IMPORTANT DISCOVERY: YOU *ARE* PREPARED! FOR ALL THE THINGS! Unless you’re actually ready for them, in which case you’re not prepared at all.

Aug 30 2016

School starts in 7 days.

We have nothing ready.

Nothing.

NO things, to be exact, unless you count the grubby, holey clothes my children already own, in which I fully intend to send them to school.

This is OK with me.

This is fine.

I’m over new school clothes and over new school shoes. Statistically, only 1 out of every 5 Woolsey children gives a poop about wearing clean, new clothes to school, and that one is already away at college and therefore theoretically capable of worrying about her own damn clothes this year. The rest of the minions? All of my efforts are lost on them. ALL OF THEM. EVERY EFFORT = LOST. They do not care, friends. And so, because I have neither the time nor the funds to artificially care on their behalf in order to meet a social standard for dressing and shodding children in overpriced gear so I can hold my head up in the mommy circles, I also do not care.

But people seem to want me to care. And to be prepared.

Are You Prepared for Back-to-School? <— I keep seeing articles with titles like this. And every time I think, “Hahahaha! NO. No, I’m not prepared. I didn’t have time to wash myself today; OF COURSE I’M NOT PREPARED FOR NEXT WEEK. What kind of a dumbass question is ARE YOU PREPARED?”

But then I started to wonder what prepared means, exactly.

Prepared.

Prepared.

Pared before.

What’s pared and why to I want to be before that?

And so, because I love words, I looked up the etymology of prepare. The history. The original meaning. And you know what I learned, guys? THIS IS SO GREAT. For reals. SO, SO great…

Ready?…

IMG_1430Prepared is derived from two Latin words: prae which means before and parare which means make ready.

Literally, the word prepare means before making ready.

Guys! Guys. Guys. To be prepared does not mean we are making ready. It means we are before making ready.

If we are prepared — if we are preparing — we are prior to making ready. We not yet making ready. We are not arrived at making ready.

Which means I AM SO PREPARED, y’all.

Next time people ask me, “Are you prepared for school to start?” I can say, “YES! I TOTALLY AM!” I am COMPLETELY before making ready. No school supplies in sight. No schedules or lists. No carpool arrangements. No clothes. No shoes. NOTHING. Nada. Zilch. Zippo. I AM COMPLETELY PREPARED.

THIS IS WHY LANGUAGE IS IMPORTANT, FRIENDS; it helps you EXPLAIN THINGS.

So, in case you’re in the same boat as me with school about to start or already started and you have not made ready, then YOU ARE PREPARED. Unless you’ve made ready, in which care you’re not prepared at all, and we feel sad for you.

With love and GREAT PREPAREDNESS,

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Mother/Daughter Look-a-Likes: Can’t Tell Them Apart!

Jun 28 2016

Everywhere my daughter and I go, people can’t tell us apart. That’s why we have a history of taking twinsy pics; to blow people’s minds that we’re actually mother/daughter.

We took some yesterday, in fact, just for you. See if you can figure out who’s who!

Good luck, friends.

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You’re never going to believe this, but we’re 25 years apart in age. FOR REALS.

I know, right??

Minds. Blown.

You’re welcome, The Internets! It’s like the blue dress all over again.

With love,

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P.S. If you’re not done being shocked and amazed, here are some of our other Twinsie Pics…

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P.P.S. In unrelated news, MY KID IS THE BEST SPORT EVER. The End.

My Husband Is A Better Encourager Than Your Husband

Jun 22 2016

Greg is an encourager, which isn’t at all what I was going to write today. I was writing, instead, an apology for my Christian faith, but I’ve only gotten to the part where I used to buy books on demon possession and stuff them in my heathen friends’ couches so they’d discover them later and be coerced by abject terror to follow Jesus. “Planting seeds,” I called it, and I ROCKED it, man.

But that story’s not finished, and I can’t write something called An Apology for My Christian Faith, or a Declaration of a Faith That’s Wild and Free, or GODAMMIT; I’M GONNA FOLLOW JESUS unless I get the words right in my own head and heart first, so that’s going to have to wait a bit.

