Like Grapes on a Vine


Uva uvam vivendo varia fit.

Look, that isn’t a real Latin saying (it’s nonsense, basically), but it is a real quote from Larry Mcmurty’s Lonesome Dove. He claims that it means something to the effect of, “two grapes that grow together on the vine grow to be like each other.” Probably his description is more succinct? I bet he had more coffee than me.

Anyway, Will and I adopted it as our motto way back when. And it’s been more true than I’d ever have imagined. I mean, for heaven’s sake, look at that photo. We have the same damn hair. Mine is a little swoopier, maybe.

We don’t finish each other’s sentences so much as we say things in unison all the damn time. People must think we’re crazy.

To be fair, I think we probably are.

Love & Marriage & Food

Sixteen years ago today(ish), I went to check my mail at the campus mailroom and ran into my friend Hilary. She was talking to a man in a tie, who I assumed was a teacher until she introduced him as her friend Will. So, that was a pretty good day.


Yesterday was Will’s 39th birthday. Since he spent most of his Christmas money on practical stuff, we went to the toy store to spend his birthday money, and came home with a bunch of Western Playmobil. Then I made the pretzels you see above. I used this recipe and they were SO GOOD OMG. I used kosher salt because it’s what I had on hand but I think they would be even better with coarse sea salt. (I might buy some and find out. Like, today.)

For dinner I made the best mashed potatoes I have ever made (four large-ish yellow potatoes, skins on, boiled; mix with a little of the cooking liquid, half a cup of sour cream, half a stick of butter, and salt), caramelized Brussels sprouts with shallots (slice both thin, cook in olive oil with salt, pepper, and a pinch of brown sugar), macaroni and cheese (frozen from Trader Joe’s, shut up it is really good), and a steak for the birthday boy, pan fried and covered with mushrooms sauteed in butter with a splash of red wine. The children had macaroni (plain) and sausage, because they have unimaginative palates.

Will and I have reached the point in our marriage where the main thing we disagree about is whether the heat should be on. (YES. IT SHOULD. You are warm enough BECAUSE IT TURNS ON when the temperature goes below 64.) Wait, I shouldn’t have led with that.

What I mean to say is we like each other a lot. I am super-glad he was born.

I am Nora Charles.

This is my marriage:

Unfortunately, this is me whenever I drink enough to feel it:

(I found these GIFs last week, while hungover. I was looking for one that showed Nora ordering five martinis, then asking what hit her. It does not seem to be out there, which makes me sad.)

Responses to “I love you.”

  1. No you don’t.
  2. I know.
  3. I love you, too.

These are actual things I have said, to the last (only) three dudes* who told me they loved me. Poor Will must have been so surprised when he found out later what a smart-ass I am.

*Not including Sam.

Dear Children,

Thank you for hearing my pleas to the universe and going to bed at a decent hour last night. That was very considerate of you and allowed your father and I to actually spend some time together when, for the first time in weeks, I was not panicking over a deadline.


For future reference, please know that it is generally understood that if you GO to bed, you ought to STAY in bed. Waking up two hours later, interrupting our Parks & Rec viewing enjoyment, and destroying the chance of any other type of, ahem, enjoyment, is just plain RUDE.




Seven years is wool. Since I already have enough wool to make a few sheep, Will gave me a shawl pin from Designs by Romi and I gave him a picture of the sweater I’m going to knit him. (Will is also buying me a set of Addi Clicks, but I was responsible for ordering them and I forgot. Oops.)

The time Jay Munly saved my marriage

Ten years ago, give or take a week, I flew to Los Angeles on one of the first commercial flights post-9/11 to see my boyfriend and Slim Cessna’s Auto Club. Airport security was strange and frightening, and for the first time ever Will did not meet me at the gate, but in a remote parking lot they bused us to. He and I had only been un-broken-up for a couple of months, but I felt an intense sense of togetherness and was weary of the 2200 miles between Chicago and LA.

The Auto Club show was amazing. Will had never seen them before; I had seen them twice, which in no way diminished my enjoyment.

After the show, we said hi to the secondary front man, Munly. He recognized me and said, “What are you doing here?” I explained that I lived in Chicago, where we’d met before, and my boyfriend lived here.

“No,” he told me. “You can’t be so far apart.”


That was September, 2001. In March, 2002, I quit my job and flew to Los Angeles. In July I flew back to Chicago and packed all of my things into a truck. Will flew out to meet me and we drove the truck to LA. In September, 2003, we got engaged, and in October 2004 we were married. Now we have two children and we still love the Auto Club.

Last month, almost ten years to the day, we saw Slim Cessna’s Auto Club play for the first time since Munly told us to stop living apart. When we walked into the club, he and Slim were sitting at the bar. Munly stared at me. After the show, Will and I went over to buy their latest CD. Munly said he’d known we were there to see them, even though we’d arrived so early. I wanted to tell him the story I’ve just written down, but it was late and I was tired and although he’d recognized a kindred spirit when we’d walked in, he didn’t remember us from ten years ago.

But part of me thinks maybe he did. I should have told him.

Sometimes we break my house rule and talk about Shakespeare.

W: Which one’s Claudio?
A: The one who’s supposed to marry Hero.
W: Denzel?
A: Robert Sean Leonard.
W: Oh. Claudio’s a dick.
A: Yup. You know who he reminds me of? Romeo.

(Heh. I just did a quick search to see if I ever posted about the Shakespeare house rule, and found this post in which I called Claudio a dick.)

(House rule, in brief: we do not talk about Shakespeare.)

How I’ve Changed

When I met Will (13 years ago this week OMG), we were introduced to each other as “both liking movies.” Which is really the dumbest basis imaginable for pushing two people together, but since we still discuss movies on a regular basis obviously it worked.

One of the movies we discussed fairly early on was Much Ado About Nothing. It had come out just a couple of years earlier and we both loved it. Will quoted it at me: “Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.” Benedick says it to Beatrice, and while I liked the quote I had been unimpressed with their romance in the movie (I’ve read a lot of Shakespeare, but never that one, so my opinions were solely based on the movie). Even though I thought Claudio was a dick, I related more to Hero, the wronged lover, than to Beatrice, squabbling with her enemy-cum-lover (and yes I just saw what I did there oops). Their romance didn’t excite me at all.

Now? I think that line is just about the sexiest, most romantic thing anyone has ever said to me, I love Benedick and Beatrice (even though I still don’t relate to them exactly) and I can’t believe Will put up with my immature ass. (It was a really cute ass, though.)