Friday, October 26, 2012


My mind tries to ignore the knowledge but my body seems to know intuitively where I was one year ago at this time, and though I've been trying so hard not to focus on the memory - am instead looking forward to a better anniversary, maybe - my body has been doing its very best to remind me exactly how it was by feeling the same currents again, by falling into the same patterns, by catching me up in a great black sack and dragging me down broken alleys until I remember the way.

I met my psychiatrist for the first time on Lena's birthday last year, in early October, and he gave me my first antidepressant prescription on November 11th, Veteran's Day.  The intervening weeks were spent, in a practical sense, dealing with bloodwork and ordering vitamin supplements and paying some analytical attention to energy, diet, mood.  Underneath that, though, I remember the distinct feeling that I was only surviving the knot of purgatorial days by holding my breath and shutting my eyes against them, against the suffocating void, refusing to focus on anything other than the belief that rescue was coming soon.

The days are so much better now, but not in ways that I can rationally describe. In perfect honesty it can be terrifying to look at any decent day and call it "good" because it still feels as though the bottom could fall out at any moment.  And maybe it feels that way because there are still days that aren't so much bad as they are just regular days which begin in anonymity but slowly grow to drag and pull and suck me down for no apparent reason whatsoever until I look around and see that there is nothing supporting me because the bottom has indeed fallen out.  And so I go on through most days without ever checking my surroundings at all, because maybe everything is fine and maybe nothing is fine, either way it wouldn't matter because I still have to keep going, right?  So I keep going and surely if I keep going the bottom - if it is really gone at all - will eventually reappear and all will be well.

Most days are fine.  Weeks, even, seem normal.  And the odd day out where I feel like I'm underneath it all is not so bad.  I try to focus on the familiar comfort those days pretend to offer and not worry about how long they will last.  And I remind myself that we all have bad days, they just happen to be something more along the lines of depressed days for me, and instead of thinking about any of it too much I just keep going until the day is over and a better one appears.

I had one of those days last week, though, and then the next day was the same, and the next.  The day after that might have been worse, but I'm not sure, because I continued to ignore it, as I do - ignore the slow and inexplicable dissolution of my ground, my walls, my ceiling, until I know that I am floating in the void but my eyes are shut against it and my feet keep moving stubbornly forward in the open air, nevermind futility.  And this slow descent goes on even a day or two more until I somehow find that I am sitting numbly in my car after dark on a Thursday evening in the fluorescent-lit parking lot of a Target, plastic bags filled with Halloween candy, new insoles for my boots, and boxes of tissues are stacked neatly in the trunk.  How they got in there I almost couldn't tell you, any more than I could tell you why I do not go home to help with putting the kids to bed, but persist in sitting in the car with the radio on, the windows down just enough to feel the warm, strange Santa Ana winds brushing across my lips, tangling my hair, stinging my eyes.  I do not know why I cannot connect enough synapses in my brain to put the car in gear and go, so instead I sit and watch the tops of the smallish parking lot trees roll and rustle with more full, vibrant body and soul than they've really any right to have, but they have tonight, and they do not stop their push and pull rhythm communion against the wind for even a moment.  Under the white fluorescent lamps they are bright green against the black sky, and I cannot put the car in gear to drive away.  Because I do not understand what it is I need to drive to.  Because I do not understand how my life is Halloween candy and boot insoles and tissues, toilet paper and laundry detergent, how no amount of driving off and leaving everything behind could give me escape from needing the mundane for survival, that there is no escape from fluorescent lights and needing money for things like toothpaste and allergy medicine and lip balm, and it is the mundane that I seem to have a problem with tonight.  It doesn't make sense at all, the great wide longing of the soul against the days spent paying bills and folding laundry, and I don't know how to teach my girls that it's okay - it's okay if they dream of castles and fairies now, of love and adventure later, of seeing worlds and being everything there is to be - it's okay to dream a little more each day, every day, over and over until the day that you look in the mirror and all the accumulation of your dreams slam together hard in that halted instant of noticing the hair at your temples is growing white, and your seventeen-year-old heart is soon to turn thirty-five, and you have spent so many of your limited days washing dishes and paying bills because those are the things which demand to be done now in order to continue to survive while you carelessly daydream about future plans for a future that has somehow slipped away.