So I’m going to tell you about what an encouragement Greg is to me, but first I have to tell you I have a new bike.

A new bike!

Which isn’t new ’cause I don’t really do new, but is new to me, so, like “Beth Woolsey New” which is as good it gets around here.

My new bike looks like this if we paint it in watercolor, which we’re totally doing because I’ve been playing with my Waterlogue app to avoid writing my apology:

Preset Style = Travelogue Format = 10" (Giant) Format Margin = None Format Border = Straight Drawing = #2 Pencil Drawing Weight = Heavy Drawing Detail = Medium Paint = Natural Paint Lightness = Auto Paint Intensity = More Water = Orange Juice Water Edges = Medium Water Bleed = Average Brush = Fine Detail Brush Focus = Everything Brush Spacing = Medium Paper = Buff Paper Texture = Medium Paper Shading = Medium Options Faces = Enhance Faces

 

Also, it looks like this:

Painted in Waterlogue

And like this:

Painted in Waterlogue

And like this:

Painted in Waterlogue

(Psst… this isn’t a Waterlogue sponsored post, ’cause I don’t do sponsored posts, FYI.)

Back to Greg being an encourager!

I bought a bike! And I love it! It has an electrical assist I can engage when I ride up the giant hill to my house and also whenever I want to pretend I’m 87 and too old to peddle. And it’s enormous and bulky enough to haul a kid AND groceries on the back both of which I now do regularly because COOL BIKE.

In fact, I love my new bike so much I’ve decided to take it on our annual central Oregon vacation this week. And, while some husbands might discourage their wives from packing a huge, unwieldy, motorized bike on vacation — what with the 5 children and the service dog and the piles of luggage and mountains of groceries that attend our holidays with us — Greg said, and I quote, “There’s no way — NO WAY — that enormous thing is going to fit in our car.”

Isn’t that cute??

“No worries,” I said. “We can get a bike rack!”

“Too huge for a bike rack, Beth,” he replied. “There’s no way.”

Aw. He’s the adorablest! I heart him to the moon, friends!

“Car top carrier, it is!” said I.

“Read. My. Lips,” said he. “NO. Way. On God’s green earth, there is NO WAY are we taking that thing.”

I was beginning to sense some reluctance, however small, so I called my dad, and HE WAS SUPPORTIVE, TOO! “Greg’s right, Beth; that’s ridiculous. There’s no way to bring that thing on a 4-hour road trip.”

The men in my life, friends! They get me! I say I want something and then they get all tense and RIDICULE MY ABILITY TO MAKE IT HAPPEN… which lets me know they must WANT me to bring my bike VERY MUCH since expressing contempt and derision for my ideas is the fastest, most efficient way to get me to do anything. They’re SUPER SUPPORTIVE, in other words, and ensuring all my dreams come true.

The internet is all about telling other people how much better our lives are than theirs, so I figure it’s OK that I put down my Christian faith essay tonight to write, instead, about how much more encouraging my husband is than yours.

In conclusion, #FinallyDoingTheInternetRight!

With lots of love,

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The Day I Peed My Shoe. Yesterday, Actually. Yesterday, I Peed My Shoe.

Jun 20 2016

Once upon a time, I wet my shoe.

Not the pretty kind of “wetting my shoe” that’s an adorable misleading statement where I say, “I wet my shoe,” but then I’m all, “J/K! I got my shoe wet with the garden hose while watering the garden. Gotcha!” You know what I mean? Like when you drop a pea on the floor and say, “I peed the floor,” and your nine-year-olds think you’re HILARIOUS and your teenage daughter rolls All the Eyes in All the World and goes, “Stop, Mom. Just stop.”

Nope, this is not that; in this situation, I wet my shoe with my very own urine because — and here’s where I offer as true an explanation as I know — at my core, I am a gigantic dork. A gigantic, shoe-wetting dork.
Now, to be fair to my sweet self, this incident wasn’t actually as bad as the time last fall when I wet my office, about which I haven’t written because I’m loathe to be the girl who pooped my closet AND the girl who peed my office. I mean, how much believable pottying-on-oneself can one actually do? At some point, people will necessarily question my credibility, right? In our current shame-based culture where we can’t even share our lovely lunch pictures on the Facebook (while being simultaneously chided to treasure the little things) without being accused of the overshare, I was afraid I Couldn’t Take It. Losing even more credibility AND being re-accused of over-sharing? HOW WILL I ENDURE THE SHAME?

