Jan 18 2018

Is There Room for Triviality in a World Like This?

Is There Room for Triviality in a World Like This?

I’ve battled an epic case of writer’s block these last several months. It’s not that I don’t have ideas — I do, dozens of them, phrases strung together into haphazard lists on my phone and in the notebooks littering my house. It’s that none of them seem important enough.

Facebook and Instagram and Twitter teem with unspeakable tragedies, news of unrest, and political platitudes. Where social media was once a scrolling stream of family photos and status updates, its purpose now has been emphatically redefined: effect changeIf you’re going to speak, write, wear, or think anything, you’d better be making a statement.

This is such a vital and honorable intention.

Obviously, the method itself has flaws. People — LOTS of them, people you personally know — freely admit to blocking and unfollowing friends who post articles that don’t align with their beliefs or perspectives that make them uncomfortable. This furthers the divide, of course, since now those people are surrounding themselves with carefully curated information that will only serve to bolster their own preexisting viewpoint. Continue reading

Oct 25 2016

Melissa and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Melissa and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Today was a DAY, you guys. Just an absolute day.

I’ve been meaning to write about the other four hundred thousand topics in my Blog Post Queue — which is obviously a very official space in a remote corner of my brain, where I carefully collect all the ideas that rush at me throughout the week and organize them into a giant heap and then place them in the Queue to die, because Peaches really needs a sandwich and Baby B is trying to see if the dog’s ears come off and I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to tend to those things first.

Right now, though, I have to abandon the Queue to talk about a regular ol’ day in the life, which is sometimes terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad, even when everyone seems relatively healthy and no bones appear to be broken.

Oh and also: this post is not pretty or polished or shareable. It’s more of a diary entry I guess, because sometimes writing stuff down is the only thing that makes a wild mind feel semi-tame, which is a big reason this blog was born in the first place.

So anyway. Even if I’m the only one who ever reads this, that’s okay. In fact, you probably SHOULDN’T read it, especially if you’re the least bit squeamish. And/or if you’re eating.

Seriously, fair warning: if you’re still with me, put down the chicken salad sandwich. Continue reading

Oct 23 2016

A Wish for a Quiet Life

A Wish for a Quiet Life

In our house, something is always, always making noise.

Sometimes it’s the drone of whichever football game is forever playing in the background (until I beg my husband to please, just for one second, mute that thing). Sometimes it’s the beeping and blooping of those mechanical toys we totally regret buying, so incessant that we almost don’t hear them until they start playing in our dreams. Sometimes it’s the hysterical bark of our dog, who is absolutely beside herself with joy because the UPS guy just rang the doorbell and that must mean COMPANY, Y’ALL!

And after that, the noise generally includes some combination of sobbing mixed with irrational demands, because two children have just been ripped out of a (rare) sound sleep and they are super unhappy about it. #ThanksBeaker.

In our house, you will hear the baby pounding his fork against the high chair tray because he wants his honeydew NOW but doesn’t know how to ask yet. You will hear plates and sippy cups clatter to the floor the second he decides he is finished — and no one will clean it up for several minutes, because on the other side of the kitchen, his sister is yelling, “Mommy, may I have some milk please? Mommy, may I have some milk please? MOMMY! MAY I HAVE SOME MILK PLEASE?!” seventy-five times in a row without taking a breath, and someone must sprint to the fridge to reward her for actually using the word please (and also to pour the milk so that the noise might FINALLY stop). Continue reading

Sep 22 2016

A Love Letter to Michigan

A Love Letter to Michigan

My beloved Mitten,

When I left last year, I knew, absolutely, I would miss you. Somehow I always understood that you are special — even as a child, even when my then-boyfriend-now-husband-who-is-from-Virginia called you “kinda flat,” even when I was nineteen years old and it was winter in Ann Arbor and I had to lean into a blizzard on the blustery walk to class. Even then.

There’s just something about you.

After so much time away, I got to spend the whole month of August as a guest on your soil — and I remembered all those somethings. I also noticed brand new somethings, because we’d been apart for so long that I was able to look at you with fresh eyes.

Of course, people say we sometimes don’t recognize the beauty of a thing until it’s gone, and usually when I hear clichés like that, I’m all Continue reading

Jan 19 2016

The Beauty of Being Lost

The Beauty of Being Lost

This morning there were errands.

Millions and millions of tiny to-dos, buzzing around my head like gnats. Get the dog washed. Pick up diapers. Go to the post office. Stop at the bank. And the baby was with me and he was starting to fuss in the backseat and I knew he would need to eat in the next ten minutes, which reminded me: this nursing mama still hadn’t had breakfast. I was famished. I pulled over to Google Map a McDonald’s.

And I thought, This is my life now, I guess. Sometimes I don’t even recognize myself, and it is so discouraging. One year ago, in this precise week of January, I was wearing a dress (and boots, of course, because Michigan) and preparing midterms for my students. I was surrounded by dozens of wonderful colleagues and hundreds of hilarious kids, and I had a bell-to-bell job to do.

This morning, I was in leggings and a spit-up-encrusted nursing tank, ticking mundane tasks from a checklist, totally alone in the world car save for my hungry baby behind me. This is my life now. Where was I? Not quite a writer. Definitely not a teacher. For the ninety-seventh time since we moved to California, I felt lost. Continue reading