Thursday, December 17, 2009


I wrote this poem in 2007 apparently. I have no memory of writing it. But I re-read it, and I like it. So here you go.

You're crooked
he said, examining the differing spaces
between rib and pelvis.
And suddenly the daily fossilization
of the muscles of my neck and back
became, not the product of anxiety and stress,
but the fault of a spinal cord
that took a sudden detour to the right.
I saw myself as a negative
an x-rayed line of crooked bones
with limbs hanging haphazardly
like a shirt askew on a hanger.
My mind, always the culprit,
the careless driver careening down the road,
for once was not responsible for the pain.
I walked out of the office carefully
feeling that, at any moment, I may veer off course,
a fate for which I appear to be destined

This Is A Blog About Nothing

It's a little pathetic, really. I have had no motivation to do anything for the past....oh, three weeks. I turned in my final papers of the semester and officially switched off my brain. It didn't occur to me until yesterday that Christmas is NEXT WEEK. We don't have a Christmas tree. No lights on the house. We didn't have any presents for anyone until a frantic trip to Walmart yesterday evening. I haven't been blogging, haven't been doing anything productive at work, have stopped running....hell people should be grateful I'm managing to shower every day. What have I been doing? Honestly, I couldn't tell you. I compulsively check facebook. I've been reading murder mysteries late into the night when I should be asleep. And for the last week I have been watching TV beamed into our house by our shiny new satellite dish. Prior to this magical "dish" we had a giant 1950s antenna shoved in our chimney, which picked up about 4 channels one of which would go out whenever a bird landed on the antenna. We solved this problem by yelling "GET OFF THE ROOF!!" whenever we lost a channel. Now, though, we have satellite. I am again one with popular culture. I can watch all of the hideous reality shows I can stomach (and that's a lot, believe me), and I have DVR which means that if Tough Love is on at the same time as Charm School, I can record one of them to watch later.

Once I get out of this funk I plan on trying to launch the Tucson chapter of the Idiotarod. I read about this many moons ago and immediately felt it was my destiny to participate in such a glorious event. It may have something to do with my affinity for shopping carts, a love affair that included a shopping cart I stole from the U of A campus, painted purple, and then was wheeled around campus in for an evening. You think I exaggerate??

Me and shopping carts, man. We go way back. And 2010 WILL be the year of the Tucson Idiotarod.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Poetry Sunday

This Was Once a Love Poem
by Jane Hirshfield

This was once a love poem,
before its haunches thickened, its breath grew short,
before it found itself sitting,
perplexed and a little embarrassed,
on the fender of a parked car,
while many people passed by without turning their heads.

It remembers itself dressing as if for a great engagement.
It remembers choosing these shoes,
this scarf or tie.

Once, it drank beer for breakfast,
drifted its feet
in a river side by side with the feet of another.

Once it pretended shyness, then grew truly shy,
dropping its head so the hair would fall forward,
so the eyes would not be seen.

It spoke with passion of history, of art.
It was lovely then, this poem.
Under its chin, no fold of skin softened.
Behind the knees, no pad of yellow fat.
What it knew in the morning it still believed at nightfall.
An unconjured confidence lifted its eyebrows, its cheeks.

The longing has not diminished.
Still it understands. It is time to consider a cat,
the cultivation of African violets or flowering cactus.

Yes, it decides:
Many miniature cacti, in blue and red painted pots.
When it finds itself disquieted
by the pure and unfamiliar silence of its new life,
it will touch them—one, then another—
with a single finger outstretched like a tiny flame.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I think this is the most beautiful, melancholy Christmas song and it's been stuck in my head for days so I'm sharing it with y'all to get stuck in your heads. Because haven't we all wanted to be able to just skate away sometimes?

It's comin' on Christmas

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Poetry Sunday

Wallace Stevens, "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird"

Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.

I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.

The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


When I was little one of my most favorite things to do was dance. We had a huge living room with no furniture, which turned into a ballroom for me. I never took classes, but turn on Aretha Franklin, the Dirty Dancing soundtrack (minds out of the gutter people, I was 7), or Vivaldi's Four Seasons and I would be leaping and twirling for hours. Get me drunk now and you end up with similar results.

I've been watching So You Think You Can Dance as often as I can (stupid evening classes!) and it makes me wish I was someone who is flexible enough to at least touch my toes so that I could be the ballerina I planned to become when I was 6.

