Don Quixote, Tome Club and links

This is part of the ongoing #TomeClub series, where I and a few of you suckers decided to read Don Quixote together. I am not going to title these in a clever manner. I am sorry to disappoint you.


I haven’t forgotten you Tome Club and the two people still standing with me. We all had the flu for a week (except the baby, who eats a lot of dirt and thus is impervious to human weakness). So, I’ve been furiously catching up. Kindle says I’m 51% done with the book and my goal is to finish it this weekend. That’s right. Suck it, family time. I’m finishing this book.

Don Quixote is very delightful, when I finally worm my way in. But it is a bit of a slog. Because it’s just people talking and walking, which Dave points out is the majority of The Lord of the Rings, which I remember loving. Here are THOUGHTS. Such important. Much deep.

  • I love that we haven’t met Dulcinea, I hope we never do. I love the power of a character who never shows. Tom Stoppard did this in Arcadia. Lord Byron is a powerful character, who never has a line. In this way, you see the tension of how people create characters in their minds. How much of these women is reality and how much of them is just the narrative pushed on them by the men? Again, I think of Marcela, who just says, screw you I’m out and walks out of the story, because she can’t win. She can’t compete. She can’t fight. She cannot be who she is without the men around her pushing their own narratives on her, so she walks away. In this way, I hope we don’t meet Dulcinea, I hope she doesn’t play.
  • Also, hello, author anxieties. At the beginning of the second part, Cervantes lashes out against a counterfeit part two of his novel, which I thought was a narrative device. But no, actually, some fool wrote a fraudulent part two and Cervantes got nasty about it. Of course he did. He has every right. But still, it makes me giggle a bit, because even the author of one of the great works of literature had a pissing match. It’s perfect. Team Cervantes.
  • Also, side note: The gross lover storyline at the end of part one? Where the girl who marries the man who raped her? This is why I don’t want Dulcinea to show up. Because, lord love him, when ladies do show up in this book, despite Cervantes best efforts, he still screws them over in the name of “dignity.”
  • But that development of Sancho, right? I love how he corrects his wife’s speech, but still finds himself being corrected constantly.
  • The delusions here. They are frightening. DQ is so entrenched in his beliefs that everything, even the things that prove him wrong, prove him right. And oh, the manifold applications to modern life. I actually feel worried. Like, omg, is everyone around me a Sancho? Am I delusional? Is everything I do a lie? But then, I remembered that you all constantly correct my grammar (AS YOU SHOULD) and only two people are reading this with me, so if I have delusions, they aren’t very grand. But are we all deluded? And what is so wrong with delusions? Why is the truth preferable? Is it better to life a cruel truth than a beautiful lie?
  • And I say that line about who is more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him in reference to my marriage constantly. So, I better stop thinking about that too deeply.
  • I am going to come back to that idea of playing in a narrative that you can’t win at. Don’t play, Dulcinea and Marcela. Don’t play. Walk away. Make your own.
  • I read somewhere that the artist Honore Daumier believed that Sancho and DQ, merge into one. And I see that happening, in a way. DQ is merging toward sanity and Sancho toward insanity. Their folie a deux of grandiosity is so much the addict/enabler prototype. In this way, I wonder if this book isn’t really just about marriage. But you know, gay marriage. Cervantes was so progressive.
  • Before I started this book, I read that DQ was the beginning of the modern novel, because it’s a book where the main character is aware that he is in a book. Meta. Right? But isn’t that just a natural progression of being the main character in your own life? Of doing things just to be remembered. (Also, dear lord, did you not love that digression about people doing terrible things just to be remembered. The guy who wanted to throw himself down on top of the stained glass? Very Kardashian in it’s sentiment, no?) Couldn’t you argue that Chaucer’s character’s are just as “aware” because they are all arranging their lives into a form of meaning through their pilgrimage? Kundera, that same writer who convinced me to read this book in the first place, talks about how we all organize our lives according to the laws of beauty…we all seek a narrative. It’s why we look for meaning in things that have no right to be meaningful. We insist that pain will work for good, when pain is just pain. We demand that everything fit a narrative arc. We ignore those facets of life that don’t. It’s not just Cervantes or the shepherds that push the women into a mold. We do that to ourselves.

