Friday, December 28, 2007

Identity Politics and Acne

Oh, really, this is my perfect life, that one string of comments could tackle both of these issues simultaneously. I'm not even kidding. The mundane and the paramountly important, all rolled into a day. That's what life really is, and I appreciate your thoughts

I am going to resist getting further sucked into the, um, theological debate that has been raging, but I do welcome it, and I do feel that reading the comments--or the blog at all, of course--is always a choice. I'm grateful that you continue to make it. But heady politics is no reason to not send me a link to your fabulous butternut maple cream pie, or whatever. I'm just saying.

New wondertime columns are here and here.

We've had a warm and wonderful holiday so far. Have you? What's the best thing you've eaten? Do you pray? How would you treat the recurring wart on Birdy's foot? I want to know everything.

yours adoringly,

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Jew eat yet?

It's funny timing to log on today and see that there's a small storm brewing in the comments about the Jew thing, since had my digital camera been working, what I was going to post was a photo, with the caption "Jews for Jesus," of Birdy playing with the antique porcelain creche I bought yesterday at the Salvation Army. I could really have offended everyone that way! But it's lovely, that creche, and Birdy loves the story of a baby born in a manger, and it all seems perfectly in keeping with our vision of an easier, happier world to live in.

You don't know from Jews poking a little fun?

It's actually fine with me to say you were offended: I am still political enough, even in my old age, to value dialogue over silence, alienation, abandonment. I do think it's a good practice, though, not to make those comments anonymous.

Would I say to Ben "Jews say 'Oy'"? Sure. Or I would say something more like "Many do." It's part of the culture, part of the Yiddish language. Just like you would say that Mexicans say "si" for "yes." Would I tell him that Jews are greedy wealth-mongers who would take a pound of your flesh over, say, a bad subprime mortgage? No. That's a negative stereotype. Do Jews tend to make fun of themselves? Yes--it's part of a centuries-long survival strategy.

But let me just say: I am all for worrying about stereotypes. Some of them just happen to be embedded in complex ways within particular cultural practices. But let's talk about it (she said, like a person who used to teach critical thinking to college students. . . sorry.)

Newish columns are here and here.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Foil Turkey

If my digital camera didn't always pull that Taxi Driver "You talkin' to me?" routine every time I tried to use it, I would use it tonight. I would make a tinfoil heart-bosom and post it here just to prove that no, alas, it was not me who came up with that brilliant foil turkey in the Wondertime Thanksgiving leftovers piece. I would also like to say that I've written about death and heartache and grief and paralyzing anxiety for 250 years now, and never have I gotten so many emails before as I have about the turkey soup. Go figure. You all like yourselves some turkey soup. I'm glad. (Somewhere online is a newspaper article where I am quoted talking about those very same leftovers, and I sound like a finalist in the World's Biggest Jew contest. "Better you should. . . " I start every sentence. "You don't know from . . . ?" I ask. "Oy," I say.)


New Wondertime columns are here and here. And oh, right, I nearly forgot to tell you the name of that poet! Here--lean in close and I'll whisper it in your ear. What? You couldn't hear that? What? You don't want to contribute to my health insurance fund after I get fired from my job? Really, what could I have been thinking?


I am not even getting to the part about the condo, which will have to wait until next week. But yes, I live in a condo that is also a cabin in the woods. Little House on the Prairie, but, you know, with the prairie mown by a management company.

I hope your Thanksgivings were full of thanks.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I'd been wondering about that saying!

from Wikipedia: "Quince juice from organic farming is available in Germany (where quince is called "quitte") and its pleasant taste mixes well with other fruit juices. This is where the saying 'A quince for you, a quince for me, quinces we shall eat,' comes from."

New wondertime post here.

Also, remember those Thanksgiving recipes I was steaming over in July? They're here too. And if you think I'm making it all again now, for the actual real holiday, well, quinces we shall eat, if you know what I'm saying.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Annual Pinata Episode

Okay, so there it is. Are you disappointed that it's so G-rated? I know. I'm sorry. Don't worry--plenty of the attending parents still tease me, year after year, about the boobyata. This year's model was--how shall I put this?--kind of soft. The kids had to bash the heck out it before any treats could be lured damply from its recesses. And even though I'd put the treats in bags to mitigate all that inevitable Lord-of-the-Fliesing after them? All the bags had broken open. On account of the damp bashing. Oy.

New wondertime columns are here and here.

When I called my parents last night, my dad had just been reading my latest column and he said lovingly, "You know, you really are kind of a downer." And that's true. I really am. Which is weird, because I swear I'm nearly pathologically cheerful in my actual daily life. Go figure.