Fear and Addiction

Dreaming with a Broken Heart (this is my absolute favorite, it kills me)

Your Ex Lover's Dead

By the way, my last post was apparently my 100th post. Which is really pretty sad, considering I've been on here since 2007 according to my stats. I suppose I make up for my infrequent posting with my longevity?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Poetry Sunday

The closest thing I have to church or prayer is poetry. When I am conflicted or sad or seeking answers I find myself turning to poetry the way other people turn to the Bible. Thus, Poetry Sunday- a new weekly feature. Well, perhaps weekly. Maybe bi-weekly. Actually it may never happen again considering my track record with regular blog posting. But we'll try and see.

The Meadow- Marie Howe

As we walk into words that have waited for us to enter them, so
the meadow, muddy with dreams, is gathering itself together

and trying, with difficulty, to remember how to make wildflowers.
Imperceptibly heaving with the old impatience, it knows

for certain that two horses walk upon it, weary of hay.
The horses, sway-backed and self important, cannot design

how the small white pony mysteriously escapes the fence every day.
This is the miracle just beyond their heavy-headed grasp,

and they turn from his nuzzling with irritation. Everything
is crying out. Two crows, rising from the hill, fight

and caw-cry in mid-flight, then fall and light on the meadow grass
bewildered by their weight. A dozen wasps drone, tiny prop planes,

sputtering into a field the farmer has not yet plowed,
and what I thought was a phone, turned down and ringing,

is the knock of a woodpecker for food or warning, I can't say.
I want to add my cry to those who would speak for the sound alone.

But in this world, where something is always listening, even
murmuring has meaning, as in the next room you moan

in your sleep, turning into late morning. My love, this might be
all we know of forgiveness, this small time when you can forget

what you are. There will come a day when the meadow will think
suddenly, water, root, blossom, through no fault of its own,

and the horses will lie down in daisies and clover. Bedeviled,
human, your plight, in waking, is to choose from the words

that even now sleep on your tongue, and to know that tangled
among them and terribly new is the sentence that could change your life.

........The last two stanzas make my heart stop, just for a second.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Need to learn how to turn off the blushing

I am learning that being a therapist means that people who you have just met will tell you the most intimate details of their lives without hesitation. Things that I do not talk about with my nearest and dearest, much less someone that I met 20 minutes ago. I do not judge these people, but I struggle to control my tendency to blush, because I am a very pale person who immediately flushes to an attractive tomato color as soon as something uncomfortable is mentioned. Just the thought of blushing usually makes me blush. So, I need to find some "blush reduction techniques". I'm hoping my threshold will be higher as I get more used to hearing these things, but I'm doubtful. I'm keeping a list of some of the things I have so far heard as a therapist that challenged my "counselor poker face"

1. Various masturbation techniques
2. Detailed descriptions of stool samples and problems with incontinence (NOT urinary incontinence either!)
3. Detailed description of a particularly difficult prostate exam (it made me thank the lord I am not male)
4. Erectile dysfunction, difficulty sustaining erections, and a whole lot more information on a variety of men's penises (penii?) than I ever wished to know.
5. The sex life of members of the over 70 generation

That's a pretty significant blush-worthy list considering I've only been in this internship for a couple of months, right? Lord only knows what all else I will hear about before May. If exposure is the key to raising my tolerance level I should be blush-proof by graduation day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Wow, I can't believe it's November already! Perhaps that's because it has been July according to this blog for the last 4 months. I could say that it's because I've been busy with school, but I would be lying. I officially have senioritis, and have discovered that the benefit to going to a crappy grad school is that you can do the bare minimum and still get As! You think I'm exagerating? I got a 99% on a midterm that I didn't study for. Not, I only studied for a couple hours right before hand. I. Didn't. Study. At all.

Anyway, it's been an interesting couple of months. While I've been busy NOT doing any school work, I have been doing a lot of self reflection. By the way? I don't recommend it. Self reflection causes you to both become totally absorbed in your own troubles, and unless you are Gandhi you will not like everything you discover.

One of the more positive things that came out of this period was that I've started creating what some call a "bucket list". As in, things you want to do before you kick the bucket. Considering my intense fear of death I am not calling my list a bucket list. Instead, it's my "things to do once I graduate and have actual free time" list. Right now it's kind of a small list, but I expect it will grow.

1. Learn to play the cello
2. Train Siva as a certified therapy dog
3. Take a dance class
4. Go to Europe, and start prioritizing travelling over possessions
5. Start writing again (started this one)
6. Start rock climbing again
7. Create the garden in the backyard
8. Read poetry again (started this one too)
9. Reconnect with old friends

There have been a lot of pieces of myself that I have buried while I've been emersed in my career, marriage, house renovations and school. It just took too much energy to do everything at once, so I feel like I've become a bit two dimensional. But I've been woken up a bit, reminded of what I used to be like, what I used to love. And that's coming back. As soon as I finish slacking through my senior year.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Learn How to Stucco in 12 Easy Steps

1. Purchase ingredients for stucco and dump into the plastic tub specifically made for mixing stucco. Discover that specifically designed stucco mixing tub is actually too small to mix stucco.

