Thursday, September 18, 2014


I recently started writing letters to my sons because I'm a better writer than verbal communicator and I felt like there was a lot I wanted to convey to them.  I won't share every single one because some are more personal and some are frankly a bit boring, but I thought I'd share a few, just because.

Dear Cole,
I want you to know that you can truly tell me anything and it will stay with me and only me until I'm dead, whereupon I'll become a lovable albeit quirky ghost who will haunt you for the rest of your life, privy to all your secrets.   But seriously, I've got your back no matter what. I might get mad sometimes but you never have to worry that I'll stop loving you like crazy. You can also ask me anything and I'll try to give you a straight answer, because you are old enough for honesty and because honesty is freedom.  

Honesty is something that everyone tells you to practice, but not many people do. Lying is easy and sometimes it helps in the short term, but it also creates lots of little land mines you're forever trying to memorize and avoid. It's exhausting.  Sometimes being honest is hard and scary or could hurt someone you care about, but when you tell the truth, you're free from that deceit. You don't ever have to think or worry about it again.  I can tell you all this not because I'm perfect and never lie, but because I've lied and been lied to many, many times in my life. Most were innocent and had no real consequence, but some took on a life of their own and did a lot of damage, the worst damage being the harm I did to myself.  I sort of went with the flow and said what I thought people wanted to hear all the time and after a lot of years I realized that I didn't like who I was. I had become a phony version of myself and reversing the process would take a really long time.  I don't want that for you. So just be honest.  With yourself, with others and especially with your mother.

Forever the Sophia to your Dorothy,


P.S. Write me back or you're grounded.

P.P.S. Just kidding :)

P.P.P.S. Not really. :|

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bored Ginger

This post is dedicated to the drunk man I walked past while I was in the states who said, "Hey Red!" And when his friend asked who he was yelling at he responded, "That bored ginger right there." (Either that or, "Hat bow ginger Rhett Butler." I'm not 100%.)

A.  No. I was just discussing this with my friend Jess. Give us a freaking break. You know who drinks solely because they like the taste? Psychopaths. 

A.  Um, no. They use the sound of crying babies to elicit confessions from hardened criminals. Or at least they do in movies. My point is, it's a horrible sound.  I don't care if it's your baby or someone else's, it's the worst.  We all get it. Even the ones who plaster a big fake smile on their face and act like they love working out and volunteering. No they don't. They love anything that gets them away from their screaming baby and makes them feel better about how hollow their lives are.  Not all of us can/want to stay home with our kids. There's absolutely zero shame in admitting you don't want to. Working moms are the shit. Stay at home moms are the shit. Babes rule.  (And if you want to work out or volunteer that's cool too.  I was mostly kidding about that.)

On another note, what is your baby's name? Did you name him something unique and hip, but also terrible? Kale? Wren? Drum? Maybe that's why he's crying.

And hating where you live...preach on. I get it.  I live on a tiny, isolated Japanese island in a house sandwiched between the sea, a burger joint and a cigarette shop. The smell on hot summer days can only be described as Courtney Love's vagina circa 1993. 
*Cue email from my mom with the subject line "GOOD GRIEF, MICHELE."
As I see it, you have three options. Learn to love it, tolerate it, or leave. 

A.  Human blood and formaldehyde.   

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Take Away

Since my last personal post was a bit doom and gloom, I thought I'd update everyone in a way that says, 
"Hey, I'm okay!"
(I was going to spell that out in single shooters I stole off my flight home but I thought it might send mixed messages.)

No, maybe home wasn't all I'd imagined it would be and maybe I didn't have any spiritual epiphanies, but looking back I definitely learned a lot and had some things confirmed to me.


6. If you are an awkward and/or embarrassing person, just accept it. Don't fight it. Don't overthink, make excuses or obsess on it.  If anything it makes life more entertaining. For others. And by that I mean your behavior gives people something to talk about at parties when you're not around.

5.  Loyal friends and family will make themselves known when you are in crisis, but so will the glass house stone throwers and gossip-mongers.  Again, don't overthink or obsess on it. Let them create and spread whatever narrative they like. Send them flowers with a card that reads, "Thanks for making me sound more interesting than I am."  Or get creative!

4. If you break something, stain something or clog the bathtub drain at someone else's house, don't tell them.  If they ask about it, suggest that maybe their house is haunted.  Or blame their kids/pets.

3. Leaving thoughtful notes around your host's home when you leave is very sweet, until your flight is cancelled and you have to return for the night and face everyone you already wrote your emotional goodbyes to. Then it's like running into the same person ten times at the grocery store. Next time think about taking a cab to the airport in the dead of night.   For an additional layer of fun act like you were never there and see if you can make them think they're going crazy.

2. Do not tell your hostess how sad you are the morning before you dye your hair red. Seeing blood-like splatters on the bathroom floor is apparently very upsetting to some people when taken out of context.

1.  Be selfish sometimes. When push comes to shove you are your best and only advocate.  You might look like the bad guy.  You might burn bridges. You might make a mess. It's okay. It's your life. Don't live it for how you might look to other people.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


I'm not going to sugarcoat it. This is a post, in part, about coasters.  But in my defense, look at them. 

