She is Mad but She is Magic: How I Hacked My Family’s Genome.

And Something’s odd –within—

That Person that I was —

And this One – do not feel the same—

Could it be Madness –this? – Emily Dickinson

When I decided to hack my genome in between washing my toddler’s socks and making a scrapbook of her third year, I should have known there would be a few surprises lying in wait. Many people in my position would question whether they really even wanted to know what predestiny held for them in their genes or at least give it a second thought but not me. My overly curious nature determined that I had to know everything about my DNA from the moment I knew it was a possibility. I also had to hack the DNA of all my relatives who could be convinced to give up their saliva for a DNA test that I inevitably bought them for their birthday. They pretty much thought I was crazy, and how right they would end up being.

“A Beautiful Mind” the biopic of the late John Nash, who died this past weekend at 86, is a portrait of a man burdened by schizophrenia and brilliance, what is popularly known as touched by fire. As it turns out, a beautiful mind might be closer to my own reality than I would ever have imagined before spitting in a test tube. My genetic predispositions have made me feel the weight of my 46 chromosomes worth of underachievement and at the same time intensified my awe of men like John Nash who under the darkness of schizophrenia made startling advances in mathematics, game theory and our conception of our world and ourselves. I may be an underachiever but at least I am a profoundly curious one, and what I have come to discover is that there is probably a gene for that.

After hacking my DNA, my mother’s, my father’s and my daughter Eva’s father’s DNA I have put together an interesting picture of our collective medical risks, personality quirks, and a lot of odd facts that I can categorically say I am no better off knowing. For example I have a gene SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) that predisposes me to sneeze when exposed to sunlight. This has plagued me my entire life, and now we are all better off for knowing that I wasn’t coming down with something it is just a genetic mutation on rs10427255, also called a photic sneeze reflex, an oddity I share with about 25% of people.

On a more concerning note both my mother and I have a ten fold higher risk of breast cancer, and my mother is a survivor, something I believe I am better off knowing, especially as my daughter will likely have inherited at least half of those SNPs. Out of the numerous Snps that predispose a person to cancer we have two of the possible 25 causal mutations on the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes in addition to a host of other SNPs.

After surmising my discoveries I called my mother and father together for a genetic meeting of the minds or rather bodies, my two genetic donors to let them know all about their DNA and what they had given me other than a good education. “I have one gene for hazel eyes like dad, and three for blue eyes and blonde hair like mom, but that one hazel gene makes a lot of sense because my eyes are not blue like mom’s and a lot of people think they are green, now I know why.” They were bored already so I decided to take it up a notch.

“I am going to die at 11am.”


“Your genes, tell you that?”

“No, I am going to commit suicide.”


“I’m joking… but I have a gene mutation on SNP rs7221412 which means I am an intermediate riser, I don’t wake up early or late, which is true. Research also suggests that I am more likely to die on a morning, shortly before 11am.”

“Is there any good news in our DNA?”

“We all have obesity genes and are part of the 88% of the population who cannot maintain weight loss unless by high energy exercise- SNP GS281. Sorry mom walking doesn’t work.”

“I suppose we knew that anyway.” Mom said.

“We all have sprinting muscles though.” I countered with optimism.

“I don’t think I have ever sprinted to anything but the fridge,” Mom said.

“Well we would all benefit from a low fat diet and staying away from carbs but lucky us we all have the genetic mutation that allows us to digest lactose so we can eat all the cheese we want as long as we don’t care about getting fat.”

Mom reaches for a cracker, I pick up the cheese knife and point it at her.

“Put the cracker down, carbs will add at least five pounds over night.”

Then I reconsidered, “But don’t worry you will live long enough to waste away so you might as well have a few slices, you both have longevity genes unlike me who drew the short straw and have but one gene for a shorter lifespan.”

“Are we going to get Alzheimer’s?” Mom asked.

“No, but I will probably end up with dementia- better hope you don’t live past 100.”

“Good news?”

“Dad and I have an enhanced hippocampal volume, which means we have a higher IQ.”

“Than me?” Mom asked.

“Who knows but this one might ruin my life,” I say reading from my report, “I evidently have a higher risk of diarrhea and susceptibility to the Norovirus. This alone has solidified my decision not to have any more children.”

“You need give us the good news now.”

“I have a better episodic memory- it must be why I am really good at remembering everything for my blog.”

“And I don’t have such a good memory?” Mom asked.

“No mom you just have cognitive impairment with ageing on snp…”

“Okay enough” She said interrupting. I ignored her.

“To tell us all something we already know- we all have at least three addiction genes, especially for nicotine.”

“What no cigarettes, no booze, no carbs, no cheese?” Mom shook her head in profound disappointment.

“Yes and you are still going to get Gout.”

“Good news?” Dad asked again.

“You have high good cholesterol. Must be all the cheese!”

“Well isn’t that the cherry on the top!”

“We probably shouldn’t eat ice cream we have a gene snp for higher sugar cravings.”

By the time I introduced the hacked family genome to the siblings, there was a family backlash brewing. When we went to Government House in Bermuda to celebrate my parent’s dual Queen’s Badge of Honor for community service, the topic naturally came up over cocktails.

Here we are at Government House: Mom, Dad and the siblings:

Government House

“We should be on spritzers, or we will end up in the Mid Atlantic Wellness Center.”


“We have a genetic mutation on snp rs1800497 for addiction.”

“Half the family is in AA.”

“Or should be.”

“Well mom and I have an officially bad gene snp that predisposes us to really BAD hangovers- our dopamine receptors don’t recover as fast as other people, but in this case I think it might be a protective gene.”

“That is optimistic.” My sister said.

“There is a gene snp for that! Mom and I have a gene for optimism and more sociable, less aggressive behavior.”

“Maybe we should try cocaine instead.” Mom offered sipping her wine with an sly smile.

“Oh no mom, we both have a snp predisposing us to cocaine and heroin addiction.”

“We shouldn’t be discussing this at Government house.”

“I don’t believe a word of it, sounds like airy fairy BS.” My sister said.

“You aren’t going to find this on you know, it’s all written up on PUB MED, this is hard science.”

“Remember what I told you?” my sister asked. I felt a Psychology 101 lesson coming on from her degree twenty years ago.

“What? – that I have an external locus of control, because I read my horoscope, talk to psychics and am now hacking my DNA.”


“Oh I remember, you believe this stuff too- you always told me with horror when we were teenagers that one’s sexual proclivities are inherited from one’s parents, therefore what you like in bed is probably what your mom likes too.”

“No I was going to say you and dad, and Giles must have a gene for being out to lunch, away with the pixies.”

“Oh well there is probably a gene for both, at least we don’t have a gene for liking to be peed on during sex.”

“Thank god for that.”

“We really shouldn’t be talking about this at Government House.” I agreed with my mother for once.

Later on over dinner, Anna Laura’s husband said to me, “I know I am not supposed to notice, but your boobs look huge in that dress.”

“There is a snp for that. I have three large boob genes, lucky me and a ten fold increase for breast cancer so Ill probably have to cut them off eventually.”

There was a collective family eye roll.

“Maybe that’s why people were staring at you at Government House.” My sister added.

“You probably have the gene snp that mom has on rs10246939 – the ability to taste bitterness.” I said with glee.

Saving the best for last, I described to everyone the difference between an Orchid Child and a Dandelion Child. Orchid children tend to be difficult toddlers, prone to externalizing and grow up to become sensitive children who need specific parenting techniques and be coddled into adult existence. Orchids need a greenhouse to thrive, whereas Dandelion children can grow and thrive anywhere, a sidewalk, a metaphorical ghetto, the fifth child of a welfare mother.

“I am definitely a Dandelion.” Announced my mother.

“Me too.” Said my sister.

“Well I’m an Orchid, at SNP rs 1800855 so someone else is an orchid.”

Everyone looked at Dad, who shrugged.

“I think you are an Orchid,” I say to my sister.


“Because you have middle child syndrome- still.”

“What happens to Orchid children who get a Dandelion upbringing?”

“They become drug addicts or generally fail at life, or become highly functioning sociopaths.” I look over at my sister; she looks at me. We laugh.

“What happens to Orchid children who do get a greenhouse upbringing?”

“Orchid children become capable of blooming spectacularly. Eva is an orchid child and I am starting to understand that her raging intemperment and sensitivity is about more than being a toddler, she is an orchid toddler.”—-how-your_b_6158588.html

Another collective family eye roll.

“What is so fascinating is that all of this underlies a new genetic theory which suggests that the very genes that plague us as a species, addiction, orchidery etc evolutionarily persist in our genome because in the right environment they can create the most successful people. “

“An Orchid Bloom.”

“Yes, and what is interesting is that not only are dad and I orchid children we also share the mad genius gene.”

“Does that mean you are mad or a genius?”

I suddenly had a vision of all of my exboyfriends dressed in chorus gowns swinging back and forth in rhythm, singing “Yes Jesus!” and nodding in unison.“Crazy.”

But scientifically I answered, “Possibly both, or schizophrenic. We have a homozygous T:T allele on the Rs6994992 SNP on the neuregulin 1 gene, a 65% increased prefrontal lobe activity, high academic performance, high creativity, high psychosis risk and addiction. Touched by Fire. There is a legitimate link between psychosis and creativity, think John Nash, Sylvia Plath, Lord Byron, Van Gogh.”

“Perhaps this is why most of my followers are mental health bloggers?” I added.

“Genetic Delusions of Grandeur,” offered one of my siblings.

“Leave me alone I am blooming,” I responded.

“Are you going to cut your ear off now?”

“No but I probably would if I had become an accountant, instead I am a writer and artist in a long line of writers and artists with the same genetic predisposition for creativity, madness, and addiction. Can someone pass the red wine?”

“Somehow Dad survived thirty years as a lawyer.”

“He drank a lot of scotch.”

