Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I could say that my life is in total upheaval. Everything is topsy turvy. I feel like I'm at a giant train station. An outdoor platform, smoke in the air. I am waiting for the train that is my life to arrive. But the platform is my life. My life is what is happening now. Happiness depends on my ability to make peace.

Make peace with the platform.

I could say that on Christmas morning, Ayla was underwhelmed by her gifts and I was embarrassed.

I could say that we walked to the lovely beach from my brother-in-law's lovely beach-ish house and that we saw dolphins and the girls splashed in the sand and frolicked in the gentle waves.

I could say that I dropped my camera into the ocean and that even though I plucked it out quick as a glimmer, it was ruined.

I could say that I cried at Disneyland. I could say that I was extremely frustrated with Disneyland. I could say that I loved Disneyland, and all would be true.

All are true.

I cried when Ayla and Indy met the princesses. Isn't that the stupidest thing? Who can account for this? Do you know me? I am not the sort of person that cries over princesses.

Yet. I did.

I could say that Disneyland is the line-iest place on earth. That you have to wait in line to wait in line. And let me say: We all know Disneyland is expensive. What I did not know was that it costs approximately $100 a minute. And that is just to breathe the air.

I could tell you that our families were so generous with us that we didn't have to worry about money when we were there, and that was an enormous relief.

I could tell you they confiscated my one Disney souvenir at the airport because ornament Cinderella was sitting on a small liquid-filled bubble.

I could try to tell you how surreal and completely divided from all things natural Orange County is and I feel like if I lived there, I would go into a kind of cement and mall tainted sleep, and possibly never wake to the bracken and bramble again. But really, why bother to dwell.

I could tell you to take heart. Take heart. The darkness has come, and it has passed. Already, the light is returning.

I keep waiting for my life to start, but this is my life. In all its slouching, lurching, glimmering uncertainty. The dolphins may be offering up brief mythic glances in the distance. It's all right to look. Fear not, the tide is coming in. But don't forget. For now, you are not in the waves. For now, you are standing in the sand. Beautiful things surround here, too.

Find them.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I'm always looking for good recipes. Here's one. I could eat this at least once a week. I would, if it wasn't made of cheese and bacon grease. Cheese and bacon grease? You had me at hello.

Paupered Chef's Pasta Carbonara

Image from The Paupered Chef.

Pink and Glitter

Indy-Lou-Who says. . .


Comfort and joy to you*.

**Tori wrote this Christmas tune in celebration of her daughter.
It's supposed to have a big band. To hear the album version,all tony and full of swing and swagger, go here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Thanks Living

On Thanksgiving, I took a lot of really crappy pictures:



I told Noah I want to save up and drop $800 on a camera but I don't think he heard me because he just went straight to the fridge and downed two Ten-Fidy's right quick.

I was trying to take pictures of the girls making their gingerbread houses.



Unfortunately, Indy got herself almost immediately drunk:


She spent the rest of the night dancing on the table wearing nothing but a pair of my underwear and an oven mitt and shouting "Hey guys, check out my moves! Check out my moves I says! My moves is the best moves in the whole apple town. I's is habbing me awn onwee on da dis tie-em, guys. GUYS! LOOK AT ME!!"

That is, when she wasn't busy calling Max a fascist dictator and Ruby a socialist.

Ayla and Noah started knocking them back as well:

Mercy and Lucy were all like, 'Omg, can you BELIEVE those blackguards? Methinks they shall be cordially uninvited to our upcoming Venetian Breakfast':


Really, I felt they made a right Cheltenham tragedy out of it.

The Tuttles are all just so exceedingly photogenic, though, so you can quickly forgive them for indulging in a little bit of Regency-era snubbery:


Obviously Goodwifes Tatum and Tuttle, for all their teetotaling, were clandestinely imbibing a little something of their own:


Ayla sounded her barbaric yawp:


Then Indy wrestled with daddy until daddy got all Mike Tyson on her:


I blame the sherry.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Things I Learned In November:

Sometimes when you do something that is really hard, people will tell you how lucky you are, and both parts are true.

The Bible says leave and cleave, right? But a cleaver cuts things apart, mainly meat. What can we learn from this? Maybe the Bible meant a man should leave his mother and father, and then go on to cook a whole lot of barbecue for his wife. Can't really argue with that wisdom, can you?

All manner of ill mood, luck, and will can be remedied by a Coopersmith's Sigda's Green Chili beer and Kermit's Pizza.

