A Birthday, My Morbid Hobby, and Castroville

It’s my very favorite kind of blogging right now- I am snuggled up in bed typing as it rains and rains and rains outside- heaven! Also- thank god it’s raining… we’ve gone entire summers without rain before so this is a real treat. Only thing is we must not have shut the coop last night as there are some SOAKING wet chickens out there who are too stupid to get out of the rain. At least they’re clean. On to the actual purpose of the post.

This past week I turned 41, we went back to Castroville, and I got to nose around a cemetery again.

Read mo

A Vow of Cake

We had our middle daughter’s 8th birthday party yesterday at noon. And so when 10:17am rolled around and my husband and I were in bed and instead of getting up he pulled the covers over his head I was so, so proud of him. And I then enthusiastically joined him under the covers. It’s like a fort of delayed obligations… I recommend it. (Yes we still have a baby around. We got up at 6:30am with her and then crawled back in bed at 9:30am when she went down for a nap.)

Now, the house had been cleaned, food bought, and the cake baked the night before- we’re not total monsters over here. But what were the first 2 things I did upon finally getting up and getting ready at 10:30am? Winged eyeliner (HEY I’VE NEVER TRIED THIS BEFORE SURE SEEMS LIKE A GOOD TIME FOR IT) and painting my toenails. THIS is what happens when I don’t make a list, for god’s sake.

We got everything done by 11:54am though, so it all worked out.

And I think we can all agree that cake is the worst. Not mine, I make decent cake- I just mean in general.  Icing is gross. And even the best cake is just nuthin’ special. I don’t tie up a lot of pride in my baking- but I made a promise, many many years ago that I would make every one of my children’s birthday cakes. And they get to pick whatever kind of cake they want. Shark cake? plastic sharks on top. Giraffe cake? Plastic giraffes on top. Dolphin cake? You see where I’m going with this, I think. And I have made each and every one and did it with the hand mixer I bought at a Big Lots at 18 before I left for college and that has somehow made it through about a MILLION moves and that I actually don’t think I used, ever, until I started making my kid’s birthday cakes.


Image by C. Glass… half full? Half empty? if I was that photographer I’d go by my full first name, honestly.

It’s a weird promise to have made, and I made it only to myself- but it absolutely stands in as a symbol of the mom I want to be. It stands in as a succinct version of all of this- rolled up in my head.

  • I promise to be the mom that can make you dinner.
  • and make you laugh and to also make sure your sense of humor is top tier.
  •  to mend your clothes and sew on buttons and who can make curtains if I have to and gives you a clean house to live in.
  • I promise to call you outside to see possums and hawks and birds and snakes. And point out the biggest earthworm I’ve ever seen in my life holy hell that thing is HUGE!
  • I promise to impart upon you a concept of self that is more than to be decorative.
  • But also to let you see that being a feminist badass doesn’t mean having to deny one iota of the nurturing that goes into home cooked dinners or mending or you know. Cake baking.
  • I promise to give you a chore each and every time you say “I’m bored” and that you’ll get to a point where you’ll open your eyes wide in horror after you say it and say “NEVERMIND, NEVERMIND!” and run off to your room to do something creative.
  • I promise to make you play on at least one team in your life.
  • But I also promise to not overbook you because free time is important to kids, and also your father and I like sleeping in on Saturdays.
  • I promise you’ll love reading.
  • And hell no you can’t get a phone!
  • And I promise to sing you a song at night as often as I can and you know what? You’re 10 and 8. I really should just do it EVERY night still, because how much longer will you even let me? But the baby still gets the Silent Night treatment every night.
  • I promise to have National Geographic in the bathroom and that it’s totally cool if you drop them in the bath, I’m just glad you’re reading them. (hasn’t happened yet, but they’re in there for y’all. Ready for whenever you pick one up.)
  • And while I’ll bake your birthday cake, I promise to never get tied up in the Pinterest-y competition between moms and do all the stupid other crap that isn’t for the kid who’s birthday it is, but to show off for the other moms. I’m looking at you, mom who prints labels saying “Caitlin’s Birthday!” for the goddamn water bottles.
  • Also? No goodie bags, ever. Though we did give out whoopee cushions that one memorable time. That was awesome.

