Tuesday, August 29, 2017


My friend Moira Greto took this photo of Ben. 

Oh, my friends. You know how this is for me. These first low, low back-to-school days. I believe I have mentioned them before, yes? The wild grapes just starting to perfume the air, the sunlight gone sharp and cool, the street dotted with bright maple leaves. Things I love! And yet. "I think the cats are depressed about the kids being gone," I say to Michael, and he smiles at me, nods. "Do you think I have Epstein-Barr?" I ask him. "I'm so tired." "Probably," he says, and I laugh. The house is echoing. I bake a plum cake to kill time. I blitz half a watermelon in the blender with the juice of a lime, drink the entire thing and feel a little better. The cats lick my face.

And of course: Hurricane Harvey. I mean, my god. I remind myself of. . . myself. Once, during a terrible El Nino storm in Santa Cruz, I went to the SPCA to borrow some Hav-a-Heart traps. "Missing pets?" they fretted, and I said, "Oh, no. Just mice in the attic." They suggested, gently, that I waited until the disaster had passed to attend to my miniature, insulation-chewing concerns. Which seemed fair, if entirely mortifying. So yes, I will remember not to call the Coast Guard about my children having returned to school. I am sending love to you, my brave, beloved Texas people.

And, in the meantime, this middle-grade novel is about to be published! In a week. September 5th. Please order it! Please review it on Amazon and Goodreads! Please ask your local library and bookstore to order it! I will be so, so grateful. Kirkus even wrote something nice about it, concluding: "Readers will revel in Frankie and Walter’s cathartic romp and learn much about grief, family, and friendship along the way." The same Kirkus who once described a book of mine as so dull that it made you wish you were Captain Hook just so you could claw your own eyes out more efficiently. That was, at least, the gist of the review, I felt. Anyhoo. If you know anyone who writes book reviews or is a children's librarian or a bookshop owner, and you wanted to put me in touch with them, I'd be thrilled! Thank you so much, as always, for your help.

p.s. Speaking of help, and how I'm always asking for it: will you please send me questions for my parenting-teens advice column? Thank you! 

Monday, August 14, 2017

A Pair of Watermelon Salads

The world is exploding, and I am popping in to say: WATERMELON. Forgive me. This is the bifurcated world we seem to be living in, that on the one hand there are white supremacists showing doing violence that our president refuses to condemn. On the other hand, crisp and juicy-fleshed watermelon, which is suddenly the only thing I want to eat. 

So, the watermelon itself is delicious enough. But I'm also mildly obsessed with two different salads, and, since I can't pick--I mean, I will start to make one, and then think, No, no, and make the other--I'm telling you about both of them. These are less exact portraits of ingredients than they are rough sketches. They are both exquisitely refreshing, complicated, and perfectly simple.

Watermelon Caprese
This is, yes, a version of Caprese salad with watermelon in it. To make this one, dice up a quarter of a seedless watermelon, 4 large tomatoes, and a pound of fresh mozzarella (I love the kind from Trader Joe's). Add a large handful of slivered basil leaves, a couple bloops of olive oil, a small splash of balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of salt.
Stir gently, and eat as soon as possible, because the salt will draw the water out of the melon. (You should drink this from the bowl, though. I'm just saying.)

Watermelon, Feta, and Mint 
Dice half of a seedless watermelon and add about 6 ounces crumbled feta (a cup or two), the juice and grated zest of 1 or 2 large, juicy limes, a large handful of slivered mint leaves, and a pinch of aleppo pepper flakes (or something similarly spicy/flavorful). Stir gently and taste for lime, feta, mint, heat. I don't add salt or oil to this one.

Stay safe, keep each other safe, and resist, my darlings. xo