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Sunday, July 29, 2007

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That which I should have done,
I did not do.

Home. I have been trying for five minutes to write a sentence about the weekend that doesn't rely on a meteorological metaphor, but no luck. So rather than make you stand downwind from the swirl and howl, I think I will just hang out with it in the dark for a while until the horizon clears.

You see what I mean?

I started a long post on Thursday morning, about what it means to travel away from my children, but I can't seem to find the thread of it now. Maybe in the morning.

Before I left Chicago, I had a little less than an hour to make a pilgrimmage to one of my favorite paintings, Ivan Albright's "That Which I Should Have Done, I Did Not Do (the Door)." I fell in love with this piece on my first trip to Chicago, over ten years ago, where I spent two days—nearly the entire trip— in the Art Institute. The painting looms like a wraith, like a Dickensian spirit dispatched to warn you away from regret. To stand before it is to stand in your own shadow, to be haunted by your own unlived life. Is it a coffin, or a door you could still open? An epitaph, or an entrance? You decide.

It isn't just a painting; it's a reprieve.

Somewhere in the swirl and the howl, that which we should have done, and are meant to do, is calling.


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Saturday, July 28, 2007

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Everytime you hear the "high school"
metaphor, everybody take a drink

(l) carbs, glorious carbs; (r) cellmates

Everyone not from the south, upon encountering the potato casserole on the breakfast buffet:
"What is that? Oh my god, are those cornflakes on top??"

Blogher Day 2. I can't write coherently in the middle of all the goings-on, so I won't even try. This is when twitter starts to look attractive. If I had an account, I would post things like:
Bill Murray just walked into Follia. I wonder if he would mind waiting to eat until I can remind him all the movies he's been in.

Somehow, Jen Lemen already knows all the wait staff by name and country of origin.

In this crowd, using my Kodak Easyshare feels like the digital camera equivalent of wearing Mom jeans.

I'm thirty eight years old. Why are we still talking about high school?

Leah is lovely.

The girls from sk-rt ditto.

Oops, Tracey, Myriam, Jen and I just crashed the Real Simple party. An invited blogger wrinkles her cute little nose at me. Oh, it is like high school.

Having a great time. More to come. No headache today.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

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Not Even a Little Bit Windy

I'm in Chicago, where a conference is happening in between cocktail parties. I hope to post more soon, but for now, here is the link to my conference photo flickr set.

Update: okay, the flickr link is working now. Sorry, I am dead tired and feeling the effect of three too many lemondrop martinis.


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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

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Put another dime in the jukebox, baby

Stephanie has sweetly pinned this bit o' bling on me. Note the Mattel Barbie pink. You know I have a Barbie-shaped hole in my soul. Thanks, Stephanie. I think this means a bottle of Sofia Rosé is in order this weekend.

The rules as I understand them require me to pay this forward, up to five times. And although everyone on my blogroll rocks, I'm going to go out on a limb for this one, and tag Dutch, of Sweet Juniper. Okay, granted, Dutch is not a girl. He is a stay-at-home dad, a devoted husband, a passionate writer, and a guy who is definitely (if sometimes reluctantly) in touch with his feminine side. In my view, that rocks. Like Kurt Cobain in a babydoll dress. I hope he will accept the honor in the spirit in which it is given.

I'm saving the other four badges for Chicago. It will be just like VH1's Rock of Love. Only without the motocross. Or the pole dancing. Or any kind of degradation, sleaze or skankiness whatsoever.

Well, maybe—after that bottle of Sofia—just a little pole dancing. Got a rockin' reputation to uphold, afterall.


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Preparing for Lift Off

Revised, and cross-posted as a Blogher forum topic

Hear that? A high pitched buzz, audible only to women? It is the sound of leg waxing, hair coloring, spray tanning, teeth whitening, protein shake swilling and bathroom scale groaning. It is a constant sound—like the noise emitted by florescent lights—but if there were a way to measure it, you would see a pronounced spike this week emanating from the internet.

You would stand over the readout, and ponder the cause. You would trace and isolate specific samples of it:

You would begin to notice something. A common denominator.

BlogHer '07 I'm Going

At first, you would be perplexed; perhaps, disturbed. Why are all these women making themselves crazy trying to look perfect for a technical conference by and for women? Are there special sessions titled, "Does Your Ass Look Fat in That: Let Us Be the Judge?" or "Grade Eight Locker Room, Revisited?" Is it because of the rumors that men have been known to infiltrate previous Blogher conferences? Is a panty raid anticipated? Is it for the paparazzi?

