The Quiet Day

The snowing is softly falling outside and my kitchen smells like fresh chocolate chip cookies. My house is silent expect for the tapping of my fingers on the keyboard.

It is Thanksgiving and I’m all alone.

Now, I realize that the above sentence sounds dreadfully sad, but I’m actually having a really nice day. Mr. Monkey took the kids to see his family in Kansas and I’ve said back because I had to work yesterday and I am trying to make progress on my dissertation.


I miss the kids and the mister and I would normally love to see his family, as they are delightful, but I am also really grateful for the gift of quiet and time.

(I’m also grateful for the fact that a friend is coming over later to bring me a plate and that multiple friends offered to open their homes to me today. I am thankful always for the fact that I feel like I am home here and have a community of people who want to be my friend.)

So now I shall turn on my study music and return back to my research. I wish you all pie and love and just the right amount of family/friend chaos for the day.



Stages of Listening to a New Adele Song

Stage 1: Find out that there is a new song released. Stop playing “Hello” on repeat to find it online.

Stage 2: Listen to it for the first time.

Stage 3: Feel ALL THE FEELS



Stage 4: Listen to it again and again and again

Stage 5: Remember that you are at work and that you work in a cubicle and that maybe your cubicle mate doesn’t want to hear it ALL DAY. Put on headphones.


Stage 6: Headphones on, play song again. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in wandering through a light rain, singing this song as the imaginary camera captures the perfect tear running down your cheek.

Stage 7: Remember that Adele is a full decade younger than you and is singing about how it feels to be growing old. This makes you feel even older. Realize that feelings of ‘oh God, I am old and my life is but a blink of an eye and I’ll never accomplish all the things I want to’ can only be soothed by- you guessed it- more Adele.

Stage 8: Sing along at full volume, letting all of your life’s regrets spill out in the passion of the song. Forget you are at work, wearing headphones. You sound amazing.


Stage 9: Apologize to cube mate, assure her you are FINE. Really, fine. No, you’re not crying.


Stage 10: Repeat. stages 3-9 ALL DAMN DAY. Consider taking Nov. 20th off of work so when her new album comes out you don’t have to try to balance your obsessive listening with that whole “working” thing.


We met when I had just turned 22 and was starting my first grown-up job. We soon bonded over our boss (a terrible, terrible person) while drinking venti Frappacinos at the Starbucks downstairs from our office, the place where we went to escape Miranda and her countless cruel comments.

In those days, E and I were both newly graduated from college and full of questions about what life would be like. In the next few years, we talked about finding love, about what we were really going to be when we grew up, about how to decorate our first solo apartments, about sex and boys and having babies some day.

Eventually we would each go on to be bridesmaids in the other one’s wedding. She was the first person I called after I met Mr. Monkey for the first time and on my list of top five people to call when I found I out I was pregnant.

Sometimes, when I do the math, it surprises me that such a large percentage of our friendship has happened from a distance. It has now been over ten years since we’ve lived in the same city and almost seven years since we lived in the same state. It is really one of the sadness of adult life that I realize that no matter where I live, I won’t be living close to someone I love.

E. came to visit me this past weekend and it was exactly what my soul needed. I got to watch my kids fall in love with her (my son bravely tried not to cry when he realized she had gone to the airport before he got home from school. He didn’t quite succeed and my heart about burst) and over many, many cups of coffee we reconnect and talked like we were 22 again. At 37, we don’t talk about apartments or finding love anymore, of course. Now we talk about how to raise kids who are grateful and how to keep a marriage going when you are long past the days of new love and throbbing hormones. We talk about money and sex and whether we have enough of either. We wonder what exactly it was that we did with all our time before we had kids and husbands and mortgages. As we talk I feel the comfort of being seen and known and loved by someone who has known me in all my days from new graduate to new wife to new mom to- what? Are we approaching middle age? Is 37 middle age?

(And if it is, could someone please tell that to the fresh zit on forehead?)

