Ask a Question of An Author of Grossly Limited Knowledge and Expertise!

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Dear Readers:  You’ve been sending me the questions and I have been looking at them.  Not forming coherent answers but simply staring at them as if they were inexplicable clamp-like devices used during brutal organ-removal on farm animals, or to hold together a meat-grinder for making ham salad.  Maybe Bedouin handcuffs, I don’t know.  That accomplished, I shall now attempt to offer my peculiar brand of non-wisdom.  You’re welcome.

Question:  Is taking the shoulder pads out of an 80s –style vintage sweater upcycling, or destroying the integrity of a vintage garment?

Haven’s Answer:  A sweater can’t be said to have integrity.  Even a flawlessly executed couture gown appears beautiful unworn, but only reaches its full potential when inhabited by a body that illuminates its purpose.  The integrity might be compromised if the dress were donned by an egregiously ill-advised body type, but the moment the dress and the ideal form are reconciled, no harm is conclusively done.

With vintage clothing, in particular an item from the notorious aesthetic disaster known as the 1980s, no part of the garment can be said to have integrity but the seam.  All other alterations stand a fair chance of emerging as improvements – the substitution of more subtle buttons, the removal of pleather, etc.,  — but the destruction of the seams leaves one with something other than a garment at all.  A sweater becomes an unraveling afghan with sleeves, a dress returns to a more natural state of flatness, like a table cloth.  All questions of integrity should be focused on what, ultimately, makes an item of clothing the name by which it’s known, the violation of which changes its essential purpose:  there alone you will find integrity.

For god’s sake, remove those shoulder pads as quickly as possible.

Our next query comes from Arty-Tart, in Cool City, America.  Arty writes:

QuestionWhat do you do when you’re afraid to create?  This is not the same as blocked, but actually afraid of what will be revealed?  Is it scary dealing with authentic truths, and if so how do you deal with your emotions while continuing production/work?

Haven’s Answer:  I’d like to address these questions out of the order in which you posed them, Arty, if you don’t mind.  “Is it scary dealing with authentic truths?”  In all candor, whatever fear or discomfort accompanies the full-on apprehension of what is authentic and what is true pales considerably in comparison to living in thrall to falsehoods and dishonesty.  In fact, I would say I’m far more afraid of failing at being both genuine and honest – and it would be a failure – than I am at the approaching Undeniable.

Your first question is what I do when I’m afraid to create.  In my experience that anxiety is located in a variety of stages of the process.  I might be afraid to mentally stand in the empty field of consciousness, buffeted by winds, and wait for the form or the characters or the plot to be revealed to me.  I’m often afraid of failing the book itself, or my readers.  I’m afraid my ego will infect my prose and render it corrupt.  If it’s revelation I’m worried about, I wait and wait until I the energy compelling me is not impulsive but sure; when it’s failing the book or my readers stopping me, I remind myself that I can always throw it all away and begin again; and when it’s an ego-corruption of the sentences themselves, I simply slip my ego a roofie and write while it’s unconscious.

I’m never afraid of what will be revealed.  [Please see:  the value of authenticity, above.]  As Thoreau said, “The surface of the earth is soft and impressible by the feet of men; and so with the paths the mind travels.  Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”

I might be idiosyncratic in this belief, but I’m convinced nothing Real cannot be faced, regardless of the psychic discomfort it generates.  There are ways of dealing with the psyche to mitigate that discomfort anyway.  My daughter said something interesting to me yesterday:  I was all tizzified prior to Amanda’s wedding, worried we’d be late or not be able to find the tucked away park where it was being held.  Most of all, as I said to K., I was anxious for her and for John, who were providing the music.  I said, “I feel what the two of you experience exactly as if it were happening to me.”  I was exasperated, and my tone SHOULD have conveyed what I was really saying:  “So I wish you’d practiced a neurotic amount of time, until even the silences between each note were perfected, so I could relax.”  But K. is not that sort of woman, and she said, in her breezy, sweet way, “Well, bless your heart, you should be grateful to feel empathy so deep and constant.  Some people can’t feel anything at all.”

Finally, I would pull out that tired, old saw:  Feelings Are Not Facts.  The fact is, you are an artist and you have to work every day.  Work is what makes us more fully human, and sublimes our days.  Feelings are fleeting – they enter our consciousness and vanish like smoke – and in my experience the better way to live with them is to let them rise up, let them have their say, let them disappear into the dark sky.  And then get back to work.

French exchange student Gigi is hitting the open road, and asks:

Question:  Haven, if I were going on a road trip, what ten or so CDs should I bring with me?  I don’t want Greatest Hits CDs either, maybe two at most.

Haven’s Answer:  Well, Gigi, I struggled with this question, as music is purely a matter of taste and I can’t begin to guess what might make you happy.  After much thought I settled on this:  I would take 20 instead, allowing for a greater number of errors in judgment.  I’d choose my favorite CD from a variety of genres, such as one or two singer/songwriters, a classic country, an outlaw country.  I’d need at least four jazz recordings, one superior example of hip-hop or rap, two soundtracks, one disc of opera (not an opera in its entirety, but perhaps a collection of my favorite arias, or just my favorite Caruso).  I tend to keep at least a dozen mix-CDs in my car at all times, ones I made myself, because I am super excellent at the form (forgive me, but there’s no denying it) and like having individual songs I love lined up that way.  Those are always the ones I listen to the most, and I highly recommend it for your trip, which I see you’re keeping secret, as is your right, of course, and is probably your tendency as a French.  Bon voyage!

This query comes from Spindy Loo Hoo in Wichita, Kansas, a city my friend Julie lived in for a few years and became convinced was populated with aliens.  Spindy writes:

Question: We have a stuffed owl in our den.  Yes, a real owl.  My father-in-law shot it and then stuffed it himself with a home taxidermy kit in the late 1940s when he was a teenager (when it was not illegal to shoot an owl).

My question is this:  the owl has a broken wing (it was fine when mounted, but got broken when packed and moved years ago, sometime between Texas and Colorado–what can I say, F-I-L worked for Amoco and they got transferred every other year).  Is there some taxidermist who will fix this for us, or are we going to get hauled off to jail for having an illegal bird of prey if we try?

I like the owl but the broken wing is creeping me out a little (it sags).  What should I do?

Haven’s Answer:  Spindy, I love how you qualify your first statement with, “Yes, a real owl,” as if I of all people would even blink at such a notion.  So dear.

While I know a fair amount about taxidermy, including about which animals it is legal or illegal to own, I decided to turn this over to experts, my friends and brilliant taxidermists, Troy and Lindy Smith.  They answered:

Good Morning Haven,

Troy looked at the photograph of the owl and he said that the problem with trying to fix one would be that the mount is very fragile (basically like a cracker)…if you move any part it just crumbles.  He said it would probably be best if they just try to put a stiff wire under the break if it would support or to find the crack and superglue it and see if that would hold it.  He said he would hate to take the chance of messing up someone’s heirloom from shipping damages or just simply trying to repair him.

Thanks for sharing this with us.

Have a great day!

Keep in touch.

I suspected this would their response, as taxidermy is difficult to repair under the best of conditions, but heirlooms are nearly impossible, for a variety of reasons.  Very old mounts used to be placed over clay forms set in a mold; alas, even hardened, baked clay crumbles easily and absorbs all sorts of barometric conditions.  Some are stretched over wood (still talking about very old examples), which has its own problems.  Today taxidermy artists use resin forms, which are a great improvement.  Birds, however, remain difficult to mount even when the fowl in question is legal and doesn’t have to be moved under cover of darkness and using three anonymous vehicles.  I’d be afraid to touch a 40-year-old owl with a broken wing, even though I can fix most anything with Beauty Parlor and ultra-adhesive mini-wax.  I’d go with a wire under the break (or mini-wax at the seam of the break!), and cautiously at that.  Best of luck, and if you attempt any repairs, send me new photographs.

T.T. from C.C. sends us this very nuanced and thoughtful dilemma:

Question: Dear Haven, I have been closely involved with a certain literary internet blog for about ten months now. I have become quite intimate with these people and have even met a sizable group of them in person. There was even a tryst – two nights in a quite fancy hotel in Durham which involved some …. room sharing. Recently, I was invited to join an actual book club near my home in Central New York. This involves “live people” who sit in an actual physical location and talk out loud about books. I feel guilty every time I meet with them.

My question is, Would this be considered unfaithfulness? Have I crossed the line in terms of fidelity? The rules of internet literary blogging are new to me, so I am unsure of my parameters. I look forward to your reassurance that I have not transgressed but will also accept a whack upside the head if I have strayed beyond the lines of moral decency.


Two-Timer from Cow Country

Haven’s Answer:  Two-Timer, I want to be gentle in my response because I really like cows.

a)  Guilt is the appropriate response.

b)  Yes, it is an act of unfaithfulness.

c)  Fidelity has been wounded, for certain.

d)  I’d like to see hard evidence your new friends are “alive.”

Best of luck!  And don’t forget to sing Italian opera to your stock – cows make better milk when sung to.

Sad Who Is A Neighbor has a pressing problem, from Sadlington, Massachusetts:

Question: Dear Haven – I am in a quandary! My adorable next door neighbors got married last month and now for some reason they think they need a bigger house, probably in a nicer neighborhood, with much cooler and probably younger and more attractive neighbors. Ok, I don’t know that for certain other than that they got married and they have put their house on the market. I don’t think they thought about my feelings when they made this decision. So, since I obviously know what is best for them (that they should live next to me forever) should I sabotage the sale? And if so, how? Stink bombs in the air vents? Should I get naked and put on a gorilla mask and hide in the bushes when prospective buyers come and then jump out and scream, “whoo hoo”?  Your sage advice would be most appreciated.


Sad Neighbor

Haven’s Answer:  Oh, Sad!  I am far too familiar with your pain.  I too once had neighbors I adored, and wanted to grow old with.  I shan’t name them (TOM AND NOELLE), but when they sold their house and took a job in a distant city I was so crushed, and mourned with such intensity, I couldn’t look at their house for nearly a year.  Given my experience, I would recommend you sabotage your own neighbors’ life plans by whatever means necessary.  The gorilla mask is a genius touch, but I would suggest you wear it whilst naked ON A TRAMPOLINE.  Also?  Powder-post beetles released in the kitchen; official-looking notices taped to the door, warning of “unusual levels of lead in this home’s water supply,” and, oooooo!  See if you can get a pig to pop up in one of the windows for anyone visiting at night, as a voice booms, Get Out! If I can help in any other way, let me know.

RRR wonders what books she should take on her vacation:

Question: Haven, I am going on a relaxing vacation and am looking forward to catching up on some reading. I have room for 3 books in my bag. What should I take?

Reading Rhonda in Rushville

Haven’s Answer:  Rhonda, I am of the thinking you are in the Rushville of my youth, the lovely town on the Flat Rock River, and if so I know there’s but a single answer to your entreaty:  choose three superior books about Indiana, written by a Hoosier native.  They are all you need.  If you’re overwhelmed by your options, write again and we’ll do a thorough web search.

QDink from the Pinkerton Detective Agency gets all Jungy on the blog:

Question: Serious: Do you think Synchronicity really exists as a phenomena or is it just a subjective experience?

Frivolous: Which stuffed animals and dogs make the best surrogates for socializing with people?

Love, Qdink

Haven’s Answer:  Q., I’ve recently re-read Jung’s book on Synchronicity, which in no way makes me an expert, but I think I can address your question from the layman’s level.

The best stuffed animals as substitutes for human interaction have always been judged to be:  bears and dogs.  One simply cannot beat those two in the stuffed category.  Lately, however, we’ve seen some unexpected and fierce competition enter the field:  the lion, the midget horse, the baboon, and the Animal of No Known Morphology, Which Is Maybe A Hobbit/Bear Hybrid Or The Bastard Child Of A Smurf And A Toad.  The Hybrids tend to have alarming faces; their eyes are too big, and their expressions are obsequious and threatening at once.  They typically have an unusual number of toes, and some make noise when squeezed.  If this type is a natural human substitute for you, by all means get a few, and while you’re at it look for the number of a good therapist.  Otherwise?  Bears.  Dogs.  The end.  Addendum:  I note that you are also asking which DOGS make the best substitute for human companionship.  Pretty much all of them, as far as I can tell.  Randomly bred and shelter dogs are great.  If the human companionship you wish to replace included smart people, Shiba Inus are impossibly smart dogs; border collies are TOO smart; and most working breeds can uphold their end of a conversation without too much interrupting.  Poodles are notoriously bright, and I just . . . I can’t.

Ah, a domestic question!  House-Hunting Sally wonders:

Question: Hi Haven!

Here’s a question to get your advice column going!

Should my husband and I buy a small house that is move-in ready, or for about the same price get a much larger fixer-upper house on an acre of land in Hillsborough, but it needs a lot of work? (we would probably do a little at a time) We love the idea of the fixer-upper, but scenes from The Money Pit have been flashing through my head.  Also, we’re trying to start a family, and it’s difficult to imagine a baby crawling around a house that is a work in progress.  And regarding the baby, I would like to keep working after having him or her, what’s your advice on childcare? (I have no family in the area).  Daycare/day nanny/ live-in nanny?


Haven’s Answer:  Sally, the only way your marriage will survive buying the larger fixer-upper is if one of you is a master carpenter with the work ethic of a Calvinist and no other job to get in the way.  The “Money Pit” OUGHT to be going through your head.  If there’s also a baby going through your head, let me tell you what will happen if you actually become pregnant:  no surface will be clean enough, even if you force your Calvinist husband to scrub every surface with a water-pik and organic, baby-safe cleaning products.  You’ll come to see dust as an enemy sent directly to torment you, and will, by week 37, insist that all the air in the house be replaced with air you have ordered from the Organic Baby Air Farm.  Nails?  Broken glass?  Sheetrock?  Fiberglass insulation?  HAHAHAHA!!

Nanny:  I do not know the meaning of this word you use.  Live-in Nanny:  I think the last of this breed was seen on the Brady Bunch, but I could be wrong.  My first child stayed at home with me until she was four; when I had classes I arranged with her aunt or grandparents to watch her for a few hours every day.  (Thank you, thank you, Heaven shine its golden twinkly light upon you, Betty, Duane, and Aunt Julie.)  My older son stayed home until he was three; our nearest relatives were then nearly three hours away.  I had decided to go back to graduate school, and so I put him in an in-home pre-school run by a black Muslim woman and her daughters.  I chose her because her authority was so absolute she could say my son’s name, emphasizing the first syllable (it isn’t, generally) and he would simply sit down.  I was in awe of her.  J. and I have no family whatsoever to help, and so I wisely decided J. should stay home and give up all adult activities until the baby got married.  J. decided to enroll him in a Montesorri morning program, beginning when Le Beeb was two-and-a-half.

If you are in a position to hire a nanny, Alice from The Brady Bunch ESPECIALLY, by all means do that.  She had a way with cold-cuts, that woman.

Best of luck!

And finally, a series of esoteric puzzles from T.S., in Roswell, New Mexico:

Question: How does the TV, telephone, and computer transmit sounds and images? Tell me in a way a kindergartener would understand.

I have bigger questions, such as if God caused the Big Bang, what caused God?

And smaller questions: Why does the pinky toenail grow faster than the others? And why do men have nipples?

Thank you,


Haven’s Answer:  Well, T.S., a kindergartener would never ask this question because they already know there are people living inside the television, acting out alphabets and dances and small tragedies, and those people can’t ever, ever get out.  I fear you shall have to don your big girl pants.

“Television” is not a single entity, nor was it invented by a single person; similarly, contemporary televisions operate differently according to whether they are analog, cable, high-definition, or wired to receive a satellite signal.

Caselli was the first person to transmit a still image, in 1862, and he did so over wires.  I don’t know how images travel through wires but tons of stuff does so I’m not surprised.

The next development was the marriage of selenium and light (1873), a process that could transform images into electronic signals.  I saw this on Star Trek, the old one.

By 1887, because things move fast, a man named Goldstein had coined the term “cathode ray” to describe light emitted when an electric current was forced through a vacuum tube.  Others in the field watched the same process and called it “screaming in agony.”

By 1900 scientists were dueling in the streets of Inventortown over which area to pursue in the further development of what was, even then, known as the “television,” the mechanical (rotating disks), or electronic model based on the cathode ray.  Electronics won.

A critical turn in the reproduction and broadcast of still images came in 1923, with the introduction of Vladimir Zworkin’s “iconscope,” which he called an electric eye, and later his kinescope, the receiver which would display the images broadcast.

This is quite a shocker, I think – the patent for color television was registered in 1925, the same year television was first capable of projecting moving silhouette images.  Hey, have you seen one of these, a moving silhouette?  I’ve seen the one of Lincoln, and the train, and they’re spooky and great.

Now look at this:  the first television studio was opened in 1929, even though the broadcast quality was so low the thing must have been run on squirrel-power; and by 1930 the first television COMMERCIAL was broadcast, so there you go.  But also the BBC began to air on the new, jangly, slow-moving box.

After decades of tinkering with the cathode ray and spinning color wheels, satellite television was introduced in 1962, allowing for the broadcasts from the moon in 1969.  While the first moving silhouettes operated at 30 lines of resolution, by 1981 that number was 1125 lines.

By 1996, high-definition was standard in the billion televisions worldwide.

Satellites are circling everywhere, and they receive and transmit both television and telephone signals.  A single satellite can process 5,000 telephone calls and 12 different television programs in a single instance.

The computer transmits sounds and images via a series of tubes carried from house to house in the bed of a pick-up truck.

Your question about what “caused God” is addressed elegantly in Aristotle’s writing on the Unmoved Mover – it’s easy to find.  Theology differs in opinion.  However, I’ve never seen it suggested that “God” caused the Big Bang.  If I’m wrong, please let me know.

The pinky toenail grows longer than the others because it is small and afraid and has a lot to prove.  Men have nipples for nursing stray kittens, and to cause sexual excitement in potential mates.  Why they have third nipples is a matter for television.

Please discuss amongst yourselves, and stay tuned for the next round of Ask A Writer Who Knows Nothing!

Published in: on May 18, 2009 at 12:25 am  Comments (487)  


  1. Ha! I, who can barely participate in any Blog conversation until after the topic is worn to tedium am first!

  2. Is there a prize, Amy in CA? Who would know the answer? If I have it, you got it.

  3. Tomorrow is my first day at new job where the dress code is business casual. Should I wear: a) suit with uncomfortable pants that is totally worth it because it makes my ass look great (and God knows I only have so many years left of that), b) outfit with itchy jacket that says “respect my authority”, c) cowboy pajamas, or d) stop at the Mall on the way to work

    Haven, this question is beneath your dignity so I’m throwing it out to whoever’s still up.

  4. Amy, I have no dignity, and the answer is blinding: A. I needn’t say why.

  5. a)

    and then never wear it again.

    although if it were me, i’d wear some killer black pants and a crisp white shirt. maybe a blazer to take on and off. a great belt and shoes that match. no jewelry.


  6. SF, this is about A in C’s ass, and how to show it off. What if she’s only got the one perfect pair of assy pants — shouldn’t she wear them?

  7. haven and i posted a) at the same time. therefore we are right.

    in future, never buy a suit — or anything — that is itchy or uncomfortable. it will show on your face. and you can always change your clothes but not your facial expression.

  8. yes, she should absolutely wear them. the ass was the whole point. that said, every woman should have at least two pairs of pants that make her ass look great. and dont forget high heels but not whore heels.

  9. The assy pants are black and you’ve both given me superb advice. My clothes don’t start out uncomfortable, I don’t know why they morph that way.

    I may be allergic to anything that is not made of denim or flannel.

    Going to bed and pretend to sleep.

  10. We’d all be better off if we had two asses that made our pants look great.

    Hey, by the way — my mail is back up. Scott fixed it. I’ve been going through the Best American Poetry anthologies for the past five or six years and there are a number of new poems by Mark Strand. Do you have all his new stuff, or do you want me to send?

  11. Good luck tomorrow, Amy in C.!

  12. Haven, Strand JUST came out with his NEW SELECTED POEMS which the publisher sold for a song, signed. i just purchased it along with the new sarah arvio, oh , about 3 months ago. but you’re sweet to think of it.

    happy new job Amy and happy email, haven! thank god for scott. xo sfc

  13. God, now I’m going to have to order the Strand. I just picked up a volume of Collected Poems in hardcover, $33. John went, whaaa?