Our genetic conversation could continue for years, but I decided as a coup de grace I would make the following prediction for my life based on what I have discovered about my genetic predispositions:

I will die at 11am at age 70 while making love to a man half my age ( rs2811712 lack of physical impairment with age) of an exercise induced stroke ( RS1024611 increased risk of exercise induced ischemic stroke) or heart attack (rs5174 increased risk of myocardial infarction) but what a way to go ( rs53576 more likely to be an optimist) and my substantial estate ( rs6994992 mad genius gene) will be bequeathed to AA and the Mid Atlantic Wellness Center, and my very own orchid child, Eva who is mad like me or like the line from a Charles Bukowski poem, “She is mad, but she is magic, there is no lie in her fire.”

Sylvia Plath-Mommy


If you would like to hack your own genome, order a basic gene test for $99 on:

And then when you get your results download the raw data off of their website and then run it through this website for $5:

I’ll Hack Yours, You Hack Mine


Last weekend, in between cutting my toenails, drinking two pints of coffee and folding laundry I decided like a typical middle aged mother to sit down with my laptop and instead of reading about Hilary’s campaign for the presidency I spent my all too valuable free time hacking my genome. We all have secrets locked away, encoded into our DNA, and that accident of conception and human mutation over centuries that resulted in you and me is just begging to be hacked so hack I did.

Believe it or not this all started over a year ago with my ambition to become a member of the DAR, Daughters of the American Revolution. To become a Daughter, you must prove your bloodline to a revolutionary solider through birth and death certificates or other evidentiary methods like published genealogies. This is no small deed, and the process usually separates the dilettante from the serious. It’s been a year and I am still an “in process member” or dilettante but I have not given up. I have proven the first three generations back and then the hardest generation, the oldest one but I have two in between that elude me proving on paper that I have revolution in my blood.

However, this was but a starting point for something much deeper. The same revolutionary line, my mother’s father’s family has been traced all the way back to European royalty and Charlemagne himself on one branch. Not to scoff at royalty but another line of his family intrigued me more. My grandfather always maintained to all of us that his grandmother was a Cherokee squaw and was very proud of his Native American heritage. This has been passed down to all the branches of the family but we have no photographs or proof? In my pursuit for revolutionary status I discovered that we could probably find out if my great great grandmother was Native American by simply spitting in a test tube and testing our genetics. How novel!

During the last year I have made my father, mother, husband and finally myself spit into test tubes and have our DNA extracted. I have been warned that this was not a good idea, to send off your DNA to be held in a database for fear someone might want to clone me one day. My curiosity in my own DNA far outweighs any one’s desire to clone it, and that counts triply for my mothers DNA, who is by far the most cynical about the entire process. She spat in one test tube of DNA then held off for a few weeks on the other kit, alternatively holding it over my head like a carrot with hopes I would brush my hair more often, and then decrying it as “ridiculous” and then confessing that, what she really wanted for her birthday was “ a purse” not a “rubbish DNA test.”

I gently reminded her that it was the only way to discover if her great grandmother was really a Native American. That would pique her interest just enough to work up a bit of spit. My mother has always wanted to identify herself with a minority for the shock value if nothing else as my mother pretty much looks like Heidi from the Swiss Alps.

Eventually she mustered enough saliva, no doubt by fantasizing about a bucket of fried chicken, to warrant a DNA test. Then you have to wait a month or two or more for them to process it before they send you a login to access a complicated portal that sucks more time from your day than Facebook.

In the meantime, distraught with anticipation I endlessly read blog articles about genetics, and became even more upset with the idea that if the DNA test came back without any Native American genes, it does not mean that my great great grandmother was not a Squaw, it just means we haven’t inherited any of her genes, which is entirely possible if not probable after four or five generations. Perhaps DNA was not the answer to all my questions after all.

My mother’s dna results arrived at the same time as mine. It felt like I was a talk show guest on Maury Povich and he just handed me an envelope and at any moment I was going to find out if the trailer trash guy my mother had been hanging around with years ago was really my father. I opened the envelope and there was the answer in my DNA 99% European, 1% Native American, and in my mother’s DNA 93% European, 7% Native American. The Squaw’s DNA had persevered five generations to convince us not to doubt my grandfather’s word, and to give us some sort of proof for the skeptic relatives and acquaintances, and for me an overwhelming sense of satisfaction.

In my web surfing and narcissistic fascination with my own genome I discovered that far beyond tracing my European and Native American ancestry, I can actually discover what genetic predispositions to disease I carry around with me waiting to be flipped on like a switch through environment, stress, or just the ravages of time and age. So last weekend in between loads of laundry I hacked my genome.

While my mother was probably building a teepee in the backyard “for the grandchildren,” tying a chicken feather to her headband and practicing her drum circle chanting, I was hacking not only my own genome but my father, mother and my husband’s. It’s kind of like looking in their underwear drawers but 21st century style.

What it turned up was quite surprising. It turns out its not just my husband who says, “You are just like your mother.” We both have at least ten gene SNPs which give us something like a ten fold increase in risk for breast cancer, and my mother is herself a survivor. I will be getting a mammogram soon. Both my parents have longevity genes. I drew two short straws and inherited one gene for a shorter life span and increased risk of dementia with age. What a pity, looking after my parents as they approach 100 ( they both have a greater likelihood of living to 100) will probably kill me off at 70 or at least give me breast cancer but then again that could be all the booze. Turns out we – that means everyone in the family on all sides including my husband- have rampant addiction genes, for me I inherited more of the high likelihood to become addicted to nicotine genes, and a dodged the stronger desire for alcohol gene both my mother and husband have but we all have at least two or three more for alcohol dependency. The nicotine genes make me very very happy I somehow had the personal drive to quit smoking after my freshman year in college when I smoked about twenty cigarettes a day. That one year of smoking is probably still chipping off days from my genetically abbreviated lifespan- at least it was fun in a Bette Davis chain smoking kind of way.

To counteract the alcohol dependence genes my mother and I share a gene SNP that unifies us in commiseration, we share an SNP on the dopamine/serotonin feedback loop that leaves us with the genetic disadvantage of suffering from terrible hangovers. I always marveled at people who recover from hangovers by 3pm, for me they tend to get worse as the day goes on.

If hacking my genome didn’t have me running out the door to get a head to toe MRI, then it did at least depress me somewhat, but there are not just bad SNPs there are also good ones. Somehow my three genes for “unlikely to go bald” did not bolster my mood any, considering chemotherapy looked almost inevitable but you know I even have an SNP for intolerance or greater negative reaction to chemotherapy drugs. I now felt like I had read my own diary, and knew things I might be better off not knowing and I haven’t even said anything about my personality genes. Yes there are gene snps for personality too. I will devote an entire post to this next week.

Another reason I hacked my genome was to find out if I had a common and at the same time potentially catastrophic mutation in my methylation genes. Methylation is a necessary cellular process that governs many fundamental functions in the body. My father and I share a mutation on the A 1238 gene which can affect methylation but is far less problematic than the central mutation of the AC3677 gene which is far worse. Thank god we dodged that snp.

If you are interested in hacking your genome read this article by Suzy Cohen, which explains the process really clearly.

This is what I did… order a basic genetic test from for 99 dollars. They are better and easier to understand than and the other services out there. They will send you the kit, spit into the test tubes, send it back, wait, then they will email you. When your results are ready login and download the raw data. Then upload your raw data into:

for $30 dollars and it will list all your SNPS and if you have two plus signs you are homozygous for that SNP and will most likely display the trait, if you are heterozygous for the trait plus/minus you may or may not display the trait. If you have two minus signs you will not display the trait. There are good and bad predispositions and traits. Click on each one and it will take you to the page devoted to your SNP mutation on You better devote an entire day to this process. analyses your health snps but if you go another step further and upload your raw data for 5 dollars into:

you will find it analyses personality and other traits, like big boobs or small boobs, blue, green or brown eyes. Then do the same for every member of your family so you know who to blame for what you got in the genetic roulette of conception. I also uploaded my DNA to to find out what supplements I should and shouldn’t take- however a lot of what came back was contradictory- so best to have a naturopath or holistic doctor interpret the data in reference to your symptoms rather than a computer program… more on that from Chris Kresser.

Start with this Suzy Cohen article:

Then watch this podcast with Bulletproof diet man Dave Asprey and Dr. Ben Lynch of, the website I used to analyze my genome.

And this podcast by Chris Kresser called Methylation 101:

Chris says in his podcast that genes make up about 10% of what will happen, and your environment is the other 90%, so there is no such thing as inevitability just predisposition. Dr. Ben Lynch echoed this when he referenced the wonderful book Biology of Belief, which is on my reading list and found on amazon.

I wonder if there is a predisposition to being revolutionary, and if I submitted my DNA to the DAR I could be granted membership based on a gene SNP. Joking aside the DAR have just opened up DNA as a course to membership but you must have a direct male descendant and be able to match his DNA to yours which is a possibility in my lineage. I wonder if he would let me hack his DNA too. Ill Hack Yours, You Hack Mine.

DM signature001

Will I or Wain’t I

I am never sure what next weeks blog will be about until something happens to me, and at the moment it is unfolding- I think- yes this is it…

The other week when I was in Miami I was walking down the street and I passed a rather large man sitting on a bench. He was a down and out, who probably sits on the same bench every day, wearing the same clothes (of that part I am certain) and probably spouts the same vagabond wisdom to other passing tourists.

He saw us coming and I could of sworn he was looking at me but I couldn’t tell because he was wearing sunglasses- the CVS variety, which some drunk South Beach reveler probably left on his bench. He leaned in and said/sang in his down and out alla breve:

“Some will and some wain’t

Some can and some cain’t

Some are REAL and some AIN’T”

I laughed appreciating the spirit, especially as we were in Coconut Grove and Miami has to be second to Los Angeles for silicone and Botox and all things plastic surgery- calf implants anyone? Some are certainly real and some ain’t.

