Early today I left the house while still dark, leaving behind my warm, fresh-faced little turnip, standing in her jammies with her magnificent tummy and rosy cheeks. She cried when I turned the corner. I ran out the door.

Shortly after, I nabbed a coffee at the café of a cultural arts client, only to notice I was surrounded by mommies and babies not dashing off to meetings. They had the luxury of time. The mommies ordered muffins to share. I let my heart plummet to the floor.

Joined by my coworker, we sat down. I looked around at the mommies sprinkled about the room, and looked again. They were doing the same thing to me. It was interesting.

They looked at me, tired and little bored. I looked at them, sad and not a little guilty.

Is this the mommy-conundrum?


A recent rainy morning, I felt my wheels skid out and pull me in an opposite direction. Naturally, I avoided the drivers-ed rule. I instead tried to correct the car's course and slammed on the breaks. All that kinetic energy only made things more out of control--I veered way right, way left, the car almost flipped. I somehow managed to end up going backward, fast, across 4 lanes of 70 mph traffic. Horrifying.

Thankfully, I landed in a ditch in the large median, with the nose of my car nested well into the ditch. KUNK. Blessed ditch, it stopped me. I was fine. I turned the car off and sat still. I watched huge trucks barrel past, shaking the car. Whew, what a miracle. Honestly! I still can't believe my luck, I'm so grateful.

The car was not so lucky. The front was pretty mangled. Police, Scott, firetruck... all came in 15 minutes.

I found myself at the car rental, walking around a massive minivan. My rig for the next 24 hours till the insurance-covered mid range was available. I was happy for the girth of that beauty, honestly, as I slowwwwwwwly headed into the office.

The next morning I returned to the (not at all conveniently located) rental to pick up my new car. It was late and it took forever, so I quickly signed whatever and jumped in my smaller buggy. I nearly gagged-- it smelled like about 20 urinal cakes. I literally coughed. Well, it looked clean. I figured out where the wipers were and took off; late, late, late.

10 minutes down the road it hit me: a putrid, sour odor. Rotten. I looked around the otherwise spotless inside. Holy crap. Someone barfed in this thing, they sprayed it down and passed it to me.

Dang. Windows down. Worse. Closed. Bad. Heat. Vile. I picked up a colleague for lunch who I hadn't seen for 2 years. "Someone peuked in here." He said flatly. I cleared my throat.

I had to drive approximately 2 hours in that thing, all the way home that night, and all the way back to the !@+@#*Y@ rental place the next a.m. A-gain. I was angry with the stench--on my way out of the house I grabbed my most fragrant candle, torched it up in the car and set it in the friggin cup-caddy. I kept wafting the perfume up at my nose. Fire and hot wax in a car? Probably illegal.

I wasnt so nice to Enterprise this time.

"Give her the Magnum", grumbled a guy sitting in the back without looking up.

I looked outside to see a huge, shiny, black car with tinted windows. It gleamed and sparked in the sun. Someone nervously suggested I go with a compact car if I was more comfortable--I cut him off. BRING ME TO THE MAGNUM.

And here I am. Possibly the only blond-haired woman who's ever driven this bitch. Its amazing, when I turn into parking lots, or on a crowded street, people make way. That's right. I havent turned the bass back yet. DUMMMM, DUMMMMM, DUMMM. I watched friends drive past our house slowly.


So, here I am in this new, strange chapter of my life where I've come full circle. I am living in the very spot where I grew up; now with my parents and brother in houses on either side of us. It happens to be in the prettiest spot I can possibly imagine.

Beachy views, BBQs, blond-headed tots running about, screen doors, sandy feet-- sounds Kennedy-ish, right? Thankfully, its not.

The many years living in SF & NYC I wondered what this would be like, I admit, with some trepidation. How much privacy would we have? Would there be a steady influx of obligatory get-togethers and social compromise? Other too-close-for-comfortisms? Would I feel confined? Bored?

Happily, two months later, I'm here to report it's not. It's wonderfully relaxed.

Scott was out of town last night, a Saturday, and my brother & his family invited us all over for dinner. I'd taken the opportunity to have lunch with Whitney which included a glass or two of wine; resulting in a nap when I got home. Zzzz. 6 pm came quickly and I heard my parents being greeted by my brothers kids "POP-POP!!!!" I washed my face, threw together a quicky salad and headed over. My neice was on her way over to get me in her pretty white dress.