And now here you sit, in a strip-mall parking lot, not knowing how to realign your personal identity with your physical existence, how did they become so unattached, so far removed.  How do I teach my girls that that's okay, and natural, that we continue to dream even as we grow old, even as the days we dream about fall behind us, even as our odds for new adventures and change grow ever smaller.  How do I prepare them, convince them that this is natural and right when nothing in the world feels natural or right in this moment but the sound and sight of the tops of a few green trees rolling without end in the Santa Ana breeze over an emptying strip-mall parking lot.

The other cars in the lot have all one-by-one flicked on their lights and begun to hum in resonance with the leaves in what look like desperate efforts to get home.  Mothers drag over-tired children against the swirling winds to backseat carseats and overworked couples tiredly and hurriedly pile full plastic shopping bags into their trunks while ducking their heads from the strangeness of the weather as vehicles slip through the aisles and slide magnetically toward the exit, toward home.  I close my eyes against it all and try to make the universe stop a moment so I may evaluate, assess, so I may do what I hate to do and check out my surroundings.  The results come in:  I am adrift.  Again.  So far adrift that I could not even tell you the substance in which I am drifting - adrift at sea, under the water's surface, above the planet's atmosphere, in a pitch black void - you may take your pick.  The essence of the thing is drift.  The feeling is, I'm sorry to say, petrifying.  Soul-petrifying.  But this time I have with me the confidence that if I wait, I will surely soon drift back to civilization.  Soon, and much quicker than the last time.  Because I feel that this drift today, though real and penetrating, is only visiting as an echo of memory.  So I will wait.  I will ride the drift.  And with this knowledge I turn the ignition, I throw the car into gear, and I let it pull me home, again, where I belong.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

up close and adorable

Over the weekend we borrowed Jimmy's cousin's zoom lens to see how we liked it, and while I still prefer our usual lens for close-up shots of the girls, I have to admit it was much easier to keep a rebellious toddler from running screaming from the camera when I was able to stand ten feet away from her while shooting.  Now, I did have some extra trouble with the focus on the zoom, and the bright light bouncing off the bay water was tricky, but, well, that's why this isn't a photography blog.  Instead, this is more of a look-at-my-cute-kid-with-the-crazy-blue-eyes blog.  At least it is today.  And no, her eyes do not belong to the mailman.  I checked.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


This is Jimmy's Grampa Al, whom we visited over the weekend up on the California central coast.  At nearly 96 years old, he is the last grandparent either of us have, and every time we see him he gruffs out something along the lines of, "Well, I expect they'll be plowing me under, soon!"  I know he's always happy to see us - particularly his great-granddaughters who think he's pretty hot stuff - but he misses his wife and dislikes getting older every year.  Still, he paints every day, he attends a weekly figure drawing class, he reads, he gets out as much as he can for coffee or meals with his friends, and I know he's very proud to be a recently-published author.  And, to my knowledge, he still enjoys a martini every day at five o'clock.  The joke has always been that Al's martini recipe is this: toss a couple of ice cubes in a glass, fill it with whatever vodka is on hand, open the cabinet, look at the vermouth, shut the cabinet, and finish off the glass with an olive or two.  And yet, at nearly 96, the man just keeps on going.  He might be ready to check out, but we selfishly would like to keep him around forever.

photo taken by Mr. Jimmy Hill himself.

Monday, October 22, 2012

airing out the city kids. (just a little.)

Although in the end we decided it would be too stressful to try to camp with the girls this weekend, we had a good, good time on the central coast, regardless.  Camping could have been so nice, but Evie is going through this thing lately - this, I'm Two-And-A-Half And I Don't WANT To Sleep And I Might Be Getting New Molars Also WHERE'S MY BABA thing.  But two nights in a motel with a fridge, microwave, and a little bay view?  Worked out just fine for us.