  14. In Celebration

    You sit in a chair, touched by nothing, feeling
    the old self become the older self, imagining
    only the patience of water, the boredom of stone.
    You think that silence is the extra page,
    You think that nothing is good or bad, not even
    the darkness that fills the house while you sit watching
    it happen. You’ve seen it happen before. Your friends
    move past the window, their faces soiled with regret.
    You want to wave but cannot raise your hand.
    You sit in a chair. You turn to the nightshade spreading
    a poisonous net around the house. You taste
    the honey of absence. It is the same wherever
    you are, the same if the voice rots before
    the body, or the body rots before the voice.
    You know that desire leads only to sorrow, that sorrow
    leads to achievement which leads to emptiness.
    You know that this is different, that this
    is the celebration, the only celebration,
    that by giving yourself over to nothing,
    you shall be healed. You know there is joy in feeling
    your lungs prepare themselves for an ashen future,
    so you wait, you stare and you wait, and the dust settles
    and the miraculous hours of childhood wander in darkness.

    Mark Strand

    (Selected Poems, Anthenum1980)

  15. Something for everybody! — practical advice, science, and a necessary rebuke to TT in CC. The inclusion of a Kat Quote rounded out your guest program beautifully (that there are people in the world who say things like this is both a revelation and a comfort). And, best of all, your signature, “Best of luck!” — well, every time you say that, I feel, strangely, like everything is going to be okay.

    Haven, the world has waited years for the likes of this. Brava!! Brava!!

  16. You might have thought that last hyperbole. You’d be WRONG! I laughed and laughed and thought hmm and thought, “oh, so that’s why!” and now I am refreshing every 30 seconds awaiting the next round.

  17. I just realized that the appearance of this post means it is tomorrow. And, therefore, I am on the other side of yesterday.


  18. I think I will pretend to sleep so that I can wake up on the right side of my bed (although there is only one side). 4 more days of school/mommy/shit. Then Kate comes and at some point I will get my verve back.

    Where did it go . . . off in the etherworld with the missing socks? Nevermind, I remember where it went, and that is exactly the problem.

    Tomorrow I vow to make some fake fried chicken out of model magic and collage it with wax and nasty words . . . then I will set it in front of my nemisis (metaphorically) . . . and all will be well.

  19. re the satellite. I contend that the gps/satellite thingy keeps better track of my speed than does the pre-set speedometer in my vehicle. Vehicle says I am going 4 miles faster than I actually am.

    I haven’t gotten any tickets in 10 years or more, therefore, why I can’t I believe said satellite which is tracking my movement ‘as I move about the planet’ vs. the human programmed speedometer?

    that is the most extent of any argument Don and I get into . . .


  20. In Celebration.

    Wow! Suzanne that is fabulous. that is speaking to me on my current state of mind . .. I’m so glad you shared it.

  21. Hi Carrie — I haven’t even read your e-mail yet; Caryl got me caught in a state of wild jibber-jabber on the phone and now I can’t figure out WHAT I’m doing.

    Hi Carrie!

  22. Hi Haven!

    Oh, anything you want to be doing. You’ve done a service to mankind with the ground covered in this post. You deserve a lie-down. (I suspected the web’s Truck-Tube Theory more than just a rumor; thanks for clearing that up.)

  23. Oh, it’s sure true about the series of tubes — we have some in the bed of John’s truck right now.

  24. I can’t tell you how ominous that sounds.

  25. Depends on what they’re live-streaming.

  26. You’re the voice of reason, H.

  27. Thanks, C. I just sent you a letter.

  28. Haven, as a Scorned Woman from TT’s hotel in Durham, thank you for that rebuke she so richly deserved! I am HEART-BROKEN that my hetero-life-mate and I mean so little to her…and her sister! We drank cheap gas station wine together and told inappropriate stories. I even took pictures, so I would never forget our little affair.

    I’m glad that someone has FINALLY told TT what I have been LONGING to tell her for a 6 weeks now!

  29. Suzanne,

    Doesn’t Mark Strand write any … oh, I don’t know … HAPPY poetry? Something that rhymes and bounces along? It’s SPRINGTIME, and the flowers are blooming. Summer is nearly here, the sun is shining, and school is almost O-U-T!! You’re bringin’ me down, girlfriend. Let’s get this pah-tee goin’!

  30. Jodi–5 MORE DAYS!

    Maureen–I LOVE YOU!!!

  31. How was Amanda’s wedding? Can we have details?

  32. Okay, now I’m a mission to find some joyous spring poetry for my wicked Jodi sister.

    Molly, I had you in mind when answering T.T.’s inquiry. Also you need to e-mail me your address, please child.

    I’m going to write an entire post about Amanda’s wedding as soon as she sends me some photographs. I can’t wait.

  33. Jodi, this is the first thing that occurs to me, without traipsing through the mud to the Natural History Museum, where all the poetry is sleeping.


    somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond

    somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
    any experience, your eyes have their silence:
    in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
    or which i cannot touch because they are too near

    your slightest look will easily unclose me
    though i have closed myself as fingers,
    you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
    (touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

    or if your wish be to close me, i and
    my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
    as when the heart of this flower imagines
    the snow carefully everywhere descending;
    nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
    the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
    compels me with the color of its countries,
    rendering death and forever with each breathing

    (i do not know what it is about you that closes
    and opens;only something in me understands
    the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
    nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

    e.e. cummings

  34. Haven,

    Thank you. A poem chosen especially for me. The last line is one of my all-time favorites — of course you knew that. Jody once painted that line on our bathroom wall — I’ll send you photos.

    Here’s the “poetry” I had in mind:

    Tra la! It’s May!
    The lusty month of May!
    That lovely month when ev’ryone goes
    Blissfully astray.
    Tra la! It’s here!
    That shocking time of year
    When tons of wicked little thoughts
    Merrily appear!

  35. Mr. WEINER spent his life teaching SCHOOL with the name of WEINER, then died of PIG FLU! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Wait! I DO know. I’m laughing and laughing. At least Saint Lucy gouged her own eyes out and had done with it. Mr. WEINER spread his martyrdom over decades of New York City school children calling him Mr. WEINER. Mr. WEINER! Omigod, I’m dyin’ heah.

  36. Yes, Miz Jodeeze, I can see how you would appreciate that piece of verse. But isn’t EVERY season the shocking time of year when tons of wicked little thoughts merrily appear?

    I did indeed know how much you loved those last lines of the cummings. I live to serve.

  37. I had NO intention of laughing about that unfortunate convergence of name and fate, and now look what you have done!!

  38. Yes! Yes, Miss Haven, every month should be shocking and full of wicked little thoughts. As proven by you and me — ask John or Jody.

  39. It’s SHOCKING! It’s FUN! I hope that, upon my death, the world finds something hilarious and laugh-provoking.

  40. Haven, you are a crack up! I love the idea of this, and also wanted to let you know I am actually a tiny bit French. We were going on a road trip to Washington DC this summer until hysterectomy and lay off was announced at work. I adored the mix tape which turned into the mix cd. Thanks for answering my question, and for coming up with somethign so fun and entertaining.

  41. Haven -Love the picture of lips/lipstick. Are you channeling Angelina Jolie?

  42. No, Terri, darling — I had those lips long before she was born. If anything, SHE is channeling ME.

    Alas, the resemblance ends there.

  43. God Love you Haven! Thank you for the recognition. We love that Kat so very very much and we were always ready to help! I know Mom and Dad will appreciate your comment so much. We were always so happy to help.
    I wouldn’t trade those wonderful memories for anything! As always…I love reading everything of yours, your wonderful sense of humor still makes me roll on the floor!

  44. I have to agree with Haven….I have known Haven since she was 18…She was born with those lips! Those are REAL…no pumped. Haven is a beautiful woman. Nothing is fake with her.

  45. Hello, Aunt Julie! Not a day passes that I’m not grateful for the love and care you showed Kat, all her life, and how you made it possible for me to go back to school. You were no less than heroic, and I carry all of you in my heart.

  46. ‘Morning, Haven.

    Was sitting here this morning too despondent to write, feeling the George Strand poem that Suzanne posted in my bones…one of those moments that will come (and pass, I know) over the next four months as I wait to move on and start a new life. It is a dark and quite time.

    And then checked my work email, where I received a letter from someone I knew long ago who was glad to find me and characterized me as having been ‘the coolest girl on the planet!’ Well, this perked me up mightily. Real, living proof that I was once someone other than this sad lump of a soul I’ve been for 5 years, and that that once-cool person still lives in the mind of another creature, which means she ain’t dead yet.

    So there.

    Loved the advice column, Haven. Some real, pithy issues were discussed and resolved here, proving again that you are a boon to the universe.

    Glad you set TT straight. It’s about time somebody did.

  47. Just because I love that ee cummings poem so much:

    carry your heart with me(i carry it in
    my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
    i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
    by only me is your doing,my darling)
    i fear
    no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
    no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
    and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
    and whatever a sun will always sing is you

    here is the deepest secret nobody knows
    (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
    and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
    higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
    and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

    i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

    Sigh. This poem makes me heart happy.

    Haven–I knew your rebuttal was entirely for my benefit. 🙂 lol.

  48. Also, was listening to this song this morning and thinking you all might like it. It doesn’t have a video to occupy and mesmerize, but one thing I love about the Blog Babies is that the all seem to have attention spans exceeding three minutes. This is an increasingly rare thing these days.

  49. Where is my “i” in the first line? GRRRR.

  50. Bug, that is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    Since I am Kimya Dawsoning, will next present “I Like Giants.” It’s, um, not exactly ee cummings or even not part of the literary or musical canon but is nevertheless a bright zephyr of a song that will make you happy.

    Do listen to this one if you haven’t heard it before.

  51. You’ll have to close your eyes while listening to the above to avoid the obnoxiously blinding video. Oh, I’ve discredited myself by posting the song without watching the video. It’s a good song, honest!

  52. I love e.e. cummings. Thank you Haven. Thank you.
    I want some big girl pants please, I don’t care how they make my ass look. Could they please have that mysterious new tummy panel thingy tho?
    Oh please please, report on Amanda’s wedding and I would love love to hear Kat’s singing (why doesn’t she have a cd I can buy is what I want to marketing!)
    These are her actual LIPS!

  53. Oh look! the bold thing worked..thanks Sher for the great instructions!
    Gotta get to work. No blogging on company time, ya know.

  54. Quinkydinks:


    that will keep me cracking up all day . . .


  55. Also, as we all know I was in a imputent huff yesterday/last night/early this morning.

    Haven, everything you said is true. While wallowing in huffiness, I didn’t hear the full measure of it.

    So, I am heading to the studio . . . we’ll see if I go on a rampage of destruction or pull in the reins and create something exquisite.

    I’m usually doing the kicking, so it is always nice when somebody else gets to kick ME in the ass.

  56. Sher, I would NEVER kick you in the ass, never. I was only describing how I deal with those issues. But I don’t judge anyone else for what it takes to get through them — never. You’re a great great one.

    Did you get my e-mail? Your surprise is in the mail.

  57. Haven and Sher, somtimes I need a kick in the ass.

  58. Molly, I would kick you in the ass but um, you have a tail.

  59. Hi, Sher and Brenda. Hope this finds you well.

    Amy, would also vote for ‘Songbird,’ as choice number two, in combination with the Hawaiin Bard’s ‘Over the Rainbow’ will always be associated with Dr. Mark Green’s death on ER, which was gutwrenching.

    And although palliative care is also a bittersweet celebration of life, and of beginnings and endings, it is not the sort of thing one might wish to fold in to one’s nuptual ceremony.

    That’s my two cents.

    I am sure it will be a beautiful wedding.

    Will you be including the dogs in the nuptuals?

    I once went to a wedding which had to be postponed because the flower dog was run over by a guest. Dog was ultimately OK, although not fit to walk down the aisle. Once that was settled, the wedding was a smash.

  60. Haven, oh I did get the email and thought I emailed back. I am happy to report I am getting wax all over my computer at this very moment.

    Even an inadvertent kick in the ass is welcome. I was just bitching recently about creatives whining about ‘waiting for inspiration’ to work – just work! I said, now I got myself in a huffy huff over losing 1 piece of work (really it was the time loss that ‘kicked my ass’) . . .

    what goes around comes around, aye!?

    happy trails to you….

  61. Oh, hey people!!!

  62. Hi, Kate.

    How goes the poop situation? I was thinking about this last night, after my dog Elsa vomited poop in the morning (she eats it) and my other guy, Moses, rolled in poop in the evening to cap off the day.
    Not that poop is the only compelling reason to think about you. I really was wondering.

  63. Jenny, I love you. My dog Mya eats poop at a rapid speed, while hiding behind our bushes. She manically swallows as I a sprint out to her yelling her name and asking her please do not eat her poop. Sanchez, like to roll in poop and then he will run into the house and jump onto the couch. They are adorable so I forgive all the nastiness.
    They will not be at the wedding as they have no manners.( please see reasons above)However, we are having bows made for them so they can come briefly to the reception to be included in pictures.
    Mya has never vomited poop but she likes to wrap her little arms around my neck and burp into my face, which you guessed it, smells like poop.
    Wow, that is really gross, right?

  64. Yes, that is really gross (and I am capable of eating a sandwich while simultaneously changing a diaper).

  65. See, this is why I have children and not dogs.

    The accidents still happen, but with much less frequency. I’ve gotten good advice so we are just trying to make a go of it!

  66. gross

  67. I have managed to gross out all of you. I am equally apologetic and amazed.

  68. Amy, thank you for writing. I was worried that I had been excommunicated.

    Sadly, I know of what you speak. Miss Elsa, whom I love passionately but who is vile and foul, used to roll in human feces when I walked her at Franklin Park in Boston (it abounded).

    And because I had to DRIVE there, it meant I had to put that vile stinking canine heap into my actual car, where she would attempt to snuggle with me all the way home. The car would reek to high heaven so I’d open up all the windows. I was once screaming and frantically trying to beat her back while stopped at a light, only to look up and notice that pedestrian traffic had stopped dead on all four corners, while people looked open-mouthed at the maniac in the car. This maniac was unfortunately Yours Truly.

    How are you coping with the lilac situation?

  69. wildlife report:

    I just rescued a robin which was caught by Claire’s kite string which was hanging from a tree. The poor birdie’s foot was all tangled up and it was hanging, literally, by a thread. The worst part was that Snappy was leaping and attacking it.

    My neighbor very hysterically ran to report this fact to me. So I go out with scissors and snip the string above the bird, while holding onto the bottom of the string.

    As I am trying to snip the rest of the strong off the bird so that it won’t get further tangled, Snappy keeps pouncing on the poor bird – I screaming, snipping, pulling . . . it was very stressful.

    Finally wee birdie flies away (much clapping from the neighbor’s deck) . . . I relegate Snappy to house to rethink her nature (futile, I know) . . .

    we have had many bird rescues lately. Don recently released a bird which was caught in the gutter . . . he literally had to take it apart . . .

  70. Speaking for myself, Amy, my capacity for ‘gross’ has expanded mightily over time. George’s, too, from the looks of it.

    We do what must be done.

    Kate, if you don’t mind my asking, what advice worked for you? Last night I was wanting to suggest a pre-emptive toileting schedule, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. I knew a little one with this problem once, and he just about broke my heart. The kids at school were merciless. His parents were very poor and had limited resources, including NO washing machine. I would buy him clean clothes to change into at school after his accidents and take his dirty ones home to wash.

    I just couldn’t seem to help him kick this problem(although the parents wouldn’t implement even the most basic proactive strategies, which is a frustration to anyone who works with kids).

    What, praytell, was the magic bullet?

  71. ok – lauren is turning 15 today. at noon exactly. so this time, 15 years ago i was in day 4 of labour and was literally beating my head on the bars of the hospital bed and Don was chanting “i’m so sorry, i’m so sorry”

  72. Sher, your kind compulsion to rush in and mother all souls in need extends even to other species.

    We will surely miss you after the Rapture. You will need extra postage to get encaustics down here to your fans.

  73. Um, Day 4? Of labor?

    Sher, you know I’m heading for my first go at this, so give it to me straight. Although other people may not want to know the gory details, I want to look this thing straight in the eye (or other relevant body part as appropriate).

    Why day 4? Were you at home or in a hospital?

  74. even if invited, I would not ascend . . . I want to remain on Mother Earth with all the other wretched souls . . . otherwise, I have been informed I will be descending to hell and I plan on having a rip-roaring pARtee complete with a smorgasbord (midwest speak for all you can eat buffet) and wine. Imported, italian of course.

    Hope to see you all there.

  75. um, that was meant joking, even though it came across rather sharply . . . ugh, I must get to work!

  76. Need to get going now but am sincerely looking forward to Kate/Sher answers. Both would be soothe my curiosity mightily.

    Have a good day, everyone.

  77. basically if your water hasn’t broken, they will let you go on forever.

    My first birthing experience was easy and quick . . . the girls were hell. hell. hell.

    I was with a midwife in a birthing center, i was too stupid to get any pain killer (because the first had been so easy).

    I have a sister-in-law who has also been allowed to go on for days in labor . . . I guess it depends on your dr/midwife.

    with claire, the latest, ugh. I tried an epidural but it didn’t take, did nothing for me. anyway, my experience is that the girls were rough . .. and my largest baby was 6 lb 3 oz . . .

    I love my experience in NJ with a midwife, the 2nd midwife with Lauren (in GA) might as well have been with the dr. hated the female dr. I had for claire (no midwives to be had in FL).

    this being said, Jenny, I am probably not the best person to talk about it – because I still get jittery when I think about either of the girls’ births. None of that ‘forgetting’ – to me it feels incredibly like a migraine, but located in your low abdomen and back.

    there is a great documentary called “the business of being born” either on hbo or showtime . . . it covers all the options and I really loved the reality of it – produced by rikki lake after she had a hospital and then followed by a midwife experience.

  78. that documentary is also available on instant watch on netflix

  79. jenny – I doubt my input was ‘soothing’!

  80. Hey, AmyO, you asked for our opinion on music. I would bag that Hallelujah thing…it is really a downer. Eva Cassidy was such a wonderful singer. If you do something by her, and you want soulful, I’d go for Fields of Gold. I noticed you had that Oz song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow. It’s a cool little tune, but for sheer poignancy (and irony) you couldn’t beat, If Only Had a Brain, originally done by the Scarecrow, but in this jazzy version, by the Four Freshmen:

  81. It’s OK, Sher, give it to me straight.

    I had a miscarriage in 2006. No fetal heartbeat and was induced with Cytotec, which was supposed to be a gentle drug that could be taken at home. Had a bad reaction (only 1% do) and ended up in a shaking heap on the bathroom floor- couldn’t sit, couldn’t stand, couldn’t move, couldn’t stay still, was throwing up, etc. Turns out Cytotec can induce contractions that are more violent and frequent than labor, but the whole experience put The Fear of God into me.

    (Gratuitous husband anecdote is that he didn’t think to call my doctor during hours of hard labor (although he is one), and eventually dumped me at the ER and left me by myself because he had an important presentation in the morning).

    Getting stories from other women helps me feel better-prepared for the next round, which I’ll likely be going alone.

    I am glad to hear you and Claire ended up OK.

  82. I had dogs at my wedding!
    Okay, it was a hippie wedding with the band in the choir loft with amps, and most of the guests besides my parents wearing jeans and army jackets…but I did wear shoes…and a wedding dress…

    I have a picture, and will post it on yahoo, but will have to wait for Kate to help me with that…

  83. George, I so enjoy Eva Cassidy’s Fields of Gold. She has such a pure voice. I have throw Hallelujah out-you all are correct about it being too sad!

  84. Jenny…
    Two unmedicated not too hard just enough to feel triumphant deliveries here…First one 12 hours and the second one two hours (barely got there in time!)

    This is not bragging…it’s the luck of the draw…just want you to know it can happen that way too!

  85. I am wondering how you guys know each others addresses…Is there a compilation somewhere, or do you just ask each other when you need to? Is this too personal, or could we make such a list if there isn’t one?

    I have spontaneous gift giving impulses sometimes.