We came to Miami for the wedding of a good friend and at the festivities I met plenty of thirty eight year olds who had already started with the facelifts, boob jobs, eyebrow lifts, botoxed lips, so much so they looked simultaneously unreal and much much older than they really were, which is clearly not the objective – or perhaps they were lying about their age too. I think there is a bottom line with plastic surgery, which I keep telling my mother who doesn’t listen: Don’t F_CK with your face.

Because we spent our week in Miami celebrating a wedding, I figured that perfectly delivered vagabond wisdom was symbolic of the institution of marriage and the sometimes, institutional world of dating.

Like boobs, some marriages are real and some ain’t. Plenty of people get married to stay in a country or leave one. In Bermuda, where I am from, you have to be married for ten years before the spouse of the Bermudian can become a bonafide resident without fear of being redomiciled to their country of origin, or even allowed to become a majority owner of a business.   This is a sticky issue for many people, and more than one divorce petition has followed a status application.

I myself might as well be a bond girl because I have three passports from three different countries. My one passport only, British husband and I have been married for seven years. He is probably worried I will get the seven year itch, evidently women come down with this but men don’t- I was told by a divorcee the other night. What my husband should be really worried about is me getting drunk at the wedding, standing over a subway grate and lifting my dress over my head like Marilyn Monroe in the movie of the same title, or shall I say rather not like Marilyn Monroe. I had escaped our three year old daughter and a party was destined to ensue.

The bride and groom were on the older side of a first marriage, and so a lot of the guests had ditched their children for the weekend and escaped the everyday grind of parenthood. The multitude of people just like me, made it feel like Spring Break in Ibitha or the first time you climbed out of your bedroom window and went to a night club. We were free, uncork the wine, turn up the music – there isn’t a kid you are responsible for for ten thousand miles.

Our friend Martin was walking past another hotel in Coconut Grove on his way to the sports bar when he passed an couple sitting on the stoop outside the Sonesta puffing away on cigarettes, head to toe in fake tan, and the Primark summer line.

“Its not difficult to spot the British holidaymakers, smoking fags, fake tan!” he laughed.

On the return trip, passing the same hotel a few hours later, there they were again – the same couple and more cigarettes. But this time he was with Chris, and Chris went up to the couple, “Mr. and Mrs. Hill, “ how are you?” Martin was mortified. It was the mother and father of the groom. I suppose it takes a Brit on holiday to spot a Brit on holiday.

Given our age there were a fair share of divorcees attending the wedding too and the divorcees were particularly hilarious people perhaps because of or in spite of their experiences in marriage and divorce. The couple, Brett and Mollie who were sitting at our table at the wedding dinner met on and after their respective divorces and had a sum total of four children between them. It turns out that the Bride and Groom actually met on too and were now entering that special place, the one on prime time television commercials for couples that met on Match and got married- an internet dating success story.

In my dating life, I never tried Match but perhaps I should have considered it and perhaps I would have if I had not ended up back resident on an island where a good percentage of the population would respond to the title, Cousin. Learning your extended family tree is not just a history lesson but a dating protocol, however that doesn’t stop some people. I was asked out on a date by a cousin way back in 1998. My response- that of horror- was “but we have the same great grandfather and the same last name! ” How many people can say they have been asked out on a date by a relative, at least he did have a full set of teeth.

I suppose there isn’t anything desperate about admitting you would like to date someone who doesn’t disgust you at first glance and shares in your interests and priorities and who you haven’t known for most of your life or god forbid- are related to. I am sure is far more successful than that other dating establishment which I was also horrifically subjected to in the past – the blind date.

When I moved back to Bermuda from England the dating pool was pretty slim, so when I met a wonderfully extroverted woman from Texas who said she had the perfect man for me, I believed her. I had no good reason to believe her. I don’t even remember his name but Blind date guy called me, and I agreed to meet him for drinks on a Friday after a cocktail cruise. My friend Julie was in town for a wedding so she would be with me and it would be a relaxed meeting between Blind date guy, Julie and myself rather than create any expectations like him buying me dinner or anything serious. This was my first blind date, I was taking it slowly and as it turned out it was also to be my last, after the assault.

Julie and I arrived at the bar on time and I looked around for blind date guy but didn’t see anyone that met his description. I told him precisely what I would be wearing that night and between that and a description of my hair there could be no confusion. Julie and I ordered a drink, and then another. By ten pm it was clear he was not going to show up. Julie and I ended up – full hot- with me running around the bar telling everyone that I was stood up by a blind date- “Can you believe it! He’d be disappointed if I ever meet him,” and on and on. Eventually after the clock struck midnight we decided to leave, and we disappeared down the dark ally way next to the bar in the direction of home.

Out of nowhere a car screeched to a halt. A man jumped out of the car and chased us down the ally. He grabbed my arm violently or maybe just drunkenly and with my free arm I took my purse, which was heavily weighted with an early generation digital camera the size of a small melon, and clocked him over the head, not once, but several times. Clearly I thought this stranger was trying to rob us, but it was in fact my blind date. He was shorter than me and four hours late so in the end I felt I had dodged a bullet, even though he had not dodged my digital camera.

A few days later I was in the grocery store and happened to see the woman from Texas, I was trapped by distracted women and grocery carts so I pretended to be looking at the expiration dates on the milk cartons ( they were all the same) but I could not avoid her.

“So have you had your blind date yet?”

“No. We were supposed to meet up last Friday but it didn’t work out. ”

I felt it was the simplest explanation of something that had no hope of succeeding. I don’t think she knew about the assault or at least she didn’t let on.

About a year later she tried to set me up with someone else at a party, who was just as short, about my height five foot three at the most. At the risk of sounding completely superficial, I think I told her that I was only interested in men who were at least six feet tall. The moral of the story is that if I had used ( was it around then?) it would have prescreened all the short and late men out of my dating pool, and it might have saved me some time, and a digital camera.

Typical of a Generation X, I am fascinated to hear about people my age and their experiences on Match. Their stories did not disappoint. At our table at the wedding, Mollie’s match, Brett seemed like quite a catch, but his Match stories were well—horrifying– but there is just something about love that convinces you to never give up- until he met Mollie.

Brett described going on a date with a woman who lost no time in letting him know that she, “likes sex with liquids.” He said he told her he would be up for that, thinking to himself, honey, melted chocolate, candle wax- worth a try- not too weird. As the night wore on she confessed that her overwhelming desire was to get naked and pee on him. There was no second date.

Brett said when he got home he mulled over in his mind the eternal question, “Maybe I am really a prude? Am I a prude? ”

I told him categorically, “No.”

On Match you have to put your age down and select an age range of potential candidates. Perhaps they could do with a box for whether or not you like to be peed on. Brett said his range was 35-50. A woman sent him a message saying that she was 51, and he agreed to go on a date as she was only one year out of his range, which was not a big deal to him. The date was going well and Brett said she didn’t look a day over 40, his own age at the time. On their second date she said,

“I have a confession to make.”

“What?” at this point he was probably worried she would say she was really a man.

“I lied about my age.”

“Okay, how old are you?”

“I am not 51, I am 62.”

Brett found this hard to believe, he thought she looked like she was 40 not his own mother’s contemporary.

A few days later, the 62 year old emailed him on Match declining the possibility of a third date, “ You are too old for me, I like younger men.” Brett was twenty two years younger, but somehow not enough.

Just to out due his own stories Brett had yet another one. He took another prospective out for dinner one night, afterwards they went to a local bar for a night cap. Everything was going well for a change, until after drink number three.

“I have a confession to make.”

You can imagine what Brett was thinking… “Are you going to tell me you are really 16 or 84?” but just to out due any of Brett’s other dates on the crazy Richter scale…

“I was abducted by aliens.” She said with utmost sincerity.

“ I’ll pay for your cab home.” Brett said with a matched sincerity masking his horror, and disbelief. At this point Brett was wondering not only if he was really a prude, but what question he filled out on Match that paired him with a bunch of crazies.

I laughed hysterically hard at his final dating disaster story, because something very similar had happened to me in college without the help of There are some people that attract crazy all on their own, I am a beacon. No one has wanted to pee on me yet however.

Back in college when single men were everywhere, there was a house of three boys and my roommate was dating one of them. One of the boys- I think his name was a deceptively simple- John -was quiet and mysterious and piqued my curiosity. Eventually one Saturday night after a show at the Mermaid Lounge in the Quarter in New Orleans, I ended up in his car. After he kissed me- for the first time (and last) – he went into a twenty minute story about being abducted by aliens on a beach in Alabama. During which time I was desperately trying to figure out how I was going to convince him to let me out of the car, which had automatic interior locks. I think I was overcome with a parched throat and had to get another beer. I don’t think I ever saw him again, not sure if he graduated or if he was returned to the ether, some plaything of alien men and their anal probes. I am pretty sure he told me he was probed. I think I would rather be peed on.

And then there was the time, also in college when the boy I liked had a psychotic break and for some reason decided to run around our New Orleans Garden district neighborhood naked clutching a bottle of Captain Morgan’s rum. We had to chase him down in my friend Jane’s car. He didn’t drink and I think at this moment I discovered why. He is now married with three children and I assume off the Captain Morgan.

“Some are Real and Some Ain’t” or as I will tell my Eva when she grows up- you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince. However you can also drink too much, tell dating stories about alien abductees and have fun at a friend’s wedding, and I did!

DM signature001

4 20 : A Geriatric Purple Haze

When my life as I knew it ended in December 2011 with the birth of my daughter Eva, I never thought I would see a mountain or ski slope ever again. It took me four years to get back to Colorado but get back I did in 2015. I spent a week in March in Vail with my parents, who by divine intervention could not find anyone else to share their timeshare. Enter last minute air miles flight purchase, ski pass and just a credit card between me, a fabulous holiday week, and an empty bank account. Mommy only lives once.

