Hello, hello! I’m happy to report that New York Times published my Tiny Victory in their Parenting newsletter this week!

I bought my daughter this super soft, adorable alpaca to take to school and help with her anxiety (you can buy one here). It’s small enough to fit in her backpack. At the end of the day, I ask her how Thorpaca’s day went (yes that’s its name), and this way I’m able to get to her to open up about her day.

Try it, it works! Good luck!

Do you have a child going back to in-person school next week? Are they too young to be vaccinated? Is your city, town, or village in the red for COVID cases? Do you feel like The Weeknd from the Superbowl halftime show when he was trapped in the box with blinking lights and a bunch of zombies wearing diamond masks and couldn’t find his way out?

If you answered yes, then rest assured, our school is implementing all sorts of protocols to ensure that your child’s transition to in-person school goes seamlessly.

Prior to sending your child to school, we are asking families to answer the Daily Screening Questions:

·       Could you, would you, in a box?*

·       Would you, could you, wearing socks?

·       Could you, would you, wash your hands?

·       Would you, could you, wear some pants?

·       Could you, would you, wear a mask?

·       Would you, could you, wear a sumo wrestler suit, ten-foot yardstick hat, or a hoop skirt à la Gone with the Wind in order to ensure social distancing protocols?

*box equipped with breathing holes

Social Distancing
In order to mitigate transmission of Covid-19, students will be expected to sit passively at their desks and listen to the teacher lecture without moving, talking, singing, laughing, or expelling cooties in any way. Children who need to be constantly reminded to socially distance will be tied to their desks. We all have to do our part to flatten the curve.

Sanitization
School staff will bleach the shit out of everything twenty times a day. As I type, I am spraying Windex into the air right meow!

Hand Washing
Regular hand washing and sanitizing will occur before/after eating and will be conducted to “Please Don’t Stand So Close To Me” by the Police.

Symptom-Free Environment
If your child is feeling a little fever coming on, then we will promptly direct them to the cafeteria to sample some of our unpleasant lunch foods. If they manage to eat their meal without vomiting, then we know they have lost all sense of taste and smell and probably have Covid.

Supplies
Please leave musical instruments at home as we will not be super-spraying Covid into the stratosphere through a brass tube anymore.

Unfortunately, we cannot let students share art supplies, so we got rid of Art Class. But now we have FART Class! That’s right, farting is an essential part of encouraging mask wearing and social distancing. Flatulence flattens the curve. Windows open, six feet apart! It’s going to be GREAT! No, the bleach has NOT gotten to me.

We simply cannot wait to welcome your child back to school. It’s going to be so fun to have live, three-dimensional humans in our classroom again! So pass those farting animals this way!

Your Principal 

Until I started digging into the poetry of Walt Whitman, I hadn’t realized that he and my son are basically the same person. Did you know that Walt ran away from school at age eleven to study typesetting and get lost in the forest?

So for Walt’s birthday a few days ago, I wrote this satire piece, and Points In Case was wise enough to publish it. Thanks, editors! Please enjoy Passages from My Nine-Year-Old’s Journal that Prove He’s Possessed by Walt Whitman’s Ghost.

New Humor Piece up at Little Old Lady Comedy

Happy 2021, er’ryone!

You have probably noticed that many schools are returning to in-person school this week. As a teacher, I have an “inside” view on the transition intel, and I can tell you this is a very messy, challenging, confusing, brain-breaking, and downright frightening experience for teachers and administrators. Teachers are NOT getting paid extra for all the additional hours they are putting in to figure out how to transition to in-person learning, not to mention the medical bills we are all incurring due to the stress.

Since the COVID pandemic, I have begun to write satire because it allows me to talk about difficult subjects in a palatable way. That is how this piece, inspired by our school district’s transition to in-person learning, was published yesterday at Little Old Lady Comedy.

THANK YOU to our teachers and administrators on the frontline, who are sacrificing the health and safety of themselves and their families in order to be with their students in-person. And thank YOU for reading!

Please enjoy my latest comedy piece, Lakeside Elementary Invites You Back To In-Person School!

Something stinky is goin’ down in the Prose Garden.

Maybe it’s the over-abundance of earthworms in dung-enriched soil, or pretentious hyphens.

Maybe you’re taking a dump as you read this. (Yeah, you. I see you.)

Maybe it’s that love is like manure: you have to spread it around so that things can grow.

Speaking of love, we celebrate nine years of wedded matrimony today. Fun fact: did you know that the word for wife in Spanish—esposa—is also the word for handcuffs?

As they say, life is like a garden bed—you never know what you’re gonna get. Unless he builds it like a brick shit house with dank soil and a kwaanza hut roof, then you’re stylin’. Thanks, babydoll.

I ended up with a guy who only knows how to build big fires. Who won’t relax unless he’s asleep. Who tells the best stories in too loud a voice from talking over engines his whole life. Who builds it tough or not at all. Who believes that real work is with your hands, and that they don’t make ‘em like they used to.