    Yesterday I amused myself while Kate was trying on bathing suits in Rugged Wearhouse by picking out flannel pajama pants in assorted prints for many of you…Golf balls, cows and coke logos were involved…not that you are Really getting those…

  86. Oooh, I would love to see pictures of the hippie wedding!!
    Jenny, human feces? You win.

  87. I think we just ask when we need an address .. don’t we?

  88. I confess to Almighty Blog, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done (gone to a “bookclub”) and in what I have failed to do (stayed home and chatted here), and I ask Blessed Haven, Extra Virgin, and you my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our Dog.

  89. Hi, Sherril (l)?

    Glad to see you here.

    Speaking of addresses: Maureen, the email you sent bounced back to you because my email address has changed. Is now

  90. On the poop topic, I read that Daniel Young just sold a book called the Kama Pootra, 52 Mind-Blowing Ways to Poop. I am NOT lying.

  91. a Happy Poem for JODI and all yall:

    i thank You God for most this amazing_
    day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
    and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
    which is natural which is infinite which is yes
    (i who have died am alive again today,
    and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
    day of life and love and wings: and of the gay
    great happening illimitably earth)
    how should tasting touching hearing seeing
    breathing any-lifted from the no
    of all nothing-human merely being
    doubt unimaginable You?
    (now the ears of my ears awake and
    now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

    e.e. cummings’

  92. Five thousand Hail Havens whilst wearing a hair shirt, Maureen. Blog Babies are sorely offended.

  93. Jenny: A-ha! Did you get it off the yahoo site? Should I re-e-mail it?

    Sherrill – How far are you on your Little House re-read?

    Sher – I commented to you on the end of the previous post, the jist of which was that I want to buy the entire property on which my new hermitage sits so I can let people use the house part as a get-away. I put an aerial of it on the yahoo group.

  94. Maureen- am technically challenged; what do I do to access it?

    I read your lobster entry, by the way. It’s good.

  95. If you go to the group site, it should be in messages:

    But in case I messed it up, I just resent it to you at the correct e-mail.

  96. Hey, Nora.

    I think I was at your wedding. My beard was brown in those days.

    AmyO: I truly, madly, deeply love Eva Cassidy. I do think the Songbird cut would be great, but I wouldn’t use it to go down the aisle. May I recommend a variation on traditional by using the standard, Pachibel, but played by Mike Rayburn. Check it out here. This is one guy, one guitar:

  97. i have many bb addresses, for various nefarious reasons . . . but I also know which is publishable or not (due to privacy), I don’t mind being an unofficial secretary. although I think a compiled directory hidden somewhere would be easier . . .

    otherwise I email (easiest if someone has sent me one before) and I keep all my bb info in one file on pc

    note: i still haven’t finished updating the bb book recommendations . . .

    but I am currently working on Brenda QD’s commission work . . . but am now off to take the birthday girl to cici’s pizza for more celebrating.

  98. Maureen, whenever I get ‘cheated’ on – I figure I haven’t been keeping things interesting, therefore – you are forgiven for your infidelity.

    Note: I haven’t been cheated on in 20 years . . . so that is all a bad memory.

  99. Carrie and Haven’s John: Speaking of music…I have to go back to Vegas next month on yet one more conference. I was wondering if I could have your permission to play a few of your tunes from my MP3? Part of my job involves planning the music during session breaks, entrances and exits. Sometimes I go with rollicking country or cool jazz, but if the audience is right, as this one was, I’d like to “slip” in some your music — especially Carrie’s Talk and John’s Pegasus Bicycle and Woman of Letters.

  100. I just got books from the library! See if you can tell where my interest is: The Golden Compass, A Lion Among Men and Brisingr.

    I’ll see ye in a few hours. 😉

  101. Hail Maureen, full of grace, we pray for you now and at the hour of your death.
    Kittery: after my own heart, I loved the Golden Compass trilogy.
    work break’s over…back to drudgery

  102. Kit: My son Sam loved the Golden Compass books.

  103. George, YOU should be reading His Dark Materials. Sam is not merely a man of fine tastes, he is RIGHT.

  104. Haven, I have a copy around here somewhere, but I am leery of the dark, most leery indeed.

  105. Dear TT from CC: Fear not, for I am slow to anger and quick to forgive; I am your Haven and you are my people. To the thirsty I will give water without price, from the waters of the fountains of life, from the new heaven and the new earth. Blessed are you who do laundry, for you will visit the tree of knowledge and enter the gates of the internet portal. We are all offspring and roots of the bright and morning star. All of you who read this say you will return to righteousness quickly, for we are the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Etcetera.

    Never has there been a more breathtakingly inane reading of Revelation.

  106. George, while in general I am loathe to practice such fascism, you must begin with Golden Compass immediately. You have to read that one so you can read The Subtle Knife, a book of such depth and profundity I guarantee you will feel locked chambers of your heart open in recognition.

  107. Jenny, just ask for addresses — we all share them. I think. Obviously I can’t speak for Shanna, because oh yes she WILL cut a bitch. Meaning me.

  108. “Never has there been a more breathtakingly inane reading of Revelation.”

    Yes maybe, but it was perfect.

  109. I’ll do it.

  110. I’m newly partial to the reading of Revelation that addresses John as Sweetheart. I think that was my favorite part.

    ~ S.

  111. Here is how it rolls in my house. Steph is here with four friends working on an english project. They have created a national day called “Ogden Nash Day” and are working on the pictures that lead up to this. They are using Charlie as a model for Ogden Nash as a baby and a toddler. They have dressed him accordingly, in clothes they feel work for a child in the early 1900’s. I asked the one girl if by any chance Ogden Nash was african american and she said no but we are doing the pictures in black and white.

    They are using Jack as a model for his later childhood and adolesence. Go figure.

  112. “I asked the one girl if by any chance Ogden Nash was african american and she said no but we are doing the pictures in black and white.”


    That’s hysterically perfect, in so many ways. Oh, am I laughing.

    ~ S.

  113. Sarah, sixteen year old girls are brilliant, aren’t they?

  114. Caryl,

    Yes, they are! I just read the above to my 15-year-old daughter (16 in September), and she laughed along with me– in recognition but also for the pure humor of it.

    Of course, I’m still laughing in recognition at your daughter’s taking all those pictures of herself and her friend in Durham (the Elevator Series comes to mind), to the exclusion of … everything else. Yes.

    ~ S.

  115. I confess to Almighty Blog, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done (gone to a “bookclub”) and in what I have failed to do (stayed home and chatted here), and I ask Blessed Haven, Extra Virgin, and you my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our Dog.


  116. The joy I feel here.

    ***Deep sigh***

    God, you guys rock.

    George, if Haven wasn’t firm enough with you, put down whatever the hell it is you’re reading now, and read The fucking Golden Compass. Anne Rice wrote it under her porno psuedonym…it’s hot

    Just kidding. Bad joke.

    Love me anyway?

  117. I finally put up 61 new pictures on the yahoo group from Durham. Enjoy! That just took me two hours, and I am glad to have something checked off of my list. My favorite barn photo is Jack the Ripper on Haven’s Desk. What a cool little doll.

  118. Twinkle, twinkle, little stars,
    Let me tell you how wonderful you ares…

    Was reading Haven’s Revelation rendition and howling, and had a revelation of my own. And the revelation is that it is so, so RARE to find women with this sort of smart, audacious humor. I do not know why it is so, and I hope people don’t take that the wrong way.

    There’s a quick, diabolical sort of repartee happening here that I have generally been able to indulge/experience in the company of men, and I am just so delighted to find all of these smart, crazy, not-afraid-to-say-something-off-color-or-make-an-obscure-reference women all in one place!

    Haven, you are responsible for this. Thank you so very much.

    (And George, you are NOT excluded from the wonderfulness circle. You are especially wonderful and adored.)

  119. Oh George…now I remember you! I have a clear image of you sitting in the back row next to my broody ex- boyfriend Joe. The one who looked like Timothy Dalton in Wuthering Heights…

    But you didn’t come back to the house for cake.
    Neither did Joe.

    What ever happened to Joe?

  120. Hey, I love that Haven’s aunt defended her lips. How cute is that?

    Anyone who ever wants my email can have it or share it with someone, no worries about this bitch cutting someone, although I barely blog or read email much. Working full time really gets in the way of having online fun.

    Also, Jody, is your picture up on the yahoo site? I always wonder what you look like. I am crazy jeolous of your husbands miniture skills. Those books he made for Haven were AMAZING.

  121. I, too, will pick up The Golden Compass. However I will not discuss it with George, who will have a vastly more profound reading of it than I.

    Speaking of Ogden Nash, here is an esoteric one for any teachers out there who have to read useless educational evals. It is called “Testing the Dead.” Pay attention to what happens when the student gets thawed out and obtains raw scores of one on all subtests instead of raw scores of zero. (This is a pretty obscure tangent…those of you who know what a useless educational eval can be like will howl. The rest should take a pass):

    Oooh, Ghetto Girl! This is a treat. Am off to go peek.

    How are you feeling?

  122. Not that educational evals are useless. Only the useless ones are useless.

  123. George,
    I love the Scarecrow song! I cannot load the page that leads to Mike Rayburn though. Is this Mike Rayburn the comedian guitar player?

  124. Maureen…
    I thought I was going to rip right through the Little Houses, but only made it through Farmer Boy so far because I got distracted by the Wilder’s Sunday dinner menu, and needed to re read the little house cookbook, AND I am alternating with Hunter’s Horn recommended by George

    AND, I just finished The Golden Compass, and Should be moving along there too…
    I’m driving myself a little crazy, but in a good way…

    ALSO…I started nosing around that site, and got distracted there too…I DIDN’T KNOW MARY NEVER GOT MARRIED…

    Who the heck was ADAM?
    I am SO gulliable…

  125. also gullable

  126. Maureen,

    I’ve looked at your aerial view, and have an important question:

    Does the pond in question freeze well enough to play hockey on? There wouldn’t be any boards to check one another into, but still….

    ~ S.

  127. Norabarnacle-
    My plan is to read all of the Little House Books this summer. I believe I have only read the first one and that was for a children’s lit class. And it looks as though the Golden Compass is on my summer reading list as well!

  128. I don’t…love Little House. Will I be banned?

  129. Amy in Ohio! It wounds me, nearly mortally, that you have not read these books. I cannot imagine what it would be like to encounter them for the first time as an adult. Will it create a distance that will keep you from loving them as much? I am worried.

    Those stories and the Garth Williams illustration are etched into my brain. I go to those books for comfort when I need them, and they do not fail.

    I hope you get to them.

  130. Molly! We have rehab.

    Amy, don’t you listen to anything Molly says.

  131. Maureen, what sort of Little House 12-step program is called for here? Am thinking of the 12 steps specifically- we must devise them and ambush Miss Molly.

  132. My mom used to make me watch the tv show…and I just…can’t…bring…myself…to read…them. I just can’t.

    Where’s Sister Smite Me? I need her to hand my reeds. I think she was borrowing them last?

    Our Father, who art in heaven…

  133. Oh, Molly, that explains it. I couldn’t stand the TV show either. The whole thing was cloying. Laura was sickeningly inauthentic and Michael Landon, God rest his soul, was sickeningly melodramatic. Couldn’t say things once, mind you, because that didn’t pack enough punch. Had to say them TWICE, as in, “I don’t know, Laura. I don’t know.”

    Oh, that’s a relief, Molly. That’s a relief.

  134. Jenny, that was too, too funny.

  135. Molly,

    Be not afraid. I managed to meet Maureen and return her Little House video and article face to face and never once had to mention that the Little House books bore me to tears. And she and I are still Friends, see?

    Oh, wait.

    Maureen’s already gone to bed, right? she whispers.

    ~ S.

  136. Sarah, et tu?

    I am embattled.

  137. Sarah, with you at my side, NOTHING can stop me!!!!

    (if I had a clip of Vincent Price’s laugh from the end of Thriller, I’d insert it here!)

  138. Yeah, well, we’ll see who’s laughing when Maureen shows up with a herd of angry cows. “Who’s laughing now,” they will say, a la Michael Landon. “Who’s laughing now?”

  139. Do not ask for whom the cow bell tolls, Molly and Sarah. It tolls for thee.

    Seriously though. What books did you read as youngsters?

  140. But I know all the words to “Running Up That Hill”, “Breathe” and “Heathcliff.”

    Surely that counts for something!

    Also, I am a fellow English teacher. That has to count for something too.

  141. Molly,

    For next time:

    ~ S.

  142. Also, I practically WROTE “Babooshka”!

  143. Well, I’ll be– my comments doth be eaten, twice.

    I’d try again, but I’m thinking it’ll show up, Twice, already.

    Molly, it was a link to The Laugh– for next time.

    ~ S.

  144. As a little-r girl, I read ALL Nancy Drews and Babysitter’s Club.

    As an adolescent, I read EVERYTHING I COULD GET MY HANDS ON by Robin McKinley, whose work, I am happy to say, HAS stood up to the rigors of time. My God, she writes beautifully.

  145. You earn points there, Molly.

    When I was in college I used to listen to ‘Breathe’ in the dark with the lights off, over and over. I need to find it again as it is once again appropriate to my circumstances!

    Sarah, Carrie tried to teach me how to bold once and my post appeared, minus the text. I asked her if she was the devil and she denied it but I have not received outside confirmation.

    Well, goodnight dear hearts. Thank you for brightening my day today. I love you guys.

  146. Molly, I have boxes and boxes of the Babysitters Club upstairs that I cannot part with. Also, all of the Sweet Valleys.
    I am tired.Blah.
    Good night loves.

  147. Oh wait, do the Little House books talk about what they ate? Because I am a HUGE fan of food descriptions in children’s books.
    And shit, they aren’t like the show? Does he at least call her half pint???????!
    Okay, ‘night.

  148. The Babysitter’s Club!!!!! OMG. loved it. claudia-dark and mysterious. cristy, meh-started it (meetings at her house usually?), maryanne, nerd and stacy-hot. oh how i worshipped those books. there were some younger kids, too (mallory and someone else?) …holy moly, i have not thought about those books in forever. i was absolutely obsessed

  149. SHER!
    “but I am currently working on Brenda QD’s commission work.”
    I am so excited…I told Sher I get to me a mini-Medici because I commissioned a piece from her. I get to feel like a real live patroness of the arts…

    Where’s Maureen..probably asleep if her hectic posts are any indication of a normal day…just hoping I didn’t offend by talking about her death when I really meant, you know, the part in the Hail Mary where you say pray for us now and at the hour of our deaths and that is all I know about that…I usually can’t even remember how to do the crossing (and me with a secret halloween costume of me as the mother superior in the Blues Brothers). My social ineptitude amazes me, but I don’t really give a shit at my age.
    GIGI: you are SO right..doesn’t working instead of watching this blog just suck?
    I hope you are feeling better, too…keep us up to dated.
    SFC…we burned a wish for your house to sell…we are not very good amateur witches I guess since we haven’t heard anything from you. We’ll keep trying.
    I can’t win the lottery either, except that I found this blog and that is one big win, eh?
    LOL, BQD

  150. P.S.
    Jenny: you make me laugh!! So glad you found us too.:-)

  151. Oh, what’s that you say? She IS? Sarah is coming to visit me — coming here? When? IN ONE WEEK?

    Heck yeah, she is.

  152. Jenny–I’m sorry. “Breathing.” I must be losing my mind.

    Sweet Valley High was contraband-ish in my house because it dealt with “adult” themes. But I snuck romance novels starting around 7th-8th grade.

    And really? Robin McKinley–if your girls like to read, check her OUT. Her heroines are STRONG like STEEL yet still funny and loving. READ: The Outlaws of Sherwood. It’s my favorite.

  153. SARAH’S GOING TO BE IN DURHAM?!?!?!!?!?


    Oh damn. Oh spite!

  154. Is it true? Is it really true?

  155. Carrie! How are you!?

  156. Ok, dear ones. Parents are finally going down for the night, and both exams are written for the chilluns tomorrow.

    Good night! Sweet dreams!

  157. Molly, Sarah, me three. That show was the anti-Ingalls, apparently, now there are so many books on my list, if I read one a day I wouldn’t work through them in a year. I beg your indulgence, Miss Jenny, please don’t be wounded, but with my bookshelves groaning, I will not, I cannot, submit to the rehab.

    Sort of like I’m willing to concede middle ground to TT in CC. IF she advises her book club that they are currently and in future a fling only; IF she brings us chocolate and flowers every few weeks, or at least a cow video; IF she comes back and tells us everything, and I mean everything — we have to have honesty or this just won’t work — I think we can excuse what can only be a mild flirtation and a pale reflection of what we are to her. I mean, really — read the last few hours! Molly and Jenny and BRENDAQ (I want to MEET you!!!) and AmyOOOOOO and beautiful Sarah and Haven at the helm, and you are reading in real time the very definition of performance literature. You heard me! I propose a new acronym: LFOOMCL (for “Literally Falling Out of My Chair Laughing”). I suppose it is unwieldy, but seriously, this has been like a good 20 minutes of standup, and you all just need to know.

  158. “Maureen’s already gone to bed, right? she whispers.”

    Oh, Sarah. LFOOMCL.

  159. Brenda,

    Focus. Try to stay on task. The owls. Tell me about your Home Depot Owls.


    Wait, the last week of May is NEXT WEEK? Since when is next week the last week?


    ~ S.

  160. You know how day laborers wait in the parking lot of Home Depot for work, speaking of owls? Do you think they would clean my house before Sarah gets here, if I called it carpentry?

  161. taking a break from Brenda’s painting (I am apparently going to tease her madly via the blog until it is finished) . . .

    you all are a hoot, but nay I cannot party . . . but coincidentially I am listening to Kate Bush’s THE DREAMING right this very moment and Don says that I am the only he knows who appreciates donkey sounds in my music.

    All I can say Get out of my house . . . !

    Heeee-hawwwww heeeee-hawwwwwww heeeee-hawwwwww!

  162. I TRIED to upload pictures of the owls and the blooming cactus but the yahoo website told me I didn’t have the right to upload…don’t know what I did to chap yahoo’s ass. I even signed off and signed back on, but no, it kept giving me the red letters of death, so until I figure that out, no pictures of the owls..the baby is almost as big as the mom but still fuzzy and the color of the concrete. Very cute. I really enjoyed watching the juxtaposition of the very quiet and serene owl family perched 25 feet above the heads of the shopping familys, some with extremely whiny kids:
    Mom: “now Christopher, you’re really starting to annoy me with that game!”
    Christopher (nasally) “But mooooom, I need the game to work now!!” (holding some sort of video game)
    Mom: “it needs new batteries, just wait”
    Nasal Boy: “I want it now! nooooow!! NOOOOW!”
    I was kinda hoping the daddy owl would swoop down and catch hold of his hair. Instead, I intervened and pointed out the owl to him. He was impressed for all of about 10 seconds. His mom not at all. I despair of humanity, I swear.
    The drawing proceeds apace.
    I proceed to Bed.
    CARRIE: I want to meet you too! I looked at all the lovely pictures of you all before I had my little tiff with yahoo…y’all are so beautiful and I mean that sincerely.

  163. P.S.
    HAVEN! I can’t imagine any day laborer refusing to clean your house….if I was closer, I’d clean it for free. (well, at least once) 🙂
    Just saying, so I could get the books all autographed. hee hee.

  164. Brenda,

    Thanks. I loved your idea of the daddy owl catching hold of the boy’s hair!

    Remember back when the Peterson’s Field Guide to Birds was all in black and white, with color plates in the center of the book only? We had a bit of a situation when I was four or so, when all the owl pages in our copy were suddenly revealed to be Missing. Tuneless hum. Oh, how I loved those shiny pages, and wanted to be with them all the time, and they just… came with me, once, and wouldn’t go back into the book.

    I now own a wonderful book called, wait for it, Owls, by Floyd Scholz. It’s an almost-coffee-table-sized book published primarily for illustrators and sculptors and thus containing a wider variety of full-color close-ups, angles, and physiological details of the different kinds of owls than most standard guides. I haven’t torn out any pages, not even of my favorites.

    Thanks again,
    ~ S.

  165. Oh no, I cleaned house today and did mommy stuff…grocery shopping…so much to catch up on:

    1. The Little House Books are NOTHING LIKE THAT SHITTY TV SHOW. Oh damn it, it makes me angry that something so maudlin could turn someone off to something so true.

    2. Babysitter’s Club Fans? CHECK THIS OUT:

    3. Jenny, I would love to talk to you about birth but why bore everyone else here? Email me, or we can talk on the phone sometime. I’m one of those awful people who looooove the phone.

