Some 35,000 feet above Calipatria, I sat watching two children fold down their trays and deal each other a hand of some card game. I imagine it was War or Gin Rummy, because that's what my brother and I played for hours that felt like days, locked inside his bedroom on sunny afternoons. We didn't have much, but we always had a deck of cards - and each other.

This is where a normal blogger would insert a picture of happy childhood whimsy, but I don't have any of those. Oddly enough, I seem to have the happy and the whimsy.

It wasn't until we hit a patch of turbulence that the memory of learning how to fight (and sometimes win, when he let me) with a deck of cards was jolted back to the memories of that bedroom, that house, those parents, that life. It was long time, longer than ever before, that I was able to be perfectly happy inside the memory of my past. 

Time. Time and perspective. What wonderful healers are thy. 

I remember, when I was a little girl in our little home with little of anything, laying in bed every night saying my prayers. We didn't pray like people usually pray; we believed that a prayer was a conversaiton and that you really ought not squander the chance. We talked, to God or someone or no one, and today I know that I was really just meditating my way through a really hard life, but then all I knew was gratitude for having someone to hand everything over to every night, someone to share my story with. 

I prayed, not for what we didn't have, but for all that we did. I was so thankful for a roof, for walls, for heat coming out of the vents and what very little food was in the cupboards, on the days there was any. It's funny how, when you have nothing, everylittlething seems so wondrous, such a gift. 

And it was. It still is. 

All of this, even the hard parts, are full of wonder. And I, for one, living all of them happy.

I had to remember that happiness isn't something I am ever going to have, it's something I have to do as often as I can. I'm trying to do more of it. Happy feels good

I'm Speaking at BlogHer '11!Tomorrow, I'll be speaking at BlogHer11 with Gretchen Rubin, with Brené Brown, and with Shauna James Ahern about acceptance - of our whole selves. 

Of being happy because of, not in spite of, who we are. 

I am card games on cold, wood floors under windows without curtains, in the quiet space between what had happened and what was coming next. I am Eddie's little sister, and I am still learning.


Bringing Mediocre Back

Yeah, so, hi. This is awkward.

You know that point in your marriage where you just totally stop caring about having sex with each other and the only time you even think about it is when one of you ovulates because not even apathy is more potent than pheromones and after all, we are but mammals?

No, you don't know that point? Well fuck you, too. Anyway, my blog and I are there, except right now someone's ovulating, so here I am - poking around in this mofo.

I have like 15 posts in draft but they all are totally disjointed and annoyingly boring and most of them start off with I MISS MY KIDS SO BAD and end with WAIT, I DON'T MISS THEM ALL THAT MUCH, ACTUALLY because I spent most of February in California doing the coolest work I've ever done in my entire life. Problem was, I was there on a freelance contract which everyone knows is the dirty little cocktease of employment and now my normal life has resumed in normal Texas where my normal family is who won't let me have Tres Leches or Lemon Squares for lunch because they are mean people.


I would like to find whomever it was that taught them about balanced diets and the importance of nutrients and throttle that person until they are dead. Oh, wait.

So I kind of just gave up trying to blog because Shannon's professional and personal lives both kind of exploded but then Mr Lady was all like, "oh no you di-in't" and grabbed some Vaseline to slide her rings off and just like that, my blog world came out swinging, too.

I filmed my first Momversation video this week. It was way harder than I thought it would be, so be nice to me when it comes out because no one is good their first time so shut up. Oh, and I was invited to join Momversation. I kind of forgot to mention that before now. See? I have a bio and everything.

I also had to film an interview with the despicably adorable Andrea Roxas, Editorial Assistant at Babble. They're doing a monthly Q&A with all the 50 moms they chose to spotlight in 2010, and in the coming months, they'll be releasing interviews with a bunch of us, in which I may or may not come across as a total douchebag with an asymmetrical face.

Really, this is why I chose fake print as my medium.

She Posts ran an article the other day saying that Story Bleed has opened submissions which is awesome news except we hadn't actually opened submissions yet but their wish is our command and so submissions are open even though I am totally not ready for that and though I am not a webmaster, I play one on  the internet and so I have a LOT of work to do in a very little window of time to get Story Bleed ready for all your awesome posts. Meanwhile, go here to submit. We're really excited to be back.