My E. is on a plane right now, heading back home to her own small family. 2000 miles away, I tuck mine into bed and think briefly about all the nights before I had this life when the only person I tucked into bed was myself. I feel my 22 year old self’s sense of loneliness and freedom for a moment and then my son asks for more snuggles and I’m 37 again and missing my friend.

Regrets, I Have a Few..

These were 50% off after Halloween


I bought this bag two days ago. I immediately discarded the gross tan maple ones and ate all the fake banana flavored ones first (mmm, yummy yummy fake banana). Today I basically stress ate all the rest of them while working on a major work project.

My tummy is filled with sugary orange regrets and yet my brain is wondering if there are any bags left at the Walgreen’s across the street from my work.


Over my lunch hour, I took a break from making poor candy decisions and decided to look at pictures of my children as infants. This is nearly always a bad idea. I adore my kids at the ages they are now and there is certainly something to be said for children who can occupy themselves for more than a minute at a time, but when I look at those baby pictures and remember that I am DONE having babies FOREVER…well, things can get a little maudlin up in here.

I mean, c’mon. Look at how delicious they were.


Nothing in the lease says you have to wear pants

I don’t need anymore babies. I don’t even, really, want anymore babies. I just want these particular babies back for a few hours so I can snorfle their necks and take just one more nap with them on my chest.


I had a dentist appointment this week and was given nitrous oxide for the first time. It was A-MAZ-ING (#don’tdodrugskids) and I instantly regretted every past dental appointment I had without the benefit of laughing gas. I have to go back in a few weeks to get a crown put on (good-bye $$, it was nice to know you) and am already looking forward to getting doped up again.

This is probably why it is good that I don’t really drink.

7 Things All Impossibly Chic Parents Have at Home (For Marta)

When it comes to creating a home that is both chic and stylish, nobody does it better than the parents, especially those with young children. Having children really helps one refine their sense of design and really explore the space of your home. You may not have kids, but if you incorporate these 7 ideas, you too can have the kind of elegant and sophisticated space that really says “Most of my disposable income comes to Legos”:

  1. A carpet with a sense of mystery.

1Are those pee stains? Grape juice? Hot dog juice? The only one who knows it whatever child dropped spilled on it and then failed to clean it up. Some people might rent a steamer to try to take the stains up but, really chic parents know that a carpet should have character.

2. A prophylactic coffee table

1Step 1: buy a coffee table

Step 2: Make it ugly in order to prevent your offspring from making permanent dents in their foreheads.

3. Organic textured walls.

Organic because boogers are a natural substance. Textured because someone wiped them all over the damn walls. Let’s skip the photo for this one, okay?

4. Bathrooms the demonstrate a commitment to being environmentally friendly.

That’s why there always pee in the toilet, right? My child is just trying to save water and the environment by never freaking flushing the damn thing.

5. Irregularly textured hard surface floors

1To the untrained eye, it might seem like those are crumbs. But the sophisticated designer recognizes those as movable floor texture objet d’art. This design feature may be difficult to maintain if you have a dog or a spouse who insists on sweeping.

6. Acupressure features throughout.

002Whether they get left on the floor or perhaps sprinkled on the couch, stray Legos are the perfect way for the unsuspecting parent to get a little acupressure massage on the tender underside of the foot.

7. Priceless art

007We only feature the most promising young artists working in a paper and crayon medium.

(This post was inspired by my buddy Marta, who finds articles like this to more depressing than inspirational.)

Holy Days for the Candy Fiend

We are just under a week away from the pinnacle of the year for the candy fiend. My family’s preparations are underway: Miles will be Harry Potter, Ev will be a Minion (my sadness that I didn’t think to try to talk her into an owl costume a la Hedwig is GREAT), and I will be going as the mother who pilfers candy out of their bags after they go to sleep.

(I understand this to be a VERY popular costume).

As a life long candy fiend, Halloween is always a fun chance to remember the diversity of candy options out there. I am pretty conventional in my candy choices: come to me with your Snickers, your M&M’s, your Milky Ways and I am a happy person. But Halloween reminds me of all of the other choices that exist, including some candy that is, frankly, perplexing and unpalatable to me as an adult.

