Category Archives: love

And I’m not even being sarcasmic.

This is the only photo of me at the party. Those are my hands protecting the Buzz Lightyear candle from blowing out in the wind. I AM HELPFUL!

This is the only photo of me at the party. Those are my hands protecting the Buzz Lightyear candle from blowing out in the wind. I AM HELPFUL!

Things The Nephew told me at his birthday party yesterday:

“You can never have enough ketchup, Aunt Amy.”

“I like ketchup on hot dogs. And on meatloaf. And on eggs, but only SCRAMBLED eggs. But not on cake!”


“Are you done with your drink? Because I need this cup in the pool so I can make a waterfall and also soak the other kids.”

“Nocturnal animals are active in the NIGHT and sleep in the DAY. They are like bats, and also owls. Sometimes bunnies, but not always bunnies.”

“No one ate that cake, so if you hide it, I can eat it tomorrow and it can be all mine. Can you do that?”

“Do I have to eat the eyeballs on the cupcake? I don’t think I would like to eat eyeballs.”

“Do you know what I like to eat the best? Watermelon. If you don’t like watermelon, you COULD eat strawberries. It’s ok.”

“I can’t bring my remote control car in the pool. It could probably float, but battery toys don’t go in the pool, Mom said.”

“Someone needs to go get the car out of the grass because it stopped working and it’s not fun for me anymore. Who do you think will go do that?”

“I don’t want to say goodbye to you right now because I am making waterfalls in the pool but maybe I will later.”

Happy fourth birthday, my most amazing, wonderful, brilliant nephew. You make the whole world better by existing. You can always have my cup for making waterfalls in the pool, and when no one’s looking, I’ll eat those pesky eyeballs off your cupcakes so you don’t have to.

Love you more than I ever thought possible. And then a little bit more besides. You’ve got my entire heart, kiddo.

(He got his wish, whatever it was. Powerful lungs on The Nephew.)

(He got his wish, whatever it was. Powerful lungs on The Nephew.)

I started smiling, ’cause you were smiling…

Once upon a time, a very long time ago (fine, it was about 1.25 years ago) I didn’t know one of my closest friends.

Do you ever think about these things? Like, think back to a time when you didn’t know someone who has become such a huge part of your life you kind of can’t imagine them not being there?

And I don’t mean not being there like once and a while, like email every now and then catching up, how’ve you been, good, you? good, that kind of friendship, or the kind where you comment on each other’s blog now and then, or the kind where you’re kind of caught up on what the other person’s got going on Twitter-wise and you chat now and then.

No. Like the kind where you chat all day long on email; where you share pretty much everything – the good, the bad, the ugly, the things that make you feel like crap for feeling them, the things that make you overjoyed for having experienced them but you can’t really tell the world yet because they’re not for general consumption; the kind where you run ideas past each other for things, like writing and plans and schemes and both long-term and short-term goals; where you have a whole shorthand with each other made up of inside jokes and shared history and just this deep love and respect and joy in this person.

Much like this most excellent interspecies friendship.

Much like this most excellent interspecies friendship.

That kind of friendship. The kind that only comes around, if you’re lucky, a few times in your life. The kind that’s for keeps. The kind that’s real.

In March of last year, I met one of the best friends I’ve ever had, and, I’m quite sure, one of the best friends I will ever have. But, as these things go, at the time I had no idea she would become that person. When you meet someone at first, you don’t know who they’ll become. That’s kind of sad, to me. And also kind of amazing. That you meet someone that becomes one of your people, and at first, they’re just a person. It takes time before they become THAT person.

I don’t even remember where it all started. I know she found me. Because she’s better at internetting than I am. I’m guessing through Insatiable Booksluts? And then she commented on my blog. And I thought, this chick, she is FUNNY. I like her style, yo. So I went over and commented on HER blog. And she asked if she could email me a blog draft, to see what I thought. And I totally sent her my secret email address because I didn’t know her well enough to send her my real address. Because stalkers, you see. Only my best beloveds get my real email address. (I just looked that email up and laughed at how formal we were with each other. Hee!)

