Archive | February, 2009

Dear Giving Notice At My Nanny Job

28 Feb

Dear Giving Notice At My Nanny Job,

Super awkward (you try telling someone you no longer want to care for their child).

(Like…being in a public restroom and not having toilet paper and only discovering that after the fact. And you can hear someone in the stall next to you, but it’s not like you’re with your best friend, oh no, it’s a stranger…and do you ask? It’s not a big deal, right? They’ll understand, right? But what if they don’t hear you and you have to repeat yourself? What if they think you’re talking to the person on the other side of you? What if they definitely hear you but just don’t respond?)

But Top Marks nonetheless.



PS– Anyone hiring?


Dear Junk Mail

25 Feb

Dear Junk Mail,

It’s not so much that I hate you.  It’s just that…you have a shocking amount of potential, and you waste it.

It’s just one of those things– you do not ruin my day.  At most, you make me feel vaguely guilty as you go directly from my mailbox to my recycling pile (conveniently located next to the front door).  And sometimes financially guilty, because for some reason my junk mail consists solely of coupons?  What is that?

Where are the magazines and catalogs for me to look through, that will make me feel virtuous because I will not order anything? (I don’t think…hopefully…doesn’t matter, I don’t get them anyway.  Maybe it is for the best.)

But instead of junk mail, you could be such amazing things!  Instead of just not ruining my day, you could make it!  Come on, mail, make me day.  Be a postcard from an old friend.  You could tell me that I was chosen by something I didn’t apply for!  Or that I won a contest I didn’t enter!

Even when you’re something I’ve been waiting for– The New Yorker— which is supposed to make me feel up-to-date and stimulated and give me an example of good writing and a magazine-length read and stuff stuff stuff.  Then it arrives…and I realize I have to read it…and maybe…perhaps…just occasionally…I would rather it was US Weekly.

Not Cosmopolitan.  I hate even seeing the headlines while in line at the grocery store: “what sex feels like for men”?  Seriously?  “How to make him want you“?  If he doesn’t want you, girl, find someone who does.  Or brush your teeth, but that’s about all there is to say on the subject.  And no, just in case any of you were wondering, you cannot have sex on a public beach under a sarong and not have anyone notice.  I am not speaking from experience.  I am speaking from common sense.  It’s a public beach, and it’s a sarong, and it’s sex. If you don’t care if you get caught, that’s an entirely different issue.

The New Yorker, on the other hand, instead of making me feel smart, makes me feel tired and overwhelmed.

So, mail, you make me feel environmentally guilty, financially guilty, and intellectually guilty.  Vaguely.  You still do not even ruin my day.

I would rather, however, if you contained something useful, like…a Comcast bill saying my account has been unexpectedly credited!  Or a delivery of cream so I don’t have to go to the grocery store.  Or some stickers.  I like stickers.  Or some cold, hard cash, which really should be described as soft, warm cash, because that’s how it would make me feel.

And that would improve my day.  Vastly.  Out of proportion to how you affect my day now.  Kind of like how not having a blister doesn’t make your foot feel good but having a blister is like a fire on your foot and you can’t think about anything else.  Or…like I often don’t notice when I don’t have a cupcake, but man a cupcake in the middle of the afternoon makes me all smiles.

Luckily, I often eat cupcakes.  Unfortunately, I never get anything but junk mail.

Until tomorrow,


Dear Working on the Weekends

20 Feb

Dear Working on the Weekends,

You suck.

I don’t care if I only work a total of seven hours Monday through Thursday and this week was sunny and this weekend it’s supposed to rain.

You suck.

This economy sucks too.

With a lot of maturity and lots and lots of articulate expression,


Dear Today’s Sunshine

18 Feb

Dear Today’s Sunshine,

You are bright and radiant and yada yada yada.  I do appreciate you.  But you are not warm enough to take a nap in.

Possibly inside, but I would have to sleep on my dining room floor.  Which I’m not ruling out– but it’s not ideal.

You work on warming up and I’ll work on not being such a lard ass and going outside for a walk instead.  Okay?


PS– It might not happen.  The other letter I considered writing was an appreciation of butter rolls, warmed in the oven and slathered with butter in between every layer…so delicious.  So fluffy.  So buttery.  I’m just saying: the dining room floor might win out.

Dear Young Adult Novels

17 Feb

Dear Young Adult Novels,

I’m talking Twilight. I’m talking Sarah Dessen (the author). I’m talking the lesser known yet still fantastic Lioness Rampant series. I’m talking all the way back to the Penny Parrish series, written by Janet Lambert starting back in 1941.

Eight Cousins and its sequel Rose in Bloom (Louisa May Alcott).  Freckles.  And its sequel  A Girl of the Limberlost (Gene Stratton-Porter).

I’ll stop listing.  You can contact me for a more comprehensive bibliography.

Part of why young adult novels are great is because they’re forced to avoid this whole “explaining life” or its counterpart “explaining why we can never know anything about life” thing. Because teenagers already know life. They know everything. Yay stereotypes!

[If you want to disagree, let’s talk about how every ninth grade classroom is made up of the same thirty kids. I recently started observing a creative writing class being taught in a public school classroom– yay nonprofit contributions to education!– and on my first day, I was like, Julian’s still here? Jennifer!? Shouldn’t you have aged? Why is that quiet boy whose name I never figured out but is probably Ben, he looks like a Ben, still sitting in the far right corner doodling? This is where stereotypes come from. Experience. Truth. And then, of course, mass generalizations and blatant misinterpretation and outstanding exaggeration.]

The other part of why young adult novels are great is because, for the most part, they’re written by adults, and unless they get way, way over-edited to “sound like a teen,” they do a pretty good job of sounding like teenagers. Sometimes.  The ones I like do.  In that they sound smart, and sarcastic, and like they know something of what’s what.  Like they’re thinking about the world and dealing with real problems like negotiating relationships and power struggles and trying to figure out how to let go and hold on at the same time.

Also sometimes there’s kissing, and somehow that always makes me blush.  And giggle.  There’s nothing quite like a crush…

And really, let’s be honest– you can hate Twilight or love it, you can be very proud of the fact that you have never read Harry Potter, but those series get teenagers to read.  At some point in the past, I started to understand that not every child got in trouble for ignoring her mother’s request to empty the dishwasher– because she was deep in the limberlost of Indiana in the late 1800s, and there weren’t dishwashers back then!

Reading is good.  Get in touch for more amaaazing young adult fiction.  If nothing else, there used to be (and possibly still is) a wonderful librarian named Gail at the Northeast branch of the Seattle Public Library…there was a book about a quilt, and something about roses in the title…she can tell you what it is.  Also, ask for the one about the older sister who gets sick in the summer.  And the one…I’ll stop.  If you want to be really up on what’s going down today, read Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

Plus, you can read young adult novels really fast.  Because they are not like slogging through Pulitzer Prize winners (highly overrated, as are many so-called classics).  It’s like reading large-print edition books because your library has too many holds on regular print.  You turn pages all the time!



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