And, as you can see, the weather was genuinely chilly and gray and dreary on Saturday, which is exactly what I'd hoped for.  We had good visits with Jimmy's Grampa, Aunt, cousin, and other family and friends.  We ate home-cooked food and relaxed with the girls and even made it to a real-live pumpkin patch where they could run, play, climb, and get lost in a corn maze, ending up happy and covered with hay, and I got to wear a jacket and gloves and take lots of photos of the whole event.  We really could not have planned a better time.

This week is shaping up to be very busy around here.  It looks like we'll finally be changing the girls' room, as the bunk beds are ready and scheduled for delivery on Thursday.  That, combined with several previous appointments and the arrival of my mom on Friday (!!) means I might be a little less present online for a few days.  We'll see.  In the meantime, I hope you are enjoying your autumn, too.  I recommend open windows and lots of hot cider if that is at all possible for you.  These things are good for one's soul.

Friday, October 19, 2012

weekend update

Hello, kids!  It's Friday, and we are busy packing up for a weekend on the California central coast to visit some of Jimmy's family.  This will include one night of camping in a tent with the girls for the first time, so, it probably goes without saying that we could use your prayers, well wishes, and any down-home voodoo you might have up your sleeve in order to ensure a safe and restful night.

(I'm not so worried about bears or coyotes or rain as I am worried about spending the night in a one-room tent with a two-and-a-half-year-old who recently gave up sleep but will not give up demanding perfectly-warmed bottles three or four times a night.  Note to self: pack one thermos of milk, one thermos of bourbon, and earplugs.  Leave all sharp objects at home.)

Before we go, I wanted to say thanks to everyone who has headed over to Finding Magnolia to vote for Cole's Gift.  If you haven't yet, please do - it is SUPER fast and easy, and it is for such a good cause.  You can read more about it here.  Voting is open until midnight October 23rd.

Also, as a housekeeping note, I finally added an About Me page to this here blog.  I don't know why it took me so long, except that doing so felt a little narcissistic, which is hilarious, considering, you know....oh, I hope I didn't already pack that bourbon...

Link to the About Me page is over in that there right-hand column o' links.  Or, as a special Friday treat, you can access it right here.

That's all I've got today.  Oh, and some cute photos of my girls from the last week.  Happy weekend!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

worth it

I don't know if you know this about my husband, but it is very likely that if you offered him a trip into space in exchange for everything he owns plus one of his legs, he would say yes without hesitation.  He may or may not text me after the agreement, you know, just as an FYI.

So when the space shuttle Endeavour began its trip last Friday from the airport to the science center across town using regular old LA surface streets, Jimmy got off work early, packed a bag of snacks for the girls, and we all piled into the car to go and see it.

Unfortunately, it was tricky to pinpoint exactly where the shuttle was at any given moment, and first we drove way too far east in rush hour traffic than is advisable with two dinner-time cranky toddlers in the back seat.  When we finally realized our mistake and found it, we parked a few blocks away and walked to a good viewing spot a little up the road from it.  We waited there for about an hour for it to pass by.  But in that time it never moved, (structural concerns for the freeway overpass it needed to cross), and when security came by to announce that it would not be moving again until after midnight, we moved on, walking another six or seven blocks around and over the freeway and back down to see it where it sits in this photo, at Randy's Donuts, a classic LA landmark of kitsch.  And it was so exciting!  And the girls were so happy!  And we gaped, we took pictures, we held up the girls so they could see over the ecstatic crowd.  Jimmy bought the girls little American flags, I bought Jimmy a silly commemorative pin, and we were so glad we made all that effort.  Afterward, we took the girls out for In 'n Out burgers and milkshakes to celebrate.

When we finally came home, our neighbor Julie was here to greet us and she asked the girls what did they see?  And Evie jumped up and down and her face lit up and she stretched out her arms as far as they could go and said, "A BIG BIG DONUT!!!"

