Snow. Slush. Sick. Suck.


Forgive me, readers. It has been almost two weeks since my last confession.

I would love to tell you I have spent this time in some Bacchanal. Blissed-out, decadent. Trying new designer drugs, dancing with a slight sheen of sweat on my sun-kissed skin, having sex with my husband on some far-flung, pristine beach.

Bwahaha. Ha. In reality, The Daniels family was smote (smited?) by virus. Snowed in by Mother Nature. Gnawed on by a family of bears. Forgotten by God.

I have missed writing. I have missed you, readers. I have not even logged in to my WordPress account. I haven’t read your blogs, I haven’t looked at my stats. I needed a break, dude. Starting this blog and meeting other bloggers, collecting readers….it’s been like this huge surprise party. Balloons! Cake! But I was kinda at that point where all the food is gone and the DJ is playing “Careless Whisper” and I needed to go to the ladies’ room and sneak a smoke.

And I don’t even smoke.

But I did read books. Five of them. Nearly 3000 pages of luscious printed word. Reading blogs is fun. But they’re like snacks, you know? Even the really good ones. Sure some might be, like, kale crisps and some might be moon pies, but they’re bite sized. I wanted to GORGE. So I read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and its sequel Hollow City, by Ransom Riggs. They’re YA, but they’re so freaking good.  Time travel, freaks of nature, and cool vintage photographs. I devoured them in a day and a half.

I also read Wally Lamb’s We Are Water, which was heartfelt and lovely but lacked a certain believability. (Says the girl who just read two books about time travel. Anyway.) I still love his novel She’s Come Undone, though. I’ve read it three times and enjoyed it immensely. Liane Moriarty’s   The Husband’s Secret was a damn fine whodunnit with a surprising layer of pathos and depth. And I’m almost finished with the short story collection Tenth of December by George Saunders. Now this book is making me super jealous. That fucker can write. Even the “Times” spewed man-juice all over it.

When I really get lost in a book I feel the different parts of my brain lighting up. I know it’s a big gray sponge, but for some reason I picture my mind like that old “Simon Says” game by Milton Bradley. Red blue yellow green. Blink, blink. Reading is awesome. And I can get all my feelings out empathizing with the characters, which allows me to be such a cool cucumber in real life.

So I read, and I binge watched Netflix. I saw a documentary about bees, and a bunch of episodes of “The Office” and “The Cleveland Show” and some not-really-okay movies. These were excellent distractions from the blizzard raging outside, and the fact that my whole family had typhoid.

OK, we got three inches. And it wasn’t typhoid. It was bubonic plague.

But this winter has been interminable. It’s been desperately cold. I was ready to trade my cool orange bicycle with whitewall tires for two sled dogs and a wood plank. I’ll never get to ride again with the wind in my hair! Or it feels that way. I am usually more than happy to nest. I love being home when it’s cold out. But we have all been sick. Our house is getting that cloistered, sick-people smell. Sadie’s toys are strewn everywhere from constant, frantic attempts to distract her from the river of green snot coming out of her.

It’s weird how your kids can’t gross you out. I remember thinking it was strange that my mom would let me use her sleeve to blow my nose. Humph. Well. I can’t tell you how many times in the last two weeks I have held out my open palm so that Sadie could hawk a loogie into it. Creme brûlée, anyone? Being sick and taking care of a sick kid is the worst. I wanted MY fucking Mommy. Hot soup. It’s hard being always “on” you know? I felt like a bombing comedian as she wailed and screamed and my head pounded in time. Jazz hands!

But, I can write about it, right? What a fucking gift. It’s like taking shit, and making a shit sandwich. Smear the bread with mustard, add some cheese, crushed up barbecue chips…sure, it’s still shit, but at least it’s palatable. We can munch on it together.

So, too bad I missed out on some cool stuff to write about! Valentine’s Day, the Olympics! So here are two mini-posts, in requiem:

The Olympics

Wow. That looks cool. I bet I could do that.

And….a Valentine haiku!

Trite words. Thoughtful gift.

Bring me your heart on a stick.

Be my Valentine?