Nine years ago I left a good job in California & moved back to Alaska to be with this guy, this third generation Alaskan fisherman whose curly hair is as unruly as his personality. The day after I moved back to Alaska I got pregnant, and within the year I gave birth to my son, bought a house, got married, and started a business. My husband jokes that if I could, I would sleep in a coma for a year.

Basically as soon as I moved in with my boyfriend, I have been pregnant or with children. And as you parentals know, Married…with Children means mess and poop. Every iterations of shit you can imagine.

Don’t get me wrong—I ADORE my kids. As a friend once put it, having children is sort of like having an affair. The hubs gets knocked to the side (sometimes out of the bed) so you can snuggle and dote on your progeny. Hubs is replaced.

Marriage… with kids is stinky. It’s messy and effing hard, even when you have everything in common with your partner, or so I’m told. Ain’t no happily ever after—get that fairy tale shit outta your head.

It’s about trade-offs, sort of like balancing playdates and sanity with the odds of contracting Coronavirus. Do you want someone to bitch at every night after a day of work? Do you want them to bitch at you? Trade-off. Do you want to have someone watch your children for a day even if it means you might kill Grandma? Trade-off. Simple cost-reward analysis.

It’s taking a leap of faith & wondering the answer to what if. It’s jumping full throttle into a volcano & hoping it spits you out without too many gray hairs. It’s rolling with the punches, unless he actually does punch you, in which case contact your local shelter and get the fuck out.

You may have noticed that I have been throwing a few more f-bombs than normal. Honestly, how can you talk about the joys of wedded bliss during Quarantine without swearing?

You may have also noticed that this post has no point. Other than to say “look honey, I finally posted something on Facebook for our anniversary!”

So there you go, darling. A no-cheese anniversary post and testament to our love. We were crazy then and we’re probably more crazy now, except this time crazy doesn’t include hot motorcycle rides, reggae concerts, and copious amounts of [fill in the blank].

And that’s okay. I still love you.

XO,

Summer

photo by Fera Photography

One out of seven jobless, Venezuela size statistics,
but the Tongass is alive, listen—
 
the wilderness so thick, I could lean into this.
No helicopters to spoil, and there’s a 
part of me
 
that likes to do hard things— like fool 
myself
into jumping off this cliff sixty feet
 
into the drink, blue like a California sunset
reflected in a rear view mirror.
 
Hear the birds—  if they were words
they’d say gimme this, gimme that
 
so & so started it, and I don’t want you to die.
Word to your bird baby mama.
 
Oh wild wilderness, why do I love you
so fierce? Is it because I relinquish 
control,
 
is it because you show up in a flooded
beaver dam pool where you can’t tell
 
where the tree ends and its mirror 
begins—
the spider web that clings when you 
least expect it,
 
nurse log kind of love.
If it ain’t a good day I’m cryin’,
 
laughin’ and cryin’ at the same time,
inhaler in my pocket,
 
mask I’m rockin’
‘cause it’s not about me
 
this time— no one lives forever.
A girl cries every night,
 
she don’t want mama to die,
but I don’t wanna let it go yet
 
‘cause there’s still a part of me
that likes to do hard things.
 

This year Tidal Echoes, founded by University of Alaska Southeast, virtually launched their annual showcase of literature and the art. For their first Author Poetry Reading, the magazine asked me to read my poem, “Letter to the Universe,” a poem for girls everywhere. Diane DeSloover also reads her poem about the first time she watched Gigi Monroe perform.

Watch the video here: http://www.uas.alaska.edu/arts_sciences/humanities/tidalechoes/index.html

Everything happens in threes. Last fall my grandmother passed away. A month ago my husband’s father died. I always wondered who’s going to be the third? And then coronavirus happened.

So much grief.

We don’t know anyone personally who has passed from the coronavirus. We live in Juneau Alaska where so far only 10 people have reported contracting the illness.

Still, my five-year-old is having a moment. She keeps telling me she doesn’t want me to die, then dissolving into tears. During bedtime prayers she says please don’t let us die from the coronavirus. In a modern day rendition of ring-around-the-rosy my kids play “I live you die.”

I don’t know where she got this whole death thing. Maybe it’s because she wouldn’t stop licking handrails, so I explained what could happen if mommy got this thing. (Because of my asthma I am high-risk.) Now I don’t take her out into public at all.

It seemed like nothing would stop my daughter from crying. Until she picked up a piece of paper and a pen and wrote “dear Mom, I’m sorry you died.” Then she drew pictures on it.

Now she’s dancing around the room singing. She processed her feelings with the art, took them out of her body and put them on paper. This is how powerful art can be.

I’ve been writing poetry and journaling a lot lately. It helps me process my emotions in a world turned upside down. Making art is my savior. Whatever you can do—writing or journaling or poetry or songwriting, or dancing, painting, beading, crocheting—do it.

Keep creating, everyone! And wash your hands.

Xo.

Photo by Mr. Tt on Unsplash