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

special donation for Cole's Gift - please vote!

You guys, I am so excited to share that Cole's Gift, the charity named in honor of my baby nephew, is featured today by one of my favorite bloggers, Mary at Finding Magnolia, as a candidate for this month's donation from her Give It Forward program.

Please click over and vote for Cole's Gift.  It takes almost no time at all, and the money raised will be used to help a family adopting a child with a life-threatening illness.  It is a wonderful program, and I wrote more about it, and Cole, here.

If you are new here, referred from Finding Magnolia no doubt, welcome!  I am so happy you stopped by.  Please make sure that you also visit Cole's mama's website, Newsighted.  Jennifer writes from the heart about working through the loss of her baby, and I am so, so lucky to have her as a sister-in-law.

But please, vote for Cole's Gift!  The poll will be open until midnight on October 23rd.

Thanks to Mary for including Cole's Gift.  Thank YOU for voting.  And most of all, thank you for taking a moment to remember little Cole.  He was a sweet baby who truly captured our hearts forever.

Monday, October 15, 2012

thoughts on a monday morning

We had a lovely, unscheduled weekend which somehow in spite of its unscheduled-ness was also very busy and exhausting.  But good.  Definitely lovely.  Promising, even.  But it is over now and here we are in a Monday morning already and I don't know about you but I have a heap of work to do.  Email-y, budget-y, research-y, photo-edit-y work to do.  Exciting times ahead.  Everybody say yay.

I am eager to get through it all, though, if for no other reason than to get these tasks off my plate.  Because, as I said last week, I have a million other thoughts jumbling around in my head, and they are begging for attention.  And the little things I bump into as I fumble through my morning are not helping.

Such as finally reading an article from ZenHabits that I've had sitting open for weeks, Finding Peace With Uncertainty, about making changes in your life, opening doors, why we're afraid to do it, and how to overcome those fears:
See the wonder and opportunity in change. Change might mean leaving a comfort zone, and losing something (or someone) you love, but there’s much more: it’s the bringing of something new and amazing, a new opportunity to explore and learn and meet new people and reinvent yourself. When change happens, look for the wonder in it, the new doors that have opened.

Such as checking out the blog of one of my favorite Instagrammers, Oh Robin May, and finding this:
Oh darlings... I hope you are waking up each morning and knowing that YOU get to choose the life that you'll live that day. Be brave and do the things that make you light up and shine brightly.

Be brave. Be brave. Be brave. Be brave.

Such as opening up facebook and practically being smacked in the face with this (via Andi Cumbo, via Shawn Smucker):
But God doesn't call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn't come through.
- Francis Chan

Everywhere I turn I seem to find the message to move, to let go of fear and go forward into the unknown, and I can't tell you how much I want to do that.  But as I am perpetually the artist without a muse, the musician who requires sheet music, the writer with no story, I could not even begin to tell you where I'm wanting to go.  Sometimes I see the destination in my mind, but the path to get there is absolutely obscured.  And it's not just today.  I've been idling at the green light for so long, now.

I'd like to have some quiet time to focus on this:

...most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. 
-Steve Jobs

Or, I don't know, maybe I'm not idling.  Maybe I am moving forward slowly in a heavy fog because that is as fast as things should go right now.  Because that is how it feels to be here, to write here.  It feels like this is where I should be, although I can't find any legitimate reasons why.  So I will keep on until the path changes, the road closes, or until the fog is broken by a warming light and I can see at last that it has been the right way all along.

Friday, October 12, 2012

two days of autumn

Yesterday and today we've had a glorious patch of autumn weather here in Los Angeles.  It has been chilly and brisk, a teensy bit rainy, and just generally wonderful.  I reveled in the chance to wear jeans, long sleeves, boots, and a scarf yesterday, and ignored the weather report every time it popped on the radio with all its chipper inevitability to say we'll be back in the 80's by tomorrow.  Hey, nobody wants your 80-degree sunshine, Los Angeles.  And by "nobody" I mean "me."