    4. Maureen, I have committed adultery in my heart against this blog many times.

    5. GEORGE…did you get my email? BUNNY THE ELEPHANT DIED. Oh, I am sad.

    6.There is probably more but I forget.

  166. Also, CARYL? That was GOLDEN.

  167. Somebody play with me…I made peanut butter pie!

  168. Brenda Quinker? What books do you want signed? Just tell me — I’ll do it and you needn’t even vacuum.

  169. Brenda, if you clean my house I would be glad to forge Haven’s signature.

  170. Just pretend you’re doing a second grade report on Moby Dick, Kate.

  171. In my day, we read The Boxcar Children in the second grade.

  172. Crap! Crap! Crap! Damn this farm schedule, damn it!
    I went to bed and missed a MAJOR Laura Ingalls Wilder discussion. (Sarah – I woke up unexpectedly at 9:51 with an extremely bad feeling – something in the air that caused me MASSIVE distress, not sure what that was …..)


    Molly and Sarah and all – I forgive anyone for whom the Little House Books are not the real nine books of the Bible. For me they were THE escape from the place I was (city, 1970s, alcoholic family) to a place I would have vastly rather been. And I return to them again and again and again and have damn near based my life on them: I am the extreme case.

    The TV show! Ew! Ew! Ew! This is my Michael Landon rant:

    “Yo, Mikey, I know you never really recovered from the Little Joe years but Hello! Pa had a BEARD! It was IMPORTANT! If you want to be on Bonanza for all eternity, go back and be on Bonanza but don’t you sully Pa with your saccharine goofy-ass rendition that is like Little Joe gets married! Fie on you! Fie I say!”

    Pant, pant, pant ……

    And don’t get me going on Melissa Gilbert …

    Ah, more later.

    Bye Molly! Have a good day! Next time we see each other we’ll croon Wuthering Heights and Running Up That Hill and I’ll forget what you said about you know who (LIW).
    You too, Jodi (the nice day I mean) and when do we get to meet you?
    And what’s this about Sarah in Durham?

  173. If Maureen can forgive me for having no desire to want to read LIW, then I forgive her for cheating on Amber and me. 🙂 (Amber might not forgive her, but I do!)

  174. Kate! Peanut Butter Pie and forging Haven’s signature…once again you are my heroine.
    Dear Haven..if I mail you the books, you will sign them? My Dana the B & T bought me a signed Zippy for Christmas just because he knew I would love him forever if he did but all my other hardbacks are unsigned, which is one reason I mourned the loss of Durham so much. I would even pay return postage! And I would commit vacuuming in my heart (does that count?)

    Just for the record…the Little House Books rock. The t.v. show, not so much, too much sugar not enough
    Birds woke me up this morning…gotta go get ready for the salt mines.


    A ship in a harbor is safe but that is not what ships are built for.

  176. Molly, that’s one of my favorite Grace Hopper quotes.

    Another one is: “I believe in having an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.” 🙂

  177. I probably deserve that weird lobster gravatar for not commenting for so long….

  178. Television
    Little House on the Prairie
    episode: “The Collection”
    Johnny Cash, guest star

  179. I love Johnny.

  180. Amazing Grace, indeed.

  181. Back here just for a minute to dodge the mound of laundry that is about to overtake one of my family members. Meh, I’ll find them one day.

    Molly…count me in on the LH non-lovers. I disliked them for a different reason than Maureen. My life in 1960s New Orleans with a single mom living in the projects stunk…so I thought Laura et al were silly and needed to grow up and get a real life. I didn’t find it escapism. And, I don’t remember reading as a child either but there’s one book that spoke to me and I’ll be sending it on to my favorite writer.

    Now I feel like I need to be absolved.

    Haven…the visual of you getting the Home Depot guys to clean your house in the name of carpentry–priceless! I’m off to the Home Depot parking lot…

  182. Brenda…I still have the pie…come over!

  183. Vanessa…because traveling by covered wagon, almost starving and almost freezing is so not REAL LIFE.


  184. Wait…are you talking about the TV SHOW again????

  185. Kate…I know, I’m sorry. I just couldn’t relate because it was a different hardship than mine. Maybe because they had such a nice family with a mommy and a daddy. And we’re talking about my 9-year-old self, so there wasn’t a lot of rational thought going on.

    Let’s talk about pie!

  186. Can someone tell me where to find Carrie Singing?

  187. NB, are you a member of the yahoo group? I think there you will find everything you are looking for. Email addresses, I think the files of Carrie singing are there too.

  188. Nora,

    And here, I was going to say “Seattle.”

    ~ S.

  189. Hi Guys –
    A quick hello before I have to go to a meeting. I am forcing myself through The Covenant – the Amish book, on tape, in the name of marketing. As someone told me at a writing workshop, I could corner the market on farm novels since not many writers also live on farms. A Map of the World made me want to perpetually vomit with anxiety, so I don’t count that.

    Any comments on these Amish books? I am attempting to remain open-minded and would gladly hear from anyone who just loves them – or hates them.

    Kate – I would give about anything to go to your house right now and eat pie.

  190. Sister Self Flagellation, I’m here!
    I’m not going to give you the reeds or the … other thing. Your penance will be to read Little House in the Woods.
    I found out last week that I am related to LIW. So, if you don’t read it, you’re shunning my dead ancestors, and that’s not very nice. Is it? 😛

    And yes, the tv show blew – disregard it.

  191. Sarah!!!!

  192. Kittery – I now worship your very DNA. Are you serious?

  193. OMG KITTERY????????

  194. My guess, through Grace’s lineage.

  195. Hahahaha. Yes’m. Somewhere on my Pa’s (ohh! Did you see that? HAH!) side..
    My sister in-law found it while trying to do genealogy for her two kids..

  196. WE WANT DETAILS!!!!!!!!!!!

  197. I don’t have any more!
    I may be able to scrounge around for some, but as of right now, you know everything that I do.

  198. OK. Hmmm…… Rose had no children, Mary never married (Adam? spare me!), so that leaves Carrie and Grace, unless of course we have to go up to Charles and Caroline’s families and over that way …..

  199. Lol. You won’t rest until I get answers, will you?
    I was going to wait until I had details to tell ye, but then the opportunity came up to shame Molly into reading the books and it was too perfect to miss. 🙂

  200. I’m not reading them.


    Give me my shinaigh.

  201. COME ON, WOMAN! The show was bad, but not *that* bad.

  202. I am related to Al Gore ironically enough.
    And I wish I was traveling to Durham with Sarah because one she is a HOOT and two I feel as if I don’t meet Haven soon then I will have to accept the fact that she is a pretend person living in my head.
    However living in my head would be the cat’s pajamas because there seems to be a circus of characters who distract me ALL OF THE TIME!

  203. The show being bad is WHY YOU SHOULD READ THEM. NIGHT AND DAY.

  204. I see that there are new comments because gmail tells me so, but I can’t SEE them HERE. WEIRD.

  205. Thanks Kate…
    I go there for everyone’s pictures, but didn’t know what “files” meant!

    Beautiful beads AND that Voice?

  206. Molly: I’ve got your back. 🙂

  207. Thanks, Vanessa! Apparently I need it!

  208. M–how many days now until Japan?

    I’m slinking away to get back to that riveting load of laundry.

  209. 15 days!

  210. Guys. Read Little House. As a birthday gift to me.

  211. Oh no…is it your BD, Kate? Did we miss it?

    OK, a friend (who is born-again Christian) just begged me to read a book about a Jewish family that became Christians after their daughter converted. (Sorry, not gonna happen for me.) Anyhoo, if I can read that, I can read at least one LH book. I think my kids might have one. What do you suggest?

    And only because it’s a birthday gift.

  212. Does wishing that the students would stack their papers facing the same damn way put me in the wrong with Emerson and his “foolish consistency”?


    Best wishes for a wonderful day! (and hopefully we didn’t put you in a foul mood.)

  214. Happy Birthday Kate!!!!!

  215. Happy Birthday, KATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  216. WOOT WOOT!!

    Read Farmer Boy. It will make you hungry.

  217. Well, Happy Birthday, Kate!!!!

    And I did see your email about poor Bunny. Alas, I never knew her. I may have seen her only once or twice. She arrived at Mesker Zoo, some years after I left Evansville.

    Hello blog!

  218. Kate,

    ~ S.

  219. I want a giant schoolbus converted to a camper with all the blog babies in it to do a cross country trip in, like ‘The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test”. Except we wouldn’t need the acid (our wits are acidic enough, eh?)and because we would have Peanut Butter Pie and Sher to make us comfort food!!
    Would we still like each other after that? It would make a helluva book….especially if it was AFTER the rapture!!

  220. Happy Birthing Day, Kate!! I bet you had mini-aprons didn’t you?

  221. Nora: Yep, that was me at your wedding. Yep, Joe was kinda bummed out, but ok about it, too. You know…Now you are telling me there was cake? Now, I’m bummed out.

  222. George, when did you leave Evansville? Grandma said Bunny came in 1959.

  223. For Kate…A Little House Fest for your Birthday

    (look away Molly)

    I specially like the book signing picture…we need to get Haven a hat…

    VERY LONG…but cool, and from Linda’s University!

  224. You guys are too, too rad. My kids and I just started watching Napoleon Dynamite (Mom’s choice!) so I will come back and watch the videos Nora!

    Sarah, the card was very funny…my kids are going to be talking about underwear the rest of the day, I can tell!

  225. Oh, Kate…you’re right. Shoot, I have probably seen Bunny 50 times! I thought this was a “new” elephant they got in 1999. I haven’t lived in Evansville since 1974.

  226. miss kate cake, happy birthday to you!

    “Because time itself is like a spiral, something special happens on your birthday each year: The same energy that God invested in you at birth is present once again.” -Menachem Mendel Schneerson

  227. Katie Cakes! Hey! Happiest of Birthdays!

    Vanessa – I agree on Farmer Boy or Little House in the Big Woods – it’s short and has lots of trees, good food, and a dance.

    I am starting to posit that Kittery is related to Aunt Delia – or Cousin Charlie, similar personality (chortle, chortle, Kate will get that one).

  228. Oh come on – you can’t make fun of me and me not be able to get it! I haven’t read the books in yeeeeaaaarrss.

    Mean Maureen. 😛

  229. Oh Cousin Charley! Will he ever learn…?

  230. Yah! Yah! Kittery – sure you’re not related to Eliza Jane? (oh har, har! Nudge, nudge, Kate.)

  231. *snicker*

    My kids make me read them the cousin Charley part over and over…it’s their “Boy Who Cried Wolf.”

  232. Hey, Kittery, go wade in that deep water hole! It’s nice and cool!!! (Laughs behind hand).

  233. What is this? Seventh grade? BAH. 😛

  234. Aw, we love you Kit-Kat!

  235. Shurrree you do. 😉

  236. KATECAKE!! The Happiest of birthdays to you!! I hope you made yourself cupcakes.

    Steph: that Schneerson quote — what a lovely sentiment.

    Nora, thank you, my sweet — time to get new pictures up of current beads. I’ve lately been making beads I think are pretty.

    George, I’d be honored if in your capacity as meeting DJ, you played any of my songs. You are too kind.

    Mo: did you see my “studio” from the street?

    QDink: I am so ON that bus! And I don’t want to wait till after the Rapture, unless that’s scheduled for next week.

  237. Molly, thankfully, I was sitting down too. That John M. (John M.! I believed you’d gone away forever!) not only knew its provenance but offered another of hers, which has always been a favorite (“I believe in having an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out”), giving me a new appreciation for lobsters. But did I know who Grace Hopper is? No, I did not! So I read the Wiki link and Lord, what a woman. What a life.

  238. Hi carrie!!!!
    Okay guys, I am picking up the audio versions of the first 2 little house books tomorrow!

  239. Hi Amy!!

    Okay, you threw down the gauntlet — I will pick up Little House this week.

  240. (It is Kate’s Birthday, after all, and she especially asked for this for her birthday…)

  241. Ha! Kate and I will make converts of you ALL! Make sure you get the versions with the Garth Williams illustrations and COVERS. Please eschew the covers with the pseudo-photographs.

    Carrie! Hi! I was down pulling willow branches out of the “pond”. OK, yes, I fell in twice and I almost got killed when a big dead branch fell, BUT all is well.
    Sarah – Big thumbs up on hockey potential on the pond. Do you play? I only ask because I was on a women’s ice hocky team in college – I am a born and raised Sabres fan. I was the perma-goalie for my brother growing up.

    Carrie – If my Google Earth has put me in the right spot, I see a tree-surrounded spot with a biggish building and an attached smaller building to the left and a smaller yet building set back to the right. Am I in the right spot? I am about as good with Google Earth as I am with X-Box, on which I tend to spin in a circle and shoot my own feet.

  242. Please, please, please, PLEASE tell me when the sequel to She Got Up Off The Couch is coming out. Please PLEASE please PLEASEY PLEASE PLEASE?!?!?!?!? I am absolutely dying.

  243. Okay. It is a commercial break and I am so sexually confused about Adam Lambert right now. I am torn between wanting to sleep with him and wanting to set him up with some sexy, strapping, young man and then asking them if I can be their best friend.

  244. Has anybody read any of the Beverly Lewis Amish books?

    Is that like asking if you all watch NASCAR?

  245. Mo, I think you are but looking at it again, it’s so much in shadow you probably can’t see much. Excellent work on the willow branches and the dodging the deadly one. Your brain, intact: very important. Would you consider wearing a helmet out there?

    Loved your lobster post. I now have an even greater new appreciation for lobsters and their loved ones.

  246. Here’s how they do it in the talkies:

  247. LOVE the advice, especially to TT from CC.

    I loved the Little House books, all of them. The TV show was a pale imitation and Michael Landon was completely wrong as Pa.

    Sorry I missed you all yesterday, I was planting flowers and cooking. I forsook you for one day and see what all I missed! I am not worthy!

  248. Mary Lou – I knew you were one of us!

    I’m going to bed. Don’t talk about me. (Sarah, I’m looking at you. I fear that you and Kittery are going to plot something dastardly). Kittery, How’s them bloodsuckers? 🙂

  249. Mo, I have your back. You are my Mo-Fo. Ha! Hmm, I think I have had too much wine.
    And um, I watch NASCAR. ( Wow, I am drunk) It’s because I live with a boy, a boy who loves NASCAR and I have been sucked into it’s drama. And some of them are very cute.

  250. Oh! I read The Rapture of Canaan this past Saturday and really enjoyed it. Anyone else?

  251. Little House Confession- Loved it, love it, tv show and the books. Wanted to grow up country. Wanted to be Laura Ingalls. Even my babrie dolls had a real chuck wagon that would travel to Walnut Grove in my backyard. Had crazy but sometimes fun bipolar mom who would reinacted the show with me each week. We’d scream out “pa” and “half pint” all day long. She dressed me like Laura and that is why I always had to long braids like you see in my avator, just like Laura. I’ve already confessed this shame to Sher, but here goes: I was engaged for one day, then eloped with my hubby almost three years ago. It was during midterms during my senior year. I worked two jobs and went to college full time at this time. Plus I had new kids. I couldn’t get one day off work, had movers who brought my stuff to hubby’s house, and was forced to throw away (Not donated even, I know…) all of my childhood books, and ALL of my Little House on the Prairie books were tossed. I am so horrified by this, I was crazy tired, stressed, and had boxes in a small 1000 foot condo everywhere and choices had to be made fast. Sher took a photo of a bunch of these books in Durham, and it made me cry. I’d give two weeks of my life to get them back.

    Molly, those books were such a part of my seventies childhood for me, it almost hurts me to hear you say you don’t want to read them. I mean, we are still Blog Babie friends and I adore you and all, but your hurting me. Try just one, to get a taste, see what the fuss is about. But pick a later book, when Laura is older. I found the later ones to be better written.

    Sorry, I was having a moment with that one.

  252. Jenny – I’m ok, but there is always something. But thank you for asking. How are you?

    Nora – Mary never married … and wasn’t she a teacher at the blind school?

    Brenda – Yes! I always miss out on the fun stuff here, or I can only stay and lurk for a hour here and there. It’s like high school, where I was always on the cusp of being popular, but watched my friends from the sidelines. I miss being in the cool click here, if you know what I mean. (I hope that doesn’t sound weird to anyone, I mean I’m sorta jealous I’ve not bonded as well as some of you have, because you all seem so great and I have not enough time for BB friends.)

  253. Um Amy, you and me BFF’s. Did you forget over the weekend?

  254. Haven – Advertise for an occasional house cleaner at the college. I cleaned house for $20 a pop back in the 90s. Poor college kids will do anything for money.

    Kate – Shitty tv show had me near tears, lol. In comparrison, yes, but I love tv so I loved the show. And, I loved The Boxcar Children too.

  255. This means we can share monogrammed sweaters and holy shit, they will have the same names on them!

  256. GFTG, the thought of you having to throw away your books just makes me so sad.

    When we cleared out my parents’ house (Mom had died and we were moving Daddy to NC to be near us), I brought a U-Haul of their stuff but the auction man came and took away everything we left in the house and at the end, I was just so tired and emotionally spent and I just could not fathom the idea of carrying her treadle sewing machine (which had been my grandmother’s) up those basement steps. We left it and it was auctioned off along with my wedding dress. I have often regretted leaving those two items but . . . I just didn’t have it in me to carry them out.

    I still have many of my childhood books and they are a comfort to me. Mostly we did not buy books, though, we got them from the library. Now I buy the Cherry Ames books whenever I see them in used bookstores. LOVED those.

    And yes, I was too old for the Babysitters books.

  257. Amy – Yes, you are not forgotten! Are you coming to Detroit for real when I’m on my medical leave to perk me up? Nothing else could make a uterus-free woman more happier than to hear endless book and tv gossip. Why don’t we email? Do so.

    Ok, I’m asleep but still typing, good night. BTW, I put up all those pictures I took in Durham last night, in case any of you missed me saying so yesterday.

  258. Mary Lou, I was begging people to come take anything, I gave moving men my entire bedroom set, and all my little kid Judy Blumes, my Paula Danzingers, my Ramona Quimbys, even my Black Beauty went bye bye. Then I threw out my Breyers horses out too. It is too much to think about. I am not even sure if my barbies are still here. All I have from childhood are my yearbooks, and my Girl Scout Sash (I was a leader.)

  259. Are the Babysitters books those Sweet Valley High Books? I was too old, but I still read them. I like to still read kid and teen books from time to time to see what my stepkids are reading. This is why I’m reading Meg Cabot. Sigh. I want my Judys and my Laura books back.


  260. Molly,
    I started reading my Sleepover Friends Books tonight. Do you remember those?
    Birthday girl Kate, thank you for the Claudia link! I love it.

  261. Take heart Ghettogirl, I am the only thing that survived my childhood.

    Thanks, Carrie, can I have your whole discography, please. Better yet, tell me where you are appearing. How is your studio coming along?

  262. George! I hope you didn’t have any fun in Vegas. We’re jealous.

  263. can be in my clique anytime…I went through high school in the nerdy girl herd, defintely not the popular ones. I read too many books. Good thing that’s cool here! And I miss days of this wonderful blog because of what I am calling my exterior life…not the separate one I live here on the blog or in my head..two different places with very minor overlap.
    Amy, I LOVED the Rapture of Canaan.
    Gotta get to bed you lovelies. I get to go to a cancer survivor’s lunch with my lovely nieghbor and the cancer volunteers tomorrow…don’t know if it’s a nationwide thing but it is goin on hereabouts. We are both survivors, she of breast cancer and me of choriocarcinoma (hell, just google it). It’s a good thing the internet wasn’t around for me then because I would’ve been way more scared than I was. We are celebrating!

  264. “SFC…we burned a wish for your house to sell…we are not very good amateur witches I guess since we haven’t heard anything from you. We’ll keep trying.”

    um..i’m in day 7 of escrow. it worked. thank you sooooooooooooo much. carrie link also did her Mother Mary bead candle/wish prayer.

    the best pie prose – indeed the best first ten pages of almost any book ever — and one i sent to Haven long ago is by the late great JUDITH MOORE. it was a New York Times Notable book, and Augusten Burroughs introduced me to Ms Moore in 2001, whose books Augusten also worships. SO — the book is called NEVER EAT YOUR HEART OUT. it’s simply unparalleled…ostensibly about food but really about life.

    thanks to all for reminding me — i’m going to read the GOLDEN COMPASS trilogy, now that ive exhausted reading and rereading every stephen king book he ever wrote. his frequent mentions of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has made me start that, and i am just loving it. it’s unlike anything i’ve read in the genre. shocking.

