Morning people

You know what’s fun (and for “fun,” you should substitute absolutely any other word)?

Having a kid who is as crabby as I am in the morning.

Grace takes after her father. They both have the uncanny ability to brain immediately after waking (shut up, “brain” is too a verb), a talent that eludes me. It seems that Sam has inherited my level of functionality. He does not (yet) tackle the problem with gallons of caffeine, as I do. On a good morning, he simply stays in bed until he feels capable of facing the day. On a bad day, though.

Today Grace decided, almost immediately on waking, to play with her Playmobil family. She’s been setting up her dollhouse for them.

“Mom, will you play with me?”

“After I drink my coffee,” I tell her, guilt eating at my stomach lining. (Okay, guilt and strong black coffee.)

So she plays by herself until Sam stumbles out of the bedroom, yawning (he’s been awake for at least 20 minutes at this point), and collapses into a chair.

“Sam!” Her bright eyes turn to him like he is her favorite person on earth–which he is. “Will you play with me?”

“Ugh, Gracie. I don’t want to play.”

And just like that, everyone’s morning goes to shit.

And because I recognize in him my own failing, I have to work extra hard to keep from exploding with anger at him. Why can’t he just be nice to her? I know the answer, but I want him to hold it together in the morning, the way I often cannot.


I was still in bed this morning when Sam brought me an orange balloon and asked me to blow it up for him, which I did.

Later, he was playing a game of Don’t Let The Balloon Touch The Floor and I told him he needed to stop because it was turning into a game of Hit The Balloon Into Mom’s Face.

Later still, when I’d had some coffee, he asked if he might play with his balloon again. I said yes, and he did, and he had a good long run of keeping it in the air before it landed on me.

“Oh, why am I not good at this?!” he cried in frustration. “I guess I will not be a balloon thrower, after all!”

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.

What it’s like

I’ve been a little quiet lately. Allow me to illustrate why.

Grace spent all day demanding my attention pretty much nonstop. She can get very anxious and clingy. I am exhausted.

Tonight, after kicking me out, sobbing that she needed alone time, she called me back into the smallest room in the house to ask me if you play bongos with sticks. When I said no, you play with your hands, she burst into tears. “But I want to play bongos with sticks!” I told her that she can do whatever she likes, and she brightened up and told me she’d borrow the sticks from her glockenspiel. My protests that we don’t own bongos fell on deaf ears.

And that pretty much sums up every day of my life.



That was a very difficult three hours.

Dot was on the bedroom windowsill, where Grace has never before put a toy. It was a total fluke that I found him at all–she was helping me put some craft supplies away and I gave her a little butterfly bracelet that was in with my beads. She decided she didn’t want to wear it, and I went to put it away. I saw one of her necklaces laid out on the windowsill, and when I moved the curtain to pick it up I spotted Dot.

In the interim, I discovered (with a lot of googling) that Dot is a Beanie Baby named Hydrant. I am filing this information away in case anything ever happens to Dot, so we can get his “sister” for Grace. (I would never try to pull a switcheroo on her. She is too smart.)


Grace’s favorite toy is missing. She doesn’t know yet.

We realized after the children were in bed that we hadn’t seen Dot, Gracie’s stuffed puppy and constant companion, since we got home from hiking this afternoon. She and Sam (and Dot) took the stairs while Will and I took the elevator. Grace was carrying Dot and her jacket.

We don’t remember seeing Dot at any time after that, so we assume she dropped him and didn’t notice because she still had her jacket.

We checked the stairs, all the landings, the car, all around the car, our entire apartment, and even the dumpsters. No Dot.

I made signs and put them on every landing, describing Dot and asking for his return. Surely he was picked up by a neighbor’s child. But what if they don’t see the signs? Or don’t care?

I can’t remember ever feeling this devastated over anything. My stomach is in a knot thinking about how Grace will feel tomorrow. I’ve cried twice and I’m pretty sure a third time is imminent.