Ok, ok. Last thing. It is also Black History Month, of course. I don’t really feel like I have much to add to the discussion except really? The short month? And, this photo that my best girl Amanda snapped at our local Kroger grocery:


She posted this on Facebook and I peed a little. I mean this was their display. In the front of the store. Someone commented “I didn’t know Abe Lincoln had a Jeri curl”. What is this supposed to mean? Here, people of color. Meet your heroes. And in aisle 5, check out our array of products to tame that African hair. Maybe they could add some bags of jumbo cotton balls, or some Aunt Jemima syrup, to make it a little more racist.

I’m feeling almost back to normal. Today the temperature was in the high forties, and it felt absolutely tropical. I took Sadie to the store. It was our first voyage out through the tundra in days. We stocked up on supplies. I bought her these little remote control hamsters that zip around and bump into the furniture. Candy for me, of course. Fruit. Hot soup. We waded through the melting slush, and I thought, it’s going to be over soon. This season, this winter of my discontent. And just like under the frozen ground, there are a million little shoots just waiting to thrust up green, I can feel a stirring in me too. A wildness, old as time itself. Resurrecting in me, year after year.

I’m ready. This old girl’s got some fire in her, yet.

“I guess I’m trying to say, grab anything that goes by. It may not come around again.”

John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent



  • obviously like your website but you have to take a look at the spelling
    on quite a few of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling
    problems and I to find it very bothersome to tell the truth however I’ll definitely come back again.

    • Dear Online Pharmacy:

      Please don’t take this constructive criticism the wrong way and understand that I only do it with a heavy heart in order to help you better your writing skills. There are a number of errors in your comment and I thought it best to point them out so that you can improve in the future:

      1) “obviously” begins a sentence and therefore should obviously be capitalized as in “Obviously”

      2) “obviously like your…” does not contain a subject. One possible way it could be correctly written would be “Obviously I like your…” or possibly “I obviously like your…” . There are many other possible grammatically correct constructions, however the one you employed was incorrect.

      3) “…the spelling on…” This is an incorrect use of the preposition “on” . The correct preposition would be “in” as in “…the spelling in quite…”

      4) “…quite a few…” is an awkward and marginally incorrect expression as it is employed in this sentence. For ease of reader comprehension and for clarity the phrase should be replaced with “…many…” or perhaps “…some…”

      5) The complete phrase: “…you have to take a look at the spelling on quite a few of your posts” implies that the writer should look at the spelling of all words, even the correctly spelled ones. This is an incorrect grammatical construction as it is apparent that the intention is that the writer check for correct spelling. This construction also means that the writer should check only “quite a few” posts and not all. How can the writer know which posts have incorrect spellings unless she checks them all? As you can see this phrase must be changed to properly express what the commenter appears to be stating.

      6) “…spelling problems…” means that a person has a problem spelling, it does not mean “…spelling errors…”.To make the distinction clear it can be said that a person with spelling problems makes spelling errors. It cannot be said that a post has spelling problems as the post does not spell, the writer spells. A post has spelling errors. You have employed the incorrect use in this sentence.

      7) “…I to find it..” is a phrase in which the commenter is using an incorrect verb tense. “to find” should be replaced with “find”.

      8) “… I to find it very bothersome to tell the truth…” This phrase means that the commenter has a difficult time telling the truth. I’m not sure why the commenter would share this personality trait with the readers at this point, but perhaps he/she felt the need to be candid. It is also possible that the commenter meant “ tell the truth, I find it very bothersome..” If that is the case then the modifying phrase ( “to tell the truth”) is placed incorrectly in the sentence.

      9) “Many of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very bothersome to tell the truth however I’ll definitely come back again.” This is a run-on-sentence and, in fact, contains two completely separate thoughts. It should be two separate sentences with a period after “truth” and a new sentence beginning with “However…”

      Thank you for your anticipated acceptance of this constructive criticism. The two sentences you wrote in the comments were barely understandable. However with the few corrections outlined above you should be able to better express your meaning. I find it very distracting when I have to read your comment multiple times in order to understand it. If you could try harder in the future to write grammatically correct English, it would be greatly appreciated. However, I will continue to read your comments.

      Yours most helpfully,

  • On Time Warner cable here in NYC, black history month is officially sponsored by Sleepys, the mattress store. My boyfriend’s not on Facebook so he just sent the still frame as a text to everyone we know. Sleepys?!!

  • In two weeks i could have read sideways stories from wayside school like 42 times

  • Hello, Kroger. Welcome to the 21st century. And thank you for sharing the visual aids from your child’s history project. I’m surprised they didn’t also have watermelon and fried chicken on display.