Thank you again for all your honest weighing in on that gymnastics column. I appreciate your saying that you've felt that way and your saying that you've been the exhausted teacher and your saying that you worry you'd be judged in your fancy jeans. Which you so wouldn't be--I promise you that.

xo Catherine

Friday, October 26, 2007


New wondertime columns are here and here.

I have to admit, I regretted things about that gymnastics one. The whole poor-me-without-my-granite-counters-waah thing really rubbed me the wrong way, for instance, despite the fact that it was I myself who wrote it! There's something about gossiping about people gossiping that's extra grotesque. So, I'm sorry about that. And also my apparent lack of compassion for what must be a ridiculously hard job: the shepherding of a dozen little leotarded people safely through chaos and incomprehension and various potential catastrophes. I do understand how hard that must be, I really do.

And in that second column, the link to Caleb Potter's blog is here.

And finally: babycenter has fixed the link to all the old "Bringing Up Ben and Birdy" columns, which are here now. Because I know you really want to go back and read about the fermented yak cheese we found in Birdy's neck folds that one time.

But did you really want to make nasturtium capers? Really? Oh, you're too good to me. Just pick off some combination of unopened buds and seed pods (or one or the other--but I used both), rinse them off, soak them in very, very salty water for a day or two, changing the water which will start to smell like one of those horrible sulphury hot springs (but with capers!), and then drain them, pack them in a very clean jar, and cover them with boiling vinegar. After a week, they are salty, pickly, spicy, and delicious. Perfect for pizza!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Mystery Solved!!!

Oh you dears! I loved all those birthday messages! I also love when everyone's like, "I'm a libra too!" because that's just what I'm like. Thank you so much.

Now, only Keryn Page has solved the mystery of the Bjquatrocinco and she's solved it here
which is also where the latest Dalai Mama column is. Thank you, Keryn Page! And the rest of you with your "Bj" dirty minds and your dirty, dirty thoughts: get a room! And then I can send Ben over to talk to you through the door about various candies.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

xo Catherine

p.s. If you wanted to here about either a) my foraging for autumn olive berries, or b) my pickling of nasturtium seeds to make fake capers, let me know. I think that I should stop posting my weird homesteader practices here, though. I hear the crickets chirping out there. Also the loudly unspoken suggestion that I am losing it to my pioneer aspirations, which may be true.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

. . . and I'll blog if I want to. . .

It's my birthday! And it has been since 12:03 last night, when Michael got up out of bed to make me a plate of Corn Chex nachos. Sure, necessity is the mother of invention: I'm not saying you're likely to make Corn Chex nachos if you've got, say, nice, whole, fresh tortilla chips instead of a few rubber-banded scrumpled-up bags of stale crumbs. But still. If you've never had dill havarti melted over a plate of cereal, you're missing out.

That's my little gift to you on this day!

It's been lovely, honestly. If you were to read my journals from 1982-1996. . . well, first you'd die of boredom. The melancholy! The broody obsessions! The seeing or not seeing him as I walked to or from my locker or the cafeteria and the subsequent exchange or nonexchange of greetings! But after they'd defribillated you back to life, you'd notice that I used to like to spend my birthday hurting my own feelings about how poorly understood I took myself to be. And I'm happy to report that I may be over that. "You're the best Mama that igzists" was enough to make my day. As was a little special attention from my main squeeze, even if it was accompanied by Ben's standing outside the door asking, about the Pinata treat bags he was filling for his own birthday later this month, "So, three pieces of gum and one peppermint patty?" And us answering breathlessly, "That's right sweetie!" Ah, life.

Thank you for those amazon reviews, and your wagon-circling indignation more generally. Only as I was hitting "post" last week did I realize I was trolling for a response, which you offered me so graciously. I appreciate it more than you can imagine.

The latest at wondertime is here, and also over at Where not one person has responded to my question about BJquatrocinqo. Really? Nobody? Anybody? No?


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Journey Cover Band, The Photo

Hey, how are you guys?

New wondertime columns are here and here. You will notice that there's a link there to, where the column is also going to appear. If you comment over there--well. I'll owe you. Swistle, remember how you asked if it matters to be, about the commenting? It does matter! Next round's on me!

No more grapey outbursts from me this week, no more cannedventures. It's just back to business. You know, like plugging up the cracks in the beams whence tumble the varmint turds onto the children's bed. The usual. But I'll tell you this, if it's bats: I like the word "histoplasmosis" even less than I like the word "guano." Which isn't saying much. Not that I'm neurotic. Even if that's what someone wrote on Amazon. Which hurt my feelings despite the fact that it's in the actual book title. Sigh.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

And the winning reassurance is. . . .

"It's very unlikely that you will get botulism!"

That actually made me laugh out loud. As long as it's unlikely, well then.