My last minute holiday plans took some getting used to, especially for Eva’s father who was informed that he would have to do all the drop-offs, pickups and lunch boxes for the six days I was gone. He had not done this since I went to a wedding in Greece when Eva was six months old and not yet on solid food. Mommy likes an adventure.

One day Eva will be old enough to come with me, maybe when I move to LA. J

As it turns out my globe trotting Sagittarius friend had just been in Vail and said she was going to leave me a package at the front desk of my hotel, but that she had not been able to because she had consumed all of it.

“What was the surprise?”

“What else do you come to Colorado for?”

“Skiing and? … Oh, Oh yes.”

“You have to try it.”

“No, I have to get my mom to try it.”

“I’ll send you a link to where we went.”

“I think I’ll tell her that I have planned a shopping trip for her.”

“She will certainly buy that.”

And buy it she did for a brief moment. I let my dad in on the cover story. We were going to get the doorman to drive us to Native Roots and tell her it was Colorado’s version of Gucci. My mother, although she has a loveable gullibility, also has a compensating controlling nature, which must be in charge of all minutia. The rest of us could not possibly cope without her mastery of our every move.

“Mom, I am going to organize the doorman to take us to the boutique.”

She whipped out her ipad.

“What is it called?” Her pointer finger hovering over the Google toolbar.

“Let me organize it.” I pleaded

“No, What is it called?”

“Native Roots.” I say tentatively the corners of my mouth curving up in the hint of a laugh.

My father shakes his head.

My mother hunts and pecks and presses enter.

She squints at the screen, puts on her reading glasses, squints again then flips the ipad in my direction.

“Is this it?”

“That is it.” I say with a big smile.

“It’s not a boutique, it looks like a marijuana farm! “

“It’s legal here mom, it will be like a rite of passage.”

“I am not smoking weed.”

“You don’t have to. You just have to buy weed, exercise your legal rights.”

“Whatever, if you insist.”

“I insist. It will be an adventure. ”

“I better not get arrested.”

“I told you its legal in Colorado, even for socialites.”

“The doorman of The Sebastian is NOT taking us to buy weed, I will find a driver.”

She flicks her hair, and flips open her address book from circa 1980, and turns the page to a well worn bookmark, never considering once the option of not going, but a firm commitment to find the right method of transportation.

“Shall I call High Mountain taxi, or Mountain High Car Service?”

My father and I burst out laughing. My mother seemed oblivious.

“I think I will try Mountain High, High Mountain did not call me back in 1986 and I almost missed the first Pepi’s Wedel week, Ill never forget.”

She dials, and in her best telephone voice, “Hello we are at the Sebastian in Vail, and we would like to go on a sight seeing tour to the marijuana farm.”

“Native Roots in Eagle Vail.” I say pedantically.

“If you could please pick us up at 4pm.”

“How long will it take to get there?”

“Approximate arrival time, 420pm, perfect.”

“420pm,” I echo, “Perfect.”

My mother hangs up the phone and announces,

“I am not buying any marijuana.”

“Mom, Ill buy it for you, because you are over age. “

“What do you mean?”

“When you are underage you get older friends to buy you beer, and when you are overage you get your daughter to buy you weed.”

“We will work something out,” she says giving me a side eye.

At 4pm we milled past the fur coats and leather carry alls that littered the lobby, and piled into our Mountain High chariot.

“Thank you for taking us,” my mother broke the ice, “It’s my daughter that wants the weed.” In another universe she could have been my pimp, running my life, getting me to buy her drugs, and speaking for me.

“It’s a marijuana factory we don’t want to buy any, just take the tour.”

I could see Mom was restraining her self from asking our driver if he was a regular.

“I haven’t smoked weed since 1969.” She said to the driver.

“That’s not actually true.” I said.

“Yes it is.”

“No its not.”

My father just shook his head and said nothing.

“You don’t remember because you were drunk.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Anna Laura’s ( my sister) twenty first birthday party.”

“The indecent proposal party.”

“Yes you made an indecent proposal.”

“I did?”

“Yes you went up to a young girl who was smoking weed, she was mortified convinced you were going to turn her in to the police or worse her parents, and instead you asked her if you could have a toke.”

“What’s a toke?”

“A puff mom.”

“Oh yes its all coming back to me now.”

“I don’t think it had any effect on me.”

“It had an effect on the young girl, she was shocked.”

“Do you remember what happened next?”


“ The next weekend, Giles ( my younger brother) was at the local bar and picked up a young girl, they were making out on the golf course and she told him about a raging party she had been at the weekend before when an old woman came up and asked to share her joint. “

“Oh yes I remember this,” my father said.

I continued, “and then Giles said, Oh my god that was MY Mother! At about the same time as you drove up to the bar in a rage beeping your car horn, because he had missed his curfew.  Giles left the young girl on the golf course, and sheepishly got into the back seat. I am not sure though who was in more trouble that night him or you.”

“Okay that’s enough no more story hour in front of the driver.”

“He has a name, it’s Doug.”

We pulled into Native Roots, in Eagle Vail at 4:19pm.

“One minute to spare.”

We posed for pictures outside. I got this particularly nice one of my parents “sightseeing” about to “tour the factory.”

Native Roots

When we arrived, I announced that we were tourists, and I handed over my passport. My mother slipped her passport under the Plexiglas divider, and the woman on the other side picked up the other end of the passport. My mother would not let the other end go, her grip tightened and she started to pull it back.

“What are you going to do with my passport, you better not report me.”

“Mom, it’s a formality, you aren’t being done for ten years in the Bangkok Hilton, relax! “

She let go.

“This woman needs some weed.”

The strung out cancer patient in the corner laughed and offered to take our picture, it becoming increasingly obvious to everyone in the establishment that we all had never been there before, had no idea what we were doing, and not smoked weed since at least 1996. Which was not quite as long ago as 1969.

The doors clinked open and the woman behind the Plexiglas motioned us forward, like the bellboy at the Ritz as far as my mother was concerned.

Mom sauntered in, “What now?” looking at me, expecting wait staff, a silver tray, or an opium den or all of the above.

“We stand in line,” I said assuming our spot.

We shuffled up to the boy behind the counter.

“My goodness, you look younger than my son!” My mother exclaimed.

“You have to be at least 21 to work here, it’s the law” the boy pointed to the sign.

“Your son is 32 years old, mom.”

She ignored me, “We would like something light. I haven’t smoked weed since 1969.”

“1996,” I countered. “Wine at lunch makes her dyslexic.”

“Nothing has over 10grams because we are regulated by government.” He said staring straight ahead but pointing to another sign as if he had done this thirty times that very day.

“Now what do you want?”

My mother looked down over the display cabinets moving her ringed pointer finger around, “I would like to see this one,” she said as if she was choosing an engagement ring from the millionaire’s club at Tiffany’s.

She sniffed lavender kind buds and held the Sour Kush strain up to the light before wafting it toward her nose. She discussed the merits of buddery like she was discussing the fine citrus notes of a glass of Chablis.

“Look they even have a Harlequin bud.”

Then something important distracted mom just as she was nearing a decision, after pulling everything out to the young man’s quiet annoyance. He was given away by the frustrated wiggle of his backwards baseball cap, and the eye rolling. She was taken in by the metallic glint of a rack of clothing. She finally felt at home in the drug den.

Pointing she said, “I would like to see that t-shirt in a women’s medium.” The young man walked so slowly into the back wardrobe, his pants almost fell off of his non existent butt. He returned with a Native Roots T-shirt in a plastic wrap.

“I am taking it out of the plastic wrap.” She announced to him. He shrugged.

She unfolded the t-shirt and put it up to her and to me and my father.

“It’s a women’s medium.” I said.

“Right you are, young man fetch me a large.”

He returned eventually with a large, she gave him a don’t even try to stop me look, and took the large out of package, made my father hold it up by the shoulder seams while she held up the medium to gauge the difference in size, fit and texture.

“Now let me see a men’s large.”

He disappeared and returned.

“Now a men’s medium”

When she had taken almost every t-shirt in every denomination out of its package and ummed and ahhed about size, color and who would get what for which birthday. She decided on five t-shirts, which she stuffed in her purse like she had just bought postcards in Tuscany.

“Do you take credit cards? “

“No, cash only.”

“Don’t you take gold credit cards?” She said waving hers around.

“No, marijuana is still illegal federally so the banks don’t want to have anything to do with us, it’s a cash business.”

“Someone should talk to them, credit is king! “

“We are a weed dispensary, would you like to purchase any weed or just the t-shirts?”

My mother gave him the side eye and adjusted her David Yurman.

“I want two lemon drops.”

“And a vapor stick.” I added.

“In vapor sticks we are selling two for the price of one.”

“Look mom they must have known we were coming, they are having a sale! “

“What flavor would you like?”

I remembered my friend’s advice and so I tried to sound like I knew what I was talking about. Like a truly almost middle aged mother, I said,

“I would like the Stevia flavor.” Assuming of course that it was flavored naturally with the calorie free sugar like herb.

“You mean SATIVA not Stevia.” He said smugly while reaching into the case.

“Yeah whatever that is.” I said mortified.

He took two vapor sticks out of the case and put them in front of me on the counter.

“One for mother, one for daughter.”

“I have a question.” My mother interjected. The young man had had enough of us by this point. Mother rattled her lemon drops.

“Can these be smelled by sniffer dogs?”

The young man’s annoyance abated into amusement.

“She will be 70 soon.” I added for effect.

“I don’t think anyone will find it if I hide it with my vitamins, no one will be the wiser. Can we take it to Bermuda?”

“YOU can do whatever YOU want, Mame.”

“In Colorado.” I added.

“What happens in Colorado stays in Colorado.”

“Can we get a printed receipt for customs in Bermuda?”


“One more thing, can you take the weed off of the receipt?”

Mom winked at him, the rest of us rolled our eyes.

When we finally got back to the hotel mom laid her stash out on the cocktail table, fixed herself a four finger vodka and contemplated her return to the world of drug use.

