Monday, June 22, 2015

*we gotta get out of this place if it's the last thing we ever do

Did you ever read The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler? In that book the protagonist, Macon Leary, is a writer of travel guides for people who hate to travel. He guides them how to travel and still feel like they are at home. For example, the French put extra pickles and onions on their Whopper Burgers, so you have to scrape some off. Some who travel seek fine wine. Macon Leary's travel guides show you where to buy pasteurized homogenized milk. Quirky, but adorable, no? YES. (Blah blah embrace change blah blah, bookworms.)

I'm  sorta the Accidental Camper, in that I'm not super fond of camping and I want to pretend I'm at home. I am super fond of my husband and kid, so I do go 4 or 5 times a year. BluntMoms published a little piece I wrote about that. If you're like me at all when it comes to camping you're going to need these tips.

Here's a picture of three of my kids lounging around reading comic books in the air conditioning when we set up a tent in the living room. LIKE YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO. I totally have happy feet in this photo.

*We Gotta Get Out of This Place - The Animals

Saturday, June 13, 2015

*and so she woke up, woke up from where she was lying still, said I gotta do something about where we're going

Almost four years ago we put Griffin in a group home and it was the only thing left to do and also one of the hardest things. He was only 17 and it felt way too young. I had planned this for him at 21. At the time I was looking for accounts and personal narratives so I would feel less alone. There were very few.

The Mid has published my story, and you can read it here

It's not an easy read, but here on the other side and years later I know it is a good thing for him, not just the rest of us. Also, it wasn't all bad. Here is a few seconds clip of Jeff and Griffin telling a joke from the year before we placed him, which was a very hard year. 

*Running to Stand Still - U2

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

*cause the players gonna play play play

I can highly recommend an elementary school talent show on your lunch hour.

My kid played a Jackson Browne song on his viola - because he's adorable and awesome.

Then later he played vaudeville style viola riffs while two of his friends told jokes.
OH and a tiny peacock told jokes. Really.
OH and a totally wonderful kid OWNED the accordion.
OH and a wee girl in glasses demonstrated her kuh-rah-tay!
OH YEAH, and the principal? He started the whole thing off with a "country song his pappy sang to him" that he played on the dobro. What was it you ask? "Shake it Off" by Taylor Swift.

Surreal and hilarious. Not like that one time when I was in a parked limo and the Elvis impersonator across from me started singing the theme song from the Mary Tyler Moore show and then was joined by a guy in a hard hat who stuck his head in the window, but, you know, right up there.
This beat kitten and puppy and platypus pics for sure. Yay!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

*you get a line I'll get a pole and we'll go down to the crawdad hole, honey baby mine

Real quick-like - have you thought to yourself that you really might like to take a workshop - either the retreat or the ongoing class on memoir writing with Spike Gillespie? But then you talked yourself out of it (you won't know anyone! and it's scary! and maybe you suck!) I can assure you, you don't suck, and even if you are a wee tiny bit tempted, that's going to be plenty for you to get SO MUCH out of it aaaaand you know me! Plus there is a super cool thing Spike does once in a while where some of the writers read their work - in public! I'll be doing that next Wednesday, June 3, at 7pm at Hyde Park Theater which will let you check it out all incognito and furtive-like, and you should totally come. It's free and you can either hold me hand, hope I trip, or BETTER STILL, check this cool thing out for yourself. Should I read the one about the Saran wrap/rabbit crotch? Or Not a Real Phone Slut? Or the long version Belly Davis? (See - you want to come now because what the hell am I talking about!)

Okay - musical interlude as we segue to my regular old life full of ummmm mudbugs.

So, somehow, Harrison has talked us into letting him spend all his own money to get a tank and a couple of crawfish as pets. He has a blue one (Bluecinda Williams) and a white one (Hedwig). Ah, my nerdy geeky boy.

This kid is organized and persistent. First, he told us every single FREAKING day about the delights of the crawfish his 3rd grade class cared for, then, he begged me to allow him to use some of his precious screen time to RESEARCH the care and feeding of crawfish. (Right? he begged me to let him do science research.) He WROTE DOWN this research. Finally, the trump card, he showed us he had saved enough money to buy the whole thing.

