The Day After Memorial Day





Figure 1. detail from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetary

Figure 1. detail from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery. Source here.


I’m not from a particularly military family, unless you count my grandfather, his brother and my grandfather’s brothers. They all joined up voluntarily for WWII.

My dad was conscripted into the Syrian Army but he never finished his service formally because he kinda came to the U.S. to go to college and then met my mother and never went back. Whoops.

The mister’s family is pretty military, though. The mister was in the Navy; his brother is still in the Navy and served in Iraq; their grandfather was a Navy captain and served in the Korean War. The mister’s father was in the Marine Corps.

I have gone on record saying that I could never join the military because a) I hate push-ups b) I hate making my bed. Also, my intense cowardice might also be an issue.

So, the fact that the mister joined the Navy and went to boot camp just a few days after we graduated from high school has always astonished me. How could he just go do that? On purpose? That question led to me writing my second book, actually.

Because it’s nothing I would ever do or want to do or even could do, I’m fascinated by military stories.  I absolutely LOVE military slang. I like a personal memoir or fictional stories best though.  I’m not really one for reading accounts of battles; that whole spatial orientation problem I have makes that hard for me picture (and yet another reason I’d suck at military life.)

A couple titles that I’ve enjoyed  that deal with the military and war:

Things A Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt
War by Sebastian Junger
Infidel by Tim Hetherington (here’s an old post I wrote about that book)
A Rumor of War by Tim Caputo
The Last True Story I’ll Ever Tell: An Accidental Soldier’s Account of the War in Iraq by John Crawford
Redeployment by Phil Klay
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
Generation Kill by Evan Wright
Jarhead by Anthony Swofford
Full Metal Jacket by Gustav Hasford

And here’s Karen from Teen Librarian Toolbox with some military-themed YA titles to check out, too.

I hope you enjoyed your barbecue & day off, everyone. We’re lucky to have this day and it’s good to remember those whose service made it possible.






I think I like the post-Christmas time a little better. For obvious reasons. The pressure’s off. But I still seem fixated on baking things and cuddling on the sofa and lighting candles and romping around with my dogs and eating lots of delicious foods.

This is by far my favorite present this year:


Figure 1. Reuseable water tumbler with straw. Plastic. Mine’s green. I bought it for myself and crammed it into my stocking.


I also enjoyed an entire box of these (minus the fruit-flavored ones; don’t like to mix fruit and chocolate):


Figure 2. Russell Stover All Dark Assortment. Courtesy of my diabetic father.

Figure 2. Russell Stover All Dark Assortment. Courtesy of my diabetic father.


Matilda and Adrian and I also re-watched the first two seasons of the BBC’s Sherlock so I could work up a blog post for Teen Librarian Toolbox.

I also made several million crocheted hats.  Walked Pablo all through the snow and ice. Read all my back issues of The New Yorker.

And we also did a lot of this:

Figure 3. Gonzo having a lie-in.

Figure 3. Gonzo having a lie-in. 


Figure 4. Pablo and Gonzo cuddle time.

Figure 4. Pablo and Gonzo cuddle time.


Figure 5. Matilda & Pablo trekking home from last day of school.

Figure 5. Matilda & Pablo trekking home from last day of school before break.


Plus Adrian and Matilda had an IKEA date. Here’s a photo of two very beautiful things, my daughter & that green sofa:

Figure 6. Matilda in her Minnesota garb, on a velvet sofa which Adrian hates but which I think is as lovely as my child.

Figure 6. Matilda in her Minnesota garb, on the Stockholm velvet sofa which Adrian hates but which I think is as lovely as my child.


Of New Years I will say nothing. New Year’s Eve is a stupid waste. And I don’t make resolutions. Because I think about myself and my goals all year long so stick it, Resolutions. How much more egotistical do you want me to get?

I do hope you have a fine start to 2014. I feel like I have.



Pre-Holiday Ejaculation


Figure 1. My feelings on the matter of Christmas.


To ring in the holiday, today we had a wart removed from Matilda’s toe. It was really giant, this wart. And the hysterical hairy deal Matilda made about it? Also giant. She told people she was having ‘surgery’ and we gave her a pill to ‘calm her down’ because she’s afraid of needle involved in the local anesthetic but really it was a Placebo Tablet and Jesus Christ she’s a nutjob.

Adrian is working from home today, so he went with her. I went to the grocery next door, buying pudding and oranges and crap to placate her after her ‘surgery.’ I finished that up early and came back to the clinic where I heard her screams from the waiting room. Lovely. Dreadful.

I’m full of dread, too, as we wind up to The Big Day of Holy Gift-gasm. There are things I need to buy and do. We have to pack up all our shit to go visit family. I find this very onerous this year, though I can’t really expect anyone to come here for a visit. We don’t have much of a place for entertaining. We’re still remodeling, you see, and though we now have a living room area again, we’re mostly living out of the same four rooms as before.

There are some very good things happening, too, of course. Like, two days ago I went on my First Run Since October. That’s huge.

And my writing side of things is going well, both in terms of Sex & Violence, and the edits on Perfectly Good White Boy and the beginning of book #3. I feel like a dick complaining. I feel like a dick when others are suffering. I feel terrible that Ned Vizzini died.

Now I’m going to sit on my sofa with my girl after her Wart Surgery Ordeal. We’re going to watch TV and eat pudding and pet Pablo and I’m going to make some hats out of yarn.

For those of you not on Twitter–you poor things!–let me repeat what I said there yesterday:



Enjoy the rest of 2013!


What I Want For Christmas Is Nothing


Figure 1. We will never kill Christmas. Never. Goddammit, I'm just so tired.

Figure 1. We will never kill Christmas. Never. Goddammit, I’m just so tired


Because I have a checking account, I don’t ‘want’ anything for Christmas. If I want a thing, I generally just buy it.

Instead what I want for this damn holiday is the absence of things.

Not because I’m all ‘stop being so materialistic!’

Actually, I love material things. I love stuff. (Stuff. Thangs. Heh.)

Instead what I want is to NOT do things. Or BE things.

I want to NOT have to feel like I should make cookies for people.

I want to NOT have to go anywhere but my own home for the actual holiday.

I want to NOT have to attend dumb church or be photographed opening gifts.

I want to NOT have people make a big fucking deal of how ‘special’ this day is. It’s a day. It’s fun if you’re a kid. If you’re an adult, it’s exhausting and expensive and so once all the wrapping paper comes off, you stuff your guts with food and drink because you’re bewildered about how this happened to you, once again, and then you really feel like a loser.

My dream is to have a year where there are no holidays. No Thanksgiving. No Christmas. No Easter. Instead of celebrating, I would wake up and just glide over the day and it would really be meaningless and offer me nothing, instead of the weight and phoniness I contend with now.

Sorry if I bummed you out. At least you know what to get me now, if you haven’t already bought me something. You’re welcome.



2012 Christmas Wishes

I would like to watch these movies, regardless of company: The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rising, Perks of Being a Wallflower.

I would like to eat buffalo chicken dip made in a crockpot with those crackers that taste like pretzels.

I would like to sit on my ass and read all my mother’s magazines and catalogs.

I would like my father to make a fire.

I would like a 20 dollar iTunes card.

I would like to play Monopoly and Demon.

I would like to go for a walk in the country every day.

I would like some new pajamas.

I would like to skip church.

I would like to fall asleep on the sofa while reading something.