So I didn’t.

I left the office-peeing story untold.

And it shall remain untold for now, because I have a more pressing matter to address, which is the wetting of my shoe, about which I felt a similar measure of shame to the wetting of my office, until I remembered this afternoon that I HAVE no shame. I lost it long ago, as well as my dignity. I also realized that being absent the credible makes one incredible, and I was all, “INCREDIBLE ME can SO TELL THIS STORY.”

Which is why I’m here to let you know that once upon a time, I wet my shoe.

Yesterday.

Once upon a time yesterday, I wet my shoe.

While on my way home from the Grace in the Grime Spiritual Formation Retreat, I wet my shoe.

In a port-a-potty, I wet my shoe.

After bragging at the retreat how good I am at the “hover, aim and pee splash-free” maneuver — because this is the kind of thing one always discusses at a spiritual formation retreat, yes? — I wet my shoe.

I hovered, indeed, but then I missed, and it cascaded off the seat, creating a waterfall effect off the rim, which is how I wet my shoe. Which I failed to feel at first, so I REALLY wet my shoe.

The night after I told lovely retreat ladies in the hot tub overlooking the Pacific Ocean at sunset about Peeing My Office and about the shame which kept me from telling all of you, I wet my shoe.

Probably because Jesus was giving me more opportunities to be Authentically Me, I wet my shoe. We must, after all, credit Jesus with All the Gifts and Give Thanks in All Things, and I clearly have the spiritual gift of Soiling Myself, so Thank You, Jesus!

I wrote the ladies just now, in fact, and I shall share with you, too, for the sake of expedience and friendship and OBEDIENCE TO GOD, as you will see…

Ladies. Ladies. Ladies.

I need to tell you something.

I WET MY SHOE ON THE WAY HOME FROM THE BEACH YESTERDAY.

I WET it. With PEE. I am writing about it currently, but I feel that Jesus, who is mean and vindictive (not really) (I think) FORCED ME TO PEE MY SHOE because I neglected to tell the story in the fall about peeing my office. Do we think it’s a COINCIDENCE that I confessed that story to you in the hot tub on SATURDAY and then on SUNDAY I peed my shoe? THAT IS NOT COINCIDENCE, friends; it’s obviously my spiritual gift to pee and poop All the Things — I mean, HOW MANY TIMES DOES JESUS NEED TO SHOW ME THIS BEFORE I ACCEPT IT AS TRUTH?? — and then write about those things. I REJECTED my spiritual gift last fall after the incident that combined tights with that lady-pee-device and my consistently poor judgement, and then I hid my light under a bushel AND TOLD NO ONE WHAT I HAD DONE. Except a few friends at work. And also some people on my back patio when we drank whiskey one night. And also the people at the writing retreat. And also all of you ladies in the hot tub. But, other than, like, a few dozen people, I TOLD NO ONE, so Jesus made me wet my shoe to get my attention. Because Jesus is WILY and PERSISTENTLY IN PURSUIT OF HELPING US FIND AND ACCEPT OURSELVES AND OUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS. (Psst… one part of that may actually be true.)

Anyway — I’ll write more on the blog, but just wanted to let you know — NOT GONNA HIDE WHO GOD AUTHENTICALLY CALLED ME TO BE! HEART INTELLIGENCE! WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!

Also, friendly word of advice… maybe aim REALLY GOOD in port-a-potties so your pee doesn’t cascade off the rim of the toilet, over which you’re hovering, and create a waterfall that gushes into your Dansko clog, which is uniquely shaped to capture every bit of the ever-flowing stream. I mean… up to you to accept or reject my advice, of course… you do you… but I thought I’d mention it in case it helps.

In conclusion, I once peed my shoe. Yesterday, actually. Thanks be to God.