And lastly, but not leastly, BusyDad talked me into co-hosting a cooking show with him for The Motherhood as part of their Cooking Connections series, sponsored by Con Agra.

Jim and I are the last class in the series, and the first presented in a live video feed. We think this is because they just don't know us at all. I mean, the class hasn't even started yet and we've already made reference to our balls.

Our class was supposed to be Cooking With Dads but we think it's kind of silly to imply that most dads can't cook or that those who can't ever will, so we're just doing a Cook A Nice Meal For Your Significant Other Even Though You Think Deglaze Is Something Demi Moore Did With a Clay Pot In Ghost And Christ, If That Woman Isn't Dreadfully Hot All The Time, Yo?

We'll be live cooking from our live kitchens with our live kids and live dogs and live potty mouths and our 10 live super sexy co-hosts, who will be backing us up via chat at The Motherhood.

Angry Julie | Angry Julie Monday | @angryjulie
Mishelle Lane | Secret Agent Mama | @secretagentmama
Ashley Evans | Schadenfreudette | @schadenfreudett
Tanis Miller | Attack of the Redneck Mommy | @redneckmommy
Dan Deguia | | @deguia
Lotus Carroll | Sarcastic Mom | @SarcasticMomLC
Melanie Sheridan | Mel, a Dramatic Mommy | @ADramaticMommy
PJ Mullen | Real Men Drive Minivans | @pjmullen
MomoFali | Momo Fali | @momofali
Robin Sue Joss | Big Red Kitchen | @bigredkitchen
Eddie Carroll | Life One Pixel at a Time | @middletonrare

And to save you, and ourselves, from us for an entire live hour, we decided to open up the gates of Thunderdome and pit you all against each other. See, we'll need a potty break and a drink break and a "Mom, the dog just ate a poopy diaper" break so we need some commercials. Except we want you to make them. Because you're funny, that's why.

All you have to do is film a 60 (max) second commercial about anything (that is PG-13 and won't make the sponsor mad), upload it to Vimeo and leave the url for the video in the comments, or in my email box, or Jim's.

We'll air as many as we can in the hour and let the audience choose their favorites. The top three videos will get a gift basket of awesome from The Motherhood and ConAgra. Cheating is totally encouraged.

And with that, I have blogged more today than I did so far in all of 2011, so I'm going to go have a cigarette, then roll over and fall asleep.

Ruby Ruby Ruby Soho

One of the things no one bothered to tell me when I became a mother is that I wouldn’t be able to drive anymore.

I don’t mean drive, I mean really drive. Before I had children, my goal was to see the whole of America from the windshield of a car. When I first got my license, I’d go to the grocery store at night and dream of getting on I-95 and just going; going deep into the belly of black unknown West and not stopping until the earth below my tires did.

I dreamed of running, of never looking back, of having nothing more in my head than wind and sunshine. I dreamed of going to the places people didn't go and taking pictures of the things people tried to forget. But once you have kids, you don’t get to run anymore. You don't get to find what's been forgotten. Or, more accurately, you stop wanting to.

But before I had kids, even though I never did anything before I had kids....I never had a career and never went to a tropical island and never had a honeymoon and hardly managed to ever have a boyfriend, I got to drive. And that I did. I drove for stupid reasons; because I wanted a cheesesteak real bad, because I thought I could salvage a “relationship” that so belongs in quotation marks, I can’t even tell you, because my friend asked me to drop her off at her dorm in the middle of Nowhere, Idaho, because I wanted to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing over the thump-thump-thump of The Offspring, because I’d never been to Graceland, because I had to go crabbing in the Chesapeake one last time.

That's everywhere I've been by car. View If By Sedan in a larger map

I quit jobs to drive. I ended relationships to drive. I broke entire cars to drive. I violated so many laws to drive, I...well, I plead the 5th.

And then I had three kids and quit mostly everything for that.

Well, I did attempt a Denver to Durango trip with the boys when they were 2 and 4, and let’s just say that the 5 1/2 hour drive turned into 9 hours, and I turned into a shrew. Shrew would be a very generous word.

Four years ago, I packed an 8 year old, a 6 year old and a one year old into my 1997 Subaru Wagon and we drove the 23 hours from Denver to Vancouver to visit baby daddy for Father’s Day. We are back together now partly because he’s hot but mostly because there was no way in hell I was ever getting back in that car again. I still have nightmares.