I feel like Cassandra. DOOM! I see only DOOM. They are going to get sick and die or (OMG PLEASE NO) ESCAPE!  Whatchagunnado though? I have grand-lobsters. They look like little tiny weird colored lobsters anyway. Harrison facetimed his godmother to show them off, so I guess now she has godlobsters.

What I'm Reading: Armada by Ernest Cline - awesomeness, very exciting, often funny. It's more video/war game oriented than I have background for, yet full of delicious relationshippy nooks and crannies for me to roll around in. It comes out soon! Gitchoosum.

What I'm Listening To: Ready Player One with Harrison still - so good - we are on the second key. Wil Wheaton is adorable. We just passed the bit where he had to say his own name as a geezer on the OASIS council, HA! BTW, he will be reading the audio version of Armada.

*Crawdad Hole - American Folk Song - brilliantly covered by Dan Modaff on the sadly out of print Fun Just Like Today

Monday, May 18, 2015

*it's hard to know when to give up the fight, two things you want will just never be right

The APS 20 Year Anniversary show was incredible, brilliant, perfect. Jeff took the stage twice and gutted the audience. I wish you could have seen it. He cut their hearts out. In fact, I wish you could have seen them all. I would list every single one and say oh but then! and then! and oh! Suffice to say it met all hopes and expectations.

I was so happy to be any part of this group, and this show. Here's one of mine.

Obsessed with the sweatshirt - Hanes - baby blue, 
slightly too small and cuffs of sleeves well chewed 
my son wore it every day - he of exuberant nakedness never took it off in daytime even after hours of jumping in the humid air on the trampoline, 
the cumin smell of children's sweat ground deep in. 
At night he rolled out of its blue safety and slept with it clutched in his chubby fist...
me waiting each night for him to fall deep enough asleep that I could pry it damply loose, 
then staying up to wash and dry and put it back.

I throw it away - afraid to pack it away because I know I will be weak 

and three weeks go by 
and he still begs "shuht shuht shuht shuht shut?" all the way home 
the staccato repetition in little boy robot voice begging by numbers, by quantity, if not by tone, 
"shuht shuht shuht shuht?"
and he doesn't give up either, he checks all the places he can check, opens every cabinet destroys bags packed with folded winter clothes
"shuht shuht shuht shuht?"
me the chastened mama patrol trailing behind and repacking, tidying, replacing order
relentless in his driving obsession he checks on top of the refrigerator in the linen closet, every suitcase in the house
"shuht shuht shuht shuht?"

Finally way too small it has to go. 
By now it has a name in his limited vocabulary "shirt" means only this shirt...and sounds like "shuht" since he doesn't speak very well, my son (and still I am grateful remembering the 6 years he didn't speak at all)
6 years later in a store, buying school clothes for him to take to his group home,
 I am pretending to be fine and then I am pressing hard on my chest 
holding the sudden starburst of pain at the sight of a rack of sweatshirts.
I want to buy him an armload. 
Hanes. baby blue. 
I want to bring him home - my broken boy who screams and fights and bites and beats with man sized fists. 
His mystifying and relentless obsession now his fragile brother, so even though he is our child he can’t live with us,
My heart stretches thin. shuht shuht shuht Between us a frayed wire. shuht shuht shuht. A broken bridge. 

We had a good visit with Griffin this weekend - longer than usual to make up for last weekend. Griffin was happy for the bit of sunshine we had and played in the pool quite a while.

Right now I have my Marnie here, (my dear friend since 1990) and it makes me so happy. I have a few days off work to spend with her and that blisses me out so much.

What I'm Reading: Couldn't really get into The Year My Mother Came Back, I gave it up. HOWEVER, oh you guys, I just finished Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng and I don't even know what to say about it. It's a brilliant debut. This poor dysfunctional family struggling after the oldest daughter goes missing and is found dead will find the tender spots in your heart and they will squeeze them out.

What I'm Listening To - Harrison and I are still listening to Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton and it's so good. Long commutes are a treat.

What I'm Watching - Got to see the Age of Ultron - you know, for me it delivered. It's a very enjoyable popcorn flick. Game of Thrones. Series finale of Mad Men on deck. DON'T TELL ME ANYTHING.