    CARYL. i fucking love the ogden nash shenanigans happening. you must send photos. i want them more than life itself.

    xoxoxoxoxoxoxx sfc

  265. popping in to catch up . . . but am too tired to party.

    too tired to report.

    too tired.

    hello everybody (I missed John M?) wah!

    I love LH . . . even watched the tv show, even though it sucked in comparison to the books.

    I abhor the new stuff – give me Garth Williams illustrations any day. they are seared into my brain.

  266. Suzanne, I have just sent you pictures. Charlie as baby Ogden, Jack as a boy studying, and Stephany playing Ogden when he get his letter of acceptance to Harvard, complete with drawn on moustache.

  267. Carrie – thanks. I’ve been here all along, just not commenting. It’s been a horrendous semester, but the papers are almost graded. Then I’m off to the Bead & Button Show to learn BronzClay from Celie Fago. Have you ever been? Hundreds of crazy glass beadmakers with their torches! 🙂

  268. Hello BBs! I had a nice birthday and seeing you fun people here just seals the deal.

  269. Sher! I’m with you – I feel like my new gravatar. I did get a little studio time today, though, and that was great.

  270. Peek-a-boo!

  271. just bring some butter and some cheese rolls and we’ll have a lobster bake!

  272. Good morning from the farm:
    Andy mowed hay yesterday, so we are entering the Tasmanian realm. (First cutting is THE most important and therefore the most tense time on the farm). I just sneak down to my hermitage site (which I fall more in love with by the day). I can’t believe I have driven by that place every day for 20 years and never thought of gaining access. It is the influence of the blog, fo’ sho’.

    Yesterday when I almost killed myself, a huge dead branch came falling down (I was kind of tugging on it) and a bird’s nest came down with it (not currently in use). I took that as a sign. Eight years ago we were going through a horrendous time with hired help (this is before Los Hermanos Ramos appeared), and I asked for a sign that I should go to working part-time, and that very morning I found a bird’s nest on the floor of the barn – the chances of that are a zillion to one. So, I do believe my fantasy of either my sister or I buying this little property is getting the nod from above. Not sure how this will occur. I keep sending K before and potential-after pictures to lure her.

    I am reading (listening to) Beverly Lewis as marketing research. I am working on a new book about the farm, and I wanted to get a feel for why her books are so successful. I am only about five chapters into The Covenant, and ya, I am sucked in. I am waiting for a more compelling plot complication than that Leah knows about Derry and that Sadie knows about Jonas. We had an Amish crew build the latest addition on our barn, and we have several Amish families who have moved up to this area. My sis recommended the Jodi Picault Amish book, which I am sure has a more sophisticated plot.

    Two years ago when I went to the Colgate Writers Workshop (every time I say Colgate I feel like dweeby Dr. Schering), my workshop leader was Jennifer Vanderbes who wrote Easter Island. She thought I should write about farming, since very few writers are also farmers at the same time. Except, of course, the most holy Saint Laura.

  273. 2 days, 2 hours before the kids ARE GONE!

  274. Suzanne! YaY…although we take no credit…Mary beads trumps amateur witchcraft any day…I guess I was under the impression the deal fell through more than once. I will go hunt down Never Eat Your Heart Out because next to apocalypse books I love books with food/recipes in them (Like Water For Chocolate).
    Isabel Allende has a great cook/story book called ‘Aphrodite’…mmmmm jealous and pleased for you to have a sanctuay of your own. I love the imagery of a birds nest as a symbol for change and affirmation.
    Bug…I hope you know we all will be waiting for a daily detailed travelog from Japan, minus the private stuff of course. Counting down. I am reading ‘Neither Here nor There’ by Bill Bryson who writes the most hilarious travelogs ever.
    Am up early this morning as one of our dogs is sick and we have been nursing, Dana will take him to the vet when they open. Poor baby..cocker spaniels are forever hurting their backs jumping up on things.
    Morning Carrie, John, Kate, Sher and all!

  275. Molly – Gar. I have 15 more days with SENIORS who are already long done in their own heads. Then two weeks of paperwork. All the while Andy will be chopping hay, and I’ll be on the brink of packing my covered wagon and heading west: ALONE.

    Sorry, I’m in a crap mood today. I’m just going to crawl back into my emotional hole. I love you all to tears, but I am Oscar the Grouch: back into the can with me. I now get MMS, Mid-Menstrual Syndrome.

    The only thing that cheered me up was that now that the cows come and go into the barn, they can choose which of the 145 stalls they go into. My Beloved Jill always chooses the stall next to the two bottle calves that I feed every morning. I can feed them and talk to her at the same time. A COW is more attuned to me than someone else who shall remain unnamed.

  276. Molls, What’s the word on Aiden?

  277. Maureen! Just went to your blog (I am old father william, so a bit slow) and NOW I am understanding the lobster references above.
    You are lovely.

  278. Why is it that short work weeks take the longest? I only work a half day on Friday and then a glorious three day weekend off and it is only Wednesday. I feel as though I have been here for eternity. Blahhhhh.
    Move over Mo, I am coming to sit in the grouchy can with you.

  279. CARYL HAYES: Where are MY pictures of Ogden Nash day? Also the Marie Antoinette party. NOW. You know I just want what everyone else has, and a little bit more.

  280. Re: above post. In my head, I said please in there somewhere.

  281. Shanna, you are HI-larious.

  282. Indeed, Shanna. We ALL want to see Charlie as Ogden, Caryl. May I suggest the yahoo site?

    Hi, Ames. How goes it in the insurance world? Does that mean you have Friday off?

  283. Heya Mo!
    The insurance world stinks however, our half day Fridays start this week (and last the entire summer) so that makes it all worth it. Kinda.
    Jeff and I are going to Cincinnati Friday night to see George Strait in concert so that will be fun! And then Monday off for Memorial Day. Yippee!
    Okay, my grouchiness is wearing off.

  284. Ooh, I would love to see George Strait. How very cool.

    Mo – I read the Jodi Picault book and enjoyed it. However, I started with that one and found that as I continued through her catalogue… I kind of had her figured out.

    Kate, I cannot believe this blog you linked us to! I spent a good chunk of my catching-up-on-the-blog time over there. It’s fantastic!

    Ok, there is much more to say, but I just spent quite a long time catching up on three days worth of stuff, lol. Tired.

    I wanna see pictures from Ogden Nash pretend day too!

  285. Hello friends. Graduation is over and I am back at work trying to catch up. My home computer has a virus – UGH- so I couldn’t post at all yesterday. Still working on fixing it.

    The graduation ceremony was lovely and a good time was had by all. I put a few photos up on our yahoo group album. It was a whirlwind four days with all the family so it will probably take me a few days to process it all. The best thing about the gathering of all of the family was having my daughter tell me she was proud of me, because although there was alcohol all around being consumed by all the other adults, I did not have any nor did I want any. I know in my heart this has been the best gift I could give my daughter as she prepares to go off to college.

  286. Oh goodness, I missed Kate’s birthday 😦

    Happy Birthday Kate!!

  287. Linda – Good for you! That must be a difficult situation to be in, but you so strong you pulled it off AND got a thumbs-up from your daughter. I felt the same towards my dad after he got sober. I admire you so. I am going over to yahoo to see the pics because I juts love that Emma!

  288. Kittery – Cute sock monkey picture!
    Linda – Your kids are awesome as always

  289. linda, you rock.

  290. Linda,

    You are awesome…I have a friend who stopped drinking — and he was a raging, nasty drunk. It’s been about ten years for him, and to this day, he will say that it is the best thing that he ever did. He kept his sobriety through job loss, a major car accident and injury and a divorce. He kept his sobriety and he has never been a drag, but a total delight as a friend.

    So there…

  291. Okay loves, when I get home from therapy I will post the pictures on the yahoo site. If I’m not curled up in the fetal position, which sometimes happens after a good session.

  292. MAUREEN “Two years ago when I went to the Colgate Writers Workshop (every time I say Colgate I feel like dweeby Dr. Schering), my workshop leader was Jennifer Vanderbes who wrote Easter Island. She thought I should write about farming, since very few writers are also farmers at the same time. Except, of course, the most holy Saint Laura.”

    AND jane smiley. and let us not forget the sublime, perfect novel SOUTH OF THE BIG FOUR.

    oh and THE FARM by haven kimmel . yes.

    i think farm novels are fascinating: a farm represents all the human struggles and triumphs and stories and lessons. farm scenes, when done well, are scenerios i can relate to, though i’ve been mired in the sf bay area my whole life. so yes, do write about farming if you like. but dont forget to write yourself into the story. OH! and another one of my all time favorites memoirs/books is
    “A COUNTRY YEAR” by sue hubbell, who’s brilliant. she writes about running a bee farm BY HERSELF in alabama after her amicable divorce, she was in her early fifties i believe. it’s stunning prose, they’re all page-turners as well.

    so there are three books you all must read and savor like chocolates!
    you can buy them all used on amazon, if you’re stapped for funds, for about $20 total.


  293. Suzie Q! Thanks for the tips! I read A Country Year many moons ago – and forgot about it. And I had also misplaced my memory of Jane Smiley. I make my students watch A Thousand acres every year, but I have not read it. I read Moo a long time ago, too. I barely pushed myself through A Map of the World – too anxiety-producing. South of the Big Four is a new title to me. Now it’s on my list.

    And of COURSE I am drooling for Haven’s newest.

    The novel I am about 50 pages into is tentatively called Swimming in Lake Poison and is about hired help, particularly a dastardly one that sent me over the edge with an anxiety disorder. I am supposed to be workshopping that one at Colgate (Schering) but I wrote it about five years ago, so I’ve got to brush off the mothballs.

    And how are YOU? Does Escrow mean you are about to sell your house?

  294. Suzanne,

    ANIMAL Farm? That’s a farm novel. And Charlotte’s Web, which is sad and troublesome. Is “farm novels” a category, would you say? Gone With the Wind takes place on a plantation — does that qualify as a farm? I liked Gone With the Wind. How about The Fanny Farmer cookbook?

  295. Suzanne, are you saying you’ve read THE FARM?

  296. Maureen – I read “Plain Truth” the Picoult novel and I liked it a lot . . .

    Farmer Boy – my favorite farm novel of all time.

    My worst farm moment – my granddad found one of the new calves (one of a set of twins born on Easter Sunday) caught up in barbed wire . . . he had to cut the barbed wire off the calf’s face . . . and he lost an eye . . . it was so sad so that wee calfie with a torn up eye.

    Farm accidents: same grand at age of 61 got his glove caught in the corn picker. Thus feedingh is hand into it . . . he literally ripped his own fingers off to remove himself. He came in the house with his hand wrapped in a dirty red flannel shirt . . . dripping blood of course . . . then, he unwraps it and it looked like spaghetti hanging down to his knees . . . the tendons were just hanging there.

    Anyway, the evened up the stumps of his ring and middle finger and three years later when he died, I remember just rubbing those stumps like they were lucky rabbits’ feet. He was that strong.

  297. when is THE FARM coming out?????

  298. Here is the card I sent to Kate for her birthday:

    “Do your boobs hang low . . . ”

    it is a sorry state of affairs.

  299. Ms. Fick, your name was mentioned at the luncheon just now by me…girl, I bragged on you up and down to the fellow artist/caligrapher/sculptor at the table. It was she’ll go home and look you UP!!

  300. by the way, it is NOT 6 in the evening here…only 3 in the aft., what’s with that.
    Oh, I forgot that Arizona is not in the same time warp as the rest of the U.S. or even our own Indian Reservation.

  301. Brenda, maybe our time zones are the same. The one in my room doesn’t match up with the rest of the town. Not even the rest of the house..

  302. Thanks Maureen. I like it too. 🙂

  303. Haven wrote a book about a farm?
    WHERE?? and how can we get one?

  304. Suzanne! Don’t tease us about this…cruel and usual tho that may be.

  305. Sher – Hi! As I was looking at this hermitage clean-out project, I saw that there is a huge old pull-down map of the world, circa 1950, in that teal, aqua, brown, orange set of colors. Is it something you would be interested in? It is kind of huge, but I could mail it to you. If you don’t want it, I might do something with it. I just love that Elizabeth Bishop poem The Map.

    Are they assigned, or can the countries pick their colors?
    -What suits the character or the native waters best.
    Topography displays no favorites; North’s as near as West.
    More delicate than the historians’ are the map-makers’ colors.

  306. If I remember correctly from Durham, The Farm is one of Haven’s works-in-progress. Caryl, isn’t that right?

  307. I believe there was a publisher rigmarole that has pushed its release back despite the fact that it is DONE AND READY TO READ.
    Haven, would you OK a ninja maneuver at the printers? I have watched Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon MANY times and have been wanting to try out my moves. I would just grab, you know, 20 or so.

  308. Is everybody watching A.I.? Quiet in here. 😉

  309. I remember Haven mentioning that the miniature edition of The Farm had it’s actual cover art… so it must be “DONE AND READY TO READ” as Mo put it.

    Someone is keeping us from it.

  310. Whoever knew Ogden Nash cut such capers?

    Not I.

    (Thanks, Caryl.)

    ~ S.

  311. Um, Maureen . . . obviously you must use it if you are so inclined, or we could do a cutting like people do with quilts? Maps are exquisite.

    Or, if you send it to me I will make you a piece from it as a thank you . . . it might be sad but it could be cut down . . .

    Mary Lou sent me some treasures . . . just breathtaking and she will get a piece, too . . .

    night , night . . .

  312. HAVEN and BRENDAQUINKYDINK: of course I haven’t read The Farm. i only mentioned it as a book written by writers with experience of farms, whose subject is about farms….soon to be a major motion picture, if hollywood has any sense.

    MAUREEN and all: Well, i was in escrow until this afternoon, when the Buyer cancelled the deal. Now my only sensible choice is foreclosure. My son took it very hard, he had his heart set on our June 12 Durham move date, being closer to his dad, and the End of this fucking craziness. He looked very worried, as though we’d been arrested for fraud and were facing total ruination. I assured him it would be fine.

    Hey, I tried for 8 months to sell the damned house. It was not to be. We will, however, be happy to rent in Durham when the foreclosure process is over. No shame in that.

    That said, I’ve had better days.


  313. Suzanne.

    Fuck. There is no shame. You gave it every effort and it sounds like it is time to move on.

    i’ve written paragraphs, but really all I can say is I’m so sorry and hope that you keep your spirits up as best you can for Pablo and focus on your future.

    Perhaps it will lead to the next best seller “Foreclosed”

    Take care.

  314. sher

    thank you darlin. you are the wise and kind sher. i feel very spirited, as it happens.

    and of course, i HAVE been taking copious notes and writing up scenes ever since i got laid off in august…so yes. i’m thinking another book; my working titled was: MOVED escaping my perfect life, but i love your title way more. THANK YOU.


  315. Sher – Maybe we could split the map? It is rather huge!!! Choose a hemisphere. I’d like South America for sure (because of our beloved Guatemalan employees).

    I’ve been feeling a bit collage-y lately. I took a fabulous Art class in college with Nathan Margalit (now into encaustics!) called Methods and Materials. One of our first assignments was to go out into the woods, choose a spot, and “alter” it. Man oh man! I loved that. We also did some collage stuff, which I enjoyed a lot. I am replanning my hermitage to have a big enough table to allow for some art-ing. I remember after we moved here, one of my cousins said to me “Have you been doing much painting?” to which I replied “Just the bedroom so far.” And she said “No, I meant like watercolors.” That’s how far THAT all got buried.
    We all had MAJOR crushes on this man, and when he was not given tenure, there was quite a hub-bub. He is from South Africa, so he had this really cool accent ….. ahh, Professor Margalit ……

  316. Suzanne – I am so impressed with your stance toward this all. Such strength.

    FORECLOSED. Love it. So like you, Sher, to suggest the lemonade inherent in every lemon!

  317. Suzanne–that blows so hard, I cannot even say. Bastards.

    Aiden update–very little news, which I think is good? He had a doc’s appointment Monday and they found nothing. Megan insisted on her orthopedic specialist and was given a name and an appointment next week. So we will see. As of yesterday when I was on the phone with Megan, Aiden had abandoned the crutched and was flinging himself full force into first base…We’re happy he’s playing/feeling better, but we’d sure as hell like to figure out what was wrong in the first place.

    2 days left. I’m dying. Argh! I started West Side Story with the kids yesterday and got as far as the rumble. I know many people (I’m not naming anyone person, Sarah) do not care for musicals, but oh my. The Quintet? Lord, it puts the shivers on me.

  318. Mornin’ Molly!
    Oh, I love West Side Story!! Nice follow-up to Romeo and Juliet, BTW.
    We have a weird four-day weekend (weird because my program has kids from eight different schools: 4 are closed tomorrow, 4 are not) so I am trying to figure out if I should take the day off tomorrow or go and get some work done in the relative quiet. Leaning toward a day off.

  319. Good – I guess – news on Aiden. Are “growing pains” a possibility? My friend the RN has a son who grew a foot in about six months, and she said he used to wake up at night from pain in his legs. So she said that rapid growth really can be quite painful.

  320. Jodi – Are you there? What’s your count-down?

  321. Morning, Mo!

    I love West Side Story. I learned all my Spanish from it. 🙂

    I don’t know re: Aiden. 😦 Usually growing pains don’t incapacitate you. I will cross my fingers that that’s what it is.

    Amy O–I had something I wantd to tell you and now I can’t remember, drat it. I will email you if I DO remember.

  322. Good Morning, Maureen!

    Including today, Nine More Days. Thanks for asking. I was sitting on my deck, overlooking the koi pond, enjoying a manicured, newly-mulched lawn that someone ELSE mulched and manicured. The deck is my summer home, and I was warming up for June 4th (first day of summer vacation), positioning my chair just right, arranging the table that holds my morning chai, deciding where to plant flowers for the best view of them.

    How many more days do you have until vacation?

  323. Jodi – That sounds lovely. I’d love to see a picture: Jodi in her native habitat.

    I have – brace yourself – 16 more days with students and then 10 days of paperwork and meetings and such, totaling 26 more days. My first day of vacation is June 29. Of course we don’t start up again until the Tuesday after Labor Day, but still ….. I’m really ready to be done.

    I am very strongly considering going back to part-time next year. I actually have two part-time jobs put together, so it would not be impossible for me to work only in the afternoons. I kind of gently floated this trial balloon in front of my boss yesterday, and he did not freak out at all. So I am waiting until I can clear my head to make a decision on it.

    A bird nest strangely fell on my head two days ago, which is usually the universe’s way of telling me to be more nest-y. It’s a bad milk-price year, so it’s hard to give up such a huge chunk of salary. I don’t know if this is a mid-life crisis or a true call into a slightly different direction. I await further instructions.

  324. Maureen,

    My work day is from 8:00 am until noon, which is three hours of teaching and one hour of planning. The delight of walking out of the school halfway through the school day is priceless. Time is worth more than money in my world.

  325. Good morning! Today is Sam’s last day of school. He was all teary eyed when I drove him in this morning because his best friend, Omi (Ombeni Moses Idassi- Omi for short) is moving to Greensboro, NC in July. Add that to his sister going off to college and he is all emotional. I told him this is life’s challenge but also it’s joy – doors closing and others opening -endings and beginnings – but he wasn’t having any of it. Now we work on finding him a summer job. He has been filling out applications for a few weeks but no bites yet. Oh, and buying him a used car. Anyone have something CHEAP you’d like to sell to a darling 16 year old boy in Nashville?

    Well, back to work. Or, to work. I guess I really have not started yet. Ooopsie 🙂

  326. Jodi! Time IS worth more than money, eh? To me, too..I use up all my sick time and vacation time much to the disgust of the more practical hubby who is right that accumulating it will increase my yearly salary thus increasing the size of the pension, but I tell ya, having the time off is way more precious than that extra 50 bucks or so a month. Besides, I love vegetarian spaghetti, and Dana is the guy for a garden, so who cares?
    {{Sam}} hugs from Ant B. even tho he doesn’t know me…hey, a car goes a long way to assuage grief in the heart of a teenaged boy I bet.
    Suzanne! Just a fresh start is uplifting. I love Sher’s title, too. PLUS, I bought ‘otherwise engaged’ last weekend and am teasing myself with the promise of getting to read it all in one sitting over the long weekend.
    Hi George. 🙂

  327. George..I finished Hunter’s Horn late last night, and really want to say thanks for calling it to my attention…

    So many different reasons to read all kinds of books…from “in the moment” experiences, mindless fun, escapism, learn somethingism…This was one of those that gets into your heart and mind for good…those characters became so close and dear to me, and will Stay with me, I can just tell…Especially, for me, Milly…

    I recommend it to all of you!
    Thanks again George

  328. Sher…
    I finally managed to do the picasa/yahoo thing, and the pictures of my sherencausticSilverwithIrishBasket are there for you to see!

