Friday, October 22, 2010

Book reviews based on my terrible memory

I’ve missed writing about books. I’ve had a stellar summer and fall, reading-wise, and it’s reignited something in me. I’m always an avid reader (which is why I married a bookstore guy—he keeps me awash in my drug of choice), but lately I’ve had this desperate love affair with the act of reading, as if, along with eating and breathing, it is one of the pillars of my very aliveness. It feels a little like having a crush.

The catch in all this, is that I can't remember shit.

I’ve always been envious of people who can quote lines from their favorite authors or make clever literary asides. I am not one of those people. I am the kind of person who will claim passionately (and honestly) to have loved a book and then recall almost nothing about it except the pleasure of reading it.

The other day I tried to remind myself of the plot and character names of The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. I’ve read this book at least twice, probably three times. I’ve written papers in graduate school on it. I’ve discussed it in class, and I can’t remember the basic plot of the thing. An American girl named Isabel Archer goes to Europe—England and I think, Italy—and well, I suppose some bad things happen to her. She has a cousin who tries to protect her.

It’s not exactly a New York Review of Books caliber examination. And it's not the only book I've been awed by but fail to remember.

Some reviews of my favorite books based solely on memory:

Birds of America by Lorrie Moore: there’s a girl named Agnes who pronounces her name An-yez, like the French, and there’s a really funny line about modern dance. At some point some raccoons burn up in a chimney.

A History of Love by Nicole Krauss: Jewish post-911 New York. There’s a key or a lock with a lot of significance. Reminded me a lot of her husband’s novel Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving: A tiny boy named Owen Meany is growing up in a working class granite town in New Hampshire. I think there’s a boarding school in it. I think there’s a scene having something to do with Christmas decorations. His voice is small and strange but people love him anyway.

Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros: Mexican-American girl from Texas moves to Chicago. Some of it takes place in Mexico. At one point I think she has sex with her boyfriend in a cheap hotel overlooking the plaza in Mexico City. Rebosos play an important role but I forget how.

The End of Vandalism by Tom Drury: Dry humor. Story of a Midwestern town. There is a water tower and a lot of people drive trucks. There’s a grocery store that closes, I think. And one of the main characters is a high school teacher. There is also a romance. I loved this book.

Look at Me by Jennifer Egan: There’s a model who gets in a car accident and it’s in the Midwest and somehow there’s a terrorist in it. I found it ambitious and prescient.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I'm over here!

Thank you for stopping by. As it turns out, I am finding it difficult to keep up two blogs. But please, stay here a while. Peruse. I'll be posting here on occasion. So you should keep checking back.

In the meantime, check me out here, where I'm posting four times a week about things like bitchy moms, the insidiousness of Disney, and cute hats.

Monday, August 9, 2010

That's BAgina to you, buddy

Oliver has been really into taking photographs lately. Recently, while at Yosemite, the Mister and I asked him to take one of us with a view of the valley behind.

He snapped this:

Then looked at it and said, "I tried to get you both, but I only got mom's vagina." And that, my dear readers, is the danger of teaching your kids anatomical terms.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Where I answer nearly all your questions and survive house guests

A couple of things:

I am not dead. I am blogging for Baby Center four times a week and getting ready to take a red-eye to the east coast for a little family vacation. And those two things, along with the twins, are about all I can handle. More than I can handle, actually, if today's parenting techniques (mostly yelling with the occasional vacant stare into space) are any indication.

Oh, plus we had house guests. I forgot about the house guests.

I promised I would link to my Baby Center posts and so here I go. You can gorge yourself. You can live vicariously through me for hundreds and hundreds of words. Or you can buy things. Every Friday I write about cute things on Etsy. Your choice.

Read about:

All the other stuff I write about is here.

Feel free to write comments over there. It makes me look good.

Oh, and wish me luck on that red-eye. Maggie has a cold and I have a bad attitude, so it's not looking good. But we will discuss later. At length.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

It pays to sit around in your underwear blogging

The last time we met, my family and I were about to go camping and I promised some exciting news upon my return. Well, I'm back.

And here's the news: I am now a blogger for Baby Center's Momformation channel (just between us, I think "Momformation" is kind of a lame name, but the site is great). I get to do exactly what I do here, there. And they pay me for it. Which is more than I can say for you people.

