Do you want the good news first or the bad news?


1. My computer died. Actually, die isn't quite accurate, more like it went into a coma. I did an iTunes update and then restarted, and when it came back up the screen was just this solid, impenetrable, void-looking-back-at-you gray. I guess I should have been deleting, or backing up, or some other barely-technical whizbang thing to prevent my hard drive filling up to the brim with my mental detritus, but it doesn't matter anymore because I have a new EIGHTY-GIG hard drive. Last time I checked you needed a tower the size of a small refrigerator to hold nine gigs. So now I'm off the hook and can download every bit of tape I've ever filmed of Jackson, from hours of crawling to hours of gibberish, and turn it all into the kind of DVD even a grandparent might want to fast-forward.

2. Then, same day, my commitment issues flared up as I wrote out a $10,000.00 check to put down a holding deposit on a condo. It's nonbinding so we can get out of it if I panic or if something better comes along, but Jesus Christ buying a home here is expensive. Apparently Santa Barbara real estate prices go up at some criminal rate (121% in the last four years), which means that if we can hold on to this place for two years we'll be able to sell it and send Jackson to Stanford for two hundred and fifty semesters. So technically this belongs on the GOOD THINGS list, but like I said, my commitment issues reared up and said, "Aren't you the woman who's been planning to move away from this blissfully dull little town ever since she got here?" I actually don't feel like having this argument with myself again right now, so I'll just leave it at we need to be in Santa Barbara for a while longer for a variety of very good reasons. So we're buying.

3. SAME FUCKING DAY my best friend on the block bounced off in a U-Haul with her husband and her Pall Mall-smoking kindergartener, a.k.a. the unrequited love of Jackson's young life, and moved to affordable Arizona. It's like some sort of Judy Blume novel for grownups, Her best friend moved away and she was . . . sad. Well, that's not much of a novel, or even a sound bite, but that's about all I can come up with. Friend leaves = I'm sad.

4. Then, feeling rather fragile, my feelings were extraordinarily, more-than-was-probably-appropriate-ly hurt when someone I consider sort of a start-up friend was rather dismissive toward me. And that was that. I shut down, withdrew, retreated, and closed the iron door for the rest of the week, being emotionally present only where necessary, e.g., putting on a cheerful face at bath time, listening to Jack talk about his day, etc.

5. I ordered Dot In the Universe used on Amazon and the seller sent me a cookbook called The Great Minnesota Hot Dish instead.


1. Hey, we put a deposit on a condo! Nice things about it: two bedrooms (instead of one), two full baths (instead of one), a dishwasher (instead of me), a laundry room (well, a closet), a 300 square-foot ground-floor patio, good light, and the opportunity to buy a dog. "A white dog with a pink ribbon" are Jackson's exact specifications, and then he found a picture of what he wanted in his dog picture book and it turned out to be a Bichon Frise. Jack made a reasonable counter offer of a more economical cockapoo to which Jackson gave his tentative approval, as long as it's a girl and he can name her . . . Caitlin.

2. Through yet another happy Internet miracle I found a good friend I hadn't been in touch with since something like 1992. So we spent the week intermittently catching up long-distance, and thus I was able to make a few small, safe forays out of my protective candy-coating shell.


4. My parents offered to buy us a refrigerator.

5. I finished reading The Kite Runner. Even though I thought it was kind of sketchy and predictable in spots, and brutal in others, it certainly put a human face on Afghanistan and its people for me in a way that newspaper and magazine articles hadn't.

So, I'm still feeling pretty blue, and though I plan to cheer the fuck up pretty soon I don't suppose there's any hurry. These dark periods only happen once in awhile and it seems fair to let them happen and kind of yogically breathe into the pain rather than clamp down on it and turn it into a knot that will require some sort of deeper, more invasive intervention. Like, I don't know, Scientology.