We talked a lot on Twitter; we commented on each other’s blogs; and one day, by accident, she was accidentally cc’d in on an email and SAW MY REAL EMAIL ADDRESS ZOMG. And she was SO EMBARRASSED SHE SAW IT. And I was all, “Um. Actually? That’s the only email address I can check at work. I was going to ask if you wanted to write to me on that, since I can’t check Twitter at work anymore because my job is just the utter worst and I hate it like the fire of a thousand suns?” (I didn’t say that. Probably I cussed more. I really hated that job.)

And she was ADORABLY HONORED and we started what, I am quite sure, is an email correspondence to rival all other correspondences until the end of time. Seriously, we write, on average, 50-100 emails each to each other DAILY. Also we supplement those with texts, tweets, blog comments, and Facebook messages.

And we share joys and sorrows and we worry about each other and we care about each other and we bitch and we laugh and we cheer and we have so many things in common that we just kind of click and we just GET it, and, most honestly and sincerely, I can’t tell you what I did without her in my life, pre-her being here, and I couldn’t possibly imagine a life without her in it now. She makes life easier. She makes the hardest tasks more bearable, because when you have her, you don’t have to do them alone.

And I would absolutely stand in front of a herd of stampeding Zombiecorns in order for her to make her escape.

And someday we will be in the same place at the same time and there will be so much talking and laughing and the joy in that room will overflow and everyone in the whole area will be suffused with it and wonder, what is happening? And we will be happening, is what will be happening. Us us us.

And if any of you says the internet is a thing that drives people apart rather than brings them together, and no real friendships can be made over social media, and that you can’t have a real friendship with someone you’ve never met…well.

You don’t know my sj.

Happy birthday, my most precious lemondrop. You make every day a better one; you keep me sane when everything’s flying to bits; you help me see the hilarity when nothing seems like it will ever be funny again; you are a voice of reason when I need one and a shoulder to cry on when I need one and the person I want to tell things to when they finally, amazingly, somehow work out; you are the one I want to run my words by before I send them out for the general public; you are the one that understands what I mean to say when I don’t know what I mean to say; you bring me music and words and laughter and you paint my life in color and I thank the universe, every single day, that out of all the people on the interwebs, that day a little over a year ago, you found me.

Have the best day. You deserve nothing but the best. Let’s be old ladies yelling at kids from our porches someday, telling stories about the good old days and drinking things utterly cluttered with crushed ice. Let’s still crack up about Sweatband Time. Let’s still make fun of terrible television and swoon over utterly beautiful turns of phrase in books.

Everyone wish sj the best day, please, because if anyone deserves a kajillion comments about the best, best day, it is sj. She is an amazing mom and wife and writer and daughter and sister and friend and…well, shit. One of the finest people I have the honor to know.

Love you, sj. Thank you for being one of the best treasures the internet has ever had to offer. I don’t want to live a life without you in it, not even a little teeny tiny bit, and not even ever.

And of course here’s some Ben Lee. You of course get some Ben Lee today. He’s your teeny singing boyfriend.

Love is the whole and more than all

and nothing quite so least as truth
–i say though hate were why men breathe–
because my Father lived his soul
love is the whole and more than all
–E.E. Cummings, “my father moved through dooms of love”

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

You had your first kid when you were only 25. You had no idea what to do with this kid. She was born early and jaundiced and she cried a lot and wouldn’t sleep. You were expecting a boy. You wanted a boy because boys were easier and you could play catch with a boy and do things like play in the dirt and go hunting. A girl was perplexing. What would you do with a girl?