I'll be there four times a week. On Fridays I'll pick some things out on Etsy and encourage you to buy them. The rest of the time I'll just be rambling on about me and my kids. But in a funny and erudite way.

I do hope you'll join me. Really. I'll even post links to all my posts there, here.

And I'll still be posting here sometimes so you should be sure to check back. We can talk about all the things we can't talk about with them. We can bitch about working for the man.

Oh, and about that camping trip. You can read all about it here. And no, the nail scissors didn't turn out to be necessary, but boy was I happy to have the alarm clock/ipod dock.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Family Camping: Take III

It's 6 am and I am up baking biscuits. They are from a can, but still, it is nearly impossible to express how unlike me this is. In my natural state I sleep until 9 and go out for brunch. Alas. My natural state is long gone.

I am up at this ungodly hour (it gives me headache to be up before 7) because Maggie woke up to announce her need to pee at 5 and the thought demons took this as the cue to worm their way into my consciousness, where they enjoyed a rowdy game of monkey-in-the-middle until I gave up on further sleep. Everyone else in the house is still snoozing away.

I'm keyed up because tomorrow morning we leave bright and early for Camp Mather. It's a family camp up near Yosemite that only residents of San Francisco can go to. You have to enter a lottery to get a spot. We did. We won. And now I spend my dawn hours making mental lists of things like nail scissors and duct tape and bug spray and all the other 5,011 things that will supposedly help us to actually enjoy this experiment in group family camping.

As many of you know, I've been scarred. I was never a big camper to begin with (I like soft pillows and showers too much). Then I went camping with one-year-old twins. Now I get the tremors when anyone mentions the words "Coleman Stove." Seriously, our track record as a family is bad.

But this is supposed to be better. It's all sing-alongs and lifeguarded lakes and cafeteria dining (no Coleman stoves!). And our kids are four now, not one, or three. And we have a cabin and I am bringing down comforters and Christmas lights and a couple of cute throw rugs (I kid you not), so I think we have a chance. I'm counting on it actually. Because, honestly, I really need a vacation. And a little sleep.

I'll be back in a week or so with tales to tell and an exciting announcement. I'll let you know if those nail scissors came in handy. In the meantime may your days be filled with the comforts of modern civilization.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The pediatric ward hosts a feminist princess party

I don't know that I've ever been so happy to see my funky little house, bread crumbs on the floor and all. Oh joy, hallway rug that slips and burbles. Oh joy, broken soap dispenser and crowded bathroom sink. Helloo, paint-warped kitchen cabinets that won't quite close, come to mama!

We are home! Maggie, despite still looking pale as a Victorian orphan, is healthy and happy and catching up on her sleep and fresh fruit. Hurray! As grateful as I am for the wonderful care she received in the hospital, that place sort of sucked.

Maggie summed it up best in her thank you card to the staff: "the worst part was the needle. The best part was the playroom."

Below is a sample of how I managed to entertain myself in said playroom. Upon seeing my handiwork, the Mister said: "you really need to get out of here." Duh.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I am also, in my way, grateful for Joan Rivers

I, like Joan Rivers (have you seen the documentary? It's surprisingly good), believe there is humor to be found in absolutely everything. Your husband committed suicide (as Joan's did)? There's a zinger in there somewhere. Lost your job? That one's just easy. Teenager's a drug addict? A veritable gold mine of jokes. It's been said a million times, but seriously, if we can't laugh, where are we?

Except now I can't laugh. I am sitting in a dark hospital room watching the mesmerizing blinking of my daughter's heart machine while she tries to sleep tangled in the various cords and wires coming off her body. Before you get too worried: she's fine. They are figuring it out. We should be going home with our rapidly growing collection of My Little Pony stickers very soon and that pale, feverish girl with the dark circles under her eyes that they've swapped for my daughter, will go back from whence she came and my vibrant girl shall make her triumphant return. Possibly even tomorrow.

So it's not worry that makes this unfunny. I am surprisingly calm and unflapped about all the poking and pricking and monitoring she's been through in the last 24 hours. It is a feeling of intense gratitude that makes this all so seriously unfunny. I am thankful for everything right now. I'm positively gooey with it.

