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Sunday book review, movie round-up & anything else i can throw in here. Happy 2015!

January 11th, 2015

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

“We are the night ocean filled
with glints of light. We are the space
between the fish and the moon,
while we sit here together.”

— Rumi

“Bottom line is we’re all flawed in this world. No one’s perfect,” film director Richard Linklater, accepting his Golden Globe award for directing, “I want to dedicate this to parents that are evolving everywhere and families that are just passing through this world and doing their best.”

I’ll see how many categories I can hit here… Ready? Ready-steady-go!

* Pacific Ocean: It’s beautiful. It makes me happy, i love my negative ions i get from the ocean, and the wildlife is so fun to watch. The sea lions in that picture are making what’s called a “raft.” They all hold onto each other and float around. Hippies :)

* Book review? Here’s what on my nightstand (and on the Kindle): Re-read “Wild,” re-reading “Torch,” re-reading Carol Shields magnum opus, “Unless,” reading “Quiet” and learning all kinds of stuff about introverts, extroverts, high reactives and the modern age, just finishing Dreiser’s “An American Tragedy,” genius, and… that’s all I can think of.

* Recipes:

Oven-Fried Spuds (excellent, best potato recipe ever)
Soup! (Steve’s recipe. This one clears up your head, fast)

1 onion, sliced thin
1 bulb garlic
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
6 cups water

Saute onion and garlic (I like whole cloves, but you can chop or press) on low until soft. Add bouillon cubes and squish. Add water and bring to boil. Can be garnished with fresh slices of jalapeno for an extra sinus kick. Wasabi would be good, too.

Reduce water and bouillon by half to thicken.

* Work… is going well. Super well. I love working at a school (computer lab again this year), I’m with the best staff and boss in the universe (no I’m not saying that because they might read this — they really are gifted, funny, smart, wonderful with the students and everything else I was hoping for) and I love that my students are willing to work on my Spanish with me. #yohabloespanolmasomenos

* My own kids… are great. Whoever said, “Eh, you think that when they’re little they really need you, but when they’re teenagers? That’s when they really need you,” that person was so smart. (Seriously, probably 20 people said that to me when the kids were toddlers, and I thought they were joking.)

* Nekkid Neighborsremember them?

* Sex? Not at work, people, keep that in mind, always. Or with the Nekkid Neighbors. Just a bad idea, aight? Lol. We’ve been watching Californication on Netflix, and swear to God, every time I watch it, I feel like I’ve been in an orgy, and it was kind of great, but equally horrible. Yeah.

* Speaking of pop culturemovies. We saw “Wild,” loved it, “Nebraska,” also great, “Boyhood,” one of the best movies I’ve ever seen in my life. Seriously.

* Holidays: How can 2015 be a real year? It’s so space-age sounding.

* And in the category of Pets, Stupid… Our sweet, loving, funny Wacky Cat 2 passed away last month. I keep looking for him, thinking I see him, missing him. It just sucks.

* Houses & Homes: We’re cleaning & rearranging & opposite-of-hoarding like mad right now because we’re moving again.

In five years.

But, as one of my 80-something-year-old neighbors told me after New Year’s, “Every year, I don’t know what it is. The days go slower and the years go faster.” Then he gave me a big smile, I smiled back, and he pedaled off on his bike. I know just what he means.

All for now, xo,


Thursday Thirteen, Ed.#69: A Christmas Celebration, In Thirteen Parts

December 24th, 2011

Our Sorrowful Mother

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

(this originally ran Nov. 30, 2006. happy reading :) wm)

And now, for the Thursday Thirteen you’ve been waiting for: A CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION, IN THIRTEEN PARTS:

1. Mom and I decide to take the kids to the Grotto, the National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, for the 18th annual Festival of Lights. Petting zoo! Puppet show! Strolling carolers and people dressed like olden times, who ask you, “Do you know the way to Bethlehem?” (No, I don’t. But if you figure it out will you take me?)

