• Diaries,  slice of life

    Annie (2008 – 2024)

    I resent that other people have emotions. That they have weight. I resent that other people must need to take space during a time when I cannot hold the weight of my own emotions. I wish I didn’t have to be a mother when I’m very sad. I wish other people would be fine without me. I wish I could just fall into the donut hole of myself and stay there until I feel better. Once the weight becomes not so smothering.


    Sixteen years ago I got a kitten. She came from a box behind a grocery store. She was riddled with mites and ticks. We took care of her very closely, our first medically complicated mammal-friend.

    She grew up so loving that it was annoying. She couldn’t take no for an answer. I tried to give her to my sister so I wouldn’t have to keep dealing with that tortoiseshell attitude, but at the last moment, I got way too sad. I loved her much more than I recognized.

    So she stayed.


    I don’t want to remember everything because it just makes me feel sad.


    The cost of loving very, very much is hurting very, very much when something ends. And everything ends eventually. You know you’ve been lucky if it hurts a lot.

    They say that our little mammal-friends give us the best years of our life, and then the single worst day of our lives.


    This is the last of the cats my husband and I had before we got married. She was a little box baby found in a Walmart parking lot. We nurtured her through ear mites and ticks and watched her grow into the biggest personality. After I had Moonlight, thirteen years ago, little Miss Annie ate one of their baby bottle nipples and needed $3000 surgery to remove it. I spent a while calling her the other things I could have used that money for. “Little Miss Caribbean Vacation.” “Little Miss Used Car.”

    When Little Sunshine was born, Annie used to curl up in bed with both of us and lick the baby’s head. She would put him down for naps like that. When he went through the grabby baby hand stage, she loved it and would position herself so that he could squeeze her face.

    We chose not to remove a tumor that developed on her shoulder. It grew very aggressively, and she couldn’t compete with her siblings for food/water anymore, so we gave her the entire spare bedroom as an apartment. It helped her perk up a ton. She spent her last year in there getting multiple daily visits, where I would groom and tend her, and we would snuggle extensively. I loved her more in this last year than I have ever loved a cat. Something about taking care of someone who is sick becomes so intimate.

    Her tumor became so large, it really bothered her. She seemed worn out. I made a little sweater for her with a webbing inside to hold crocheted cotton bandages, that way we could cover the tumor and the kids could still visit. But she was so tired. It was time. I miss her already.


    There is no dying without regret. It’s one of the things that makes it so hard. You can’t do it perfectly. It’s like how you can make a birth plan when you’re pregnant, listing out all your preferences, but your body and baby will decide how it happens. Death never comes at the right time. It’s never pretty. It is hard and unpleasant.


    I do think we will meet again someday, somehow, in some form.

    I truly believe that.

  • Diaries,  facebook,  slice of life

    sliced life~

    lmao. Okay. So King *needs* to be on Benadryl leading up to the procedure for his cancer. It’s a mast cell tumor; he needs an H1 antihistamine to keep inflammation down so it does not spread. In the past, I have not had trouble giving him pills with his kibble.

    Today I discovered he’s been hiding half his Benadryl under his pillow!!!! omg dog I AM TRYING TO SAVE YOUR LIFE.
    Anyway. This dog, he is so human in his facial expressions. You can really tell what he’s thinking all the time.

    I tried putting his pills into cheese to dose him. He started delicately eating the cheese so he could pick around the pills, like he wasn’t entirely sure why I’d given him the gross-tasting cheese but he was game to eat it anyway. Basically spitting out the pill parts.

    Again: OMG.

    I just grabbed the pills and opened his mouth and put one on the back of his tongue so he had to swallow (which I used to do to administer pills on a difficult dog).

    King was MORTIFIED. He ran off to the other side of the kitchen to STARE at me, and I swear to God I could tell he was thinking, “Wait, it’s like that? It’s serious? I *have* to do it? I had no idea it was *like that*.” I could see the little gears turning in his head to recontextualize this activity from “mom keeps giving me gross cheese” to “I have to eat this whole thing OR ELSE.”