“What is it going to do to me?”

“Relax, you might like it better than booze.”

We both knew that was impossible.

Mom turns the lemon drops over in her hand, reading the label.

“There is too much sugar in this.”

“Mom, this is not the time to be health conscious. You are about to get high.”

“What is THC?”

“That’s the active ingredient.”

“Oh, Maybe I shouldn’t do this on an empty stomach.”

“You never have an empty stomach.”

She tried to open the child proof pinch and pull triggered lever to open the box and couldn’t.

“It’s geriatric proof.”

“No match for my heavy duty kitchen scissors.”

When she finally got it open she looked at the lemon drops as if she was about to take one.

“What happens if I go nutcase?”

“You already are a nutcase.” Dad said.

Dad was cooking steaks and the grill started to smoke up the hotel suite.

“Can one of you open the door, we don’t want to set off the alarm everyone will think it’s the drugs.”

Mom got up opened the door, and went to fetch the cordless phone, she put it next to me.

“Just in case, so you can call 911.”

“Mom, I am not a responsible adult, I am sucking on a vapor stick.”

“I know you aren’t a responsible, but you are capable of dialing for help.”

“Just take your lemon drop mom.”

She did, and then chased it with vodka.

“I should take one of these before I go down Riva Ridge.”

“But you won’t even go down Lodge Pole?” Dad said.

“That was before I discovered lemon drops.”

She cranked her lazy boy into a full recline and removed her fur lined snow boots, dressed still in head to toe David Yurman.

“Does it get into your system really fast because its got so much sugar? I feel mellow.”

“Maybe I should take one?” Dad said.

“You need at least two because you are bigger.”

“I am not that much bigger.”

“They look like cough sweets.”

Mom popped another one in her mouth, “If its legal can it still fuck you up like LSD?”

“Wait, you took LSD?”

No answer.

“Do you get hangovers from this stuff.”

“I don’t think so, time will tell.” I said.

“Is it addictive?”

“I am going to take one of these before I get on Chair 4.”

“I am not sure if that’s a good idea,” I said imagining my mother with the giggles getting plowed over on the carpet by a series of young sober people.

Mom looked at the ingredients again.

“We got jipped, these only have five milligrams each. We should have gotten rookie cookies.”

“Mom take another lemon drop.”

“Pass me your vaporizer.”

I obeyed, and she took a deep inhale.

“What would be better is if they invented a ganja humidifier and then everyone could have some.”

“The lemon drops must be kicking in.”

“Pass me my ipad.”

I obeyed.

“I am going to post something on Facebook.”

“Don’t say we are getting high.”

“Why not?”

I realized at this moment that in college dorm rooms across the world people were getting high and surfing facebook, but there probably weren’t many 70 year old grannies, dripping in fur and David Yurman in a fancy hotel suite in Vail doing the exact same thing.

“Shit, I have done something to my facebook, can you fix it?”

She passed me her ipad. I took a look and erupted in a fit of vapour induced giggles.

“Mom, how on earth did you set your Facebook to Chinese.”

“I feel Chinese,” She giggled while squinting at me from her old age recliner.

I managed to switch the language back to her native tongue, giving me a translatable look at her Facebook profile.

“Mom it says you like Justin Bieber?”

“Who is Justin Bieber?”

“He is a juvenile.”

“I don’t know how that happened.”

“Blame the lemon drops.”

“Where is the stuff I am supposed to snort?”

“We don’t have anything that is snortable.”

“Thank god.” Dad said. He was still sober.

“When you are finished, you had better hide your paraphernalia from the maids.” She said to me waving her pointer finger.

“Mom we are in Colorado, and when you are done there will be nothing left, especially if you start snorting lemon drops.”

“I think they should open a Native Roots branch in Vail proper. I was looking for one last year.”


“I am going to put the rest of the lemon drops in my makeup bag, and take them home.”

“Mom you really can’t do that, ending up on the Bermuda drug list will be mortifying for a socialite. If there are any left just pack them in the crate and we can have them next year.”

She checked the label again, “Oh they don’t expire until 2018.”

“Hopefully we don’t either.” Dad said.

Mom packed what was left into the crate mumbling, “I am putting it away in the crate because no one will let me take it home.”

“We could send it to Henry and Judiann as a surprise, or give it to Malin.” I said

“I don’t think you should share your drugs with your ski instructor.” Dad said.

“I am feeling a bit hazy, I might have to lie down.” Mom started to stagger.

“It’s called a Purple Haze.”

Mom later fell asleep and started snoring in her recliner.

I said to Dad, “I bet she is dreaming of smoking weed with Justin Bieber.”

“She could be his grandmother.”

“Great Grandmother.”

Mom survived without a hangover and lived to smoke/inhale a vapor stick, another day.

Mountain high

Xx Derelict Mom.

Hello Vodka This is Mommy Calling

I was thinking the other day, that Reza could be my mother. If my biological mother had decided to leave me on the side of the curb in 1976, Reza would have adopted me, I know she would have. It would have made her a teenage mother, and in someways I am surprised she wasn’t a teenage mother, her big heart is always taking in strays. Stray dogs, stray people, stray people’s problems, stray teenage adoption- not such a stretch. I distinctly remember showing up one Saturday morning sometime last year to see Piglet while Reza was out, and noticing a suspicious car in the yard. It was an unmarked car parked next to the swing set with two men wearing matching grey suits and ray bans. It was then I knew her latest stray who she was hosting in the spare room, was a bit more trouble than the usual alley cats. A few weeks later something happened between them, someone called the cops, Reza kicked her out, and has been locking her door ever since. She won’t tell me what happened, and although I wish Piglet could talk he doesn’t divulge any of Reza’s secrets.

Reza, much like my own mother, also gives me parenting advice. She tells me Eva needs a sibling. I tell her … “Just like I need to saw off my arm.” She is horrified, tells me I spoil her, and looks at me suspiciously when I say no then give in and say yes because by the time Eva has had two lollipops what harm does a third one do? kind of like wine. It’s irrational but I am sticking to it – but only on Saturdays. Then mid sentence Reza runs outside and starts mowing the lawn in her way too small nightie with bizarre and at the same time random timing, like she left the kettle on or something. The noise makes me loose concentration and I start thinking I am in my own version of the Truman Show.


Reza is always trying to convert me to religion, to save me, to earn her golden ticket to heaven, and be my spiritual guide. My cynicism of religion has not budged but I was searching through my drawers last night for a pen and found a poem on a card about Motherhood with an image of Mary Magdalene. Reza probably gave it to me, slipped it under the door, or with her bill. It read:

Dear Lord,

It’s such a hectic day, with little time to stop and pray. For life’s been anything but calm, since you called me to be a mom- running errands, matching socks, building dreams with stacking blocks, cooking, cleaning and finding shoes, and other things that children lose. Fitting lids on bottled bugs, wiping tears and giving hugs. A stack of last week’s mail to read- where’s the quiet time I need? Yet when I steal a moment, Lord, at the sink or ironing board, to ask the blessing of your grace, I see them in my little one’s face, that you have blessed me all the while. And I stoop to kiss that precious smile.

I thought of my own mother and how she is still doing a lot of these things, she still nags us all to be her best version of ourselves, she has taken in our partners and all the grandchildren in kind of like strays and nags them too. Last weekend she was throwing a dinner party and wanted Chris and I to attend, but we declined not because we had a better offer but because it was the only night we have off all week because life with a three year old and jobs is otherwise hectic. She twisted our arm and convinced us to come for a drink.

“Why do we have to come for a drink?”

“Because the Gig man is here and he is English.”

“Who is /What is a Gig man?”

“Your father has brought him over to start the pilot gig racing program in Bermuda.”

“Reza’s father was a pilot.”

“The Gig man does not want to meet Reza he wants to meet Chris.”

“Why does he want to meet Chris?”

“Because he supports the same team as Chris, he is a Tottenham Hotspurs supporter.”

“Oh they have a huge game on Sunday.”

“So you have to bring Chris over for a drink.”

“Okay fine.”

We came over, my mother had hired staff for the evening, unbeknownst to me I was drafted too and spent cocktail hour passing canapés. Then my mother requested that Chris make her a cocktail. We started gossiping together in the kitchen like Anna and Bates in Downton Abbey. Chris was fixing her a drink, while I was arranging toast points.

“Do you think that is enough vodka?” he asked me looking down at the two finger vodka he had poured.

“For my mother, not at all, why don’t we double it and make it a four finger and just put a touch of soda water in it.”

“We can’t do that.”

“Yes we can, she can send it back and we can water it down if need be.”

“You are going to get her drunk.”

“Not off one vodka, it will be funny, come on.”

He poured the stiffy.

“I want to see if she flinches.”

I took my almost seventy year old mother the drink.

“Chris wants you to taste it to see if it’s okay.”

She raised it to her lips and drank with reverence.

No flinch.

I returned to the ante room and reported back to Chris.

“No flinch.”


I looked down and started laughing.

Chris said, “What are you laughing at?”

The cocktail napkin, its so mom.

Chris looked down and read it: “I laughed so hard tears ran down my leg.”

A Life in Cocktailnapkin002

Then I started to think…. It would be a pretty hilarious character portrait to hunt through all her stuff and find all the cocktail napkins in her collection.

“It would be quite a portrayal.” Chris said…and so I did, like the good researcher I am, collecting all her cocktail napkins my mothers own pracied memoir, a life in cocktail napkins. Maybe that is what I will entitle her eulogy.

Here goes:

I tried jogging but I couldn’t keep the ice in my glass

A Life in Cocktailnapkin003

At our age swimming is dangerous, lifeguards don’t try as hard.

A Life in Cocktailnapkin007

SLUTS: Southern Ladies Up to Something

A Life in Cocktailnapkin006

Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle

A Life in Cocktailnapkin008

You will always be my best friends, you know too much!