As a woman, you might begin to feel indignant. Defensive. As a man, baffled. What has the arch of your eyebrow or the volume of your hair got to do with becoming a more effective, better connected blogger? Why should anyone care what color your toenails are, or that they are peeping out from just the right platform sandal? Why should any of that matter?

You might crumple up the readout, and walk away in frustration. But wait. If you listen very, very closely, there is another sound; really, a vibration. You may have to put your hand to your computer screen to detect it.

There. Feel that? It's six or seven hundred hearts thrumming with excitement. The primping and pecking is all just restless idling, a grooming of pin feathers in anticipation of flight. This week, I—and hundreds of other women who are seeding this new field with our diverse perspectives, skills, and gifts— will converge on Chicago from every direction, to spend a few days face to face with women we have come to adore, admire, envy, and respect.

After all the months of planning, hoping, fussing; we'll take one last nervous glance in the mirror and foolishly, fervently, hope we will do.

I leave Thursday morning for Chicago. There isn't room to list all the birds of a feather I am looking forward to meeting, but I am so excited to be bunking with my beloved Jen on Thursday, and Alana on Friday. (Promiscuous girl, I know.)

I don't know yet how much I will be blogging from the conference, but I will definitely be posting photos, so check in. I am working on something chewy for you, but it depends on how packing and waxing and laundry goes, whether I post it before I leave here.


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Sunday, July 22, 2007

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Happy hour at Cajun Sno

Tattooed and a little belligerent.

High-fructose corn syrup and food dye on the rocks.

Last call was met with an act of passive resistance.

Luckily, I used be a cocktail waitress in a total dive, and am quite familiar with handling his kind.


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Friday, July 20, 2007

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Me, in Ten Seconds*

I was born in 1969, on the cusp betwixt Sagittarius and Scorpio. Ye shall know me by my confusing accent, like everything else about me, a bit of this, a bit of that. I am a proud Newfoundlander (please do not call me a Newfie), but am dug deep into Arkansas red dirt. I met my love on a Liz Phair BBS.** My father was a poet. My mother is a lawyer. My eyes are green. I like a nice syrah. I am willful, intense, self-absorbed, an incorrigible smartypants.

But I will make you love me, supposing it kills us both.

*ten seconds in my Newfoundland accent; ten minutes in mid-southern drawl.

**He would tell you I am "a mess". Also something about a "tiger" and a "tail."

blogme2007 rude of me not to mention the source of this meme: the legendary Mochamomma

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

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Men Who Rock My World

I would leave here with either of them tonight (but I'd be back in a week or two, honey).

Also? I nominate "Business Time" to henceforth be "our song":


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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

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Donutvorms for the Wunder Kind

My three year-old received some toys in the mail yesterday, courtesy of a product review board I have been invited to join.*

One item in the shipment was a set of child-size baker's molds, from a German company. In English, Spanish, German, Dutch and French, the packaging declared that, in addition to being appropriate for ages one and up,

"...these indestructible plastic moulds are so tough that they can withstand hot fillings up to +90 C/194 F and cold liquids to -20 C/-4 F"

Thank god, because all the cheap American crap keeps falling apart whenever I let my toddler play with boiling oil and dry ice.

* I accepted because I was not asked or required to plug anything on my blog, although the retailer has a swell concept and product line that I may share with you at some point. I haven't decided about advertising on Notes yet. But who am I to turn down swag for my kids? Especially the kid at the bottom of the hand-me-down chain?


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Drunk Again

Buzz falls off the wagon.


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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

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I'm With the Band: Reprise

I took the boys to the lake a couple of Sundays ago. The storming of Normandy had to be logistically simpler than getting me, three kids and our cargo blown up, set up, and sunscreened. At least Eisenhower had everyone moving in the same direction.

We had a great time, like always, but I was wiped out by the time we came home. In fact, I have been pretty much wiped out every day this summer. Did I use Wendy and the Lost Boys as a literary allusion earlier this month? Piggy in Lord of the Flies would be more accurate. More about that later, if I live to tell the tale.