    So this smart beautiful boy gagged down the next piece of cheese with the remaining pills. Consciously, deliberately, looking at me to make sure he was doing the right thing. He resisted the urge to chew. And then we cheered him on and petted him a lot and King was like, “…huh.”

    We practiced swallowing cheese chunks whole after that. He decided the game where he Eats Quickly and people are Very Happy is actually a lot of fun, and he would be happy to keep playing that game as long as the cheese holds out.

    This is good news because I am afraid this cancer boye has many medications in his future.

    I feel silly realizing I should have just “explained” to my dog that we’re taking medication now because he would have just done it. Instead I gave it to him without telling him and of course he was like “surely this is a mistake. gross. ptooey.”

    I’m just amazed at what a personality he has, and how obviously, consciously he registered that Mom Is Serious This Time and he changed his mind. I didn’t have to like…actually train him. He just modified his behavior. It’s insane. He’s so smart. He’s just a fuzzy little baby person. I need him to live forever.

    Actual verbatim quote from 9yo Sunshine:

    “I’m going to build this engineering box on my own. It’s for ages eight to twelve, and I’m nine, but I’m as mature as an eleven-year-old, which is basically an adult. I can do it.”

    and i’ll be damned if he didn’t build the engineering project on his own. he only needed help with this tiny rubber band, and we sorted that with tweezers the project didn’t include.

    i feel like i noticed how quickly my now-13yo was growing because they’re my first and oldest, thus always the oldest kid I’ve ever had, and I fall easily into the trap of thinking Sunshine is still my tiny baby (since he will always be the youngest child I’ll ever have again). but now he’s actually almost an eleven-year-old which is basically an adult.

    we’ve also been having incredibly complicated conversations about his emotional landscape (he is dealing with ongoing grief from our dog’s death two years ago, and our current hospice cat) and it’s just amazing to see how much he’s grown inside where i can’t see it. i just get glimpses of this whole wilderness in there, while the outside is still a very cherubic little tanned blond angel with golden eyes. (can you believe i have a blond?)

    his sense of reciprocity is also so clear. he has sturdy boundaries. he loves serving and helping and taking care of people, but he also expects that people will repay him in kind overall. he won’t let himself be used. he’s a force of nature. so yes, he’s also still having a lot of trouble at school and getting into big trouble because he doesn’t see a reason to act respectfully toward adults he doesn’t feel respect him. i can’t be mad tbh. he’s not wrong.

    My 13yo Moonlight is finally old enough to observe the years-long pattern of Mommy’s Interest Swings. Notably, they have seen how I went from having a gazillion plants to having 0.5 gazillions of plants and stuffing our house with yarn instead.

    (Note: Plants and crochet are very compatible hobbies. Plants go where it’s bright. Yarn goes where it’s dark. There is room for NOTHING ELSE IN THE HOUSE. NOTHING.)

    I told Moonlight how I’ve been having stress dreams where we have to move houses quickly, and I can’t figure out how to move my plants. I’m like, “I just love them so much, and I have a lot, and I really have no idea how to move them now? What would I even do?”

    So seeing me creating weird little crochet dolls, Moonlight asked, “Aren’t you worried you’re going to start having nightmares about having too many dolls following you everywhere, once you don’t love it as much anymore?”

    and i was like omg now i’m worried about it

    Too Many Weird Dolls Dreams might be the creepiest potential classification of dream. And I have some pretty freaky dreams about aquariums/vivariums gone wildly beyond my control, so Moonlight might be onto something here.

  • Diaries,  facebook,  slice of life

    Annie’s Retirement Years

    I am now nursing a fourth pet through her end of life…the first three in 2019, 2020, and 2021, all in a row. I guess the thing that strikes me about the death process is how it *is* a process. For two of my animals who took longer to fade (the others were very ill and went quickly in the end), it’s a lot of slow up and down. Good pain days, bad pain days. Sometimes foggier than others.