  329. ok. i’ve calmed down. i’m not going to pull the foreclosure trigger yet. AT EASE, in other words. augusten thinks i should make all of this into a book, as well. so. yay for that. i’m just waiting for further operating instructions from the universe.

    West Side Story is nothing short of a masterpiece. How exciting. The dancing was miraculous, absolutely brilliant. Natalie Wood was never better and oh my god. Well. It makes me just thrilled to even think of it; I know the words to every song.

    There’s a wonderful book about its making, with the great Jerome Robbins. i think the dancers wore our 1500 pairs of dance shoes in production. I don;t think it has even been topped, nor will it ever be. The faux marriage in her dress shop? Lord. The scene where Anita finds out her lover is dead? That duet? PLEASE.

    Just watch the intro on you tube. It will slay you. xoxo sfc

  330. So much to respond to.

    Linda–poor Sam. 😦

    Jodi–YAY to your 9 days!

    Maureen–BOO to your month. I will say that I begrudged you every snow day you had though. lol. After this week I still have 4 days of post planning–so basically terribly boring meetings. But whatever. The kids are gone by tomorrow at 10.30, and I couldn’t be happier.

    Suzanne–I disagree with the psuedo marriage. lol. The only sacrament Catholics perform themselves IS marriage. They professed their vows and that light appeared above their heads…lol. Yeah. They’re married. 🙂

    My children have been so UGLY today. You know, I just don’t get mean for mean’s sake. I don’t get it. And I don’t WANT to get it. I DO want to stuff all their mouths with soap. But that wouldn’t be mean. That would just be justice.

    Grrr. Maureen’s earlier grouch has transferred to me. I am ALL FUCKING DONE with the bullshit of thie week. Grrr.

  331. SFC, YESSSSSS to the book. So timely, which is genius when it happens organically, usually less so when it’s forced. Possible big fat platinum lining, right?

  332. Are any of you familiar with Lionel Shriver’s novel “We Need to Talk About Kevin”? It is astonishing, both in the language the author uses and the point of view she is able to establish and maintain.

  333. Jodi, tell me more. I remember reading about the book but cannot recall what it is about.

  334. Kevin is/was a seventeen-year-old who murders nine people at his high school in a Columbine-style shooting. The story is told by his mother in letters to her now-estranged husband/father of Kevin. Not only is Lionel Shriver (a woman who re-named herself because of her tomboyishness) able to maintain the profound line of thought of a mother responsible for her child’s unthinkable behavior, she uses such intelligent conversational language that the book is a privilege to read.

  335. ps Kevin is now in prison. He still “is” in the book.

  336. Maureen
    I love your blog…your Voice, your spirit…
    I will SO buy your book…whichever one you write, whenever you get it published and whatever it’s about…

  337. Maureen – any carcass left of the map will be happily received! I am so glad you are re-investigating your ‘artsy’ side – it is therapeutic in so many ways. When I am loose ends I have actually looked up art therapy methods and done some exercises – it is a great way to get the rust off the brain.

    If you enjoy nature work – netflix has a great documentary on Andy Goldsworthy – instant play – it is called Rivers and Tides . . . when things break, he says ‘shit’ and then does it over – I have great admiration for his process and his work.

    Suzanne – live in the house until you are thrown out!!!! Ask the bank about short selling . . . it is the pre-foreclosure action that saves your credit history and helps the bank save the expense of foreclosing . . . and they get huge write offs right now for short selling vs. foreclosing . . . just a thought.

    the last time I left dirty dishes in the sink during a viewing is the people that bought it – I suggest setting up games on tables, books and blankies cozy up on the sofa . . . everything that says – come in and stay a while.

    more in a bit – have to deliver a child to a friends’ house to ‘play’ – they are 15 but still ‘play’ – I love that!

  338. I derailed my train of thought.


  339. Jodi – you might also enjoy (if you haven’t already read it) Wally Lamb’s “The Hour I First Believed” – it goes into the victim’s/survivor’s post-trauma after Columbine. There is so much in that book that he packed in: women’s prison inmates, history of women’s suffrage, Columbine (before/during/after), abortion/stillbirth, aging, . . . it is just amazing what he covers of the human condition. It is time-travel without the sci-fi . . . I need to re-read it at some point.

    Dylan is also looking for a car. ugh. then lauren starts driving. quad-ugh.

    I just spent an hour listening to her ‘last day of school’ chatter. I literally fell off the barstool laughing. that is good for the soul.

    not so much for the ass.

  340. “not so much for the ass.”

    I don’t know why, but this made me laugh and laugh.

  341. I love Rivers and Tides so much…It is my go to video for when the burdens of the details of life settle on me and make me crazy.

  342. In the theory of spiritual warfare, the closer you get to doing what you are meant to do, the more the Dark Side launches its attack to stop you. In the past two days, the following attacks have occurred:

    1 An older local farmer whom I respect (former Hunter College professor, artist, and ex-husband of Twyla Tharp) told me he had stopped sitting with Andy at cattle auctions because he got tired of being treated so rudely

    2 A woman from Sweden commented on my blog that AS-NT marriages are fated to divorce with terrible consequences for the offspring

    3 Our dairy farm benchmark report arrived, showing that the only reason we succeed is because of my salary

    4 A couple was down looking at “my” property and told my neighbor they were “serious” about buying it.

    WTF?!?!?! Are the stars misaligned today?

  343. I’m gonna go watch Rivers and Tides and eat a burger whom I once knew.

  344. When the burdens of the details of life settle on me, I begin inventing lawn games involving Hippity-Hops and classic Jarts. Possibly fire.

    At least, that’s where my newest brainstorms lie.

    ~ S.

  345. Andy Goldsworthy is great–we saw some of his stuff on display on the roof at the Met? In about 2002 I think.

    Linda and Sher, on the used car question, go to my FB page and look up my friend Mike Bray in Nashville. He sells new and used cars at Beaman. He is a good guy, he has kids the age of your kids, and he will give you a good deal. I went to college with him. Tell him I sent you.

    Linda, anytime Sam wants to come visit his friend in Greensboro, let me know and I will come up there and see you if you drop him off. Either one of you would be welcome to stay with me as part of such a trip. We are 1 1/2 hour from Greensboro down I-85. Not on the way but perhaps a secondary destination.

    Jenny, where are you? I sent you an email, I will be in NYC June 1, let me know if you can get together.

    Suzanne, I am so sorry about the house. THAT SUCKS.

  346. Maureen:

    1) why would anyone tell you this?
    2) she does not know what she is talking about and again, why would anyone tell you this?
    3) I totally feel for you on this one. My problem is, I don’t have time to work and also do all the other things I want and need to do, yet we can’t make it without my salary. Lately this fact is sort of drowning me. And I like my job and have a great boss, and work is as flexible as fulltime work can be. But.
    4) What are the odds that someone is going to come along and buy that place NOW?! I don’t believe it.

    I am going to go eat a piece of cake in silent commiseration.

  347. Madam-

    Why do you say I have no integrity???

    FYI I have lots (of integrity)! You know about as much about sweaters and integreties as that MOTH munchin away in your closet knows about SHEEP in AUSTRALIA!


    A Sweater

  348. Hello!

    We are two shoulder pads, who after 40 years of faithfull service have been pulled out and thrown away. We are frantic with worry and wonder what will become of us. We are just lying here on the floor and
    wondering why this happened to us!

    Oh no! Here comes a puppy! Nooooo!


    Lloyd & Boyd,
    Shoulder Pads

  349. Hey,

    Just chillin, I’m new to this meadow, can’t say as I like it much. Like my new tat? “Born on a mountain, raised in a cave, truckin’ & fuckin’ is all that I crave.” Cool, huh?

    Lemme tell ya, Smurfville outta be called deadsville. Nuthin to do and nobody to do it with.
    At least this place has some woodland creatures and shit.
    Dude, last night I met this grasshopper chick and she was like all over me! She kept spittin this gross brown juice tho… nasty.

    Look that vole… she is SMOKIN! Stuck-up bitch tho – you can tell from over here…

    Anyhow, where does a smurf whose one hundred ten percent REBEL get some TANG around here?

    peace out

    Smurf Reggie

  350. Hello,

    You might think the life of a Toad Princess is only comfort and pleasure.

    But you don’t understand how a young toad can feel empty inside.

    My Parents, King and Queen Toad are always telling me – go find a nice, strapping young Toad and
    settle down and have a couple thousand toadlets.

    But that is not what I want.

    I WANT TO LIVE! To be wild! Dangerous and free!
    This tiny tiara might as well be a prison hat!

    At night I go to the pond’s edge and sing, sing for that special someone who will take me away from
    all THIS!


    trill trill trill trill trill trill trill trill trill


    Weena, Princess of Toads


    My favorite color is blue.

  351. Matt,

    Is there, like, something we can help you with, tonight?

    ~ S.

  352. Mo, I love you, and the fact that you can eat an animal that you once knew ,just kills me. In a good way. I want, want, want to live on your farm.
    Jodi~ I pick up that Kevin book ALL of the time and never buy it. I will now.
    Molly ( are you a Harry Potter fan like Ms. Kit and I? Because I want to call you Molly Wobbles all of the time and only a TRUE HP fan would get that:)
    Anyhoo, after I move in with Mo on her farm I plan on coming to GA and sitting in the back of your classroom ( very quietly of course) and watch you teach. I would just adore this.
    Oh and I second needing to re-read The Hour I first Believed, so informative that book.
    I am trying to talk Jeff into getting a 3rd dog. He says we can only do this when we move to IN ( when this fucking house sells) and we are only going to rescue a German Short Hair pointer. Jeff hunts and this is a bird dog. So of course I get on the rescue website and pick out my new dog WHICH I CANNOT GET YET.Blah! She will either be named Leisel ( Get it, German Short Hair, The Sound of Music oldest daughter) or Haven. This is the highest form of a compliment I can create.
    Hi Sarah!

  353. Hi, Amy!

    Refresh my memory: Why are you trying to move to Indiana, again?

    Does it have anything to do with being further away from Mechanicsburg, PA, or is that just a side benefit?

    ~ S.

  354. Sarah-

    No. In case you read the intro, there were references to

    1. Sweaters without integrity.
    2. Shoulder pads – to rip or not to rip (them).
    3. Bastard offspring of a smurf/toad union.

    All in the context of an advice column.

    I guess I was just trying to make some ha-ha.

    Never mind.

  355. Matt! Do Lloyd and Boyd know Larry, Darryl and Darryl? That was the name of mink stole in the “Grandma’s Attic” dress-up section of our local museum. I named it, of course.

  356. Sarah–for the past few weeks, I have been contemplating burning down part of the front yard and a little bit of the side yard.

    Just thought you should know.

  357. Amy, I got it! And worse yet, the thought has popped into *my* mind. Also, we have the same glasses. What the eff is going on?
    Just a sidenote, you might want to reconsider naming your new-puppy-to-be Haven. Think of the conversations that will inevitably arise: “Haven shit on the floor again. Haven, stop scooting.” Just a thought…

    Maureen, “eat a burger whom I once knew”, you should have someone embroider that in needlepoint, or write it in calligraphy and *frame it*.

  358. Maureen.

    I am so sorry. I will tell you, however, that Mercury is in retrograde until June 1 or 2, and that makes everything wonky and wrong.

    I will throw some extra Hail Marys your way.


  359. Hi Molly!

  360. Haven, quit getting ass hooch on the carpet!


    Though the word “wobbles” just brings wiggly flesh to mind, and the depresses me.

    Does anyone remember “Molly McButter”?

  362. I do!!! Isn’t she Mrs. Butterworth’s daughter?

  363. Hey Kittery!

    Ok. I have to go to bed now, but I promise, people, to be a night owl VERY SOON!!!!!! YAY!!!!!

    2 hours of children tomorrow then I am childless for the next 10 weeks! YAY!

    Good night, dear ones!

    Oh PS Jenny’s fine but having internet issues. She will post later.

  364. Kate–was she? I just remember the song. People used to sing it to me ALL OF THE FUCKING TIME.

    But it’s kinda catchy.

    Ok. Bed for real!

  365. No, I was just yanking your chain.

    Mrs. Butterworth= syrup in a talking bottle

    Molly McButter= faux butter flakes

  366. Molly a night owl? HOORAY!

  367. the level of my paranoia is such that i am now CERTAIN it was ME that nora nobarnacles was referring to when she said someone doesnt listen to her or respond. if so, i TOTALLY APOLOGIZE AND caryl told me that you are a fantastic and wise perosn when she met you in Durham. and i like your posts always. in fact, you;re all marvelous. and i dont drink any more (YAY LINDA! go LINDA!) and so it is not the alcohol talking. it;s me. xooxo sfc

    ps i love haven kimmel.

  368. okay just for teh record? how many times can a house sale fall through before the house becomes an official leper colony? i’m thinking twice. SHER! i am going to set my 1956 Smith Corona manual typewriter back on my dining room table and put a piece of paper in it. so anyone who comes can write about the state of internal affairs. great idea. you’re such a peach. the prayer flag is now hanging proudly in the front deck area because i’m all like, fuck that. you want the house? love my prayer flag, BABY.

  369. in the That’s How Fucked Up I Am category? i actually had a thought: now thaht people are posting things from you tube, it has COMPROMISED THE INTEGRITY OF THE BLOG. that thought formed and i watched it with a kind of amazed self loathing. i really need to have sex in before the century draws to a close.

    oh! oh! ps: the busier i am, the better i feel. today. one busy day a week is enough.

    pss love to all the teachers. my other BFF is a teacher and we always celebrate the closing of another school year. and she didnt get laid off, even though she was almost certain she was going to. so ,yay.

    ALSO: POLLY KAHL needs prayers. she has a medical test happening and she wont know anything until next wednesday. let us pray. okay? allrighty then. everybody, please. even those who scoff at prayer. especially yall. i can get very butch if i need to. i can go all virtual bitch on yo ass, so pray, pretty please, for Polly Kahl.

  370. Jack was a gold miner in his play tonight and I almost weeped at the sight of him. Then he and I snuck out of the house and went to Borders and sat in chairs sideways while we read.
    Charlie was so naughty at the play I don’t have the words to describe it, only video would do. Not during the actual play, during that he sang VERY loud without words. Afterwards we had dinner there and it was then that he went Hell to the CraZY.

  371. GO JACK GO! get you some gold, you redheaded gem.


  372. Hey Ms. SFC.
    You’re spirits are good, I like this.
    I couldn’t find the post you referenced by Norabarnacles, but I am sure it was about me, not you. 🙂

  373. um, can you just tell us some of what charlie did? i’m interested.

    i went to pablo’s open house at his middle school and i was SO. PROUD. my son is such a good boy.


    i love him beyond all measure. he’s doing ALGEBRA in fifth grade. my god. and he did a spectacular accordianed-drawing that is a piano underwater if you look at it from the left, and morroccos on fire if you look at it from the RIGHT. the piano looked like a photograph of a piano. shocking. he does this all while i am at home doing mostly jack shit. that’s courage and commitment. i feel like i found a treasure chest. i do. caryl? you too. all our kids, every one of everyone here’s kids, are just brilliant and so wise.

  374. I have to go help Steph, she needs a fiction book that is parallel to the author’s life. Everyone is doing The Great Gatsby so she is making me think. Any ideas?

  375. Good morning, Babies!!! I loved Matt’s personification diatribes – my removed shoulder pads have morphed into fantastic dusting cloths . . .

    I have had a rather bizarro week here . . . I can’t even describe it, but it included: being lost in the woods for 4 hours on Tuesday, waking up at 2 pm today with 6 little children running through my house and no idea how they got there, drinking Killian’s red on the deck and feeling the most perfect ‘homeness’ – I have lived in many locations, but this place – I feel HOME here. I really did fall on my ass today, and it was not happy about it.

    Andy Goldsworthy feeds my soul.

    Maureen – yes, the mother-fucking universe puts up these blocks – it is really the ‘are you serious about this test? After you pass, then enters the Universe handing everything you want on a silver tray. Patience and that all comforting “what is meant to be will be, Que Sera Sera” motion.

    naysayers – feel free to stomp on that bug, twist your heel really smush it, and move on . . .

    people get very uncomfortable with authenticity and audacity. Her putting you down is keeping you where she wants you – below her so she can look her nose down at you. Get a sling shot and shoot a pea up her f$(($) nostril, straight into her empty skull where it can bounce around in the emptiness.

    Your neighbor has struck a deal with you – he needs to honor that. Only when you began improving the property did these individuals see its potential. Don’t let it happen – call him on his greed if you have to. Wish we could take up a room of one’s own collection to insure your possession. At the very least Steal the F$)(%* map!

    Suzanne – the fact that you have had some interest is a good thing – the house is not stagnant, it is the finances of the people or there own indesiciveness . . . what kind of people would you like to buy it? Stage it towards those people. Love the typewriter/paper thing . . . I love the old manual typewriters . . . the clack, clack and the zing of the return . . . and ripping the paper out without lifting the hold down bar . . . zap!!! makes me lonely for inky hands and using the RED strip of tape for emphasis . .. lands, lets all write some ODES TO THE TYPEWRITER . . .

    amy – I agree, naming a dog haven is too disconcerting . . . “haven, you smell like a swamp! Gaw! Was that a dead duck you just farted, Haven? . . . ”

    Caryl – I miss you and thanking Jesus that I don’t have to do the ‘my kid is 2-3, please forgive him’ EVER again. I told you in Durham – oh yeah, I am OVER the ‘i’m not finished phase’ . . . remember my best weapon for tantrums – put that kid in a cold shower, clothes and all. Don’t know if it works for the terrible twos though – you and Jack at the bookstore – that is heavenly, that is how Dylan and I are – perfect harmony. It is joyous.

  376. since I can’t wake up donny and sneak in for a bubble bath, I am heading into the studio to work on Brenda’s piece . . .

    Blessed Friday! Although school being out now means my children will be home. I think i said yesterday that was a good thing? I am questioning my statement.

    perhaps another beer on the deck will fix my confusion.

    Linda! Sherrill! Jim S! Michael T! Sarah! and the others I didn’t directly address – love you ALL! have a happy, happy day!

  377. Maureen – I loved Nathan’s work!!! I emailed asking if I could link him to my blog . . . fabulous finding really GOOD encaustic artists out there.

    Maureen was ‘hot for teacher’?

  378. Hey Sher –
    Are you still up? Thanks for your words of wisdom. My deal with my neighbor was he would sell it if someone offered but I could still have the shed. He also said he thinks it won’t really sell. The house part needs ELectric, walls, like …. a LOT of work. But I will grab the map for sure.

    Cool that you e-mailed “Nathan.” sigh. Yes, we all had the hots for him. I hope you mentioned me? wink. I am sure he does not remember me. I was Maureen McCarthy back then, and that was 20 years ago. He was the COOLEST. I did my best art in his classes.

  379. School’s out For SUMMER!
    School’s out FOREVER!

    Lord, in 4 hours this will be mostly true. Except for the 2nd line.

  380. Hi Molly –
    It is WAY Tasmanian here this morning. I am taking the morning off.
    Congrats on your last kid day!!!!

  381. Ma Ingalls – Thanks for your kind comments about my blog. i feel like the King in “Once Upon a Mattress.” When his twenty-year curse of silence is finally lifted, the people gasp “The King can speak!” to which he replies “And I’ve got a lot to say!!!”
    I feel like I am finally speaking again after a long period of silence.

  382. Aw, Matt: Dang.

    I, too, was enjoying what you were doing, and I’m very sorry my comment didn’t read to you that way.

    I get fixed on gravitars, the quick visual clue to who’s writing and frame of reference for what might follow. I become more aware of how much I rely on those little icons whenever someone changes his or her gravitar, and I have to reorient my brain.

