Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Post Where I Say My Father Died

A few days after I wrote my last post here—months and months ago—my father died.

It's impossible for me to write about him right now (believe me, I've tried) but it's also impossible for me to continue writing in this space until I acknowledge, here, that he is no longer walking the world, upsetting proverbial apple carts and looking for ways to get in trouble.

I've looked at this photo of him since I was a child, but I see it differently now. I have to go, he seems to be saying. But I'll see you soon, my baby.

Norman Delfino Montes
December 14, 1937 ~ April 17, 2013

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Owning & Disowning My Age. And Also: Invisalign.

I had a birthday a few weeks back, and I realized that I'm one of the few people on Facebook whose profile includes the year of their birth. At first I thought, "Yes—I own my age! I'm okay with my age! My youth is long gone, but my wisdom grows! I can afford more expensive shoes! My list of fears has diminished (except for karaoke; I still fear karaoke)! I barely care what people think of me! I know how to do so many things now! My children are really good (at the moment)!"

And the next day I thought, "You are a crazy-ass old woman."

And then, because I am re-reading To the Lighthouse, "You are 'nothing but a sponge sopped full of human emotions.'"

And in subsequent days at subsequent times: "You are a woman of a certain age." "You've still got it, gurl." "You've lost it." "You never really had it, whatever it was." "It's not important, whatever it was." "Eat a brownie." And whatnot.


Here I am, just moment ago, 46 years old and with the fine and not-so-fine lines to show it. It is what it is. Also, it should be noted that I am still rocking the same crooked left tooth I've always had, which inspires me to end with this startling insight: I am too old for many things, but I am not too old for...Invisalign.

Monday, February 04, 2013

I Should Not Be Saying Any of This

This is so not nice of me. This is so crossing-the-line of me. Because it's one thing to blog about your nutso kids when they're 3- or 4- or 5- or...10-years-old, but to blog about them when they're 13-years-old is unforgivable. Truly.


Here's a list of things currently twisting me into a knot about my teenage girls:

  • Although they have their own phones, they seem to prefer mine. They use their uncanny ability to hone in on my device, snatch it without my knowing, and then use it to take about 40,000 pictures of themselves doing that duck-lip thing that girls do now when taking their pictures. When I asked Vida to explain the phenomenon she said: "It's so we don't look dumb." Got that, everyone? They make duck lips so they don't look dumb.
  • They leave their stuff everywhere. I long to tell my mother this, but she would just laugh hysterically and point at me and say something about karma and I would totally deserve it.
  • When not engaged in feats of athleticism, they just...loll. They drape themselves over the furniture and twirl their hair and stare into the distance. If I had to imagine what song was playing in their head while this Roman-esque relaxing occurs, it would be that One Direction ditty that's supposed to make me feel tender, but which instead CRACKS ME UP (I don't know what it's called; it's the slow, rhyme-y, extra-corny-with-a-side-of-chees-y one).
  • The fact that they can drape themselves in this way, that they are long and lanky and drape-able in this way, also drives me crazy. Or maybe I'm just jealous. Because I was, contrapuntally (what. why are you looking at me like that? is that not a word?), short and squat.
  • When one of them is exercising her right as a 13-year-old female to briefly transform into a lunatic, the other one turns into the best kid ever, thus forcing me to become a suburban female version of that Two-Face character from Batman: one side of me responding pleasantly to the Good One, and the other side of me responding like a kraken to the Bad One. And then sometimes I get confused and yell at the wrong one. I think they think this is funny; I think they plan it this way.

Huh. I just read this back, and they don't sound so bad. Must be me...

Sunday, February 03, 2013

That Time I Opened A Store

I opened a shop on Black Friday 2012.

More specifically, on Black Friday 2012 I opened a toy shop and soon-to-be playspace. The urge to do this was not unlike the urge (for me) to write: I just wanted to tell a story. It turned out to be a story about two friends who have the best tech-free playroom ever. And they have these eccentric traveling relatives who send them toys from all over: Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Peru, France, Spain, Italy, Vermont, New York, San Francisco. And they have parents obsessed with good design and, apparently, the color orange.

Here's command central:

And here's some Danish foxes and monkeys chilling in a French pram:

Here are some very lovely things sitting upon a shelf:

Judging from the expressions of confusion and disconnect that have flitted across the faces of friends and acquaintances, my "walking off the plank" (someone said that!), has caused some confusion. But the truth is that small biz-ownership suits me well. First of all, as I said, this whole undertaking feels like a big story to me. Plus, I love experiential retail; I truly believe that customer service is an art; I thrill to the hunt for beautiful things; and I enjoy tearing the learning curve to shreds.

Oh but wait, there's more: the collection that I curate in the shop reminds me of a simple and sweet time in the lives of my own children. Yes, I have been pleasantly surprised by the tween and teenage years, but the truth is that I miss being able to scoop them up with one arm, plop them on the couch, and read board books together. And then on the flip side of that is that I wanted them to see me do something...not so amorphous. Like most women my age, I'm still a jill-of-all-trades/responsiblities, but now there is at least one thing I do that's simply defined.

Oh my god. I opened a toy shop.