    It was really hard going through this with my dog Ichabod because he had dementia, too. He mentally slipped away from us quite a while before he actually died. I kept nursing him as long as he was enjoying food, but even petting became uncomfortable for him, and he started having seizures.

    His death was my last relapse on alcohol. It was soooo bad. I abruptly quit nicotine and the mix of grief/withdrawal just sent me straight into clear liquor, and I got my own seizure when I realized that was stupid and stopped abruptly. (Don’t do that.) God, I was an absolute mess that winter. (Don’t feel too bad for me; I am okay, I immediately picked myself up and went to college for a couple semesters. Like I’m super rugged and committed to being gentler with myself.)

    I’ve had two years to chew on the enormity of my feelings about Ichabod’s death, and everything I learned/felt taking care of a canine dementia patient. It was truly just a time of such utter love and grief. Intimacy. Raw loss.

    Little sweet old Annie is taking me back, though. She’s been my obnoxious drooly best friend for sixteen years. This cat, she has never known the word “no” to mean anything. And everything she wants is affection. Human affection, to be clear. When she had more energy, she would not stay out of my face/hands for HOURS, no matter how many times I set her aside, and she has this dreadful drooling thing so it was MESSY.

    Annie’s also a big poo-starter with other cats. I don’t know why, since we watch all our cats closely, we’re literate in body language, we seldom saw actual conflicts between them. But something about Annie was so loathsome to the other cats when she was younger. She was the outsider of the household colony, firmly glued to humans. The sassiest little tortoiseshell with a crispy dragon-baby meow.

    Nowadays she has a Retirement Room. The spare bedroom has everything she needs, and she doesn’t have to compete for resources anymore. Her unpopularity paired with her growing weakness means she gets whatever she wants in a hundred square feet of cat luxury.

    Her body aches so she can’t clean herself well, but I brush her gently with a boar’s hair brush and wipe her greasy face. She has a gigantic tumor on her shoulder we decided not to remove because she’s been fading a while anyway (although I have doubts about this a lot), so I try to wash that and keep it clean too. She gets daily visits from the family. It’s a pretty nice retirement.

    This is one of her low weeks, though. I can see she is more uncomfortable. She loves cuddling, but her mood isn’t as…warm? I can just see the edge to it, and cats don’t really show pain, so she must be feeling it. All the heating pads and cbd in the cat food can only do so much. It is getting cold. I will keep brushing her for now.

    I don’t think I want her to have to stick it out as long as Ichabod did, but it’s a hard choice when she’s still very much mentally Annie.

  • facebook,  slice of life


    i hear people describe their spouses as their best friends all the time, but i don’t think they mean it like i do? because my spouse and i are best friends like. relentless mischief makers. second graders who live on the same street. should be supervised by taller adults most of the time kind of best friends.

    we got a halloween decoration with a glass ball on it last week. we realized that it does that thing where it captures sunlight and it gets hot. then we spent an hour in our backyard seeing how much we could set on fire using our new halloween decoration, while our 13yo stood back and said, “i don’t think this is a good idea?”

    today i rickrolled him on the stereo while he was trying to do dishes and he responded by banging the floor under our bedroom with the pole of a broom

    the other day my kid and i built a towering giant with a balloon head and big looming arms and put it on a rolling chair and stuck it in the kitchen so my spouse would be startled by it when he came home from work. and then we left it there so he would forget about it (spouse is very adhd) and get surprised by it every single time he went into the dark kitchen for something later that night. it is SO SATISFYING to hear the “ughghghgh” from the kitchen when it scares him again. (it’s still there.)

    he’s said to me before “our house should look more like a space ship” and my reply was “YES IT SHOULD” and we’ve been putting up like, random cargo nets

    we’re 35/36, for the record. lmao

  • A small potted plant with long green leaves. The leaves have scalloped edges and look reddish/shriveled from cold, but it's definitely alive.
    resembles nonfiction,  slice of life

    The scariest plant I know

    Let me tell you something about a plant named Kalanchoe daigremontiana, also known as Mother of Thousands, or (appropriately) more ominously Devil’s Backbone.