Hello Vodka, this is mommy calling.

A Life in Cocktailnapkin004

This last one is especially fitting. I am thinking the three of us kids, should ask her to choose one for her epitaph.

Later on, when we were invited out of the kitchen, Chris finally got to meet the Gig man.

“Hey, I hear we support the same team – YID ARMY! Woot. Woot.”

“Huh? Oh You are a Spurs supporter? “


“You have a big game tomorrow.”

“Yes WE have a big game tomorrow.” Chris said.

“ I support Torquay United. “



“Maybe we did give her too much vodka.” I said later.

“It’s almost impossible to get a third division team like Torquay confused with Spurs.”

“Almost isn’t good enough.”

“Write that one down.”

“What for?”

“Your life in cocktail napkins, the abridged memoir.”

“We should do one for Reza too.”

“If Reza was my mother, I would need a four finger vodka.”

DM signature001

WANTED: Personal Assistant… God Needs a Day Off.

The closest I ever got to self help was reading a book called the Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron. There was one chapter which talked about how creative people often have crazy makers in their lives, people close to them who sap all their energy and time with demands, crisis and otherwise high drama. Hmmm. Sound familiar.

The book recommends that you either cut these people out of your life completely or distance your self from them in order to nurture yourself. I have several of these in my life, we all probably do but instead of distance myself I have decided to mine my experiences for the blog, but sometimes it gets me down. I have a hard enough time managing my ridiculous career, my own expectations, a three year old, and I could go on but it wouldn’t be flattering.

My mother unsubtly suggested during a moment of unemployment last year that I become her friend’s personal assistant. It was never a career I aspired after or even looked up to nor would it be something that I would be good at because it would be really hard for me to have my heart in personal assistance and when it comes down to it, I am just too stuck up.

Maybe it was the threat of divorce or maybe it was the book’s advice but I finally came to the decision last year to re-home Piglet who had been driving the household crazy for eleven years with his bullying and fleeting attempts at murder of his brother, filicide . Everyone had finally had enough. It was me or the dog.

When Reza agreed to adopt Piglet I was relieved but I was of course inheriting another crazy situation, just different kind of crazy, crazy on a different day but still crazy, belovable crazy.

It became even crazier when someone ( not me) took Julie Cameron’s advice and decided to create some distance, and as of January Reza was out working on her own instead of for her brother’s company which before neatly took care of all her taxes and health insurance, depositing a sum every month in her account. Now she was out on her own, and Piggy was diagnosed with diabetes, all of which added to the stress of her situation and mine.

“Don’t worry, I am not worried, God will provide.”

So in January God lined up at the bank got a token and all the information, sat down at her computer with Reza, devised passwords and set up internet banking. God also typed up information sheets for all her clients to fill out with their details and contact information. God organized a photo shoot and designed a business card. God also monitored all her ashamble finances for the last two months, tracked down missing payments and worried about how she would pay her car registration or even get the car passed through TCD. God then realized that Reza had not signed up for health insurance, so God will take it upon herself to sign Reza up for the government program, and pay for it directly.

“God will provide.”

The problem with Reza is she is not an effective communicator. It took me weeks to understand the communications she had had with clients over the missing payment. She seems to commune with God just fine but he is not providing the translation. She also has a short temper which is made worse by hunger, sickness or tiredness and Reza like myself seems to always be afflicted by one if not more of those.

The other day when we did her photo shoot it took about an hour to get one usable picture because she was shouting and yelling and carrying on, sending one dog, east, another west, and at least three cowering. She was shouting at me, at her self, at all eight dogs and the sky. She was Fing and blinding and then apologizing to Eva who wasn’t even there.

Then there is the old station wagon God helped her buy last year and its various afflictions. Every car Reza has owned or driven has ended up with a bumper tied on by a piece of string. Reza’s impulsivity drives her to careen over small objects, perhaps even dogs, she has certainly mounted my small boundary wall every now and again. A ding or a dent in a car over the span of a year is hardly news worthy, but fifteen dents and the body work she had to organize before taking the car in for its test. To my sheer amazement, Reza told me the other day,

“You know I used to drive buses. I loved it.”

“You mean public buses with people on it, who pay for you to get them home safe and sound.”


“Lets not go back to that.”

I thought to myself it either didn’t work out because she was sideswiping customers or letting them ride for free, or both. When a bus took out a sidewalk of cars while I was away I was convinced Reza had taken a position as a substitute.

I lay awake nights waiting for the phone call from Reza and then it came one morning.

“The car has broken down, and I have no food or insulin for Piggy.”

“Reza we were just at the vet with Piggy for his glucose curve three days ago, I told you specifically that there is no need to be in this situation, you can charge on my account at any time, I told you to keep at least a week supply at all times. You know you cant mess around with a diabetic dog.”

“I know I know, I am just so worried can you get me the food and insulin.”

“I wasn’t planning on driving to town today, but I will- it will take me two hours out of my way, but I will deliver the food and put the insulin in the fridge.”

“Thank you Thank You Thank You.”

“Reza, don’t let this happen again. “

“It will never happen again.”

So instead of working I spent my Thursday afternoon driving up to the vet and without telling Reza got a case of food and a vile of insulin to keep at my house. I can say with Darwinian certainty that this will happen again.

It turned out to only be her spark plug, the week before she had been leaking oil down Speakers Drive, so we had her oil filter replaced. God provided again.

While I was at the vet I rested my head against the counter as they rang up my credit card and I thought… to myself,

“My god I need a personal assistant.”

Then my second thought made my mother’s suggestion bear fruit.

“My god, I am Reza’s personal assistant.”

This weekend when I came to visit Piglet, and brought Reza some vegetables from the family garden. ( my god maybe I am an enabler.)

She told me that by some miracle her car had passed its inspection. God gets a day off.

Then she started on about politics.

“Do you know that they are taking away our post office, did you know that we only got the post office in St. David’s in 1966, we were last, and now they are taking it away.”

“Reza, that was almost fifty years ago.”

She continued unabated.

“I heard the only reason they kept our medical center open was because they were going to put all the people with M-BOLA in St. David’s. Can you believe the nerve. I don’t want M-Bola.”

And she continued.

“And why did they close the Severn bridge, if something happens to swing bridge no one who lives in St. Georges will be able to get medical attention. They should have kept Severn bridge open, it was all made out of wood- it wouldn’t have cost anything to maintain.”

“Reza they closed Severn bridge in 1937, before you were born.”


She has a little backpack which had the PLP ( Progressive Labour Party) logo, and it was crossed out with a ballpoint pen and in her handwriting the letters OBA for the current government’s party etched on top. I imagined she would be crossing it out again soon and writing Say No to M-Bola.

I decided to try and steer the conversation away from politics and decided to bring up the lack of health insurance.

“You have to have health insurance Reza, so this is what is going to happen, when I get back I will set you up with HIP insurance and I will pay it directly, and then pay you anything else I owe you for walking Piccolo. “

“Okay, thanks that would be great but don’t pay me anything extra, you keep that, whatever it ends up being.”

“No Reza, I won’t keep it.”

“I want you to have it.”

“Are you trying to tip me Reza?”

“Well you should get paid something for being my secretary.”

There was nothing to do but laugh, so I laughed.

“My Secretary…. I think I prefer GOD.”

Reza photo

A Proposition of Sorts

Now that I look far more haggard than I ever looked “put together” even in my best moments, there are a few things that have become certain. This includes the disappointing fact that I am no longer flirted with, by anyone even gas station attendants looking for an extra tip. I comfort my ego by thinking that this is because I am so obviously married, a fact anyone can pick up on by noticing my glittering wedding ring. The truth is if you checked me out you would probably miss the glitter altogether but what you could never miss is the middling overhang, that thing that I used to call my waist when I was eight. Since then I have called it affectionately my pouch, but then I had a baby and it never went back to being just a pouch it is now imperfectly huge, like a bunny burrow my daughter used to live in, then left leaving it eviscerated and at the same time puffy. Occasionally I get a look from someone who hasn’t seen me in a while… it’s a look that speaks loudly and clearly, “My god she let her self go,” as if it was a choice and that I had anything to do with it.

More disturbingly I have noticed an opposing correlation. The less and less members of the opposite sex flirt with me, the more and more people of both genders ask me for advice. I know, why would anyone ask me for advice about anything other than which Danish is better, cream cheese or blueberry? “I don’t eat gluten,” would be my response to which they would look incredulously back in my direction seemingly asking, “How can a chubby person not eat pastry?”

In the same sort of way people always seem to think I can help out their son, cousin, or friend who wants to be a filmmaker so every few months I end up sitting down with someone just starting out to give them my “advice.” The truth is I don’t have any advice, as I have not yet achieved what I really want to. This is really too embarrassing to admit, except in my blog so I usually show up to these meetings, disheveled, dose up on caffeine and tell them to pursue their dreams and try and give them a few practical tips from a most impractical person along with some inspired realism peppered with my best fake smiles and encouragements, when inside I am thinking “Get out while you still can and become an accountant,” but I won’t allow myself to speak that truth as it would be unfair to the fictional version of myself that is both successful and solvent.

So this is how I turned up at my usual coffee place last week to meet my husband’s friend Jamie’s nephew who is applying to film school in Canada and making short films on the island. He was a strapping lad, who had probably been out of school for a few years trying to get into film school and into “the industry.” We went through the usual and the particular. He through out a budget and a story idea, and what he was planning to achieve and how long it would take him. I told him bits and pieces of what I knew about funding and casting etc. etc. Then he asked me something that almost made me choke on a figurative cream cheese danish.

“Have you ever done any acting?”

Hmmm I thought to myself, that was not a usual question. Why would he ask me that, it was like asking me if I had eight legs instead of just two.

“No, I haven’t actually except for student productions when you act, direct, do set design, makeup and Kraft Services all at once while barefoot and with a two dollar budget.”

“I know what you mean, but would you consider acting?”