(child me had no standards whatsoever, except for being anti-black jelly bean. Black jelly beans taste like disappointment and child tears.)

The following candy items are the most likely to stay safe inside my children’s trick-or-treat bags:

CreateMyTee-Halloween-Candy_15944 - Copy

Okay, I don’t even know what these are called. I found them by searching “black and orange Halloween candy + awful”. I feel like if the company doesn’t care enough to label them, that is a sign that they aren’t that great. My friend Alice, who is an amazing cook, has a recipes that calls for these evil little bastards. I’d actually try them because A) Alice can cook and B) the recipe also involves Frosted Flakes, Ruffles and marshmallows. Yeeesssss.dots - CopyDots are so weird. I see the movie theatre size boxes at Walgreens and I wonder who is buying them. I don’t know anyone who wants a large box of these sticky wonders. Dots are the perfect example of candy that tastes like a color, not a flavor. Red tastes like “red” not whatever fruit it is allegedly flavored like. I’m not sure when the last time I had a Dot was, but I do know that remnants of it are still in my back teeth.

DENVER, COLO. - DECEMBER 23, 2004 - "The Jolly Rancher Candy Company was founded in Golden, Colorado, by Bill and Dorothy Harmsen in 1949. They called the company Jolly Rancher to suggest a hospitable, western company. The company originally made ice cream, chocolate and hard candy. As hard candy sales grew, however, they began to concentrate on developing their "Famous for Flavor" line of hard candies. In 1966, the Harmsens sold Jolly Rancher to Beatrice Foods, but the family continued to be involved in the day-to-day operation of the business. Leaf purchased Jolly Rancher in 1983. Hershey Foods Corporation acquired the Leaf North American confectionery operations from Huhtamaki Oy of Helsinki, Finland in 1996." (Jerry Cleveland | The Denver Post) (Photo By Jerry Cleveland/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Jolly Ranchers: the candy for adults who love paying for dental work. I can feel my crowns loosening just by looking these dangerous suckers.

These little wrapped hard candies are the last chosen candy out of any kid’s bag. I am 100% sure of this, given that that are still a handful of these left in both of my kids’ bags from last year.

dum-dum - Copy





Dum Dums are the most passive aggressive Halloween candy. Giving out Dum Dums is basically saying “FINE. I’ll give out candy but I refuse to spend actual money on buying some.”  I think the going rate is 1000 Dum Dums for a nickel or for free if you can fill your pockets with them at the bank.

To be fair, my three-year old likes these, but she also eats boogers, so there you go.

Peppermint-candies - Copy





Every year I find one or two of these peppermints at the bottom of the trick-or-treat bag. Really? REALLY? Halloween is for kids, not for elderly women with a little tickle in her throat. Nobody has ever been excited to get a peppermint hard candy for Halloween.

Finally, a not-so-gentle reminder: RAISINS ARE NOT CANDY.  Stop with that nonsense, health nuts.

Loving Children is a Terrible Idea

When I was growing up, my cousin P. seemed like the coolest possible person to emerge from my extended family. She was smart and funny and had a boyfriend who drove a red sports car. This was very impressive to my 10 year old self.

Due to geography and time and probably some family dynamics, I’m not especially close with my extended family. Thanks to Facebook, I know more of them then I might otherwise, but it has been years since I’ve seen some of my many cousins (I have at least 20 first cousins, but I’m unclear on the exact number).

But today my cousin P. buried her seven year old son and I can’t stop thinking about her. I can’t- literally CANNOT, imagine what the pain of losing a 7 year old would be like because, well, I have a 7 year old. When I think too much about this, it is all I can do not to go scoop him up from school, grab his sister, and figure out some sort of elaborate carrying system that allows me to carry both of them with me all day, never out of my sight.

(this is a terrible, terrible idea of course. They’d be fighting with each other and driving me crazy in 45 seconds)

I can’t help but feel today that the whole act of becoming a mother is to walk headfirst into a world where you’ll never get to take a deep breath ever again.