Looks preppy, sounds preppy, but let me share you a snippet of dialog while watching the youngest (nearly 2) dine on grapes, ketchup and huge handfuls of hardly coagulated yogurt:

Me: So, you're all getting ready for B's 6th Birthday Party! Its so neat that you're going to have a water---
My Brother: [abruptly] Hey!Who wants more lumpfish? [their term for potatoes]
Me: ...
Bro: [aside to me and Dad] Holly, the water slide a surprise...Dont spill the beans. I don't want to live here in Disappointment Acres if this thing doesn't pan out.
B: I'll have more lumpfish!
Mom: ....so, anyway, I get a call from Janie from church saying there is some kind of an emergency in the garden. So I show up to find that someone had pooped in the planter.


All time low. This is my first post of the year. My dear friend just blogged her way through childbirth and I can't bring myself to update my trusty, erstwhile blog. Low.

Alas! Since my last post, I am proud to announce that I am a homeowner. I'm in! A new, for-real house! Its surreal. Freshly painted rooms, appliances that work, windows that open. And views! Its breathtaking. Every morning, I groggily roll out of bed, pad through to the bath and stare out at the water. I have to laugh. I keep waiting for someone's parents to come home and kick me out.

Took a few days off to move in which were spectacularly springy. Hardly noticed the hundreds of trips to & from our teensy rental (just 2 doors down!) & jumped at any opportunity to run downtown to pick up new hooks or cleaning supplies. I just cant believe I live in a vacation destination.

This was not an easy process for a gal like me--having grown up in an old house sharing one bathroom for the whole family sort of thing. Building something new, and moreover something custom, just goes against my ethos. What do I want? Not sure if I'd asked myself that sort of thing. Ever. Planning based on want versus need. What?

I'll be candid. The past 1.5 years of planning and decision making was not only foreign, but nearly torturous for me. I'd pull into our 4-room rental after work, nestled in the shadows of our bright, white, tall empire (by contrast, it seemed as such). I'd awake at 3 a.m. churning decisions over and over in my mind; worrying about the height, concerned about the outcome in a small, tight knit community, a house now (very) deeply grounded into what was a pretty, grassy plot of land that my grandmother purchased many, many moons ago.

But something amazing happened when we moved in. Everything seems to slip right into place. It felt as if the house had always been there, in a way. All the thousands of decisions that we made together, decisions eeked in at 7 a.m. before work, or exhaustedly decided after a long day of work-- all synchronized together. All playing part in this charming Output: Home.

I'm overjoyed.


I'm a holidork. Bundling up to go shopping, evergreens, candles, baked goodies, wrapping paper-- the works. And, of course, Christmas music. Lots of it.

In the midst of this flurry, someone has decided to buy our house! The kicker: they need to move in... now. We have one week to move out.

Now, what this really means is that my annual ritual is being unceremoniously thrown off. I have to take my freaky elfin routine on the road. This is, undoubtedly, the least festive thing that can happen. It's been making me, well, uncertain. Where will one year's worth of anticipation land me? (We do have housing. Which is a huge relief!)

To trump the anxiety, I've really kicked it up.

In our living room, we have a large heap of shiny, perfectly wrapped things, and a heap of boxes for moving. The non-stop music belting out from the XM "Holiday Classics" station. To-do lists. More POD rental logistics. Homemade sugar cookies. Stressful conversations about where the HVAC unit has to go at the new house. I baked a 10lb turkey yesterday. Movers. Twinkle lights. Its berzerk!

And poor Scott, who's cemented great friends over the past 10 years, is dutifully spending time with his bachelor buddies he's leaving behind. To come home to me with candy cane breath and rum-ball eyes. "What are we getting little Margaret this year?!"

Not surprisingly, the other day we had a spat, resulting with a door slam or two; all to the tune of "Its the most won-der-ful time of the yeeeeeeeeeeear!". I had to laugh. It's ridiculous. We need to get out of here, this limbo is nutz.


We're delerious.

Scott's found a whole new way to get on my nerves.

Scene: Scott's sitting on the couch eating soup. As there's no TV or music, or really anything in our living room, its quiet. I'm standing right in front of him.

Me: I think Doug is feeling more self-worth since we've been including him in more meetings.

Scott: [looking me square in the eye, nods importantly] Hm, feeling left out?

That's it. Its totally, completely maddening; I never realize its the reverse-reaction game until I'm halfway through repeating myself. It's a good one.
A recent, warm day we ticked one of the last items off our freakin' house staging list. Windows. We left the upstairs windows open, which meant that our fat, feisty kitty escaped. Which was bad, since the day before she's been massively sedated after biting a vet. Hard. She was still loaded, sleepy and zig-zaggy.