For medical insurance for one. For pediatric nurses who stand in a line as you enter the ward for the first time and greet your child by name as if they have been waiting all day just for a glimpse of her. For Japanese restaurants that deliver to the seventh floor of the hospital. For handsome Korean orderlies who push you and your daughter around the hospital in a wheelchair. For toy rooms with baby dolls and volunteers who read books. For doctors who introduce themselves using their first names and then take such detailed medical histories you feels as if they really, really care about figuring this out. I'm thankful for ibuprofen and antibiotics and in-room DVD players.

But mostly, of course, I am so thankful to have kids who are not chronically or critically ill. I am awed and bowled over by the good fortune that is good health. Every time I think about riffing on this hospital experience (and it's ripe with cute ice cream jokes and "buh-gina" references, let me tell you), I think about parents who have to spend a lot of time in the hospital with their children and I am snapped right back onto the straight and narrow. Because that, my friends, is suffering. And if you are not suffering in that particular way, you have much to be thankful for. And that's what I'm left with: one giant thank you, thank you, thank you Buh-Jeezus!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Why can't I be more like Angelina Jolie?

My kids are never sick (knock on wood, throw salt and turn around three times). Except for now. Maggie has been home with a fever all week, poor thing.

What this means, in addition to way too much screen time, multiple readings of Rainbow Fish, and yogurt for breakfast, lunch and dinner, is that I have been home all week with a sick child. Seriously, I didn't leave the house for two days. Not once. No fresh air. No clean underwear.*

Then, on the third day, I got to go to the corner grocer for some supplies and witness the astounding miracle of real adult humans moving about in public. The next day, still high on my recent exposure to the outside world, I also got a haircut and took my kids to see Toy Story 3. I paid dearly for it with much feverish whining and a serious case of popcorn bloat (me, not them).

All this is not so bad.

What's bad is when, on the fourth day, your completely delightful old friend from college comes to visit for the first time since the kids were born and you suddenly see your life in stark contrast to what could have been.

That's her on the far left. That's me, wearing pajama bottoms and pearls.

Her: Saving the world by doing important global peace-building projects with the U.N and other impressive NGOs.

Me: Trying to remember when I last administered the Children's Tylenol.

Her: Cocoa-colored linen suit with adorable flats.

Me: Ripped jeans, dirty underwear, clogs.

Her: Teaching at Columbia's graduate program in International Studies.

Me: Trying to teach my children to wipe their own butts.

Her: Hobnobbing with the rich, influential and powerful.

Me: Hobnobbing with two four-year-olds and the occasional corner grocer.

Her: Mother of one super-genius, chess-playing 7-year-old.

Me: Mother of four-year-old twins who try to impress guests by toppling the coffee table and throwing pirate hooks in the air.

I think you get the idea.

And I know that here I am supposed to write something about how worthwhile it all is and how I wouldn't trade anything for anything. But that's not true. I would trade being an unemployed stay-at-home mom (not the kids themselves, mind you; them, I like) for a career that required me to travel all over the world doing good work in a second. At this point I think I would trade it for a career that required me to get dressed in the morning and travel to downtown San Francisco.

All of which is to say that, when the time comes, I'm going to strongly suggest that my children don't major in English. Cause it's too late for me.

* having a sick kid does not preclude changing ones underwear, but really, why bother?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I'm back (and not in a Shining way)

OK, my dahlinks, I know I've been remiss. But, if it's any consolation, I have learned an important lesson about blogging: when you blog often you feel OK about writing a few cute lines of dialogue or describing your love affair with your new pink tights. But when you tell all nine of your readers that you will only be blogging once a week, well, all of a sudden you feel as if you have to have something BIG and IMPORTANT to say. And then you get all squirmy and self-critical and you're all, "No one wants to hear about my trip to the wildlife preserve in Pt. Arena," or "Maybe my children aren't quite as clever to everyone else as they are to me." Then you get sick. Then you get super into writing your novel and feel as if you are close to finishing a first draft.

