Keep smilin' until then

I started this blog eight years ago this week because spending all day with an...enigmatic infant was causing me to rapidly lose my mind. She looked like this:

I needed some way to process the difficulty I was having and someone to talk to, so I started talking to *sweeping arm gesture* and found that no matter how enraging or humiliating or desperately lonely my day may have been, if I summarized it with a couple of pictures and jokes, I would feel better about it. And I could move forward.

Then I added another kid, and she had curly hair and smiled a lot. She looked like this:

And I still had a lot of hard days, but I got better at what I was doing and I met a lot of people though blogging and it became less of a way to survive and more of a way to just check in. I've posted at least twice a week for eight years, on holidays, on vacations, on days I was attending a funeral. I made donuts that looked like poop. I attempted to recreate the activities on Martha Stewart's calendar. I killed two (2) lobsters.

Now the girls look like this:

And the enigmatic infant is an open book of an almost-nine-year-old who talks a lot. A lot. And the curly-headed one can orchestrate impressive art projects and read entire books by herself. And I have a small business and as much adult interaction as I can handle, sometimes slightly more.

And the energy that I used to spend successfully alchemizing personal depression and anxiety into mildly humorous blog fodder no longer works, because it is a national depression and anxiety that I'm trying to digest and reform, and I can't. So I wake up on blog mornings with a consistent feeling of dread, because I know that I will have to check and see which level of dystopia we are functioning at that day and adjust my output accordingly, and no matter where I end up on the earnestness scale, it all just feels like whimpering into the void.

So I think it's time for this blog to go on hiatus for a bit while I figure out how to direct my energy in a way that feels more useful. Or at the very least conserve some of it. I will probably come back soon, with a less compulsive posting schedule. Or later. Or not.

In the meantime, know that I am here, making three-year-old Anna's expression of perpetual distress and exhaustion.



I never said our family magic show would be especially challenging

I was reminded yesterday that I can stay fairly abreast of the news without eating it, drinking it, breathing it, rolling around in it, and using it as a night cream, so I have commenced my occasional (triweekly?) abstention from social media until I cease waking up at 3 am in a paralyzing stress hole. Awaking in a non-panic, here I come! #summerbucketlist

I kicked off this recovery period with cold noodles. Peanut noodles are one of my top "I can probably make this without going to the store" meals.

I even beefed it up with some hard-boiled eggs, that's how you know I am dedicated to feeling better

My food stylist noted that "If this were one of those websites where they have a recipe and really nice pictures of the food, there would be one with a fork holding up the noodles so you can see them."

I didn't have the heart to tell her that we are too lazy to be that kind of blog.

Anyway, I was not kidding about all the sugar art:

Our summer aesthetic is "burgeoning cavities"

I don't want to say our summer activities are low-key to the point of being nearly comatose, but the girls spend several minutes in delighting in the fact that when you put a blueberry right on top of the squirrel's eye on this plate, you can make it disappear in the shadow:

Note that the sandwich has been discarded onto the placemat in pursuit of this captivating illusion


More like soul-sucking-stice

Merriam-Webster hooked me up with some etymology that helped explain my mood yesterday, as "sun" and "standing" are two of my least favorite things.

Clearly I cannot blame my eternal enemy, the summer sun, for all of my current depression, but it's making all the evil stuff so bright and hot and ugh.

Anyway, I spent my solstice crying in a dark movie theater, which I think will probably be my new tradition going forward.

I ate a salad. I'm kind of trying. I've also discovered that I am "responds to a total lack of control over the world with increasingly diligent flossing" years old.

Any perfect dental check-up of mine should probably come with an automatic referral to a therapist

On the other end of the spectrum, the girls have been attending their one summer camp of the year this week, wherein they consume and then artistically render sugar every afternoon.

I know kids should just be able to enjoy their summer break, but it makes me feel good that they'll have a leg up in their competitive sugarwork classes going forward

Thought it would be worth mentioning over here that if you donate (or have already donated) $20+ to RAICES Texas by the end of this weekend and send me a screenshot of your receipt, I will send you any 8 oz. candle of your choosing. Please take me up on this, even if you donated earlier in the week, sending packages to people is one of the only things that makes me feel better outside of crying in movie theaters.


The young people will win

I often struggle with posting in times when the genuine darkness of our current reality is most visible, and previously I would tell myself that I didn't have words for what was happening, but that isn't true––I am overrun with words. There are words pounding in my brain and flashing across my vision and running out my ears. Barbaric, inhumane, racist, traumatizing, reprehensible, cruel, unrecoverable. Helpless, angry, anguished, guilty, complicit, frightened, sad. The problem isn't a lack of words, but an inability to arrange them in a configuration that expresses something new or useful or motivating or reassuring. They are just words in a pile that I keep having to trudge through as I clean the house and make candles and help Ivy fold origami hearts and donate and debate driving to the border this weekend.

"You could talk about dinner," Anna gently suggests from the other side of the couch, seeing me tear up at the keyboard.

Dan is out of town and we have basically just been eating pancakes at all hours.

Pancakes, apples, smiles, distraction

We have also been augmenting our FaceTime chats with Daddy with sound effects and different backgrounds.

Anna is still talking, by the way, and has now moved on to railing against the Electoral College, so I haven't given up all hope yet.


There was also a round of gelato I forgot to photograph

We've been at the beach all week.

Both girls grew six extra inches of leg (!) for the occasion.

Anyway, all I've eaten for four days is fish tacos and ice cream.

Look for my revolutionary lifestyle book, "Fish Tacos and Ice Cream: A Gentle Slide Into Caring Less About Things," Spring 2019.


Listen, it might just be too hot to enjoy things

This is your periodic reminder that you are allowed to just have hummus for dinner two nights in a row if you need to. Go on, add some fries in that second round.

I think of all the food items I have threatened to survive on solely for long stretches, the chickpea is one of the most reasonable, honestly

I spent the weekend at the ATX Festival, because that's what I do on the second weekend of June and I don't really have many traditions. It's basically this and eating hummus for dinner. These are the things that define me. 

One Day at a Time--impossible not to be charmed by Rita Moreno, even if my brain does inevitably wander to but what happened to Natalie Wood that night, apologies to this very inspirational group of women for my brain being like that

Drunk History--did I feel great about all the entirely white dude panels I saw? No, but it really takes the edge off when one of them is Jack McBrayer

The tiny, blurry, entire cast of Felicity--I enjoyed this because we did not stay for audience questions

The tiny, clearer, more intense cast of The Americans--this moderator was still...really processing some things

Weekend high points: this bowl of ramen, Matthew Rhys saying the word "garage."



This is your periodic reminder that you are allowed to just eat hummus for dinner. You're even allowed to overeat hummus for dinner, the true mark of freedom.

Quick, check your weather app--does it say "Feels like 103?" Hummus for dinner, friend

This morning I'm off to my beloved/beannoyed/bedraggled annual television festival. Should be extra bedraggled this year! I'm sure by the time it's over the girls will be done sorting through the avalanche of end of school ephemera that came home with them this year.

I left a trusted supervisor in charge of the operation.


All summer meals going forward to be wrapped in rice paper

Bit of an announcement: 3,245 days into parenting I successfully taught the oldest child to wrap spring rolls for me.

I knew this gig would pay off eventually

This breakthrough has freed me up to pursue other exciting projects, such as Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes.

I was so excited about Anna's culinary assistance that I prompted her to plan a meal on her own, and she offered "garlic bread?"

I'm not mad about it, although I did provide a small addition

Anyway, hope you're staying cool out there. We've already checked "museum" and "library" off our Air-Conditioned Escapes bingo card.