Your Help Requested: Burning Questions

Mar 30 2016

Some people’s kids ask them for glasses of water at night. Or to read one more book. Or to have an extra snack. Or they mention they’re scared or hot or cold or itchy or wet or sick or not tired at all and why do I have to go to bed right now and nobody in the WHOLE WORLD makes their kids go to bed as early as you do, Mom.

I’ve heard.

Our kids tried all those things which never worked because we were always consistent. By which I mean, they always worked and we were never consistent except at saying, OhMyGoshGoToBED and IWillGiveYouANYTHINGIfYouWillJustSLEEP.

Still, even though our kids had effective Stay Up Past Bedtime methods, they like to invent new ones from time to time. To keep us on our toes, I suppose. Or steeped in misery. Or to punish us for that lack of consistency.

Their latest method? I’m calling it: Ask All the Questions.

Yep. That’s what bedtime is these days. Telling them 45 times to brush their teeth. Reminding them to both pee and flush the toilet. Hollering at them that this is Bedtime, not TackleYourBrotherInTheHallwayTilHeCries-time. And threatening them with the dreaded Early Bedtime should they not heed my words.

We tuck them in bed.

We breathe the sigh of relief like we haven’t yet learned that it’s not over.

And then the Questions begin.

“Hey, Mom?”

“What?” ( <– This is where I always go wrong.)

“Why do people wear spandex?”

“Seriously? This is not the time. Go to bed.”

Ten seconds later…

“Hey, Mom?”


“How much are people paid in China?”

“Child! Go to bed.”

Twelve seconds later…

“Hey, Mom?”


“Can I tell you the plan I have for our yard? We’ll need a lot of temporary fencing, some chicken wire, some plastic bags, a goat and a pair of scissors.”

“Oh geez. Go to bed.”

Twenty seconds later…

“Hey, Mom? … Mom. … Moooommmm!”


“I am! I just need to know; why do we have drink coasters?”

Guys. Seriously. These are actual questions I was asked just last night. And here’s my problem — it’s not the failure that is bedtime; it’s not the lack of consistency; it’s not that this takes forever and will never improve because we don’t have the chutzpah to crack the whip — it’s that I have promised them answers to these questions.

Yep — I have unwisely promised answers to questions. “In the morning,” I say. “STOP TALKING,” I say. And “GO. TO. BED!” And when they reply, “But Mom! I need to know,” I promise them answers. Answers I do not have.

So I’m just putting that out there. In case you have answers looking for a home, I will take them off your hands.

Here are some of the things we need to know. Again, just from last night. I’ll have a whole new list in the morning, which is why I need your help. STAT.

  1. “Why do people wear spandex?”
  2. “Is head lice the only kind of lice there is or is there also kinds of lice like foot lice and butt lice?”
  3. “Has Stephen Hawking ever been to space? And if not, because of his wheelchair, that is mean, and they should let him go to space, and how can we help make him go there?”
  4. “Is it bad for boy penises to get fiery and hot and red?”
  5. “How come you never buy us marmalade?”
  6. “What’s the difference between suspended and expelled?”
  7. “How come you always say mean things like, ‘Keep your hands to yourself?'”

Answers welcome.



Egg Hunting: Hunger Games Style

Mar 26 2016

Listen. I am not here to tell you there’s a right way to do things and a wrong way to do things. I’m just saying that if your Easter egg hunts don’t involve roofs, duct tape, twine, someone with an engineering degree and a mean streak, children and adults sustaining minor injuries, and at least one person crying, you’re probably screwing up Easter, and Jesus won’t be able to rise from the dead this year, and, therefore, all of humankind will, theologically speaking, be doomed to eternity in the fiery pits of hell without our Risen Savior.

So… you know. Your choice.

In case you, like the Woolseys, who have seriously questionable judgement, want to have a Hunger Games Easter egg hunt, here’s how it’s done.

Step 1: Have the kids stuff a truly ridiculous number of eggs with an insane amount of sugar.


Step 2: Hide the eggs in impossible places for maximum frustration…IMG_9248

… disregarding potential injuries, of course.IMG_9249

Do be sure to consider an egg cornucopia.


