• If you’re reading this in a feed reader and you’ve noticed that all of a sudden the feed is doing that asshole thing where you only get the first few sentences and then you have to click through, I’m sorry! I don’t know why this is happening, because the settings are configured for “full text” instead of “summary”, which is all I really know to check, so . . . yeah. Suck. I now embody one of my own pet peeves! Next up: possessive apostrophes on plural nouns, slurp-mmmmming my coffee, and blogging about blogging! Wait.

• Speaking of blogging (slurrrrrp . . . . mmmmmmm), are you going to BlogHer this year? I am, and I’m looking forward to visiting Chicago, albeit briefly. I’m also looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones, and let’s not lie, I’m very much looking forward to forging a close personal relationship with my hotel bed and the room service menu. Yes, yes, the parties, but come on, the crème brûlée.

• The other day I was woefully picking at my chipped toenail polish and thinking how I wished someone would do the job of re-painting my toes for me and maybe filing the rough spots away and making the cuticles all pretty, like wouldn’t it be great if I could just outsource these tasks altogether, and I realized I was in the midst of inventing a revolutionary new concept in personal care. I call it: the pedicure. I think this is going to be BIG.

• It kills me how small children have no discernible elbows, knuckles, or knees. Dylan can run at full speed and climb and even jump, but he still looks like he’s formed entirely out of sake-fed veal. Pass the fava beans, Chianti, and toddler, please.

• I read something recently that I found immensely comforting and lovely and I instantly dog-eared the page so I could come back to it whenever I liked, and I thought some of you might enjoy it too:

She used to think she needed to know things to be the mother. How to fix things, make everything better. And she couldn’t, she just didn’t know how. She felt sometimes not like a mother but like an older sister with an impatient streak. But one weekend when her oldest daughter was afraid she was losing her baby, she spoke to her son-in-law on the telephone. Shyly she asked him, “Do you think I should come?”

“My wife needs her mother,” said her son-in-law, and in that second she understood all at once and forever everything she needed to know. And she got on the bus directly and went out to their house and she sat by her daughter’s bed and held her hand. She stayed in the room until her daughter fell asleep and she was there when her daughter woke. She is grateful forever to him for saying the right thing at the right moment because her life changed right there on that dime. And the baby is fourteen years old. Hallelujah.

Safekeeping: Some True Stories from a Life, by Abigail Thomas


43 Responses to “Short cuts”

  1. samantha jo campen on June 29th, 2009 9:41 am


    Wow, that was beautiful.

    You know I’ll be at BlogHer, and if you don’t give me an actual locale to meet you then please be prepared for me to jump out of a pottend fern when you least expect it.

  2. Laurie on June 29th, 2009 9:47 am

    Just to let you know, your posts are coming in “full text” mode in some feed readers. I use Vienna on a Mac and everything looks and works fine. One more reason to adore Mac products. :)

  3. Dana on June 29th, 2009 9:48 am

    Oh, that was so nice. I lost my mom while I was pregnant and things like that justify the feelings of woe I still have every time I look at my daugther. And think about the grandmother she’ll never meet. And the mother I’ll never see again.

  4. Brenna on June 29th, 2009 10:08 am

    I was wondering why all your business was truncated in my reader. No bigs, I usually click over for the photos anyway.

    Love me a pedicure, don’t even mind the state of my feet, but holee shit they look huge in the delicate, teeny hands of the Asian women at my local salon.

  5. Madeleine on June 29th, 2009 10:14 am

    OH my god – I HATE, HATE, HATE possessive apostrophes on plural nouns.

  6. Jen on June 29th, 2009 10:14 am

    Oh yes, my son’s thighs are the precise texture of foie gras. Nummy, nummy force-fed goose liver thighs.

  7. TUWABVB on June 29th, 2009 10:16 am

    I always click through on your blog so that I can see if there are any adorable photos of sake-fed veal children posted.

    Love that quote – thanks for sharing.

  8. Hillary on June 29th, 2009 10:18 am

    Oh, that was lovely.

    And yes, I love the squishy toddlerness. I get sad just thinking about the day The Boy’s knees emerge.

  9. Anonymous on June 29th, 2009 10:18 am

    I’ll be at BlogHer! And of course would love to meet you. And really, watch out – I might just be in that potted fern with Samantha Jo if we both fit! No really, I hope to see you around!

    Pedicures are the best, I must make a note to schedule one.

    The excerpt you shared was beautiful….

  10. aimee on June 29th, 2009 10:29 am

    Ah man, that passage gave me teary eyes and goosebumps.

