IMG_5804 Walked to our new house after dinner last night... IMG_5829 IMG_5806 ...Stayed until the darkness evicted us. 
IMG_5828 More pictures soon. 
When there's more light 
And a lot more furniture.



It's the first time I've met her. First time I've met any of the children who belong to the house we are leaving. She's sixteen and when she introduces herself she reminds me of people I know who are older than me. She has freckles and a smile like Fable's and when I invite her to come in and sit with us, she thanks me. Because it's still our house. 

She takes a baby in her arms and follows me back to the nursery, where we sit on the floor across from one another and introduce ourselves.

Are you excited to move back?

She is.

And which will be your room?

This one.

I forget for a moment that I'm twice her age, regressing to my old habits of speech, mannerisms. I want to know where she's going to hang her Jason Priestley poster. I want to know what color she's going to paint the walls.
The day we got the call that we'd have to move out I was in the same place. I was sitting in the room with the babies, just hours after we took them home from the hospital and Hal was outside yelling at the landlord on his phone. And here we are, nine months later, Hal outside, laughing with the landlord and me, with the babies and the girl who would inhabit their room.

Her room.

We talk for a while with ankles crossed, our backs against two different walls. We talk about school and being sixteen and her favorite subjects. She tells me about her summer intern program at UCLA. About her younger sister and brother.

"I'm the oldest of three, too."

 We talk about the babies as they crawl back and forth between us.

"They're so different it's crazy."

And then her father appears, says hello and shakes my hand. He gives me the name of the man that will repaint this house, the contractor that will redo the floors. He got a great deal and maybe we'll want to hire the same team.

We do, thank you.

And then he tells his daughter it's time to go.

"It was really nice to meet you."

"It was really nice to meet you, too."

"Good luck with your move."

"Good luck with yours."
And then she hugs me goodbye and I hug her back and we're standing in her room and their room and our room and all at once, I let go. Every bit of anger and frustration I've had in this process, of losing a house I assumed would be ours for the long haul is suddenly gone.

This was supposed to happen and I'm grateful. I'm grateful that it worked out for us and and I'm grateful that it worked out for them. Grateful that my favorite room in the house will belong to her. 


Eat Well: I Bean... Seriously.

The following post was written by my mom, WWW. Thanks mom!
It’s bean time again in my garden….but this year I am deluged with them. Every day I pick at least 2 pounds of juicy and sweet green beans. I give complete credit for my success to the Burpee seed company. Back in March when I ordered my seeds, a note popped up at check-out suggesting I add a package of Burpee Bean Booster to my order. “Improve plant growth! Increase crop yield!” bragged the message. What did I have to lose? So I bought the stuff and let me tell you, it works like magic! You simply sprinkle some of the organic granules on top of the furrow as you sew your seeds, fertilize, water, and wait. In a couple of months, beyond bean bonanza! I’ve never seen so many beans.
I always plant a combination of pole and bush beans—pole beans on the north side of the bed and the bush beans in front of them. The bush beans produce first, fast and furious, and the pole beans are slower to start but bear longer. Choosing a good variety is important, too. I order my seeds from Burpee or Parks Seed. I love the good old standard Kentucky Wonder pole beans. They are stringless and huge. As for bush beans, this year I bought Beananza and Blue Lake and they both have been amazing. There are many good varieties of bush beans…just look for one that gets good reviews and is stringless. It’s a little late to plant them in many parts of the US, but in California there is still time to plant for a late season burst.

We have an abundance of beans to eat and lots to share, but I have also decided to freeze some so we can enjoy them this winter. (Many of you have encouraged me to start canning, but I haven’t ventured into that world yet. Maybe next year!) You don’t have to grow beans to freeze them. Good beans are plentiful and cheap now at farmer’s market, so you can take advantage of the summer bounty and freeze those. Freezing beans is easy and quick. The frozen beans can be briefly boiled or steamed just till hot or used in your favorite recipes.