But so far so good. I have now canned nearly a gallon of wild grape jam, which nicely combines my fear a) that they're not really grapes but in fact deadly nightshade masquerading grapily, and b) that, unlikely as it is, we will get botulism.

Oh, but the grapes! You can smell them everywhere right now. And when you mention them to anyone, they say, "Oh! So that's what that grapey smell was!" And yes. That's what it was. It was the grapes. The smell of grapes combined with the rust-colored afternoon light is catapulting me into fall. It feels good.

I responded to some of the comments on the last post. I'm sorry about your fish troubles, honestly. Keep me posted.

Hope you're all well and happy. New wondertime columns are here and here. Please read and comment over there, if you can!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Obsessive Pioneer

All I can say is that if Pa could see me now, well, Ma Ingalls might have something to worry about. Because our shelves our now lines with rows of glass jars: blueberry jam, wild grape jam, pickled beans, bread and butter pickles, Kosher dill chips. (About those last: did the Jews actually have time to can anything? I can't imagine. Maybe we just put our pickle barrels on wheels and fled with them across the desert.) Eat your heart out, Pa. I'm all sweaty in my canning frock.

What I am is totally obsessed. Also totally going to die of botulism. Because I'm careful? But I'm not that careful. I'm kind of new to this whole canning thing, and part of me wants to do something called "the open kettle method" which is how my mother makes jam. Which all the books warn you against doing because you don't pasteurize the jars and will surely botulize your entire family. But it just seems so honest somehow. But part of me wants to eat pickles and live to tell.

Hey--wake up! We're still talking about canning!

No? Are we done talking about canning? Were you less bored when I merely waffled on and on about freezing peaches?

Okay. New wondertime columns are here and here. And thank you so much for your kind words about our fish. Both fish. Our fishes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


feels, oddly, like it's already ending, doesn't it? Or is that just me and my usual preemptive melancholy? Everything is flying by.

New wondertime columns are here and here.

Be well!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Some Clarification

So, the latest wondertime posts are here and here.

And I just thought I should mention that--well, you know all that Thanksgiving food I wrote about? That's what I was working on for one of my deadlines! (And they are killer recipes, by the way--you just wait until November comes! You'll fall to the ground, aswoon over the blessing that is your own leftover turkey.) I hadn't realized it was unclear until some of you wrote in kindly to say: "If you've got so much work, then maybe skip the whole gravy thing until you're a little less busy, you crazy head!" And I slapped my forehead. Because I am crazy. But I'm not that crazy. In my parallel magazine writing life, Thanksgiving comes in July. Hence the big deadline. Q.E.D. (A little geometry-proof humor for you there. I'm sure you all love a good geometry-proof joke as much as the next chortling nerd.)

I also wanted to mention that my friend Peter is now recording the posts, and if you listen, please weigh in on the sound quality, okay? (And by "weigh in" I mean, of course, "rave about his techno-studliness.")


Friday, July 20, 2007


I hope you're all eating lots of buttered corn and blueberries.

New wondertime columns are here and here.

More soon. . .

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Dress I'm Not Wearing to the Party

The most recent wondertime column is here, though another one should go up later today.

I also wanted to let you know that I was reading online reviews of local alteration places, and I decided against Julius the Tailor. Why did the reviewer give him only two out of a possible five stars? She explains: "I called and the person who answered said he passed away in march."

Now if somebody is actually just plain not alive, I'm feeling like two stars is kind of an odd rating. I'm feeling like zero stars would make more sense. Or maybe five, just out of respect. But two? "Eh. He's kind of a mediocre tailor. On account of being dead."

I was hoping to put a zipper in my dress with the long, busted zipper. (Marked down at Marshall's! Ten bucks is a great deal for a dress with a busted zipper, but only if you ever put a zipper in it. Currently all ten bucks has purchased me is a wad of unwearable fabric that sits accusingly on my bedroom chair, hogging up the air space.) But forget about the dress, I'll wear something else. Because we're leaving today to join my family in New York, where we'll celebrate my mother's 70th birthday. This mother, who is, believe me, more heart-stoppingly gorgeous now than she even was then. (I also can't help noticing that I am actually descended from a long line of baby-hair sniffers.)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

A Placeholder

For the longer post I want to write. Thank you so much for your well wishes, about everything. I have felt so cheered by your comments, here and at wondertime.

Monday's column is here.

Somewhat predictably, my end-of-an-era sentimentality turned out to be a teeny bit premature, since the children seem to be migrating back to their queen bed. Which is fine with me. It's just the kind of thing I like to be wrong about.

I hope you're all enjoying the summer so far. xo

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Come and See Me Some Time!