I guess I can't speak for anyone else, but it's amazing what a little cool air and a few stormy clouds can do for me.  Last week I pulled out the Halloween decorations because it was technically October even though it still felt like August, and I was worried that I would somehow miss fall this year because I just wasn't feeling it at all.  And then I wondered why I care so much, really.  But with a little turn in the weather yesterday I found myself lighting clove-scented candles and cozying under blankets and painting my nails gold and just generally feeling happy, at ease, more at home in the world.

As I'm typing this, I feel like this all sounds terribly, embarrassingly inane.  Dull.  I suppose what I'm trying to say is that I don't feel dull, all of a sudden.  I feel dull from June through September.  But as of yesterday I feel like I can breathe again.  I feel creative and introspective, I want to bake and practice guitar and read and turn up the radio and take the girls on a nature walk.  I want to bundle up in sweaters and go to the beach with a thermos of hot cider.  And I have a million thoughts in my head that need to be written down, examined, explored.  Thoughts about goals and life choices and houses and careers and connectedness and priorities and bucket lists.  It's the time of year that I need to travel with a notebook and pencil wherever I go, and I want to go.

I want to go, or I want to stay cuddled under a blanket on the sofa, reading, writing, drinking coffee, watching the tips of one of the few scrappy, reddish maple trees across the street as they rock dreamily in the slightly-salted breeze.

I could go.  I could go, or I could sit here forever, content.

(I will try very, very hard not to complain about the sunshine tomorrow.  Promise.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


(Oh dear. It's another birthday post.)

Lena, baby, how did you get to be five already?  Honest to God I remember standing over you, tiny and perfect, still slightly jaundiced but with gorgeous kissy lips and that thick mop of dark brown hair, asleep in your Moses basket:  the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen in my life.  I don't remember it like it was yesterday, I remember it like I just walked out of that room two seconds ago and sat down to write this with unwashed hair and spit-up on my shirt.  And as I was standing there, transfixed, smitten, I was also bawling my eyes out because you were already FIVE. DAYS. OLD.  And I knew that if you could turn five days old so crazy fast that before I had a chance to think it through you would suddenly be five YEARS old and oh my good gracious Heavenly Father I was RIGHT.  Also, I was majorly hormonal.  But I was right!  Who gave the approval for you to turn five???

You are five and you read and you like math and can count to at least twenty-nine in three languages.  You love to do your homework, you keep asking Daddy to "teach you science," and you correct my pronunciation when I say common Japanese words.  Yeah.  Japanese.  Two weeks ago you learned to swing all by yourself, and last week you mastered the monkey bars.  (You are so proud!)  When I ask you if you would like to go to the store with me you say, "Well, Mom, I think I would prefer to go to the park.  Why don't you check your schedule?"  And then you have a good laugh, because you know full well what you just did there.


Every day you blow our minds.  I've never seen a kid your age love to draw and create with such unrelenting passion and ability.  In fact, every thing I've seen you try your hand at, you've done extremely well.  Sports, music, academics, or art - your biggest problem in life will probably be choosing which few things to pursue.  Right now, you say you want to do everything.  You want to learn everything.  You want to BE everything.  And kid, I am all for that.

I just don't understand why it has to happen so fast??

You are such an amazing kid, Lena.  You're the kind of kid that all of the people at your new school already know because you just beam light and happiness everywhere you go.  Sure, you're very emotional around us, and we have a tough time sometimes.  Okay, a lot of the time.  I may or may not have had to check with my therapist to make sure I'm not ruining you completely.  But we are learning so much from you, too, and one of the things you teach me over and over is how to project joy out into the world.  It is your most natural talent, one that you possessed even as an infant.  One that makes me wonder every day, "Where did she come from?"  Because I am absolutely sure that you are magic.

I love you, baby.

I love you forever and ever.

(Try not to grow up quite so fast?  Please?)



(Thanks to Jimmy for the photo of Lena blowing out her candles.  I swear he takes all the best shots.)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

crisis averted

I am happy to report that the nightmare is over.  If by "nightmare" we are referring to the last several months of my handbag search.