There will be blood when they discover this pile in the middle of the lawn, but I think we can all agree some things are worth losing body fluids for.

Step 3: Corral the children like cattle.


Step 4: And let ’em loose!


NOTE: some children will get trampled. ^^^ This is OK. Simply emphasize with the trodden child that the ground is an EXCELLENT perspective for finding well-hidden ground eggs. If you’ve done the prep work to foster the kind of cut-throat, to-the-death competitive streak necessary for Hunger Games egg hunting, this will work swimmingly and this won’t even be the child who cries. You can pat yourself on the back for a parenting job well done.

If you do it right, your children will have climbed fences, roofs, trees and each other.


There will be scrapes and bruises and a few parts of the yard that will never recover.

And, in the end, Jesus will rise from the dead and ascend into Heaven after a lifetime of showing us how to love God and love each other, and the Church will spend the next two millennia arguing over substitutionary atonement theory. It’s going to be rad, I tell you. RAD.

Good luck, friends! Wishing you all the very best,





P.S. When your kids are done with the Hunger Games, and if you have questionable morals, you might want to have a grown-up hunt, as well; except instead of Easter eggs, you can hunt for teeny-tiny liquor bottles. Just an idea.

P.P.S. If you do that, though, some of the less mature grown-ups will try to cheat and see where the “grown-up eggs” are being hidden. IMG_9243


P.P.P.S. Also, when the teenagers are in charge of hiding the grown-up eggs, you may end up scrambling up the roof for the baby vodka bottle duct taped to the highest pinnacle and then being terribly disappointed when your way more athletic cousin beats you to the prize and then mocks you for it. The jerk.

IMG_9241 (2)

Don’t ask me how I know, though, ’cause I’ll never tell.

P.P.P.P.S. This is me with my mama. She’s wearing her brand new Easter bonnet.


😀 ^^^That lady cracks me up.^^^

P.P.P.P.P.S. Happy Easter!

The Real Problem with Parenting. Also with Marriage. Also with Being Ourselves.

Mar 25 2016

The real problem with parenting, I’ve discovered, is that we have to do it every day. And the real problem with parents is that we’re made out of human. Also, kids. They’re made out of human, too, which, let’s be honest, doesn’t always go well.

Same goes for marriage. Every damn day, folks! That’s how often we’re expected to play this gig. And married people? Made out of human, too.

Also? ME. The problem with being myself is I never get a break. Not ever. In my whole, entire life, I’ve never had a day away from me to rest and recover and get a snack. A snack. Come on, Universe; a snack doesn’t feel like too much to ask. A 30 minute break, maybe, for a giant bag of consequence-free Doritos or a barrel of chemically-laden chocolate Ho-Hos. Instead, it turns out I have to be me all the time — no loopholes, no time off — which hardly seems fair given how I treat me some of the time.

Honest to God, I feel like someone should’ve thought this whole thing through a little more thoroughly before implementing the plan. Like maybe we didn’t have our best strategic thinkers on this. Or the project engineers used my high school and college work ethic, procrastinated like hell, pulled a last minute all-nighter, and turned in a half-assed, ill-considered product hoping the professor wouldn’t notice. Hey, Project Engineers — WE NOTICED. I mean, you have some serious potential here with the whole “human component” of your plan — there is magic there, for sure, and there’s genius and mystery and surprise and discovery — but there are some kinks, folks. Some messiness and murkiness and muddling and muck. Which we can deal with — we can — and even turn the mess into magic, conjurers of hope and harbingers of healing that we are. It’s the every damn day part that messes us up.

For example, I am spectacularly annoyed with my 16 year old man-child right now. You know why? BECAUSE HE IS SPECTACULARLY ANNOYING and just told me to chill — “Chill, Mom. Just chill, ok?” — and his said it in his “Geez, Mom” voice and added a precious “Whatever” and a darling eye roll even though I only said, in the most endearing way, that he should seriously get up off his lazy butt, right the hell NOW, because I am tired of asking him to do the chores he was supposed to do yesterday, or else he is going to lose ALL the privileges in the WHOLE world for the REST of his life which is going to be VERY SHORT if I, his loving and increasingly homicidal mother, have anything to say about it. 

