Scene From That Night I Went Upstairs with a Young Chris McDaniel During A Frat Party

For reference:

So this is your room, huh? Nice. I like it. Very neat. I could probably bounce a quarter off those sheets, ha ha. No, no just a joke. I like your flag. Very Sam Eagle, all of it. Cool Scarface poster. Oh, you want to sit down? That’s cool. I’ll just sit right here on the bed. Should I use a coaster under this or–thanks. Can I flip through your CDs? Oh – you want to make out for awhile? Sure, sure. You’re right it is hot in here. I am better without my top on, thanks! Oh – one thing before we get started – I’m not on birth control. Yeah, well, it’s like $50 a month out of pocket and I am on a student budget…I guess maybe when I get married I can split it with my husband, but for now, it’s just me! I typically ask the guys I sleep with to contribute, if I’m in a relationship I just send a Venmo request once a month. I call it Pay to Play, ha ha. But sometimes they argue they shouldn’t have to pay if they didn’t get enough sex that month, so it gets tricky. Then I started figuring out, like, the “cost-per-bone” in advance, kind of like a vagina admission fee, before I just quit altogether. So condoms it is! You don’t mind, right? I’m sure that’s what kids these days are switching to now anyway. All condoms, all the time. That’s what you guys wanted, right? You must be super pumped! I mean, I brought some, but do you have some too? Whose should we use? We could switch off, I guess. Do you want me to start a spreadsheet so we can keep track? Oh you know what – mine is expired. I got it from Planned Parenthood so I guess that tells you how old it is! Do you think it still works?

I mean, I guess if you wanted we could try the “Rhythm Method.” I’ve done some reading, I think I could figure it out. Question though: if I make a mistake and end up pregnant, is it totally my fault or just half my fault? Do you still have to pay child support? Maybe you should just come check my cervical mucus with me and tell me if you think it looks like egg white or not. Or would that totally kill the mood? No, no I get it. You could feel my cervix instead if you – no? Oh ok. It’s no big deal, right? We’ll just take our chances. You look smart, you could probably support a kid or two right now! Ooh, hey, can I borrow this Nickelback CD?

Look, I know what you’re probably thinking now, and you’re right. We definitely shouldn’t be having premarital sex anyway. I really admire your principals. I totally agree – I’ll get dressed now. Thanks for helping me through that weak moment. We should totally go remind everyone else downstairs too. Maybe even go to a few more parties, hit the streets when the clubs get out at 2:00. No sex for anyone, ha ha! I’m sure they’ll agree. Can you hand me my underwear? Thanks!

Quick question though – I mean, I’m sure all 107 million-plus unmarried adults in America won’t have a problem being celibate – I mean, look at you and your friends! You’re all doing awesome! I’m sure you’ll TOTALLY all stay celibate until marriage, just like me and all my friends! But when we DO get married, can we use birth control then? Married guys like condoms right? Unless you’re super fancy and can afford birth control out of pocket…oh excuse me while I take my diamond pillbox out of my gold purse, lol. They probably just take their chances with NFP though; married people can have all the kids they want and no one cares! I’m sure my body can handle a ton of pregnancies, I’m pretty strong. As long as I don’t need back to back c-sections. I mean there’s only so many times they can saw through your abdominal wall, amirite? It’s cool though, I know back in the day lots of couples just went cold turkey after the first couple kids – I mean, it was like a whole subplot in Gone With the Wind and everything. If Ashley can do it, anyone can do it! He’s such a guy’s guy. Oh it’s just this movie that – actually, you probably shouldn’t see it, things don’t go so well for Mississippi.