For today, here's some Notes from the beach last year:

August 01, 2006

Went with a girlfriend and our six kids to the lake today. Note the cascade of inflatables spilling out of my van onto the sizzling asphalt parking lot. At that point, we had been parked on said asphalt for 25 minutes and were still inflating, unloading, sunscreening, and schlepping passengers and equipment. Next note the contents of my beachbag, not one, but two magazines for my reading pleasure. Just in case I got all the way through the first and was stuck for something to do. Now, note the foul yellow beastie smugly entrenched between me, my beachbag and any lingering illusion of leisure time I might blithely cling to.

More and more these days, I feel like a roadie for a band. For starters, there's the sheer physical exertion: the endless lifting, hauling, setting up and tearing down. "Put it over here, no, over there, there, THERE!" Then there is the ass-wiping, the puking, the tantrums, the trashing of rooms. There is the procurement of playmates. And the ridiculous demands about food.

As I imagine it goes with roadies, the job description sounds much more glamorous than it is. "But you get to hang with the band, dude!" Or as my husband would say (if he did not value his life), "What do you mean, you're exhausted?? You were lying around the beach all day!"

Okay, even on the worst days, it still beats working in a straight job. There are nights when the lights go down, and I stand in the boys' bedroom doorway with as much awe and gratitude as any starstruck stagehand ever felt standing in the wings.

But it is no day at the beach.


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Sunday, July 15, 2007

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Something is Wrong

It is 85 degrees on a Sunday afternoon in midsummer. Why are mine the only children that can be heard playing outside?


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Friday, July 13, 2007

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That was then, this is now

My twentieth high school reunion would have been this summer. I say "would have," because unless great pains have been taken to hide it from me, nobody cared enough to pull it together. Or people cared, but everybody hoped someone else would step up. It's like a Generation X joke:
Question: How many Gen Xers does it take to overcome their collective apathy and stage a high school reunion?

Answer: Whatever.

Most people who went to school with me might be surprised to learn that I am disappointed it didn't happen. Not exactly crushed, but mildly bummed. I would have totally gone. Sorry, the satellite radio in the cafe I am writing from is synchronistically tuned to the eighties station (hey, Depeche Mode!) and it is going to be hard to keep from sounding like Molly Ringwald here, although I was more Ally Sheedy, if you know what I mean.

Is there anyone for whom high school comprised the best years of their lives? I hope not. How sad and awful that would be, even for the Mollys and Emilios. When I look back on that time, it's like watching children playing in bombed out buildings on tv. It is a kind of testament to youthful resilience that good times can happen amid all the wreckage.

At least, that was my experience. My teen years were my Beirut and Belfast. The house I grew up in burned down the year I was fifteen, my Dad was not in a good place, my mother was trying to dig a path through the rubble with my little sister in her arms. My family was crumbling, falling apart. School was no shelter. Just another mine field to be navigated.

In between dodging all the bits of falling sky, however, I had some wonderful times. By my senior year, I had become adept at evading mean girls, concerned adults, and about a third of my classes. I began seeing a twenty-six year old bartender, and I pretty much lived at his place. But when I wasn't hanging around nightclubs with people ten years older than me, I was doing a lot of the normal teenage things: goofing off with my girlfriends, hanging out at the mall, making tissue paper flowers for senior prom.

It wasn't Sweet Valley High, but it had its moments.

I remember attending a house party around graduation time, all of us dancing on the carpet to John Mellencamp's song, "Jack and Diane."
Hold on to 16 just as long as you can.
Big changes coming round real soon
make us women and men.

At seventeen, I wasn't the slightest bit interested in hanging onto any age that ended with the letters T-E-E-N. But I felt the truth of the line about big changes, even in my jaded youth, even in the middle of that cynical decade. I remember having an acute awareness that we had just come through something together and were now on the cusp of everything that would come after. There are moments in the reel of life that are captured in freeze-frame, and this is one of mine.

Reunion is the wrong word for a bunch of people who were never really united in the first place, except by circumstance. I wouldn't go back to that fractious time for anything. But I would like to see everyone, just once. The cool kids, the stoners, the jocks, the geeks, even the mean girls. Because whether I liked them or not, whether they liked me or not, whether we would find anything to say to each another past one night's worth of reminiscing over the punch bowl, we were all in it together, doing the best we could with whatever hand we'd been dealt.