I took a long swig of coffee and then the ever so egotistical, I am really still eighteen, thoughts crossed my mind— Is he flirting with me?

I tousled my hair, buying time, and then answered, “Well I might consider acting if it was the right role.” It was my best Nicole Kidman impression.

He had previously told me about the film he wanted to make about a young twenty year old man who has a psychotic break and his relationship with his mother. He was going to act as the main role as well as direct. I probably should have seen it coming but I didn’t, so then he asked,

“I would love to cast you as the mother.”

I immediately stopped hair tousling, and then licked the bottom of my coffee cup trying to cover up my shock.

“Oh as the mother, as YOUR mother?”


At this point my mind went reeling into a stream of consciousness rambling horror.

“Definitely not flirting, not flirting at all. How can I be your mother, you have a mustache? You are bigger than me. I can’t play your mother, I don’t even have grey hair and I still get my period, I’ll have you know. How can this be happening. Mother of a grown man. Ewwwww. A grown man with a mustache.“

Our conversation ended soon afterwards, with me missing out on what could have been the role of the century.

Later that day I was checking out at the grocery store with all my provisions for my real child who is three not twenty and does not have facial hair yet, hopefully never. The cashier recognized me or my ATM card when I was checking out.

“Oh my gosh, Luci Spurling, how are you?”

Fine I thought, as long as you don’t ask me to act as a middle aged woman.

“You don’t know who I am?”


“It’s Chernelle’s mother.”

“Oh my gosh, Hi, its been a while, I haven’t seen Chernelle in a few years but I chatted to her on email the other year, how is she doing?”

“Chernelle is great, did you know she is a grandmother now.”

I started to madly search for the dark chocolate I had purchased in my grocery bags.

“Grandmother?” I looked at her with an expression as if I had just witnessed the miracle birth of Jesus Christ.

“A What?”

“Did you say Grandmother?”

I stuffed a block of chocolate in my mouth, to ease the pain that word caused to reverberate through my entire body.

“Wow,” is about all I could muster. The packer offered, “Would you like me to take the bags out to the car for you?”

“No I am not crippled, nor am I a grandmother, nor will I play one onstage or in anyone’s crazy fantasy.” I murmured half to myself, my speech distorted through chocolate squares.

The following day I went to fill up my car with gas, full service of course as that’s how old people roll.

The gas man leans on the car hood and leans into the window to say to me, “I can’t believe she hasn’t given out yet.”

My immediate thought is – My god not again, he is talking about me. Then I realize he is talking about my car. My offended expression changes into one of laughing acceptance as I hit the side of the old jalopy with my hand and say, “They don’t make them like they used to.” We smile like two old crows sitting on a park bench watching clouds float by.

“So How old is your car anyway?” the gas man asks me.

“I am not sure, I have lost count.” I reach over and pull the registration out.

“1996” I say proudly, “Nineteen years old.”

As I tapped my fingers on the dash, and wound my fingers around the worn grooves in the steering wheel, that fact really started to sink in. Nineteen years old. My damn car is older than the mustached young actor who wanted me to play his mother. My god I am old.

It is not actually just my own age, or being called “Mame,” that is hard to accept. As the gas topped up on the car and I drove off I realized that I was having problems accepting that Eva would eventually grow up, she would stop going everywhere with me, and that some day she will be almost twenty. And when she is twenty she might decide to date an actor, she might even consider one with a mustache a decision, which will certainly give her mother grey hair menopause and a heart condition.

Until then I can only accept mortality, age and the metaphorical ticking clock of the crocodile in Peter Pan. In the meantime I can enjoy Eva at three sort of the perfect age, if only I could press pause.

I bought Eva a crocodile sleeping bag for Christmas. She hates it, and has banned all camping equipment and toys with teeth ( or ticking clocks for that matter) out of her playroom, bedroom, or bathtub. I may follow her inspired example and live eternally in denial, and treat my daughter like she is three years old forever. Hey maybe that’s my own mother’s secret 🙂

DM signature001

A Moment of Brilliance

If you have read my blog at all in the past year, you will know the moment of brilliance I mention in the title is most certainly not my own. The terrible irony of the scene I am about to recount is that the discovery occurred as I plumbed the depths of my own derelict motherhood. It reminded me of all those accidental discoveries in history when the inventor is trying to invent something else but the experiment’s unintended byproduct changed the world: silly putty, play dough, dynamite, Velcro, LSD, Viagra and its antidote penicillin. Now who could live in a world without all of those things! Eva’s world would certainly be less without play dough, but I digress.

Last weekend, I let Eva stay up late again so I could finish my extra large cocktail before putting her to bed. Bedtime is always a specter that hangs over me, as I know I will have to deal with it at some stage, and all the whining and excuses that come with it. We read her three stories because she is three, and then she has to use the bathroom at the last gasp, she needs a drink, she is hungry, she is scared, she needs several scary toys removed from her room before she could possibly consider shutting her eyes. After she shuts her eyes, the lullaby machine must be turned on, her pajama pants rolled up to the knee and her legs stroked until she starts to drop off. Then I unfurl the pajama bottoms, tuck her in and sneak out of the room.

On the night in question, both her Daddy and I were in her room to kiss her goodnight and Daddy was going to read one story and mommy was going to read two stories. Daddy and I decided the best way to deal with this situation was to skip chapters, pages, sentences out of her new Disney storybook, and she would not be the wiser. My sister is moving house and gave us a bunch of her children’s books including an anthology of five minute Disney stories we have been reading to her over the last week. Five minutes doesn’t sound like a long time but five times three is fifteen minutes plus the bedroom routine I described above with Friday night wine and dinner on the other side of the bedroom door. Completely selfishly Daddy and I decided to skip a chapter of the story.

Eva did not miss a breath and began yelling, “No Mommy. No Mommy, you missed a part!” and started to claw back the pages of the book.

“She doesn’t miss a trick.” Said Daddy. We resumed where we left off, then I decided to miss just a page. “No Mommy, No Mommy, you missed another part.”

“Okay Eva,” and I returned to where I had left off. Undeterred by Eva’s attention to detail, I decided to skip just a sentence. Eva sat bolt upright, looked me in the eye, and with a forthright but polite manner, as if she was speaking to a complete dunce Eva said, “You missed a line mommy.” Then with extra slow pronunciation just in case her dumb as a post derelict mother might miss a syllable, she began to recite the story word for word from where I left off until the very end, Verbatim.

“A movie called the Invisible Monster with Ten Foot Claws was just beginning. Minnie and Daisy watched as an actress entered a spooky mansion. The door slammed behind her with a Bang! “Eeek” Minnie and Daisy jumped. “You’ll never get me monster! “ the actress cried. But soon she heard the scratch scratch scratch of the monster moving toward her. The monster chased the actress all over the house. Luckily she managed to escape. But Minnie and Daisy watched the rest of the movie with the lights on.” ETC ETC.

Her father and I stared at each other scratching our empty heads, wondering if what just happened was our imagination, her imagination or the vodka we just consumed.

“Eva can you read?” I asked.

Eva shrugged. I pointed to a word, “What does this say?” She shrugged again. It was then I realized that she wasn’t even looking at the pages; she was reciting them from memory.

“My god, “ I said to Daddy, “I have only read her this story a few times and she knows it word for word.” Mom’s love to state the obvious.

“Maybe she is like her uncle Mark and has a photographic memory?” I added.

“Maybe, she isn’t looking at the pages, she remembers if from hearing it, she must have an audiographic memory- is there such a thing?” Daddy asked.

Of course after ten minutes of stroking and rolling down the pajama pants and sneaking out of her room, I ran to Google and looked it up. Evidently there is something called Eidetic memory that occurs in a small number of children (2-10%) and generally is not found in adults, because if the ability is not nurtured it can fade by the age of six.

“Ugh,something else to do… How I am going to nuture this?” I wondered, then at the same time marveled that if I was a teetotaler and had never tried to short change my daughter out of her nite nite story for purely selfish reasons then I would never have discovered this amazing talent.

Now I just have to figure out how to put it to use/ turn a profit, before she is six. Vegas? The Circus? Daddy will probably just have her memorize the almanac of Tottenham Hotspur F.C. Maybe I’ll have her memorize all of my favorite Bette Davis movies. She can’t go around quoting Minnie mouse forever.

The following day I ran around telling everyone in the extended family that my child is “Gifted” to their collective expressions of doubt and skepticism. Is it so unbelievable that we could have a “gifted” child? Maybe it is? Maybe she will pay for her own college education, maybe I am dreaming? Maybe, Maybe not!

Here’s to the Gifted and to the Derelict and to all that is revealed in a Bedtime Story!

Xx Derelict Mom

DM signature001

Kids Say the Darndest Things… and so does Reza

I am loving mothering a three year old, and I am finally understanding what it means when people look at Eva and I, wistfully and say,

“Time goes way too fast so appreciate this time you have together when they are little,” or words to that effect.

On no sleep, sick for several months, with overdue work projects and hair that hasn’t been brushed in at least a week I used to hate that comment. Now I feel that I am through the worst of the early years, usually the time in a mother’s life when they further complicate it by having another child or two. Not me, not yet, maybe never. Eva seems to be of the same persuasion. Although her cousin Sadie has been asking her mommy to have another baby, there is nothing farther from Eva’s mind, in fact, I don’t think she could imagine a world where she would have to share mommy or daddy with anyone else, not to mention a stuffed toy, that would surely be the end of her world.

Eva’s friend Luke at Auntie’ Zoe’s is expecting a baby sister in April even though he has only just turned two. I have given Luke’s mommy all of Eva’s old clothes, which sparked a massive tantrum when Eva saw that Luke was making off with all of her stuff, especially when she noticed he was taking all of her precious shoes.

“My heels, my heels! Luke is stealing my heels.”