    I believe Devil’s Backbone is a legitimately scary plant. The scariest plant I’ve ever encountered.

    The first thing you should know is that it’s toxic. It contains cardiac glycosides, and big doses can kill pets, livestock, and small children…in theory. Fatal doses are incredibly rare. But I can’t imagine it’s very much fun to consume cardiac glycosides and stay alive, either.

    There are many more toxic plants, but Devil’s Backbone is also difficult to contain: every single scallop around its edge will make babies. You can see a few are still attached. Most are in the soil, already establishing new roots, which will produce more plants with scalloped edges, each of which will…you guessed it.

    Babies are small and lightweight. They travel easily. They will fill the pots of your other plants. They will jump on your clothes to go outside.

    So you can’t really contain this poisonous plant…unless you’re ready for it.

    Surely, everyone who owns Devil’s Backbone is ready for it, right?

    Ha ha! The scariest thing of all is that you can find Kalanchoe daigremontiana and its close cousin, K. delagoensis, at pretty much any major chain hardware store that also sells plants. You can find much-prettier variegations than this. They’re so attractive! Especially when they flower.

    There is no warning about the toxicity or prolificity of this plant in the places where it sold. NONE. (There are a lot of very toxic plants sold with no warning. For instance, lilies can cause kidney failure and death for house cats within hours of taking a single sniff of the pollen. If you knew that, you didn’t learn it from the store where you bought lilies.) (NEVER have lilies in the house if you have cats. EVER.)

    Anyway, I have been scared of Devil’s Backbone for a long time, so I’ve never stopped thinking about it, and become progressively obsessed, and now here we are.

    I bought myself a Devil’s Backbone.

    It came from TX, around 1700 miles away. The package got lost on its route to me. It took two weeks to arrive in the coldest winter Nevada has experienced for years. I fully expected to open the box and find a dead black frozen plant! I was at peace with this outcome: “Perhaps Fate is telling me I should not have gotten this cursed plant,” I thought to myself. “I accept the Judgment of Fate.”

    When my keys first penetrated the box’s tape, I was struck by the strongest botanical scent. I was convinced that was the scent of rot.

    I kept cutting.

    I found the box brimming with cotton, packed totally full. As I pulled the cotton away, the babies started dropping. Little green cardiac glycoside bombs on my counter everywhere. Still green. Many rooted.

    And within the cotton, a slightly cold, little shriveled, but mostly healthy Devil’s Backbone.

    Fate might have said “You don’t want this,” but the Devil herself said, “Oh, you want me. You know you want me.”

  • slice of life

    The World is Outside

    Days after it begins, I find myself missing Disneyland. I sit in a chair in front of my television, longer in diagonal than it is tall, and I don a headset. It is a heavy thing that covers my eyes and bands my head. I adjust its fit with dials until a television floats in front of me in the void, clear as though I sat in an empty cinema. I haven’t been to a cinema in a while. I’m not sure if I’ll ever go again.

    Speakers ring my room, seven-dot-one of them, and when I select a video on my console, sound engulfs me from all of them. Within the headset, the TV has yielded to a lifelike environment. A 360 video where I can turn my head and the sounds will follow. I stand on a quiet street of Disneyland, on the way to critter country, in the blue early morning when most would avoid Splash Mountain.

    From my chair, I walk up the line. I look up, down, left, right. I’m aware I’m not in control, but I feel like a passenger along with someone else, and we take the line briskly. It’s warm in my house but I remember how cool the air flows in the line for Splash. I have walked past those lights in reality, in the before times, when queues were packed and I could be drowned in an ocean of overheard conversation.

    My home theater smells faintly of popcorn; with the scent memory comes along churros, turkey legs, hot pavement. I’m really sitting in the log ride now. I’m going on the flume. The ride sings and sways around me, and even though I don’t get wet on the final drop, my heart thrills in anticipation.