2. I tell Mom I’ll buy her dinner first, c’mon, it’ll be fun. She is game. She tells me she’s never been to the upper level of the Grotto. I am floored by this. “IT IS SO COOL UP THERE!” I tell her. The kids: “CAN WE SEE IT? NOW, CAN WE? CAN WE TAKE THE ELEVATOR?” Me: “No, it’s dark. And there are cliffs. But next summer!” Also, I forget to bring donations for the food drive. Mom brought some stuff from her cupboard. And she insisted on buying us dinner. Wouldn’t let me pay for tickets to the festival, either. Moms are like this.

3. Both kids, shouting: “LOOK AT ALL THOSE LIGHTS! AND THE ANGELS, LIT UP! THERE ARE PEOPLE SINGING!” Followed by, “What are all those candles for?”

4. We go to the petting zoo, at Wacky Boy’s request. The volunteer gives us warnings: Don’t let the goats grab the whole ice cream cone full of feed out of our hands. Spin around if they try to. And around and around and around. Don’t give any to the alpaca. Or the horse. Or the rabbits. I lose track of all the instructions. We spin and spin. We are mauled by goats, anyway.

5. Wacky Girl: “HEY! I do remember this place!” (Good, since it’s the seventh time she’s been.) She and mom head off for the puppet show. She is the only one to call out the answer when the puppeteer asks the audience: “What does Feliz Navidad mean?” She is proud of this. She and Mom like the puppet show. Mom is wearing a cute hat, and her warm jacket. It’s not raining. Or snowing.



May 20th, 2011

We have mourning doves up on our roof — they look just like this. No that’s not my picture, you know all I do is write, I don’t take pix, too. Unlike some of you overachievers out there. hahaha. They’re just chilling. They seem to like it here.

I’m fighting off bronchitis, my lungs are a mess. Fever (never a good sign) and the general feeling that if I just break on through (to the other side, break on through, break, break) (key word: break) that this time, I will not get bronchial pneumonia. I’m fine, see! Fine! (Then I collapse. Drama queen.)

Pam: “Would you like some aspirin? You seem kind of fussy…”
Michael: “No, I don’t want any aspirin! Aspirin’s not gonna do a dang thing, Pam. Of course I’m fussy! I’m sitting here with a bloody stump of a foot!”

I haven’t slept much in a week — for two nights I barely slept at all.

I, like many of you, get stupid as hell and confused when I don’t sleep. Also not safe behind the wheel of a car, fyi.

Last night, I knew I was going to sleep okay. (powerofpositivethinking.) Willed myself to. Curled up in a ball, made little kitten noises, and when I woke up, the sun was up (sleep! i love you, my friend sleep) and I could hear the mourning doves, right outside my window.


ps yes we’ve been watching American Idol. This is all you need, though.

updated on Saturday: ppss WAIT the RAPTURE is today? Thank God for my father-in-law and Bossy, otherwise I would never have known. Eh, I’m not sweating anything now, especially not this frickin’ fever. Wait, doesn’t a fever come right before the Rapture? I think it does.

What did that cabbie in New York say to me, that one time? “When the end of the world comes, there won’t be any more worrying about the trillion dollar debt, or AIDS, or the drugs, and you, princess, you will never have to work again.” I was all, “Good by me.” Then he gave me one of the best smiles I’ve ever seen in my life, and off he went.

Crying in Church

September 14th, 2008

I cry, okay? I’m an emotional person. I cried on my wedding day, I cried both times I gave birth. I cry when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m stressed out, PMS, moved by a piece of music. I cried today in church when my girlfriend made me laugh really hard. I cried because the service was moving. I cry when someone’s mean to me, then I laugh because honestly. Who cares? I don’t cry over stupid comments left on blogs, or people who want to argue politics with me. They’ve got the right to their opinion, lame and ignorant though it may be. And I don’t cry in traffic.

(Today some guy in the car behind me shook his fist at me. Know why? I had stopped — safely, thank you, not slamming on the brakes or something stupid — on an extremely narrow street so an elderly woman could get into her car. She had just gotten out of church. She waved at me. I waved back. This infuriated the guy, and his wife. Honestly, I’m gonna cry over that? I think not.)