2. Drive to Lowe's, purchase second plastic tub. Return home, divide mixture in half, add the required 2 teaspoons of water, start mixing.

3. Discover that the cement mixer previously mocked at the store is now worth it's weight in gold as mixing large tubs of sand and water is not only agonizing but also takes forever.

4. Become frustrated and add three times the amount of water required in order to speed up the mixing process.

5. Stucco finally mixed, dump some on a trowel and smear it on the wall.

6. Watch all the stucco fall off the wall and onto the ground.

7. Repeat until sweaty and frustrated, then pick up stucco with hands and begin smearing on the wall manually, as a monkey might smear feces.

8. Continue to smear until the "may cause flesh burns" label is spotted on the cement bag.

9. Scream in a girlish manner and hop up and down frantically until a hose is procured.

10. Locate rubber gloves and continue to smear stucco on walls.

11. Once stucco is completely smeared on the wall look up youtube videos online on "how to stucco". Watch videos of Mexican laborers in America doing excellent stucco work, and American missionaries in Mexico doing shitty stucco work.

12. Decide to refer to the stuccoed walls as having a "custom hand applied finish", open a stucco company, and make millions because the only equipment needed is two tubs, a rake, and a pair of rubber gloves.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dr. Livingston, I Presume?

We have reached Threat Level Radioactive Killer Insects here in the Zamora household. At this point I'm waiting for the green ooze to start leaking out around the foundation because I'm pretty sure that we're living on top of a subterranean pool of nuclear waste. That's the only logical conclusion I can come to based on the size, variety and sheer number of insects and terrifying creatures that have been invading our house.

It started when I moved Hiccup's dog crate and what I thought was a very small and active worm started making it's way across the floor. Oh, how I wish it was a worm. But as I looked closer, I realized that there was something very, well, snake-y about it. I did what any young, independent, and strong female would do- screamed for Danny. He captured it, and we stared at it in horror for a while as it slithered frantically in the bottom of a glass, slowly realizing the implications of the baby snake. MORE. BABY. SNAKES. I pictured hordes of snakes everywhere we turned. Fortunately we only found one other snake a couple of days later, just as tiny, and also very dead courtesy of our cat. This is the only thing she is really useful for- killing things around the house. Except sometimes she doesn't even bother to kill them because she finds it more entertaining to bat them playfully around the house and then leaving them angry and vengeful.

Okay, so we had the plague of snakes. Then we had the horde of cicadas that spent their day hiding in the plants around the house and making the exact same noise that's in the previews for Texas Chainsaw Massacre (I don't know if that noise is also in the movie because the noise in the preview freaked me out too much to watch the movie. Little did I know I would soon be surrounded by thousands of little horror movie props predicting my imminent demise and transformation into a human skin lamp.)

Once the monsoon rains hit the cicadas migrated back to hell or wherever it is they came from. But the rains brought a far more terrifying creature. We first spotted one in the road, squatting menacingly and waving it's furry legs at us. The tarantula. The next night there was another one the size of a salad plate crouched by the laundry room door. We brought Hiccup inside because if this thing wanted to it would eat Hiccup for a midnight snack. All that would be left is a wagging furry tail hanging out of this things mouth. If spiders have mouths, that is. But I don't actively try to destroy insects as long as they stay outside of my house. And tarantulas are so large and furry that it's kind of like trying to squash a chihuahua, it's almost grosser to kill them than it is to make them leave (correction: have DANNY make them leave). But the worst was about to come:

So, I'm blind. Like, I can't see more than 6 inches away from my face clearly without glasses or contacts. In the morning I wake up and stumble blindly into the shower. Are you already thinking to yourself "No! Mia, don't get into the shower!" It's like the begining of a horror movie when the dumb blond gets into the shower while the creepy man with the axe hides in the bathroom closet. Anyway, I pick up my loofah, wash, then put the loofah down. Which is when I notice a dark blob on the side of the tub, next to the loofah. I immediately become concerned because anything big enough for me to see without my glasses is pretty freaking huge. I bend closer, squinting inquisitively ("Mia! Noooo!") only to find myself face to face with a baby tarantula. By baby, I mean the size of an average human baby. I leap out of the shower and sprint into the living room shrieking "Big spider! Big spider! Danny! Big spider!" (I'm very articulate when I'm naked and panicking)

People, this is getting serious. I feel like I'm in the jungle with vines and spider monkeys slowly creeping through the windows. I'm going to wake up to javelina curled up on the foot of my bed, rattlesnakes under the sink, and tarantulas in my bathtub. Oh, wait THAT'S ALREADY HAPPENED.