  11. teralyne on June 29th, 2009 10:42 am

    I have never made it to blogher so I do not think I will be going this time either even though it is only a few hours from me. I just can not get away from work to get there.

    I did love that snipet you added it made me tear and miss my mom who I lost 5 years ago. She use to tell me she did not know everything but she would always be there with me to when I needed her and she was till she couldn’t.

  12. Yams on June 29th, 2009 11:02 am

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you get a fix for the Reader. I live in a small town in India and thanks to the slow-ass internet connection it takes for-e-vah to download. Pretty please see if someone can help fix it.

  13. AndreAnna on June 29th, 2009 11:11 am

    The partial feed thing is right up there in Annoying Blogging Things next to: “I have this really big exciting thing but I can’t tell you and I’m not pregnant!!!”


    But I had already assumed it wasn’t done on purpose me usually click through anyways.

  14. Cookie on June 29th, 2009 11:17 am

    That’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing it. It also reminds me of why I want to have another baby. I want a daughter. I adore my boys, they are different and delightful, and if they are all I ever have I will be happy. But I want that other relationship too.

    Pedicures are one of my favorite indulgences. I love having my toes painted. And my feet massaged. I don’t really like manicures though, or at least having my fingernails painted. Maybe it’s just me, but my fingers feel weird when they’re painted. Plus I’m bound to smudge or chip them instantly.

  15. Maria on June 29th, 2009 11:34 am

    I’m totally going to nervously approach you at blogher.

  16. Leticia on June 29th, 2009 11:43 am

    Linda – I am trying so hard not to cry at work. That was absolutely beautiful. I felt like a horrible mother this weekend, constantly yelling at my kids at the top of my lungs at times (2 and 4). I lost my mother very young (at 14) and I can’t even tell you how much I need her.

  17. MEP on June 29th, 2009 11:44 am

    I’ve never thought about it, but “older sister with an impatient streak” totally describes how I feel on any given day with my daughter. Then I listen to myself try to describe her to someone, what makes her funny and smart and quirky and maddening, what makes her HER, and I realize it’s more than that.

  18. Maggie on June 29th, 2009 12:11 pm

    I don’t know why, in LA where the cost of living is much higher than most places, manis & pedis are a dime a dozen here. Seriously, if you pay more than $20 for BOTH (in a spa chair and EVERYTHING!), you have been ripped off. It’s a wonderful treat, for sure…maybe the universe is paying us back for feeling like we have to keep up with the celebrities with lots of expensive grooming & clothes? Either way, I’ll take it!

  19. Kim on June 29th, 2009 1:09 pm

    Oh my. I lost my mom just a few months ago. I’ve been struggling to figure out how to be a good mom to a daughter when I don’t have mine anymore.

    This gives me a place to start. Thanks.

  20. Eric's Mommy on June 29th, 2009 1:20 pm

    That was lovely.

    Mine is not in full text.

  21. jolie on June 29th, 2009 1:23 pm

    I have noticed that it suddenly changed in my feed, but I have no problem just clicking it! Sometimes I miss actually seeing the aesthetics of you know, the actual BLOG people write on.

  22. She Likes Purple on June 29th, 2009 1:39 pm

    Yeah, thanks for posting that. Quite a lot.

    Also, is it all feed readers or just Google Reader that the problems are coming from? Google Reader can be a real cranky bitch sometimes.

  23. Blythe on June 29th, 2009 1:40 pm

    It’s not just your feed – others are doing this thing as well. Not sure what’s up.

    Hotel sheets + room service = Nirvana

  24. Angella on June 29th, 2009 1:42 pm

    Looking forward to seeing you, friend.

    Can I come up and share creme brulee? I’ve, uh, never tried it.

  25. justmouse on June 29th, 2009 3:18 pm

    i need one of those moments…so i can realize that i am a mother, and no some woefully inadequate babysitter/older sister.

    cuz it’s hard, yanno?

  26. Deb on June 29th, 2009 4:17 pm

    Good Quote, had me wiping tears away.

    That is so funny that your kids have no knees and elbows. I feel like mine must have a double share. A half hour cuddling on the couch with Boy (4) and Girl (2), and I feel I have gone 6 rounds with a very tiny, very cute, very determined professional boxer. Bruised is the new normal for my shins.

  27. Stefanie on June 29th, 2009 5:11 pm

    I’m going to BlogHer and I look forward to meeting you. Wow, that sounded really formal. Sorry. I look forward to making your aquaintence. Better?

  28. jenB on June 29th, 2009 5:34 pm

    I am THRILLED in the “i might pee” category, to see you again. I admit to also loving my solitude and room service as well….