If you happen to be up in the Berkshires. This Saturday, June 23rd. At 7 pm. Which is when I'm reading with my dear, frighteningly talented friend Jennifer Mattern and my virtual, frighteningly talented friend Jennifer Niesslein. Jenn M's blog Breed Em and Weep is on some kind of sabbatical, which I completely disapprove of, but you can still go there and read all her stomach-achingly funny posts from before. Jennifer N's book Practically Perfect in Every Way is out now, and there's a fantastic excerpt here. Here's the information about the reading (below) from the site of our hosts, Inkberry, which looks like a wonderful organization. Did you know that I'd written for the New York Times? Me either! But I'm totally psyched about it. Maybe that's what I'll select my reading from! Come if you can. Party at the Holiday Inn!

A reading on Parenthood and the Pursuit of Perfection
North Adams Public Library, 74 Church St., North Adams
Saturday, June 23rd at 7:00 PM
Jennifer Niesslein, Jennifer Mattern, and Catherine Newman will read from their writings on parenthood and the pursuit of perfection. Jennifer Niesslein is the author of Practically Perfect in Every Way: My Misadventures Through the World of Self-Help—And Back (Putnum, May 2007) and the co-founder of Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers. Jennifer Mattern is playwright, freelance writer, and author of the blog Breed ‘Em and Weep, which won best parenting blog in the Weblog Awards in 2006. Catherine Newman is the author of the memoir Waiting for Birdy and the weekly journal Bringing Up Ben & Birdy at Her work has appeared in The New York Times and the anthologies The Bitch in the House, Toddler, I’ts a Boy: Women Writers on Raising Sons and It’s a Girl: Women Writers on Raising Daughters.

Meanwhile, there are columns on wondertime here and here.

I didn't write a Father's Day post, because I was too busy being a total crab apple, but here's photographic evidence from our friend Pengyew's birthday party on Saturday, taken by the extremely talented Sam Masinter:

Maybe my piece for the Times was about how hunky and delightful Michael manages to be, even with crab apples dropping all around him.

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Gift

So I don't mean to keep on and on about it, but I finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and I wanted to share something from it that I loved. Have you heard about the book? It describes the year that Barbara Kingsolver and her family tried to eat only local food, most of which they had grown and farmed themselves. But of course I read it as a book about gratitude and parenting, because that's just how I am.
Our holiday food splurge was a small crate of tangerines, which we found ridiculously thrilling after an eight-month abstinence from citrus. No matter where I was in the house, that vividly resinous orangey scent woke up my nose whenever anyone peeled one in the kitchen. Lily hugged each one to her chest before undressing it as gently as a doll. Watching her do that as she sat cross-legged on the floor one morning in pink pajamas, with bliss lighting her cheeks, I thought: Lucky is the world, to receive this grateful child. Value is not made of money, but a tender balance of expectation and longing. (page 287)
The latest wondertime column is here, and a new one should be up later today.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Voice

Which is like a cross between Miss Long Island reading her shopping list and a goose honking by frantically after the rest of the V has taken off. And you can hear it here. It is, truly, worse than I thought. Like Meg already said here: "I imagined it a lot deeper." I'm going to smoke a few more cigars before the next taping session.

Last week's column is here.

I'm sorry to always be asking for advice, but does anyone know of a good resource (A book! What problem cannot be solved with a trusty book?) for kids who appear to be pathological nonswimmers? You know what I'm saying here? With the flailing and the dread and the torso craning itself out of the water? Thank you as always.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Allergy Relief

does not seem to be obtained from rogue biofeedback. Ever since Michael completed his massage program, I treat him like an all-purpose health-care professional: "Look at my wart," I say. I say, "Why is my knuckle sore like this?" Mostly I say, "What about this painful part of my back/foot/leg/bottom?" and so hands are laid on, groans of satisfaction are groaned, and I am grateful. But last night, as Michael was drifting off to sleep, I said, miserable, "Honey, help me with my allergies." Our pine trees have started their annual molt, and while the curtains of pale green dust blow in the windows, I am sneezing and red-eyed and scratchy-throated. When Michael said "How?" I said "I'm so susceptible to the whole mind-body thing, so psychosomatic. I'm probably a perfect biofeedback candidate. Try that." And so Michael put his hands on my chest, looked into my eyes, and said, "Take a break from your self, you crazy, overreacting immune system. It's just eensy particles of pollen! Mere molecules! Nothing to get hysterical about." And lo and behold, I laughed out a sneeze and wasn't cured at all.