I'll be at Costco buying Raid in bulk if anyone needs me.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I have a love-hate relationship with yoga. When I started it a few years ago I had a very laid back gentle male teacher who led us through the poses slowly and deliberately. We spent a lot of time in poses like "child's pose" which is essential kneeling down and putting your forehead on the floor. It takes about as much strength as napping. So, I thought I was pretty good at yoga. Granted, I can barely touch my toes and "downward dog" was always a struggle rather than the resting pose it is supposed to be. But I enjoyed it, especially because it's the only exercise you can take where you are supposed to lie on the floor and "meditate" at the end. I quit going for a couple of years, until friends persuaded me to join their class. I had fond memories of lying peacefully in a darkened room, so I agreed. Turns out it was the hour and a half "power hour" they had invited me to. But the end I was a trembling blog of sweat and yoga mat grime. I went a few more times, and got a little bit better, to the point where I didn't feverishly eye the door in the middle of the "warrior pose" and try to calulate if I could vault over the other participants and dash out to my car. I didn't, mainly because I didn't have the strength to run.
Then, I quit going for a while. You know, life tends to get in the way, and the studio is across town. But I'm on a new health kick, and I invited a friend to brave a new class with me.

There's always an interesting mix of people in yoga classes. There are usually one or two sorority girls who got lost on their way to the rec center, one or two guys dragged in by the women they are hoping to sleep with and so are desperate to spend time with, a couple average to fat chicks who are hoping that yoga will be a less strenuous path to fitness than running, and then the rest of the class is filled with hippies. And I really don't like hippies. There are several reasons for my dislike. Now, I realize that I am making sweeping generalizations and relying on stereotypes, but it seems like every hippy I've come across falls into these characterizations. They talk about wanting to "save the world" or "end poverty" or "end capitalism" but their method of promoting that change is to join protest rallies or meet with groups of other people who feel the exact same way they do. They wear flowing skirts, dreadlocks, thai embroidered purses, and hang tibetan prayer flags in their yards. They refuse to "compromise their principals" which means that they refuse to change their appearance or method of persuasion in order to be taken seriously by anyone other than people who already agree with them. When was the last time you saw a legitimate hippy politician, lawyer, or anyone else in a position of power that was taken seriously by the mainstream media? Don't get me wrong, politically and morally I'm almost as hippy as I could be without wearing hemp sandals and getting a tattoo of "the goddess" on my back. But the hippies I see are lazy and illogical in their approach to change. They feel safer repeating the same dogma to each other so they never engage in a useful dialogue with The Others. The people I have seen who are committed to making real changes in this world wear suits, get a Master's degree in something other than "philosophy", and start working their way up the ladder until they are in a position of power. They aren't compromising their principals, but they're being smart about the way they act on them.

Anyway, that's enough of a diatribe on hippies. However, there is one more thing I hate about hippies. They are ALWAYS good at yoga. They are skinny and wirey and ridiculously flexible.
So when my friend "Selina" (name changed to preserve her dignity) and I walked into the room it was wall to wall skinny, smug, tattoo'ed and dreadlock'ed hippies. I was expecting this, it is a yoga class after all, so I lay out my mat and pretended to stretch. We began a simple cycle of poses and I thought to myself "oh, this isn't that bad, I must be in better shape than I thought!" But then the instructor started going faster. And faster. Pretty soon I was three poses behind everyone else. The hippies suddenly turned into hippy-robots and seemed to merely push the fast forward button. The instructor started giggling evilly, which I considered to be a bad sign considering we were only about five minutes into the hour long class.

That giggle was definitely a harbinger of doom. I have blocked out most of my memories of the class, but at one point I remember lying on my stomach, desperately reaching back to grab my sweat soaked ankles. I flailed for a while, praying that suddenly my arms would grow 6 inches longer so I could grab my ankles. All around me the hippies rocked as serenely as boats, hands firmly around their toes. Hippies don't sweat. I think perhaps my teacher sensed my growing hippy-rage because at one point, I don't remember what pose it was other than that it was extremely painful and I couldn't even get to the first part of the pose while everyone else was tied in a knot and suspending themselves in the air with their pinky fingers, she came over to me and gently forced my arms wider and my legs straighter. As my joints began to strain and pop she said cheerily "Everyone comes to this class at their own level. The most important thing is to put yourself fully into each movement" She then turns my head further past my shoulders. She looked into my eyes, and said in a stage whisper "You have a big smile on your face. That's the perfect attitude to have". I was clearly the special ed portion of the class. I didn't have the energy to tell her that the "big smile" was actually a grimace of pain, and that if I had been able to move my arms at all I would have punched her in the face.