And I honestly — honestly — feel like I would be very, extremely patient and kind if I did not have to parent him every day. Ev-er-y DAY. Like, I bet if I just had to parent him on Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons, I would ROCK it, you know? Rock it to the MOON.

In conclusion, I am considering starting a Change.Org petition so we can have more regular breaks from a) parenting, b) marriage, c) ourselves and d) being made out of human. Also, we’ll include snacks. I think it’ll be a hit. Who’s in?



Happy Something: A Guest Post by Molly Brumfield

Mar 17 2016

This is a guest post from my friend Molly who attended the most recent Magic in the Mess Writing Retreat. I’m super excited to introduce you to Molly today and to feature this piece, which I SO understand, titled “Happy Something!” Enjoy, friends.


(Psst… the next writing retreat is in June, and there’s only a couple spots left! And there’s also a spiritual formation retreat in June. I’d love to have you come join me!)


Happy Something!
by Molly Brumfield

I don’t send Christmas cards. I don’t mail out a whimsical custom-printed collage of family photos each December, the six of us dressed in effortlessly curated and pin-worthy outfits, along with a cheerful holiday message and best wishes for the new year. I don’t write a letter on holiday themed paper updating loved ones near and far on our shining shimmering children and the recent highlights and brag-worthy happenings in our life. I don’t even send out a Dollar Store greeting card signed simply with our names.  

But if I did send Christmas cards, here’s what mine would say. And, obviously, I wouldn’t actually get around to writing it until well into March.

Merry Christmas Happy New Year’s Valentine’s St. Patrick’s Day!

As another year ends begins, I am reflecting on the last twelve fourteen and a half months filled with much joy and many blessings some super fun memories and also tons of stuff I can’t really remember, plus a lot of days that we just had to get through. Get. Through. Like countdown-til-bedtime-starting-at-10am kind of get through. So probably the primary (yes, of the many) blessings during the last year was that we did, in fact, get through. Alive and mostly well.

We were under the weather a few times deepened our friendships with the front desk staff and weekend care providers at Vancouver Clinic’s urgent care, and began what’s bound to be a beautiful relationship with Legacy’s emergency room personnel. They are both quite a bit more expensive than the rest of you, our other dear friends, but you all don’t have to take care of our bouts of strep throat and pink eye, fevers for days on end, pesky impetigo (or “Uncle Tigo” as Hannah began to refer to it on round two out of three), stomach viruses, influenza A, shattered thumb (hammering in the dark. I’m not making this up.), epididymis complications (you’re right – you don’t want to google it), and clean-ups after a metal s-hook to the ocular. It is important to note here that despite my wishes for a day in bed – just one – not a single one of these afflictions were mine. There was no free pass to nap, watch Friends on Netflix, and eat all meals alone in my room.

In the summer we spent a long weekend at Cannon Beach. The weather was beautiful. The weather was beautiful for the Oregon coast, and our northwest-grown kids legitimately swam in the ocean while most beach-goers had their sweatpants on and hoods cinched tightly around their faces. Hypothermia was probably a possibility, but I think nobody called CPS because our four appeared happy and well-fed. If memory serves me, the kids ate only the following during our beach trip: pizza, corn dogs with fries, ice cream, pizza again, candy, milkshakes, hot chocolate, sandy hot dogs, and s’mores. Yancey and I adhered strictly to the same diet, plus coffee and chai twice (or thrice) daily.

The kids are growing and changing so quickly! want snacks the entire live-long day and we continue to have to buy bigger clothes, so I assume they are growing. Claire is eight, Logan is seven, Hannah is four, and Campbell is two. Claire and Logan go to the neighborhood school my brothers and I attended, and are thriving academically and socially love their teachers and friends and school in general, except for the days they fake sick and beg to stay home. Hannah is in pre-kindergarten at a school with a fantastic outdoor classroom. I love that she gets so much opportunity to be outside do a lot of laundry. Campbell is a character! clearly the fourth of four. His penis jokes are encouraged by all siblings, and he mastered the art of unsupervised step stool-moving and –climbing to reach anything his little heart desires many, many months ago.

