Happy Thanksgiving to Me!


After a four day pause for the flu Hank is back behind the camera to complete the #guimaraeschallenge. Find more of his photo submissions here.

After a four day pause for the flu Hank is back behind the camera to complete the #guimaraeschallenge. Find more of his photo submissions here.  Day 19: Vitória, Victory


(You need to know two things before reading this: 1.) This conversation takes place a full hour and a half before the rest of the house is awake and in two parts annnnnnd 2.) This conversation is an accurate representation of our new morning routine since Hank turned ten and was tainted by the toxic sludge soup, bubbling over in his body, more commonly called hormones)

Part I: (spoken in soft, loving voices)

Hank: (sitting on one side of the sofa with an empty hot chocolate mug)

Me: (sitting on the other side of the sofa with an empty coffee cup)

Hank: (sigh) Well…

Me: Its time.

Hank: Argh, I have to walk to school today.

Me: Oh, poor baby. Today you are without one of the 1000 chauffeur moms and dads you have seduced into taking you to and from school. How ever will you survive?

Hank: By walking to school, of course.

Me: Which is what you’re supposed to do every day.

Hank: It’s not my fault the other parents feel sorry for me.

Me: I’ll give you something to feel sorry about!

Hank: Mom.

Me: What, too far?

Hank: A little.

Me: Right, my bad. Shoes, coat, backpack…

Hank: (getting up off the couch)

Part II: (conversed entirely in whisper-screaming and overly dramatic grand gestures)

Me: (noticing he is wearing his favorite jeans with a long side-split exposing his underwear)

Me: HANK! What the? Why are you wearing those jeans again! I put them aside to take to the costureira (seamstress) to have them patched. Why are those jeans magnetized to your person? Jeeeeesh!

Hank: ARGH! WHY!?!

Me: They were on top of your dresser.

Hank: I thought that meant I was to wear them!

Me: Huh? What? No! Have I ever done that? I have never once done that! You’ve chose your own clothes everyday since you were three!!!

Hank: Now, I am going to be late!

Me: Late? You don’t even have shoes on yet! How long does it take you to slip on a fresh pair of jeans?

Hank: It was dark in my room! How was I supposed to know? I hate everything now.

Me: Good plan! Blame the world because your mother forgot to remove the ripped jeans from within a ten-mile radius of you.

Hank: You know what I mean! (slamming about anything in his general vicinity)

Me: If you wake up your sister, so help me, I will keep you home from school to take care of her! I am not mentally prepared for her pterodactyl antics this early!

Hank: (returning with new pants and shoes) You can’t do that! I have to go to school.

Me: All of your teachers and 99% of the administrators at your school have kids and I bet you money if I explain the situation to them they will sympathize with me and excuse your tardiness.

Hank: (struggling to remove the split pants) Oh, my legs hurt so much from gym yesterday. I don’t think I can do this. (dramatically flopping to the floor with a thud)

Me: Hank, you need to take a plate of brownies to our downstairs neighbors for the amount of unnecessary physical comedy you bring down upon them.

Hank: I AM NOT TRYING TO BE FUNNY! And besides, they smoke in the hallway and it is disgusting.


Hank: (now in new pants, struggles to into his shoes) I hate these shoes. I need other options!

Me: Landsakesalive, I have never met another child like you.

Hank: I. AM. NOT. A. CHILD!(stomping off toward his room, letting his wardrobe door shut loudly, returning to the living room)

Me: (shaking my fist at his back) You better prey your sister chooses to stay in Bedfordshire.

Hank: (returning, scuffing his feet into tennis shoes) MOM, what do you want from me? I needed other shoes!!

Me: FINE! YOU’RE DRESSED NOW! COAT, BACKPACK and you better remember your umbrella.

Hank: I’M GOING!

Me: Oh, I’ll show you going. Imma gonna show you!

Hank: (stomping around, harrumphing)

Me: (leaving the couch to assess the situation and possibly murder my sass-tastic ten year old) WHAT NOW?!?!


Me: (walking around the apartment, looking in the usual places) May you never move to America where houses are so large that they swallow up clothing that takes you years to find! Once I found a laundry basket in an upstairs closet of my grandparents old farm house. A whole load of washed and folded clothing my grandmother had been looking for since the late 70’s and it was 1992.

Hank: (following me) If I wasn’t in a hurry I’d be interested in your story.

Me: Listen, Sassafras, you did not come home with your jean jacket on last night. Did you leave it at school?

Hank: I didn’t leave it at school.

Me: How do you know you didn’t leave it at school?

Hank: Because I put it in my gym bag.



Me: (eyes lifted to the heavens) Imma gonna have a ‘come-to-jesus’ moment here inna minute.

Hank: (turning on his and his sister’s bedroom light accidentally with his elbow)

Me: (holding my breath, possibly popping a blood vessel somewhere, I donno)

Hank: (wincing) Sorry.

Me: (barely making sound, arms up in surrender) WALK. AWAY. SLOWLY.

Hank: (while struggling to get his jean jacket on over his sweater; we randevú in the foyer by the front door)

Me: (exhausted exhale)

Hank: (pulls his down-vest on over his jean jacket)

Me: (hands him his backpack, with his umbrella tucked into the side pocket)

Hank: (slugs it over one shoulder)

Me: (unlocks the front door and opens it quietly)

Hank: (returning to the sweet, caring ten year old that I know and love, kissing me on two cheeks) Bye mom, have a great day. See you after school.