The class continued for what felt like a week. Towards the end I was pausing during poses to pretend to massage a sore muscle or tend to a weak ankle when I was really just desperately trying to catch my breath. Selina was less subtle than I was, and at one point was just squatting on her knees laughing hysterically as the hippies levitated around her. She pointed out later that the woman next to her was visibly pregnant. We pictured her fetus doing the poses right along with her. Better than us, naturally. Because hippies are born, not made.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Can I get the accessories without the actual baby?

Pretty much my one reason I want a child right now is so that I can finally buy all the wonderful baby things at Ikea. They have the most adorable stuff for babies and kids. Things like, bunk beds with tents over them. Not just any tent, but a tent with STARS ON IT! If I could pursuade Danny to sleep in the bottom bunk with half of his body hanging uncomfortably off the end, I would totally buy one for myself. Or perhaps I could just buy this leaf canopy and hang it over our current bed so that I could pretend to be a fairy princess lying in a bird's nest in an enchanted tree. Then I could gaze up at my sun ceiling lamp while playing with my blue giraffe
For a second today I got extremely excited because I realized that while I don't have kids, I work with kids! I could decorate my office with Ikea toys! And lamps! And we could play with the fantastic Swedish stuffed animals while we talk about feelings! Then I remembered how, as a fresh faced, naive social worker I brought some of my childhood stuffed animals to work, thinking that they could comfort my clients as they had comforted me for so many years. Instead, they sat neglected on a shelf in favor of the half broken plastic toys that came with my office. Neglected, until someone needed to sneeze, or drool, or take out their rage by punching something. Then Bearland Cub and Hobbes were the first creatures in their hands. I have since taken my animals home and run them through the washing machine. They still look a little shell shocked.

So, no Ikea furniture for me. I'll stick with my crappy plastic happy meal toys and my sturdy office lamp that is too heavy for anyone to throw at me.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Homestead

Now that the inside of our house has been, for the most part, completed I can start indulging my green thumb. Although I am planning on using only indigenous plants, so it's more like a "greenish-brown and spiky" thumb. I started with two miniature gardens this weekend, one filled with transplanted cactus from around our property:

and one filled with succulents we bought at Lowe's:

I've started taking pictures of all of our renovations, and am going to put together a big "before and after" posting. But here's two of the projects that have made me particularly happy. One was our front door, which was dented, dirty, and painted a very pale pink. It is also a very unusual size that has made it virtually impossible to replace. So we took it off the hinges and I repainted it with the image of brightly colored Victorian houses in my head, but to match a plate we got in Nogales:

The fireplace in the Arizona room was made with native lava rock, but unfortunately was sloppily installed and was covered with cement that couldn't be removed. Then the kids who partied in the house when it was abandoned set a fire in fireplace without opening the flue, so it was soot-stained. We built a frame around the existing fireplace and then walled it in with peacock slate and used glass tile accents:

The picture doesn't do justice to the slate which is full of beautiful colors and shimmery mineral deposits.

And, finally, the view from our front door. This view makes me feel very, very lucky every time I walk out of the house. We have our second generation of Gila Woodpeckers being raised in the saguaro on the right side.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hard Labor

I've spent the last two days helping Danny build a solar powered gray water system. This is his brain child and if you ask him about it he can tell you all about how it works, but really my only contribution has been manual labor. Well, manual labor and whining. An integral part of the system is a series of pipes leading from the shower and the washing machine to a 300 gallon container we have housed in an old chicken coop. Pipes that have to be buried. Buried in trenches that have to be dug. By me. Now, we live in the desert which means we do not have "dirt". We have sand, dust, and rocks. To make it even better, we live right by a solid rock mountain, which means that we live on top of solid rock, covered by a thin layer of smaller rocks and dust. You can stick a shovel about a 1/4 of inch into the ground before you hit rock. If you pound on it with aforementioned shovel you can break through another 1/4 inch. The last time I tried to dig a hole I ended up with a disabled pinky finger. But since I had no idea how to assemble the system of pipes, I was stuck digging the trenches. Oh, and it's 100 degrees out. I took a break to go to the hardware store with Danny, mainly so I had an excuse to be in air conditioning for a while. But I was tired, cranky, and dirty. So when Danny started showing me low energy lightbulbs and talking about how much less of an impact our house would have on the environment, especially with our new gray water system, all I could say was "the environment can go fuck itself." He suggested I go home and lie down for a while.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

It's the Blanket....With Sleeves!

This year I decided to be the loving daughter my mother deserves, rather than the absent minded one who calls a week late to wish her happy birthday, so I got her Mother's Day presents. I don't think I've done that since I was young enough to get away with a hand glittered card. My first gift was Dooce's first book, accompanied with a card that read "Happy Mother's Day! I'm glad giving birth to me didn't result in your institutionalization in a mental hospital". Touching, right?