When your bright and burgeoning five-year-old has to leave her class of new friends and wonderful, wonderful teachers, you will be desperately sad. When Fort Collins, best place to live in American, actually does not have enough room for every child in it to go to preschool, and tells you your child has been placed on a waiting list, you will again be desperately, frustratingly, achingly sad. There is nothing you can do to change this. Try to accept it. Think lots of angry thoughts about Fort Collins for a few days. Then, try to accept Fort Collins as well. You live here now, remember? And you ain't got the energy or desire to change it.

Free employee beer can sometimes work like a balm. The Beer of Gilead comes in cans.

You will miss your old places: the library down the block with the librarian who knew you and always removed your fines, your mail carrier who knew you by name and smiled and waved, your Barnes and Noble with adequate seating(30 seats for 130,000 people. Really, Fort Collins?), the park down the street the other way where your children ran and played for three years, the horsey park that always felt like an adventure.

But you will find new places. A beautiful new library where all the books and dvd's are new and a play area that keeps your kids entertained for hours (ignore the fact that the bulk of the Fiction collection is cheesy Christian Fiction. You can order other books through Prospector loans).

Feed yourself Coopersmith's again. I cannot overemphasize the importance of Coopersmith's.

You are capable of crying very, very hard over having to leave a job. A JOB. Always try to find a job that you would cry to leave, in the future.

Amazon Prime soothes all manner of lost employee bookstore discounts. You could marry Amazon Prime, you know. Employee Discount always did have commitment issues. Also was kind of a whore.

A husband who will bring you hot cocoa and leave you alone in your room for a few hours is worth his weight in books, free shipping, and Green Chili Beer.

(Plus, have you tasted the barbecue?)

Pictures to come soon. Promise.

Over and out.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mash Up

Because of Heather, I had too.

Indy has star quality, don't you think? Runs in the family.

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


We didn't get a very nice fall here. At first it was hot. Then it was suddenly very cold. All the leaves froze and turned dirty brown. There are a few red trees to be found, but they are far between. It snowed yesterday, a soupy wet snow that wasn't pretty or cozy. All the leaves lie mushy and brown in our yard. It froze the day of the pumpkin festival, and they canceled the fun. By the next weekend we were too tired and too broke to make it out there.

Mentally I am reaching forward, into the future, looking for brighter spots to hold on to. Already planning Thanksgiving delights in my head. Catching myself humming Christmas songs over dirty dishes. I was talking to God the Mother the other day (wonders of the internet). She asked what we were going to shed this season, as the trees shed their leaves. She asked what we would reveal in the coming darkness.

I thought they were good questions.

One Sunday, I woke up in a black mood. I took a shower and was feeling so entirely void of any goodness that I went and lay back down. A while later, I woke up. The house was quiet. Outside, one of the only brilliant and beautiful days of fall was happening. It would happen whether I was present to see it or not. I texted Noah to see where he was. He texted back. They were at the horsey park. Did I want him to come get me?

I didn't realize, until now, how valuable this is. To have someone that will leave you in the dark, accepting that is where you are, and then, at the right time, ask you if you're ready to come out of it.

To have the courage to say yes.











Friday, September 18, 2009


I am aware that I'm spreading a known virus here. But everytime I see it, this just makes me feel good.

Three Good Things

1) I nosed around, discovered the title of the new Oprah book last night, and purchased it at my work--almost 24 hours before the selection was officially announced.

Yeah. I was pleased with myself there.

2)I have inherited shapely calves and small ankles from my mother, and no matter how much weight I gain, they stay that way. (Thanks mom).

3)Tonight I have a date with Husband, Pacey (they don't mind), and a pumpkin beer. Sunday morning I have a date with a vanilla latte, a pumpkin muffin, and a blank notebook.

See? Now we're at four good things. Or six, depending on how you count.

Happy Friday.

Now go get your Friday pants on.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Not a lot of words today. I am writing other things and there is only so much energy left afterwards to go into the blog.

On September 17th, 2001, David Letterman was the first of the late night shows to return to the air waves after September 11th.

Tori Amos traveled by car (airlines were still down) from Florida to perform that night. She did a cover of Tom Waits' "Time".

You may think I am a crazy fanatic over Tori and perhaps that is true. But we look to performers to capture, to mirror back at us, emotions we are feeling, or emotions we have felt. Ones that we weren't quite capable of or equipped to name at the time we felt them. Experiences that we feel only intuitively. Good writing does the same thing. It says:look. It names all the ineffable moments of human experience that we might be too deeply entrenched in to name ourselves.

