Track 13/100

I've heard this song a hundred thousand times but it still makes me cry and watching Karen Peris perform it completely tips me over. I figured this song was appropriate given some of my latest posts and also because The Innocence Mission's Now the Day is Over has played softly on repeat pretty much every night since Fable's birth. Archer's too. (Me thinks that Peris' voice is the equivalent of sugarplums for the sleeping pysche.)

Also, I love these words:

Waiting at the airport on my suitcase,
a girl traveling from Spain became my sudden friend,
though I did not learn her name.
And when the subway dimmed
a stranger lit my way.
This is the brotherhood of man.

I was lucky enough to travel quite a bit during my single girl days and always the most memorable moments of my adventures were those spent with strangers between start and finish lines. At bus stops and airports, slumped across the benches of train stations in the middle of nowhere. Those were some of the only times I felt like regardless of politics or class or race or circumstance, we were all in this together. Because when the flight was cancelled and the train never came? We absolutely were.


13. The Innocence Mission - Brotherhood of Man

The Sisterhood of Girls

I was always petrified of what it would mean to raise a girl, to see her become a woman - afraid I might fail her, set a poor example, love her in a way that was half-assed, harm her with my own insecurities, resent her. I preferred boys to girls since kindergarten years when the worst a boy could do was give me cooties. Meanwhile little girls...

So when during my first pregnancy, the ultrasound tech said I was having a boy, Archer, I cried. First, out of joy and then, relief that I could do this. I could be a great boy's mother. I had done it before.

With Fable I wasn't so sure.

... ... ...

She pulls herself up on the couch where I lay panting - my jeans unbuttoned and rolled at the waist, belly exposed. It's a thousand degrees and Fable is still damp from face-planting in the dog's water bowl.

"Hi," she says before falling hard into my belly.

"Kiss?" I ask.

"Mmmmm," she sings, bringing her lips to mine before clapping. We clap together. And then without prompting her, she makes the "mmmm" sound again and leans in. She pulls away and tilts her head, looks up and I think, for this moment that I must be the most loved human in the land.

She pulls away slowly, her eyes flickering open, smiles and points, squints her nose and starts clapping again.

Her happiness is palpable. Sometimes it even stings.

... ... ...

Fable turns one next Friday so naturally nostalgia has found me. I've spent much of my time this past week reading through a year's worth of blog entries, a first for me.

I usually hate reading what I've written. I've never even read my book all the way through. It's too hard to find weaknesses in yesterday's reflection. But scanning through the past twelve months I found myself in completely new territory - I found myself enjoying what I read instead of cringing, cowering, punching myself in the gut repeatedly for being such an asshole. I was inspired and in love and confident!

It sort of felt like I reading myself grow up. Embrace the wonder and badassery that is woman.

... ... ...

"Coming Fable," I call from the end of the hall. "One second!"

She is crying for me and I'm on the toilet. I left her in the other room to play with her stacking cups so I could pee in peace but she doesn't understand "peace." All she knows is to cry when she turns around and I'm not there.

The pat, pat, pat of her knees on the hardwood gets progressively louder until her face appears around the corner. She found me. Her face says, "phew!" before crawling straight to me, giggling hysterically, punch-drunk from little sleep, pat, pat, pat...

She holds her arms open and widens her eyes.

"I'm almost done, I know. I know."

I wipe, flush and wash my hands as she slaps my ankles with hands brown from dirty floors."

I pick her up and she wraps her hands around my neck like we've been apart for a thousand years, doesn't let go.

Over the years I've had equally as many negative experiences with women as I did girls as a child: partnerships that faltered, identities foiled, threats and hate-mail from friends that were, a thousand lessons learned on the kinds of women I ought to surround myself with. I was always afraid of girls and now I understand why. I've spent much of my life attracted to the wrong ones.

I'm not afraid of women nor ashamed as I once was by my femininity. I'm slowly, carefully, finding my people. Surrounding myself with women who inspire, guide, elevate. No use spending time with people who don't.