Sincerely,

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P.S. I stole the Danskos pic from the Danksos site and am using it without permission. FREE ADVERTISING FOR DANSKO! I figure they won’t mind. I mean, who DOESN’T want to know Dansko clogs are easy to pee into? <<<SELLING POINT.

P.P.S. I’m finishing this (rudely) while at dinner with Greg and our friends, John and BJ, and I told them I can’t talk yet because I’m writing about peeing my shoe. Greg said, “Again?” And John said, “I peed both of mine today.” In extra conclusion, I like John better than Greg. The End.

How to Get Kids to Pick Up Quickly and Enthusiastically

May 19 2016

I asked my boys to tidy their room, which was a disaster, and, because they’re smart, capable, 9-year-old children who don’t need to have everything explained to them anymore in excruciating detail, I gave them two basic directions, as follows:

  1. When you are finished picking up your room, gentlemen, I should be able to both see and walk upon the floor.
  2. Your things should be organized in such a manner that you can easily find everything. I’m sure I don’t need to mention that you can certainly not find everything — including the shoes, jackets, books, homework folders, etc. that you cannot find ANY of the school mornings — if you shove it all underneath your bed or in the closet. Correct? I do not need to point this out? That there needs to be a better system? No? You get it? OK. OK, then, boys. Full speed ahead.

They finished in 10 minutes.

They have NEVER finished cleaning ANYTHING in 10 minutes, but there they were, tumbling down the stairs in holey socks with giant smiles, proclaiming completion.

I clarified.

Me: I can see AND walk on the floor?

Them: Yep!

Me: And not just a teeny, tiny sliver of the floor?

Them: Nope!

Me: And you have organized your belongings?

Them: Yep!

Me: ALL of your belongings or SOME of your belongings?

Them: ALL!

Me: And I will find how many items shoved under your bed?

Them: None!

Me: And you have completed this entire task in 10 minutes?

Them: Yep!

Me: And it’s SO complete that you feel good about me inspecting it?

Them: Yes!

Me: Now?

Them: Let’s go!

We trooped up the stairs for inspection, and I patted myself on the back on the way because friends — friends — if you give your children FREEDOM to complete tasks THEIR WAY, and you DO NOT INSIST ON YOUR OWN, they finish jobs QUICKLY and ENTHUSIASTICALLY, and it’s a MIRACLE. I should write a Parenting Book! I have finally figured it out!

Also, here is their system:

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As they say, “A clear path for walking and all of our belongings at our fingertips!” There is nothing under the bed anymore, and, in fact, nothing left in the closet, either, because they pulled everything out of it. Everything. To create their New System of Organization.

I asked where they got such a terrible, terrible idea, and they said — I kid you not — “We learned it from watching you.”

In conclusion, bless their hearts. Bless their punky, butt-nuggetty hearts.

Keepin’ it real,

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P.S. Their room still looks like that because they pointed out there’s WAY less vacuuming this way, and “it’s likely to smother all the bugs.” I’m having trouble arguing with their logic. Well played, boys; well played.

 

The Magical Cleaning Fairies Are Threatening to Sue

Apr 25 2016

Dear Friends,

Sad, disquieting news from the Cleaning Fairies ahead.

A couple days ago, I mentioned to you that the Magical Cleaning Fairies still haven’t cleaned the kitchen or the bathrooms or finished mining the myriad mountains of laundry because those damn fairies never ever show up even though I ask and ask, and I think we should talk to the Better Business Bureau about them because I hear I’m not the ONLY one with this problem and, frankly, I’m tired of their slacker ways.”

Unfortunately, the Cleaning Fairies (one of whom might be my father, who resided in our home with a few of our wily, wild children while we were on vacation) have officially, and in writing, objected to my statement.