Speaking of spring things, I wanted to thank you for your advice about shade perennials! We have hostas, bleeding hearts, lilies of the valley, vinca, violets, and ferns--all of which I love--and now we are the proud parents of a dead nettle, a primula, and a bugbane thanks to your wise counsel. I also have virtual sticky notes all over my computer screen that say things like "lamium: orchid frost." But I think I forgot to mention that I am an appallingly ham-handed gardener. I should be good at it: I'm crafty and a happy, capable maker of food. But I have no patience for plants unless they're dropping their gorgeous fruits and vegetables right directly into a basket that I'm holding out without even really bending my knees or putting down my beer. Alas.

And speaking of growing things, this book--Barbara Kingsolver's latest--is so fantastic that I read it every night before I even get into bed, while I'm still brushing my teeth. I am waiting patiently for her to invite me over for some of that asparagus bread pudding.

The latest wondertime columns are here and here.

Also, I seem to have waited until it was off the newsstand to mention that I've got a piece in the May O Magazine--this one about my bitchy wrinkles.

I hope you're all well and enjoying everything there is to enjoy.

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Annual Mother's Day Pimp-My-Book Post

I am writing the annual pimp-my-book post to say that this

might make a nice mother's day gift, no? Although I managed to wait long enough that now you'd have to triple-fed-ex it, which means that for a mere, uh, 35 or so dollars you could send one person a paperback book detailing another person's waxing and waning anxiety, which, as I write this, seems kind of like a bad deal compared to a nice gift certificate for sushi or botox or, ahem, a massage.

And speaking of Mother's Day! Perhaps, if you live in the Boston area, you could take your mum to the DeCordova sculpture park, and the two of you could reminisce about how cute you were when you were just a wee thing (Big Baby, by Nina Levy)

So cute and tiny, in fact, that your mother might have felt more or less like flinging her head over the balcony (Headlong, by Nina Levy):

The new post over at Wondertime is here, and there will be another one up later this afternoon.

Happy spring to all of you! If you have any advice about hardy shade perennials, please write!

Thursday, April 26, 2007


I had this idea for a post that I was going to call "shame" and it was going to be a photograph of the snow pants Ben wore all winter: the knees patched with thick strips pink duct tape and a close-up of the size (4-5) and also, maybe, of the chart on the wall where you can see that he has grown about 8-10 inches since he was 4-5. I was going to invite you to post your own shame photos in response (not that you would have any, right?).

But then I got sidetracked by this:

And because it is more or less the antithesis of shame--because every cell in Birdy's body passes through the loving and unsullied organ of her beautiful, blessed heart--I thought that maybe this photo would be better suited to a perfect early spring day, this perfect early spring day, when we are leaving the winter and its peculiar shames behind us.

p.s. The new wondertime column is here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


The whole reason I wrote today was to check in with you about the shootings yesterday, but then I wrote something weird and deleted it and then, shy, said nothing at all. But really, it is one thing to have an abstracted apocalyptic sense of things, the way I do these days. And it is another to live out a flesh-and-blood tragedy, a grief of senseless and unfathomable proportions. Which is how grief always feels, of course. But this--this is something else. I am so sorry is all I really wanted to say. Or maybe something dumb, like "Kiss your kids."
My Thyroid Has Great Self Esteem, Thanks to You

Here's why I love you: when I post a paranoid column about my hypochondria and psychosomatic exhaustion and neurotic wasting of doctors' time and also my vague personality disorders, your write me lovingly to say, "Maybe you should get your thyroid checked!" It's like a virtual community of mothers. "They're just jealous!" you say to me. You say, "It's only because you're so passionate!" and "We would have done the same exact thing!" Thank you for that. I see why they call it "support." You know?

Meanwhile, an April Fool's Day post--of all the repulsive things--has lingered here for weeks. Malingered. Forgive me. I can only send you to this column and this one instead. And scare you with the very fierce and frightening Caped Growly Girl King.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

I Wish I'd Thought

to switch my kids' underpants with their dad's! Boy would that have killed them. It makes me laugh just to think of it now, so I will have to file that bit of lingerie hijinks away for next year. (It's not called "lingerie" when it's a man's, now, is it? I see that it looks a little too Liberace for Michael's Fruit of the Looms.)

I have two columns over at wondertime that I haven't linked to: one about Birdy turning four, and one about her great and sudden love of Yiddish.

Happy Passover to you dear ones. And happy Easter. Happy Spring-interrupted-by-the-pouring-down-of-snow. And happy days of melancholy, if you know what I mean. And I know you do.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

April 1, 2007

Ben's first telephone conversation with a peer (on speakerphone):

Friend: Hi Ben.

Ben: Hi.

[crickets chirping]

F: Do you have something in your house that looks like poop?

B: Probably!

F: You could put it on the ground and say you pooped!

B: Yeah!

F: Bye Ben!

B: Bye!