Fable taught me that one.

I'm not overwhelmed by the prospect of guiding my daughter. I look forward to sharing with her my weaknesses so that she can build her own strengths. Of empowering her and myself in the process, taking pride in my femininity and helping her cultivate and respect hers.

I am proud of the woman she has made me. Thank heaven for little girls.

I assumed that mothering Fable would change my perspective, perception, livelihood, but I hadn't expected that giving birth to a daughter would help me find my worth as a woman.

Cue Spice Girls.


Track 12/100

If you haven't already noticed, I'm a huge fan of La Blogotheque. It's my favorite website on the Internet for sure, features the greatest bands worldwide and does so with the kind of joie de vivre and timeless, quirky elegance that inspires happy thoughts and instills a sort of faith in humanity.

Music has always been performance based and yet, somehow the street musician has been lost at see. He gets stepped over with yesterday's news because he performs "for free" and therefor is seen by the majority as worthless.

Years ago I wrote a (quite unpublished) novel about a street musician and spent much of my single life researching street performers and wishing I were brave enough to join them. I don't think there is a more honest profession in all the world as the man or woman who sings for his or her supper - who plants sound and poetry in moments that might otherwise be mundane, exhausted, hopeless. La Blogotheque celebrates the moment that is music. The tripping, strumming, singing, patting, dancing, swaying, smiling, kicking, we're-all-in-this-life-together moment.

12. Andrew Bird - Spare-Ohs


away she goes as our heads turn sharply to the side


After the Ferris Wheel

"No, Mommy, I want to go on the Ferris Wheel by myself," he says.
"But you can't. You're too small."
I point to the sign:
Archer blinks at the letters on the wooden clown's polka-dotted sleeve.
"Fine," he says, taking my hand reluctantly. "You can come, too."

I climb the creaky steel ladder, hold onto the railing as he pulls me fearlessly, over cords and cracks in the platform, past the Ferris Wheel operator's chubby hands caked with dirt, reaching to block Archer so he doesn't cross the line of twisted duct tape faded red.

"Wait, son. Not yet. You have to stand behind the line."

"Listen to the Ferris Wheel boss," I say.

Archer kicks the line with his new shoe. Elbows the sides of the railing, pulls at me with sweaty hands.

"I don't like waiting," he whispers.

"Most people don't," I whisper back.

The Ferris Wheel turns above us, a clock with numbered baskets one through twelve. It ticks and tocks and creaks and shakes and children laugh and couples snuggle and a man in a faded baseball cap sits alone.

This is what life looks like, I think, watching behind sunglasses as faces twist and smile and frown and squint against the sun. This is what living feels like, I think as I watch children extend their hands, comb freedom with their fingers, high-five the sky. There are those who cling to safety bars, turn their faces from the view on high.

I used to relate most to the children but recently things have changed.

It can be scary to look down when you understand what it means to fall.

But Archer doesn't. He just wants to ride.

His eyes widen as the Ferris Wheel slows and then stops.

Two children step out of their car and run down the ramp into their parent's arms. They're big enough to ride alone. And more than likely, this time next year Archer will be too.

I squeeze his hand.

"Don't!" he says.

"What? I can't hold your hand?"

I reach for it again.

"Stop it!"

"Okay, sorry. Fine."


We climb into our car and the attendant pulls the safety bar over our laps. Archer tries to pull it off, grimaces.

"No way. You can only ride if you wear a seat belt to keep you safe. So you don't fall out. See?"

I point to the big block letters on the side of the car:
"This right here is the most important rule of all."

Archer can't read but he trusts that I am telling the truth. He traces his fingers over the letters until our box lurches forward, drifts backwards and raises slowly up, up, up and into the sky.

"Here we go!"

"Look at all the buildings, Mommy! Look at all the cars."

We put our hands in the sky and go around and around and around, like time.