Okay, links. Who wants them?

No. Fine.

Take them.

Here. HERE! Eat all of your links before you can leave.

I wrote about why I let my kid sleep in our bed. I wrote about why kidless people know a lot about kids. So, STFU people who say, “Well, because I’m a mom…” A thing is on HuffPost Parents. My marriage is well, a marriage with two kids. I read this wonderful essay about writing. Stassa Edwards on abortifacients. 


Don Quixote and Some Links

I am a useless waste this week. The only thing I have accomplished is almost finishing the first part of Don Quixote. But I am beginning to suspect that Tome Club, while a high-minded idea, might not be a thing whose time has come. I think, like maybe me and two other people are reading the book, which is hilarious and full of poop jokes, and I have a lot of important THOUGHTS about the book. I’ve also enjoyed some great Twitter conversations about it. But perhaps, maybe, I’ll just make it a Facebook thread once a week?

I’ll take the sound of crickets chirping as my response.

Okay, here are some links to things I’ve written recently on the internet. I feel like a jerk, always pimping my stuff. How about you all leave links to your things in the comments, so I have something to read tonight while I’m ignoring my family.


I’ve been ranting a lot about modesty and clothing.

The baby wants things and he will hurt me if I don’t cave to his demands.

Okay, your turn.

That Time I Talked To Anderson Cooper (Or Not Really)

Both of my kids are sick and my husband is chugging DayQuil like it’s water, because The Dave mostly just drinks water and Snapple. His body is a temple, y’all. Baby J is getting his first tooth and all I can do is beg the gods of teeth and boobs for sweet mercy. Also, this past week has left me a little bruised and worse for wear. So, I’m going to do a link dump. Yes, I know. I hate those too. I really do. Every time I see them, I’m all…yuck_imdone_medium



Because they aren’t real posts. So, feel free not to “Like” it or talk internet smack about me. I deserve it. But the internet is all about sharing and I do want to share. I do. Also, I will start off with a little story about me and everyone’s favorite handsome news anchor, Anderson Cooper.


On Tuesday, I got an email inviting me to view a Google chat with Anderson Cooper and CNN’s Kelly Wallace, wherein they would be discussing the morality of babies and the research done by the Yale Infant Cognition Center. I’ve been rabidly following the work of Paul Bloom and Karen Wynn. Also, like any American, real American, I love me some Anderson Cooper. So, I responded by saying, “Sure, I will tune in. Thanks for the invite!”

That’s when I got the response that basically translated to, “Um. No, idiot. We want you to join us.” So, I was all, “Okay. But you are the idiot! I bring nothing to the table.”

In sum, I got to do a Google hangout with Anderson Cooper. Fun fact: He never spoke to me. We had some technical glitches and then Anderson (as I call him now) had to leave. So, he was on the actual hangout for two minutes. Most of the time he just read important documents (probably about where to find the National Treasure), while the rest of us made idle chit chat. And as we all awkwardly sat around waiting for Google to fix the problem, Paul Bloom asked Anderson Cooper (right, I can’t keep up the charade) if he had done one of these “hangout things” before. Without even blinking, Anderson Cooper responded, “Yes, with the Dali Lama.”


I now imagine, in a month or two when Michelle Obama asks him if he’s done one of these “hangout things” before, he will respond, “Yes, with Lyz Lenz.”

Because I’m delusional.

Here is the link to the CNN piece about babies and morality. And here is the link to the Google hangout,  I make some awkward jokes about psycho killer babies, so that’s worth something.