You learned quickly that you could do all the same things with her as you could do with the boy. Well, except the hunting. She didn’t like hunting. Killing animals was not a thing she was into. The one and only time you took her hunting she ended up weeping over how pretty the dead quail was and how horrifying it was that one minute it was THERE and the next minute it was NOT. But you could still teach her how to shoot a gun. And you did. And she played in the dirt, and she played catch (poorly, because she had no hand-eye coordination) and you always made time to teach her things like what kind of trees those were, and how a car worked, and where the fish would bite. She ended up loving books more than anything, which perplexed you, and falling in love with the theater, which perplexed you more, and becoming a damn dirty liberal, which just infuriated you.

But she inherited your eyes and your quick sense of humor and your steadfast loyalty and your complete intolerance for stupidity, and she ended up being pretty ok, after all. Imagine that. And whenever you talk to her you tell her how much you love her. Because you do. And how much you’ll always worry about her, even though she’s well onto her way into middle age. Because you will.

You ended up doing a pretty good job raising her, even though you didn’t have an instruction manual.

Happy Father’s Day, Grandpa Jim.

You got married really young and had three amazing handsome boys and a beautiful girl, and the entire town loved you. There wasn’t anyone who didn’t grin and wave when they saw you coming. You were intelligent and funny and caring and wise, and everyone who ever met you has stories about you, and those stories make them glow with the memory of them.

You loved your family ferociously. You’d have done anything for them. You worked hard every day of your life making sure they had everything they needed. You were tough, but you were fair. They always knew how much you loved them. They loved you with a fierce unparalleled love; no family has ever loved a father more.

You loved your grandchildren. They loved to visit you because you played with them. You were overjoyed to see the children your own children produced. You wore your heart on your sleeve with them.

I would have liked to know you. Dad tells me all the time how much you and I would have liked one another; how I would have gotten your jokes, even the ones that it took other people days to put together in their minds because they were so complex and erudite. Dad says you would have been so proud of me, that you and I were so much alike. I take that compliment and wear it like a locket, like a precious gift. I carry the stories of you around safe with me in my heart. I hang on the hope that someday, somehow, in whatever passes for an afterlife, if there’s someone waiting for me on the other side, it’ll be you, and you’ll be waiting with your laugh that filled a room, with the other half of the stories that it chokes your children up to tell me.

I’ve loved you my whole life without us even ever having been on the planet at the same time. Sometimes people miss each other by mere months, yet spend the rest of their lives missing each other. I miss you, even though, for me, you were never there.

Happy Father’s Day, Grandfather.

You were one of the hardest-working men I’ve ever known. You ran a farm, you were the sheriff (of the town? the county? I was little, I don’t remember, just remember you in your uniform with a pistol on your hip, looking very wild-western and strong), you had a wife and four young children, you drove a huge truck, and you were no one to be messed with, with your steely blue eyes and your serious white crewcut.

Yet you always made me laugh. You were shameless about it; you would save things that you knew would make me laugh until I visited, then you’d trot them out like jewels for me. You’d make up little poems and say them to me in a very serious tone, but with twinkling eyes. “The mouse ran up the tree,” you told me once, very seriously. “Turned around and peed on me.” Then you very seriously walked out of the room. I was about 6, and this was the height of humor. I laughed until I was sore.

You would put on old records and dance around your parlor with me. You’d make me complicated puzzles from wood and wire and twine and laugh as I tried to solve them.

You were a World War II vet; you brought home photographs of yourself on boats in the waters off Japan, looking young and like you were going to save the world. As a child, I was quite sure you had.

You died when I was in college. It was not a quick death; it was long, and painful, and not the death you want to watch someone you love suffer. At the end, when you were on doses of morphine so high the nurses were loath to give them to you, you said you saw an angel in your room. The angel was your beloved younger sister, the wild child I’d always admired, who’d passed away not long before. “She’s waiting for me,” you told my mother. You looked so happy. So at peace. I’d like to say I know it was the drugs talking. The practical side of me knows it was. But the side of me that believes in magic and wonder and that something should be out there on the other side waiting for us believes that yes, your sister was there in your hospital room, and right before you went, she let you see her so you wouldn’t be so afraid to let go.