*Rain by Patty Griffin

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

*life is a blessing, it's a delicatessen of all the little favors you do

Let's do a Yay/Boo!

Yay! I  was invited to perform in the Austin Poetry Slam 20 Year Anniversary show. Jeff and I both will be reading in the 10 to midnight set on Friday May 15. I can't decide if I should do something I used to do a long time ago or new work. What do you think? Greatest Hits or the New Hotness? Use thatlink to get your tickets if you're coming. The lineup is insane and this show will sell out.

Yay! June 3 I'll be reading in Spike's Writing Workshop Public Reading.

BOO TIMES INFINITY!!! United Healthcare is evil. Like I am beginning to think they are the villain in my dinner theater melodrama. We have all 5 kids double covered under two UHC policies. Last year Dylan had spinal fusion surgery. Dylan is actually triple covered with the third policy being Medicaid so it should never be the case that we are faced with crazy medical bills for him. But we are. All the time. On the day of his surgery he had some tests done that were quite expensive. The surgery was paid for and it was over a hundred thousand dollars, as well as several other things, but the claim for these tests was denied on the basis that the other company was primary. Prior to the denial the policy had requested the treatment records from the provider. I got billed and called to straighten it out. They said they would resolve the issue with the confusion regarding which policy is primary but they still needed treatment records. I called the provider who said they had already sent the records. I called the insurance company and they said, yeah, we're kinds gonna need you to send those AGAIN. So I called the provider and asked them to resend.

They did and were denied and told that it was on the basis that the provider couldn't appeal the claim I had to do it. I did receive an EOB but it said we were denied on reprocess because the other policy was primary. (It isn't).

I called UHC today and the person I spoke with was a giant jerk and when I insisted on speaking with a supervisor transferred me out of the queue back to the enter your id number part of the call. I finally got a supervisor and maybe its resolved or maybe I will have to fight (and fight and fight) another day.

Yay! Yay! yay! I was overjoyed to get to spend Mothers Day with all of my kids except my little college lamb who was headed into finals week. She'll be home soon. I also unexpectedly got to spend Mother's Day with my mother, which was amazing as I haven't seen her since last August. She lives fairly near but her life situation precluded much time together, but she was able to come see me now. Missing her has been a huge hole in my heart and I was so glad to spend the day with her.

Yayish? Boolike essence of yay/boo? Griffin was struggling with his mood this weekend though so our visit was a little short, still I got to see him and be with him.

YAAAAAAY WOOOT HUZZAH!! For my birthday Jeff took me for a seven course tasting menu at Wink and it was wonderful - like a great big entertaining SHOW - and delicious! Bonus!

He also sent roses and chocolates to me at work, got a perfect chocolate cake for my birthday and champagne for us to share with friends, and bought me a lovely pair of earrings. I feel pretty special. I think that was the plan.

What I'm Reading - Just finished the brand spanking new Lucas Davenport novel,  Gathering Prey by John Sandford . Not bad. Looks like we might even get a bit of a shake up for the characters in the next one. Lucas' adopted daughter Letty is a certified badass.

I also just finished Me Before You by JoJo Moyes - man I ZOOMED through it and it was quite well done. The premise is a daredevil risk-taking young and wealthy entrepreneur is a paralyzed in an  accident, and in a suicidal depression. A young woman is hired as his caregiver and she seems to wake him up to the joys in life again. Beautifully done.

On deck I have The Year My Mother Came Back by Alice Eve Cohen that I checked out of the library TODAY so I have nothing to say about it. YET.

What I'm Listening To - well thank heavens it isn't the racist, preachy, kill an animal every 5 seconds horror show that the Swiss Family Robinson became. Harrison and I, in desperate need of a brain scrub, are embarking on the Wil Wheaton audio version of Ready Player One, written by my awesome friend, Ernie Cline.

