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Grace and Taxes

Today I spent hours on the phone with the IRS while in desperate need of a super-rare hamburger—and, yes, that’s a euphemism for my period and the attendant horrible no-good cramps. I’m not sure why I bother to euphemize  menstruation-related matters anymore, and, yes, pretend “euphemize” is a word BECAUSE IT BLOODY WELL SHOULD BE.

See what I did there?

Well. The agent was beautifully human with my financially disordered self, and after we arrived at an arrangement that drew less blood than I’d feared, I had an impromptu americano with a friend in the pretty late-afternoon sun. Now I’m putting together a midweek cod-potato-kale casserole to roast in the cast-iron. Permakitten is weaving between my legs mewing companionably and we’re both watching the sun set from my kitchen window, apricot and rose and indigo, deeper and deeper indigo. I’m wearing a velvet robe for the first time this fall and considering a glass of wine and it’s dawning on me: This is middle-age, isn’t it? Equally harrowing and cozy, with the good grace to register all graces, big and small.
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Ahoy Maties Cod-Kale-Potato Cast-Iron Casserole.
(I made up this recipe so I guess it’s my prerogative to give it a goofy title.)
Very thinly slice potatoes and toss with thyme, sea salt, olive oil. Arrange on cast iron pan, and roast for 30 min at 425 F. Meanwhile pull cod out of fridge so it comes to room temperature and prep with salt, pepper, herbs. (Tonight I liked chopped parsley and thyme.) Pull out cast iron and top potatoes with a layer of thinly chopped kale tossed with olive oil and lemon and then layer cod filets on top of that. Roast approximately 12 min, let cool for another 5, and voila! Serve with wine, hot sauce, afghans.

Dreams of a Metaphysical Detective

As I write this my head hurts, my stomach hurts, my heart hurts. This is because my period is due to arrive this morning like the fusillade of bricks that is menstruation when you are 48 years old.

Rest assured that as rough as PMS can be when you’re 18–and I remember it as a wicked pissah–it’s a billion times worse 30 years later, as if your menstruating self refuses to go out without a bang. This is something women don’t really talk about because there’s so much shame around menopause and getting older in general.

Anyway, the pain is so bad that I can’t work on my book today. But rarely does PMS fabricate anything wholecloth and so the truth is I’ve been feeling stuck for such a long time that part of me thinks I should scrap the entire book endeavor and find a line of work that, you know, actually pays. The problem: What exactly would that be for a woman rounding the corner to 50 who’s only word-played for a living? Not to mention that, even in dark stretches like this one, I remain convinced there’s a reason besides solipsism to share my story.

Also the universe keeps trying to redirect my hazy, lazy self.

Continue Reading →

Fool on Tap

Don’t Look Now, it’s elementary school Liser

Like many oddbot children, I spent my formative years absolutely convinced I was meant to be a superstar. I considered myself a quadruple threat–writer, actor, dancer, singer.

Dancing was the first category to go. Mind you, it wasn’t by choice. I spent most of first and second grade leaping, twirling, and boogying through grocery aisles, playgrounds, the living room. After school I took ballet and disco, the latter held in the school cafeteria, tables and benches pushed back so we’d have room to really dig into the classics–you know, the funky chicken, the bus stop, the hustle. The hot lunch special heavy in the air–I still associate Donna Summer with sloppy joes–I wore a sparkly tam o’shanter I was convinced wouldn’t be out of place in Studio 54. (Then as now, my imagination was overactive.) Though micro-movements requiring any finesse eluded me, hip-waggling has never been a personal deficiency so I got by.

But when it came to ballet I was the pits. A tall, gangly child clad in dirty pigtails and coveralls, my outsized hands and feet could not be coaxed into first position, let alone fourth and fifth. I kept tripping over myself and the other girls, neat as pins in their perfect leotards and hairbuns. Worse, I kept nervously joking –“position, huh? What’s your position on the gas crisis? How about the Iran hostage situation, badabumpbump.” A daddy’s girl saddled with an unfortunate preciosity, I was like a mini Jerry Lewis rather than a singularly uncoordinated second grader. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy