At least the hike was nice


When my parents were visiting a few weeks ago, we all crammed into the car and drove to a nearby town for lunch, to be followed by a family hike. Lunch ended predictably, with Miss E screaming about something. A blue marker not being the right blue marker, I think? The detail doesn’t matter so much as the pitch of the screaming. I carried her outside while the rest of our party paid; she screamed and screamed – now mad that we left the restaurant against her will. A stranger on the street took an interest. “Hey, little girl!” he yelled. I assumed that he wanted to make her laugh. (He was destined to fail.) I gave him a friendly shrug, in that “toddlers, what can you do?” way. She just screamed.

I walked past him toward the car. And then he got weird. “Hey!” he kept yelling. “Come back here!” He started following, as my family caught up to us. He wasn’t quick, but he was dogged. And high. Definitely quite high. I urged my family to move faster to our car, parked 100 yards away. My husband (who’s taken about five forms of martial arts and is probably just itching to maim someone) ambled along, now carrying Miss E (yes, still screaming). He remained unconcerned about the greasy-haired menace behind us. “What could that guy do to us?”

I’m not so sure he’s not a zombie, I thought. “Just go!” I frantically commanded. Finally, everyone buckled up in the car, we took off. The zombie began to write something onto the dirt of the car behind us. “I think it’s our license plate number,” my husband joked.

I flipped on the GPS on my phone; naturally, it took us in a very large circle. Five minutes later, we cruised past the scene of the (potential) crime. The police had been summoned. The zombie wildly gesticulated – pointing first at the space where our car had been and then at the dirt where he had scrawled, wait, did he really write down our license plate number? He didn’t notice our return, and we glided silently by.

Since we were never pulled over, I presume the police were not alarmed by the report of a white family kidnapping a black toddler from the local diner. Or perhaps we’re still on the lam.

MicroblogMondays: Cringe Edition


Recently, The Bloggess had an awkward experience. She tweeted it, and thousands of other people started tweeting back their own awkward experiences. It was so cathartic to read through and realize that my own cringe-worthy experiences – which still make me blush no matter how long ago they occurred – are no worse than anyone else’s. But they are still pretty bad.

I have a private Twitter account, so I couldn’t share with The Bloggess but I will share them all with you. My top five most awkward moments:

  • At Mr. T’s apartment when we were first dating, I had been holding in my farts all evening because it was so quiet in his apartment that I couldn’t even use the bathroom privately. And then I nodded off… and the sound of my own farting woke me up.
  • When I was in fifth grade, I participated in cheerleading (very small school – all the girls cheered). While getting ready for a game at my friend’s house after a slumber party, her dad – the pastor of our church – knocked and walked in to see if we were all ready. For reasons I can’t fathom, I decided to pull down my sweatpants to show that I had on the cover-up thingy that goes under your cheer skirt. But I accidentally pulled it down too.
  • In high school quiz bowl (of course I was in high school quiz bowl), the teams were asked, in the category of “Words that start with the letter A” to identify the sacs in your lungs. I yelled out areola! in front of three male judges and an all-male opposing team. The answer was alveoli. Not nipples. I quietly blamed it on the girl next to me for whispering the wrong answer. She didn’t.
  • The first time I had sex, being duly prepared for the occasion, I grabbed a condom out of my coat pocket and handed it to my boyfriend. He couldn’t get the wrapper open and turned on the light. I had handed him a packet of breath mints.
  • Once at work, I was explaining to a male lawyer why I hated sushi. In addition to hating the taste/texture, I mimed it being too large for my mouth. Blow job style.

And one bonus that is not my story:

  • I once worked at a movie theater and my male coworker was helping two ladies – hot blond ladies – get refills for their drinks at the concession stand. Referring to the lids of their drinks, of course, he said, “Can I get you ladies to take your tops off for me?”

Now don’t you want to share an awkward moment too?

Either way, definitely go check out The Bloggess’s continuing coverage of Twitter’s embarrassing shenanigans. Post 1, Post 2, Post 3.




Every November I am jealous of the people who write every day for NaBloPoMo.

(Even though the name is ridiculous.)

Every November I am working feverishly to catch up on however many billable hours I am currently behind.

(53 last I checked.)

That’s just, like, a full extra week of working – packed into the two busiest months of the year.

(No wonder my family gets presents from Amazon, and Amazon only, purchased at the last possible minute each year.)

But I will make my hours.

(I always make my hours.)

The frustrating part is that I am working all the time, and yet I’m still always behind.

(But I have recorded 375 “non-billable” hours. Meetings, lunches, networking, speaking, writing. All required.)

That alone is 2.5 months of full-time work.


It is cold today. And I am sick.

(Still. Again.)

All I want to do is curl up on the couch with my laptop.

(And blog.)

The sum of her parts


We are finally in the homestudy stage of the foster process. We’re also in the stage where we fill out The Sheet. The one with all The Boxes. The Boxes that make adoptive parents feel guilty because we would just deal with any of these things if a baby were born to us with one of these “boxes” checked, right?

Hearing loss, bipolar disorder, tantrums, cerebral palsy, heart murmur, sexual acting out. Those kinds of boxes.

Our social worker has suggested that we’re too open-minded with our selections. But I think we’re realistic – we crossed off all the sexual and violent ones for Miss E’s safety. But otherwise, we’d consider almost anything. Not to say that we would actually accept anything; but consider, yes.

I tried to reason with our social worker. If you made a list of hard things about Miss E, it would look intimidating. Feeding issues, sensory issues. Other things I don’t fully spell out on the blog for privacy reasons and because this is not a place I come to bitch about how hard parenting can be. Hint: It can be hard.

In short, her list would look tough. Maybe more than I’d knowingly sign up to take on. She, of course, is awesome. She is not defined by that list. Her list should say:

  • Incredibly empathetic
  • Reads way more words than a four-year-old should read
  • Scary-good memory
  • Freakin’ hilarious
  • Musical
  • Artistic
  • Loving
  • Athletic

Anybody would want to parent a kid with those bullet points. The Boxes don’t cover them, so I keep an open mind. Naive? Maybe. Intimidated? No.

A book-book here and a book-book there: Q3


My book list is pathetically short this quarter. I have finally embraced the quitting of books that I don’t like, and boy howdy did I give up on books this time around.

Like the WWII historical fiction where in the first scene, a family in this small French town jumped into the bed of someone’s red Ford pickup truck and took a detour through the countryside to avoid the line of red tail lights in front of them. Red Ford pickup truck in 1940 France? Red tail lights? Maybe possible – a stretch – according to my quickie internet research. But I don’t want to be SO distracted by trivial details that I feel compelled to look them up before I can finish the first chapter. Done.

Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom? I slogged through half of it and then it dawned on me that not only did I dislike the characters (which is sort of his trademark, no?), I felt no curiosity about the rest of the story either. Done. Audio books where the narrators’ voices make me cringe? Done.

So what did I make it through, you ask?

Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell (3 stars) (nonfiction) (audio) – Not my favorite Sarah Vowell book, but anything by Sarah Vowell is worth your time. Here, she’s delving into the history of Hawaii with her usual combination of snark and history-geek excitement. I always listen to Sarah Vowell’s books because her deadpan delivery makes them even funnier; she gets bonus points in this one for her ability to say “Queen Liluokalani” so many times without stumbling.

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick (fiction) (5 stars) (audio book) – I liked this movie but I LOVED THIS BOOK. My memory of the movie is admittedly poor, but the book seemed… darker. Better. Like the main character actually suffered from a mental illness and wasn’t just a hot guy pretending to be mentally ill. No offense, Bradley Cooper. The movie was up for, like, eight Oscars, so I suppose the problem is me and not him.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (fiction) (4 stars) – A young woman looks back at the grisly murder of the rest of her family when she was a child. Typical dark twisty Gillian Flynn. This one had the added intrigue of a small-town obsession with high school Satanists in the 80s, and I grew up in a small town under siege by high school Satanists in the 80s (really, they just spray painted everything in sight with their Satanic catch phrase, but for me it gave the book a nice authentic vibe).

The Man Who Couldn’t Stop by David Adam (nonfiction) (4 stars) – This is a book about obsessive compulsive disorder written by someone with obsessive compulsive disorder. He researches the disorder exhaustively but also intersperses the facts with anecdotes about his own obsession, AIDS. He discusses the history of the disorder, causes, treatments, and, for example, how he called an AIDS hotline with questions so often that he knew all the workers’ voices and they knew his.

Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho (fiction) (4 stars) – A novel about a twenty-four-year-old woman who, for no particular reason, attempts suicide and awakens in a mental institution where she awaits death again. Parts of the book are based on the author’s experiences being institutionalized as a young man. The book is poetic and philosophical.

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (fiction) (4 stars) – This book is probably best classified as fantasy, which is not my usual genre. The plot jumps to new characters as time advances, and each time I resented it, a little – having to adjust to a new storyteller when I’d grown fond of the prior one. At first, the threads of fantasy are less frequent – just enough to create a sense of intrigue. By the end, the threads come together in a cataclysmic battle between good and evil.

What have you been reading?