*You Got Gold - John Prine

Saturday, May 2, 2015

*came into my life, made me think that I was really something

We are in Orlando, Florida and we just had "lunch" for several hours with my cousins, the wow y'all are just like us branch of the family. (Hi Hope!) We met at Padrino's and it was delicious. I had a Cuban sandwich, tostones, maduros AND flan because Florida. Because awesome. We all caught up and talked about fun things like travel and shows and hard things, like when your parents die, or it's time to transition a parent with health issues into assisted living. Last time I was in Florida was just a few weeks ago, when I came to Miami for my cousin Silvia's funeral. That trip was about loss, and grief, and goodbyes.

As it happens this trip is pure fun, a jewel of a day. We are seeing Joan Armatrading at the Plaza tonight. She doesn't tour much, and the last time we saw her was the first year we dated, during a brief but volatile time, when it didn't really look like we would be a long term relationship. Jeff bought me tickets to the show for my birthday. Patty Griffin opened. My heart that I was trying so hard to keep from him cracked open when we heard love song after love song about bliss and pain and hope and joy. When we got married a little over three years later we put Heaven by Joan  Armatrading on our wedding mix CD. What? You didn't make wedding mx CDs? Whatever. Next time you are gonna try to tell me you didn't get married in your own house, transforming your living room by putting all the furniture in the garage and setting up rows of white rental chairs, or that you didn't wear a red satin strapless dress. HOW GULLIBLE DO YOU THINK I AM?

If you don't know it, this is "Heaven."

I'm bringing some serious shoe game to the concert tonight. Guess which pair Jeff wants me to wear? The Bucco Italian heels or the Crocs?

He really wishes I would wear the Crocs and be able to walk for Also to be fair, he doesn't care that much. He just doesn't like for me to be in pain ever and these are straight up a pair of cruel shoes.

I also have this darling vintage straw handbag that was my Abuelita's, because adorable.

Oh, and Jeff bought me this frothy gypsy dress when we went to the Sherwood Forest Faire. I bought Jeff the blue guayabera shirt he's wearing when we were in Puerto Rico for our tenth anniversary.

 I'm all dressed up for a date with the man who still makes my heart beat faster and since it has been 15 years I'm going to go ahead and say that's probably a permanent thing. We are super lucky because Harrison can stay with his best friend's family for the weekend and have a ball, and if that hadn't worked out he could have stayed with his godparents, or our other framily members. When Jeff's mom's health was failing and we spent several weeks in North Carolina last year, Harrison stayed most of that time with his older sister Cassidy and was very well cared for. Yeah, we are really lucky, and I am  very grateful.

What I'm Reading - Just wrapping up the Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison. I am really sucked in but I can't say I recommend it because the characters are an unlikeable MESS. 

What I'm Watching - Wrapped up Vikings. Riveted by Mad Men. Watching the Flash with Harrison and it's really good. Super excited about cashing in our Christmas gift Alamo Drafthouse gift certficate plus babysitting from Hilary and Quentin so we can see the Avengers: Age of Ultron! 

What I'm Listening To: In the car with Harrison we are slogging through the last bit of Swiss Family Robinson. Perhaps we are in the great swampy middle part but I must say I am BORED and over it. Bored out of my carved it off a tree, filled it with sand and dried it in the sun gourd dinner plate.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

*if you break down, I'll drive out and find you. If you forget my love,I'll try to remind you, and stay by you when it don't come easy

Today I felt like I was stuck in the wet oppressive air before a storm. I'm not really sure why I felt like that, though I tried to come up with a reason. Should you have a good reason to feel bad? I mean sometimes you just DO but is it a requirement?

Maybe it is a requirement because I got a reason later.

The case manager at Griffin's group home called me tonight to let me know that Griffin had attacked a staff member and when she tried to extricate herself he fell against a wall and cut his forehead. (I know that didn't sound right to me either- later queries revealed said wall was actually the fireplace, or maybe a shelf.) He's okay - calm now and seeing a doctor though the case manager didn't think stitches were likely. 

I feel helpless to protect him, and conflicted about what happened too because I have lived in the war zone he can create, and he doesn't seem to need any protecting then, others do.  Am I angry? With whom?  I can't separate the rotten truth from the delicious bullshit. He is so often so sweet...

at Christmas he was getting his Mickey Mouse itch scratched and he was pretty adorable. 

and sometimes not. 

the last vacation we ever took with him was awful. He was obsessive and aggressive. At one point I was barricaded in a small bedroom with him because I was the only one in our family he wasn't attacking. It was an awful, horrible time. Shortly after that we got him into a group home and I thought I would never stop crying when I dropped him off after a visit. I eventually did but it took a couple of years. 

