens in Get Out. Because I read the plot summary.

I’m lame.

Would I make a killing

if I invented an office share (to be used in the office) that reclined back into a nice napping chair/device/thing?  Power naps at work are somewhat encouraged now, right? At least by modern thinking companies. I know there are nap pods and such, but why not a reclining office chair? This is what I think about as I try to get in a twenty minute snooze during the day on my very much non reclining office chair.

We are the worst at vacations

We shouldn’t leave the house and get in the car and go places far enough away where it is required to stay the night. Unless it is to a family member’s house. We shouldn’t vacation. What happens when we vacation is this:

The daughter doesn’t want to do anything that requires leaving the hotel room. She definitely does not want to go to restaurants or museums or walk along the streets or go to shops. She will get fussy and cold and tired and there will be nothing for her to eat because she only eats like 5 things.

Things that we are planning on going to will be closed and we should have known they would be closed by looking up the information about them on the internet but even though we do look them up we will still miss that they are closed when we try to go to them.

We will not have the required amount of cash on us for cash only establishments.

We will always drive the wrong way.

We will oversleep and miss the hotel’s free breakfast.

We will not be able to decide where we should eat because we all like different things.

One of us will get very unhappy that nobody wants to have a whimsical time where we drink tea and eat cake and wander cobblestone streets.

One of us will get unhappy that the other two are not more interested in restaurants that serve food we’ve never tried before.

It will be cold. And raining. It will definitely rain hard when we are driving around not knowing where we are going.

We will spend too much money and for what?

Someone will lose the Harry Potter wand we spent too much money on. That someone will blame someone else.

Someone will get caffeine withdrawal headaches because someone is not getting her coffee in a timely manner.

The daughter will say we never go anywhere interesting.

The canoe company will say the daughter is too young.

The manatees will have already left the lake for the season.

Some of us hate flying.

Some of us hate driving.

We will miss the pets and worry about the pets.

We will come home with way more craft beer than we need.

We will hate ourselves for being so bad at vacations.


Here is a post

Snow is coming, so they say.

I wonder too often if I use commas correctly. I often do use them correctly. Perhaps I also often don’t. In my youth I never worried about grammar so much.

Static cling!

Fargo is currently my favorite show to watch. It should be yours, too.



I spend my friday nights

At fencing. Not me doing the fencing. The kid is doing the fencing. She wants me to sit here for two hours while she does the fencing and I comply. I’m a mom.

Mark gets me dinner. Take out. He brings it here and I eat and go on Pinterest.

Do I think that there might be more to life? Sometimes I do. I don’t know what. It’s not healthy to always be wanting something else. I like to look at real estate in New Zealand but it is very unlikely that I’ll ever live in New Zealand despite it being beautiful and progressive and free of nuclear bombs.

Life Stories: In 1989

I went to high school. My hair was long and sort of blonde, but mostly brown. Once I was a blonde and it was hard to let this go. I mean, my hair was part of my identity and I had always been a long blonde haired girl. Ponytails. Pigtails. Braids. Buns for dance recitals.

In Junior High in the late 80s girls were doing stupid things to their hair. They were getting bad perms and curling their bangs and teasing them into strange shapes and holding it all into place with Aqua Net. My friends got perms and curled their bangs and they wore Coca-Cola shirts and acid washed jeans. I wanted to look like the models in the Esprit Catalog. I wanted to look cool and arty. I wanted to be a Benneton ad. I did not want to get a perm and tease my hair. It was a weird time being this person I was. This person who wore Converse high tops and owned a pair of fake John Lennon glasses. This person who wanted to hang with the skater boys and listen to the Violent Femmes and not a person who spent a lot of time in front of the mirror or wore a lot of make up or listened to Bon Jovi.

Which isn’t to say I was better. It’s just that I felt like I was in the wrong place.

At the end of Junior High I had a sort of boyfriend named Tom. I liked him because he was a skater boy. The skater boy I really, really liked had moved away after 7th grade. Off to San Diego. Tom was quiet and shy and mostly unknown to me. He liked the band Heart. I didn’t. We didn’t have a lot in common. He wanted to kiss me and I was too afraid. By the end of the summer I had a friend break it off for me because I was a coward and because I liked someone else and though that someone else just had to like me to. That didn’t happen. Instead I was just a never been kissed coward.

I went to high school and I liked boys but I was invisible to them. Maybe because I didn’t have perms and teased hair and lots of make up. Maybe because I wore vintage cardigans and chunky shoes. Maybe because I was afraid of them and they knew it.

I wasn’t unpopular. But I wasn’t popular. I didn’t play sports or cheer or go to parties. My jam was being in plays and seeing movies. Everyone would have told you that I was nice. Those who knew me well might have said I was funny. I thought I was pretty enough, but no one invited me to the Homecoming Dance and I didn’t have any make out sessions and I spent quite a large number of weekend nights by myself.

My friends couldn’t understand why I didn’t flirt or show an interest in boys with muscle cars or at least be less innocent and afraid and timid.

Timid is a good word for how I was.

I look back now and think of course it had to be the way it was. It always has to be the way it was so you can get to where you are. Which is wiser and smarter and a person with stories to tell and a person who understands loneliness and outsiderness and longing. But then, it was hard. It was lonely.

Freshman year. It felt like I never had enough clothes. Sometimes I wore my sister’s stuff. She was a Senior. Although she had a different sense of style than I did.

I played a mentally disabled woman in the school play. I had two lines. I joined the Student Council. Choir scared the crap out of me because although I loved singing I didn’t know how to read music and the choir director was terrifying and I was starting to suspect that I didn’t really know how to sing.

The boy I liked was a Junior. He was smart and he was funny and sort of preppy and definitely not at all interested in me.

I had braces and I didn’t know what to do with my long, straight not blonde enough hair.

My eyebrows were dark and thick.

Math was too hard and made me cry.

I watched a lot of Ken Russell movies because they were the only arty, foreign films our local video store had.

When I graduated from high school I was going to head off to New York or California and study filmmaking.

I never tried very hard at my homework, but I managed.

Lunch was a terrifying experience.

Does this sound like a sad tale? It wasn’t all bad. Fun times were had. My best friend at the time was an older girl named Christina. She loved poetry and difficult fiction. She was smarter and wiser. But she had low self esteem and let guys walk all over her. We laughed and she drove me around town sometimes on Friday nights. She worked at the local movie theater and after hours we would eat the candy and look for loose change on the theater floors. My first time getting drunk (or buzzed, I suppose) was on wine coolers at a party her brother had at her house. Being buzzed gave me permission to act crazy and tell everyone jokes and not be afraid. An older boy kept telling me how pretty I was but I blew him off. He didn’t seem straight, anyway. Though at the time I could have hardly verbalized that suspicion.

The school newspaper was my favorite thing. Since movies were everything to me, I asked to be the film critic. U2’s documentary, Rattle & Hum, earned rave reviews from me. U2 was my favorite. The Joshua Tree changed me. Bono was my god.

Winona Ryder came on the seen with adorable, short hair. I cut my hair, too.