Heartbreak; new dress and a trip; sorting

Last night I received the impossibly sad news that my friend Laurie has died. I am still reeling and can hardly believe it. She was the funniest, warmest person I knew. And oh, she loved Sam. Whenever she was down she would ask for a Sam story to cheer her up. She was also my knitting pattern line’s #1 fan.

Laurie loved movies. We went out at least once or twice a year to Cinefamily (formerly the Silent Movie Theatre, aka where I got married), and to the Egyptian Theatre for the American Cinematheque’s Noir festival. This is the first year we missed it.

I feel like there is a hole in my chest.


Because life goes on, I will also blog about the stuff I was planning to write about.

I finished sewing this in time for my friend Jim’s wedding:

100 Acts of Sewing Dress No. 1

100 Acts of Sewing Dress No. 1

I swear that huge wrinkle didn’t really show in person, and the pocket is sewn on evenly.

I flew to New York BY MYSELF overnight last Wednesday-Thursday. I bought a SIX DOLLAR MOCHA at JFK, then took the AirTrain to the A train and rode into Manhattan. I got off in the village and had breakfast with my dear friend Nova, then walked to the 1/9 and went up to Lincoln Center.

Lincoln Center, aka my favorite place on earth

Lincoln Center, aka my favorite place on earth

Tiny Amy met me there and we wandered up Amsterdam to 72nd street, where we got some amazing falafel at Soom Soom Vegetarian Bar. Then I headed to Grand Central Terminal and took a commuter train up the river.

View of the Hudson River from Metro-North near Sing Sing Penitentiary.

View of the Hudson River from Metro-North near Sing Sing Penitentiary.

I spent the long weekend with my mom. This is the first time I’ve been childfree since Sam was born, and the first time I’ve ever been away from Grace. The first night I slept twelve and a half hours (though to be fair, I’d only slept about two hours on the airplane).

It was nice to be back in Woodstock.




In my grief and confusion today, I did not know what to do with myself. So naturally I signed up for Pottermore to get sorted.

HUFFLEPUFF, BITCHES. Common room next to the KITCHEN.

HUFFLEPUFF, BITCHES. Common room next to the KITCHEN.

This is so appropriate that I cannot even.

It’s amateur night again.

Oh, do I have a blog?

I woke up early today. Sometime not very far past 5:30, and I have a fairly strict rule that I do not get out of bed before 6:00 so I stayed there for a bit, listening to Grace snore. Sam was awake too, up in his bunk bed, kvetching that the fan Will put in the bedroom window (which I loooooooove) is too loud and he was too cold. I got him another blanket, and stayed up. Will got in the shower, and then we had an earthquake.

Earthquakes are loud. It sounds like everything is shaking, though it doesn’t always feel like it. I was worried about Sam, so I stood up to run back to the bedroom, only one really doesn’t do that during a quake. I sat back down involuntarily and waited it out. As I expected, Sam was a little freaked out and Grace was still fast asleep.

It was a 4.7, not too shabby. Over on Twitter, half of Los Angeles was calling it a Shamrock Shake and the other half was fuming because they didn’t think of it first.

We are (probably) not Irish. I am Sicilian, Dutch, Welsh, English, and I think French (possibly some other stuff too). Will is mostly English and Scottish on his mother’s side, and we don’t know his father’s heritage (adoptions were closed in the 1940s and he chose to never pursue it). The red hair most likely comes from the Scotch and Dutch sides of the family.

For Saint Patrick’s Day we will be eating fish and chips for dinner and drinking a pint of Murphy’s. But I will not be wearing green, and don’t even think about pinching me.

Gracie and the Wizard in Oz

*title is a take-off of the title of the sixth (I think) Oz book.

So today we did this:


Grace was mesmerized. When Dorothy is a prisoner and the Wicked Witch turns over the hourglass, I peeked at Grace’s face to see if she was all right. She huffily turned and said, “I’m not afraid of anything!” so I guess that’s that. (She is so fierce. I love her so much.)

A few minutes later I happened on a link to this Wizard of Oz theme park, which has been closed for nearly my entire lifetime but opens to visitors once a year, and this weekend is it.

Then I remembered that once upon a time I wrote some stuff for Blogging.LA about strange Oz-related rumors.

Real-life Munchkinland

Oz sets used to build the 10

The best part of all of this (other than Grace) is the small worldliness of it all. I met my friend Burns through blogging.la, he introduced me to roller derby, and another ref posted the link that got me looking at blogging.la again.