To Freeze beans:
1. Select only the freshest green beans to freeze. I pick my beans when they are about the width of a pencil so they are tender and sweet.
2. Trim ends. (You can cut beans into pieces, but I like freezing them whole.)
3. Bring a pot of water to a rapid boil and drop beans into water. Cover.
4. Boil for 2-3 minutes.
5. Drain and immediately plunge the beans into ice water, adding more ice as the cubes melt.
6. When beans are cold (about 3 minutes), drain and pat dry.
7. Label Ziplock quart-sized bags with date of freezing. Add beans, packing tightly. Squeeze as much air as possible out of the bags and close tightly.
If you have lots of beans to freeze, boil in batches and use a slotted spoon or tongs to retrieve the cooked beans. Reusing the water several times is fine. Every night we have been alternating between my two favorite bean recipes (here and here) but it’s time to branch out and try something new. I found several recipes for tofu and Asian-style green beans in my cookbooks. Here is my version. It’s absolutely delicious over soba noodles or rice.

Wendy’s Asian-style Tofu and Green Beans 

1 ½ lb whole green beans, trimmed
1 lb crimini mushrooms, stems removed and cut into chunks
¼ 1b shiitaki mushrooms, sliced
16 whole peeled garlic cloves
1 1b firm or extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
3 T sesame oil
¼ cup Braggs liquid amino acids (or Tamari)
1 small onion, sliced thinly


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Combine beans, mushrooms, onion, tofu and garlic in a large roasting pan.
In a small bowl, mix liquid aminos and sesame oil and pour over vegetables and tofu.
Mix well, coating all ingredients.
Roast at 425 for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Vegetables and tofu should be caramelized and all liquid should be evaporated.
(If not, cook another 10-15 minutes.) Serve over rice or soba noodles.


125/100 (But really, 45)

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I posted this song the week we moved last time, a whole two years ago. It's been in my head for the last few days and I finally, upon sitting down to post a Tuesday track (a little late) realized that, duh. No wonder I've been humming, "I'll be in my treeeeeeee" for the last several days. 

It feels weird posting anything else right now so I'm going to go ahead and repost the same song I did two years and two months ago. Along with the recycled thoughts I had last time we moved
Over a sea of boxes, Hal and I wonder whether the children will remember this house. We print our names on the sides with black marker, agreeing that Archer will (likely) remember it here. The bedroom with the candle-like "flickerlies," the bathroom with two entrances, the "secret passageway" in the neighbor's palm-frond filled side-yard, the stoop we set the water table up on in the summer and how the faucet leaked.  
We agree that Fable will not. She won't remember the kitchen and where she hid her measuring spoons. She won't remember which yard the next street over harvested the most weeds for her to pick, the most rocks for her to collect and try to carry - frustrated with her own small hands. 
...And yet, no matter how much we can't wait to leave, there's a part of me pushing down on time with the weight of me. Toes trying mightily to clutch at our foundation through the heaviness of re-soled shoes. 
We were a family here first. When our children were babies. When Hal and I were strangers. When these streets of ours were new...
And even though I just copied and pasted some words from an old post into this new one, they're undeniably spot on. The exact same sentences in my fingers, just with different names.

Everything around us may be changing but everything inside us stays the same. Even when we grow up. Even when we move on. 
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125. Living in a Tree by: Priscilla Ahn via 45.


Liner Notes 6/25

Greetings from disasterville where everywhere you look, there are empty walls full of nail holes and scuffs from furniture and tear-soaked memories because I'm as allergic to nostalgia as I'm obsessed with rubbing it all over my body. If I find an old photo album, I must look at that old photo album. If I find an old journal I must read the entire contents of that old journal. If I find an old manuscript, I must read all 373 of its pages and then obsess over the many years I spent tediously editing that old manuscript.