    The video ends there, when we’re climbing off the log at the end. Taking off my headset is disappointing the way it’s disappointing to step off a ride. You have done the good part. You waited in line 35 minutes for a 4-minute thrill. The headset slides away and I remember I’m still in my dim home theater, with neither churro nor Mickey. My Echo dot rim shines orange. Another delivery from Amazon. Everything is deliveries now. Everything comes to me here, in my fortress.


    Later, my children wear the headset for the ride. They giggle and shriek through it. To the imaginative child, it is all real. I hold my five year old in my lap, nose pressed to his hair, and I imagine that I’m really in Disneyland with my kids, that everything is fine, that humanity is connected.


    I needed more nicotine, so I prepared to go outside. I would ride my hoverboard today. It extends the trip, turning ten minutes there-and-back into an hour, and will give me priceless exposure to sunlight.

    To leave, I prepare. I remove my face mask from the cloth bag where it’s sat for the last week, airing out. I tie the top straps above my ponytail to relieve my ears of the pressure. I tie the other one low, and the mask it long enough that it conforms to my chin. I tuck the upper hem under the rim of my glasses.

    Atop that, I wear a hat. And then there is sunscreen. My backpack. My boots. I leave.

    I soar over the sidewalk through a mile of quiet suburb. When I see people coming, I get onto the street to offer space. Some of them are wearing masks. Some aren’t. People jog, walk their dogs, walk their children. The parents look exhausted. The retirees look angry.

    My second mile parallels an arterial road feeding the golf resort. It’s quiet too. Handfuls of cars pass, each as distant from each other as though their pickups are afraid to inhale each other’s fumes. When I wait at stoplights, I do little circles on my hoverboard, swirling in place. I press the crosswalk button with my knuckle and scrub the skin furiously on my shorts.

    It’s one step onto the hoverboard at the beginning of my trip and one step off at the gas station. I use my cell phone to lock the hoverboard and leave it tucked behind the bench. Even now, this neighborhood is low on property crime.

    I get a bottle of wine, candy for my children, a Gatorade. I wait in line for the register on one of the floor’s blue marks, indicating every six feet. When it’s my turn to pay, I request refills for my electronic cigarette, and show my government ID through a plastic sheet to the cashier. She’s not wearing any protection. Her eyes are bruised.

    With my backpack loaded, I step back onto the hoverboard. It’s quiet on the way back home, along a mile of artery and a mile of suburb. I step off at home. I leave it by the front door. I remove my shoes before coming inside. I take everything out of its packaging and hang my backpack by the front door. I wash my hands, thoroughly, while singing Mr. Brightside under my breath. A strawberry plant hangs over me at the kitchen sink, shriveling from lack of sunlight.

    Then I refill my electronic cigarette and inhale the taste of Virginia tobacco, stinging on my tongue, exhaling in plumes.


    I’m lying on the bed in my home loft. I recline against a beanbag chair, my legs propped up by a pillow. A detective show is cast upon the white wall next to me. The image is so large that the people are real-sized. I’m sitting just beneath them, a silent observer to their investigation, in a time and place where the streets were crowded and people only wore gloves at crime scenes.

    The room is dark besides; I’ve put a  blanket over one window and tucked a jacket under the blinds of the other. The projector hums quietly, puffing warm air into a warm room. The ceiling fan sketches lazy loops on the ceiling in shadow. My only company is my cat. She purrs against my hip.

    In my hands, a game console. While murders are solved above me, I harvest fruit in a digital world. I shake it from trees and pick it up from the ground. The graphics are sterile. There’s no dirt under my nails, there are no spots on the fruit, and they never fall rotten. There is value to the stylized act of digging and picking and building in this game. Every little task is monetized. It feels productive.

    When my five-year-old climbs onto the bed, I realize it’s gotten dark and I’ve had a migraine unnoticed for hours. My head is heavy. The child wants to snuggle. I gather him against my body, abandon the console, abandon the detectives, and slither between the covers of my bed with him.

    He sings while he falls asleep. When he’s limp, I engulf myself in a bathrobe and step out onto the balcony. The lights of suburbia spread below me. The horizon’s still a tiny bit orange-blue where twilight surrenders to nighttime black. The artificial stream in my back yard gurgles cheerfully, and the real frogs croak loudly. They briefly silence when I press the button on my plasma lighter to light my pipe. The buzz of its arc disturbs them.