Probably his injury today was just an accident...but I worry. I want to make it better, whatever it is that upset him in the first place, like this mama cat. 

I wish I didn't suck at sleeping. Sleep would be great right now. 

What I'm Reading - The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison. Mystery/thriller. Don't know if I like it or not. I've just started. 

What I'm Listening To - Jeff's sweet deep breathing. He does not suck at sleeping. Also Joan Armatrading.

*When It Don't Come Easy - Patty Griffin

Sunday, April 26, 2015

*oh don't you dare look back just keep your eyes on me

Oh, YOU GUYS, the two Listen To Your Mother shows last night were amazing! The whole experience start to finish, actually was amazing. Imagine meeting 13 beautiful, tragic, hilarious, perfect, infinitely relatable women and having them showing their very best selves, all of you lifting each other up, everyone shining their lights. And YOU GET TO HANG OUT WITH THEM! Like total instant golden ticket admission to the cool kids club. And the audience! I was lucky enough to have folks at both shows and it was a total rush. At the evening show there were 18 people who came just to see me! AND THEN my husband, Jeff the amazing and wonderful, had no kidding filled the house with flowers...BEHOLD

and bought two fabulous bottles of awesome champagne and all these crazy snacks and my wonderful people came to our house bearing wine and cobbler and queso and strawberries to add to the crazy snacks table and we partied like middle aged suburban rock stars playing music and singing and talking talking talking until freaking TWO IN THE MORNING. WOOT! 

And in that weird way where stuff avalanches once one little pebble breaks free I actually have TWO other shows I get to be in coming up - that I just found out about! 

On May 14 I am performing at the Austin Poetry Slam 20 Year Anniversary show! You can even see my photo next to the P in Poetry. This group of awesome is way too cool for me, but I'm gonna call it lucky that I get to hang out. Y'all should come! 

AND on June 3 my memoir writing workshop (with the amazing Spike Gillespie) will be doing a staged reading at Hyde Park Theater. Awesomeness abounds. More details on that when I have them. 

*Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon

Thursday, April 23, 2015

* I wonder what would happen if you say what you wanna say and let the words fall out honestly, I want to see you be brave.

The SHOW is coming up on Saturday and I am totally not skeered. Although phrased like my usual brand of b.s., that’s true, this time. I’m excited! I am absolutely getting my brave on, and I’m happy to get to hang out with this awesome and  beautiful cast of fabulously righteous women. I am happy so many of my friends, family, and framily are coming to see it. I'm even sober right now while I am saying this! 

Since my Listen To Your Mother piece is about a day five years ago with Griffin and Dylan, here’s a Where Are They Now (apparently my secret writer aspiration is to write for Parade magazine):

Dylan is 22. He aged out of high school last year. He spends his days with his biological mom, and is with us every other week, for the evenings and weekend. He has cerebral palsy, is nonverbal, and does not have use of his right side. Prior to April of 2010, Dylan took no medication, had very mild scoliosis, was alert, and had good trunk and left hand control.  He could feed himself and scooch around on the floor independently. For unknown reasons  he suddenly started uncontrollable head movements, and lost control of his left hand. His neuromuscular scoliosis advanced at rapid and alarming rates. He could no longer get around independently or feed himself. He also went from a sunny happy all the time personality to a more withdrawn and vacant one. Seizures were ruled out. After a series of trials a medication was found to control his head movements.  He is mostly bed ridden now, and has a G-tube for feeding. He had spinal fusion surgery last October. He doesn’t really grab anymore. He is often unhappy now, but it’s difficult to know why. My husband, Jeff, will try various positions and entertainment options and that will often work for a while. Every now and then the sun will peek through and he will laugh and smile as he used to, and it’s amazing. He still loves movies, and especially scenes of chaos and destruction!

I took this photo of Dylan and his dad at Christmas.