This is actually not my belly

Then, I don't know, you obsess over your stomach for a while and toy with the idea of throwing in the towel and never dieting again. Then you see that Crystal Light is on sale and you buy some despite your objection to processed food and then it turns out that lemonade Crystal Light is really delicious and, God, you just go along, drinking your powdered drink mixes and examining your naked body in the full-length mirror (it's fine, right? I mean, its not perfect, but it's fine). And also, it's summer, and you feel as if you should be taking advantage of the daylight. And you bought that bench at that garage sale that you should finally just paint already so your backyard can be super cute, especially once you get a fire pit thingy.

Anyhow, before you know it, its been a month (well, 25 days, really) and you have not written anything and you assume that all nine of your readers have moved on (people are busy, after all) and you start to think about Decorno and how she just signed off one day, but you don't want to give up your blog, you don't. You just can't think of anything BIG and IMPORTANT to write. But then, two people write you in one day to say why aren't you blogging and it turns out that's all you needed. Just a little shout out from the anonymous buzzing molecules of data that are the Internet. And you're off again, happy as can be. Not in an every day kind of way, but more often. Often enough so that if it comes up, you feel pretty OK about blogging about socks. I mean, if they are especially cute.

Special bonus video starring moi about a novel that I LOVE and that I totally think you should read this summer:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

If mom folds five loads of laundry, goes grocery shopping, washes dishes, and bathes the children and nobody is there to see it, did it really happen?

Before we get started you should know that the Mister is out of town for a week and I am not at my best. This was my bedtime conversation with Oliver, who is very upset, missing his dad, and having trouble falling asleep.

It's just hard because dad makes all the fun and you just do, like, some things in the house and like, you're kind of boring because you're writer and all you ever do it write books and stuff.

pretending to be very neutral participant in this conversation
I play sometimes. I just have a lot to do.

I guess sometimes you're not blogging. But dad plays games and plays, like, the matching game and builds towers. But its hard to have two kids because we're always like, "Mommy do this, mommy do this."

It is hard, but it's great too. I love having two kids.

Well, I just wish you weren't so boring. It's hard.

The conversation continued in this vein for quite a while until I sang one last song and insisted he go to sleep.

Obviously I am horrified in about 27 different ways, not the least of which is because I spend so much of that time when I am ignoring my kids and supposedly writing books lurking on Facebook and trying to find the perfect pair of pumps online (they have a square heel and a square toe).

I am bothered too because this is the beginning of that age-old pattern of fun dad/task-master mom. He plays airplane, I insist on hair-combing. He builds towers, I limit the cookie intake and remind them to say "thank you."

I am chagrined by the sudden knowledge that my kids have heard me bitch about motherhood. At some point Oliver learned that I think having two kids is hard and that is not something he should really have to take on at the moment.

Mostly I am bothered because he's right. I am not a great player. I am sort of grouchy and boring. I'm distracted. I put them off. When given the choice, I almost always choose making dinner over playing with the kids while the Mister makes dinner.

I am often exhausted by simply maintaining basic order and getting everyone out of the house on time (for the record I don't even care if the shoes are on the wrong feet or if the outfits make a bit of sense), but also, I find playing boring.

Go Fish, restaurant, family, pirates—these are all games I am often asked to participate in. Sometimes simultaneously. And I do. For about five minutes. Then I notice that the floor needs sweeping or I feel like checking my email or I just zone out and forget to call Oliver "matey." I adore my kids ferociously but in all honesty, I prefer the company of adults.

Which was all fine and good before my kids got smart and perceptive and developed the power of speech. Now I can't ignore them and pretend they don't notice. They tell me. They think I am boring. They've caught on.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

12 good things that have happened in the last 17 days

photo from here

1. The birds found the bird feeder. Finally.

2. We took the kids to their first Giant's game.

3. The Mister caught a foul ball.

4. I discovered (and devoured) Breaking Bad

5. I had this conversation about marriage and child rearing with Oliver:
Me: Do you want to get married?
Oliver: Oh, yeah.
Me: And what do you think marriage is?
Oliver; It's just like you get to be with your friend forever.
Me: And do you think you want to have kids?
Oliver: Yeah.
Me: Why?
Oliver: I think I will be a really good dad. My dad is the best dad.


Oliver: Actually, maybe I won't have kids.
Me: Why not?
Oliver: Well, taking care of kids is really hard work.