    I’ve already been at my computer for hours when my nine-year-old wakes in the morning. I stare at two monitors: one shows a news feed updating me on statistics, deaths, responses across the country; the other showing a game of Frostpunk, where I struggle to keep two hundred-some survivors alive in an apocalyptic blizzard.

    “I’m cold,” my child complains.

    I shuck my robe and wrap them in it. We stand beside my open window, hugging each other sleepily, without words. I’m so tired. I can’t sleep because I’ve had too much nicotine and caffeine. My body won’t calm down. But there is a measure of rest in holding and being held.

    The birds are especially loud in the mornings these days. I don’t think they’ve always been so loud. I think they like how fewer cars there are, how the world’s intensity has been turned down a few degrees. Still, there are sounds of human activity; the spring breeze carries the grumble of car engines and lawnmowers to us.

    “Don’t you love how the morning sounds?” I asked my child, who is so tall that I can rest my cheek upon their head.

    “No,” they said. “Because it reminds me the world is still out there.”

    I don’t like those reminders either. I was anxious to leave the world, but became even more anxious to return to it. There are more cars starting than there were a month ago. Businesses are beginning to open. People have to work. It’s safer inside, it’s safer away, but the world is still out there.

  • Diaries,  slice of life

    Seven Ways to be Stoned


    You’re in New York City for the first time. Your friend’s walk-up is cluttered and cozy, as homey as it should be, and it smells like weed. She smokes a lot. She eats even more. You haven’t done much before, but she offers a bowl to you, so you clumsily navigate lighter and pipe.

    Truthfully, you’re scared to have a lighter that close to your face. But you’re in your twenties, your friend is in her thirties, she’s like your big sister. You want to look like you know what you’re doing. So you light it–flick–and your nose gets warm while you touch the flame to a corner of the herb. You inhale as it smolders. You get a little smoke. You think.

    You go out on her balcony, which is small and made of wood so wobbly you’re not sure it can hold your weight, much less a charcoal barbecue. Neither of you know how to use a charcoal barbecue. You laugh a lot trying to get it to light in the wind. You keep a fire extinguisher on hand just in case.

    You feel the warmth after another hit on the pipe. The vegetables you grilled with your best friend taste better. You laugh a little louder.



    It’s cold outside, but you don’t want to smoke inside. You put on a balaclava. You wrap yourself in a bathrobe. You put on slipper socks. You huddle under a blanket on your balcony and light your bong, hands cupped around the pipe to shelter it from the wind. It still won’t light and your fingers are getting stiff. Grab the plasma lighter. It’s not as good, somehow, but it will make your herb burn even when the wind is blasting.

    You take a couple deep hits that make you cough plumes into the chilly night, and the smoke is sucked away to disperse against the crystalline starlight. The harsh hits are bad for your lungs. You go inside, take a shot of Pepto to soothe your throat, puff on the inhaler to open your lungs. You settle into bed with a cold nose, cold fingers, and a dizziness that makes the room sway in the wind with you comfortable in its womb.



    You’ve gotten good at baking with cannabis. People like your cookies–some of them say you can’t taste the weed on it, which isn’t true, because your husband cringes to nibble. But many people like the skunky taste. You like the skunky taste.

    You’re careful with the cookies. You can’t have children getting into them, so you entomb them in a bag, carefully label it with contents and date, and stash it in the very back of the deep freezer. Since you’ve filled it with almond slivers, oats, and raisins, your kids won’t eat them even if they find them. But you want to be sure. You want to be responsible.

    You’re so responsible that you don’t try the dough or the cookies. The butter must be infused, and the cookies baked, cooled, and stored, before your kids come home from school. You don’t want to be stoned when they get here.