Hours later, we heard her wailing from a crawlspace under our deck and came to the rescue.

We've been through this drill before, so Scott knew what to do. He lifted the 15 pound mass of fur over the railing to me, her body rigid with fear. Oh no, I noticed, her feet and snowy chest were covered in tar.

I fetched some rags and supplies and returned to find her chewing tar. No, honestly. She had her feet in her mouth and she was tearing hunks of her tar-covered fur out. I looked at her furry, white mouth-- completely black-- she had tar-hunks sticking out of her mouth like jet black, oily, thick, tobacco. No doubt she was eating it.

Not good. I went to pick her up and she attacked. She was out of her mind. No trip to the vet and no way in hell she was letting me touch her tar. I called the emergency vet-- they told me to look out for her being drowsy. I googled CAT EAT TAR and the results were, unsurprisingly, terrifying. Poison! Toxic! Can't even be on their skin!

I called various groomers in the city who all had different remedies. I became hysterical, she was indeed very drowsy, even considering the important eat-tar project. Was it cuz she was still drunk or the poison?

The cat continued to eat tar for the entire day. The next morning, she was fine. But since then she is surprisingly a more mellow pet; and seems a whole lot more content. Maybe the drugs + the tar = kitty LSD. She's seen the 5th dimension now and is at peace. Interesting.


I've never owned anything before. Nothing of value, anyway. That means, I've never really had to work at selling anything. Of my own, that is.

We asked a realtor to come look at our city row home, knowing that in 4 months or so we'll be moving into our new, grown-up house (!). He did his best to choke out something about "potential", grabbed his briefcase and promptly sent a professional over to coach us along.

I came home from work, typically late, and found Scott under an overhead light, pouring over a many page document. He looked concerned. I came closer.

On dainty letterhead, a cutesy pink logo read "Just Stage It!" and in dumb, horsey font read a list. And more lists. Apparently this pro went through our house, room by room, and kindly shredded all of our possessions. Basically, she asked us to remove nearly everything of character and put in its place "show" items from Ikea and various other strip mall stores. I guess that is what sells houses, I'm told.

The best part? The race was on. The realtor impressed upon us the urgency of putting our house on the market NOW, before the holidays. [Cue: "The Heat is On" by Glen Frey, one of the worst songs ever. Ever.]

Both of us working, this was another full-time job. Scott shouldered nearly all of it. He's been covered in paint since Oct 1.

Weekends have been non-existant. Countless trips to Goodwill and the dump. It seemed to only get worse. Moving heaps of crap from one side of our skinny row home, to the other, only to explode into something else. It kept budding-- one job would sprout other jobs. Like the soap-sud episode on the Brady Bunch. Uncontrollable.

One Saturday halfway through the process, I looked at Scott who'd had a full sweat going for 4 straight hours. I checked the clock and swallowed hard. How do I tell him that in 1 hour, he had to put on a tux and go to a Walters Museum gala? He hadn't smiled much all day. And I felt pretty certain his tux was probably buried way back in our POD unit.

Waiting until the last possible minute, I reminded him, he dutifully showered and off we went. We bee-lined for the sculpture gallery where cocktails were being served, everyone standing around looking shiny and sparkly. Scott grabbed a stiff drink, adjusted his bowtie and sat down in the middle of it all. Bless his heart,we actually had a good time, even though both of us could feel our pulses in the bottoms of our feet.

We did it. The house was clutter-free. And TV-free and drawer-free.

Just Stage it! Who needs clothes for work? Not when you're staging! When you're out of the shower, throw out your towel-- you're a stager! We've become totally punchy.

And after all this, we now live in a bizarro movie set. Nothing on the counter tops except a basket of fake fruit. Fake flowers. So, whenever we need sharp knives, we have to go into our unlit cabinets and "feel around" for what we need. Smart. Right now the contents of one particular cabinet are: Tall bottle of olive oil, spatula, lighterfluid, one potato and garlic bulb.

The best part is now. Living the staging life. Whenever we leave our (almost useless) home, I have to recreate the "set". Meaning, every morning I have to re-create Act II, scene ix: Dinner Time. Placemats, cutlery, china, drinking glasses. For two. Because we live in Mayberry! All spic and span, with the cheezy botannical prints in the background and my fake flowers.

Its unnatural. Maybe I will change my name-- really embrace the whole thing. Like, when I come home, I have to put on a big wig and frilly apron. Sensible, but feminine, shoes. And pad about my fake kitchen, producing large fake turkies and pies.