Like, I’m going to carry these people IN MY BODY for 9 months and then fall into crazy stupid love with them and then I have to let them walk around in the world, where people can be mean to them and where people get sick and hurt and, yes, sometimes die?

Who came up with this system?

I feel like surviving this world as a parent means having to embrace a kind of willful ignorance. In order to live and to have kids who aren’t weirdo bubble children with deep-seated mommy issues from being hovered over relentlessly, we have to send these little breakable people out into the world and hope for the best.

Again, whose fool idea was this?

(If reading this has upset you, please apply some medicinal M&Ms to the situation. Having M&Ms will make your children find you, no matter where you hide, and then you can force them to snuggle for a minute)

Some Things I Have Been Glad to Spend Money On

Disclaimer: There is no disclaimer. I have no sponsors. I spend my very own dollars on all of this and make zero more dollars if you click any links.

One of the annoying things about life is the amount of money you must spend on things that don’t actually make you happy but are necessary. Things like dental work (hello, crown replacement, you spendy bastard), stucco patch for your elderly house, fruit fly traps, and all other manner of responsible purchases fall in this category. This month has been filled with a larger than usual number of boring purchases, which means that the following finds have been extra special treats:

These shoes!


Hush Puppies brand, found here (on sale!) and here (non-loafer version). I have picky feet so I need support and these feel like comfy clouds hugging my foot. So comfy and the bright color is cheering. I would like a pair in red next, I think.

This face wash!


I have VERY oily skin and almost always shiny. This has made an actual, noticeable difference in how shiny my skin is all day. And so cheap!

These shirts on Amazon


I don’t even remember how I stumbled on them, because the brand (Thanth) isn’t one that I’m familiar with, but I’m glad I took the chance on them. These are tunic style which means long (yay!) and something that gives me rump coverage if I want to wear leggings…and I ALWAYS want to wear leggings. The shirts are soft and so far wash well. One word of warning: the size chart on Amazon is not at all accurate. According to the chart, I should be a size 5X and I very comfortably fit in a 3X instead (I’m usually a size 22 with a big chest, for reference).

This music:



I am OBSESSED. If you’ve ever thought “Hmm, I wonder if I’d like to learn about American history via hip-hop?” this soundtrack will answer that question for you.

My answer is YES.

My Annual Fall Cold: A Time Line

Every fall I get a cold.

Well, several colds. I usually get my October cold and then the Thanksgiving cold and then the Christmas cold. My immune systems gets laaaazzzzy when the leaves change, apparently.

Just as predictable as the fact that I WILL get a cold is the timeline of events:

Day 1: I notice a distinct itchy feeling in the back on my throat. I delicately sneeze two or three times. I decide that I am clearly just a little thirsty. Have large Diet Coke, all the better to wash down a handful of candy corn. Yay fall!

Day 2: Wake up and immediately blow nose. Wonder why mouth tastes like a gym sock. Realize I’m mouth breathing. Steadily fall apart during the day. Start taking medicine and switch from Diet Coke to juice. Yeah, cold– take that. Vitamin C up in this bitch.

Day 3: One nostril is clogged, the other is leaking. Hear reports from family members that “wow Mom, you really snored loud last night, like really loud”. Disown children, call in sick to work, sleepy 27 hours.

Day 4: Wake up filled with optimism. Feel marginally better. Clearly on the upswing. Go about my business. Get home from work, collapse into bed at 7pm.

Day 5: Wake up and wish for death. Cold has transitioned into sinuses. Blow nose and marvel at the thick green filth that comes from the depths of my brain. Head is pounding. Apply medicinal Diet Coke and Taco Bell to the situation. Marvel at the fact that even though I can’t taste anything, Taco Bell still tastes good.

Day 6: Mother effer. Still sick. Starting to get desperate enough to administer self-water boarding, otherwise known as the neti pot. Change shirt 10 minutes later as I now have a charming combination of boogers and water on my shirt. Sweat from the effort of changing shirt. Go back to bed. Assume children are doing fine despite the total lack of maternal attention.

