Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Tree, Multiplied

At the suggestion of many, I had a canvas made. This is now hanging in my kitchen. 

I can’t see the tree from any of my windows, but this is pretty nice instead. 

It’s not exactly what I originally wanted. I don’t think I have the photos quite right yet. But I like it. And this means I can keep jumping the ditch for pictures. 

Flakes of All Kinds

Yesterday I posted this on Facebook. 

Because I thought it was funny. Other people did too. And as the poor-babies comments piled up, I thought about posting a comment saying, hey, by the way, you don’t need to buy my kids cereal. It’s not like they don’t get treats. And we’ll be at a hotel soon enough. (Yes, yes, my heart is dark and dessicated. Poor babies.)

But then I thought, no, that’s just silly. No one is going to buy my kids cereal. Because that would be ridiculous. I don’t need to say that. 

This was sitting on my desk when I got to work. 

It is difficult to overstate the magnetic power of a deprived child on a grandma. Even if it’s not said child’s actual grandma. 

“Lynda bought my kids cereal,” I said to a coworker. “I need to be careful about what I post, I guess.”

“Yeah,” he said, and paused. “Or maybe you should post more!”

It’s a thought, but I fear what would happen. Two other people thought about sending Froot Loops, and that’s just the ones who’ve confessed. 

I did enjoy my bedtime snack, though. 

What? She said those were for me!

Picture Perfect

I came home from picture day in the fall of 1981, and my mother said, “Did you comb your hair before your pictures?”

“Oh no,” I said, all first-grade innocence, “It didn’t need it!”

Mom groaned.


The pictures came back the way she predicted. If they did retakes then, she didn’t bother with them, and I’m glad. I like it all – the barrettes clipped high on my forehead and bangs coming out anyway, the crooked part, and what I thought of as my cowgirl shirt.

I remember that shirt, though if I’m being absolute honest I don’t know whether I remember it on its own or because it’s immortalized in my West Hill yearbook. Years later, my city-dwelling freshman-year roommate would tell me that she thought I’d show up to the dorm with Garth Brooks posters, dirty boots, and one of those funny country shirts. When I got done laughing, I remembered this beauty, but I kept it to myself. I’m confessing now, Annie: I did have a cowgirl shirt.

The next year, it was clear my mother hadn’t forgotten the incident.


I have no doubt that I cried as she braided my hair that morning. It’s always been thick and slightly unruly, and to achieve the slicked-back look we have here must have involved copious amounts of yanking and Dippity-Do.

That outfit I absolutely remember. Even though it was a jumper and I had to wear tights with it (looses, my brother called them, because they never stayed up), I loved it. The dark blue material was a tight corduroy, and I could run my fingers over the surface all day long. It was like having a stuffed animal, but without the social ruin.

No one knows what happened to my other braid in that picture, which just goes to show. It doesn’t matter how much you prepare and how you’ve learned your lessons from the past. There are some things you just cannot control. Best to let go.

And, for the love of all that is holy, stop trying to make everything perfect in the pictures, because the ones you will love twenty years from now are the ones that show you laughing out loud, even with the double chin.


Elias had to go to the dentist again. (This poor child and his teeth.) As a reward for bravery, he chose Wendy’s. 

There is a mom here with maybe a four-month-old and a toddler. The transition to two can be rough. 

The toddler is sweet but a toddler, and the baby keeps throwing her giraffe on the floor. I can tell she wants to disinfect it the giraffe but she is just so. blasted. tired and maybe the baby will survive the germs just this one time. 

All the love, sister. You’re doing fine. This will pass. (Then it will be something else. But this will pass.)

I wish I’d seen you in time to pay for your lunch, and I wish for you a long and concurrent naptime.