Anyway. I cry.

But at my home church (Unitarian, all touchy-feely, allegedly), they’re not criers. Or clappers. Or yelling Amen-ers. They’re a reserved lot. In fact, out of all the times I have cried when I’ve been at church (and I’ve been attending this church two years, so there have been several times I have been moved to tears)… well. Here are some numbers for you:

1) Number of times someone has handed me a tissue: Zero. (I forget the kleenex half the time.)

2) Number of times someone has patted me when I’ve been crying: Zero.

3) Number of times someone has asked how I’m doing: One. (And that was my neighbor, who I already knew. She always asks me how I’m doing cuz you know why? She cares a lot. She is a sweet, Nekkid Neighbor, that one.)

4) Number of times anyone at church has introduced themselves to me (anyone who is not the parent of one of my Sunday School students, make that): Zero.

Today I went back to my old church (Baptist, the faith I grew up in), which is really my girlfriend’s church. She moved away from Portland years ago, but was stayed the weekend with us. Fun. FUN FUN FUN. I love her and miss having her here. Phone and e-mails and postcards are not the same.

Classic: The sermon starts, there I go with the waterworks. I closed my eyes, prayed, tried turning off the tears. I felt someone shoving something into my hand, opened my eyes. It’s my girlfriend, giving me a wad of tissues. She was crying, too.

“Here, kleenex!” she says. “Look, they have boxes all over!”

They do. Every other pew.

You think they heard I’d be there today?

Oh, sweet Cheesus

July 30th, 2008

This just in from the wire (aka, my sister sent it to me in an e-mail):

“A Missouri woman says she has found Jesus in a bag of Cheetos. When Kelly Ramey opened a snack-sized bag of Cheetos, she felt something unusual and checked it out.

Most of her family and friends believe it looks like a mini orange sculpture of Jesus on the cross. Ramey and her husband call it ‘Cheesus.’ Others see something completely different.

A local minister does not see anything theologically special about the Cheeto, but thinks some good could come from it.

Ramey doesn’t plan to sell the Cheeto because it’s bringing a lot of joy into her home. She will keep it in a safe deposit box or put it on display so more people can enjoy it.”

And as if that wasn’t enough, my best girlfriend sends this along. Meow!!!!


April 11th, 2008

“Without coffee he could not work, or at least he could not have worked in the way he did. In addition to paper and pens, he took with him everywhere as an indispensable article of equipment the coffee machine, which was no less important to him than his table or his white robe.”

— Stefan Zweigs, Biography of Balzac

a post regarding church and religion, and the Advice Column for Wacky Mothers & Others: My Kid Won’t Eat/My Co-Worker Won’t Stop Eating!!!

January 8th, 2008

Oh God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son”
Abe says, “Man, you must be puttin’ me on”
God say, “No.” Abe say, “What?”
God say, “You can do what you want Abe, but
The next time you see me comin’ you better run”
Well Abe says, “Where do you want this killin’ done?”
God says, “Out on Highway 61.”

Highway 61 Revisited
Bob Dylan

That isn’t my God, that God, by the by. My God is a friendlier, more compassionate, Higher Spirit kind of being. I haven’t written much about My Life as a Sunday School Teacher, have I now? You interested? (My sister: “No.” Hangs up phone.) How about school politics? (Picks up the phone, then slams it down.) I like teaching, and I especially liked it this past Sunday when one of my students, who showed up for the first lesson and hasn’t been spotted since (is it something I said?) showed up, smiley, knowing that I would remember him.

(I did.)

We talked about Sophia Fahs. Next week I’m teaching the lesson — it’s about Beatrix Potter. Both Unitarian girls. For snack, we always always always serve tangerines. Always.

And now, from the Q&A bag…

Advice Column for Wacky Mothers & Others
Dear everyone, I am not a trained professional; please seek help from a medical professional if and when you need it. Be well!

Dear Wacky Mommy:

Please help with any ideas you moms might have. My 6 yr. old daughter is the worlds pickiest eater, she only eats bagels, doritos, pizza, vanilla yogurt, pepperidge farm fishies, steak, and just recently discovered Bologna.