Remember, the other day, when I told you how working at Nordstrom selling handbags eight years ago ruined me?  Well, that's still true.  But it also means that I almost never buy a new bag.  Since Jimmy and I were married seven years ago, I've now bought a total of four handbags, one of which was a bag from Target that I wound up hating AND fell apart after about one week of use.

(There have also been a couple of canvas diaper bags and a few dressy clutches in the mix.  I guess I don't count those.)

Anyway, I've been needing a new bag because my previous bag was wearing out.  I've hunted everywhere, and bought and returned five other bags before discovering this bad boy last week.  Those other bags ranged from another attempt at a Target item to a handbag that cost more than an iPhone 5 at face value.  (And the subsequent guilt after making that purchase proved to me that THAT will never happen again.)

But this bag, oh, I'm so happy with it that I want to make a mix-tape for it and write notes to it in homeroom.  You guys, it came by mail today, and it is perfect.  It was more than I wanted to pay, but it is the right color, the right size, the right quality, the right style, the right everything.  The outer pockets are exactly what I need for my phone and my lip balm and parking garage tickets, it's structured enough to look nice, baggy enough to look casual, and even though it's a ridiculously flashy brand, the label is not flashy and as a bonus it droops over enough that I won't have to feel like I'm flaunting it everywhere I go.  Plus, something about the shade of brown leather and the way the rivets are fashioned reminds me a little bit of Indiana Jones.

(Why yes, I AM a giant dork.)

Also, it was, like, waaay less than half-price.  Way.  Super-duper discounted.  More than I would have preferred paying (no one wants to give me a FREE quality bag??), but under budget.

So, thank you to Bag Borrow Or Steal.  This was my first experience with them, and I'm incredibly happy.  I bought this handbag used, which is why the price was so excellent, but you could not tell from the condition of it.  There is not a mark on it.  Maybe the leather is a little bit broken in, but even that is just a guess.  Seriously:  perfection.   And I'm so happy to know I bought a well-made product at such a good price, and happy that I will not have to cry too much when one of the girls spills strawberry smoothie on it later this afternoon.

Okay.  That's enough gushing and girliness for the day.  Also, please know that Bag Borrow Or Steal did not ask me to write this post and gave me nothing in return for mentioning their name.  Also, I am a Target fan, and while their handbags and I may not get along, Target is responsible for most of my and my daughters' clothing, as well as 80% of the rest of the items you would find in our home.  No, I am in love with this bag and I am thanking BBOS all of my own accord, and it is for no other reason than this particularly happy shopping experience that I will be checking with them first the next time I'm ready to buy a bag.

Which, given my track record, will probably be in 2014.

Update:  Okay, I've had questions, so I'll tell you the name of the bag:  MARC by Marc Jacobs Preppy Faridah Hobo Handbag.  It's discontinued, or the color is discontinued, anyway I can't find a good link, which is why I didn't link to it originally.  The scarf is a cute owl-print thing from GAP, also apparently not available online.  Sorry.  But if they were new and available I most certainly would not have been able to afford them!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

what I need is music

the view from the cheap seats through my aging iPhone 4
As you probably already know, we live in Los Angeles, and our neighborhood in particular is both steeped in old film history and on the cutting edge of new movie-making.  King Kong, Gone With The Wind, and The Wizard of Oz were all filmed just off of our little main street, now in the shadow of Sony Pictures Studios, one of the five or six major studio lots in LA and the site of the former MGM Studios.

All the same, our neighborhood is also a little bit quieter than what you might expect, and daily life is the usual:  get the girls to school, clean the house, get groceries, pick up the girls, do homework, eat, baths, bed.  We take the girls to swim lessons on the weekends, we visit with friends, maybe go to church, maybe go to the park, maybe sleep in and do the Sunday crossword puzzle.

Any time we get out to do something quintessentially LA, such as going to the Hollywood Bowl this past Sunday night,  it feels like rubbing your eyes and blinking into the sun after a long nap.  A long, exhausting nap.