    So, I saw your little bright green lobster claw dude writing as A Sweater, and thought “Hey! What rhymes with Catt?” When you next wrote as the Shoulder Pads and then Smurf Reggie, my brain continued to blink, “Matt! Matt! Matt!” I was going to refer Smurf Reggie to your mustard inspector Julie (if she knows mustard, surely she has an inside line on Tang), but instead tossed off the line I did. I meant to somehow acknowledge your imaginative jag, not put a damper on it.

    Please, carry on.

    ~ S.

  383. Hi everyone. Do y’all think our various weird feelings and happenings this week have anything to do with the moon or something? Who knows about that kind of stuff? Because I feel terrible. Sad, tired, defeated. Ugh. Last night I criticized my husband for buying cheap hamburger buns. WTF? Oh well. Perhaps it is just the after effects of all the excitement around Emma’s graduation.

    I am SO glad you guys are here.

  384. Linda – This is the ultimate support group, truly. Molly says the stars are whacked until June 1st-ish. We can get each other through.

  385. Um, Linda. I’m TELLING you, Mercury is in retrograde. That makes all kinds of shit weird.

    For instance…a few days ago…Greg decided he didn’t want anything romantic. 😦

    I am still going to Japan, though. The friend who introduced us is way madder than I am that he broke it off and has redoubled her efforts in itinerary making–now there may be a trip to China. I’ve been pretty bummed off and on this week, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve had more fun in the last 3 months than I have in a year (minus some shining moments in Disney World, with my nephews etc) so…I’m ok.

    But yeah. Mercury in retrograde always fucking sucks. Just grin and bear it for another week and a half, and we’ll all feel better.

  386. Wait a second. Sher, were you heading for beer at 4:30 AM? Oh yeah, that’s a nightcap for you. 😉

  387. Molly – What is this “nothing romantic” business? A man flies you to Japan because he wants A FRIEND? Maybe he is just nervous that sparks won’t fly and you’ll be disappointed? He is covering his bases?

  388. Thanks, Molly. I have no idea what mercury in retrograde means so I will google it. But it is good to know I am not alone in my crappiness mode.

    Greg. Ugh. Once he sees you he will change that position. Men. Geez. 😉

  389. Hi, guys. Have been sort of offline for a few days, with email access only available via my new Blackberry, to which I am still acclimating. Email (gmail) format is also new and somewhat confusing because it sometimes collapses multiple email exchanges under a single tab.

    Mary Lou, the upshot is that I shot Maureen a message saying I’d LOVE to meet you in NY next week! We will hone our evil plan as the time draws near.

  390. Oh Jenny –
    I wish I could get away next week, but no can do. School is not quite over yet and we are also haying, so it’s mayhem here. You and Mary Lou should meet up and I’ll get down there this summer some time.

  391. Mercury in retrograde explains it. I had a cataclysmic, excrutiating, mystery abdominal event Tuesday night that left me way too incapacitated to even think about getting to the car to go to a hospital, so I hung out for a few hours thinking, “Wait, maybe this is getting better. I’ll give it another half hour.” It didn’t feel or behave like a pregnancy-related complication, and it did get a little better, so I checked in with my doc the next day. She asked me to come to the Labor and Delivery unit for a check-up. I was feeling pretty good by then-just some residual tenderness. Baby was AOK by ultrasound and fetal monitoring. Once that was established, the resident started poking around my belly to see if she could locate the problem. Her poking didn’t hurt a bit, but at one point it hurt badly when she RELEASED her poking, and I just about jumped off the table. At this, she said, “If a surgeon had seen that, you’d be off to the OR right now.”

    So, apparently there’s this thing called ‘rebound tenderness’ which is a very, very bad sign, and which is enough to get you carted off for exploratory surgery in about 2 seconds. Who knew? They sent in another doc, whose poking didn’t bother me a bit, so they decided to just wait and see how things progressed.

    SOOO, they kept me for observation at Labor and Delivery triage for HOURS despite the fact that I was feeling pretty fine by that point. The wait was interminable, and they kept leaving and attending to people who were having actual babies or prenatal emergencies as if they were somehow more important than I.

    Multiple ultrasounds and bloodtests later, with no subsequent replication of that surgery-worthy pain response, I skipped out of there with no diagnosis, feeling sheepish and annoyed that I’d wasted 7 precious hours.

    They said the event was probably an appendix-related issue, but I now know it was Mercury.

  392. I know, Maureen. I’d love to see you, too. Just got totally befuddled by me email situation and sent you a response that was meant for Mary Lou, who is actually going to BE here next week.

    I would very much like to room with Amy when she comes to live on your farm, however.

  393. “Me email situation.” Oops. Kind of like it, though.

  394. Oh, Molls, no no no. Just…no. First of all, you get that Greg’s waffling has NOTHING to do with you, right? NOTHING. Whatever is going on with him is something that he’s been carrying forward, from another place that existed long before you came along, and all I have to say about that (not that you asked, but I can’t fucking help it, it’s like a disease) is: When a man tells you something like that, HEAR HIM. The fact that this is coming now, before you guys have, uh, consummated, is a huge bonus, as you will not have to deal with oxytocin levels clouding your judgment.

    And hells yes you are going to Japan on his business class ticket, even if you just go straight from the airport to a swanky hotel for one night, get a massage, eat sushi and fly home. Fucker. Boys. Sigh. Can’t live with ’em, they put you in jail for poisoning ’em.

  395. Molly, are you frickin kidding me????? I am so glad you are still going to Japan though. Good for you.
    And you all are right about naming my dog Haven, sigh:) Haven stop humping my leg. I really never want to have to say that. EVER.
    I received a promotion last October and am free to take it at anytime. However it means a transfer to Indiana which is wonderful because that’s where I am from and miss my family like mad. BUT our house has to sell first and we all know how likely that it right now.

  396. Jenny – No problemo. Me, Mary Lou, Any Who. We all love you and will all meet you in NYC any time. Glad you are OK after that weird incident. Keep us posted, ya?

    Shanna – Let her rip, girl! Your advice and clear-sightedness on any issue are welcome antidote. Are you all settled in?

  397. Suzanne-

    My nonreligious aunt, after trying for nearly a year to sell her home, was given a bit of advice from her hairdresser. The hairdresser swore by it, and the trick was this: “Go buy a figurine of St. Joseph. Bury it upside down in your front yard. You will sell your home in no time.”

    A couple of months later, my aunt sneaked off to the Catholic Store in desperation. She bought the figurine and buried it in the front yard in the dead of night so the neighbors wouldn’t see her. Two weeks later, the house sold.

    My dad and step-mom, who are devout atheists, were in a similar situation last year. My aunt bought them a St. Joseph figurine as a gag. They thought, “Well, what the Hell?” and buried the thing, also in the dead of night. Their house sold within a week.

    Despite being a rational human being who does not believe that correlation implies causation, I would run out to the Catholic Store if I were you.

    Forgive me if this seems flippant, but my kinfolk were just as desperate as you seem to be. Just throwing it out there, dear. It couldn’t HURT, and you can get a good plastic St. Joseph figurine for about 5 bucks.

  398. Molly, listen to Shanna. DO. NOT. Get yourself into my situation. EVER, EVER, EVER. Go to Japan, come back, and rethink.

  399. Mo, I am most decidedly NOT settled in yet, but at least I’ve unpacked to the point of being functional. I’m tackling writing area and office desk this afternoon, but first I am re-entering the real world outside of these four walls and going to yoga and the hair salon. By next week, it’s going to look like we were born in this house.

    Jenny, SFC has so many figurines buried in that front yard, it’s like a Jerusalem graveyard.

  400. Prayers for Polly …
    I’m finally off to work.

  401. You are wonderful. I feel pretty okay about it, but like I said, it comes and goes. My friend Jess had an absolute COW when she heard…but we have all kinds of plans for Hiroshima and some outlying islands and now possibly China! I’m not heartbroken. I feel kinda stupid and naive, but those aren’t necessarily new feelings. 🙂 No play for him while I’m there (Shanna, I think you’re right-blessing in disguise…though I am, naturally, disappointed). I guess I will have to use my new bras on some unsuspecting pilot. 🙂

    Maureen! “FRIEND?” I know, right? lol. Still, I will take lots of pictures and play with my godbaby and just RELAX. Now there’s zero pressure at all because I’m just visiting my friend. Whew!

    Mercury in retrograde means that the planet appears to be travelling backwards in its orbit. 🙂 So the (really simplified) idea is that all the plans you make also go awry.

    Jenny, if it’s your appendix that could spell trouble. Keep monitoring the situation!

  402. This is yet another reason I love Shanna:

    Jenny, SFC has so many figurines buried in that front yard, it’s like a Jerusalem graveyard.

  403. Jenny–no worries! How Greg was at the beginning is what I’m holding out for, from whomever is the right guy. 🙂 Because the beginning was frickin’ awesome.

  404. Good Girl, Molly.

  405. Shanna- Well, SFC has then exhausted the limits of my expertise in this area.

    I lived in Spanish Harlem for 4 years, and overheard the following tip to alleviate teething pain while I was waiting in line at the local drugstore:

    1. Hardboil an egg.
    2. Write the name of the teething baby on the egg.
    3. Put the egg in a paper bag.
    4. Pin the paper bag to the kitchen wall.

    This advice was dispensed by the girl behind the counter in response to an inquiry about the pros and cons of various teething products. The recipient of said advice was totally credulous and walked away with a plan but no medicine.

  406. Jenny- any tummy pain during pregnancy is nothing to ignore so even if it seems like 7 wasted hours it wasn’t. Better safe than sorry, I say. I was so particular during my first pregnancy that I did not have a sip of a caffeinated beverage, an aspirin, a tums, the whole time. I would not even let people smoke around me. Shoot, I wouldn’t even go into rooms where people had recently been smoking.

    The only thing I indulged in was hot fudge sundaes.

    Actually, I would like a hot fudge sundae right now.

  407. Oh, and by the way, my husband came home from work around midnight a couple of months ago and told me he’d rented an apartment about an hour outside of our NYC home and that we’d be moving in 2 weeks. I had not an inkling that this was going to occur, so you can imagine my surprise.

    So now am feeling your pain in re: living out of boxes, since we are established here amidst boxes galore, which I cannot move because I am pregnant. I can’t find a thing, and am sleeping on an Aerobed in the living room because the bedroom is box-clogged and not navigable.

    My life is so incredibly bizarre. Mary Lou will be my first attempt at civilized contact in years because, well, how do you explain these things to anyone who is not a Blog Baby? High tolerance for the bizarre is a blessing here!

  408. Jenny- do you ever get to Brooklyn? Because my awesome nephew, Austin, who graduate from Columbia’s school of engineering an year ago (and acts- an acting engineer!), is in his spare time (!!) helping build a miniature golf course on an old parking lot in Brooklyn. Apparently in a more industrial neighborhood that has a large hispanic population. That’s all i know about location. But- this is cool- these young guys got permission to use the lot and they asked artists around the world to design the holes (Sher- this would have been perfect for you!). Last weekend they moved out tons of gravel and crap. I am not sure when it will be finished but it will be neat. They are going to call it the Putting Lot.

  409. MMM, Linda, you should go for it.

    Say, how’s that labor thing, anyway? Am trying to gather info about it in advance of the real thing.

    Did you do an epidural? Did it work or did you get the ‘sorry, too late’ story and have to do it naturally? If done with no anesthesia, how did you get through it? Were you allowed to move around or did you have to stay in bed?

    I cannot stand to be confined in any way, shape, or form, and it throws me into a panic. I worry about being constrained. Since I am leaving my husband, I will also not have a partner, and knowing details helps me prepare. Nora and Sher have already shared a little but I think they were trying to spare me.

    You don’t have to answer these questions, of course. Just wondering.

  410. Linda, I don’t often get to Brooklyn but will look up that golf course next time I do get there.

  411. Molls, re: your emotional state. Stupid and naive: NO. There’s nothing naive about trusting what a person tells you, shows you. Or, if there is, I don’t embrace it. I think it’s best–at least for me–to jump into life with both feet and figure out the treading water part experientially (is that even a word?) The naive part will only now enter in if you don’t listen to the new information.

  412. I had an epidural both times. I know it slowed things down a little, but I needed it, especially with Sam who was 9 lbs 15 ounces and it was mostly in his giant hard as a rock head.

    Sorry, love you Sam, but you know you had (have?!) a hard head.

  413. Also, is it just me, or is there something improbably romantic-sounding about SPANISH HARLEM? It’s probably my early exposure to this:

    (With apologies to SFC, because I peevishly agree that our current YouTube mania is somewhat…unseemly.)

  414. Jenny, during my 2nd full pregnancy I had a searing pain in my lower abdomen.

    I thought my uterus had ripped, I kid you not. I was hysterical.

    Nothing could be found . . . and the midwife decided I had pulled some of my support abdomenal muscles….to this day when I roll onto my right side, I can get that same searing pain . . .

    Labour Story #1.

    36 weeks . . . having dealt with gestational diabetes the whole time, plus hyperemesis gravidarum, occurs in two percent of pregnant women and can result in electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, and nutrient deficiencies which can affect your pregnancy (so I couldn’t keep my blood sugar where it was supposed to be AND I couldn’t keep any food in my stomach, these complications complicated each other) . . . I lost 9 lbs while I was pregnant.

    I was so sick of being pregnant and sick that I began jumping. Jumping from the highest stair I could. Jumping on the bed. Jumping. Walking – I wanted that baby OUT. o.u.t.!

    One night at 2 pm I heard and felt a POP. not much of anything trickled out though. I went back to sleep. Woke up with a back ache. Then diarrhea and vomiting. I was vomiting lime green liquid. I puked in a towel while I sat on the throne. My in-laws were there and I didn’t want them to know I was in labor until they left for the day . . . so I hid. Don couldn’t get a hold of anybody at his work to let them know he was going to be out that day . . . so he was on the phone and was no help.

    My mother had always told me not to go to the hospital too early as you would get tied to the bed. So I waited . . . finally at around 10 a.m. there were no liquids left in my body, so I felt I could get to the hospital . . . so we drove in and that is when I went through ‘transition’ – Don thought the baby would come right then. I didn’t know what the heck was going on.

    The midwife meets us there – as I waited for her in the room I was jumping up and down with my legs crossed like I had to pee. She checked me and said “are you ready to push?” and I said YES!

    I pushed 3 times. Between pushes I basically napped/meditated, very serene. I was annoyed that the midwife and the delivery nurse were talking about some stupid shit. It was very distracting. I wanted silence.

    Third push and baby Dylan came out . . . it felt close to being a little constipated . . . no rips or tears. I was starving and ate a very limp bologna sandwich . . . he had been born 21 minutes after we pulled into the parking lot.

    Will add additional delivery stories later . . .

  415. Shanna – brilliant responses to Molly’s issue – I agree, it is his problem, that being said
    f$(%* bastard.

    Maureen. I still say ‘shit’

    Whatever planet in retrograde. Hell to the Yes. I was literally traveling backwards Tuesday when Don and I got LOST in the freaking woods. he had taken the day off and let me tell you I was excited. we would have a whole day together . . . no kids! I got all dressed up (i.e. – I wasn’t in PJ’s!) . . . black cotton skirt from italy, a romantic blouse and my adorable black leather Italian sandals . . . good enough for a short walk in the woods . . . which we planned on going to the overlook at the natchez trace parkway near us (1/4 mile trail) . . .

    We would do that before going to lunch at Puckett’s General Store (favorite place of amy grant and vince) . . . shop some of the antique stores and come home for some ‘quality’ time before the kids got off the bus. that was the plan.

    Go to the overlook. so nice . . . due to the short walk we didn’t take the water, granola bars or GPS unit out of the car.

    Don sees a ‘horse trail’ sign along with a parking lot sign. A different way back, sure – it is only 1/4 mile away . . . it is only 11 a.m.

    um, the trail got narrow, as in we were getting caught on the bushes as going single file . . . after an hour we came to a parking lot but it was not OUR parking lot. no signs as to where we were. we walk left assuming that is towards our car. Nope. and the sun was killing us. At the next spot we re-enter the cool, shaded woods. Travelling where we hope is towards the car (ours). we have had huge storms so there were giant trees blocking the ‘trail’. At 2 pm we were still lost. That is when the worst thing happened (and no, I didn’t murder don). My freaking sole fell off. As in the bottom of my left sandal. It just stayed in the mud one time when I lifted my foot. I didn’t even look back at it . . . I kept my eyes closed and followed the sound of Don’s feet up ahead. the sandal that was left began to decentigrate. (sp?) I was bored but Don was not interested in a tryst in the woods. Once we had re-established our location (back at another fallen tree blocking our path) – we knew we were on the right path back, but that we still had about another hours walk. And we did.

    We barely made it home as the kids got off the bus. We had said about 5 words to each other and NO SEX.

    So much for the ‘best laid plans’.

  416. Oh Sher. hahahahahaha You are a treasure.

  417. Linda – glad you enjoyed my tale of sorrow

  418. I did. I’m sorry, but I can just see you guys tromping through the woods and your shoe falling apart and cursing and mud. That would so happen to me. But, you know, at least Donny stayed with you (he did, didn’t he?) Phil would have been two miles ahead of me by then and I would be all alone in my misery.

  419. SHANNA

    you are a riot. lurve you.


    there is no way to predict what your childbirth experience will be. it’s different every time, for everyone. all we know is that healthy mom/healthy baby is the likely outcome. look at it this way: it;s one day in your life. anyone can get through one day. maybe two? but usually the labor part is one at most. get your epidural ASAP in the process and there is no nobility in suffering. remember that it takes an hour for them to administer an epidural, it;s not like a shot of demerol. plan accordingly. dont take any bullshit from anyone at the hospital. i mean NONE. this is your experience: own it. then you will fall in love with your baby and you will understand the meaning of life for the first time in your life. you will be hormonal like mad and doubtless cry at everything for several weeks. i did. but you’re happy as well. it;s a kind of madness. you didn’t miss your window, that baby;s coming and everything else? fuck. it.


  420. Linda – ha! we were almost laughing about it whilst it was occuring. par for the course for us . . . i also broke a sandal at Epcot Center and had to buy freaking CROCS in the gift store . . . broken soles are a theme in my life.

  421. Thank you guys, so much, for offering glimpses of what is to come. I know it’s different for everyone, I don’t know why I am compelled to ask these things.

  422. Sher- getting lost in the woods SUCKS. I am so glad you got out OK.

  423. Maureen-

    Cannot locate my box of pictures and do not have any pictures of me saved on the computer. The only thing I have access to right now is a video that my husband’s cousing made right before the wedding, and it’s in some format I don’t understand. If you want, I can send it to you, but you have to reserve judgment on the idiosyncratic parts that wouldn’t make sense if you didn’t know us, and you have to overlook the fact that I was giddy to the point of silliness, so madly in love was I.

    If anyone knows/understands how to convert video files to soemthing edit-able and freeze-frame-able, we might be able to work it that way.

    I am touched that you want a picture!

  424. AND, Maureen, you have to tell me that in looking at the video of my husband, you can understand why I thought the sun rose and set on him, and that you can understand why I overlooked the foreshadowing events before the wedding as ‘pre-wedding stress’ and married him anyway. And you have to say you would have liked me if you met that girl in the video.

  425. I’m curious about the “idiosyncratic parts”, meself..

  426. DUDES
    we just got another offer on the house. $660k. i owe $695! everyone’s lowballing.

    this time i just threw my head back and laughed.

    my agent connie was like, “Let’s just call the agent back and say, “It’s $700k,
    as is, NO CREDITS FOR ANY REPAIRS — or don;t even bother.” and im
    like, Yup.

    so now it’s just time. tick tock. and i dont care. im freelancing on a dirty little advertising job with my ex-designer partner, sean, at my house and we’re having fun and fucking around and having great ideas which we will write up and make into storyboards at the last possible mo.

    this offer’s from a couple w/ a littleboy. they want those free public
    schools here that are exactly like private schools in SF. they best
    pony up. i’m not even going to think about it. i know now that we will
    get many offers until the right one goes through. that’s it.

    we’ve had 2 offers already that fell through because people got
    freaked out over the deck. i mean, PLEASE. grow a pair!!

    AMY IN OHIO your house will sell. just “zen it out” and make it beautiful and then batten the hatches, it;s a bumpy ride. but it WILL. SELL.