    Once they’re safe, you clean the skillet where you made cannabis ghee and prepare an omelet. It doesn’t taste like weed. Only when you’re sprawled on the couch in awe of the music melting through your muscles do you realize you didn’t clean the pan enough, and now you’re very, very stoned despite your naive efforts. On the bright side, while your cookies do taste like weed, your omelet did not.



    It’s a cold, windy night on the Pacific coast. It’s so dark that the beach and the ocean are indistinguishable from each other. You’re in love with the woman at your side, sneaking onto the boardwalk amid the dunes. You haven’t told her about this big warm secret coiled in your belly. Your bodies hold warmth between them while you shelter the pipe. It’s the second pipe you bought on this vacation. The first one wasn’t properly drilled with holes, and it weighs down your pocket. It’s pressing against her thigh. She smells like coconut oil and she’s beaming at you when flickering lighter shines gold on her face.

    You both inhale. You take all the smoke inside of you and breathe with each other, seated on the sandy steps. The ocean roars slower than your breath. There’s a dark shape on the shore. You can’t be sure if it’s a signpost or a man coming to bust you for getting stoned on the beach in the middle of the night. It’s scary. But being scared is funny.

    Her skin is so soft, so smooth. You don’t know it yet but six months later, you won’t be talking. This moment that makes you giddy with the joy and desire will be only a memory. The shape on the beach is a signpost. Nobody cares you’re smoking in the dunes. You’ll still have the pipe without a hole drilled properly, and sometimes you’ll hold it in your hand and remember how her braids felt against your lips.



    This morning, your cat died. She was in your arms, swaddled in a towel, while a gentle veterinarian injected the medicine to stop her heart. You carried your kitty to the car so she could be cremated. You set her in the back seat on the towel. That pile of fluff is all that remains of a life you loved and cherished and tended your entire adult life. When the car drives away, she’s gone.

    There are cannabis cookies in the freezer, carefully labeled and stored out of reach. Each one has about fifteen milligrams of THC, you estimate based on how they make you feel. You eat two, three, four. You keep eating them until you feel nothing but dizzy warmth. Until your eyes are too dry to cry. It’s not healthy, you’re not coping, but maybe you don’t have to cope right now.

    A couple of days later, your baby is brought back in an urn. You hold her. She weighs nothing. She no longer purrs and rolls over to get belly rubs. She doesn’t put a paw on your arm while you’re using the computer mouse. You make a shrine to her because she’s so big inside you, some of that feeling has to be set down somewhere else.

    Two more cookies, three more, four. The months pass and you’re always stoned. But by the end of it, you can hold her urn and cry. You stop taking so much weed. The emotions come back and you live in a life without your cat. Somehow you handle it. You have to. Grief doesn’t feel better when you’re stoned, not the way that love and music do.



    It’s an afternoon on the weekend. Your kids want to play LEGO. You popped a chocolate earlier, so you’re mellow, and life’s stresses have faded away. The house needs to be cleaned. The yard’s a mess. You haven’t showered. But now you’re on the couch, cozy and floating, so it’s easy to give yourself permission to fuck off and play LEGO.

    Your son gives you the broken minifig without arms. He plays the one with long hair. You climb walls and jump off with silly cries and your children laugh and laugh and laugh. It feels good and simple, the way childhood felt. Anything can happen. The couch can become canyons. The pillows are trampolines. When your kids bounce, you bounce too, and their kisses feel like going to heaven. If only they could always be this happy. If only you could always let yourself be this happy.



    It’s raining. It doesn’t do that much around there. You grab the papers, the grinder, the funnel, a lighter. You settle under a blanket on the couch in your gazebo. Rain dribbles off the edges while you pack a joint.

    Life’s been hard, and you’re tempted demolish that joint in one go. Suck it down until there’s nothing but a roach too annoying to smoke.

    But you take it slow. A couple good hits and you stub it out. Then you lay back on the couch, close your eyes, and listen to the rain, knowing that there’s nothing to do today. The rain is like music. It feels good when you hear it. Sometimes the wind blows drops against your cheek. Your husband is with the children, your dogs are warm on your legs, and there’s nothing but you and a few puffs of smoke on a wet gray day.