Hope

Hope is seeing  your grandmother’s flowers in your aunt-in-law’s backyard. It’s watching second cousins who have only met once latch onto each other with ease and love. It’s eating sausages cooked by a young man who fought back childhood cancer that could have killed him. It’s taking pictures as directed by a tiny girl and complying to her demand, “Me see em!” entirely to hear her squeal “Oh my GOD!” even if you just took a picture of a water glass.  It’s watching a total of ten first and second cousins ranging from 18 down to 2 years in age play joyfully together for an entire afternoon and evening, even after rain drives everyone indoors at a small lakeside cabin.… Read the rest

The Marriage At The Rue Morgue

 

When the search for an abandoned orangutan leads to the death of their best man, primatologists Noel Rue and Lance Lakeland find themselves in a wedding quandary. Police suspect the ape, but Noel and Lance know better. They cannot call off or delay the big day, and they must juggle their search for the real killer with last minute details like convincing half the family the wedding isn’t cursed just because it’s being held at a former funeral home.

This cozy mystery set in a fictional town in Northwestern Ohio shows the inner workings of a primate sanctuary, even as it explores deeper questions about the secrets we keep from each other.… Read the rest

Dear Armstrong Family

Dear Jon Armstrong and Heather Armstrong:

Don’t worry, I’m not one of those assholes who feels the need to jump Heather’s shit and turn what you are both terming “Recent Events” into a hate fest. I do not blame either of you for the current state of your union, and I do not, in fact, feel like your marriage is any of my goddamned business at all.

But that’s why I’m writing you. Naturally.

I want to talk about this from a fan’s perspective. I follow blurbomat and dooce.com. I feel (although the feeling is false) that I am included in some of your most intimate moments.… Read the rest

Sam’s World

Sam had an epic meltdown last night and another one this morning. Two for one special down at Scream Mart or something I guess. I don’t know.

There’s an art to finessing these things so we don’t feed into them while still trying to force the little monster to gain some control. I don’t honestly remember what set him off either time, and once he’s in the heat of one, it doesn’t really matter.

If he were older, just a little older, I could comfortably put him in his room and, barring his own ability to confine himself to its four walls, lock the door and leave.… Read the rest

Two Days until 35

Lest you think I am a total Scrooge (I am) let me pause in my Christmas ranting to tell you something that makes me really happy this time of year. There are several things. But heading up the list is MY BIRTHDAY, which is coming up on Wednesday. People, I was born 11 days before Christmas, and because my Mom is that kind of mother, I never once in childhood lost my day to the big holiday looming soon after. December 14th has always been, and will always be, my favorite day of the year.

Now, getting other kids to come to my party was always a challenge.… Read the rest

When the Books Close In

Right now, in the room we call our office, there are books. A shitload of them. They aren’t all mine. Aren’t even MOST mine. And they don’t confine themselves to the office. They are everywhere. Here are just a few examples.

Mine:

OK, so I don't have them completely stuffing EVERY corner

His:

And Neither Does He

Ours:

But working together, we're pretty darned close

and Theirs:

And our children have learned well from usAlthough technically, standing up these would give us enough room to also include the ones you can't see that he's thrown behind the bed

And maybe that wouldn’t be so bad, but there are three full bookcases I didn’t even bother to feature, plus another one that is empty. And then there are the boxes. Boxes and boxes and BOXES

Yes. That's also books. Every boxof the exact same thing.

__________________________________________

a flicker of inspiration at Lightning BugI’m linking this up with The Lightning Bug’s “Flicker of Inspiration” #27, “Here with Me”.… Read the rest

Dear Lady Gaga

Dear Lady Gaga,

I really like your song “On The Edge of Glory”. It’s got a strong dance rhythm, a memorable tune, and catchy lyrics. The video is also pretty cool. It’s a little different from the large scale dance productions you did for songs like “Bad Romance” and “Alejandro”. I loved the contrast of seeing just you, and I it allowed you to showcase your talents in a much different way.  (And let me say, I had no idea there were so many things one could do all alone on a fire escape.)

But let me get to the meat of my discussion here.… Read the rest

A Nightmare for Halloween

I’m walking around Chatfield’s campus, down by the heart shaped pond, where the Canadian honkers congregate every fall. Sam is with me. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a snake, but I don’t take alarm. It doesn’t look venomous.

In fact, I think I’ll have a closer look, so I pick it up, and only in that instant, when my hand closes around its middle, do I realize the snake is poisonous, the worst kind. It whips around and sinks its teeth not into me, but into Sam. He screams, and then the snake bites me. Sharp, bruising pain runs up my arm where the fangs sink in.… Read the rest

In Dreams

I’m naked again, and somehow I just now noticed in the middle of the hall. I duck around the corner and run outside, where I try to crawl under a bench. Nobody else seems to notice or mind my total exposure, and it’s ironic that this is the only time I seem to be completely invisible.

I walk into 8th grade Algebra and – bang! – it’s exam day. I haven’t studied, my eyes keep blurring out the questions, and this is the big test. The one that determines whether or not I go to high school. In fact, if I fail this one, they’re going to put me back in 6th grade and make me redo that, 7th, and 8th all three.… Read the rest