And then suddenly it's 2am and I can hear the babies stirring in the other room and I miss everyone I've ever known and I want them all to be my friends and boyfriends and roommates again. But I don't. But I do. But I don't. But I do. But I don'tdo.
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Sing it, photo of Italian graffiti circa my 2000 summer album
My Nana was here on Saturday with her dear friend Becky because they wanted to help with the kids while we packed and also help with the kids AND pack so we made it a party.
Nana with her junior assistant, Revi L. Coconut
taking a "farting dog" break
Coincidentally, our new house resides on the same street my Nana lived on when she was a teenager so beyond its appeal as a house, there's also a deeper significance to our new address. I mean, out of all the streets in LA, right? Out of allllllll the streets.

"Hal, it's a sign!"

I say that a lot lately. I say it so much Hal rolls his eyes. He rolls his eyes and shakes his head and mocks me and ha ha very funny fuck off I love you.

Bo started standing on her own this weekend. She'll pull up and then let go like she's surfing and then she'll fall, usually on her bottom, but sometimes on her face. She had a split lip last week to prove it. A bloody mouth, bruises all over her head to match the ones Revi's been rocking for the last few daredevil months.
another day, another busted lip IMG_5500

I remember this stage with Archer and Fable, how they were always covered in bruises and how I felt the need to explain every time we went out in public how they got them, because what if somebody thinks something that isn't true! What if somebody thinks I'm a terrible mother! What if somebody _______ and ______ and _______?

I never realized how much I used to care until I stopped caring. It's liberating having four children, in a way, because "somebody" can suck it. I used to mix bottles of formula in bathroom stalls for crying out loud. Now I run around town with formula wrappers hanging out of my cleav. Because I dare you to step to this.

And naturally, because I'm no longer self conscious about all the things I used to be self conscious about, nobody does.

All but three rooms are fully packed and after dropping ten garbage bags of clothes and twelve more of "stuff we don't need", I am now down to the three garbage bags in my trunk. Full of more stuff we don't need.
What started as my mourning of every other piece of clothing has morphed into an obsession with filling more garbage bags. My closet is at half capacity right now, which means I'll be wearing the same three things for the rest of the year, but they're three things I love so What. ever, Cher Horowitz.

I bought an old chest as a coffee table yesterday and a plate for keys to place in the entryway of our new home. There's a wonderful stained glass window there and when I saw this sassy little number (below) at the flea market, I had to buy it immediately. (I bartered it down a WHOLE dollar, fyi because I'm a total shark in the negotiations department. Watch out.)
practicing first position on the coffee table/stage
Today we get the keys to our home and tomorrow we fumigate for termites and Friday I'll start moving some little things in the van in preparation for Saturday's attack.

I had originally planned for the kids to spend the weekend with friends as not to overwhelm them/us but then I realized DUH, terrible idea.
IMG_5544 IMG_5490 IMG_5543 IMG_5488
I want them here and involved in this. I want my kids to know that we're doing this move together. That they aren't only along for the ride. That this is OUR adventure. This is OUR house. And as I've learned thus far in my (albeit short) tenure as a mother of four, everyone HAS to pitch in. What I've also learned is that everyone, when given the chance, wants to. Hell, even the babies have been helping pack. (We put them in charge of CDs, matchbox cars and paper shredding.) 
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I realized last week, after driving by our new house for the zillionth time, that the ship weather vane on its roof has six sails. SIX SAILS.

One sail,
followed by two sails,
followed by three.

So (naturally) I called my mom and cried and then she called her mom and cried and then we all cried. Because that's what we do and signs, signs, everywhere signs and magic and magic signs and signs that point to magic and signs.

Because like I've written a hundred thousand times, it was Archer who made us a family.
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One Archer.
Followed by a Hal and me.
Followed by three perfect girls.


"Hal, don't you see! It's a sign! It's the signiest of all the signs in signville!"

Hal stared at the picture of the roof for several moments before handing me back my phone. And I waited for him to roll his eyes, to shake his head and mock my enthusiasm. But he didn't. He couldn't.

Instead he gave me a little nudge. And then he kissed my face.