Day 7: Are you effing kidding me with this bullshit? Make doctor’s appointment even though I know that he’ll tell me it is viral and there is nothing I can do about it.

Go to doctor. It is viral. He suggests the neti pot. Damn it.

Day 8: Step on scale and find the small glimmer of brightside to having no sense of smell or tasted. Down 1 pound! Imagine it would be more if I wasn’t still entirely filled with mucus.

Day 9: Blow nose, turn on laptop, write angry blog post about state of sinus cavities. Readers love hearing about mucus.


*I am just putting this out into the universe, The Secret style, so it will come true.

Adventures in Stock Photography

In the last year or so I’ve been doing a lot of freelance writing. For 90% of the articles I write I’m also charged with finding an image to go with it. For some slideshow style pieces, I’ve had to find as many as 25 images for one story. This has resulted in me spending A LOT of time looking at stock photography sites.

Now, my biggest complaint about stock photography is that it is often cheesy and super posed and fake looking when I’m looking for something more natural (my guiding question when chosing an image is often something like “have I ever, in real life, seen this many people smiling so cheerfully at a business meeting? Does the air of carefully crafted diversity infused productivity seem legit or like they are all on mood stabilizers?”). This is a prime example:


But then there are other pictures where I find myself trying to imagine how they came to be.

1 Photographer #1: Hey, do we have an adorable gap tooth kid to pose with a totally normal looking school lunch?

Photographer #2: You bet!

Photographer #1: Is the lunch filled with healthy stuff, but like, just thrown in the lunch box? Nothing wrapped up, I hope.

Photographer #2: Loose celery and carrot sticks? Of course. And three pieces of fruit. And a bunch of radishes. Kids are crazy for radishes.

Photographer #1: Obviously.

I also feel like I have to address the fact that if you do a stock image photo for the phrase “pregnant woman eating” you get this:

321I don’t know about the rest of you, but I FOR SURE spent most of my pregnancies thinking about the most effective way I could give myself more gas. Every day, I would put on my white crop top and head to the fridge, where I would not-at-all look like an insane robot standing in front of my fridge, which contained nothing but alarming fresh produce. I’d smile, in a totally natural way, while making myself a huge salad with no dressing. The more broccoli the better, I’d think, listening happily to the sound of farts like machine gun fire ripping out of my ass.

And then there are the pictures where I struggle to understand why they are tagged the way they are. For example:

I search for “feminism” and I get 1,000 images of Rosie the Riveter and then this one:

1Because feminists love (or hate?) mustaches?

Or I search for “hot guy” and find this kindly gentleman:

1He is in a sweater, scarf and hat. I don’t think he is hot in really any sense of the word.

I looked for “kids halloween candy”. This is clearly what I had in mind:

1I have long since learned that any searches involving looking for plus sized women is sure to anger, confuse, or sadden me.

Exhabit A: found while searching “average looking plus sized woman”

1Yep. Just your regular old size 18 Target shopper there, amiright?

I won’t even talk about the horror show that is looking for photos of not-skinny women exercising, except to say that if you belong to gym that just leaves hamburgers laying around on the floor, maybe switch gyms?

1I would comment on the shit show that is stock photos of motherhood, but I can’t compete with the brilliance of It’s Like They Know Us so I won’t even try.

Occasionally I have an article on a saucier topic, which is how I came to be searching through stock photos using the term “threesome”. I think we can all agree that these images capture the sexual energy of a three people engaged in hot, hot sex, right?

1 2 3I like to imagine the guys in the last picture are just finalizing the details of their forthcoming tryst: “Okay, so it is agreed that Carl will be the bottom. Thanks Carl!”

I would share more but I have to go find some pictures related to a “happy marriage”. I’m sure those will be amazing. And totally realistic. Just like this one:

1“Look at it Marge! I put the vegetables in the pan. Have you ever been so tickled in all your life?”

“Oh Roger, you are just a hoot. A HOOT.”