Griffin is 20. When he was 17 we made the absolutely heartbreaking decision to move him to a group home. It felt too soon, and yet we didn’t really have a choice, as he was extremely aggressive and it wasn’t safe for Dylan, or really any of us. His group home is only 3 miles away though, and I see him every weekend. He is still in high school, still wears a diaper, is low verbal. His receptive language isn’t bad at all though, and he’ll follow simple instructions. He loves googling videos he watched when he was very young and watching them over and over on YouTube. Sometimes it will be the previews on the VHS tape that he’ll want to see, but you know what?  They are very often on YouTube! He’ll google something like “Walt Disney’s Masterpiece Gold Collection Pocahontas VHS” and tada! There it will be and he will happily watch the previews over and over. Or just the part with the logo where the announcer says “The maaaaagic of Disney” only it will be like infinity times for those of us in the audience and it will go like this: “The maaagic of Dis….the maaagic of Dis….the maaagic of Dis….” Repeat. Forever. He still loves popcorn. He still jumps up and down….even if he’s holding popcorn. (That will make more sense if you come to the show. Come to the show!)

This blur is Griffin in his room at the group home, super happy because I got him a computer. 

This is Griffin on his first birthday on my dad’s shoulders and Dylan at three on Jeff’s.

Here is a family shot  from 2011 where Dylan is managing to grab Cassidy and photobomb! A multi-tasker! Griffin is auditioning for the part of a secret service agent. 

 *Brave by Sara Bareilles 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

* Time is hurrying on and all that I want is save me a Saturday night

Whoosh! Sometimes time gets away from me!

What's new? let's see...

I got to meet the rest of the Listen To Your Mother cast - and they are amazing. You will absolutely laugh your head off...and cry some...and feel lighter in your heart and spirit if you come to this show. I promise. Please come!

 Photo by the awesome Casey Chapman Ross. Here's the link to buy tickets - April 25th at 3 and 7pm

Guess what? TONIGHT we have a babysitter (DATE NIGHT!!!) and are going to see NEIL DIAMOND who I deeply and unironically love and have for years, even when he wrote Turn On Your Heartlight, that E.T. song. My love is unwavering. I did however make an interesting discovery today. 

Here is a picture of young Neil Diamond - all moody and sexy

and here is a picture of my husband holding almost one year old Dylan in 1993

'namean? But WAIT...THERE'S MORE!

Here is distinguished older Neil

and here is distinguished hottie Jeff I think we are getting a little insight into why my jaw dropped and my eyes did the cartoon bug out with hearts the first time I laid eyes on Jeff. 

What I'm Reading - Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little 

Fast paced debut thriller about an heiress imprisoned for ten years for murdering her mother - then released on a technicality. Clever mini chapters that are text messages, or transcripts, or scraps of paper. I'm loving it and I still don't know whodunnit. 

What I'm Watching - last night I watched My Week With Marilyn 
and it was beautifully acted, perfectly done. Stellar cast. It's based on the true story of a week of filming The Price and the Showgirl, with Marilyn Monroe and Lawrence Olivier. Marilyn was weeks into her marriage to Arthur Miller and fragile and difficult, and she became attached to a young man hired as a gopher more or less. 

What I'm Listening To - NEIL DIAMOND! Duh!

Right at this moment the groceries are done (Thanks, Instacart!   If you haven't tried them yet this link will give you free delivery and $10 off your groceries. I haven't gone to a grocery store except to buy fun stuff in about a year.) The laundry is done. My house is clean. Griffin is here and adorably happy. 

and life is very good, y'all. 

*Save Me a Saturday Night - Neil Diamond

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

*I've been chasing grace, but grace ain't so easily found

What I’m Reading: Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed - these are excerpts from her Dear Sugar advice column, and they are so true and lovely and heartfelt. I also just finished The Rosie Project  which I loved. It's a novel told from the perspective of a genetics scientist who clearly is on the autism spectrum, but is seemingly unaware of that. His voice is funny and endearing and brave as he tackles social challenges. LOVE. 

What I’m Listening to With Harrison On Our Commute– The Swiss Family Robinson - man I loved this book in the 5th grade. I would very much like to make my own plates and bowls and spoons from gourds and coconut shells, and discover sugar cane, and mine my own salt...I mean I would in my IMAGINATION. In real life that shit's hard, yo!