Yancey has continued to enjoy his work need regular chiropractic adjustments to counteract the hours and hours he spends driving to see his customers each week day. As a token of appreciation for a sales job well-done the last couple of years, his company has given him two meaningful, generous, and tasteful gifts a very large, gaudy sapphire ring and a “Heavy Hitters Club” wooden baseball bat we can hang on our wall to commemorate the reaching of a sales goal. Both are ridiculous. Kind gestures of recognition, sure, but utterly useless. The ring cannot be pawned or made into some kind of jewelry for me because his company will ask for it back each year they add more bling to it. Obviously it could be worn, but if Yancey were the kind of man who would wear it, we would probably definitely not be married.

I am blessed to be staying at home with our kids during this precious time in their lives thankful for my role as a stay at home mom and also kind of confused about what it means for me. I miss being a teacher, but, at the same time, I can’t imagine what life would look like right now if I were teaching. In the summer there are days I’m jealous that I’m not the one leaving the house by myself to work with other grown-ups all day long. As real as that feeling is, it is overshadowed by the sweet, albeit sometimes fleeting, mommy-child moments that bring me real joy. But then it’s under-shadowed by the deep yearning to stop doing dishes 19 times every single day and to break my streak of eight and a half years of changing diapers. During the past school year, I made some extra money for the family got out of bedtime duty by tutoring two evenings each week. This school year I’m doing some writing instead. Not so lucrative, but I get to wear slippers and don’t have to talk to anyone.

It has been an amazing a messy and laughter-filled year. Frighteningly fast at times, blissfully slow at others, with the steady hum of growth and change and trial and error throughout. There have been more tickle-fights than doors slammed, more stories read than tearful goodnights, more prayers said than days spent believing we can go it alone. The apologies have at least matched the offenses. Even though there are times that I stand back and look at my life and think it’s a little bit of a wreck in a mountain of ways, all I truly hope for this year is the gift to continue to live it with those I love.  

Merry Christmas with love! May the luck of the Irish be with you and yours in what’s left of 2016!


brumfieldMolly Brumfield writes and wrangles kids in the glorious pacific northwest
where she is a lover of sunshine and books,
food, family and faith,
teaching and the art of procrastination.
She writes and writes and writes, and is beginning to share and share and share.

A Prayer for Mr. Trump, the Rage-Maker Whom We Do Not Like Very Much, and Also for Us, Who Could Use a Little Wisdom and Some Kindness and the Reminder That Hope, Who’s Been Hiding, Is Not Gone

Mar 15 2016

Dear Jesus and God and the Holy Spirit… or Howard which is what Anne Lamott calls You… or The Aunties which is what we call You when we need to remember You are Wise and Smart and Savvy and Strong, and that You laugh uproariously and shriek when You skinny dip, and sneak us tiny tastes of bourbon by the fire which is Love Made Flesh exactly and reminds us that You wear Many Guises and are known by Many Names,

We could use a Little Help.

Dear Jesus and God and the Holy Ghost, who we thought was a Real Ghost of the Haunting Variety when we were children which Freaked Us Out but now that we are Grown and Mature and Mostly Over It,

We humbly come to You in Prayer and also in Wish-Making because, Oh Dear God, we do so need Your help, please.

It’s just that Mr. Trump is running for President… of, you know, the United States… which is a Very Big Deal in the world these days because we have things like Nuclear Weapons and Google and Amazon and very, very Large Servings of Fries, and Other Prolific, Dangerous Things which shouldn’t be entrusted to Just Anybody, and we are Worried. To be perfectly honest, Mr. Trump Freaks Us the Hell Out more than Your Holy Ghostliness ever did, though we hope that doesn’t offend You because You tried very hard and were very haunty and scary, we swear.

Mr. Trump is running for President which makes us feel Jittery and Confused and Bewildered and Afraid because he makes Wild Promises he’s unlikely to keep, and beckons large crowds with Malice and Spite and Effective Right Hooks, and drives wedges in fragile fissures in what makes America great when she’s at her best — namely Freedom and Equality and the Right for Every Person to Pursue Justice and Hope — and we thought we ought to bring All That to Your attention in case You’d like to Magically Fix It for us, which we would Ever So Appreciate, and we promise we would never, ever, ever ask You for anything ever again, we swear, except for when we’re stuck in traffic and late for a job interview or have a kid who’s about to barf in which case we hope You’ll understand our change of heart.