Also, fun fact, I’ve been writing columns for my local newspaper. They are fun. Old media is super cute. I feel all vintagey. Like I need to bang out a screed on a typewriter. I am a lone reed.

So, maybe you should read them, if you find yourself locked in a jail with nothing to entertain you except the ghosts of your past, your crushing guilt and a computer where all the smutty sites are blocked.


I am very proud of this piece about magic and childhood and how much beauty I find under the table. Brain, Child magazine was kind enough to publish this.


I recently reread “Mise-en-Scene for a Parricide” by Angela Carter (it’s a story about Lizzie Borden). And I loved it all over again. The description of the weather was so oppressive and perfect. Also, the story is so lush, like all of her stories and twisted in a way that makes you feel like you are viewing the world through damaged glass.


My friend and former roommate, Alison, sent me this essay about photographing the little things and I believe all of this about writing.


Mallory Ortberg is my favorite. Also, she just gave me some nightmares: “Official reports have recently confirmed what you have long suspected: that the dim and as-yet-formless shape hovering at the foot of your bed or perhaps just outside your closed (but locked? Did you lock it? Is it locked, or is it unlocked?) window is very real and the only thing keeping it from moving any closer is your constant, wakeful vigilance. ” Curse you, Ortberg.


This: A rapper named Lizzo from Minnesota. So, of course, I’m already inclined to like her. But this video and this song? Amazing.

Leave me your links. I’ll read them and then provide a thoughtful* comment.

*Poop jokes are considered thoughtful.

Listen to Your Mother: Eastern Iowa (Also, Terry Gross is a Powerful Enemy)

On Sunday, I’m producing (alongside the marvelous Jen and Heather from de Novo Alternative Marketing) a show that is a series of live readings about all aspects of motherhood called Listen to Your Mother: Eastern Iowa.

Maybe you’ve seen me spamming my Facebook feed about it.

This is my first ever big event, besides my wedding, which had barely 100 guests. And when it was over, I wasn’t all misty-eyed and nostalgic. In fact, I swore I’d never go through that hell again. Why? Because who the hell cares what color tulle is? Why are there shades of pink? ISN’T THERE JUST ONE PINK?! Even if Dave succumbs to a freak combine accident and I’m left a widow who is seduced by a handsome rich man. If he wants to put a ring on this, he can’t. HE GET’S THE MILK FOR FREE.

This event has been more fun to plan because I don’t have to worry about a wedding dress. Also, through this process I’ve been able to meet people in town I never would have met and hear stories I never would have otherwise heard.  And the stories of our cast members are incredible–heartwarming, honest, hilarious and heartbreaking. And it’s all to support local moms, by raising money for Waypoint Services.

Technically, I am the emcee. But I won’t need to say much because the stories of our cast say it all.

I hope to see some of you there.  You can buy tickets here or at the door. 

I solemnly vow to take a Facebook hiatus once this is all over to cleanse your palates from my constant updates. I will say this: I have learned a lot through this process about PR. And I managed to get the show covered by most local outlets. Although, public radio evaded me. Which is baffling, because when I am not listening to Ke$ha, I listen to public radio all the time.

And the other day they did a story on pig manure and said “defecation” three times. Seriously, Iowa Public Radio,  I would have said defecation even more times than that! I think this all goes back to the time that I pissed off Terry Gross. Yes, that is a real story with a real Terry Gross.  I now imagine that all public radio affiliates have my photo along with the directive not to have any contact with me. Terry Gross is a powerful, powerful enemy.

UPDATE: NBC Covered the national event, so eat it, Gross.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The End of 2012

I’m sitting at my Mother-in-law’s house in Minnesota where I will greet 2013, with 10lbs of cheesy potatoes tucked inside my belly. I will tell strangers that it is a child. But we all know the truth: There is no such thing as pregnancy cravings, women just use that as an excuse to eat more than their socially appropriate ration of ham.