6. Maggie proposed to me (three times). I said yes. Then she reminded me that I'm already married.

7. My kids discovered photography.

8. My dad and I found two perfectly good nandinas on the street, took them home and planted them in my garden.

9. The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer finally came out. I read it in galley months ago and I've been waiting to gush and now I can. It's tremendous. It's important. It's amazing. Read it. You won't be sorry.

10. We went out for pie. In the middle of the day. For no reason.

11. I signed up for a recording and interviewing workshop with these amazing ladies.

12. I bought tickets for this.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Martha Stewart is the devil on my shoulder

A few days ago, as I was artfully sticking my homemade "Please take me home" stickers on the gift bags I put together for my children's fourth birthday party, I had a familiar feeling. I was sort of enjoying myself, getting a certain satisfaction from the Martha-like perfection of the goodie bags, but underneath lurked a simmering resentment and impatience, a little throb telling me that my cutsie-pootsie project might not be the best use of my time.

As I stuck the stickers I started to suspect that such things, these bourgeois arts so trumpeted by women's magazines and Martha Stewart and a thousand design blogs, were just a giant diversion of creative energy. I imagine that no great artist, and certainly no one who has ever really changed the course of the world for the better, has expended much time or effort into making perfect goodie bags, or butterfly cakes, or wallpaper-covered file folders.
I'm all for an uplifted environment, by which I mean that I appreciate design and believe aesthetics make a difference (you should see my new faux bois rug--OMG). I get as much pleasure from a piece of beautiful Indian craft paper as the next girl. I adore a nice leisurely stroll through Design Within Reach or Etsy or Ikea. I even sort of like Real Simple.

I must admit, I'm sort of proud of my butterfly cake

But I also notice that men make and get credit for most of the "great art" of the world. Ditto on great scientific discoveries, adventures, environmental milestones, and feats of engineering. Meanwhile, women are encouraged to make the world a little cuter one scrapbook at a time. (Again, I appreciate a good scrapbook, but they are not the building blocks of a greater civilization, as least not as we currently view it.)

And the spaceship cake.

Of course not all of us were meant to design bridges or write the Great American Novel or become the next Beethoven. Most of us were meant to live decidedly less dramatic marks. And there is something to be said for doing something out of love, without regard for the praise or attention it might garner. All this magazine-style cuteness—wrapping forty presents, or making a spaceship cake, or laboriously calligraphing the place cards—might all be seen as acts of love. There is nothing wrong in wanting to delight someone else with a small effort toward beauty.

Still, I wonder. All this presentation is so fleeting and so fickle. Today's gorgeous cupcake tower will most likely be tomorrow's pineapple candle salad. Adorable goodie bags get torn open and disposed of with barely a glance. Spaceship cakes take 4 hours to make and ten minutes to eat.

I think of it this way: there are a million aspiring novelist in the country and I bet none of the male ones spend hours of their precious writing time making delightful goodie bags for four-year-olds.

Then again, I don't watch sports on TV, so maybe we come out equal.

P.S. The party was a complete success and much fun was had.

Monday, April 26, 2010

April is National Poetry Month, after all

This weekend we enjoyed some spontaneous, on-demand street poetry. No corrections. No revisions. First you pick out a scrap of paper. Then the poet asks who you are and what you like and gets tapping. It takes about two minutes and it is sort of amazing. You should hire this Silvi for your next big party.

When asked what they liked, my children answered "mako sharks," and "cribs."

I had this one written for my friend Hilary, who likes to swim way out to sea.

I wrote this one just now. You should try it. And please send me the results!

Street Fair

If your sticky frantic kids are stopped in their tracks
by the tapping of an old red Royal,
a girl with a bob
Stop and buy them a poem.
Then get some kettle corn
You are learning to enjoy yourself with every step.

San Francisco

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mark Fiore is more inspirational than Oprah

Did you hear about my friend Mark Fiore (he's the one who got Dengue Fever at my birthday party)? He won the Pulitzer Prize last week. The Pulitzer Prize, people! That's, like, the most colossal and public pat on the back a journalist can get.

I did the voice for this one. It earned him death threats!