Tori does this. If you have seen her live, you have seen it for yourself. Any performer will tell you crowds have energies. The collective energy of all the people there that night. Tori harnesses that energy. She uses it, she names it. The woman downright wields it like a sword. She opens up a space for us to experience things that, until then, were only gnawing around the edges, visible only out of the far peripheries. Here, she did it after September 11th. The hardest spot to hold in your soul is a tender one. We feel tenderness and immediately try to push it away. Reacting in anger or throwing up defenses to make ourselves hard again. Tori held that tender spot open. The place of sadness, of sorrow. The place that needs time to heal. The place where hope is asking if it's too soon to nudge back in.

Well. To me she did, anyway.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Frak 'U'

We are having a hard morning.

Ayla is obsessing over her letter.

Preschool starts with circle time. You sit on your letter on the circle rug. The first day Ayla sat on the letter 'A' and was pleased as pink punch.

But Ayla did not get assigned the letter 'A'. Pert, upright, charming little 'A'. Ayla was assigned the undulous,unctuous, sinking depths of 'U'. My first born likes things to be neat and orderly. She decides, with her own reason, how things should go, and she has a very difficult time if life does not unroll the way she imagined it would and should. Ayla starts with 'A', she sat on 'A' first, 'A' should have been her letter.

"How was school?" I ask Ayla.

"I sat on the 'A' and then I got up to use the bathroom and a girl sat on my 'A' and the teacher told her to move but she wouldn't move."


"Ayla, at school today you will play outside, you'll play in the house, you'll sing a song, maybe you'll draw a picture. . . "

"But will I have to have circle time?"


Silence. Folded arms. Cross face. "I HATE circle time. I don't want to go to school!"

All of this stress (it is stressful for a child like Ayla for there not to be order where she believes it should be. I feel stressed when there's no order in my life, and I'm not four) and disappointment culminated in an Ayla who, this morning, asked me nicely if she could stay home, folded her arms and demanded to stay home, shouted at me that she HATES school, and finally, in the hallway, began crying and begging me please to take her home, she did not want to go to school, she wanted to play with me and Indy.

She was out of school on Tuesday with a bit of a cold. Otherwise, I'm telling you: I would have whisked her out of there.

Ayla was coaxed, crying, to the inferior 'U' on the circle mat. Indy was pulled out of the classroom, crying and kicking (her usual leaving Ayla routine). I stood in the doorway hiding from Ayla but watching her sad little face with tears rolling down.

Miss Kim persuaded me to leave but I wanted to punch her in her smiling face. The umbilical cord thirsted for her blood. It will not abide the sound of tears.

Then Indy and I walked to Starbucks and walked home. We do this a lot in the mornings, but this is the first time we had ever done it without Ayla. Only Indy skipping along beside me. No Ayla running a block and then getting tired and climbing gangly-limbed into the stroller.

I missed her.

It made me very sad. And so I cried.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Sorry Excuse

Miss Indiana Sophie Tuttle did in fact turn three years old on August 15, 2009.

She did not get blogged about, due to the sturm und drang over Ayla's first day of school.

(Side note: the German term 'sturm und drang' was the inspiration for the name of the school Durmstrang in the Harry Potter novels)

Noah made some really good food and if you want to see a lovely picture of it, head over to my sister's blog.

It was fun to have Indy's birthday because the beast is a charmer and she gave us a multitude of happy exclamations to soothe our tired ears. Wow, cool, awesome, great, and thank you all poured like sweet honey from her lips. And unlike Ayla, Indy was not apt to open a present, throw it down, and start crying because you bought her a purple sparkly live unicorn with rainbow hair instead of the pink one that she asked for.

Happy Birthday, Indy. Thanks for being my daughter. I couldn't survive motherhood without you (and your sister too).









(A note on Indy's outfit: Yes, I would have loved for my Indy to look a bit more gussied up and prettified for her 3-day pictures. But my little fashionista changes her clothes about every 33 minutes. (JUMP!) If you don't let her choose her own clothes, she cries. It's not worth the battle. Plus, what kind of mother makes her lively little lovely cry on her own birthday?)

POST-EDIT: That is not a third nipple on Ayla's chest. She fell on the raw metal edge of her scooter handle bar. Domo Arigato, Hello Kitty.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

First Day of School--Ever

Ayla was excited and wouldn't let me hold her hand in the hallways.

They filed in, hung up their backpacks on the hook by their name, and sat in the circle for story time.

I was doing ok until we started to leave
and Indy started yelling
"C'mon, Aye-yah! Aye-yah, C'mon! Let's go!"