Yesterday, I received the following Pre-Grievance Notification:

Fairies Brotherhood International
Oregon Local 97000
April 24, 2016

Ms. Beth Woolsey
DBA BethWoolsey.com

PRE-GRIEVANCE NOTIFICATION

Ms. Woolsey:

This shall serve to advise you that under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) dated October 13, 1973 (revised January 14, 1995) between the Fairies Brotherhood International (FBI) and Beth Woolsey (successor of Elizabeth McDonough) Section 4.B Professional Conduct our member(s) employed at Your House, Oregon allege defamation under the above referenced section, to wit:

You did knowingly, and with intent to defame, publish in a public media venue on or about April 23, 2016, the following:

 …still haven’t cleaned the kitchen or the bathrooms or finished mining the myriad mountains of laundry because those damn fairies never ever show up…

Our members, the Magical Cleaning Fairies, have provided sworn testimony that between the dates April 8, 2016 and April 18, 2016 (inclusive) two (2) bathrooms, one (1) bedroom, the laundry room, and the kitchen of their assigned place of employment, i.e. Your House, Oregon, were in fact clean, neatly arranged, and “mountain free.” Our members further testify that any degradation of these circumstances is entirely the due to the actions (or failure to act) on the part of the Employer, i.e. Beth Woolsey.

Under Section 23.C.4.c of the CBA Pre-grievances, you are afforded ten (10) business days to resolve the foregoing issues raised under Section 4.B Professional Conduct to the satisfaction of our member(s) or this violation will be formally filed with the System Board of Adjustment.

[signed]

Thugly N. Forsser, Esq.
Contract Administrator and Legal Counsel
Fairies Brotherhood International
Oregon Local 97000

Here’s the thing, folks. The Magical Cleaning Fairies claim to have left several areas of my home “clean, neatly arranged, and ‘mountain free,'” and blame me — ME! —  for the “degradation of these circumstances.” As though *I* have failed to keep my house clean instead of relying, as I should be able to, on supernatural creatures to magically appear and enchant my house into the perpetual, preternatural state of cleanliness to which it and I am entitled. I know. I’m finding their missive hard to swallow, too.

Now I know the internet is full of too much misplaced outrage these days, and I swear to you I’m not trying to add to it. Occasionally, though, there are some stands we must make and some banners we must take up to protect both ourselves and others who have been insidiously silenced, and, let’s be honest; there are many of us, numbering into the millions who have NOT had the kind of cleaning service from the fairies — or, hell, even Snow White’s or Cinderella’s woodland creatures — that we deserve. Which is why I didn’t bury the letter above and why I’m speaking out now.

So the question becomes, how do we move past our collective outrage, because obviously we’re all outraged, and move toward fundamental, necessary change? I mean, I could point out that the Magical Cleaning Fairies have no proof that they ever cleaned my house, particularly considering the state it’s in right now. And I could point out that, although they claimed in the subsequent phone call I made to discuss the Pre-Grievance Notification to have “witnesses,” said witnesses are historically unreliable. I could point out a number of things, but what I’d rather do is discuss Meaningful Change.

Thus I turn to you. If you have any ideas for how to handle this kind of unfair, baseless communique from the Magical Cleaning Fairies — any similar experiences you can share — please let me know. The time for change is now. And we will not be intimidated.

For us all,

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P.S. For the few of you who may feel sympathetic to the Magical Cleaning Fairies’ missive, I offer these photographs, most of which were taken yesterday, and ask you whether it’s likely these areas were truly “clean, neatly arranged, and mountain free” a mere 6 days prior:

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You can see more of our linen closet here.

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And you can see more of our entry-way lockers here,
which, frankly, are supposed to work better than this.

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You see my point.

AND — P.P.S. There are still a few spots left at TWO upcoming retreats in June. I would LOVE to hang out with you there. If you’ve been thinking about it, or if you have any questions, or if you want me to talk you into coming, email me at fivekidsisalotofkids@gmail.com. These retreats are my Favorite Things EVER because they breathe life into my weary, waiting soul, and I want to share that with you.

1. THE MAGIC IN THE MESS WRITING RETREATJUNE 12-15, 2016
The Magic in the Mess Writing Retreat makes space for writers to explore their creative voices, discover a supportive writing community, and give shape to the messy but beautiful stories we each carry with us.