When Harrison is not in the car: I am listening to Slaid Cleaves, who I have loved for years. In fact, I'll be seeing him play tomorrow! Big fat yay! 

What I'm Watching: Daredevil, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Vikings, and as of this mornong's workout - the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Unbreakable! They alive, dammit! It's a miracle! - omg this show is hilarious)

Here is a series of haiku I wrote following my recent annual mammogram, and all the fun things that followed. All the images except the last are borrowed. 

Haiku for a screening mammogram
Pull and stretch and pull
Then squash and smash and flatten
Hold your fucking breath

 Haiku for a Diagnostic Mammogram Callback
It's nothing I'm sure
It's nothing I reassure
But I'm scared to death

Haiku for a Follow Up Ultrasound #1
Smear me with the gel
And look over at the screen
Even I know that's not good

Haiku for a Follow Up Ultrasound #2
Doctor holds my hands
Looks me in the eyes and says
“Test confirms a mass”

Haiku for an ultrasound guided breast biopsy #1
The ultrasound tech
Won't laugh at my nervous jokes 
That's total bullshit.

Doc's clicky pen tool 
Takes core samples of the mass 
One, two, three, four, clicks.

You would be amazed 
How many times I can still
Google breast cancer

They said they would call
By Monday. Now it's Friday. 
Time is an old whore.

I answer shaking
Fuck yeah, it's benign! Benign!
relief floods my chest

*One Good Year - Slaid Cleaves

Saturday, April 11, 2015

*I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee

      Finished our taxes today - if by "finished" you understand that I mean I took a stab at it then sent the mess over to my dad (who's a CPA) in the hopes that he will have time to look it over. Usually I can do it myself but we did stuff that made them more complicated this year and I'm skeered. 

I decided to celebrate with a café  con leche, and then decided to document the process of making a proper Cuban coffee so y'all would all know how to do it. (Doesn't matter though - even though I have shown a number of my friends how, it seems like I'm the only one who they trust to make it). 

Ready for the magic? 

Okay here's what you need to start - a cafetera, some Café Bustelo, sugar, a small glass pitcher or measuring cup, and evaporated or regular milk if you want a café con leche. Today I did but usually I just want a cafesito Cubano. 

Start by adding water to the bottom half of the cafetera, just up to the little valve/screw. Fine I don't know what that is. It has never mattered until now. It doesn't matter much now. 

Then add the coffee (really don't bother with anything but Café Bustelo) to the little filter basket. Loosely packed is best. 

Screw the two halves of the cafetera together tightly, then set it on the stove at medium high to high heat with the top open. This is actually a very crazy thing to do because if you aren't vigilant you will spew boiling coffee everywhere, but it's the best way to make sure you get the first few drops of coffee and that is CRUCIAL. You are now pretty much stapled where you are  now staring at your cafetera. 

Take your eyes off it for a second and put about 4 tablespoons of sugar in your glass measuring cup. 

Heat up your milk - either on the stove or in the microwave. I use about 1/2 a cup or so.  It should be steaming but not scalded. You can use evaporated or just regular milk. If you didn't heat it in your cup pour it in your cup once heated. Skip this step if you just want café cubano and not café con leche. 

Carefully watch your cafetera. Once the first drops of coffee start coming out, close the lid (to avoid boiling coffee spewing everywhere) and add those first drops of coffee to your sugar. It will usally be a tablespoon or two. Put the cafetera back on the stove to finish brewing. 

Now get a spoon and stir the HECK out of that sucker. If your arm doesn't hurt you aren't doing it right. Stir the whole time the rest of the coffee is brewing. It should make a thick glossy light brown paste of absolute deliciousness. This is your espumita (sugar froth) base. 

super double plus YUM. 
Once the coffee is done GENTLY pour it into your pitcher. 

and stir it gently, almost like folding. You don't want to destroy your espumita. It should rise to the top like a gorgeous carmelized head of awesomeness. 
For café cubano just pour the coffee into a demitasse cup. 

For cafe con leche add it to your steamed milk. 

I love this so much. Now I'll curl up on the couch with my book and my coffee. Yay, Saturday! 

* You're So Vain - Carly Simon