Happy Father’s Day to you, these three men whose blood runs in my veins. We may make ourselves into the people we want to become, but before we can do that, we grow up surrounded by people who help us shape our lives. I was lucky enough to have some of the strongest role models to look up to. Men that treated women with respect; men that knew women could be and do whatever they wanted; men that looked at me and said, “You are amazing” and meant it; men that made me strong and wise and funny and brave.

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers reading. Fatherhood comes in many forms. It’s not just genetic. Taking a child’s hand in yours and being their person, letting them know how amazing and wonderful and worthwhile and strong they are? That’s fatherhood. Protecting them, but also giving them wings and letting them use them? That’s fatherhood. Laughing with them and also crying with them? That’s fatherhood.

Happy Father’s Day, fathers and dads and stepdads, in all your forms, in all your roles.

And thank you. For everything.

It is national Amy’s BFF day. To celebrate, I wrote this letter.

Dear BFF:

Today is your birthday. I sent you a card but, in typical Amy fashion, it was not timely. Remember when I used to be weeks early with things like cards, and I was able to send gifts out and they were awesome? Heh. Those were the days. ANYWAY, a card is coming. Thank you for responding in a timely fashion to my “OMG I DON’T HAVE YOUR ADDRESS AND I’M AT WORK PLEASE SEND IT NOW FOR…A THING…THAT I NEED IT FOR!” email the other day. I love you.

Since it is your birthday, let’s talk about reasons why I love you more than pudding, even tapioca or that canned chocolate pudding you can’t find anymore that was the best stuff ever and was so thick it would gag you but it was SO SO GOOD.

Best pudding ever. When I lived elsewhere, my mom shipped this stuff to me. That's love, people. Now I can't find it ANYWHERE. *sob*

Best pudding ever. When I lived elsewhere, my mom shipped this stuff to me. That’s love, people. Now I can’t find it ANYWHERE. *sob*

  1. You totally talk me off ledges. (Metaphor-ledges, let’s be clear about this.)
  2. You make me laugh and laugh by sending me photos of things with funny captions and there’s no way you could know that I’m having a terrible day, considering we’re a billion miles apart (FINE, we’re only across the country, it feels like a billion miles) but they always seem to come when I need them the most.
  3. If someone does me wrong, you immediately hate them. Without even a question. That’s loyalty right there, babe.
  4. When you came to stay with me right before I moved out of your state, Dumbcat, who was new to me and was scared of all the humans except me, finally, by the last day, snuck out from under the chair and sat on your lap and let you pet him and you had a look on your face like you’d charmed a unicorn and I loved you for that, and also Dumbcat knows good people, yo. He’s tasteful.
  5. When we met up again years and years later to take New York City by storm, I was kind of nervous because I hadn’t seen you in five years, but it was like I had just seen you yesterday, and we were the same with each other as ever, and still did goofy wonderful things and made each other laugh to tears and there’s really no other definition for a true friendship than you can go five years without seeing someone and it’s like you spent no time apart at all, now is there?
  6. Every time I email you and am the least bit excited about anything (a guy, a job, a new prospect, anything) you are the most supportive human being alive and tell me how I’m going to be the best at that. You don’t even hesitate.
  7. If I’m being a dumbass, you tell me and I don’t even ever get the slightest bit mad. You’ve earned that right. Being my friend for 16 years has earned that for you. (And let’s be honest, you’re usually totally right about my dumbassery. You’re very wise, BFF.)
  8. You read every single post I write and tell me it’s like having me there in the room with you as you drink your coffee. Could there be a better compliment? I think not.
  9. You send the best presents, like Flake bars and penguin pillows and bacon lipgloss.
  10. I am the best Amy there is when I am with you, either virtually or in person. You bring out the best Amy. There’s no higher compliment than that.