My other gift was a stroke of genius. My mom used to wiegh as much as normal moms do, that is to say, as much as I do now without children (*sob*). Anyway, somewhere along the way she managed to lose a lot of weight. She says through diet and exercise, but I think that's a legally binding confidentiality agreement all skinny people have to sign after they get whacked with the Skinny Fairy's wand. The downside to being skinny is that she doesn't have enough insulation to keep her warm, and she unreasonably refuses to eat more cheeseburgers to remedy this. So I decided to send her the Snuggie:

This picture demonstrates the versatility of the snuggie, as it fits Teresa who is about 4 feet tall, and her husband Zac, who is approximately ten feet tall. For those who have not heard of the Snuggie before it is THE BLANKET WITH SLEEVES! Perfect for people who are too skinny to survive in the wild. Not that I am bitter.

Anyway, I went to the snuggie website and began the snuggie ordering process. I entered my credit card number, my address, and my mom's address. I clicked "order one set of snuggies", since it's buy one get one free (with free book light!). The next page pops up: "Do you want a free snuggie?" Thinking that the question was a bit redundant, I clicked yes. The next window- do you want a DELUXE snuggie, featuring adorable pictures of kittens or puppies? Although the fleece-y eyes of the kittens stared at me plantively, I thought I clicked no. Then a couple more windows popped up, and I apparently had something of a brain spasm and just began clicking the yes button to make them go away. Suddenly, my order confirmation page appeared. "Congratulations! You ordered 6 snuggies for the low price of $99.94!" I order $100 of snuggies in a variety of stylish colors. And I had to allow 24-48 hours for my order to process before I could call them to change it. This led to an embarrassing conversation with my husband:

Me: Um, I did something bad.

Danny: *sigh* What?

Me: You know how I wanted to order my mom a snuggie? Well, I accidentally ordered too many.

Danny: How many is too many?

Me: 6.

Danny: Oh that's not too....

Me: For $100.

Danny: WHAT?

And, of course, by the time I was able to call and attempt to cancel the excessive snuggies the order had already shipped. However, the snuggie people were perplexingly generous, perhaps because I was not the first person to accidentally order 6 times the number of snuggies they intended to, and they gave me ALL BUT ONE SNUGGIE FOR FREE! I got FIVE FREE SNUGGIES! And an unknown number of free book lights. The best part of this entire debacle was when my mom received an enormous box from the snuggie people, and opened two of the individually wrapped inner packages before she decided to call me at work to see if I had lost my mind entirely. She was pleased with the snuggie concept, but berated me for thinking she would want the "sage green" snuggie since she thinks green makes her look sickly, and one has to look elegant when wearing a blanket with sleeves. However, she then told me she has been wearing a fleece jumpsuit around the house when she gets cold, so I am still confused about how a sage green snuggie is unexceptable but what are essentially adult footie pajamas are the height of fashion.

Since then I have been thinking about other people I can bequeath snuggies upon. My officemate and I decided we are going to wear them at work, since our office is usually cold enough for us to see our breath. Danny thought maybe he could forsake clothing and just wear around a snuggie, and then I was thinking that Siva might appreciate a snuggie she could wear on cold winter nights. Does anyone else have some suggestions on innovative uses of the snuggie?

Sunday, May 10, 2009


I have two tattoos- the word "faith" on one ankle, and the word "practice" on the other. For some reason people tend to only see "practice", and always ask "practice what?". The whole explanation is too long for the daily explanation, so I usually say something like, "anything worth doing takes practice." But, for once, here's the long explanation:

My mother is from a Quaker family. No, not Quaker Oats. No, she's not Amish. The Quakers are pacifists, and believe that God exists in all people, and they have been around since before this country was founded. The book that their faith is based on is called "faith and practice" and is like a prayer book. I'm not Quaker, but I believe in a lot of the tenets of their faith. But that's only a tiny part of the reason for my tattoo- a little shout out to my Quaker ancestors, if you will.

My mother is Quaker (kind of, not really practicing any more) and my father is an atheist. Religion was never a big part of my upbringing. I didn't grow up being taught about God, or Jesus. I was taught that space was infinite, and no one knows what happens when we die. As I grew up the enormity of death overwhelmed me. I'm a strangely introspective and panicky person in general, so not having the comfort of the idea of a heaven or really any definitive answer other than the finality of non-existance was overwhelming and terrifying. I had something of an existential crisis a few years ago, and felt paralyzed by the idea that I was going to die, everyone I loved was going to die, and I had no idea what would happen afterwards. As much as I would love to believe in Jesus, or some omniscient being up in the clouds controlling everything and laying things out as a part of some master plan, it's never been an idea I could buy into. I am jealous of those people who have found some kind of faith that brings them comfort and serenity, but there's always the rational side of my brain, the atheist side, that mutters in the background "but that doesn't make any sense!" And there are so many truly terrible, tragic things that happen in this world that simply can't be the result of a loving deity.