I have dealt with my pride and excitement by working the information into as many conversations as possible. I run into a parent preparing snacks in the preschool kitchen and say something like, "Man am I tired; it must be because my really good friend Mark Fiore just won the Pulitzer Prize." I'm out to dinner with some work friends talking about learning to make Chinese dumplings and I say, "That reminds me of my really good friend Mark Fiore, who just won the Pulitzer Prize." An acquaintance mentions she just got back from New York and I say, "Oh, my really good friend Mark Fiore will be going to New York to accept the Pulitzer Prize he just won."

Ahem, I did the voice for this one too

But seriously, I am really proud of him. I tried to make a toast at a party in his honor earlier this week but because of my weeping problem (it prohibits all public toast-making and reading of poetry), I couldn't do it. What I wanted to say was this: I am proud and happy for him not because the Pulitzer is a big deal, super-prestigious prize, but because he was justly rewarded for following his passions.

I got a book when I graduated from college called Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow. This, of course, is the kind of soft-minded pap that makes me dislike Oprah (I jumped off her bandwagon around the time of The Secret). But the first part of the title, the part about doing what you love, has some merit. Mark Fiore has done what he loves, regardless of whether the money was following or taking a totally different route. He worked hard, super hard, at doing it well. He invented a form (the online political animation) and he found success. It's positively inspirational.

Mark helped us build our chicken coop. What a stand up guy.

I was waxing thusly to my dad the other day when he reminded me that talent plus hard work does not always result in success. Lots of people do what they love and find neither money nor notoriety. Lots of good, smart people toil away at what they love in anonymity. My dad, by the way, is perhaps the least sentimental person on the planet. He's also right.

But this doesn't mean I can't get a little lift from Mark's reward. Just because in the end very few of us will win venerated awards, doesn't mean we shouldn't try to remember to pay attention to what moves us, to work hard, to practice discipline, to ignore the bullshit, and to follow what we love. That could be pretty rewarding too.

Congratulations, Mark! Woot! Woot!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Why not just practice the rhythm method and see what happens?

from here

A lot of my friends are currently trying to decide whether or not to have a second baby. Actually, they are writhing in a sort of tortured late '30s angst trying to decide whether to have a second baby.

I get it. Here you are, you've got your mate and your career and your one completely, ridiculously doted upon offspring. You still get to go out with the girls every now and again. You're having sex once or twice a week. Your body is more or less back where it belongs. You've got it worked out. Why mess it up?

It's not a bad question to ask yourself. But I find that I have little patience for the dithering. Maybe because giving birth to twins knocked me off my axis so profoundly that I never really got to the part where I felt like I had it all worked out. Maybe because I'm jealous.

I imagine life with one baby as a kind of gauzy, pink-tinged Gerber commercial in which you have hours a day in which you are required to do nothing more than suck on perfect little infant toes. If I only had one baby, I tell myself, I would never lose my temper, or yell, or say things like, "when you learn to cook your own dinner, you can start complaining about the food" to three-year-old children.

I suppose what I am saying is, I am not the person to ask when you are considering having a second child. I always knew I wanted two children. I was wholeheartedly committed to the idea of two from the beginning. But that's not why I am not the person to ask.

I am not the person to ask because there are many times when I want to grab my friends by the shoulders and shout, "Don't do it." I want to tell them that it will indeed mess everything up in all the ways they suspect. I want to warn them about never really being able to enjoy a lazy Sunday, or eat an uninterrupted meal, or have twice weekly sex again. I want to tell them about that weird shrewish voice that will come out of their mouths when their children are bickering, and how the idea of going out to a restaurant with the whole family will seem like an impossible dream.

Half the time.

The other half of the time I want to tell them to quit their hand wringing and get knocked up already. Join me in my messy, wonderful suffering. Enlarge your heart. Join the human family. Get in here and root around a little.

Mostly I don't say any of it. Mostly I shrug and say I don't know. Because, of course, I don't. If you are waiting for the right answer, forget it. There is no right answer.

I am of the best-guess-and-no-guarantees school of decision making. Go with your gut and hope it works out. That's how I approached my marriage and my career and the decision to become a parent in the first place.

And really, the big decisions are just a mixed-bag of emotions anyway— moments of despairing defeat and moments of profound and blissful joy. And in between lots and lots of moments of folding the laundry or watching crap TV or running out to the all-night Safeway to buy milk. Sometimes you are the luckiest girl in the world, and sometimes you look over and think, "This? Really?" And there's probably nothing more we can ask for.

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