BFF, although (yet again, due to the billion miles thing) I cannot be there with you for your birthday, please know that I love you the most, and wish you the best day ever. Knowing you makes every day of my life better. I am pleased this is your birthday, because that means you were born today. And if you were NOT born, well, what would I do? No one would send me photos like this and ask me if I wanted it for my Christmas present.

WHAT IS THIS CHILLING THING I CAN’T EVEN. That child looks either petrified with fear or already dead. I opened my email and shrieked a little, then laughed and laughed.

I love you, BFF. Someday I will come to your city and we will conquer it with many antics and much tomfoolery. But I’m not coming in the summer this time. Remember when I came to visit you one August and made you play minigolf even though you were all, “Amy, no one goes outside of airconditioning in the summer here, it’s like 110 degrees” and I said, “IT WILL BE FINE” and then we almost died? Thank you for not being mad I almost killed you with heatstroke in my quest to play minigolf because I love it so much, BFF, you’re really the best.



Happiest of happy birthdays. When I am grand high ruler of the world, today will be a national holiday. It will be AMY’S BFF DAY and everyone will get the day off and there will be FREE CAKE FOR ALL. And also bacon. ALL the bacon.

Because this is the Valentine’s Day card my BFF sent me this week, you guys. He really rocks.

I love you more than pudding. MORE THAN CANNED PUDDING.

Here is a photo of Amy and BFF taken not long after we met. Look at these two youngsters, all filled with love and promise. This hangs over my bed, by the way, so I can see it every day. It's to remind me of how much love I have in my life. It totally works, too.

Here is a photo of Amy and BFF taken not long after we met. Look at these two youngsters, all filled with love and promise. This hangs over my bed, by the way, so I can see it every day. It’s to remind me of how much love I have in my life. It totally works, too.

Love (and love and love and then more love, all crammed in there with the love), Amy.

A very romantic love story, circa high school, for your Valentine’s Day pleasure

What? Oh, look, good, here, it’s Valentine’s Day, my favorite.

I have ONE cat, but still have apparently called it quits, thank you, skinny blonde lady with aggressively striped hair.

Here is my one and only Valentine’s Day story.

When I was fifteen, I was dating a very short boy who we will call David. We will call him that because it was his name and because I dislike him enough I don’t care if we use his real name.

Very Short David was my first boyfriend. So since it was the 90s, I of course listened to a lot of Debbie Gibson’s “Lost in Your Eyes” and thought about our future children. That second part wasn’t because it was the 90s, but because I used to be super-optimistic. And of COURSE you marry your first Very Short Boyfriend.

No, it wasn't this bad. But it had to be at least 5 inches difference. In high school, that's different enough, yo.

No, it wasn’t this bad. But it had to be at least 5 inches difference. In high school, that’s different enough, yo.

Very Short David also did not know how to kiss, and thought it just meant you put your mouth on the other person’s mouth and left it there without moving for very long stretches of time. VERY long stretches of time. Like, sometimes you peeked at your watch wondering what television shows you might be missing. Also, a thing that crossed your mind was, “people in movies and on TV shows seem to move their mouths more when they are kissing. I feel like we’re not doing this correctly.”

Very Short David and I started dating in October. So we totally got to date through my birthday, his birthday, and Christmas, which was VERY exciting and we got to give each other PRESENTS. If I remember correctly, I gave him thoughtful things like a baseball signed by some sort of important baseball person and he gave me a very pretty necklace so I was all “ZOMG VERY SHORT DAVID!” and he said, “Meh, my mom bought that and wrapped it and wrote your name on it, whatever” and I was all “VERY SHORT DAVID YOU ARE THE MOST ROMANTIC EVAH!”