Anyway, I don’t mean to scare you off with all this marriage talk, I’m totally not one of those girls. Unless you…no? Ok. So anyway, yeah. Thanks for the pep talk – I am officially “Closed for Business.” I’ll spread the word back at the sorority house too. With any luck, soon it will be lights out for pretty much everyone! Wow…I’m almost jealous. You’re going to be super popular for kicking this off. Good times ahead for sure. I’m so glad you and your friends were around to talk some sense into everyone. We’ll probably get a lot more done with sex just totally off the table. Maybe we’ll finally figure out this whole “Israel” thing, or come up with a viable replacement for the Affordable Care Act! That’s what you want, right? Well, if you change your mind, let us know. Just send maybe like, I don’t know, 4.6 million guys should do it. Send them over – they can walk, it’s not that far. Ok then! So like, should I put my number in your phone, or do you want – oh yeah, that’s right Jeff is dating Macie’s roommate, and she and I have a class together, so…yeah, you know where to find me!

Is this just fantasy?

About a week ago, Eric’s Biological Gadget Receptor¹, or possibly his New Project Induction Enzyme² alerted him to the fact that he hadn’t bought anything that requires electricity in several weeks and he decided that, after six years of Keurig ownership, we needed to stop cramming landfills with K-cups and go back to a good, old-fashioned coffee pot. I was promptly emailed a link to a good, old-fashioned coffee pot³ to purchase, and, through the magic of Amazon Prime, it arrived on our doorstep two days later. Continue reading “Is this just fantasy?”

Meal Prep Step 2: Menu Planning

Menu PlanningThe second step to prepping your meals is…menu planning!

I try to plan my menus about once a week. I sit down with my planner or the calendar on my phone and look at our schedule for the week. I usually only plan about five meals because I know that on the weekend we tend to see friends and family or order out, and there’s usually at least one other night a week where cooking just doesn’t happen. I also try to include a variety of protein in our meals, including seafood at least once and one meatless meal. I really only plan dinners since we have mostly the same things for breakfast and lunch. Continue reading “Meal Prep Step 2: Menu Planning”


It was sometime last night between 8, when we started trying to get Joanna to fall asleep in the Pack ‘n’ Play in her cousin Sophie’s room, and 10, when she finally fell asleep and I could get up off the floor and stop singing Disney and Nick Jr. songs, that I made my resolution. It just came over me in a wave, while I sat there with my phone in one hand, scrolling through all my different social media accounts and watching the old year roll over into the new. Watching the women I follow use the same words over and over: “goals,” “resolutions,” “action,” “fears,” “excitement,” “challenges.” I felt like a kid with her face pressed to the glass window of a candy shop. Their photos were so glossy. Their art was so beautiful. Their brands were so polished. They were so confident. In reality, I had my face pressed to the carpet and I was singing the same line of a Wallykazam! song over and over because I’d run through my retinue of showtunes and had nothing left. I have a blog I never blog on, a house I don’t decorate, clothes I don’t wear, plans I don’t plan. And at the same time, these women don’t have anything I don’t have. I am literally standing in my own way.

All the cliches washed over me at once. I had cliches about my cliches – a lightbulb moment about letting it go, an epiphany about staring fear in the face to do the thing I could not do. What would I do if I knew I could not fail? I finally feel ready to find out the answer.

I’ve done it before – been afraid, and pushed through it. Shed my insecurities and trusted myself. But it feels like a really, really long time since I was that brave. I miss that. I miss surprising myself instead of being so predictable. Which is why I never make resolutions. I know myself too well. I know I won’t keep them. I don’t even remember the last time I even thought about making a resolution. Talk about self-fulfilling prophecies , setting yourself up to fail, and self-doubt. I must be fun at parties.

So this year, I’m making them. I’m making ALL THE RESOLUTIONS. Because why not? Go big or go home, right? The more I make, the more chances I have to keep them.

I was reading something today about not making grand resolutions and instead breaking them down into smaller action items. You know what? Screw that. I have grand plans. I want to write a book. I want to blog. I want a puppy. I want so many things for myself and my family. And if I read this one year from now and I’m no closer to any of those goals, I’m not going to be embarrassed. Because this year, I’m not going to not try because I’m afraid of what might happen, or what people might think. Because honestly, I don’t think I’m afraid of what people will think if I don’t try – I’m afraid of what they might think if I DO. Like my ambitions will somehow infringe on their personal space. I keep ruminating on my cousin Christina’s words at my Nana’s Irish wake, that Nana had high standards for herself and everyone else, and that was ok. I am just like her. I, too, have high standards – the difference is, I’m not holding myself to them. I’m letting myself get by on good enough. And I’m worth more than that.