Dear HELP!!!!:
Give the kid some steak. Steak is good food! Unless you’re eating with my three vegetarians, in which case you’d hear, Ew, that’s from a COW? You killed a cow? Did you know you’re eating… Etc. So tiresome. Bologna? Not such a healthy choice, but an okay snack. Doritos? Do not keep Doritos in the house, thus they cease to become an option.

(I’m trying this strategy on fruit leather, cereal bars, candy and cookies, wish me luck.) Vanilla yogurt and pizza are two of our four food groups around here. I would try buying healthy stuff, as healthy as possible, and remembering this: It’s your job to fix the food; it’s her job to eat it.

Don’t worry, she won’t starve to death.

The eating issues drive me nuts, too. You’re not alone.



Dear Wacky:
I have a cubicle neighbor who eats lunch at his desk and smacks his lips. It just totally grosses me out. The smell of his cheap microwave food is bad enough, but to hear the smack smack smack that goes with it is just too much. It’s not loud, or anything, and I imagine he’s completely unaware anybody can hear him.

To make matters worse, he always eats early, around 11:30, so I’m almost always at my desk. I’ve taken to putting on headphones and listening to music while he eats, but I don’t like having to do this.

Should I confront him about this? If so, what should I say? Or should I just ignore it and do the headphone thing?

Grossed-Out by Lip Smackers

Dear Grossed-Out:
It’s always about the food around here, isn’t it? Honestly, I cannot think of a tactful way to tell someone “Stop smacking.” Unless you yell, “Stop smacking!” over the wall, but I would die of embarrassment if someone did that to me, wouldn’t you?

Wear headphones, or take an earlier lunch. Maybe take a break during his mealtime? Is he a fast eater, or a lingerer? Work: All of the same dilemmas and quandaries as home, but you have to obey some invisible code of respect. Even though “We’re family! We’re a work family!” Well, no. Not really. At home we just yell, “Stop smacking!” and call it a day.

Good luck.


Thursday Thirteen #108: Thirteen Reasons I Became a Sunday School Teacher

August 29th, 2007

Thursday 13ers and Usual Suspects,

Are you thinking to yourself, “You know what WM needs to do? The girl needs to become a Sunday School teacher!”??? Were you really? Because I was, too. Spooky!

13 reasons i became a sunday school teacher
by Wacky Mommy

1) I couldn’t find a “real” job

2) If you saw how disorganized I truly am (well, maybe you have a clue, given how random this blog is), you’d realize I really need to throw some stability into my paperwork and life. Lesson plans! A set schedule! A need to wear grown-up clothes!

3) My husband thinks it’s sexy. Meow.

4) I pawned off my children on my unsuspecting mother today, so I was free. FREE! Freeeeeeeeeeee… Mom, thank you, you rock, Mom. I bought myself some take-out for lunch, then I watched a little of “One Life to Live” and a little of “General Hospital.” (Both dull, I am sorry to report. Can we sex it up a little, soaps? Because, damn.)

I was looking through the Good Vibrations sex toys catalog, after I watched “Weeds” on DVD, after I got bored with the soaps. Then I had an iced coffee.

When your children are away for the day, it is good to multi-task.

Then I went to Teacher Training tonight at church! People, it is the little quirks and turns in life that make it beautiful.

5) Also, the church staff asked (read: begged) for volunteers, cuz we were way short on teachers. They needed me!

6) Teaching is stressful, it turns out, and you know what a little stress biscuit I am. High on Stress! (I used to have a T-shirt that said that.)

7) Who needs sex on Sunday mornings when you can go teach 20 little wildcats all about music, love, Zen principles and Earth Day?!?

8) That’s right. I go to a hippie church. An all-inclusive, extremely accepting, gay-friendly, “fudge-packin’, crack-smokin’, Satan-worshippin’ motherfucker” church. (That’s from Nirvana, remember them? Their “good boy” T-shirt said “flower sniffin’, kitty pettin’, baby kissin’ corporate rock whores.”)

