Sunday, August 28, 2011


(Pre-Script: This post should be read as the song, "Good Intentions," #22 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

The other day, I bought the wrong sardines.

"But Michelle, how did you know you had bought the wrong sardines?"

Gentle reader, if I am saying I bought the wrong sardines, safely assume it means that it doesn't take a B.S. in Molecular Biology to figure out that you have bought the wrong sardines.


It happened because I was in Lucky's, not Trader Joe's, where I usually buy them. But although the package said "Sardines in olive oil," just like the kind I usually buy, I should have been concerned when I didn't see the word "skinless" on the wrapper. Instead, I figured that since with the skin on, the sardines would look like puke in a can, that no one would have the lack of sense to try to sell them to live humans that way. How often will I have to pay for my assumptions that humanity will, in the end, do the right thing? Or at least, do the very thing that I would do? I don't know, but suddenly, it was that afternoon, and I was finally taking my lunch break at work. I took my break late, so by the time I sat down to eat, I was hungry enough to devour, in more of a lion like than lady like manner, both of the cans of sardines I had had the foresight to keep in my purse.

But then I opened the first can. And what I saw when I opened that can looked like something Jesus and his disciples had just flung out of the Sea of Galilee onto the shore with their heavy overburdened net, then sat by the fire whistling and counting as they threw sardines any old which way. From the look of it, not much else was done to the massacred fish by way of cleaning and care. I didn't even open the second can or blink when I threw it away with the first.
Always read labels and between the lines.

But if certain key lines aren't there to be read afraid.

Be very afraid.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011


(Pre-Script: This post best read as the song, "Everybody's Changing," #12 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

Today is Jeremy's 10th birthday. Blink, and your baby is in the double digits, even though you have photographic evidence that he was just born yesterday...too bad the photos are all in your mind, and technology has not advanced so far as to develop that kind of pictures. I think they haven't yet found the right paper.
It's been hot lately. It's been uncomfortable, sometimes. Jeremy's cake, though baked with pure love and good intentions, crumbled into a whole lot of crumbly bits. You want to throw your hands in the air and say, "I'm sorry, Kid, we tried. In the end, I cannot control the weather or how a thing reacts to it; in the end, I may have left out a pinch of this, a touch of that; in the end, it may have been in the oven too long or too short by a millisecond." Instead, I covered the cake up with extra frosting, taking special care with the shattered parts. Frosting covers a multitude of sins; I have found this to be true over the course of my lifetime. It doesn't take away the lumpy spots, and you can tell that there is foundational damage at the base of the cake but with the frosting, it is now a thing once again glued together, once again a thing to be candle lit, sung and celebrated over, cut into and please,-everyone-have-a-piece-'d over. Because Jeremy turned 10, whether he was born yesterday or 10 years ago today. Whether or not the weather and the baking conditions coincided peacefully; he is 10, and next year he will be 11, and we will do this again, and who knows what that cake will look like or who will be around the table but
we will do this again and again because it is life, and we celebrate life, we cherish it no matter what it looks like, we savor and enjoy, and lick the last crumb and morsel of the frosting from the plate until the plate is clean.
(Happy Birthday, baby, you are still and no longer a baby, look, I have the pictures right here...)

Monday, August 22, 2011


(Pre-Script: This post should be read as the song, "Keep Breathing," #16 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

I'm waiting in the same place I always wait: inside.
outside is clean, calm, contained, outside, I am in
one piece and smiling in case anyone is recording this
or even noticing whether I was smiling or not right now.
a storm
and it's me,
i am the storm
and i grow bigger as I swirl around and around
within myself, picking up small things in my
centrifugal momentum, things i had forgotten,
things I thought I no longer cared about,
things I thought had already died of neglect,
but look here, see they were quietly waiting to
be storm tossed up into the atmosphere,
where I choke on them, I choke them
back down my throat
until the swirling recedes
in the place i always wait,


Saturday, August 13, 2011

From my pet rock

(Pre-Script: This post should be read as the song, "Between the Lines," #24 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

You know the type-the people who write their family Christmas letter from the perspective of the lowest denominator in their family; typically the family dog or the new baby: "What a year it's been! First, I was born, and Mom says she's so glad THAT's over, but I have no idea what she means; I mostly just cried and slept through it, and then they were all saying that I was the cutest baby that they had ever seen, and what a miracle I am, and everyone makes googly faces at me."

It's August, so of course I have been thinking about the Holidays, and Christmas in particular. I have been wondering about the annual Christmas letters. Not that I ever write them myself. But I wonder about the people who do write them, if this is how early they get started writing, and I wonder how long it takes to erase anything negative or less than perfect about their livelihoods and children, to plan out what they are going to say. How wonderful Timmy is, how involved and excellent he is in everything he does, so golden is his touch. I don't ever write those letters; I just can't think of a whole page worth of stuff to say about how perfect we all are.

This year, I think I'll send a Christmas letter, and it will be from my pet rock.

It will be a very short letter.