#MicroblogMondays: Bullet Point Six

  • Mr T finished his foster classes on September 1 (mine were done in June). We should have started our homestudy by now (the final step in our foster certification process), except our paperwork-collector-worker (Not Her Real Title) waited until that date to inform us of the need for a physical for Miss E, and she also either lost/never received (but previously told us she had received) Mr T’s physical. One month later, we are still waiting on Mr T’s physical to be re-sent/re-received. I don’t know on which side the incompetence lies, but it is getting just a taaaaad aggravating.
  • I have insomnia. Terrible insomnia. I am not a good family member or worker bee in this state.
  • Speaking of working, I have had four interviews since July. Three declines. Waiting to hear on one, but without much hope that it will result in me advancing to the next round. Nothing brings out the self-loathing in me like an interview. I’m really good at what I do but apparently not at convincing people that I’d be really good at what they do.
  • About 10 days ago, some dude on the street asked me when the baby was due. I kept walking and yelled back at him “Not pregnant! Infertile actually, so thanks for that!” I had only mild endo-bloat that day and am otherwise *fairly* trim and *fairly* happy with my body. Not that I couldn’t be happier with it. So I immediately hit up my friend Kathy and joined a Beachbody Challenge. Damn it.
  • I love fall! (Hold the pumpkin, though. Ick.)
  • Someone called me a bleeding heart liberal on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and I still smile every time I think about it. That is SO not an insult in my book.


#MicroblogMondays: These Legs Are Made for Kicking


I posted this on Facebook but I think it deserves its own #Micro post. My girl started soccer this weekend, and so I turned to Amazon Prime for my last-minute “oh crap, she doesn’t have anything that qualifies as gym shorts” needs. And this is what I found: “Little Boy” shorts on the left, “Little Girl” shorts on the right, size 5T. T as in TODDLER.

what the what?

This was not unique to the Puma brand – I could not find any girls’ shorts that were of comparable length to the boys’ shorts. The girls’ shorts are cuter – I’ll give you that. Why cute requires showing off so much leg – so much four-year-old leg – I’m less clear on.

we wear boy shorts

Boy shorts and pink heart shin guards. 

See more #MicroblogMonday posts here.

Let’s talk about race: post 2


A reading/writing lesson brought to you by this opening paragraph from the New York Times:

Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City’s police commissioner apologized on Thursday for the mistaken arrest of James Blake, a retired top-10 professional tennis player, who said he was slammed to the ground outside his hotel in Midtown Manhattan after being confused for a suspect in a credit card fraud investigation.

People often read only the first paragraph or two of a news article, and so writers attempt to draw readers in with a catchy intro that also gives the basic facts – the ol’ who, what, when, where, and why. Articles can also contain subtexts through the selection of words or pictures or the omission of details. To me, the very basic paragraph quoted above brims with subtext.

The NYT wrote that Mr. Blake “said he was slammed to the ground” instead of “who was slammed to the ground.” So, Mr. Blake said he was slammed, a witness said he was slammed, and the police commissioner acknowledged concerns about the officer’s “takedown.” If the NYT felt uncertain about the accuracy of the verb “slammed,” it could have chosen another word. Instead, it put an implicit question mark in that paragraph – the NYT has granted you permission to wonder if Mr. Blake is telling the truth. He said he was slammed. Was he slammed? We report – you decide! (OK, that is an old Fox News catch-phrase, but you get the point. If you are not given enough information, how will you decide?)

Passive voice: Mr. Blake was slammed to the ground. Who slammed Mr. Blake to the ground? Hmm. Well, the Mayor and Police Commissioner apologized, so maybe the police did? The NYT leaves you to infer who did the slamming. Avoid passive voice unless you want to minimize the impact of the person doing the action – that is Writing 101 and certainly known to journalists who write for the NYT. So is the NYT attempting to minimize what occurred by removing the detective from the action? Or did the editors just approve sloppy writing? I report, you decide!

More passive voice/poor sentence construction: “After being confused for a suspect in a credit card fraud investigation.” Being confused? Who was confused? If only this sentence wasn’t written in passive voice, maybe we wouldn’t be confused about who was confused! Or wait, maybe no one was confused because Mr. Blake just said that someone was confused? I’m confused.

“Mistaken arrest.” Oopsie!

You may think this is just a coincidence… or just poor writing. But when I read this, I see unconscious racial bias. You might think I’m off my rocker, but just tuck this post away in your mind. More obvious examples abound, but I chose one that I consider subtle. Read enough of these stories, and a pattern emerges.

For more info, see:


Let’s Talk About Race is my occasional series where I talk about race and encourage commenters to as well. Here is Let’s talk about race: post 1.


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