It’s just, Jesus, we are Very Impatient and we Do Not Like Waiting for Things, and the latest turn of events around here has us feeling a little Shaken, and also Rattled, and, also-also, Uncomfortable — like, seriously — and we are Americans so we don’t like Any of Those Things and we’d like You to take them all away. Immediately, please, is the timeline we prefer.

Of course, we realize praying to You about this runs a certain risk because Your M.O. is less Wave the Magic Jesus Wand and more Do the Slow Work of Change in People’s Hearts so we’d like to specifically point out that we’re looking for the Wand Solution here, or, if You Absolutely Must, You may do a Quick and Swift Work in the Hearts of the Other People who are on Mr. Trump’s side and therefore Not Ours and therefore-therefore are Wrong and Mean-Hearted and Vicious and Unpleasant and Nasty whereas we are Right and Charitable and Kind and Compassionate which we are very certain is true because they are Big Bullies nevermind all the laughing we do about Mr. Trump’s hands.

Don’t, in other words, change Our Hearts. Just Theirs, please. That will be Very Good, and That is All.

Thank You and Amen.


Except we also pray for Mr. Trump because we’re supposed to pray for All the People and All the Things and All the Situations, and so, fine, we pray for Mr. Trump, too. Reluctantly, yes, but let’s count it anyway. We’ll work on “With Cheerful Hearts” later; we cross our hearts and hope to die and stick the needles in our eyes. OK? OK.

The End.



No? Not yet?

There’s restless wriggling in our hearts that tells us we’re not quite done.

So, fine again. We pray for Mr. Trump.

We pray for Mr. Trump in earnest this time because, against all evidence, we believe You when You said You made us all in Your Very Own Image and that we are meant to be Light Bearers and Love Bringers, even Mr. Trump, though we wonder just a little if maybe You Forgot about that Divine Image thing in him and also in Some Others We Could Name now and throughout history but won’t because we have the Fruit of the Spirit called Self Control.

We pray for Mr. Trump anyway.

We pray for Mr. Trump.

Now, yes; Mr. Trump proposed we ban our Muslim neighbors and also the Mexican ones and also-also says Unkind Things about Women and the Disabled and Prisoners of War, and yes, each of those Unkind Things is reprehensible and we are Against Them because we are Unrealistic Bleeding Hearts who’ve shared on our Facebook walls that we’d rather build Longer Tables than Higher Walls, but we pray for Mr. Trump.

And, yes, You told us to feed the Hungry and Welcome the Stranger and Clothe the Naked and Love our Neighbors as ourselves, and Mr. Trump runs counter to those things, and so we will Oppose Him Politically, but still, we pray for Mr. Trump.

We do.

OK, yes; Mr. Trump stokes Violence and Hatred and Exclusion and Unrest, and he’s OK bombing families with the Grandmas and the Widows and Young Men and the Smart Women Who Want to Go to School But Never Had the Chance and the Small Baby Children whose flesh will be torn apart before they’ve been allowed to Live and Love and Learn and Choose, and we will stand against that rhetoric and for Peace and Love and Inclusion and Places for the Weary to Lay Their Heads in Safety and Solace and Sanctuary, and still, we pray for Mr. Trump.

We pray for Mr. Trump. For a Change to His Heart because he needs it. And for Changes to Ours because we do, too, though it Pains us to Admit It.

We pray for Mr. Trump, although we sigh a little while we do it. And we pray for us because we have let Rage and Fear rule our hearts, too. Mr. Trump’s rage-making hasn’t just worked on his admirers and followers, after all; Mr. Trump has set the Fire of Rage burning in each of us so we are Aghast and Agog that he is leading in some polls, and we court the Despairing Idea that Our World is Irreparable, which is Untrue.

Our world can be helped, and, in fact, we are called to be its Helpers, and so we pray, in good Star Trek fashion, that You will Make It So.

And although we are Angry at the way our neighbors are treated, we pray for the kind of anger that champions them and drives us all toward Justice, Compassion, Kindness and Mercy. Make It So.