    Have you read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society? I’m sure you weren’t expecting everyone and their mother to take your sharing recent reads as an invitation to suggest other literary delights, but…..ta-da! This one though is good eats for the soul.

    Glad to hear you’re on the mend. I’ve been suffering inexorable heat out in CA. Please send some of your dreadful cold weather my way.

    • That was one of my favorite books ever!! Thanks for the lol Nicki, you always pull one out of me!

  • The other day I was wading through two feet of clean laundry in my laundry room, including 4 pairs of snow pants, 11 mittens, 3 hats and so on, and I just kept repeating, “At least I won’t find ticks in the bottom of this laundry basket. At least I won’t find ticks in the bottom of this laundry basket.” Because it was the only good thing I could say about winter… no ticks.
    It may have been the bleach though. (Glad you’re feeling better. You were missed!)

  • Kroger can’t be serious. Ugh. Glad to hear you’re feeling better. Spring is on the way!

  • I got hit by a virus, a.k.a. “con crud”. See, my daughter asked to go to the local SF/fantasy/gaming convention (which was last Friday-Sunday). So, I went. That’s how we spent V-Day and part of the Pres. Day weekend. But I wasn’t sure I could hack it on my own (pre-existing chronic health probs), so Cimmorene and Boy wound up coming, too.

    So I am sick. Somehow, none of the rest of the family is.

      • Hey! I’m one of those gamers 😉 (So’s my wife, and she’s old-school, even.) But I bathed, used deodorant, etc. and most I was around didn’t seem to have any foul odors. So I guess I’m not one of THOSE gamers.

        But yes, quite a few need a virtual smackdown about their hygiene (because the deodorant fairies and the rule of 3 reminders aren’t working), and actually… probably a majority of EVERYONE (not just gamers) needs more practice on hand-washing and sanitation.

        • Oops, I replied but it showed up in the wrong spot. I was kidding. I mean, not about the teenage basement dwelling types. But your family seems very nice.

          • Oh some of those basement dwelling types aren’t teenagers anymore– Cimmy actually introduced me to one. We often joke that he’s still likely living in his mother’s basement, and she categorically ignored him during the con. He was at his same table, hosting probably the same anime tabletop RPGs he has been for many, many years.

  • When Shakespeare said “Now is the winter of our discontent” he meant that the discontent was in its winter, not that winter was full of discontent.

  • Well, there goes my love of sandwiches. And you just did a haiku. A haiku. Nicki Daniels. Haikuing. I don’t know, I blame the interminable winter, but if it’s any consolation (it isn’t), I’m going to send you forth a blast of arctic air, just for you.

    I saw Tom Joad in the crowd when the Canadian women won bobsled gold. True story.

  • I don’t know how you guys live with snow…who was it that went exploring, settled down and then didn’t take the hint to keep moving the first time they had to dig their frozen horse out of an avalanche?

    • I wish my hillbilly ancestors had kept heading west instead of settling in that hollowed out tree down in deep Kentucky. And yes that is a true story. My first ancestor I have a record of was Drewery Harper from Ireland, and he and his wife lived in a tree for the first two years.

  • Woot, you’re back. I’ve been missing you from all the way down the long long intertubes in Aotearoa (that’s Noo Zeeland to you lot).

    Lovely post – I’m keen to check out those books. I am loving Donna Tartt’s “Goldfinch” right now. It’s beautiful and real and satisfying like a hearty meal and keeps me up at night and occupies my thoughts when I should be working. And it’s loooong, which I love because I can tell myself it will never finish. (Is it just me who’s always sad at the end of a book?)

    Your winter sounds pretty feral. We get no snow where I live except when things go freaky. It’s hot here now, which for us means 25 celcius. (No idea what that is in your lingo). And I must say that I’m quite jealous of you because I’m cooped up inside writing my stupid thesis with the curtains closed so my brain doesn’t melt in the sun. If only it would rain so I could stop wishing I was zooming along on my trusty bike with the wind whistling through my helmet holes…

    I hope the spring puts a spring in your step.


    ps that PSH gif gets me everytime

    • You’re the second person to recommend that book. I guess it’s a sign. And I get a little sad when a book I am enjoying ends.

      It’s weird to imagine people being too hot right now. I always say I’d rather be hot than cold, until August.