In a fit of festivity, I made the children fool eggs with whipped cream and apricot halves and sliced pound cake for toast, and Ben fell for it for approximately, let's see, zero seconds. "Why are these eggs so foamy looking?" he said. "This toast looks so weird." Birdy insisted that the egg tasted like whipped cream, and then we were never convinced she'd understood the whole thing. "My egg was so creamy!" she cried. "April fool!" Still! I did an April Fool's joke! Lame and cranky me! I like the bonus holidays like these, where anything is better than nothing. Nobody expects you to make a Luke Skywalker pinata or rent a team of Clydesdales or anything.

But more successful was the cramming of a long strip of toilet paper down the back of everyone's pants and groaning, "Oh gross! We've really got to teach you more about wiping."

How did you celebrate? Don't leave me hanging. Tell me.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

More Meta Commentary

Things I truly appreciate:
  • The idea that we're cycling together (We're in love! Plus, I get to picture us all on a giant tandem bike with dozens of sets of pedals.)
  • Tips on stain removal [Deleted parenthetical comment about the state of the author's undies]
  • Suggestions about menstrual products (The Keeper! The Liza Minelli! The Moonbeam! The Spongebob Period Pants! Who new? Well, besides every last one of you guys.)
  • When dissenting voices do not post anonymously (For real! Thank you!)
  • The fact that so many of you are so naked so much of the time
  • The fact that so few of you were paying close enough attention to worry in the first place about anybody driving sloshed
  • The image of bloody zucchini
And "Celia"'s comment, of course--our beloved friend "Celia":

"This article is fantastic; is very interesting and is really good written. It’s just great!! Do you want to know something more? Read it... Glass Bongs and Bong featuring Herbal Smoke, water bongs, bongs online head shop, Marijuana Alternative,glass water bongs, Hashish, Ganja, homemade bongs, Smokeshop, cannibis, legal smoking alternatives for herbal highs and aphrodisia."

Now that's high praise. But really--is anyone looking online to purchase a "homemade bong"? Is it, like, $15 through Paypal, and then you get a box in the mail with a bent Coors Light can in it?

My wondertime column this week is here.

And can I just recommend again that the rest of you Western Mass folks schedule a massage for yourself or a friend with Dr. Hunky? If you already have, I know you haven't been disappointed. We don't call him Mister The Hands for nothing.

Monday, March 19, 2007


The funny thing is that I had actually written "I" about drinking that wine--but then became self conscious about the lonely sound of it, and so changed it to "we" the better to convey, you know, the fellowship of moderate alcohol consumption there at our friends' house. I didn't want you to think it was somehow just me in the corner with a blanket and a bottle while everyone else sat at the table soberly planning some kind of 12-step intervention.

But then, of course, oops--I made it sound like some kind of DUI/snowstorm situation when really Michael hardly even ever drinks at all.

Because he's too busy huffing ether.

Meanwhile, here's my question of the day: if you were designing a tampon, would you play a kind of menstrual practical joke whereby you appended a string that appeared to be a handy removal advice--but was really a kind of wick to draw blood quickly from body to underpants without soiling the pristine cotton of the tampon itself? This is my question. I would not think to make such a joke myself, but I see that someone has.

And really, I'm just laughing my head off. Because it's funny to see Mama's undies soaking in the sink like she beheaded someone in the night and then mopped at their bloody neck stump with a wadded up pair of Gap bikinis. Really. It's not the stuff of future psychoanalytic emergency sessions, I'm sure. Just good old-fashioned fun.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Talking About the Weather

I don't know what it is with me--maybe it's all the gigondas wine we drank with dinner that had such a gigantic sound to it that I became gigantically tipsy straight away--but I never felt frightened on our drive home: after our friend pushed us out of his driveway, Michael slid elegantly from one side of the road to the other, we drifted into snowbanks, we saw cars shuddering off the road and pitching into ditches--and the whole time I had a cozy winter feeling as if I were underneath a blanket watching The Nutcracker on TV.

I had intended to write this as a happy post about the gorgeous, late-season snowfall, but instead I seem to have revealed yet another of my personality disorders. What's this one? Treacherous Weather Dissociation? Sleet Mania? I'm not sure.

But it really is lovely here. I don't mind it right at the end like this--winter's little parting joke. If it weren't for the fact that we were supposed to see my parents, and must now wait a week, I would be just about perfectly happy.

Also because I'm not living through this.

I have got to encourage you to read the comments on this one. All I can say, with respect to barfing children, is: I'm glad we don't have a dog.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Warts and All

Thank you, as always, for your advice. I wrapped a banana peel around my heel, strapped a potato to it with duct tape, scraped at it with a pumice, an emery board, a microplane zester, and a tea-tree oil soaked cotton ball, dabbed it with plain old nailpolish remover and urine, and voila! I woke in the morning and the entire foot had falled off onto the mattress. I trust it won't grow back.