They're freaking beautiful.  I don't even want to put my peasant cups on them. They deserve wine goblets made of hand-carved wolf bone and gold or something.  UncommonGoods has a huge selection of unique, handcrafted gifts, many of which are produced using recycled and natural materials.  I promise you will find something amazing for everyone you're shopping for, but will probably end up buying only for yourself because you would rather have agate coasters than friends. 

I spent maybe six hours browsing this awesome site. I know this is a review and I'm supposed to be very critical but I just can't.  I love it all.
So go check out UncommonGoods (they have gifts for kids too).   Give them all your money. You might lose your house but you will have a Homemade Gin Kit so what are you even complaining about?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Dandelion Village

My step-brother is doing something sort of amazing. He bought a house on some land and is in the early stages of building an EcoVillage, or sustainable community called Dandelion. The property is beautiful and for the first time in two years I got the slightest taste of fall, as the leaves are just starting to fall and crunch underfoot.  We walked through the gardens, stopping occasionally to pick raspberries, peppers and squash.  It's an awesome concept and I hope he gets the funding and support he needs to make it a reality. 

If you want to learn more/help out/live there/donate click here!

Sunday, August 31, 2014


I am home.  Not the physical home I grew up in, but a guest room in my mom and step-dad’s home in the town I grew up in.  They are both professors and their house is near campus, where I ventured yesterday but quickly retreated from because there was a football game and undergrad coeds are the living worst humans in the universe. (I apologize if you’re one of these shit buckets. You’ll get it in like ten years when you grow up and realize how terrible you were. Or you won’t because you’ll still be fucking terrible.   I DON’T KNOW YOUR FUTURE.)

Anyway. I’m home.  I’m home because things in my grown-up life are slightly falling apart and I felt like I needed respite. I’m home because although I am technically an adult, that doesn’t mean I know what to do or where to go from here.  Maybe it was a chicken shit move, like when you’re a kid and you call time-out in a game you know you’re losing. I don’t know.  The thing I’m quickly finding is that home isn’t really home anymore. It’s an old shirt you love that doesn’t quite fit you right anymore, but you hold onto it anyway because it means something to you.

I came back for many reasons, but I think I secretly hoped for some sort of epiphany or at very least a little clarity.  Instead I'm overwhelmed by the frustrated restlessness that resides in the pit of my stomach and a chorus of voices in my head all asking variations of the same question.  
“What are you going to do now?” 
I pick up a framed picture of myself from maybe seven years ago and fight the urge to fling it across the room.  Instead I lie on my bed and stare at the ceiling, wishing someone would tell me what to do next.  The girl my mom says, “came out of the womb defiant” is now begging for guidance.  

So really,  what am I going to do now? I suppose what I've always done. Make mistakes. Get humbled. Listen to people who are smarter and wiser than I am. Hug my mom, hug my kids and take deep breaths.  Revel in the sacredness of broken things and then move on. I have never prescribed to the notion that if you're going through hell just keep on going. You do that and you learn nothing. You do that and you fail to gain the profound appreciation of peace that only comes after you've known chaos. Don't get me wrong, I have moments of angst and I occasionally eat my body weight in tear-soaked pie. Things aren't always exactly as I imagined or hoped they would be. That's life.  And this is home.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Old Babies

If you have small children, there will be many instances in which some well meaning older mama looks at you with knowing eyes, full of sadness and says something like, "Treasure these moments...they go by so fast."

Aidin at 6 or 7 months, crying because I would not let him eat a dead bee.

Here's the thing ... Older kids are awesome and fun and independent and frankly, much less work. I mean, puberty is weird and gross but overall not unbearable. So next time you start feeling a little sad that your precious babe is growing older, ask yourself these questions:

1. Does your baby help out around the house? No. You baby does nothing. He's a baby.  Some day, my friends, your kid will do such wondrous tasks as carrying the groceries in for you, doing the dishes and even cleaning the entire house when he's about to ask you for something big. You can say no. Your house will still be clean. 

2. Does your baby laugh at your jokes? No. Your baby is laughing because he's crapping his pants. Sharing humor with your kid is super fun. Watching movies with your kid and laughing at the same parts is awesome. Hearing your child deliver a biting comeback at precisely the right moment will fill you with more pride than you ever imagined.

3. When you tell your baby you're having a rough day, does he leave you alone and give you some space, or offer to split a Snickers with you to make it better? No. Your baby does not give a shit about your feelings. 

4. Does your baby let you sleep? LOL. That was mean. Sorry. 

5. Does your baby let you shop in peace? No. Your baby wants to sit in a cart or a stroller for exactly however long it takes you to find something you like. Need to try that something on? God help you. What's that? You want to eat out with your baby? Let me know how that goes.

6. Remember alone time?'s okay...

7. When was the last time you said no to your baby and he listened? Oh that's right...babies don't understand words or desperately whispered pleas. Babies do whatever the fuck babies want to do.

Babies are basically the worst.

 Okay, settle down, I'm kidding about that. I loved my guys when they were tiny little lumps of useless perfection. Babies are cute and wonderful and they smell like a heavenly cloud of goodness. So take a deep breath and enjoy this time, but don't be afraid of it ending. It only gets better.  Because your baby is going to take the best aspects of your personality and become the most amazing human.  Or the worst aspects, if you're a dick. So don't be.