  • Great display…if your aim is to get fired and run out of town.

    It’s been non-stop here too. Today is the first time in forever that it’s actually thawing out. I didn’t need to look like the Michelen man to fetch the paper. Didn’t need sled dogs to take the kids to school. Didn’t need to start a bonfire in the car to warm it up. So I get ya.

    Welcome back to the land of the (sort of) living.


    • We have gotten the most snow here that we have ever gotten. Meanwhile California is having the worst draught ever. It’s the end days.

  • I highly recommend you move on to George Saunders’ back catalog, notably “Civilwarland in Bad Decline”, which I think was his first book. Very funny, very accessible. Some of his works in between have been allegorical and a little weird — I’m think of “The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip”, though if you ignore the allegory it can work as a child’s book.

    • I finished the book. And now I’m ready for more Saunders. It’s like David Sedaris and Chuck Palahniuk had a bitchy, brilliant baby. My favorite was The Semplica Girl Diaries. Might just be the best short story I’ve ever read.

  • im in virginia and we got about 2 feet of snow. my 2 year old is pretty sick right now, poor little guy can barely breath, and i am always covered in snot. my husband asked me last night what was on my shoulder so i looked and was like oh just boogers. it kinda killed any chance of romance for the moment, but not like we had much chance of that happening with donnie being sick anyway, and if it makes him feel better to wipe his nose on my shirt instead of a tissue its ok its not the worst thing i have ever had on me. anyway glad you are feeling better and back to writing

  • Considering I just finished writing a post about the fucked up Polish grocery store in my neighborhood this morning, the picture of that store display touched me very deeply. And by “touched me very deeply” I do mean “made me feel a little uncomfortable to see.”

    It’s gotten above freezing in Chicago the past few days, and I feel like a different person. I’m just so tired of layers.

    • Cinch your layers with a belt! Haha.

      The display made me uncomfortable. I’ll admit I laughed, because it was so ridiculous, but it made me mad that anyone would think that was a good idea.

  • Welcome back to the land of the living. You’ve been missed.

    We’ve been sick here for 2 weeks. Fucking torture. I pushed out 2 posts and it was harder than chlldbirth to do with all the whining and snot and drooling. And that was me.

    And I wrote that having my ADHD kid hopped up on Sudafed was like having him Breaking Bad cause he gets the fucking heebie jeebies on that shit – but your troll post inspired my love letter to my hate mailers, so thank you for that, blog soul sister.

    Spring is coming.

  • That grocery store black history month display leaves me speechless. W.T.F?

    Congrats on taking some time away from the internet. I kind of hate blogging, I’m not really sure why I even do it. I guess there’s something about hitting that *publish* button that makes my words seem more real.

    I enjoyed that Saunders book, as well. If you’re looking for other well-crafted and thought- provoking short stories, check out “We Live in Water” by Jess Walter.

    P.S. Your haiku rules.

    • I’ll check out the book. Thanks.

      You know, I sometimes hate blogging too. And I agree 100% with your reason for doing so. I think I crave the validation, and also hate the responsibility.

  • Um, I’m righteously jealous of all your reading. I don’t even want to talk about it. Except to say that “She’s Come Undone” ripped my heart out of my chest while it was still beating. Can’t believe that book was written by a man. It’s the sort of thing I read and know I will never be that talented.

    I don’t know what will happen if I am sick at the same time as my future, theoretical, children. They will probably get taken away because I am the biggest freaking baby when I’m sick. I’m always very certain that it’s the end and I want everyone to know.

    Spring will be here soon and I feel like this is going to be the craziest summer of our lives because everyone is so caged and crazed right now.

    • It was bliss to get caught up on reading. I, too, was shocked that Wally Lamb could channel the mind of a woman like that. I felt the same way about Memoirs of a Geisha.

      I am a baby when I’m sick too. But our mutual sickness did lead to a cute new ritual. Her bedroom is right next to ours, and usually she wakes me up yelling for me and I go in there. But I just couldn’t do it, I could not get out of bed. I needed that extra 2 minutes. So I told her I could only get out of bed if I had a magical kiss from a princess. So now she comes in my bed and wakes me with a smooch. It is much more pleasurable than the screaming.