It was what it was, and I don't feel a need to go back and fix it. I don't want to get even. I don't necessarily want to stay in touch. I don't care to compare hip measurements or salaries or our kids' I.Q. scores. I'd like just one more roll call. To know that everyone made it out okay; that we were all able to let go of those years and become women and men.


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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

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The Brothers Grim

Driving home down a dark and winding country road on the Fourth of July, this charming bit of dialogue was offered up for our on-board entertainment:
Eight Year Old: (with theatrical flourish) What are ghosts made of? Slips and slots and CHEWED UP CHILDREN!

Six Year Old: (merrily) And mostly dead people!

Apparently, if you were high on fudge brownies and fireworks, it was hysterical.

Independence Day morning poured rain by the bucketful. Here's my ghostly crew haunting the driveway in their ponchos.


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Monday, July 09, 2007

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I presume he meant Lincoln, and not the patriarch of Israel.

I am just getting around to transcribing some notes* I took on the drive home last Wednesday night:

"Happy Fourth of July, everyone! Happy Independence Day, America!"

"And Happy Birthday, Abraham!"

* Yes, I literally take notes. I find if I think of myself as Jane Goodall among the chimps, I am less apt to be bothered by the howling and the swinging from the cupboard doors.


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Sunday, July 08, 2007

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Four minutes, 14 seconds,
forty ums and ahs.

I've hemmed and hawed over linking to this short interview I gave for CBC Newfoundland and Labrador's Weekend Arts Magazine in a "local girl makes good" story that aired on Saturday. I am trying not to appear too goofily excited over the Good Housekeeping deal. The issue hit the stands over the weekend, and I did not snatch Us magazine out of anyone's hands in the checkout aisle and slap them upside the head with it, snapping, "Oh for God's sake, grow up!" as I tossed GH into their basket.

Opened to page one hundred and seventy-five.

Because that would not be cool. Not that I know much from cool, as you can tell from the aforementioned audio clip. I have no idea why I used the word "optioned" in reference to the sale of my other work, but I'm pretty sure it's not the correct word. And, shockingly, it turns out GH does not post the back pages of the magazine on their website. Although the question made it sound entirely plausible at the time (CORRECTION: Well, what do you know? They certainly do.) But I'm trying to modulate, at least in public.

In private, I have given myself permission to celebrate. Because it was just a few short months ago, after yet another rejection, that I was crying all over my friend's kitchen counter how no one would ever give a damn, and I was doomed to live out my days as the lady poet who reads at tea parties. And I will probably be back to blubber all over the formica again at some point before very much longer. With every pitch, query, and submission, goes a little piece of my soul, to circle the glass towers of Manhattan, glance off and get swept up with the sidewalk trash. I am drinking in this small moment (a gift—I didn't pitch this one) as a tonic. Fortification for the next round.

And so, at home and with friends, I am elated and thrilled, and with Patrick, insufferable. I am calling him my Stedman for the rest of the summer.


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Friday, July 06, 2007

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Mother Tongue

Last week, I left a voicemail for an editor, a person I aspire to work with and upon whom I would like to impress a certain air of decorum and professionalism. That whole neurotic, hapless, flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, Wendy-among-the-Lost-Boys thing? Ha-ha! Merely my literary persona, my dear. I can turn it on or off at will.

Then I heard myself blurting hastily, "I have to go now. The baby is naked, and he has a hammer."

What I hope is that she has layers of interns who screen her messages and deliver only what is deemed essential information. Without comment.

It could always be worse, of course. I could have waited to make that call this week. Then I might have closed with something like:

"I have to go. The baby is locked in the dog crate."

"I have to go. They are making a contest of jumping over the dog pee on the floor."

"I have to go. They just lassooed the ceiling fan."

I forget sometimes just how wide the divide is between my world and the world of glass towers, carpeted cubicles, boardroom meetings and panty hose. The days when I dwelt in it seem like a dream to me now. Like a language I once spoke, but have not used in years and have all but forgotten.

I'll never forget the first time I realized just how far away I had drifted. I was at a potluck supper, and got chatting with a woman who held a full-time day job outside her home. We had babies close in age, and enjoyed our conversation enough to want to pick it up another time.

"Let me write down your number," I said, fumbling through my diaper bag for paper and a pen. I had so far only come up with the pen, when she handed me a small card.

"Oh, thanks," I said, automatically flipping it over to the blank side, pen poised. "Now, what was that number?"