Then she started crying but not
I did.













Friday, August 14, 2009

Dear Mom


Dear Mom,

I don't remember which Halloween it was that I was Rainbow Brite. Maybe you don't either. But I bet you remember sewing that costume. It was perfect. I remember that to me, it was absolutely perfect. It had the big puffy arm things and the big puffy rainbow leg warmers. In my memory, dad painted a star on my face.

I remember being in a room with you. I think it was on Dexter street, but of course, I'm not sure. You were interviewing me. Well--you were interviewing Rainbow Brite. I believe I requested an interview and you obliged while getting me into that costume. You asked me questions about my horse, Starlight. About the sprites, and my favorite sprite, Twink. I think you asked me what it was like bringing color to the world.

I loved Rainbow Brite. I loved that huge, homemade costume. I don't think at seven or eight or nine, I was sentient enough to know that the costume I so loved was an expression of your love for me. But I know now.

A mother-daughter relationship is messy. We end up all tangled up in one another. Enmeshed. Some mothers--like the Other Mother in Coraline--consume their children. Some undermine them, rob them of confidence or sense of self. You did so much better than all of that. You gave me what I try to give Ayla and Indy--the freedom, and the ability, and the courage, to be myself. Not an actress, like you. Not a crafty sort of person. Maybe (here's the tricky one!)not even a Lutheran. (Uh-oh. I guess giving your children freedom to pursue their own passions can be a double-edged sword. Now watch Ayla and Indy grow up to be gender-role worshiping anti-feminists. Or Fundamentalists. Or Republicans. Horrors!)

Which is important. Equally important as everything else you did, when we were small. Driving to field trips. Baking cookies in winter. Blasting music on Christmas and Easter morning (it still feels festive to me). Listening to me, and never laughing at me. Being a woman of strength so I could learn to be one too. Reading The Secret Garden to me--and then letting me read The Secret Garden to you. Once, on Humboldt street, I woke up from a nap and found you and dad in the kitchen. I was sure, at that moment, that you had never been happier to see anyone or anything in your life than you were to see me. (Now, as a mother of napping toddlers, I realize your feelings upon seeing me up and at 'em again may have been something less like joy and more like resignation. But I didn't know that, then.)

All those things were so important.I want to tell you how much all that means to me now. But mostly, I just want to say thank you. Mostly, I just want to say that I love you.

Happy Birthday, Mom.



Monday, August 3, 2009

I'm So Excited

I'm so excited! I'm so. . . well you know the rest.


Since many of us have been so enjoying The Time Traveler's Wife, I thought you might like to know that Audrey Niffenegger's next book, HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY, will be released next month. September 29, to be exact.

You might be interested to know that like virtually everyone in the literary world, Niffenegger is friends with Neil Gaiman. She did a large amount of research into graveyards for HFS, and so when Neil Himself needed to learn about graveyards for his Newberry award winning novel THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, Audrey, in a moment of fearful synergy, showed him around London's Highgate Cemetery, and, we can only assume, displayed to him her fearful savvy.


While we are on the subject of books:


THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is the first book from Swedish author Steig Larsson. I picked it up after hearing it reviewed positively on NPR. It is a crime novel.

Yes, that was hard to admit.

Crime novels and mysteries are not usually my cup of joe. But after reading Tana French's incredible IN THE WOODS and her eerie follow up, THE LIKENESS, my mind was softened toward the genre. Let me tell you, if you don't read certain books because they are considered genre novels, you're only hurting yourself. You are sparing yourself from some truly wonderful writing simply because you are a bit of a snob. Take a deep breath and get comfy with your snobbery. Then try admitting that someone who writes "fantasy" (like Tolkien, LeGuin, Gaiman?) or "mystery" (Wilkie Collins, Edgar Allan Poe?) could conceivably be. . . a decent writer.

Dragon Tattoo author Steig Larsson died after turning in the manuscripts for three books. The books have since been hugely successful. He was a journalist and an activist, exposing racism and sexism in Swedish government, and because of his views received many death threats during his life.

The book is very intelligent. It deals with government and politics and Swedish culture, while at the same time unravelling a great mystery. Many mysteries seem to get a bit of a kick out of killing off young women in all sorts of horrendous ways. Larsson uses the death of or violence against women in his novels as a way of saying, Look. See what is being done.

Mainly I enjoyed it because the main character spends a lot of time driving around Sweden downing latte after espresso after coffee after latte. I enjoyed the book taking me to snowy Sweden, eating strange Swedish sandwiches (egg, cheese, caviar) and bacon pancakes. And downing all that coffee.