  427. Nothing very exciting, Kittery- just inside references that wouldn’t make sense without context.

    And Shanna, whereas I acknowledge that Spanish Harlem has romantic overtones in theory, the East Harlem/Spanish Harlem neighborhood where I lived was NOT romantic.

    My memories are of stepping over syringes and human feces while people vomited on the street between cars, of finding toddlers wandering in the street while Mom fellated a John in an alley, of hearing a 70-something homeless woman keening in grief because her boyfriend was set on fire while sleeping in a church doorway, and of watching oncoming gangs of teenage girls spread out ahead of me on the sidewalk to force me to either step into the street or pick a fight to pass through.

    I, a kindhearted and generally liberal soul, sometimes wanting to singlehandedly plow through that neighborhood with a bulldozer or a machine gun or both. It’s an insidious sort of thing that wears on you over time, which is of course what happened to the poor people who were raised there in the first place.

    Anyhow, I’m going over to the dark side today- everything is negative. Am going to remove myself from human contact until I can be better company. I will return after I improve myself somewhat.

  428. Afterthought-

    Amy in Ohio, I have German Shorthaired Pointer and Liesel and Adam Lambert things to discuss with you later, after I retrieve my psyche from this abyss and give it firm instructions to straighten up.

    OK, over and out.

  429. Jenny, perhaps you had best consider burning something down with Sarah and me?

    Shanna, you do rock. I’m mad that we barely even got to speak in Durham. Sigh.

    I don’t have my own labor story, but I do know that my sister’s labor was considerably slowed due to the epidural being administered to early. Liam ended up stuck in the birth canal with his cord wrapped round his poor little neck. I agree with Suzanne in the “OWN your experience.” Ask as many questions as you can to be make the best decision that you can. Then leave it in the hands of the universe–which really does want what’s best for everyone–despite stupid Mercury actin’ the fool.

    I’ve been in the bad place. Ice cream sundaes help. Also–a nap. AND an Elizabeth Peters book.

  430. Jenny – Don’t sweat the picture: I’ll work around it.
    Methinks you have a book in you! That Spanish Harlem imagery was striking. On labor, I can tell you that with my first, after thirty-six hours of labor I was MORE THAN GLAD to be scooted off for a C-section. So if it goes that way, it ain’t so bad either. I ended up having all three that way. I’m small: they were big.

    Young Mr. Elliot and I are off to the YMCA.

    Carrie – This picture is for YOU.

  431. Here is a link to listen to tracks from Todd Snider’s upcoming release. It is finger snapping and toe tapping so take a listen:

  432. jenny,

    my labor went the following way:
    arrived at hospital, met midwife
    got some shots in my ass that were supposed to knock me out, but didn’t
    went into full blown labor and stayed upright standing/walking as long as i could.
    took a shower
    got an epidural
    16 hrs later, and at 9 cm dilated….mason’s little heartbeat dropped so drastically that the entire birthing room was flooded with nurses, doctors, midwives
    i had a classical music playlist going from my ipod and had previously been in the dark, enjoying music
    all lights on. buzzing. beeping. wheeling. cutting.
    c section and mason was out in under 5 mins

    no way i could have planned it. it just happened and macy is just perfect. and yes, i agree with suzanne. i cried about everything for weeks. i mean, everything. like, that pillow is so beautiful, so i will weep.

    easily the most rewarding, hardly easy. mama is the best name i have ever had.

  433. Steph, that is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story and your mommy tears with me.

  434. Just so you know, I just found a circuitous and inefficent way to extract actual pictures of myself for Maureen. I used my Blackberry to take pictures of the pre-wedding video from my computer, then emailed them from my Blackberry to both Maureen and myself.

    Now that I have access to a picture of myself I have made a gravatar of it, which has unfortunately required me to change my name. So Jenny888 I must be from now own. It will still be me but, with a new name and grainy photo to squint at.

  435. I uploaded the pics to the Yahoo site, too, which makes me official if I am correct. These are all from before my wedding, which was 5 years ago.

    I look just like that now, except 35 pounds heavier and no longer pretty. In my case, five married years translates into 30 human years. But you get a rough idea.

  436. Oh, Jenny, hooray! Now we know what you look like and I can finish my project (shhhh…).

    I went down and took more branches from the pond, in good faith that these other people will not buy this beautiful little place out from under me.

    I’m off to yahoo ….

  437. Jenny, love your photos, thank you for sharing.

  438. Not with a bang, but with a whimper.


  439. Shanna,

    What went out?

    ~ S.

  440. Que Sera, Sera.

  441. Well, if Shanna didn’t peg it, I don’t know what else would.

  442. Just wanted to say hi and that I’ve missed talking to everyone. Catching up on reading comments.

  443. I just read it and feel horrible and as guilty as anyone of posting silliness and personal trivia.

    The original reason I joined the Blog was admiration for an author and a longing for a literary discussion group. I wish we could start over.

  444. Haven’s personal anecdotes qualify as literature. In fact, I would probably pay to read her grocery lists as they probably contain references to Bacchus and who-knows-what-else.

    Whether I wear assy-pants to my first day of new job? Not so much.

  445. Seriously, I am in crisis mode. I need this blog, I need all of you. I promise to only be smart and speak of literature from now on.

  446. Ditto Amy, ditto.

  447. If I promise to contribute more, can we continue?

  448. Nora, email if you’re up, okay. Do you still have my email address?

  449. Guys, why on EARTH are you talking about this on the blog??

    I mean, seriously.

  450. I am seriously, seriously disgusted.

  451. What not just agree to convene and carry on on someone else’s blog? There are lots of folks with their own blog sites here.

  452. I am so, so, sorry and ashamed. I had no idea. I will go away.

  453. Above in reference to something Haven wrote to me personally which disappeared when I posted. I had no idea what I was doing. I am very sorry.

  454. Before this discussion ends, I’d like you all to understand something: Scott has to check a filter applied to this website that catches inappropriate language or sentence structures that suggest overt sexual content, and virtually every day there is something by a particular person. If you think that doesn’t wear my ass out, you’re wrong. I do NOT mean Amy in O.’s hilarious use of ‘Fuck’ or any fuck that followed, I’m talking about something altogether different. So if one of YOU would like to volunteer to police the posts — well, no, that wouldn’t work. But let me put it this way: that filter catches precisely two things — porn/spam, and the comments of one person. I have THREE books to write. I’ve done my best to be present on this blog, to keep it civilized, but I have lost the ability to keep it on track. It would take 24-hours a day just to monitor it.

  455. Haven, I am so sorry.

    Kate, I think people were just in shock. People in shock don’t always make the best decisions, if you know what I mean.

  456. GTFG — it’s okay, I know who forwarded the e-mail. It wasn’t so difficult to trace, actually. I shouldn’t have confided in any but one or two people; instead, I chose the very first commenters so they would know the dilemma I was in, and that was my mistake, not anyone else’s.

  457. Haven, you have our utmost support in whatever you decide to do.


  458. Thank you, Sher. And I know you’re not just saying that because of something that arrived in the mail yesterday for you from eBay.

  459. Given that I DO know who forwarded the e-mail, would she do me the kindness of writing me personally? I’d very much like to discuss this in private. If I don’t hear from you soon, I’ll take the first step. Thanks.

  460. did it????

    no packages here . . . I’m going to kick ebay’s tuckus!

    but I did manage to get out a little something in Saturday’s mail for O and you.

  461. rescind – there was a box UNDERNEATH raincoats in the foyer . . . I shall murder my children at some point.

  462. Nora, would you please face me directly? It would put much to rest. And this isn’t the problem of the other people you’re talking to about me.

    I’m right here. Go on and say what you want to say.

  463. Nora, I’m talking about the things you have written behind my back, to other people, and which were neither respectful nor loving. And what strikes you as disillusioning are things of which you have no knowledge — matters of civil liability, for instance, which do not fall under the purview of lovingness. There are abusive e-mails I’ve received from members of this very blog, of which you have no knowledge, and which I’ve never mentioned to anyone. Those, too, were unknown to you. You get the best of the blog, the best of the comments, while Scott and I sort through all the rest for your benefit.

    And don’t you dare tell me who the real Haven is, when in fact the very first gift that went out last week went out to YOU, which I have yet to see you mention. I send gifts to the blog babies as often as I’m able, to which many will attest. Now how about this? Since you know who the real Haven is, go comment on her blog, because I won’t be abused by you on this site or in e-mails to my friends, and I won’t have you suggest that because I found something for Sher on e-Bay your gift was less valuable. You and I are done here. And don’t use the word “clearness” with me, when I know how toxic you have been in letters to other people. The Real Haven’s Blog is somewhere on the Internet — good luck in finding it.

  464. Haven
    I am sincerely stricken to read what you have written to me above.

    You could not possibly have more completely misconstrued everthing I have said to you directly, or to Sher and Caryl, who are the only people I have expressed any opinion to, and nothing that was said to them in response to their kindly contacting me was in the least bit mean spirited or aimed to hurt you.

    The reason I didn’t mention your gift was simply because I received it 20 minutes before this situation began to unfold, and I became immediately distracted
    by trying to understand what was actually going on.

    Here is what I would have said if the timing hadn’t been so crazy.

    I’m so touched that you sent me these thoughtful presents…Being thanked with a gift after sending a gift to say thanks is more than generous. And I love the picture on the card.

    Haven…you have said some really incomprehensible hurtful things to me, undeserved and based on wrong perceptions on your part. Listen to my words. There was no malice directed to you. No hurt was sent your way by me.

    I am terribly sad that any of you who are maybe still reading here will find me in such disgrace. I would like to think that my presence here has been genuine enough for you to believe me that I am not guilty of the dastardly behavior I am accused of.

  465. Nora, here is my beef.

    You took a private situation and made it public. It was completely inappropriate to do so. A woman of your experience should have developed enough horse sense to know better.

    I am one of the most socially inept people in the world, I am terrible with cues, but even I know that when someone has a private situation, in particular a well-known and respected author, the appropriate thing to do is to keep all discussion of said situation private and not post it on a public blog that can be accessed with anyone with an internet connection and a search engine.

  466. Nora, yes, the comment about the “drama being created is by the real Haven,” is so subtle I can see how I might have misconstrued it.

    I’m sorry — did you or did you not say you know who the “real Haven” is? Am I not a close enough reader to have apprehended your meaning there?

  467. My spirits are so low, and I don’t feel like taking on the scenario of defending myself because I don’t think there is any satisfaction to be had there.

    By using the words “real Haven”, I was alluding to the fact that I had sincerely believed that the whole situation had been brought about by someone somehow trying to stir up discord in this good place. By “real Haven”, I was expressing that I should give up that theory, because the real you was talking about it here on the blog.

    I don’t recall saying in so many words that I KNOW THE REAL HAVEN.
    But since you have taken that posting away, I can’t check back on myself.

    I don’t think I would have said that. I do not even pretend to know the real Haven. The only Haven I have any knowledge of is the one revealed in your work, and the one you have been here.

  468. YOU were the person talking about it on the blog, Nora, NOT me. YOU were the person who took a private e-mail and disseminated it on the blog, not ME. If you want to talk about who is real and who isn’t, look at YOURSELF. As Kate said last night, “Why on EARTH is this being discussed on the blog?” She wasn’t talking to me, she was talking to YOU. That your feelings are hurt by your own behavior is a problem you need to take up with someone else, but that makes about zero sense. I didn’t post a single name on this blog, YOU DID. If anyone owes an apology here, and not to me but to the other commenters, it’s YOU.

  469. Kate

    I’m sorry you feel that I made a mistake by speaking here.

    This place has seen it’s fair share of honesty about things that are personal. Both on the part of all of you, and also on the part of Haven, who did not hesitate to speak about the awful things said about her by her friend after the reading. Those things were also accessible by the general public.

    There seems to be a double standard at play here about what is right and proper, and that makes it hard to not mess up.

    All I can say is that at no time on this blog have I tried to hurt anyone. I am deeply wounded to be so cruelly misunderstood and vilified.

  470. And do please name one “incomprehensible” thing I’ve said to you. That’s completely bogus, and an attempt at shifting the blame from yourself for spreading private information in a public sphere.

  471. I can only repeat, in complete sincerity, that I did not understand the nature of the privacy of the email. It was sent to me, I read it. I thought I had gotten it because I was supposed to. It said that it was to be forwarded by the people who originally got it, so I thought I was just in line to receive it.

    Why is my mistake being interpreted so harshly?
    I recall that some others responded here before me.

    I feel like I am in some parallel universe, watching a different version of something I just lived through. I can’t make myself understood, no matter what I try to say to illuminate my actions.

    If anyone can point out anything I have said or done at anytime on this blog to lead anyone to believe I am the toxic and abusive Person being portrayed here now, please do it.

    I wish I could resolve this, and but it’s starting to seem like I am making this All About Me. It isn’t.

  472. And for the record, Nora, I didn’t name the friend who attacked me after the reading. I’m certain enough I didn’t (without checking), because there are friends on this blog who still don’t know who did it. I’ve told only those people who are also at risk from her acquaintance. There’s a huge difference between discussing something anonymously and calling people out by name.

  473. By using the words “real Haven”, I was alluding to the fact that I had sincerely believed that the whole situation had been brought about by someone somehow trying to stir up discord in this good place. By “real Haven”, I was expressing that I should give up that theory, because the real you was talking about it here on the blog.

    Nora, I’m sorry I’m less than sympathetic to your weariness, but I want you to show me WHERE I talked about this on the blog. Just point it out. YOU talked about it on the blog and are now blaming me. That is unjust and unsound.

  474. “I won’t have you suggest that because I found something for Sher on e-Bay your gift was less valuable. You and I are done here. And don’t use the word “clearness” with me, when I know how toxic you have been in letters to other people. The Real Haven’s Blog is somewhere on the Internet — good luck in finding it.”

    I find this accusation incomprehensible. The whole “sher’s gift was better than mine”, and the idea that anything I said to anyone else was toxic. I have no objection to anyone seeing that email I wrote. If you have read the actual email, then you have misunderstood either the tone or the content. If it was reported to you by a third party, then that person has likewise wrongly interpreted what I said.

    How is it different that an email I sent to someone else does not fall into the same standards of privacy as yours?

  475. Stop this right now. This damage cannot be undone, and good people are being distressed and wounded.

    Everybody take a break. There is no good outcome here.

  476. Nora, you’re fine. Do not continue to defend yourself. What has happened here is not OK.

  477. I do need to stop. I’m devastated to find how much I am caring about how you are all seeing me right now. Not Haven. The rest of you.
    This is one of the worst things I have had happen to me ever. How silly is that?

    It’s just the bloody internet. It’s not real life. It only seemed like it was.

  478. Nora, I DID NOT POST YOUR PRIVATE E-MAIL ON THE INTERNET. That is the difference, and it is glaringly self-evident. And Jenny, you best back that tone up fast — you are in absolutely no position to tell me or anyone else on this blog how to behave or what to say. You have put us all in an impossible position and I have answered dozens of e-mails about what to do about it. And now you think you can tell us to cease our dialogue? I think you misunderstand your position in this debate.

  479. The man I am married to, who I consider to myself to be “one flesh” with, who I have known for over 10 years, and I have been married to for over 7, and whom I have three children with, was a person I met on the internet. You know, that place that isn’t real. Or is it? Maybe behind every avatar there is a person, a real person with real feelings.

    Haven is a beloved author. That makes her…what? It makes her a PERSON. A person with real, human feelings. A person who should be treated with no less respect than you would give anyone else.

    I get that you didn’t want to believe that there was a real issue, and that you thought an enemy was stirring up drama. Did you not consider the idea that perhaps you should go to the source instead of posting unsubstantiated claims on a public blog?

    A BLOG. Not a message board. Not a chat room. A blog. Tell me, did anyone even COMMENT on the actual content of the blog this time? Perhaps the first few, but after that? For some reason, I can only assume because of Haven’s generous, open nature; people took liberties with this space that were never meant to be taken.

    Please, everyone. Examine your motives. Use common sense. This whole situation reeks of middle school, and all of us are well beyond that.

  480. I have a virus on my home computer – the one I am using now – that I have been trying and trying to get rid of to no avail. Oh Haven, I hope my computer is not accidentally sending trouble to your spam filter. I probably should not be even posting this now. Of course I have no idea how any of this stuff works but I have to think that Molly’s explanation of mercury in retrograde has something to do with it.

    Haven- your books, your words, this blog, you as person – have meant so much to me this year. I support you and any decision you make about this blog – your blog. You are in my thoughts, dear one.

  481. If this situation is a test to each of us, as to our own purity of heart and intentions, then we are failing (in my opinion) or passing. But I hope, at least, we are learning.

    Each of us is fallible, even if our intentions were pure.

    What I can say is that with this unraveling, true feelings inevitably emerge. We not only learn about how we ‘rise to an occasion’, but about our fellow humans. Humanness is the key. Nobody is perfect.

    But if anyone should be given the utmost level of a ‘benefit of the doubt’ – that person should be Haven.

    We have all certainly gained more joy than sorrow here. But if it is too much sorrow – each person, including Haven, has their right to choose who they communicate with. That right has been contaminated. Perhaps not intentionally.

    I had a very similar crisis in March when I witnessed a ‘blog bashing’. I cried for 4 days – there was literal nashing of teeth and pulling of hair. I decided that the joy was more than the sorrow. That I didn’t want to give up the joy due to temporary sorrow. And – I decided that you all weren’t gods and goddesses of perfection. That you were human like me and, therefore, worthy of another chance.

    No matter how you, or you, or you, or me, feel about something or someone, it is not right to air such dirty laundry, mouths, and attitudes here.

    Guess what, Haven gets a free pass from me. She has earned it. I have chosen to love her and give her my loyalty whether she is perfect or not. The same goes to each of you. I love your fallibleness and I, therefore, give the benefit of doubt in many areas.

    All of this pain is a definate sign of growth. Change. All of which is painful. I am so sad everyone is in pain.

    The one thing that keeps me going – daily. Moment by moment in my life; is this:

    I want to believe that people don’t intend to hurt each other. But, I’ve been disproven before.

    Report on our test of humanity –


    Love needs to be handled delicately, like a fragile egg. Not thrown against a brick wall.

    On another note: co-dependency can be a very dangerous thing. Visiting a blog/communicating – that should be joy for both the giver and the receiver. when this balance has been tipped in either direction . . . it is co-dependency on someone’s part.

    I am so sad that something conceived in such hope has turned into a burden for Haven. She is not on this earth for our entertainment purposes. She is not your savior or prophet. She offered to be a friend. it is my personal opinion that she has been betrayed, whether unintentioanally or through lack of judgment.

    If this had happened to me – I would have shut down my whole website and blog. And, yet – her she sits – dealing with more stress.

    Think of her past year: chronic illness herself, diagnosis of her mother, the death of a dear family member, not to mention being taken advantage of by shady con artists, several ‘former’ friends . . . why on earth should she be here for us?

    I’m going to be brutal here:

    When I opened her PRIVATE email, I thought “well, I guess some of us are going to have to get a life/lives”.

    A few of us actually have lives outside of this blog. Including the host.

  482. Oh how very sad. I just found you today and was so thrilled.

  483. I am so sad to have simultaneously discovered the existence and the extinction of this blog. I see that I was late to the party, which seemed to digress substantially from the original theme of sharing in a remarkable authors’ insights into an crazy online family of sorts. Online life is overrated, I think, and sometimes just as tedious as real life. Wasn’t it Oscar Wilde that said people are either charming or tedious? It can be a fine line, I know. I was just hoping for a chance to say hey, I just found you, amazing author person, you’re charming and smart and your books are the best memoirs I’ve read in ages, I love the way you write and I look forward to whatever else you write. Thanks for making me laugh and making me think, hope life loves you back.

  484. Hello??


  485. wow, you people really know how to screw up a good thing! and i mean ALL of you. sorry, i know i was not a regular here, but the last few pages of comments were really, really disappointing. i always got the feeling that you all were a bit too close for comfort, but i assumed i just wasn’t privy to your “closeness” and maybe therefore feeling a bit excluded. but i guess this disintegration is what it took to prove me right. sayonara.

  486. Hmm. I thought the comments were suspended.

  487. apparently not.

    the saddest thing about it is, i came here- as i’m sure many of you did- out of the sheer love of haven’s writing. but i didn’t come here to watch people get into cat fights. what a waste.

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