And I dreaded the weekend Hollywood traffic, and I dreaded the stacked parking, and I dreaded sitting outside on a hot summer-that-just-won't-quit evening.  Because sometimes I'm a moron.  Because I spend too much time doing laundry and getting groceries and running errands, and I forget what it is to get out.  I forget that Hollywood traffic isn't terrible when you're not in Hollywood every day anymore, because that way there's always something different to look at, such as the new pretty, vibrant, flower-covered bus stop benches, or the latest raw and graphic street art memes.  I forget that Jimmy has uncanny parking mojo, and can magically score a first-in-line spot even in stacked parking at a nearly sold-out show.  I forget that the Bowl is amazing, and beautiful, and that the new acoustics allow those of us sitting in the cheap seats to hear absolutely everything.  I forget what it's like to see live music with a crowd, sitting next to the boy I like, warm breezes rolling off the Hollywood Hills and onto our cheeks, a glass in each of our hands and a bottle of chilled white wine between us, the orange Harvest Moon rising right before our eyes.

I forget how complicated Joanna Newsom's music is, with long, curious, storytelling lyrics, sophisticated accompaniments, and an unabashed, nearly-inaccessible voice drawing you into a completely accessible, completely human experience.

I forget how much I love Wilco and that old Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (one of my desert island top fives) and how electrifying it can be to hear them perform almost every track live.  I forget what it's like to see an excellent and still evolving band bring their very best to an extraordinary venue packed full of happy, riveted fans, a show so good that it would be unimaginable to end it with anything less than two encores of three or four songs apiece.

I forget what it's like to be focused on good music and nothing else - not reading, not writing, not doing dishes or picking up toys or paying bills.  Not even driving the car.  Just focused on the music.

When I was in high school, my favorite escape was my bedroom floor where I would lie on my back in the lamplight and listen to music for hours at a time.  I would be so absorbed in every measure of whatever it was I needed that day, maybe it was R.E.M.'s Automatic For The People or U2's Achtung Baby,  maybe it was Over the Rhine's Eve or maybe Glenn Gould's Brahms Intermezzos, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Sundays, The Violent Femmes, that first Sarah Mclachlan album... and I wanted to live in those songs, those songs where I could breathe and think and rest and dream and process and wonder and forget and remember who I was and who I wanted to be.

Today, I don't make the time for music, not like that.  I multitask my music now, always making it background noise to some other thing.  Life is too busy.  And I worry that if I turn up the volume and lay on the floor that I'll fall asleep and wake up too late for school pickups, rushing out the door with bleary eyes and dried cheerios in my hair.

Maybe it's time to revisit that assumption.

But what we need is music and the music is inside of us and I look at you and know that I want my life to be a work of art.  
- Linford Detweiler

Monday, October 1, 2012


At last, at last it's October, and summer really should be ending. Soon. Any day, now. ...right?

Over the weekend I pulled out some Halloween decorations and I even bought a cozy long-sleeved shirt from Target this morning, but none of that can change the fact that even in West LA the temperature is in the upper 90's today. And oh, poor Jimmy, the high was supposed to be 108' where he works. THE HORROR.

Seriously. Somebody make it stop.

Well, we have a busy week ahead of us. Lena's birthday is on Saturday - an event I am barely ready for either physically or emotionally - and it looks like I'll be doing some freelance work, too. I want to tell you all about spectacular Wilco and incredible Joanna Newsom at the Hollywood Bowl last night, and to see if you have any advice for me on how to get my 4-and-361/366-year-old (it's a leap year, remember?) to sleep at night and up on time in the morning, but right now I need to start the laundry and put some birthday things away and run and get Lena from school and help her with her homework and get Evie and make their dinners. I know. Cry me a river, you say. I hear you.

Happy October. If you're enjoying fall weather, please throw on a sweater and step outside and inhale/exhale/have a mug of something hot for me, please. I hope to be joining you, soon.