Me: (melting into his kindness) Bye, buddy. Have a good day at school. Love you.

Hank: Love you.

Me: (shuts the door behind him) There is not enough coffee in the world… (shaking my head at the ridiculousness of our new morning routine, walk around the house, turning off lights, shutting doors and as I am just about to head into my office for my precious hour and a half of work before the rest of the house wakes OUR DOWNSTAIRS DOOR BELL RINGS LOUD ENOUGH TO WAKE THE DEAD! I race to the call button and press it whisper-screaming a list of expletives I will leave up to your imagination, all the while offering up to Our Lady of Fatima, reminding her first that I am a lapsed Lutheran/semi-buddhist and therefore only partially, kinda diet-catholic I’d be willing to crawl to her sanctuary on bare knees if by some miracle of her own making my monster-in-the-morning two year old sleeps through that bell, letting her know she’d just have to give me a sign she’d be up for my visit, when the elevator arrives.)



ME: IT IS IN YOUR BACKPACK! IT IS RIGHT THERE! RIGHT THERE! (pointing in a stabbing motion to the backpack on his back)

Hank: (feeling back to his side pocket where his umbrella always lives) OH MY GAWD! (dramatically tumbles to the floor of the hallway)

Me: OH HANK, Don’t do that! You’re gonna get stuck like a turtle your backpack is too heavy!

Hank: (indeed stuck like a turtle in the hallway of our building in front of the elevators, starts laughing at the effort it is taking him to get up)

Me: Força!*

Hank: (struggling but getting to his feet, laughing)

Me: (giggling) Get outta here! Go on!

Hank: (waving, laughing) Bye mom! (disappears into the elevator)

Me: (shaking my head) Good GRAVY, Happy Thanksgiving to me!


*Força is one of my favorite words in Portuguese. It literally means all of the following all at once: Force, Strength, Power and Might.




Molly yelling at her birthday Hulk trying to get him angry so he will SMASH!

Molly yelling at her birthday Hulk trying to get him angry so he will SMASH!


Hank: (walking into the kitchen) Good morning, mom. You’re up early.

Me: (making coffee) I couldn’t sleep anymore. My brain is screaming and my body needed to move.

Hank: Your brain is screaming?

Me: It is far too full and I have much to say and do today. I know exactly where I am taking my characters next and my brain wants to escape into the story I am working on while the rest of me, the mom me and the blogger me is like, “Whoa, there! You don’t come first.”

Hank: Seriously?

Me: Yup.

Hank: Your brain is busy.

Me: You have no idea.

Hank: So why don’t you write your story first and then blog and then… wait, um… That won’t work will it?

Me: Yah, parents don’t get to put themselves first. You rely on us to keep you safe and fed and loved and in lunch money. (handing over five euros)

Hank: Oh yah, thanks mom, I forgot about that.

Me: (deep sigh) My novel can wait until my responsibilities are handled, plus I like having my morning coffee, just you and me, before helping Molly and Papa get out the door for the day. Just be kind to me if I look distracted.

Hank: Oh, I understand. You have a whole other world living in your brain when you’re working. I can’t imagine what that is like.

Me: It’s kinda like having a movie always playing in another room; one that you’re really interested in and you can kinda hear it and sometimes see it, but you have to do the laundry and make the dinner and wrangle a two year old pterodactyl out of pajamas, into clothing and get a comb through her hair.

Hank: (making hot chocolate) Three.

Me: (distracted) Hum?

Hank: Three. Your pterodactyl is now three not two.

Me: (honestly still in shock) How did that happen yet I have not aged a day?

Hank: Life.

Me: Indeed.



How Molly Turns Off Alarms

Running/Dancing to the Beach

Running/Dancing to the Beach


(I talk a large dose of medication for my Rheumatoid Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis on Wednesday evenings before I go to bed. In order to always remember I have set an alarm on my phone. Last week Molly “helped me” turn off that alarm.)


Phone: (medication alarm ringing)

Me: (in the kitchen)

Molly: I fisk it, mommy! I fisk it! MOMMMMMMY, I fisk it, okay?!

Me (returning to the living room to witness Molly furiously tapping my phone like Desi Arnaz tapped the bongos, silencing my alarm while also managing to activate Siri)

Molly: (noticing me, proud) I fisk it, mommy!!!

Siri: Alright, I will check for a contact. What is your mommy’s name?

Molly: (to Siri without hesitation) POOP-AH-TINO!

Me: What?!

Siri: I’m sorry, I have no contact for: Poop-ah-tino. Would you like me to try again?

Molly: (absolutely hysterical, this is the funniest thing that has ever happened to her) POOOOOP-AH-TINO, Mommmy!

Siri: I have no contact for: Poop-ah-tino Mommy.


Me: (giggling, turning off Siri)

Molly: I fisk it.

Me: You did, chicken. You fixed it all by yourself.

Molly: Yah… POOP-AH-TINO!!!

Me: (riots of laughter, scooping her up in my arms) SO who is this poop-ah-tino? Am I poop-ah-tino?

Molly: No, I Poop-ah-tino!

Me: You’re Poop-ah-tino?

Molly: (wiggling free, toddling off with the swagger a mini superhero) Poop! AH! TINO!


Flashback reenactment of Molly turning off my phone alarm as played by Desi Arnez