She looked at me like maybe she was having second thoughts.

"Uh, it's printed on the card," she said, turning it over for me. "Right there."

I stared at it in wonder.

"I remember these," I said. "I used to have boxes of them. With my name on them."

And to think, back then, I didn't even need help remembering it.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

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Mexico, 1996

The first time I attempted to come to the United States to see Patrick, I was turned back at the border. It was a wretched autumn day in 1995, shortly before my twenty-sixth birthday. I was travelling on a one way ticket, I had no cash, no job, and no idea how long I expected to stay. It hadn't occurred to either of us that these circumstances would raise an eyebrow with anyone. As the immigration officer at the Toronto airport verified them, my hands and voice shook. Not because I was making any effort to deceive him, but because I was the middle of coming completely unglued.

"Come with me, please" the officer said, and I was deposited in a waiting room, under an enormous circular wall plaque of a bald eagle, that looked like it might swoop down and eat me. I thought I was going to be sent to the gulag. My departure flight came and went. By the time I was called into an interview room, I was ready to click my heels together however many times it took to go home. The interviewing officer never got past the entry menu on his computer screen. In desperation, I blurted out my story: I was running away from home, but would turn around and go back if only he would let me.

He stared at me a long moment across his desk. Then he silently and slowly handed me back my passport, took me by the arm, and walked me back to the Canadian side of the airport. I found a bank of payphones and made two calls. One was to Patrick.

We still refer to the entire episode as "the Toronto fiasco."

Very shortly after, Patrick left Little Rock for Mexico. I had a letter from him in December. On January 16, I woke up very early in the morning, kissed everything beloved and familiar goodbye, and boarded a bus.

Five months later, we came across the border together, having completely run out of pesos. We had decided, because it was closer, that we would drive to Arkansas, stay with Patrick's family a while, and he would find work just long enough to get us back to San Miguel as soon as possible.

My first night in the United States was spent in a fleabag motel in Laredo, Texas. After coming through customs, we drove through the town in search of a cheap dinner. Huge signs everywhere advertised "GUNS BEER AMMO" in handpainted letters. After eating a fast food meal that seemed to be of obscene proportions, Patrick dropped me back at the motel, and said he was going out to buy cigarettes. You might think I am joking, or exaggerating, but I was literally afraid he would be shot if he left our room. As far as I knew from television, every United States citizen was armed to the teeth, running around shooting each other over imported vehicles, and blowing up each other in their own federal buildings (bear in mind this was pre-Columbine, pre-September 11.)

We never did make it back to San Miguel. Patrick got a job, we got an apartment, got married, had a bunch of children. I haven't the slightest regret about that. It has been good to settle.

Upon returning from Ireland last winter, I revisited those early years in America, in this post. I won't go into them here, except to say that my initial terror soon gave way to bemused detachment, and I might have stayed there, except that I became a mother to three United States citizens.

When my firstborn was very small, and I would think about sending him to school here one day, I obsessed over whether I could, in good conscience, let him recite the Pledge of Allegiance, as all American school children do. This is amusing to me on so many levels now, but at the time, the dilemma was every bit as serious as my perceived threat of random gunfire in Laredo. It wasn't until after my second child was born—when it began to dawn on me that my offspring were not me— that I realized he is the American, whatever I think about it. It's his country, his pledge.

I was beginning to warm up, little by little, to the idea of America as Americans understand it, not as the rest of the world unfortunately experiences it. I was learning about the America of Thomas Jefferson, Woody Guthrie, Martin Luther King Jr., and Katharine Lee Bates. I was starting to appreciate Leonard Cohen's take on it, as "the cradle of the best and the worst." You could peel back the onion skin forever and ever, and never get down to one, singular truth about this country. But my appreciation for the complexity of it was still intellectual.

I don't know when I crossed the emotional borderline. I only remember when I noticed that I had. I was driving my mother's car through my hometown, on September 14, 2001. I had been home for my father's funeral, and was stranded, once again, on the other side of the border from Patrick. On the CBC radio, there was a live broadcast of ceremonies in Ottawa to observe the fallen of September 11. They opened with the Canadian anthem. Then someone sang the Star Spangled Banner.

I wept with a heart that was broken. And I knew it was no longer "their" anthem. It was mine too.

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

—excerpt from "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus,
inscribed on a plaque inside the Statue of Liberty

Have a glorious fourth of July. Let freedom ring for all. Be peace.