And so, I will continue to make birthday cake, every year, three times a year and neither rain nor snow nor heat nor gloom of night will stay this faithful courier from the swift completion of her appointed rounds.

And the only other promise I’ve made myself that I have never ever once wavered on? No more tequila. Super committed to both. Make kids’ birthday cakes and no more tequila.

Words to live by.

Know what’s better…?

Know what’s better than being 37? Being 37 and not pregnant! Ami-freaking-right?! HIGH FIVE!

(It’ll forever after be my determination of what makes a good birthday. I’ll be 89 with an amputated foot and cataracts and STILL be like “Pfft. At least I’m not pregnant!”)





(There is a 90% chance I’ve messed up that age- it’s been known to happen on an increasingly regular basis. Did I just count on my fingers up from 1979? Maybe.)


The Occasional Birthday Post… Why a Duck?

So, it’s my birthday today, I’m 36 years old. ( are people still weird about saying how old they are? Why is that a thing? Why a fuck? That’s what I want to know…)

And so to celebrate, I figured why not share a very famous snippet from one of my very favorite movies: Coconuts by the Marx Brothers from 1929. I started watching Marx Brothers movies with my Dad, oh, doing the math here, about 28 years ago; and now my husband and I play the Marx Brothers’ Marathon every New Years’ Eve- thanks TCM!

The thing about the Marx Brothers that I’ve always loved is they’re so rapid fire and so witty- that even after close to 30 years of watching it I still found jokes in the script below that I’ve missed all these past decades. So without further delay:


Why a Duck?

Groucho: (after a pause) The next time I see you, remind me not to talk with you, will you? It’s gonna be a cinch explaining the rest of this thing to you, I can see that.

Chico: I catch on quick.

Groucho: That’s a rodeo you’re thinking of. All right, Einstein, here’s Coconut Manor. No matter what you say, this is Coconut Manor. Here’s Coconut Manor, here’s Coconut Heights, that’s a swamp, and over here where the road forks is called Coconut Junction.

Chico: Where do you have coconut custard?

Groucho: That’s on one of the forks. You probably eat with your knife, so you don’t have to worry about that. Here’s the main road leading out of Coconut Manor. That’s the road I wish you were on. Now over here is going to be an eye and ear hospital. That’s going to be a sight for sore eyes. Understand?

Chico: Yeah, that’s fine.

Groucho: Now, right over here is the residential section.

Chico: Oh, people live there, eh?

Groucho: No, that’s the stockyard. Now all along here is the riverfront. All along the river, those are all levies.

Chico: That’s the Jewish neighborhood?

Groucho: (after a pause)Why don’t we pass over that. You’re a peach, boy. Now here is a little peninsula, and over here is a viaduct leading over to the mainland.

Chico: Why a duck?

Groucho: (after a pause)I’m fine, how are you? I said this is a viaduct leading over to the mainland.

Chico: All right, why a duck?

Groucho: I say that’s a viaduct.

Chico: All right, why a duck? Why a duck? Why not a chicken?

Groucho: Well, I don’t know why not a chicken. I’m a stranger here myself. I know that’s a viaduct. You try to cross over there on a chicken and you’ll find out why a duck.

Chico: But why-

Groucho: It’s deep water, that’s why a duck. Look here, suppose you were out horseback riding and you came to that stream and you wanted to ford over. But you can’t. It’s too deep.

Chico: What would you want with a Ford when you got a horse?

Groucho: (after a pause)Well, I’m sorry the matter came up. I just know that that’s a viaduct.

Chico: Listen. I catch on to why a horse, why a chicken, why a this, why a that, but I don’t catch on to why a duck.

Groucho: I was only fooling. I was only fooling. They’re going to build a tunnel there in the morning. Is that clear to you?

Chico: Yes, everything except for why a duck.


Singing…”Happy, happy birthday to me… happy birthday to me… and to you”

(Happy Birthday to Me- Cracker)

AND- just realized this is my 36th blog post- how fortuitous!