Because where else would I fit in? When you see the church-folk marching at the peace rallies here, right behind the No War Drum Corps, that is my church. I love my church. And I would like to say thank you to the drum corps, if they’re reading, for fricking rippin’ it up all the time. (They start off with the drums, we start marching, my daughter asks, “Mommy, why are all those police there?” and points to the 200 cops on bikes. I say, “To escort us!” and off we go.)

9) I like kids. I think they deserve love, peace and no wars. I think that little kids, Iraqi kids especially, deserve for their grandparents to not be killed by the U.S. government. I think the U.S. government should get behind this sentiment. “War Kills Grandmas” was a slogan Wacky Girl came up with, all on her own. I was very proud, the day she dreamed that one up.

I know I gripe about kids all the time, and puzzle over their crazy antics, but at the heart of it? I like kids. I want them to be happy, and know we care about them.

10) We do fun stuff at church, too, not just political and educational stuff. We make art. Read. Have potlucks and picnics. Give each other flowers. Do the baby tree dance around the courtyard.

11) I like the other teachers, they’re kooky.

12) One word: snacks and juice.

13) God loves me.

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Wacky Mommy

May 29th, 2007

How am I supposed to keep up with my blog-reading, if this work thing continues? I don’t know what is going on out there! Amalah wrote a dynamite post about searching for faith. And I have a whole post I need to write about Rosie O’Donnell being the only celebrity in America brave enough to keep on hammering about the need to End the War and Bring Our Soldiers Home. Now. Now! Now!!! Not tomorrow — today.

Say what you will about Rosie — no, don’t, because I’m feeling more than a little protective of her right now. She’s bold, and she stands up for what she believes in. And what kind of screwed-up world do we live in where people commend you for doing the right thing, because it’s so… unusual to help someone, or to put out a fire, or just to point out, “There’s a fire. Let’s put it out.”

“Oh, my God — you, like, noticed that fire! And I didn’t even notice it! And then you put it out! You are a-maz-ing! Wow!”

I get attention and credit all the time just for doing the stuff — and it’s usually small, tiny stuff, not anything amazing, by any means — that I need to be doing. Today, for instance, I sent two dozen pencils to school with my daughter, because they’re out. Her teacher thought this was a-maz-ing. I may send in erasers tomorrow.

So, Rosie O’ — thanks for being a-maz-ing.

From the transcripts of “The View” for May 17th (this is from Rosie’s blog), wherein Rosie completely blew Elisabeth Hasselback’s mind:

O’DONNELL: …… I just want to say something. 655,000 Iraqi civilians are dead. Who are the terrorists?
HASSELBECK: Who are the terrorists?
O’DONNELL: 655,000 Iraqis — I’m saying you have to look, we invaded –
HASSELBECK: Wait, who are you calling terrorists now? Americans?
O’DONNELL: I’m saying if you were in Iraq, and the other country, the United States, the richest in the world, invaded your country and killed 655,000 of your citizens, what would you call us?
HASSELBECK: Are we killing their citizens or are their people also killing their citizens?
O’DONNELL: We’re invading a sovereign nation, occupying a country against the U.N.

(And I would like to segue this post into some lovin’ and a shout-out for Cindy Sheehan, who is exhausted and giving up. Cindy, don’t give up. Take a rest, but don’t give up.)

Pointing out that we’re terrorizing a nation — which we are, which we have been — is not the same as calling a soldier a terrorist. Killing two-thirds of a million people is called “terr-or-izing them.” It is domestic violence, to go into people’s homes and cities and back yards and kill them. It’s like I tell my kids fifty times a day — don’t hurt each other. It’s wrong to hurt someone. It’s wrong to kill.

The job ends Friday. I will be able to read more and write more after that. I won’t hear back about the interview until end of this week, beginning of next. I’ll let you know as soon as I know, savvy?

In the meantime, don’t stop fighting. And keep on, I command you on this one, keep on putting out fires.

Speaking of people who won’t stop proselytizing…

April 27th, 2007

Don’t be preachy with other people’s kids, dammit. Just don’t.

Ask Dear Prudence.

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