Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Yesterday one thing led to another and I found myself ankle-deep in the contents of our bathroom. From under the sink and inside drawers sprung the band-aids and bottles, scents and salves, that have comforted us for years. And I mean YEARS. M came across a little pot of hair sculpting gel he'd had since his days of wearing floodwater pants, way before I ever knew him.

In addition to some pink hair extensions (college), Bumble and Bumble curl creme (2005), and Manic Panic hair dye (who knows?), I found a bottle of Navy perfume that I wore in 8th grade. I think it came from Wal-Mart. I actually remember spraying myself before school, wearing white blouse and brown uniform shorts, hopes high that the musty scent would last at least through lunch.

The memory felt so vivid and immediate that I had to momentarily abandon categorizing my allergy meds. So much came back to me: the stickered girlhood bathroom that I begrudgingly shared with my older brother, whose own Drakkar Noir trumped any scent of mine; my wavy bangs, forever getting greasy; the nagging anxiety that the scent would fade too fast, that perhaps I should save it for a special occasion.

There's still about half a bottle left. And as I tucked it back under the newly-cleaned sink, I felt a bit guilty. Surely I'm never really going to wear Navy perfume (Egyptian Goddess has been my scent du decade) and I've lugged it around now for TWENTY YEARS! Plus, I've spent the past week researching and writing about the tiny house movement, applauding the notion of living simply and sloughing off all the burdensome stuff we don't really need.

If only I could go back in time and have a word with my 13 year-old self. I'd tell her not to worry so freaking much, to go ahead and spritz herself every day, even twice a day. I'd tell her that the special occasion is her life, right now, at this moment.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Resolution Row

12 days into 2012 and I've finally amassed a few goals for the coming year...

1. I know this might seem extreme, but I am not going to buy one single book this year. I've spent years supporting my local used bookstores so mightily that I could now open my own. Scores of unread novels beckon from the shelves: Roddy Doyle's Barrytown Trilogy, Danzy Senna's Caucasia, a couple of epic Isabel Allende's, not to mention the anthologies and story collections, and even a few candidates for a re-read (after all, isn't that why I've hoarded them for so long?) For books I long to read but don't have, like Joan Didion's Blue Nights, it's either the library or Paperbacks Unlimited, where I can trade the old for something new. It's time to appreciate what I already HAVE.

2. Perhaps this is all part of my nesting instinct, kicking into high gear as I hit gestational week 33, but I will continue to get rid of all extraneous things that sit wilting in closets and storage spaces. Next up? That plastic 3-drawer organizer I've had since freshman year of college (some of you must remember it!) that used to serve a noble purpose but which now serves as a holding tank for all things useless, sticky, expired, and dreadfully unorganized.

3. Dance more!

4. I want to publish at least ten new pieces in ten new places this year. This might be overly ambitious given that I'm going to be a new (exhausted?) mother, but I've got to aim high! Besides, I've already got one down, a piece coming out on mothering.com, the web-site of Mothering Magazine :)

5. It might seem hard to imagine how I'll do this, given all the reading, dancing, writing, and mothering ahead of me, but my final resolution is to RELAX. Allow myself more down time in which I have nothing planned. See where it might lead. Or even better: care not where it leads.