AND/OR…

2. THE GRACE IN THE GRIME SPIRITUAL FORMATION RETREATJUNE 16-19, 2016
The Grace and the Grime Spiritual Formation Retreat exists to create space to deepen our experience with God in an authentic, encouraging environment. In addition to the grounded and the graceful, we welcome those who are weary, wary or unsure, and we believe we’re all wildly worthy of love and grace.

Important Thoughts on Life from the Lady in 18F

Apr 7 2016

I flew on a plane this morning from Oregon to Los Angeles, in seat 17F, and the lady behind me chatted away. She chatted away enough to make me feel uncomfortable, in fact, because I worried for her seatmates whom she’d clearly just met, until I began to really listen and to realize she’s a treasure. And wise. And savvy. And insightful. And funny. And authentic. And beautifully kind. So I pulled out my laptop and I started typing furiously, transcribing what she had to say, word for word, because we can all learn from the Lady in 18F on what was one of the best flights of my life. I hope you enjoy her as much as I did. She’s truly a gift if we would but listen. I’m sure you’ll agree.

IMPORTANT THOUGHTS ON LIFE FROM THE LADY IN 18F

On Stepping in Shit

You know what they say in New York? They say, “You stepped in shit.” But they mean it as a good thing. A good thing! Can you imagine? “Stepped in shit. Stepped in shit!” they say. “AH! Stepped in shit today,” and they mean it as a good thing. It’s like saying, “You got lucky.” Isn’t that wild? It’s a New York thing. I mean, you have to step in shit from time to time so you might as well make it a good thing. It’s just like saying someone’s got a shit-eating grin. They mean it like it’s a good grin. No one eats shit. Eating shit. Can you imagine? But they say it like a good thing. Geez Louise! Where does this shit come from?

On Call of Duty

Our grandson plays Call of Duty and he lives in New York. You know what? All those kids in New York, they talk just like the adults. Just cussing like damn sailors. Our grandson plays Call of Duty and he lives in New York, and he says, “I just blew that guy to hell,” just like that. In front of his grandmother. And I said to him, I said, “You don’t have to talk like that you know,” so he says, “I blew him to shit, Grandma,” and damn it all if that didn’t make me laugh.

On St. Kabir and Saris

You know how many grandchildren I have? Three. Three grandchildren. Twelve, 18 and 20. I can’t keep up. And one more on the way. Our daughter married a guy from New Delhi, so it’s an Indian house, you know. I had to wear a sari for the wedding. The whole time I’m going, “Oh my God, oh my God, this thing is going to fall off!” It’s held together with a tiny little knot. But I made it. I made it.

The mother-in-law comes to visit and the cooking never stops. Never. It’s 4 o’clock, and it’s time to have tea and biscuits. It’s adorable. She just loves those kids. It’s adorable.

Our daughter, she wears that red dot that shows she married, and she’s 7 months pregnant with that baby. Is that a trip? That’s a trip. Now they’ve named that baby already after St. Kabir. You know St. Kabir? In India, they don’t name them ‘til they know them. The baby is born and they wait. My son-in-law, his nickname means joy and that’s still what they call him. He is a joy. He sure is. But they went American with this baby and named him before he’s born. Except it’s an Indian name, Kabir, so it’s a mix of both. The Indian name and the American way. You know St. Kabir?

St. Kabir was lovely. Just a lovely guy. Believed in love. The Muslims, they made him a saint. St. Kabir. And the Hindus took him, too. So they both claim him. Because he believed in love. Isn’t that great? I just love that story. The world could use more of that. St. Kabir. I tell you what.

They’re going to come. They’re going to come visit and bring the baby, and we’re dying. We’re dying to have that baby here. He’s got a big ol’ head of hair. Oh my God, he has the most unbelievable head of hair. My daughter has good hair, but it’s just European hair. He has this gorgeous, gorgeous full head of hair. Oh my God.

On What’s Good for Your Brain

You know what’s good for your brain? Learning something new. I mean, new new. Totally new. It’s how you fight dementia. When you’re old you have to overwrite your brain, you know. And the only way is to learn something new.

On Donald Trump

You know, everybody is taking Donald Trump so seriously, getting all worked up. You know who doesn’t care what he says? The New Yorkers. They’re used to people talking shit. He just doesn’t know how to say things. He is not a good communicator. He needs better people to help him out. He’s got some things to learn. Not ready to be president, though. No, he sure isn’t.

On Oregon and Washington and How to Take a Driver’s Test

Oregon’s beautiful. Washington’s not bad, though. Washington isn’t bad. We have this totally liberal state. It’s nuts. Nuts. The whole legislature; it’s all democrats. When someone gets out of prison, they get all their rights back. They can vote and work and everything. It’s the most progressive state in the United States. Everybody talks about Colorado but we legalized marijuana the same time they did. I’m going to miss being in Oregon and Washington. Now I’m not anything. I’m not even registered to vote because I need ID and have to take that stupid driving test. I failed that test the first time I took it 35 years ago. You know what you need to do? Take the video they offer. They offer you this video and you should take it. It gives you all the answers. All of them.

On Arches National Park

Have you been to Arches National Park? Oh my God. It’s like heaven. Desert heaven.

On Getting Old

Damn it; I just dropped my iPad. It’s just, I’ll tell you what. You get old and you start to lose the feeling in your hands and you start dropping things. It sucks. It really sucks. We’re about to fly over Mt. Shasta, though. That’s beautiful. A huge, gorgeous mountain. That makes up for everything.

On Mom

I love to visit my mom. She’s in Santa Monica. My mom’s a pistol. A real hot ticket. She was always go, go, go, but she’s slowed down a little lately. She’s old, but she’s trying to stay alive because we tell her, “Goddamn it, Mom. Don’t die. We love you.” Her 7 year old grandson wants to take her for a drive someday up and down the Pacific Coast Highway, and there’s nine more years ‘til he gets his license, so she’s gotta stay alive, right? She’s gotta stay alive.

My mom was an orphan. Had no idea how to be a mom, so she was our friend. She read to us. Poetry. Longfellow and stuff. I bought copies for my brothers and sisters. There were five of us. She’d read the one about the unnamed soldier. She made us learn to read before we ever went to school. She was a great mom. Bionic.

She’d make us work so hard. She was tough. My mom’s a fighter. I had polio when I was a kid. They told her I’d never walk again. She said, “Oh yeah?” They told her all this shit. I call her now, still, to thank her that I can walk. I came out on crutches, but I learned to run on those things because my mother made me learn. My dad said, “Is she allowed to do that?” And my mom said, “She’s doing it.” It was a Catholic hospital, so they said it was a miracle. It wasn’t a miracle. It was my mother’s love. My little orphan mommy. She’s a fighter.

On How to Parent

I told my Uber driver this one time – he’s got a kid, and I told him – you do anything for that kid. You do anything. You go in debt for that kid. We did. You give a shit. You give a shit all the way. You never give up.

Here’s what you do – you go to all the parents and you exchange numbers and you raise kids together.

Your kids tell you they hate you. You love them anyway. Mad is not discipline, so you don’t think getting mad is parenting. Nope. You have boundaries and love. That’s it. Boundaries and love. You tell them how it is. You tell them you love them. You want to rip their faces off – just take that skin right off – but you just walk away and love them. They test boundaries. They’re supposed to. Their job is to test them. Your job is to set them. They drive you crazy. You love them anyway, even though it’s hard.

We survived adolescence. What do you know? One day you wake up and realize you did it.

On Being the Grandmother

You know what I like? I like being the grandmother. That’s what I like. My grandson is a teenager. He’s smart. He plays soccer. He’s going to college. My daughter calls me up and she says, “This kid is making me crazy. Why does he do this shit?” I like being the grandmother.

On the Music Scene

I hated disco. Let me tell you what. I hated disco with those big platform shoes and all about the beat but not about the music. Then came rap and I stopped listening. I didn’t listen to music for 20 years. But rap got better so I’m listening again. It’s interesting now. Not so nasty. Better lyrics. Smart.

On Landing

We did it! I knew it! This was a good plane. Solid. Solid.

 

And so, madam, are you. Solid and chatty and wise. And I’m so very glad I sat near you on the plane.

With joy and gratitude,

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