  • After your last post about Philip Seymour Hoffman and the long silence in between, I found myself worrying about you in a maternal kind of way, the way I worry about my son. Great to have you back in cyberspace. I’ll check out the books you’ve been reading, well maybe the George Saunders, as I’ve never read anything by him. I’ve just had a binge of three of Alice Munro’s most recent short-story collections. Now there’s a writer. Unlike the Olympics, you don’t read her stories and think ‘I could do that.’ You think ‘How did she do that?” and read the story again. Happy reading and welcome back.

    • You’re so sweet to worry. You’re not the only person who thought I might be in trouble. Confession: I haven’t read anything by Alice Munro. I will check her out.

  • You’re CATHOLIC! I NEW IT!

    Nobody here pictures you in some Bacchanal. That’s part of your past, innit?

    Wally Lamb is a weenie. George Saunders is the fucking man, man.

    We eat three inches for breakfast. With sausage links.

    You’re a mom. You are not permitted to get sick. Didn’t you read the manual that came with the kid?

    The corporate dining room at work posts a new menu every week. They create dishes to celebrate the holidays and seasons. Last week, there were special dishes to honor black history month. Unfortunately, there was also a poster right next to the menu that touted the February “Chocolate Festival!” I’ll bet someone had to watch one of those corporate sensitivity videos.

    • HOW dare you say that about Wally Lamb-
      “I Know This Much Is True” Wally Lamb? are we talking about the same guy?
      you lost a little literary cred with me. heartbroken, I am.

          • Don’t quit me just because we disagree on a book! I wouldn’t quit you because you probably don’t listen to Rush’s third album, Caress of Steel! I love you! Come back!

            I dont know why I’m not in your reader but I’ve been posting. I put up a killer post yesterday (if I do say so myself). Perhaps my migration from .org to .com caused a glitch. You should un-follow and then re-follow. I know plenty of folks have signed on since the migration and aren’t having any problems at all.

            • I won’t quit you.

              I dig Rush.
              Now put on some Black Keys, maybe the older stuff, and I will forgive you.

              I read your killer post, and commented.

              Brilliant. As always.

      • I agree. I really liked “I Know This Much Is True”. And “Shes Come Undone” is one of my all time favorites. Even this most recent was still good, just a little flawed. But Saunders, man that book just blew my mind.

    • I’m glad there is no “corporate sensitivity” in my workplace. But seriously, that display is the WORST. I laughed at the sheer idiocy of it. But. It was uncomfortable.

  • This post was like Reading Rainbow for adults.

    Ok now I have to go back into hibernation and read those. YA is my jam these days. I just read Dominion and it was GOOOOOD. Highly recommend it. Going to check these out.

        • And I LOVED “Reading Rainbow”. When I was in fifth grade, Pizza Hut did a promotion where your teacher would give you a coupon for a free personal pan pizza and drink for every book you read in a month. At the end of the month, I had so many that I took the whole class out for pizza. I was a nerd, but a generous nerd.

          • We had some sort of B.E.A.R. club which stood for something having to do with being good at reading. No pizza coupons (which I’m SO JEALOUS of), but I did get recognized in assemblies for always having read the most books.

            I was the kid who looked forward to the scholastic book order form and had the biggest stack of books delivered every year. My excited reaction to that stack of books sitting on my desk after lunch probably kept some of my teachers from killing themselves.

  • Great post! I can almost feel the hope of spring in your stories. It’s miserable here as well – 3rd coldest winter in 50 years (and only missed coldest by a fraction of a degree).But today, for the first time in months, it is going to get above freezing – Ahhh, tropical! Hope everyone gets better at your place and you get back to blogging – we missed you!

  • Eh. I feel ya. I keep thinking that if winter ever ends, I will return to my somewhat normal state of quasi-human.

    I’m reading Miss Peregrine’s now, and I love it so far. I don’t usually go for YA books or books with pictures, but those pictures are pretty amazing.

    • The pictures are really cool. I got the ebook, and it had an addendum interview with the author where he talks about where he sourced all the photos and how they contributed to the development of the story. Pretty cool.

  • I can’t wait til I can bitch because it’s hot as balls! F*ck off Old Man Winter! AND that bitch, Mother Nature!

  • I sympathise with your recent confinement. I’d love to go for a walk in the woods, but it’s a definite no-no at the moment. Ho hum. I can go for a ride in the car though, so it’s a start!

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