So this post is going to be my vision board. My touchstone that I can come back to when I’m losing my way. Like so many of the women on my social media feed, I am choosing a word for 2016, a personal mantra. My word is fearful.

Being fearful does not make me weak. Without fear, we can’t be brave. I am fearful – I am full of fear. I am full of strength to overcome those fears. Google has two definitions for fearful, and the second is “very great.” When David said that he was “fearfully’ made, he was saying he was made by a person of whom he stood in awe. I am fearful, and I am awesome. 

So where will I get my inspiration? From my social media feed, yes. From The Reset Girl and her goal-setters club, because it’s never too late to reset my life. From Lara Casey and her Power Sheets. From Ira Glass*, Ted Talks, and my daughter Klara, who stands in front of our full-length mirror and marvels with glee over how big her butt is getting, because she hasn’t yet learned that girls are supposed to be ashamed. From Elsa, who I hear every day reminding me: “I don’t care what they’re going to say. Let it go.” From Glennon Doyle Melton, a fellow warrior, and Jessica Kirkland, who taught me my new favorite phrase: “As for my girls, I’ll raise them to think they breathe fire.” From Dean Sanderson on “The Grinder,” who has given me a new way to answer every fear that pops unbidden into my brain: “You can’t write about that, no one’s going to care.”  But what if they do? “You can’t do that” But what if I could? From the Disney songs I sing Joey to sleep with: because dammit, if I keep on believing, the dream that I wish will come true.

I’m tired of not writing on here because it doesn’t have a consistent tone, or theme, or message. I like writing, so I’m going to write. The rest will follow.  I wrote this, and I’m posting it, and I’m proud of it, and now I’m going to bed, because my first resolution is to get more sleep.


*It’s worth hearing him say it in his own voice.



My Nana



On the way into Nana’s funeral today a lady who knew her from church stopped me to say what a lovely woman she had been…and always so well dressed! What she closed with hit the nail on the head: They don’t make them like her anymore. Nana never wore pants a day in her life, and wore heels until she could no longer walk, despite crippling arthritis. Born a DeFransisco, no one had more Irish pride – or made a better spaghetti sauce. She liked her seltzer ice cold, her soup boiling hot – or it got sent back – and her French fries “cremated.” She tried to order medium-rare hamburgers at McDonald’s. Continue reading “My Nana”

Someone Throw Me a Bubble

Remember swim lessons at the Y? Of course you do. Everyone took swim lessons at the Y. Remember the smell when you walked in, the mix of chlorine and sweaty basketball pinnies? The echoey sound in the indoor pool area? The NO RUNNING and NO DIVING IN SHALLOW END signs everywhere? The kids who seemed like they lived there and were BFFs with all the instructors but you knew it was just because they were there all the time because their parents WORKED (i.e. didn’t love them) so they had to go to after school care or camp?  Remember trying to find the newest looking bubble, or when you could finally swim without one? Sometimes if you whined enough your mom let you get something out of the vending machine in the lobby. Remember standing on a bench to dry your hair under the hand dryers?

Since we moved to our new house, our girls have started swim lessons at the same Y where their dad, uncles and grandfather learned to swim, which is kind of cool.  This is the first time for Joey, and Klara’s first “big girl” lessons where she goes in the pool WITHOUT MOMMY. Since Daddy wants no part of this (why is it never the dads doing this stuff? OK I know there are more dads doing this now, but it was NEVER the dads growing up, and it’s never OUR husbands doing it. It’s always someone else’s husband) I had to schedule the lessons back to back and pray that Klara could be convinced to sit still long enough for me to take Joey in for her lesson and not get asked to leave for RUNNING or DIVING IN THE SHALLOW END or CRYING EXCESSIVELY.

Continue reading “Someone Throw Me a Bubble”