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Happiness Is a Slumber Party

Last year, my daughter attended her first birthday slumber party, and she had the time of her life. For her birthday this year, she wants us to host one. I'm excited about it myself!


Last weekend, I took my daughter to her favorite tween store's post-holiday clearance sale, and we chose some party favors for her guests. (And also some cool new fashions for her, such as these boots "like Mama wears." Oh, my heart!)

The cashier at the tween store asked me if I had planned lots of activities for the party. "Nope," I said. I have absolute faith in little girls to come up with their own sweet little games and activities. No helicoptering or parental micro-managing of fun will happen under my roof! I'll set up a safe and welcoming environment, set the ground rules, give a tour of facilities and refreshments and playthings, and let them do as they please, within the guidelines (no unsupervised use of online devices, for example).

The way I see it, slumber parti…
Recent posts

Journaling for Millennia, Not Just for Millennials

Despite my best efforts to promote the call to "BE BESTIAL," it seems that one of the hottest New Year's resolutions this year is... journaling.

While that isn't a very "bestial" practice at all, it is kinda visceral if you do it by hand in a stream of disorganized consciousness. People with lives fancy enough to allow the time and space for rumination and anxiety disorders have been journaling as self-care since ancient times. As Candida Moss writes for The Daily Beast,

Apparently many wealthy, educated [ancient] Roman men struggled with feelings of anxiety. These were men who were already trying to live what we might call 'self-aware' lives: they studied philosophy, they lived in moderation, and they tried to regulate their behaviors. And yet, all the same, they would feel psychic distress. Anxiety, it turns out, is not just a modern phenomenon that only affects 'spoiled millennials;' it is actually a millennia-old condition. Roman author…

BE BESTIAL: A Mantra for 2019

Call it a resolution, a Phrase of the Year, a slogan, a motto, a mantra. Whatever. This is my battle cry, my howl, my declaration of love for the final year of this tempest-tossed decade. This is my medicine, to be taken by myself and offered to anyone else who could use the same antidote to our zeitgeist of vapid soullessness and cynical waste.


I want to get back to nature--my nature, human nature--not in the sense of rejecting vaccines and worshiping crystals pillaged mercilessly from the habitats of endangered beings but in the sense of honoring the depths of every layer of my own mammalian brain and body and those of the people-beasts all around me. I want to get back to trustworthy instincts, back to passion, back to the visceral pleasures of real life.

This year, I'm gonna be a savage, because brutal times call for brutal humor. Ain't no shame in this filthy game. The appreciation of sick jokes is associated with higher levels of education, intelligence, and emotional sta…

All I Want for Christmas Is the JOMO

Do you ever feel like the Christmas season is kind of like Calvin's toboggan? Every year, I leap forth with childlike glee and remember halfway down that this winter wonderland trail accelerates into mayhem every time.

You know what I like?

Unshopping.

Subzero-TV--no cable, no satellite, AND no digital subscriptions. I get enough screen time thanks to Trixie and Katya on YouTube. UNHhhh.

Zazen--Shikantaza style.

Religious creed: "none of the above."

No gym membership. I avoid a sedentary lifestyle the natural way--by walking everywhere I can and doing all my outside chores with crude manual tools.

Not filling up my electric car with gas. Going to gas stations and oil change places never.

Quitting stuff. Supporting my daughter in quitting stuff even when it breaks my heart a little bit. (Farewell for now, dream dojo.)

Opting out of everything I don't feel like doing, with the quiet grace of Bartleby the Scrivener--but not his gloom, don't worry.

Not fighting abou…

Just Desserts

That's what you get! Because that's all I've been able to creatively produce this week.


I started off this merry month with an 11-day stretch of working or volunteering at work, and then I spent my day off baking cookies for several of my daughter's teachers--at regular school and at the dojo.

My poor introverted heart.

After that one day of blessed baking, I went right back to the volunteering (just one more time this year) and the workweek and gave my husband a quick Wednesday birthday present (a nice Bluetooth speaker so we can blast Electric Six and Die Antwoord and BabyMetal in the kitchen while making breakfast).

Today, I fix my chipped nail polish and break out my shiny shoes and glittery accessories, because I have FIVE days in a row of holiday, triple adult birthday, and family events. This is good for me. This is good for me.

Until next time...

Skoal!

Gonna Treat Myself, Not Trash Myself, This Holiday Season

'Tis the season for treats! Shopping! Cookies! Christmas music! Hallmark movies! Gay apparel! Tinsel! Mulled wine! Eggnog drinks! The gleeful mockery of Starbucks cups!!!

'Tis also the season for health crises, family feuds, financial disasters, glittery litter, and whole parties of people falling off wagons.

So how to enjoy the flames of Yuletide without burning your whole life down?

America, I wish you knew how to CTFD. This great nation is a young culture, the adolescent child of Puritan parents, who isn't quite sure yet how to rebel against fundamentalist martyrdom without getting smashed and falling out of a third-floor window. (Aren't you ironically just as dead if you kill yourself with excess rather than deprivation?)

But I think I have mastered the art of enjoying the holidays--actually enjoying them, not using them as an excuse to drown my sorrows--by thinking of myself as pregnant.

I'm not. Let's get that out of the way. Nor do you have to be--or wa…

She Went Along, and Went Along, and Went Along

My characters have reached Miklagarth, and I have outlined the final portion of the novel.

Next, I go through my pile of research notes and add and double-check some historical details.

Next, I go through my whole 150K-ish-word first draft and dump all the ballast and rewrite it into a form suitable for sharing with other humans.

I understand from reading lots of author bios and blogs that writing a work of historical fiction is generally a multi-year process, so I feel that this manuscript is moving along at a fairly speedy clip.

Speedy enough for a journey completed on rafts and rough trails and by creeping barefoot through the woods, in rags.

Speedy--and concise--for a book written by someone who grew up on enormous journey sagas like Anna Lee Waldo's Sacajawea and Jean M. Auel's glacial Earth's Children series.

The caption of this illustration by Arthur Rackham refers to a line in the story called "Catskin," a variant of the Cinderella/Princess Mouseskin/Do…