2012 has been a crazy wonderful year. I gave up shopping for pants. I saw my movie on the big screen. I saw my name on the HuffPo and my face on a billboard. I bombed on the radio. I flew. We fell. Got up, and tried again. 2013 scares me. Every new year scares me. But especially this year, because I quit my job just to take the chance at doing more of what I love.

And now, the future looks like a yawning cavern of failure and pajama jeans. And my brother-in-law has done his best to remind me that I no longer bringing in an income, which is really helpful and charming.  All brother-in-laws should come with a bottle of Xanax taped to their butts.

I don’t make resolutions. I don’t believe in them. Instead, if you want to do something, you do it. Right now. Right then.  So, for me this is the year of the right this second. And I hope for you it is a good one.

Here are my “best” posts of 2012, I realize this is a narcissistic thing to do. So, I made it less narcissistic by having them be my “most shared” posts of 2012. But really, that’s still narcissistic, but so is blogging. So, you take the good, you take the bad, dah, dah, dah, daaaah, the facts of life.* I would do my favorite pictures, but let’s be honest, without the filters of Instagram, I am nothing.

Also, this are not in a particular order. I hope your OCD hates me right now.

*I never saw that show because I was home schooled, but I assume that’s how the song goes.

On Tragedy and Parenting:


“Our lives are always petering on the edge of tragedy. You can do everything correctly and still wake up one day to learn that your son is in jail. Your daughter has been molested. Your sister is on drugs.”

Note: This post references a piece that was due to be published in the NYT, but got held up by lawyers. I still anticipate it making an appearance in 2013.

A Trophy Wife:


“Scared of failing. Scared of losing myself. Scared of waking up in a Mickey Mouse shirt and Lee jeans, driving a minivan and regretting all that writing that I was going to do.”

Sexy Moms in Bikini’s:


“…White Cliffs of Fat or Fat Ridge, which is that shelf of fat that clings to my lower stomach announcing to everyone that this lady still eats cake like she’s the growing 16-year-old boy she never was.”

Naming Your Child Kixx McGee Purple Acer Robot Smith


“Like if we aren’t all Avas and Jaydens, somehow the core of our existence is undermined and the Mayans were right and we’re all going to be Left Behind because Jesus hates that you named your baby Bear Blu Cheese.”

No Pants 2012: What I’ve Learned About Fashion


“But I think I thought, somehow the financial freedom and the freedom from consumerism would make me emerge some sort of Dave-Ramsey-Anna-Wintourish butterfly. Cheap. Fancy. Not going to happen.”



“The past five years have been a slow reveal that I am not all that, that the world does not spin on it’s axis around me. The sun doesn’t rise and fall with my triumphs and failures.”

When You Are in The Apocalypse


““Well, I haven’t heard about it on the news,” she answered cautiously. Like she’d heard the old “my town is being flooded” excuse one too many times.”

In This Moment


“My fear grips me at night, when I lay down and the nausea subsides and I feel normal again and I think. What if my child is already gone? What if there is no heartbeat? Or there is, and then later, there isn’t?”

Why I Need a Bridle


“So, I barreled forward. I wrote. I got jobs. I wrote some more. I did what I loved. And then one day, I looked around and realized I was  pregnant and living in Iowa.

Somewhere, Gloria Steinem was shaking her head in shame.”

Everybody Running


“And just in case, I asked for heaven for everyone I knew and all the ones I didn’t. When I did rebel, I joined the debate team and read the Communist Manifesto. It was the most I could muster at 16.”

That’s Not What Girl’s Do


“You don’t draw definitions around gender, you draw definitions around people. But they’re all so little and it’s too big, even for me.”

One Year


“Things I won’t tell you, because no one needs to know how many times I pooped, the exact number of bad puns I tried to make to while away the 16 hours of labor, or how many suppositories it took to stop the bleeding. But you do need to know that holding Ellis that first time I felt so exhausted, so spent and so completely complete.”

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...