I’ve got a fever

Remember when I swore off IKEA forever and ever? And then the very next season they brought in all the beautiful textiles and housewares and I was like, okay, but no more furniture EVER. And then a few years went by and we had children and I was like, FINE, but just a few things and only until we can afford better.


The IKEA catalogue arrived yesterday and I have IKEA FEVER. I want to re-furnish our entire place. I am in love with ALL THE THINGS. (I mean, not really ALL of them. That would be nuts. But at least an entire apartment’s worth.)

Please send money and also a larger apartment.

It’s Me Day!

I am 35 today.

I woke up before my children (because my bladder is a bitch) and have done very little today. Ate bagels. Read a book. Took a bath. (I might have done those two things at the same time.) Drank lots of coffee. Went to a bakery for cake. Bought booze. Ran for president. (No, but it’s really the only interesting thing being 35 allows you to do.)

Will gave me the collector’s edition blu-ray of Blade Runner. It has FOUR VERSIONS of the movie over three discs, plus special features and a DVD of I don’t even remember which version. The children gave me a gift certificate for a new brassiere, which might not sound exciting but it is. They went to Jenette Bras with Will and filled out the card themselves. Vasquez complimented Grace’s hair. (I probably ought to stop thinking of her as Vasquez. I will never stop thinking of her as Vasquez. I am considering trying to work up the courage to ask her to sign her character card from the Aliens board game.)

So, this is 35.

Lately I have been so into the books I’ve been reading that I’ve read each of them twice. Finished reading, went straight back to the beginning. With Code Name Verity it was somewhat necessary (the second half of the book explains a lot of what’s going on in the first half); with the others, I just wasn’t ready to be done.

On Tuesday I am going rollerskating for the first time in at least 20 years (probably 25). I am a liiiiiittle nervous.

But first, dinner tonight at Hop Louie, my favorite restaurant in Chinatown, followed by drinks at our place.

If I do not spend all of my money on food and beverages, I might get a tattoo. Poppies on my right arm. (Because someone asked, they don’t represent fucking opium. They are the California state flower and they are my favorite color and they are very pretty.)

Sudden Onset Insomnia

Current unfounded fear (perhaps I should try going the fuck to sleep): when the children and I visit my mother in the fall, people will think Will and I are in trouble because he isn’t coming with us. Which is because, you know, he has to work.

Originally, I was going to fly out alone for a weekend so mom and I could go to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck together. But then my sister’s wedding date ended up being just two weeks later, and flying out twice seemed so expensive that I decided to bring Sam and Grace and just stay. Except it only just now occurs to me that if Will flies out to join us for the wedding, we’ll end up paying for the same number of plane tickets as we would the other way around. Only now I am pretty attached to the idea of staying for those two weeks and seeing my east coast friends and family.

But now I’m all anxious for fear that said friends and family will jump to conclusions and the last thing I want to do is go around insisting that no, really, Will and I are so happy! Which we are, but thinking about defending it exhausts me.


This is not what I thought I would write.

I am friendly with the office manager/receptionist/whatever she is at Sam’s speech therapist’s office. Lori. At last week’s appointment—

Lori: How old were you when you moved out on your own?

Me: Seventeen.

I’ve given that answer for literally half my life and it occurred to me last week that it isn’t actually true. At seventeen I moved out of my mother’s house and into a sublet apartment with my father. We lived as roomies for most of a year.

The apartment was kind of horrible. It was essentially one room–you entered into an anteroom, bathroom off to the right and a typical New York kitchenette at the end; that room was filled with boxes and things of my father’s that move from one temporary apartment to another.

Then the main room, a large square that held my futon in the corner against the wall shared with the kitchen; a low table with our stereo on it (receiver and record player to start, with large headphones at first and later a pair of good Bose speakers that I still have and can’t quite part with, and even later a Denon single disk CD player that I also still have but would love to be rid of); across from that, my father’s futon folded up to sit on; next to it, a table with two chairs in front of the window overlooking a courtyard.

He brought me an African Violet from the Bronx Botanical Gardens and I kept it on that windowsill. That violet moved with me everywhere that I went until I came to California. You cannot bring flora of any kind into California. I’m not sure what happened to it then.

There was another window too, the one with the fire escape. Sometimes I’d climb out and just sit on the fire escape. My friend Nell lived in the attic bedroom of a big house in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and she used to climb out onto the roof below her window (it must have been over a porch or something) at night and smoke and feel dangerous. My fire escape was basically the same thing, I guess. My solitary version of the escape I usually took daily, to the coffee shop around the corner.