And then, a few weeks ago, Chevy invited me and mine to borrow a car and drive to Dallas to visit Great Wolf Lodge. We haven’t seen any of Texas beyond Taco Bell (do you know how hard it is to find a Taco Bell in Canada?) (Do you know how much we’re making up for that fact now?) so we took them up on their offer and went.

Dude. The Road. That sweet call. It’s back.


Maybe it’s back because cars have changed in the past thirteen years and your kids can pretty much forget you exist in the back of one now, or maybe it’s just back because, as these things go, I’m starting to remember who I was before I had kids. Maybe I'm ready to start running into my life, not from it, wherever it is that's going to take me. I think I'm starting to become less Their Mom and more My Own Person again.

This is equally as exciting as it is depressing as all shit.

The whole recap of the GM trip to Great Wolf Lodge is on my Blog De' Revue.

Karmic Retribution Often Comes With a Cherry On Top

You know what happens when you decide to be that asshole American who's all, "If you people elect Bush again, I'm so totally moving to Canada", and then you DO IT? Karma sees fit to deport your ass straight to his backyard, that's what.

But if you've been really good at some point in your life, even if you can't exact think of one single thing that would qualify you for karmic goodness, but it has to be there because karma decides to dish you out some goodness, you can at least get deported straight back to the backyard of the president you never had very kind words for which also happens to be occupied by all of the bloggers.

Or at least the comments on the last post tell me so. So for all of you who left nice words; thank you. For all of you in HOUSTON who left nice words; thank you, and I'm sorry I didn't respond to every one of you like I meant to, but I just plain suck right now.

Also, I'm taking your asses up on it.

December 4th, downtown Houston, you, me and happy hour. Details are here. Be there or be somewhere else entirely.

But really, please just be there.

***Completely unrelated***

When I was 11 or 12, I sat in my bathroom sink one night with a roll of scotch tape and a bottle of Elmer's glue and I tried, so hard, to find a way to make that tape sticky enough to put on my nose and yank out all of that crap clogging my little bitty pores.

I could be a kagabazillionaire right now, but then I'd be knee deep in the business of other people's snow-capped miniature paper-mache forests, and not wasting everyone's time changing the world as a blogger.

So I became a blogger. And met a guy named Jim. And we talked about opening a kids martial arts/UFC style studio, because he likes it and my kids like it and my husband likes it, but then we remember that someone had done that, too, and it didn't end so well for the asian guy.

And then we had the epic idea to start a line of kids cooking utensils, because yeah, someone really should do that, except someone already did do that, but our kids did start a kids review blog and no kid has ever done that before and the people who made the kids cooking stuff gave them some to test and the resulting carnage is right here.

First Impressions

The day before I left Canada, I went into my Safeway, just to say goodbye. There were hugs and tears and well-wishes. Man, I love those girls at my Safeway.

Now that I think about it, many of my most meaningful relationships have been forged in grocery store check-out lanes. It's where I spend most of my time. I do what I have to.

So tonight I had to run into the grocery store by the hotel, which is either spelled HEB or H-E-B or H.E.B., I'm not totally sure, but they make the best cannoli I've eaten outside of Brooklyn, and I don't know any of these people yet. I don't know what check-out lane Audrey works in on Sunday night, or which day Dallas works the customer service counter, so I don't yet know which lane to use for which trip to the store.

I hop into the express lane with my four items and get to the check-out and hand over my purchases to the guy, because they were all guys, and what the hell are the odds of having only men checkers at the grocery store the exact night I am buying only one wine key, Tampax, Kotex and a box of Apple Jacks?

This is how it goes in my world. All the time.

So I say to the guy, "Sorry for making you touch all that stuff, dude" and he says, "Oh, it's okay, but I have to admit...the wine key is kind of throwing me here." And I turn all sorts of red and nervously cackle a little and don't at all make eye contact with the guy again when I shell out my $13.48, which is actually a pretty good price for 20 tampons, 30 pads, a kitchen tool, some sugar coated food coloring and a single serving slice of utter humiliation.

I grab my bag and mumble a rushed "thank you" in his general direction and get about 2.58 steps away when I realize that I am physically incapable of leaving it like that, so I stop, look back over my shoulder, and with an over-exaggerated wink say, "And just so you know, it's the Apple Jacks you ought to have been worried about."

And I'll never, ever go into that store ever again.