Serenaded like a Princess**

He sings "Clean clean my toilet mom please come clean my toilet mom!"
waving the bottle of toilet cleaner he'd seen on TV while I hunt for
my earring, wondering if he is confusing me with Snow White.

Our Lady of the Ceiling Crack

A few days ago I woke up to a miraculous surprise.

The wonderous Universe -- the same one that cooked a picture of the Virgin Mother on a grilled cheese sandwich and the baked the face of Mother Theresa on a sticky bun --- has painted a Georgia O'Keefe fresco on my ceiling.


Facebook in the Sky

So I admit it, instead of getting right to "writing" I spent a little while dipping my toes in the cold water of the computer, letting my fingers and eyes warm up to the screen and keyboard.

 It isn't that I don't feel like writing, its that I'm writing a funny book about grief in which hundreds of people pass through but three leave empty chairs.

So I confess (publicly before Zoe can tell you) I've spent more time at Target   and more time watching MTV than I've spent writing this week, and the new Jersey Shore hasn't even started yet.

I tell you this (finally? or did you already know?) so you can understand I give myself a few minutes to shift my attention and heart into a writing place because I'm writing about people who've jumped into the sky.

So I go through my usual sites -, then email, then Postsecret, then Facebook.

On the Facebook home page every day it suggests new friends to connect with based on mutual friends,  then also suggests it suggests a name of a friend who hasn't been too active on Facebook.

Today, it suggests I get in touch with Carol Strickland, "say hello, Write on her Wall."

Really, it was her, like she's still around on earth able to check Facebook on the iPhone that dangled from her belt every day while she sat in my classes translating lecture into sign language.

 I miss her so much still, the grief is so raw, that just seeing her pop up so nonchalantly brings tears to my eyes.

 I stare at her in the last profile picture she chose for herself, wielding some awesomely deadly weapon, inspired by her no-excuses blackbelt life and her marathon -runner momentum.

 I bet they do use Facebook in the sky, I think,  logging off the internet and getting back to my Manuscript, warmed with gratitude and laughing.

Hello, Carol*

Date Night: One Wish

Cuddling under a red blanket on the sofa with circles under his eyes,
Zack chatters multiple choice questions at me.

"If you had one wish would you wish for no burglars? Or for me? Or for
no burglars AND me?"

"All of the above," I answer, the most words I've gotten in with him
in over thirty minutes of nonstop interrogation.

Zack lifts himself up, raises his eyebrows and pats me on the head
like a proud uncle.

"Good answer. I would wish for Africa to have food and peace" he
proclaims, then leaves me alone to write while he fiddles
unsuccessfully with my Shake Weight.

Camp Mommy and the CosmoGirl Panties Project

It is the last day of summer school, and I am writing, thinking, cleaning and untangling the kids from under and over and around me (constantly). 

Yesterday I created a new writing shrine, sure that it would compel me to sit, stay, pray, edit.  ( So far, not much, at least not what I'm supposed to write.)

At 11am after dealing with emails and exams and voicemails and waffles and frog-admiring, I take the kids to Target.

Figuring summer camp would be $300 a week that I'm not spending because I'm at home with the kids, I don't feel bad indulging them in little shopping sprees like this.  

Zack gets a Pixos maker. 

I get a ShakeWeight and a candle that smells like bleach.

Zoe takes herself happily to lunch at Subway. 

Once  the kids are happily detained and I've moved around enough words to call it "writing" I start my afternoon exercise routine of putting on  high heels  and picking up of toy cars and flip flops and books and socks, intermittently twirling around to a song on Pandora.

Under the couch I find a bat, flip flops and batteries.  

From the coffee table I harvest a coffeemug and carry it to the kitchen. 

I pick up the four yellow clay Minions that Zack left for me on the kitchen counter, move them to the windowsill, then do dishes, load the dishwasher and answer three more "panicked last day of Summer School" emails.

After that I tackle the pile of art supplies and books that have accumulated since breakfast on the kitchen table. The crayons go in the trashcan, the paper goes back into the stack, and the library books go that bag in my car. 

On my way to deliver Zoe's library book to it's rightful place, Cosmo Girl! Make it Yourself! (Hearst Communications, 2007) grabs my attention. I stop in the middle of the living room (still blissfully ignored by the campers at Camp Mommy) and indulge myself in a silent guilty flip through the projects we haven't done during this summer where we have overslept and undercrafted. 

Bright pictures of Cosmo Girls making Cosmo Crafts pull me into the small book, and I read through instructions to make polka-dot makeup bag, decorated ballet flats, leave-in conditioner (1/2 cup liquid fabric softener, 1 cup water, spray bottle), fizzy bath bombs, a ribbon front halter, and boys-of-the-week panties.

That's right, boys-of-the-week panties. 

On page #18 there are instructions on how to rip up seven pairs of panties, sew them back together with satin ribbons and dangling charms, and decorate them as following: 
"Pick seven guys' names. Chose an M name for Monday (Mike), a T name for Tuesday (Tom), etc.  Write one name in silver fabric paint across the front center of each pair of panties. Let dry 2 hours."
At that, I put the book away library books, and danced back into the living room, feeling like writing again.

Tooth Fairy, Be Warned

Tooth Fairy,

Zoe woke up and was incredibly disappointed to find only $3.

And also she thinks you took the money from her July 4 tooth-loss and
gave it to her again.

Whatever you did just know that $3 " buys her nothing at Starbucks,"
and she's a bit grumpy. I told her I'd lend her $2.

You're welcome, again, but listen --(( I need to know you know I'm
serious) PLEASE stop hiding teeth in my bra. That is not a secure,
tooth fairy approved location, and it's awkward when they fall out.