My stomach churns in a way that reminds me I am adult. Even with my hands in the air. Even though I still say "whee!" as we go over the falls and down. Meanwhile Archer squints and shouts and throws his arms up, kicks his feet so that our car sways and tips and I hold on to him not because I'm afraid he's going to fall but because I need reinforcement.

Because he makes me feel safe.

The Ferris Wheel slows and then stops. Our turn to disembark so we do. And before I realize what has happened, he is gone. One hundred feet in front of me at least. He's running away.

"Wait! Stop!"

But he doesn't hear me. I panic. How could he possibly know how to find his way back all by himself? There's no way.

Recently I asked Archer if I could read him Runaway Bunny.

"NO! I don't like that book," he said. "The mommy is so mean."

"What! No! The mommy isn't mean. She wants her baby to feel safe - to know that she is there for him. She wants to protect him, make him the happiest little bunny in the garden!"

But Archer shook his head, pointed to the baby bunny with sails for ears, the mother bunny blowing wind.

"See? She's chasing him. She's trying to trap him," he said.

I think of this conversation suddenly as I'm darting after Archer, calling his name.

"Slow down! Wait for me! You need to hold my hand in crowds! STOP, ARCHER! STOP! You have to wait..."

But he knows where he's going. He darts through the the crowd like a cat, his green shirt flashing behind booths sponsored by Yogurt and stands selling Nescafe Frappes, past the Greek dancers, up the concrete steps and into the arms of his father.

"... for me."

I'm out of breath when I arrive, my head cloudy with a chance of epiphanies.

"See, mommy?" Archer says. "I can do it by myself now."



How we got Fable to sleep through the night. Finally.

...the problem wasn't that Fable sucked at sleeping. It was that we sucked at getting her to sleep...
More, here.

Track 11/100

Me thinks The Delgados were/are one of the most underrated bands of all time. It's too bad they closed shop in 2005. Bummer.

11. Coming in From the Cold by The Delgados


What are you on?

I'll be honest. I SUCK at birth control. I spent my entire teens and early twenties on a pill I forgot to take half the time. My experience with condoms has been awful. I don't know what this says about my vagina, but they ALWAYS used to break on me. Er, in me. Sorry TMI but I feel like we should be able to talk about these things:

So tell me... What's your favorite method of contraception? And P.S., The "pull-out-and-pray" method doesn't count. Because it doesn't work.

At all.

Hi, Archer!


She & Him

she is...

a sparkle

a rainbow

a laugh.


a sage

a cloud

a whisper.


they are...

left and right.
night and day.
love and love.


Ask me About my Weaner

portrait of a lactating woman on a toilet, beside a glass of breast milk, milked by hand because I am an idiot and forgot my pump at home thus had to manually squeeze my boobs every few hours over drinking glasses to keep from engorging to death in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, June 2009.

It had been two days since I'd nursed her. The longest I'd gone without producing milk in the eleven months since Fable was born. I woke up next to my friend after a weekend of hot girl-on-girl action reunion-ing (ed: High School Reunions are probably the worst idea of all time. And no I will not elaborate) with a crazy case of Rocks-in-Socks aka engorgement.

"Fuck, I'm engorged."

"That's what he said!"

I squeezed a little milk out into my not-so-nursing bra before dressing and hightailing it home to Fable for relief and cuddles.

That was Sunday morning. Since then I have nursed Fable two times but only as a way to comfort her from crying. My left breast has completely dried up and my right is days away from the same fate.

After nursing for more than eleven months, I'm now weeks (if not days!) away from the end* of my nursing career which makes me teary and giddy at the same time. does this picture

When I decided to wean Fable at nine-months, I had no idea how difficult the task. My nursing experience with Archer was non-existent and what milk I did produce through pumping only maintained for the first month before drying up completely after six weeks of struggle and bloody nipples.

