Onward, with Jazz Hands

The kids have told me that my half-jokey-but-really-I-was-seriousness declaration of “Onward, with joy!” as our family motto is basically the un-coolest thing I have ever done in their entire lifetimes, so just imagine their (implied) glee when our friend David texted me the Latin translation of the phrase, and I thereafter made it a habit to walk around the house shouting, “Puram, et gaudium!” with such abandon at the people who live here you’d think I was trying to gain late access to Hogwarts. I am the coolest. My children have grown over this past year, as children do. Saoirse is now twelve (and a half, she’d want me to add), Quinlan turned ten in the middle of lockdown, and Cian is seven. In approximately three seconds they’ll all be off to college and I’m going to handle it just fine, I swear. But because we have two pre-teens in the house and a little brother who is heavily influenced by said preteens, David and I have rules they beg us to follow now. You already know about the PURAM…

Any Excuse for Cake, I Tell You: It’s the Anniversary of ALL THE DIFFERENCE

Hi! Hi! Hi! It’s the fifth anniversary of the day my debut novel was published (yes this has been a long time no you don’t have to ask me when another one is coming out I AM TRYING). All the Difference had its book birthday on this very day in 2015 and while many, many things have changed since then in both my life and yours and the world’s (OH MY GOSH THE WORLD’S), the one thing that hasn’t changed is this: Books are fun. Drafting books is not always as much fun, nor is getting them published consistently a treat, but this–the writing and the reading and the holding a book in our papercut-riddled fingers, whether it’s our own book or someone else’s book, is one of the best feelings in the whole wide world. Saoirse asked me the other day why, whenever we go to the beach on a family vacation, I don’t go swimming in the ocean as much as I like to sit in a comfy chair next to the ocean. I blinked at her, not sure…

We’re Gonna Have to Build Our Own Raft

It appears I’m in that stage of grieving wherein I wear all of my mother’s jewelry. (I think it’s Grief Level 6. We’re also moving into Grief Level 7, which is when we begin cleaning out her house and start co-opting pieces of her furniture for own homes. More on that later). You know that scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation where Clark gets locked in the attic and ends up wearing all of his dead relative’s clothing? Level 6 is like that, but with yellow gold instead of terrycloth turbans. As I type this, I’m wearing not one, but two pairs of my mother’s earrings. I’m also wearing a ring of hers–a simple gold band with teeny tiny diamonds–and a butterfly necklace she used to wear all the time when I was little. On my wrist is a gold(ish) bracelet my dad had purchased when he was stationed in Thailand. We buried her in her wedding band, but I’ve already worn her engagement ring. It just happens to fit perfectly on my right…