Wouldn't that be a great short documentary film? "Warts"? Just sped up and spliced together shots of people treating their warts in a million different ways, maybe set to The Sound of Music theme song? If you want to option it, you know how to find me. . .

I have a column here and here. If you're inclined to weigh in on the juggling issue, please do; they're wondering if that's an interesting topic of conversation among mothers. Hope you guys are all thriving.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Glad to Be You

Of course you don't have two warts on your foot in the first place because lovely, kempt people don't have warts is what I'm thinking. You didn't need to Google image-search them and then spend a half an hour examining the divergence of your footprint in order to diagnose yourself with, well, warts. Of course even if you did have two warts on your foot and you bought the Dr. Scholl's Extra-Strength Medicated Wart Removing Pads, you would have understood within at least the first couple of days that something was wrong. You would have noticed the warts persevering unheeded instead of happily applying the sticky cushioning donuts to your sole day after day only to shake the box weeks later and say to your partner, "What's this?" Your partner would not have come over and taken the sheet of dots from your hand, would not have patted your head and said, "Um, honey? Those are the medicated disks." And you would not have groaned, with two wholly untreated warts on your foot and no more cushioning donuts, "Maybe that's why they weren't working."

Then you wouldn't have opened your bread box to find no fewer than 20 molding heels of bread because over time your family would have learned that, if nobody's going to eat them, you should toss them out to the birds instead of preserving them like a museum exhibit curated around the theme of your own ineptitude.

Nor would you have lain in your children's bed while said children piled eleven sticky little glow-in-the-dark bugs into your belly button, holding your tummy in two fists and shaking so that the bugs looked like they were erupting from a volcanic navel.

Because you have a little self respect, right? So you also would never engage in a conversation with your seven-year-old son about how much money someone would have to pay you to throw a poopy diaper in your face. You wouldn't say "It depends what kind of poop," because, of course, you wouldn't do it for any amount of money in the world. A poopy diaper in your face! Who would talk about such a thing with a child? Let alone entertain various sums! You would certainly never say, "A thousand bucks? Just a regular turd, but sealed up inside and the tabs stuck down and everything? Sure." And when your daughter finally chimed in, jumping up and down on the mattress with excitement and glee, "What about poop smeared right in your nostrils for fifty dollars?" you wouldn't need to draw the line there because you never would have had the chalk in your hand to begin with. Even if your daughter fell to the ground laughing and cried, "I would do it for free!"

This daughter, here.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Wabbit Season

Hey, for a great debate on cartoons check out the comments going on over at wondertime. Oh, I do love a great debate.

But holy clam and cuttlefish! (as Boris would say in Amos and Boris.)

Go weigh in, please.

And your comments on Birdy's valentines are cracking me up--thank you. Also be sure to check out other people's links to their own craftstravaganzas. You guys rock.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Why You Might Not Want Your Preschooler to Make Her Valentines Out of Mexican Bingo Cards

Why not, right? I mean, they're so beautiful and also hip--perfect for every occasion. Which ones will she choose? you might wonder: the beautful green pear? A juicy slice of watermelon? A bird or tree or the "Sirena" mermaid? No. Give her some blank cards and a glue stick, and she will think romantically of hearts:

Happy Valentine's Day, fellow three-year-old! Enjoy these antique buttons and blibs and blobs of glue, and also this picture of my bulging and veiny corazon stuck through with an arrow like something you might get as a shish kebob at a Brazilian barbeque restaurant. I especially like her elegant touch of trimming the heart with fancy scissors. Or:

Sweet Valentine! You're so cute you make me think of the cutest little frog EVER! Also, oddly, of a pioneer bonnet. Oh--and of el Diablo, chipped apart with a pair of scissors into tiny, devilish, decapitated pieces. I love you! And you! I love you so much that

I thought immediately of Death! La Muerte, arriving with his romantic and murderous sickle! With also some scrippy scraps of paper, a die, and a wedge of doily. Happy Valentine's Day, my dear, doomed one.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Nothing Makes Me Feel More Like My Own Grandma

than when one of my kids complains of a stomach ache and I hear myself say, "Maybe you need to use the bathroom." All that's missing is the Russian accent. Also the expression "move your bowels." "You khev to move your bowls?" That would be more like it. And maybe the diagnosis: "Too much stuffed cabbage."

I have columns here and also here.