As Valentine’s Day approached, I was very pleased. Because there was this foolish flower charity thingy that happened at school and I just KNEW that Very Short David would get me flowers and get them delivered to my homeroom and KA-CHOW I would finally be one of those girls. THE KIND THAT GOT FLOWERS ON VALENTINE’S DAY IN HOMEROOM. What kind of flowers? Poorly dyed carnations, of course, we were in high school, it’s not like we could afford hothouse blooms, sheesh.

I’m sure I bought Very Short David something but I don’t remember what it was. I’m very thoughtful, yo. Always was. Always will be.

So it was like two days before Valentine’s Day and I was SO EXCITED and also VERY ANTSY and all suffused with love and also the promise of ALL THE ROMANCE ALL OF IT.

And Very Short David ignored me all day at school, and I was all, “wha?” because that was not the way we rolled. We passed very romantic notes that said things like “TTYL” and “I like your jelly bracelets today.” (I made that last one up, I have no idea what our notes said. Also, I think I stopped wearing jelly bracelets in like 8th grade, don’t be foolish.)



So my friend who we will call Shari (that really isn’t her name, not because I care about her, but because last I knew she was super-mad at me for something that I don’t really understand and she seems sue-happy so I don’t think it’s in my best interest to use her real name, which is very distinctive) called him on the PAY PHONE in the LOBBY of the SCHOOL (because we were all about the technology back then, don’t even say we weren’t) and Very Short David said, “Oh, tell her I broke up with her, I’m in love with M. now.”

(M. gets the typical initial because she is still a friend of mine and I care about her a great deal.)

M. was my beautiful, outgoing, cheerleader friend. No, I don’t know why she was friends with young-Amy, either. (She’s still beautiful now. She also barely looks like she’s aged. She’s a miracle of genetics, that M. And I don’t even hate her. She’s lovely.)

“Um…what?” I said. Very Short David said goodbye to Shari and hung up. (In a surprising twist, Very Short David and Shari dated senior year. She was all, “will you hate me if I date him?” and I was like, “I honestly do not care what you do” and apparently this is not what you say to someone who thinks she is your best friend but who you didn’t really like all that much because you were kind of broken inside and didn’t really know how to have friendships.)

I cried and cried and went home and listened to a LOT of Debbie Gibson and cried and cried some MORE and then M. called and said, “I just want you to know that I’m totally not even INTERESTED in Very Short David, what is WRONG with him” so that helped a little (and she totally wasn’t, he asked her out the VERY NEXT DAY and she so laughed in his face and I will always love her for that.)

Needless to say, I never got those Valentine’s Day flowers. Also, Very Short David is on my shitlist. And remains there. (Also, Very Short David, after we broke up, told everyone who would listen that I “totally put out” and everyone knew I was a total dork who would not do that so he just got laughed at for attempting that charade. Therefore, he became Very Assholey David, and I still wish him ill. Yes. Still. Shut up, my insane loyalty has a flip side which is the inability to forgive if someone grievously wounds me.)

And yes, this is my one-and-only Valentine’s Day story, as never again was I dating anyone even ADJACENT to Valentine’s Day.

Do I hate a day that’s all dedicated to love and such? Aw. No. Of course not. Does it kind of make me equal parts sad and annoyed? Yes. Yes it does. Yet I am intelligent enough to realize that is stupid.

So happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. And if today is a sucktastic day for you, remember: tomorrow, the Valentine’s Day chocolate goes 50% off at the stores, yo.

50% off!!!!!

50% off!!!!!

Also, Very Short and Very Assholey David: I hope you are bitten by a bitey snake with sharp teeth. Or fall in a hole. Either way’s cool with me.

(Also, since this is the day of love: dear my loved ones, I love you so much it makes my whole heart ache with it. Thank you for…well, everything. I would be nowhere and nothing without you. You are better than all the poorly-dyed carnations delivered to me in homeroom in the whole world. I wouldn’t give you up for anything.)

Also, I found this on the interwebs; I think it is for me. Yay!

It's a little creepy, but we take what we can get, right? Right.

It’s a little creepy, but we take what we can get, right? Right.

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