Just before my 18th birthday, my father moved out of state. I stayed with friends for a week or two, Paul and Stefan and Paul’s girlfriend Kyra. Stefan let me have his room, overlooking Tompkins Square Park. Paul took me to his little brother Johnnie’s wonderful garden apartment for dinner on my birthday. Spaghetti and red wine. A year or two later, long after I’d moved out of the city, I visited John’s apartment again for a brunch party. Bagels and mimosas.

(Paul and I have been in and out of touch over the years since. I emailed him in a panic after the World Trade Center fell, as Johnny had worked in building 5. I think it was five. He was long gone from that firm, in Europe when it happened. Thank god.)

I will be 35 in twelve days.

I miss that apartment on West 21st Street. The diner is no longer there, around the corner on 8th Avenue. I wonder what happened to Anna, the Greek woman who ran the place. She was always there, whether I came for coffee in the morning or coffee 11:00 at night. I took cream and sugar back then. I’d stopped eating eggs before I moved there, but I think I started again because what else would I eat at a diner? She didn’t butter the toast unless asked to.

I just fell asleep in my chair.

So, a thing that I cannot really recommend doing, and yet wholeheartedly recommend doing, is officiating a three day roller derby tournament.

I worked six games over the three days, and I kind of feel like I am going to die.

I also have not had that much fun, like, ever.

I missed my family like crazy, though that was slightly lessened on the final day when I had the bright idea to have Will bring Sam and Grace to watch. They came with me in the morning and we watched the Juniors championship together. Then they went home for lunch and I got ready for my last bout of the weekend. When it was over and I exited the track, a little voice called, “Mom!” and a little arm went around me and there was Sam! It was the best.

Grace wants to “roller skate like the derby dolls.” She says, “I skate and I skate and I skate and I fall down and I get up and I skate.” So, you know, she totally gets it! Of course it’s basically impossible to find any real skates that are small enough for her. I mean, for less than like $200. I found those in her size. Sigh.

Anyway. Roller derby! Yay!

64 shopping days to my birthday

I’ve given it some thought, and for my 35th birthday I want:

  1. This mug by Jennie the Potter, which is, unfortunately, a limited edition only available at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend. Poo.
  2. An iPad Mini, because not having a portable device more sophisticated than my Kindle is really becoming problematic.
  3. Someone to write me fanfiction about Garven Dreis, aka Red Leader, the pilot whose attack run on the Death Star impacts on the surface minutes before Luke’s successful attempt. (4,000 words, please.)

I don’t think that’s too much to ask, do you?

Doing What I Want

I’m so tired right now. I woke up with the worst hangover I’ve had since…well, since the last time I had a hangover. It’s pretty infrequent, and I thought I might die (or at least puke) when I got up this morning.

On Wednesday, Laurie and I had our yearly date to the Noir festival at the Egyptian. It’s one of the nights I look forward to most every year. This year we saw Cry of the City, which I’d never even heard of, and The Killers, which is one of my all-time favorites. Despite both movies being relatively short, I didn’t get home until about midnight.

Thursdays I take Sam to speech therapy, and this week I went to the Doll Factory for weekly ref practice (usually I go on Wednesdays).

Friday I could barely move, but managed to get the laundry done and the children outside (for a walk to the doughnut shop, shut up) by some miracle. Then, instead of staying home for Deadlands, I went to the Doll Factory again to officiate a Juniors game against Seattle.

When I got home, I sat with the guys (who were still playing Deadlands) and drank wine. Then I slept for 9+ hours, woke up, took ibuprofen and drank a lot of water, and went back to bed. Then when my stomach couldn’t take it anymore, I got up and Will made me eggs. I am on my second pot of tea and beginning to feel moderately human.

I fucking love officiating roller derby. I feel like shit right now, but I am not sorry I went to last night’s game.


Last week I sent off a sample I knitted of Olga for Stephania of Three Fates Yarns. She was kind enough to supply the yarn for the original sample, so when she was looking for booth samples I offered to make her one. She sent me some beautiful pink yarn for it in a BFL/nylon blend, which I really like. She messaged me this morning to say that customers love it–yay!


We got rid of our microwave after it started sparking randomly when we’d use it. Not every time, but often enough. We didn’t use it that much, and I don’t miss it at ALL. I feel almost zen in the kitchen these days. I find it easier to keep clean. I love having extra counter space. I am really happy with our new recycling system too–I got bins that we are keeping on the balcony.

I still think this apartment pretty much sucks, but I’m so much happier living here than I was before. We put up curtains and did a bunch of the other little things that make it feel homey, things we should have done ten years ago. Deciding to really live in the place where we live was the best move we’ve ever made.


tl;dr I am hungover and happy.