Off to have a latte and dream of snowy climes.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

On The Range

I am feeling quite sorry for myself, and I thought you all might want to join me in feeling sorry for myself, too.

Mr. Vesuvius is traveling to Chicago for a few days. At an undisclosed point in time. He is traveling WITHOUT ME. Let me repeat: Mr. Vesuvius intends to abscond with himself, secreted away in the warm confines of a chase, borne across plain and field of corn, SANS HIS COMELY AND MAGNANIMOUS WIFE, to the vast sweeps of the metropolis Chicago.

Wife will remain at home to tend the children and feed the Indians. And you never know what a young wife might do, left alone in the wilderness with but the company of herself, her babes--still in small clothes--and the unsettling yet alluring presence of the savage braves.

Most likely she will live at McDonalds and the giant breakfast food at cherry creek mall.

Feel free to send pity offerings--coffee beans, espresso drinks, books, soft t-shirts, magazines, red wine, dark chocolate, etc--to young wife at her home address. Don't hesitate, my dears. We all know you are charitable indeed. But most humble about it, at that.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Raising Junior

When Ayla was a newborn, I thought she was Uncle Junior from the Sopranos.

Yes, really.

I don't expect you to understand. I can only tell you the truth. You see, when I gave birth to my first child, my hormones served me up a pretty wild cocktail. Some women get lovey-dream-unicorn potions. Some seem to get bliss in a bottle. I think mine must have had the hormonal equivalent of absinthe in it, because I was pretty sure my life was over, and that in my arms, all day long, I cradled and rocked and soothed Uncle Junior.

I was terrified to leave the house. Not because I was worried about germs. I was worried my baby would scream and people would stare at me and judge me and know I was a bad mother for having an infant that actually cried, and may even report me to social services, because that woman's baby was CRYING, for heaven's sake, and what kind of mother gave birth to a child that would actually CRY? Because you know what they say about babies: Crying in public one day, raising communist armies the next.

So I was spending most of my time sitting on a couch holding Ayla and watching tv and trying not to think about how I'd never be able to read a full magazine article again, let alone an actual book, and writing? Forget about it. That was a dream for people without uteri, clearly. So we were watching The Sopranos. A lot. Episodes back to back, three or four a night. I don't remember a lot about season one, but I do remember this: Uncle Junior was a tyrant. He ruled that family. He kept them all on a short leash, and they were obliged, nay, forced, to be at his beck and call. You did what he wanted, when he wanted it. If Uncle Junior wanted baked ziti at 4 a.m, you made it for him. If he wanted to throw it up all over you afterward, yet let him do that too. You didn't piss off Uncle Junior because he would throw a tantrum. Raise an almighty ruckus. And if he did, you might end up crying, feeling helpless, feeling out of control of your own life. You could find yourself curled into fetal position in an old Toyota on the New Jersey turnpike, rocking yourself and knowing that life as you knew it was over. Or standing in the dog food aisle at Target holding nursing pads and four boxes of Abuelita and trying to remember how you got here in the first place and whether or not you actually have a dog. He might deprive you of sleep, if you did not comply with his demands. Or, you know. Put a bullet in your brain pan.

Are you starting to see the connection? Little burrito-baby Ayla Beloved was ruling our lives surely as Uncle Junior ruled those Sopranos. That, my Green Fairy hormonal happy hour special, and Ayla's beautiful but scrunched, wrinkled, wizened little face, were all causing me to gaze down into the eyes of my nursing baby and become convinced that I was, in fact, nursing Junior Soprano.

(Note to those of you considering having babies: Newborns make you so deliriously tired that you may actually hallucinate you have birthed an 80 year old,bespectacled, cranky mob boss. Or maybe these days, you will think you're nursing Naveem from Lost or Admiral Adama from BSG or Tracy Morgan. Just know you are not alone.)

Ayla no longer reminds me of--or appears to actually be--Uncle Junior. I mean, sure, yesterday she did demand I drive her to her favorite Italian bakery for cannolis and on the way there arranged a hit on Brobee, that monstrous green thing from Yo Gabba Gabba that she hates, but what kid doesn't want to see Brobee get what's coming to him?

No, friends. Ayla cut her own bangs on Sunday. As soon as I find my hook-the-camera-to-the-computer cord, you will see pictures. But for now, you'll have to satisfy yourself with this knowlege.

These days, she reminds me of Amelie.

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