In any case, I continued to be terrified of death, less my own than those of people I love, when Frank got sick. Frank was my father in law, although he didn't make it to my wedding. In six months, from when his shoulder broke as he tried to get out of his chair because the tumor had eaten away the bone until the time when he died, I learned a little bit about faith. I saw a man who always held grudges suddenly becoming loving, mending bridges that had been broken for years. He stopped being angry, started reaching out. Two days before he died he announced he was going back home, and made a trip back to his small town that he hadn't seen for months because he had been too sick to leave Tucson. He died in his own bed, exactly where he wanted to be. But I don't have enough faith to not still be angry. Not enough to not make me angry at the senselessness of his loss, of the fact that all he wanted to do was see us get married and he couldn't make it, or the fact that my husband lost the person he loved best, or that my children will never know their Grandpa Frank. These things still make me so sad, and so angry.

But I have faith in memories of him. I have faith in the fact that periodically when Danny and I are riding in his dad's truck the windshield wipers randomly turn on when we mention his name. I have faith in the fact that his grandmother, who has Alzheimer's and doesn't remember anyone, sees Frank and his father who died in the same year, periodically and tells them, "No, I'm not going with you yet. I'm staying here".

Faith shouldn't be easy. It isn't a platitude, a Hallmark card, or a bumpersticker. Faith shouldn't be defined by moral judgments. Faith should be the most difficult thing to hold onto, and the most important. Faith is constantly challenged, and is sometimes lost. I cannot always define what I have faith in, and sometimes I lose it entirely. On the dark days when I question everything, I remind myself- everything worth doing requires practice. I have to practice faith every day. And maybe someday it will get easier.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Anybody out there?

Hi! It's been a while! (looks around nervously, listens to the crickets chirping). I could blame my lack of blogging on being in school and such, but really it's because I'm lazy. Fortunately I have funny friends to create blogs for me! Like this text exchange a while ago with my friend. We'll call her "Selina".

Selina: I had a hell of a time finding a size large at Forever 21. I'm drinking a smoothie for dinner.
Me: I'm going to skip dinner in favor of drinking later.
Selina: That's a good idea. I'm going to take laxatives before I eat meals so I can just shit it out but still enjoy eating full meals.
Me: Good call! Much better than vomiting everything up. Although that's a good ab workout.
Selina: It is. Another downfall is that if I poop too much I will damage the muscles of my sphincter and will crap myself suddenly and unwillingly throughout the day.
Me: It'll be hard to find a boyfriend if that happens.
Selina: I think it just depends- does a guy want a fat girlfriend or a skinny girlfriend that craps her pants?
Me: That should be one of the screening questions for
Selina: That'll be the first thing I ask a guy I'm into.

So, it's the summer now. Maybe I'll try to come back a little more often :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Truth is Stranger than Fiction

Me, looking at Danny over my copy of "Twilight": "Was my love a blazing meteor across your moonless sky?"
Danny, looking simultaneously confused and suspicious: " my pants?................."

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I have never really believed in karma. I have seen too many bad things happen to good people, and too many people who deserve enormous comeuppances who never received them. However, after this last week I definitely believe that, even if karma never seems to catch up with anyone else, it caught up with me.

Frequently people at my agency are required to attend trainings at the organization that oversees our funding and state compliance. These trainings are usually intensely boring, infuriating, or both. At one of the last trainings I had to attend I spent the entire afternoon constructing "Cuppy" an action figure made out of my styrofoam coffee cup and various accoutrements that I gathered from my purse. Did I mention I was sitting in the front row? Other times I have engaged in surrepticious text messaging, 20 minute bathroom breaks, obsessive fidgeting, blank staring out the windows, and a game I call "Stump the trainer". This game has kept me the most entertained of all of my various diversions, and it consists of me asking complicated, obscure, or irritating questions to try to get a rise out of the trainer. I also enjoy arguing with the trainer or other participants, just to see what will happen. My co-workers dread attending trainings with me because I am always the obnoxious person who decides to start leafing through the training manual to find contradictions to what the trainer just said, usually right before we go on our lunch break.