  29. jenB on June 29th, 2009 5:35 pm

    Stefanie, I also look forward to sharing a proper greeting and perhaps short conversation with you after we exchange cards and curtsy. heh.

  30. Kari C. on June 29th, 2009 7:39 pm

    In reference to kids being so bendy and fluid, I remember seeing my first x-ray of a baby’s wrist, and seeing NO WRIST BONES. Ummm…what?! They don’t start calcifying until they are older. One month there’s nothing, then the next, one small blob, then another and another. The same for the ankle bones and knee caps! The body is a wonderous machine! :]

  31. Meagan on June 29th, 2009 8:01 pm

    That excerpt totally made me tear up. So beautiful.

    This won’t fix your posting issue, but if anyone uses Firefox they can download an extension (I think it’s Better GReader?) that will open up the post directly from the site within Google Reader when you click on the title. Your issue is weird because I use the same CMS and theme as you and mine shows up full text. It’s my pet peeve too, but I’m already hooked on your blog, so you won’t lose me at least.

  32. jessica fantastica on June 29th, 2009 8:21 pm

    Just glad to know I’m not the only one needing to click thru! I’ve broken my reader before so I wouldn’t have been surprised if it were an error on my part. You definitely won’t be losing me as a reader. I’ll click thru any day!

  33. danielle on June 30th, 2009 4:53 am

    Tell me more about this pedicure idea. Would it include an all-you-can-read gorge-fest of gossip magazines? You can even use cheap, perfumy lotion to massage my legs if it means I can pay you to get away from the kids for an hour.

  34. metalia on June 30th, 2009 6:17 am

    I’m still on the fence about BlogHer…I thought I had decided not to go, but now (by which I mean, “as part of a snap decision last night”) I may show up. Will I be there? Will I not? MYSTERY! SUBTERFUGE! I’m like David Blaine, only without the douchey facial hair (mine is IRONIC).

  35. Jamie on June 30th, 2009 6:45 am

    I will actually be at BlogHer this year – albeit only the parties…which was the only ticket I could get. And let’s be honest – it’s the most appealing option, no?

    Hope to meet you there!

  36. Red on June 30th, 2009 7:14 am

    that quote is lovely. I will remember it on the days I feel like I’m useless. sometimes just being there is all that matters.

    They may be boneless but why is it they always have to stand on your naked feet in their hard little shoes? Why?

  37. Violet on June 30th, 2009 8:08 am

    I used to think that I’d be a terrible mother if I couldn’t act like a grownup and do everything “properly”. But now I know it’s ok to let the kids sleep in their shirts if they really want to and eat grilled cheese for breakfast – the important thing is to spend time together and enjoy each other.

    I hope you get your reader fixed, too. Right now I can click through, but my company blocks EVERYTHING sooner or later, except Google. And I can never get online at home – my kids hijack my computer!

  38. Sarah on June 30th, 2009 8:28 am

    You were very right! I did enjoy that immensely! Thanks for sharing!

    I know what you mean about the toddlers moving around without any joints! Angel is the same way!!

  39. Becky on June 30th, 2009 10:38 am

    Lovely book passage! Thanks for sharing!

    I use Google Reader, and your posts are truncated in my reader. And just another piece of the puzzle…it takes for-evah to click through to your actual blog. Your blog comes right up if I type the address directly into my browser but clicking through from my reader, it takes a good 3 or 4 minutes to load the page. I have no idea what it means, but I thought I’d share in case it suddenly makes the problem clear to anyone else.

  40. Pocklock on July 1st, 2009 7:39 am

    Thank GOD the partial feed was on accident. I was worried you were becoming One Of Them. ;-)

    I’ll be at BlogHer. I just decided this morning after a momentary freak-out session yesterday about leaving my baby for the first time. I hope we can meet in person!

  41. Frema on July 1st, 2009 9:27 am

    I know that book. I read it in my narrative shorts class in grad school and thought it was awesome.

    Also, I’ll be at BlogHer, too. Would love to say hi!

  42. misguided mommy on July 4th, 2009 8:59 am

    Thanks for the tears this morning asshole! Man that is exactly how I feel. I can’t even count how many times I’ve said, “It feels odd, like I’m a baby sitter, it’s like at some point someone is going to come and take the kids home as if to say, okay lets go to your real home now with real grown ups”

  43. danielle-lee on July 15th, 2009 12:15 pm

    Total goosebumps. I love Abigail Thomas. And that is exactly how all of us feel sometimes, isn’t it?

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