With Fable I have been heroic in my fortitude, an ambitious nurser who has done everything in my power to make broken boobs get out of their wheelchairs and walk again toward the light. (If you're new to this blog you can read more about my journey breastfeeding after two breast reductions here, here, here and here.)

you the mom, girlfriend!

I figured weaning would come naturally. I'd nurse a little less every day until one day: nada mas. But some days I lost track of my nursing schedule and some days I wanted to nurse more than I did the day before and some nights Fable slept three hours instead of two so my nursing was all over the place. Which is why it took me ten weeks (and two bouts of mastitis. Yuck) to get to where I am today: a weaner with a dry-as-a-bone left boob and an occasionally rocky right teet.

As for Fable, she's adjusted fine to weaning-life and my milk duds. She's way more interested in peaches and tomatoes, anyway.

Woo! Peaches and Tomatoes WOO!

I'm going to miss nursing. Looking down at my sweet baby as she pulls and smiles and reaches for my face with her chubby hands. I'll miss watching her eyes roll back in her head, her coos and moans. I'll miss the way she sometimes falls asleep mid-suck, mouth open, her lips still moving, sucking on air.

But I won't miss waking up engorged after a girl weekend or shoving toilet paper down my dress in an opera house or milking my teets over an open toilet in the ladies room.

I most definitely won't miss that.


When did you know it was time to wean your baby? How old was your baby when you weaned? Any advice for weaning mothers to aid in discomfort and/or hormonal changes?

Any particularly good weaner stories?


*unless we have another baby someday which is possible but, like, five years from now AT LEAST.

Track 10/100

Today is my ten-year anniversary living in Los Angeles, a city plagued by associations with fake boobs and cocaine cowboys, casting couches and Charles Bukowski, smog and deception. It's taken me many years to pull my head out of the masses' judgment and see this city with my own eyes.

And now? I can't stop staring.

Happy Anniversary, Los Angeles: mecca of dreamers, land of many signs and stories come true.


10. Hooray for Hollywood: Performed by Frances Langford, Johnnie Davis, Dick Powell and Benny Goodman, circa 1937.

Sunday Snaps

1. Ten years since we'd been together
as a girl group. Ten years since
I've felt like I was a part of one.

2. The party was never as fun as the time
we spent getting ready together. Makeup out
and irons hot and bottle caps all over the floor...

3. ... so we kicked off our shoes and laughed on beds
covered in dresses strewn and unpacked overnight bags.
"Remember when you, I can't believe we used to, those were the days..."

4. ...Meanwhile, back at the ranch:
Archer attended his first symphony (with my parents)
And Fable slept through the night* for the very first time.

Fable FTW!

5. In the morning we all said goodbye.
Flew off on airplanes, drove away in cars.
Hungover, we sent text messages. Emailed photos.
Thanks for the memories, good oldies, old goodies, you.



*twelve hours she slept all by herself! A world record BY FAR! Maybe I should sleep away more often? Also, THANK YOU GOD AHHHHHHH!!!!

**UPDATED: Last night Fable slept through the night AGAIN! Two nights in a row, people! Wooooooo!

Month (Chapter) Eleven: Little Woman

Oh, brother.

Eleven was a rough month. A wonderful month but also a difficult one. Little sleep. Many teeth*. Much crying from all parties as we paced the living room pushing strollers, rocking Fable in the wee hours before dawn. On the positive, with new teeth have come new words (dada, hi, ball, book) and a collection of perfectly-crafted torn-from-a-storybook moments:

*music credit: Lady on the Water by: Blitzen Trapper

In the words of Archer, "Happy birthday-in-one-month-from-today to you, Fabes."

cumulus cloud thigh, Brava.



*more on teething, including exceptional advice from readers, here.

Track 8/100, 9/100

My little brother introduced me to this band last year. Once upon a time it was me introducing him to music, burning him CDs, filling his ears with the sounds of my favorite bands. Lucky for me, the sibling has become the teacher.

Miss you, David. Love.

8. Okay: KaiserCartel
9. Oh No: KaiserCartel