Because of my hatred of trainings, I decided to volunteer to be a trainer. "Obviously I could do a better job than these morons" I thought. "It would be a good experience, and I could bestow my wisdom upon the masses". Unfortunately, when you volunteer you generally have to accept the first training they offer to you, and I got offered the worst one possible- a state mandated assessment, an exercise in redundancy and wasted time that brings out the homicidal ideation in the calmest social worker. It has an incredibly complicated scoring system that is full of exceptions, independent criteria, and more levels and numbers than the federal tax code. And I had to train people on it. Well, myself and a co-worker of mine who is possibly the only person employed at our agency who is more cynical than I am, and worse at hiding it. Did I mention she is terrified of public speaking?

We went to a two day "train the trainers" session in Phoenix, and reviewed the 100+ power point slides ad nauseum. We jokingly discussed doing the training only through interpretative dance or perhaps mime. But as the day drew closer we both became more nauseous. Once the day of the training arrived I began praying that the people in the audience would either fall asleep in the first twenty minutes, or would be so entertained by our incompetance that they would simply laugh hysterically for the entire six hours. Instead, karma sat down in the front seat, got out its styrofoam cup of coffee, its cell phone, and its large shoe to kick me in the ass.

Half the audience was too bored to fall asleep, and was content with staring at me with blank, zombie-esque faces the entire time. I began to be concerned that their eyes were going to dry out if they didn't start blinking more frequently. The other half? They were very, very angry. They were angry that breakfast wasn't served. They were angry that they couldn't take the training manuals home with them. They were angry that the practice vignettes weren't real clients sitting in front of them, available to answer all their irrevelevant questions. They were angry when I corrected them, and they were angry when I didn't know the answer. They were especially angry when it became blatantly clear that neither myself or my partner were able to score the effing assessment correctly, and, in fact, told them how to score it a variety of ways, all incorrect, throughout the training. One woman was so angry she started yelling all her questions at me, then turned deliberately to talk to the person sitting next to her when I tried to answer her questions. She didn't get a training certificate at the end because I finally lunged across her table and ate her whole, like a python consumes a goat.

People came to the training half an hour late, and returned from lunch an hour late. They stood up and wandered around the back of the room. They left for the bathroom with such frequency that I began worrying about the quality of the lemonade that was served with the afternoon cookies. They refused to raise their hands and participate, even when I threatened to make the training last longer. They yelled at my volunteer speaker just for being affiliated with me. And then, just when I didn't think it could get any worse, they turned in their evaluation forms. One person was so infuriated they actually wrote, in red ink, at the end of a long diatriabe enumerating my various incompetancies, "AAAAAA!".

In other words, every single irritating, disrespectful, obnoxious and inconsiderate thing that I have ever done at a training made an appearance that day. It was like staring at a roomful of my flaws personified. Karma, she is not a subtle lady.

Monday, February 2, 2009

25 Things You Probably Already Know About Me Because I Talk Too Much

Blame Tara, she tagged me and I buckle under peer pressure

1. When my mom was pregnant with me her doctor didn't know I was breech, he told her I had really fat knees. It was actually my head.

2. I know how to crochet anything, as long as it is a square or a rectangle

3. I'm a super sensitive person, but I'm also probably the least politically correct person in social work.

4. I have always wanted to be in a musical, but I can't sing and I can't dance

5. I went rock climbing in the Tetons

6. When I was little and playing make believe my name was always Princess Rainbow Brite Tigerlily

7. I wanted to be First Woman President until middle school, and a professional poet until I graduated from college.

8. I started dating my husband when I was 19.

9. I've only had 3 1/2 real boyfriends

10. My face transforms when in front of a camera and I turn into a remarkably ugly stranger. Even my husband says so.

11. I freak out at the idea of doing any kind of math, including addition and subtraction.

12. I have to think carefully before I can tell my left from my right. Sometimes I still get it wrong.

13. I had a double major in creative writing and linguistics in college and wrote poetry about obscure linguistic concepts that no one understood.

14. I have met numerous famous writers, and I hit Robert Creely (former US poet laureate) in the head with a microphone.

15. I hosted an Open Mic night at Club Congress.

16. I am the great-great-great-great niece of the first prime minister of canada.

17. My first pet was a toad named Toadster.

18. I read obsessively, and will read the same thing over and over again if there's nothing else in front of me.

19. I wrote a short story called "Boris Yeltsin and the Chickens of Wisdom" in 4th grade.

20. I knew who Boris Yeltsin was in 4th grade because my parents didn't listen to anything but NPR on the radio.

21. I got into social work because I was a terribly administrative assistant.

22. My dog is sitting next to me and he just farted.

23. My husband proposed to me in front of a statue of Hippocrates.

24. I am either very outgoing or very shy and quiet, there's no in between.

25. I can't seem to keep track of where my body is in space so I'm constantly crashing into doorframes, walls, and other inanimate objects.