1. To the neighbor who left your dog's poop in my yard, and let's just say it's not that of a chihuahua, shame on you. That is straight-up rude.

2. What have I been missing by not watching C-SPAN live? I was riveted today by the couple hours (and I NEVER watch TV) of the Comey hearing I caught. The Trump admin is as dirty as they come. They have their filthy tentacles in everything. We, most ALL of us, have let this happen, and it's up to us to #resist. Have you called your reps today? I have. Please do.

3. This is a really powerful essay. Published a week ago on Ms. magazine's blog, Body Politic makes my short-list of must-reads this week. As does this essay on the meaning of The Handmaid's Tale in the time of Trump by Margaret Atwood in yesterday's (Sunday) New York Times Book Review. 
Also, I highly recommend you read In the Darkroom by Susan Faludi (brilliant discussion of identity, many forms of) as well as Evicted (tremendous study and discussion of poverty and exploitation of the poor) by Matthew Desmond.
Lastly, it seems the Oxford comma debate may finally be settled. Grammar nerds, this one's for you.

4. Tom started his new job today. It has, in many ways, been wonderful having him home for the past three weeks, but it is also nice to reorient ourselves into a more normal-for-our-age life.

5. On Friday, I am taking the boys to Louisiana for spring break. Having not left DC since before the election, I am exceedingly keen on getting out of town. I cannot wait for a break, cannot wait to sit in a white wooden rocking chair on a generous porch as a warm breeze blows across my bare legs. Cannot wait to watch the bayou glide by and the Spanish moss wave from oak boughs. Cannot wait to watch my boys run and get dirty and leave the tub ringed with scum each night. Cannot wait to sit with my parents and just be.

6. I have, lately, felt myself somewhat stifled by shoulds and perceived expectations. No more. I am who I am, folks, and I'll write and be what and who I want. Shoulds are a bully, as are living for other's needs, expectations, or hopes. Compromise is grand. Muzzling yourself and others is not. 

7. Two photos that make me happy:

Happy 8th Birthday, Ol!

Eight years ago today, my darling Oliver was born. Two weeks early! It was a Tuesday, and as Jack was not yet three and so only had school three days a week, he and I were snuggling on the couch reading. My water broke, and Jack looked at me with some wonder and asked, "Mama, did you tee-tee on me?"

From the mouths of babes.

Despite the early, surprise "I'm coming!" Ol then took his sweet time and finally emerged at 4:16 that afternoon. A St. Patty's baby (to join his July 4 brother; we are so festive)! I've always liked that his birth time is the date of my birthday. 

Oliver has been an absolute delight ever since. Truly, his light shines so bright, and we are all made better by his being a member of our family.

He is a sensitive child, deeply attuned to people and circumstances around him. Once, when he was very little-maybe 2?-and we were in Lake Charles visiting Nanny, we placed him on her hospital bed so she could see him better, and he sat there, quietly and presently, for a long while. It seemed unlike a reaction most young tots would have.

Not the same but very similar and indicative.

Not the same but very similar and indicative.

Oliver is an innately empathic person with a wise soul and a creative vision that makes our lives more beautiful, purposeful, and joy-filled. Recently, I had my feelings hurt, and because I trust his judgment so much, I said, "Ol, what would you do if a friend hurt your feelings?" "Well, mama," he replied, "I think I'd go play with someone else." Indeed.

He's also funny as get out, sure footed as they come, and I have long said that based on its festive, bacchanal spirit, there's really no better day than St. Patrick's Day on which he could have been born.

I mean, one of the things he most pined for this year was this set of three enormous, glittery nesting eggs. When Tom asked him this morning, "Ol, why did you want those eggs?" he replied, "Why wouldn't I?"

The giant egg with other eggs inside.

The giant egg with other eggs inside.

I am a better person for getting to be Oliver's mother. It is my complete fortune and joy, even if this birthday focuses on his Minecraft obsession which I don't really understand or much care about. At least it's not Pokemon! At least this little boy is mine.

The cutest big brother!

The cutest big brother!

The Minecraft cupcake toppers I made out of fondant. These went to Ol's classroom for that celebration. Now working on his actual cake.

The Minecraft cupcake toppers I made out of fondant. These went to Ol's classroom for that celebration. Now working on his actual cake.

What takes the cake

Sometimes, in the blurry dervishing darkness of too much noise and too many demands, I think about cake and how much I’d like a slice. One generous slice of moist devil’s food with a perfect crumb and just enough frosting –do you call it icing?- to make the confection sleek rather than shrugging.

A cake like this withstands the gentle pressure of a fork’s slender tines only just before succumbing. For a moment the shape rendered by cake and indent made by the utensil’s push resembles one of those simple down-and-up lines young children draw to resemble birds in flight. Then the bird is gone and I’m left with a bite of cake to savor and the time to do so.

Truth be told, this cake is most sublime when I can sit in silence with it, a cold glass of milk just beyond the upper right rim of my plate. In this setting, nothing vies for attention: the cake gets it all. More accurately, my enjoyment of it does. I needn’t rush my bites or my chewing. I won’t worry about choking when someone asks a question and wants the answer now. No greedy eyes will covet my cake, no one will ask me to share. I can close my eyes and experience the cake in my mouth, from first touch on my tongue to bittersweet farewell as my swallow whisks it south.

And then I can do the same thing again and again until my plate is but a crumb-dotted palate of what was.

*a freewrite from today's class