Things I Could Gold Medal In

I like winter Olympics. (I LOVE summer Olympics, but winter will do.) I’m consistently impressed by athletes and their abilities, and always have been. Chloe Kim? I mean, jeeZUM. Awesome in the true sense of the word.

I’m equally impressed, I’ll add, by the athletes who train their entire lives to never medal, to never have their short biographies flashed up on the tv screen, the ones who give their sport everything they’ve got but may not ever be remembered for it. I like those athletes. Can you imagine missing a gold medal by .34 of a second – and having, say, seven other athletes between you and the sparkle? It’s good to remember: ALL the athletes in Pyeongchang are the world’s best. Out there doing what they love.

Sigh. I love the Olympics.

If training hours are all equal, I’d say I’ve got more than a solid shot at some bling to hang around my neck. These are the things I think I’m a serious contender in:

  1. Creative Draping of Plants Over Lampshades
  2. Ignoring the Painting that Needs Doing
  3. Books-to-be-read Stacking
  4. Leftovers Reheating
  5. Gum Chewing
  6. Furniture Rearranging
  7. Squishing Dishes into the Dishwasher
  8.  Obsessive Counter Cleaning
  9. Dog Snuggling
  10. Ass Sitting (a dual event, really, along with “and Mindless Internet Surfing”)

Granted, I’m on vacation. There might be other, more world-stage-worthy events I could be considered for when I’m not in my pajamas. And hey, maybe these events don’t need trial runs or the aforementioned training. Still. I’m nothing if not committed.

What about you? Let’s get creative. Let’s make some Winter Olympic events of our own.

A Conservative Estimate

The following poem embodies me completely – in one role in my life: that of mother. I’ve memorized it, one of few poems I know by heart. It succinctly captures my commitment to my three children, my absolute love for them, my chilling fears for them. The speaker somehow comes across as irreverent and fun (at some point past at least,) also realistic, maybe a little pessimistic, sometimes — and then tentatively hopeful; all thrown in together in seventeen short lines. Like I said: me. 

By the time my kids came downstairs this morning I was, frankly, hoping no one would mention the school shooting in Parkland, Florida because I’m needing-a-vacation tired, and I’ll tell you what: my heart is beating on the outside of my body today, raw and bleeding, and barely hanging on.

I’ve been selling the world to my children for 18 years, with the best marketing I can muster. If you asked them, they would probably tell you they think there’s nothing they can’t do, nowhere they can’t go, nothing they can’t experience. I wonder: in so doing, have I sold them an absolute shit hole and called it “great potential” the way a real estate agent might?

I feel like I’m focused on the mold around the edge of the tub, the peeling paint on the trim, the loose floorboards in the house that is our world. And not in an enamoring, fixer upper, way. The house is made, quite possibly, entirely of cards. Can they make this place beautiful? Can we?



Overheard in the 8th Grade

I don’t have to lurk. 8th graders forget there’s an adult nearby if their attention is on something else. I just have to show up, listen. Write it down. I haven’t changed a word. Enjoy!

Key — if there are two speakers, one will be in bold lettering. Also, names are changed for privacy.


  1. My head hurts. WHY? I ran into a door. But I did cut down a tree with a Sawzall.

2. I have to go back and read which of the commandments I’ve broken. What? Which commandments could you possibly have broken? Probably all the ones that begin with “thou shalt not…except the ones that could put me in prison. Not those.”

3. I knew it was wrong but there was no one there to tell me not to do it. So you didn’t jump? Oh, no, I did. Of course I did.

4. Does anyone want to do a peer interview? No? Welp, I guess I’ll just chew this pencil. All by myself.

5. Charlie, you don’t have to be the way you are.

6. I should do a song reading. It’s like poetry reading but pretending it’s real.

7. I wish I was Stephen Hawking. Why? He can write with his eyes. He’s basically a super hero.

8. I hate math. I love math. I hate math more than you love it.

9. Jenny, what is going on with you? What do you mean? Your socks match. It’s like you’re a fashion queen now.

10. Part of me is just done with all this adulting.

11. I figured it out! Hey, I’m a god!

12. I keep forgetting Swedish Fish. They stick in your teeth. You’d think I could remember them.

13. How many pages is this story? 12 pages. So. Many. Pages.

14. The only pants I’ve ever boughten (sic) that actually fit are from Canada. Canada has all the skinny people.

15. If I take geometry (next year) can I, like, drop it and take something easier?

16. Have you noticed we can’t do half the things our president does? Like, why are we even following rules?