Luke’s mom was able to pack the car with everything other than Eva’s Cinderella heels, which she had weaseled out of the Tupperware storage box and managed to cram her foot into, although by now a size too small. She was certainly the belle of the ball on Christmas day 2013 when she received not one but two pairs of Cinderella slippers because cousin Sadie couldn’t cram her foot into the pair she was given, now it was Eva’s turn to grow out of her glass slipper but she would not relinquish them. I am sure that if Eva had a baby sister or brother she would most certainly turn into the Evil Big Sister.

Auntie Zoe told me the following week that when Luke talks about his new baby sister, Eva yells at him in her domineering, proud, evil big sister way, “My mommy is NOT having a baby,” to the amusement of everyone.

I always wondered what age kids were when they came out with hilarious one-liners like that Bill Cosby show, “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” I think its age three.

The other day when daddy and mommy were going out to a friend’s party I jumped in the shower with Eva to save time. In the shower she took a sponge and said “Mommy I am going to make your bruise feel better” and tried to clean my C-section scar. I said, “Eva it’s not a bruise, it’s a scar.”

Then she asked, “Mommy how did you get that bruise?”

“That is where you were born Eva, when you came out of mommy’s tummy.”

Bewilderment swept over her and her eyes went wide, just the kind of reaction I would expect if I were to tell her she was in fact going to have a little brother or sister. I tried to make it better, easier for her to comprehend, “That was a long time ago when you were this big,” I explained holding my hands about 19 inches apart.

Another night, I was reading her a bunny book at bedtime. You have to look under the flaps to find the bunnies, who are hiding in their burrows. When we reached the last page she flipped up the flap to discover two bunnies sleeping together in a burrow on one side of the page and on the other side of the page, a bunny sleeping alone in another burrow.

She took her pointy finger and pointed to the two bunnies sleeping together and said, “That is you and me, mommy.”

I gave her a kiss on the head and nuzzled her like a mommy bunny would do to her baby bunny.

“And that,” she said with her pointer finger at the solitary bunny in a burrow, ”That is Daddy.”

“Why is THAT Daddy bunny, Eva?”

“Because Daddy likes to be by himself all of the time.”

When Eva’s Stay-at-Work Dad got home I proudly told him this, which he accused me of making up but I also felt guilty for finding it so funny, because although Eva doesn’t understand I understand that Daddy is working hard for all of us and when he is at home a crazy bouncing three year old is not the best way to relax on the only twelve hours you have off in a week.

Another evening, I had Eva in my arms and I opened up a cupboard to get a new bag of popcorn for her. Our popcorn cupboard happens to be directly below our open hard liquor shelf. Eva stared at the bottles of vodka, gin and Campari and then she said,

“Mommy would you like a drink?”

“No thanks, Eva, I think I am okay.”

“But that is what you and daddy drink,” she said pointing to the hard liquor.

“I don’t drink that but daddy does, okay maybe I do occasionally”



“I think you should just stick to tea.”

“Okay Eva I will just drink tea.”

My darling Eva always speaks her mind, and I can tell when she is contemplating something because her eyes grow wide and I can see her the wheels of her brain contemplating something bigger than her stuffed turtle or Bunzy’s wobbly nose.  I am wondering if these thoughtful funny comments on our lives are a phase or if it is her personality. I am thinking it might be her personality. I certainly know other people who are just as funny, like Reza.

The other day Reza came bounding down the driveway in her car, I was washing up from lunch and started laughing when I saw what looked like a metal skip attached to the roof of her car. The Magpie, as Chris calls her, has been at it again I thought. It must be open day at the dump.

“What is that?”

“It’s a box to keep things in.”

“Its big.”

“I don’t have any closet space.”

“How much did you pay for it?”

“100 dollars.”

I rolled my eyes.

“What are you going to keep in there?”

“My umbrellas.”

“How many umbrellas do you have?”


I just shook my head.

I wondered if Reza had a collection of shoes at home that were too small, just like Eva and her glass slippers. The answer is – more than likely.

I am sure I will have a lifetime more of entertainment with Eva and Reza in my life.

DM signature001DSC_0523


Recent events: the stomach flu, followed by the 90 day cold and flu intermixed with Christmas, a diabetic dog living in exile, and transitioning Eva to a big girl bed has made the last few months a tad hectic. The first thing to be thrown out was my exercise routine. During my time away from jogging I have come to the realization that I am not really cut out for it. I am not built for speed as my husband would say. For the time being I have decided to leave pounding the pavement for when I feel better. I think for now I am better suited for going to the gym, walking, and my new discovery, yoga.

The first time I tried yoga was when I started my Masters degree and the University of Bristol was offering free yoga classes. I should have known better, but I turned up along with three hundred other shoe and sockless students. The odor of foot was so overwhelming I left half way through, never to return. I suppose other people don’t try yoga because they think it isn’t real exercise, but I am telling you the foot smell is the worst part.

I must have blocked this memory out, because when my uncle asked me if I wanted to join in on his yoga class next door, I thought about it for a moment and said, hey why not. I was recently reading about how people with both my blood type, type A, and my autoimmune disease, Hashimotos, should probably not do high intensitiy aerobic exercise and should do activities like yoga, just what I wanted to hear to get me out of that three mile run. I also have hamstrings so tight that I walk around like Eva stuck a lego animal up my butt so it would probably do me good. Oh and then there is the Sciatica, I heard that word while getting a massage once. I thought I was too young to have anything that hard to spell, then I realized I already have Hashimotos an autoimmune disease and I am nearing forty. Maybe exercising with older people is a good way of feeling younger and fitter than I really am.

Regardless the reason, three weeks ago I showed up on my Uncle’s dock with my mother’s senior citizen yoga matt ( it has double cushioning) tied with a royal blue ribbon. Most of my mother’s belongings are tied with bright colored ribbons, even my father from time to time. Mom does Yoga too with the same teacher but on a different day with a group of women who gossip with every warrior pose exhale. This class is by far my mother’s preference over spending any more of her life with the family, or on the compound than she has to.

Turning up on the dock with Uncle Michael 1, Uncle Michael 2, Aunt Ann, and Carol Green did feel a little like a prison break workout in which we are all allowed out of our houses on the compound for a one hour group training exercise or worse a Calisenics class at the local rest home. If you are wondering who Carol is, she is a good friend of the Michaels’ and kind of like a stand in for my mother (she might be competing for my mothers title of Ultimate Fag Hag) and from time to time a Spurlingville resident. She also makes great Chinese dumplings but not at the same time as doing yoga.

Uncle Michael 1 is in the back of the class because he is so tall he can see over everyone else, but the downside of that is that everyone’s butt is in his face, something he can’t stop commenting on, “ Carol get your butt out of my face.” Etc etc.

Because we are all related, our yoga teacher made us do synchronized yoga on my first day which was pretty difficult considering we all disagree on most things. The teacher asked us to balance in a circle on one leg like a Flamingo, embracing each other in a circle. It worked for about five seconds, especially considering Michael 1 had to have both feet reconstructed after a paragliding accident twenty years ago (trying to be a bird) and its pretty miraculous that he can stand on two feet at all. I think people must think yoga is a cult and ours did seem kind of cultish, most of the family doing synchronized yoga on the dock making flower formations, next we will be constructing crop circles on Michael’s Mini farm.

For most of the yoga session instead of being centered in oneness I was wondering who was watching us thinking, “I always knew those Spurling’s were mad.” We looked down the dock and there was our family repair man on the neighbour’s roof taking a mini break and wondering who Michael had rented his house out to now, a yoga colony? Normal was overrated, you had to accept that to live in Spurlingville or even to occasionally visit.

By the following week I was looking forward to the one hour weekly family yoga retreat. Unfortunately my oven repair man showed up fifteen minutes before so, I began stretching impatiently in my yoga pants and stretchy top, clutching my borrowed yoga mat with that same Royal blue ribbon. Michael 1 called.

“Are you coming?”

“Yes, but the oven repair guy is here.”

“We are all waiting for you.”

“I’m coming.”

Yoga had moved from the dock to my Uncle’s porch because of inclement weather, I was thankful not to be on display. When I walked out onto the porch I froze mid way through unraveling my yoga mat.

Uncle Michael 1 flashed me. Under his t-shirt and shorts he was wearing a fluorescent green mankini. Yes a mankini like Borat. I asked if I could go back and get my camera and take a picture for my blog. Unfortunately he refused to have his picture taken but he doesn’t have much control over the blog. Evidently he had been walking around in the mankini without a cover-up while they were all waiting for me and the yoga teacher because she was running late (never again). Maybe we should all get matching ones? It could be our yogi uniform.

I am not the most coordinated, and Michael two and I kept getting our lefts and rights confused, no wonder I failed the Mensa entrance exam. J

While we were yogaing, I kept trying to follow what my uncle Michael 1 was doing when I got confused. “Downward what?”

At one point while in the splits. Uncle Michael one said to me,

“Stop looking at me, my goulashes are going to fall out.”

“Are you still wearing the mankini?”

Uncle Michael did manage to fall off his yoga blocks and I got physically stuck when I knelt on the ground and leaned backwards to rest backwards, and could not get back up, and had to have our teacher extract me. I looked like a chubby pretzel someone dropped on the ground because it didn’t have enough salt. I think I am probably hopeless at yoga. I fear Ill never be able to pick my nose with my toe like Eva. But I only went into yoga class with a simple goal, I would like for the first time in my life to be able to touch my toes. I am still not there yet but progress is gradual, kind of like Sciatica. I am planning to continue our family yoga, so if you come to Spurlingville on a Thursday morning and hear a lot of moaning you will know its just me trying to touch my toes, Carol doing in her knee, Uncle Michael two trying to get his right and left straight, and the rest trying not to get stuck in any position, including in sight of a mankini.

Our yoga teacher sent us this link after our last session. There is one way to get rid of the mankini and scare off all repair men, naked yoga.

I also stole this missive from my cousin Dana’s facebook page.




DM signature001