We confess that our fear and our forelornness at the State of American Politics — and our Dramatic Spiraling into the Hopeless Abyss with the backs of our hands on our foreheads and the occasional “Woe is Me” and “All is Lost” uttered from our lips — Isn’t Helpful and Doesn’t Improve Matters, and we pray that You will help us find the Path Forward to Heal Our Communities. Make It So.

Help us remember that raging against Trump isn’t action and that we must do Real Things for Real People if we want our World to Be Better. Make It So.

But also let us remember that Real Things are made up of Slews of Small Things and Tons of Tiny Things and Rarely Large Things, though occasionally those, too, so that we pursue all the Measures of Grace and Goodness instead of Just the Big Ones. Make It So.

Remind us to smile at children and at dogs, even the slobbery ones. Make It So.

And help us wave to the Strangers on the streets and say hello and wish good things upon them. Even the one that might be on drugs. And the guy who fumes about the kids on his lawn. And the lady who said the Mean Thing about our son. Especially them. Help us wave especially to them. Make It So.

Help us to be Kinder and Gentler with All the People, even ourselves who we seldom think deserve it. Make It So.

And especially help us Forgive ourselves and Be Charitable and Gracious when we forget All of These Things which we prayed So Fervently and meant So Wholeheartedly 17 minutes from now even though we are Very Well-Intentioned always unlike that guy who cut us off in traffic today, the scumbag. Make It So.

Amen. And Make It So.



In Conclusion, I’m Moving to Tahiti

Mar 13 2016

I have one child hissing right now because she’s been asked to give someone else a computer turn this afternoon, two hollering up and down the stairs because — STOP EVERYTHING — the TV remote is MISSING (!), and one who’s stuck on the toilet waiting for her sibling to bring her toilet paper which I’m pretty sure he forgot because he’s at my shoulder railing against the injustice of living in a household that’s out of his favorite cereal. It’s full on melt-down in these parts, and I should be helping everyone calm the heck down (by yelling, “GOOD LORD! CALM. DOWN. Geez.“), except I’m too busy having this conversation with yet another child:

“Do I have to take a shower?” asked the kid who just had his hair cut.


“I DO? But WHY?”

“So you don’t itch and scratch and get teeny tiny hairs all over this house and make all the rest of us itch, too.”

“Do I have to take a shower, though? Why can’t I just wash my head in the sink?”

“You have little itch-giving hairs all over your body, kid. Go shower.”

“Well, two times ago when I got a hair cut, you let me wash my head in the sink.”

“No, I didn’t.”

“Yes. You did.”





“You may THINK I let you wash your head in the sink, but I can assure you, I didn’t. I would not do that because that doesn’t work. Your imagination may be telling you I did, but read my lips. I. Did. Not.”

“Yes, you DID. And kids have better memories than grown-ups because grown-ups’ minds are packed with a bunch of stuff. Seriously, Mom. SERIOUSLY. Can I just get a wet towel and rub it on my head?”

“No. You can’t. You know what you can do? Shower! Now.”

“You said it yourself that kids have better memories than grown-ups, Mom. You did let me wash my head in the sink.”

“I did say kids have better memories than grown-ups, but I did NOT say a better memory means you don’t have to take a shower. So HA!”

“MOM. Pleeease.”

“Why does it matter so much to you?”

“Because it will be faster.”

“Oh. My. Gosh. If you had gotten in the shower at the beginning of this conversation, YOU WOULD BE DONE BY NOW, CHILD. Go. Take. A. Shower.”

“I know how to make you pass out.”


“I know how to make you pass out, Mom. Pressure points, you know. I saw it on a show.”

“Go take a shower.” And then, in low, possessed, dragon voice, “Goooo. Take. A. Showwwwwer. Right. Nowwww.”

He took a shower. I think the red laser beams coming out my eyes and the way my head rotated in a complete circle convinced him.

In conclusion, friends, I have spent the last hour researching islands we can move to, and I’ve picked Tahiti.

Upon arrival, we shall be greeted by our fellow momrades with bright smiles and laugh lines and soft, weathered skin and plumeria decorating wavy hair that falls freely down their backs.