And I don't think I actually can reprint that NYT bread recipe here, but I swear it's worth the $4.95. I swear it. And you guys? The ones who said that it sounds like too much work? It's not. I actually put up some dough on the weekend, but then around the time I should have been baking it, made a plan with my friend Nicole to take the kids to a concert. So she--she, goddess of breadmaking--said, "Bring it with you. We can bake it at my house later." And so it sat in my car in the arctic morning for 5 hours. And then it sat in her house for another 3. And then, after its allotted rise time, was found mysteriously smashed flat with fingerprints matching those of her rascal two-year-old. And then her oven wouldn't turn on--not even after several whackings with a wrench and/or screwdriver. And then I finally dumped it back in its (dirty) bowl and drove it back home, like a yeasty hostage. And you know what? I baked it and it was fantastic. Don't you love a dough story with a happy ending?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The YouTube Video

I want to make would be of me hunched in front of a YouTube video of the hands of a lady crocheting. And I'd be casting on my first stitches--got it--pausing and restarting the video just a couple of times while I catch up. And then there would be the moment where the crocheting lady turns the needle back towards the stitches, does a kind of lickety-split ally-oop abracadabra "Slip it back through the humunuh zumunuh like so!" And then the moment of me, with my cheerful pink yarn and crochet hook, saying "Fuck." And clicking the play arrow again. And again. And then this would be spliced together with all the other videos of me watching all the other crocheting ladies on YouTube you can see if you type in the words "learn to crochet"--all the other ladies who speak slowly and clearly, this is the way we do it, following along nicely nicely until they get to the presto-magic-oh-sorry-didn't-you-catch-that part where they obscure from view the mysterious humunuh zumunuh that is keeping me on the WRONG SIDE OF THE CROCHET CONSPIRACY. In the background you might see my kids standing in the doorway, alarmed.

Would you watch that video and email it to your friends? Would you please teach me how to crochet? There is something seriously perverted about trying to learn an ancient womanly handicraft off of YouTube. May I should just try learning how to make a bong from a Pringles can instead. Besides--what do I want to crochet anyways? A tea cosy? Hacky sacks? A yarmulke?

Meanwhile, I wanted to mention the Wondertime columns here and also here. And to thank you for saying all those nice things about the plain-Janeness of this blog--those nice things that I trolled for so shamelessly. Oh this old blog? Really? You don't think it makes me look a little pear-shaped? A little frowsy? Thank you.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Pottery Barn Catalogue

I hadn't planned to mention this, but arriving here today I realize that while so many of your blogs are so stylish and beautiful, with the overstuffed armchairs of design and the cozy window seats and the sunny places to lie and read, this blog--which I have had big plans for--remains the college frat boy bachelor pad of the blog world, with the vinyl venetian blinds and the milk crates for furniture and the bare walls. I am sorry for that, and also open to your tactful, low-tech suggestions.

But what I really wanted to say today (besides please go read my wondertime column) is how much I'm just loving your comments. For example, somebody wrote over there that I might consider teaching Michael to be sensitive to the kids' sicknesses, and teach him "with patience," the way you would a child. And I found this to be an utterly radical suggestion. It's hard enough for me to be patient with the children--but with my partner, my god, it barely even occurs to me to try. I don't say that with pride, just realization and a desire to change. Thank you.

Here, you have been talking about your "clothes chairs" which so hilariously mirrors the glide rocker in my bedroom, that I laughed out loud. It's my own special laundry purgatory, where the clothes are neither dirty nor clean: jeans with a tiny bit of mud on the cuff; a running bra worn for a half-mile slog through the neighborhood; a skirt that's too exhausting to hang on the thingy with the clips. I so hear you.

Also I really just appreciate so much hearing that you worry too.

And finally, I seem to have started a rumor that I'm coming to Ottowa, and I wish it were true. I was only expressing to a Canadian blogger here my interest in ice skating down a river, so naturally we got to talking about Ottowa. But I still do often wish I had a river I could skate away on.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Time of Wonder

Happy New Year, dear friends! I wanted to post a quick link to this column at wondertime, and to draw your attention to a comment at the bottom of the page that posts a link to an ebay auction raising money for the Kim family. The art that people have donated is unbelievable: honestly, it's inspiring just to look at those beautiful things. Thank you for posting that.

In related news, things are smoothing out with the comments over there, and I'm still asking you to try it out, and thanking you for trying and/or persevering, and letting you know that the good people at wondertime are eager to hear about your problems! Please send a note describing your problem, along with the e-mail address you are using to sign on, to I mean, when else do you ever get encouragement to kvetch about your problems? You could even write them about how you, say, finally took your crib apart to put way, only you forgot that every box of memoribilia in the house was stored beneath it. Every box of crap that is now piled up, dusty and exposed, in the middle of your bedroom. I don't know if they could help you with that. I'm just saying you could mention it.