Author Archives: jenijen

Glass Beach



They call it Glass Beach for a reason, but I was still surprised to see how much glass was mixed in with the rocks.  When I was a kid, my mom’s parents drove my brother and me from California to Texas and we stopped at a few national parks along the way.  Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, Petrified Forest.  My grandmother and I *both* were expecting an actual forest at the petrified forest.  Like, I dunno, tall, standing trees that were petrified, I guess?  We both took one look at the rocks on the ground and were all WHAT?  This is NOT A FOREST!

Going to Glass Beach was the opposite of that.  I was thinking there would be a piece of glass here and there, and instead there was more glass than anything else.  I took a few pieces home with me (rulebreaker!).  It’s still all stuffed in the pocket of my warmest coat.

It’s a really lovely beach, even without the glass.


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The girls wanted to have a Halloween party this year, and we thought it would be fun to have a sort of open house style thing where we had hot chocolate and snacks and a fire in the back yard.  The girls’ friends could come hang out and they could trick or treat in the neighborhood and do party stuff.  I didn’t plan any party games, but let’s pretend I did and they were called “Talk About Boys” and “Roll Your Eyes At Your Mother” and they thought those were the best games ever.

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Sophie had a few friends coming over, Willow had two.  Alex invited five or six, and Nate was all Uh, Mom?  Really?  (But then brought one of his friends home with him around 8:30.)  So we all cleaned up, and put up some decorations.  I roasted a couple of sugar pumpkins and made pumpkin soup and roasted pumpkin seeds.  John got a ton of candy and milk for hot chocolate and about five hundred mini croissants to make little sandwiches with.  I washed and ironed the Halloween tablecloth, got some flowers, made a cake, put some mulled wine on the stove and the Pandora Halloween party station on the little kitchen i-player dealio.  Sophie made a bunch of paper pumpkins and ghosts and put some in her bedroom window and used others to make a garland for the kitchen.  It was fun, mostly, since we haven’t done a whole lot of entertaining since we moved in.

Sophie’s friends arrived and were gone with another mom in less than five minutes.  They returned three hours later, grabbed more candy, and then left to spend the night at Sophie’s friend’s house.  Willow’s friend’s parents hung out with us for awhile, and that was fun.  Then Willow and her friends left with her friend’s parents to go trick or treat and she came home even later.  And, honestly, I wasn’t mad or anything – not at all.  We were way too loosely organized on the execution of the logistics – people will just appear! and hang out!  But it was sort of funny to me that they’d been begging for this party for weeks and then they were all Nah, I’m good, actually.  Later!  I think just the idea of the party was the fun part for them.

We ended up with a house full of mostly teenagers.  They drank hot apple cider, sat by the fire for a while, listened to records on Lex’s turntable.  (The Shins, because they are a little bit hipstery, even though they’d give me major side-eye for saying so.)

We took turns answering the door for trick or treaters, and every time I did there were these teeny little kids and I didn’t cry, mostly, but I was super emotional because my kids don’t need me to take them trick or treating anymore and because I ate probably a full bag of candy corn and then drank a beer and a glass of mulled wine and I had some extra feelings. In my defense, tho —


alex's pumpkin happiness

but Nate really loves his new hat

And then Maxfield Parrish painted the sky over Carmel


I said out loud last week that I was ready for some rain, and I’m not saying that I caused it, but we had a pretty good downpour on Saturday. We left for a beach party in Carmel while it was still cold and rainy at home, and by the time we got to Monterey it was gorgeous weather. Plus, on the way we saw the biggest bull with the biggest horns riding in a little horse trailer behind a truck. What more can you ask for?



Dear Jen,
We understand that you have the very best of intentions,and that you’re really motivated and everything, but it’s time for you to stop killing us and all our relations. Please, have some decency and just buy your herbs and veggies from the market and invest in some realistic silk flowers. 
All of the Plants, Everywhere
P.S. Stop daydreaming about that greenhouse for the backyard or we will cut you.

Forced attraction

stop walking into me, please

We eat dinner outside every night, and sometimes (lots of times) it gets dark while we’re still outside. When the light’s just right, the screen part of the screen door disappears and nearly everyone has walked into it, arms full of dishes, wine or water splashing on the back step. I hit it face first and it was just plain RUDE how much my nose hurt. I kept thinking I’d sew a patch into the screen, but then I saw these old button magnets that I made forever ago and put them at about eye level.

It’s working really well. Last night, the magnets fell off and for a few minutes they repelled each other, but then I forced them together because I needed them to work, and suddenly they attracted one another again. Or the poles flipped. Something happened. Maybe we can ask one of the educated Insane Clown Posse dudes to explain. (Link to Wikipedia page, because hahahaaha of course this song has a Wikipedia page!)

Willow tried out for her school play, The Wizard of Oz. She got a callback for the part of the Scarecrow and was super excited and nervous for the second audition. When I picked her up afterwards, she was in tears, telling me that she blew it and her voice cracked because she was trying to sing too high and that they’d excused her partway through but kept the other girl who was trying out for the same role. Well, I said, probably they knew that they wanted you for Scarecrow, and they needed to have her do more stuff to see what part she should have. But Willow wasn’t buying that, and spent from Thursday after school until Sunday morning super worried and sick to her stomach. Then on Sunday morning she came into our bedroom all smiles and laughing, I’m the Scarecrow! I’m the Scarecrow!