And we will sit at the feet of the wise mamas who will hold our hands, and pat our heads, and say, “There. There.”


Our Village shall be made of lovely, rustic huts on pristine water, and we shall run to and from each other’s houses with coffee and tea and fresh squeezed juices in the morning, after we waken from peaceful nights of sleep, and we shall pass around daiquiris and gin fizzes at sunset, while we sit outside with our feet swinging off the dock and share bits of our souls.


We shall skinny dip and chunky dunk in the moonlight, and we shall recognize the deep and abiding beauty in each one of us while we laugh loudly and freely and long.

Attractions-Hotels-2We shall talk about how it feels to be underwater, and our momrades will remind us we sometimes walk on it, too, because we are messy, yes, and we drown all the time, but we’re also miraculous and magnificent and rise above, every day. Both/And, friends. Both/And.

And one day, after some sleep and some rest and some very trashy novels; after lounging and laughing and learning to breathe anew; after eating and drinking and feasting on friendship; we’ll wake up and realize we miss our other, pesky paradise, and we’ll pack our straw hats and flowing sarongs and head home.

Probably. 😉

In the meantime, friends, from my room in Oregon — the one with the chair full of laundry, and the unmade bed, and toy the dog dismantled, and the children fussing from All the Places — I bid you a lovely Tahitian holiday. If only in our minds.

Sending love and magic in the midst of the mess,






All pictures are via Tahiti Tourisme which allows photo downloads. Portrait credits: Grégoire Le Bacon. Tahitian Water Village credit: Philippe Bacchet.

To My Coma Friend

Mar 10 2016

We sat on her queen bed in her yellow room with the bay windows looking over the forested hill when we made our pact.

I was in my pajamas and she were in hers, and we neither looked nor smelled good, with our hair piled on our heads, day-old mascara adorning our faces, and early morning dragon breath about which we cared nothing at all, gleefully breathing in and out and adding to the halitosis nightmare with the coffee and cream we sipped and tried not to spill on her new flannel sheets.

It was morning on a weekend and we were roommates and good friends by that time; good enough for me to take the Big Risk and see if we might become Much More.

Not lovers.

Nope. More than that.

“You have to promise — PROMISE — to pluck my chin hairs if I’m ever in a coma,” I said. “I mean, you can wait a few days, but after that you’re going to have to sneak tweezers into the ICU and spent some quality time with my chin, OK? I need you to be… my Coma Friend.”

“Yes. Absolutely! No problem,” she said quickly. “I will do this for you, but I want something in return.”

“Anything. ANYTHING,” I replied.

And she said, “You shall SWEAR TO GOD and on your ETERNAL SALVATION that you will MAKE HASTE to my house if I’m ever in a coma and take the box of sex toys from under my bed before my mother comes over. There are things… things she should never see,” my friend finished in a whisper as I giggled, then chortled, then belly laughed.

I’m not sure if we were laughing at our frivolous demands or if we were laughing from wild relief. I suspect both. And we’ve renewed our pledge over the years, checking in here and there to be sure our pact is intact and that will not waver in our dedication to our plan.

Dearest Coma Friend,

Oh how I love you! More than a bestie. More than a sister. More than my morning cuppa, which is really saying something.

Dearest Coma Friend,

You are my FAVORITE kind of ALL the friends. Thank you for being more than a bestie and better than a friend. Thank you for being my Coma Friend.

Forever yours,


P.S. I’m not making light of comas. Cross my heart.

P.P.S. I don’t expect her to actually pluck my chin hairs when I’m in a coma, because I suspect that in a coma I won’t care.

P.P.P.S. I DO expect her to have the nurses call her, STAT, if I seem to be coming out of the coma, so she can haul ass to the hospital and wax the hell out of my chin hairs before I wake up. And then I expect her to LIE to me and tell me she’d been doing it all along. I feel like that’s what Jesus would do.

P.P.P.P.S. Do you have a Coma Friend? If so, please tell me about him/her and the pact(s) you’ve made. I feel like we should know what all of our Coma Options are. And also that if hospitals included this kind of thing in Advance Directive forms they’d be MUCH more successful at getting people to complete them. <<<Why I Should Be in Charge of All the Things