To read more about my American experience, see the label below for "america". Also, read this wonderful tribute by my friend and fellow Commonwealth expat, Georgia.


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Monday, July 02, 2007

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Well, they get my seal of approval.

Reasons you should go out and buy the new issue of Good Housekeeping magazine:

  • What it lacks in hip, it makes up for by being a classic; I have Good Housekeeping issues in my attic from when my grandmothers were young mothers. I can pick up a three-year-old issue at the gym or in the doctors office, and always find something in it to chew on.

  • It has an entire literary section, and is one of the last great patrons of commercial magazine fiction.

  • In their fashion layouts, beauty and style are not incompatible with grey hairs and hips. Also? When was the last time Lucky magazine pointed you to a really cute aquamarine tunic that costs $7?

  • It publishes work by women like Anne Lamott and E.J. Graff

  • It has recipes, how-tos, diet advice and—speaking of timelessness—Hints from Heloise. Literature AND cleaning tips. Don't go to the pool without it.

  • It has 23 million readers worldwide. But I'm sure they could use a few more.

  • While most traditional print media choke on the word, "blog", and hope we will just go away if ignored or derided long enough, Good Housekeeping now includes bloggers in their literary section as a regular feature. CRAZY.

Here's a sneak peek at the blog excerpt featured in the August issue's "Good Reads" section, coming this week to a supermarket or mailbox near you:

If you don't recognize the face, you can click on the photo to read the name. I've had to click on it several times myself, just to be sure.


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Sunday, July 01, 2007

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You may or may not have noticed, but I do maintain some personal boundaries as far as blogging goes. In writing about my family, I try to balance my urge to chronicle our life together with their inalienable right to privacy and my obligation to respect it. For example, I will never make public any part of our lives that takes place on the toilet (if it is still happening in a diaper, that is fair game, though). Nor will I vent here about marital conflicts, no matter how much better it would make me feel to hear from you that indeed, I am right, and he could not be more wrong.

The blog boundaries are somewhat tighter than those for my non-fiction for print. My burgeoning manuscript of essays includes a number of pieces that don't go on the blog, because I hope the people who eventually read those will be intentional readers. I realize this includes most of you, but I also get an alarming number of visitors to the blog who arrive by way of google search terms rottweiller-daschund mix and are not necessarily sympathetic to my innermost musings on life.

One of these pieces, coming out this summer in a smallish religious magazine, is about us working through a difficult time in our marriage a number of years back. I didn't think twice about letting the publisher, a friend, have it. But last week I saw the proofs, and I confess I felt a wave of queasiness when I realized thousands of people were about to be privy to one of our less-than-finer moments.

Another, as-yet-unpublished, essay is a fairly bawdy expository on sex after kids. An excerpt:
We actually own a book of scripted lovemaking, called 101 Nights of Great Sex, to help with the failures of erotic imagination that kick in somewhere around the 1000th diaper change mark. The book has tear-out pages with detailed instructions for getting it on more creatively. I bought it after our second son turned a year old. We thought the baby years were mostly behind us and that it might be safe to get back in the water. We have been frugal with it, like survivors on a lifeboat with the last tin of hard biscuits. By my reckoning, ninety-five nights of great sex are still up for grabs. At this rate, I figure we can look forward to one or two a year well into our retirement.

No, that's not the bawdy part, but that's all you get, internet! For one thing, the piece is about 2,000 words long. For another, it feels weird to with post details of our sex life online. If it's bound and printed, I can tell myself (and my mom) I did it for Literature. I know, I am thirty-seven years old, married, with three children, conceived the usual way. You and my mom have probably figured out that I have done IT (but in case she hasn't, don't tell her, will you?).

All of which is to say, I have decided NOT to blog about our hilarious, hot "date" with the pay per view channels last night while the kids were at a sleepover. Sorry to be a big tease. But that unpublished essay is about to get five hundred words longer.

And I have got to work in a quote from a lovely, older couple who attended a relationships workshop with us in our church several years ago, when they volunteered that they had tried the suggested "homework assignment" to experiment with open-eyed love making.

"Is there anything you want to share about it?" the workshop leader asked.

"Just that at our age, you have really got to balance the openness of your eyes with the dimness of the lighting."

Tell me about it.

Hey, stick around this week. Something very exciting is about to happen.

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