May 11, 2015
by admin

Readin’ It Real With ‘Llama Llama Red Pajama’

llama llamaLet’s talk a little llama.

“Llama Llama Red Pajama” is a children’s book about a llama with night terrors and his long-suffering mother.

We start out the story with Little Llama (who I say looks like a Gregory) getting ready for bed with a stuffed animal who appears to be a terror-stricken version of himself. Given his sleep issues, that is not going to help matters. At all.

Gregory’s wonderful mother, a pearl-wearing June Cleaver kind of llama, reads her son a story, gives him a kiss, and then goes downstairs have a little “me time.” “Me time,” of course, means doing dishes by herself while staring out a window into the dark, dark night.

As is typical of children and, apparently, Cria (that’s what baby llamas are called, so now we’ve all learned something) Gregory decides he wants a glass of water within .5 seconds of his mother leaving. It was either going to be that or a dropped stuffy or an uneven blanket or the bedroom door is too open or too closed…you know how it goes. So Gregory calls to his mom for some water. She tells him she’ll be in there in one freakin’ second. But before she can rush to the aid of her parched son, the phone rings – a landline, old-school phone. Either this is one ironic hipster llama family or this story is set in the 1980’s. I vote hipster, so I’ll need to change Gregory’s name to something more appropriate.

Ansel Morning Jacket Llama starts crying because his mother hasn’t answered his call. We see that is because she is hoof-deep in dishes while balancing the phone to her ear, no doubt speaking with Ansel’s therapist, or perhaps with Ansel’s father who is telling her that he won’t be home for another hour or so. Whoever it is, she ain’t smiling.

Well, Gregory starts to fret because he doesn’t have his glass of water, which he wouldn’t need if he would just go to sleep. Using his poor logical reasoning skills, Ansel starts worrying that the reason June Llama hasn’t rushed upstairs yet is because she is no longer in the building. He thinks that June Cleaver Llama is gone. Now, this is a discussion I have had with my own children numerous times. I have never understood exactly why they think I would leave them alone at night and where I would be going. Have I ever abandoned you before? No? Then why now? WHY..NOW?

Sorry. Sore spot.

Poor little Ansel starts freaking out so mama drops everything and races upstairs, convinced that her child is bleeding and/or in the process of being abducted. But he’s not. Which is good, of course, if a little exasperating. Just once you’d like to run in response to a screaming child and find a man-sized rat in the room instead of a water bottle that’s just barely out of reach. June is pissed but quickly recovers and turns it into a sweet lesson about patience, gives him another kiss, and Gregory goes to sleep while she heads back downstairs to pull the phone out of the sink water and wonder what happened to her life.

She never does get him that glass of water, by the way.

Burn, Mama Llama.

April 28, 2015
by admin

Lying Liars And The Lies They Lie About

Image from

Image from

I told a lot of lies when I was a kid. I remember first grade as the time when my more extravagant lies were at their peak — that was the year I told my classmates that I didn’t have any fingers on my right hand (a birth defect) because my mother cut them off with a pair of scissors when I was a baby. I’m pretty sure Mom got a phone call that day.

You’re welcome, Mom.

I also went into great detail about a boat that my family owned (didn’t exist) and that the reason I was sad one day was because our dog died (she hadn’t.) Go big or go home, right?

When I first started thinking about this post, I said, “Wow. I never really lie anymore.” Then I thought about it some more and said, “Oh wait…I have kids. I tell bigger lies now than ever before.” Within the past week I have told my children that I will definitely not die for a long time, that they are welcome to live with me for the rest of their lives if they want to, and that Seattle will probably never have an earthquake. Now, these are big things to lie about, but all are totally acceptable when you’re a parent; no one’s going to  argue that telling a seven-year-old that their mother could die just driving to the grocery store would be a good idea. Especially not for my super-sensitive kids. I would never sleep alone again.

At seven, my twins are at the age where I’m starting to feel a little bit bad, or at least nervous, about some of these lies. It’s different when they’re two and you can tell them that kids who don’t behave well aren’t allowed to go the park by law. Now that they’re in elementary school I can see that the time when some ugly truths have to be revealed is bearing down on me. I’m talking about everything from the lack of a Santa to the fact that, in truth, there is no way I will allow them to live with me when they’re adults. No chance. Get out of my house I love you sweetie call me when you get home which is the place where you live on your own without me.

If you have older kids, I would love to hear your stories about when you had to finally start telling them the truth about these kinds of things. How old were they? How did it go?


This post was written for Netflix to celebrate their new original show about lying liars telling lies, Bloodline.


April 11, 2015
by admin

I Went To My Kids’ Open House And Discovered My New Favorite Thing

Last week was Open House at my kids’ elementary school. That’s when all the teachers open up the classrooms so that you can speed-walk behind your running children as they lead you from room to room as quickly as possible in order to get to the ice cream social part of the evening.

It was a lot of fun and very sweaty, but the best part was when we visited the library and I happened to spy a series of books that are now my favorite things in the entire universe. Sorry, kids. You’ve been pushed back to number two.

book mil worker

That’s, “You Wouldn’t Want To Be A Victorian Mill Worker! A Grueling Job You’d Rather Not Have.”

book convict

And, of course, “You Wouldn’t Want To Be An 18th Century British Convict! A Trip To Australia You’d Rather Not Take.”

I just about died from joy.

Heck no, my kids wouldn’t want to be 18th century British convicts! You are absolutely right about that, book. I didn’t get a chance to page through these, but I am curious about how real these books get. I looked for quotes on the back that said things like, “It’s the funniest book about child labor you’ll read all year! — Ann Coulter,” but alas, there were none. If the entire book is done in a “man oh man, you’re not going to believe this one, kids” tone, then I would like to order the entire series and see how they cover other horrifying subjects. I have a few ideas:

  • “You Wouldn’t Want To Be A Girl During The Song Dynasty! The Agonizing Foot-Binding You’d Rather Not Have.”
  • “You Wouldn’t Want To Be A Slave In The American South! The Soul Crushing Injustice You Wouldn’t Want To Experience!” (Alternate title: “I Know I’m Three-Fifths Of A Human Being But What Are You?! And Other Games From America’s Past You Wouldn’t Want To Play.”)
  • “You Wouldn’t Want To Be a Medicinal Leech Collector! This Job Fucking Sucked.”

You know. Stuff like that.

March 27, 2015
by admin

I’m in a book and it comes out today!

19496_789206001158170_3884681758299427990_nI am thrilled to be part of an awesome anthology called I Still Just Want To Pee Alone, which is the follow-up to the New York Times bestseller, I Just Want To Pee Alone.

I’m one of forty bloggers who’ve contributed to the book, which is the brainchild of Jen Mann of People I Want To Punch In The Throat. Of the forty, mine is by far the least interesting but the rest of these bitches are fantastic. You’ll love it. I am so proud to be featured with a bunch of other writers who I love and respect.

Here are all the ways you can buy it:





5. SIGNED COPY: If you order a copy directly from me (and no pressure here but I do have 50 copies sitting in my dining room that I need to get rid of) I will not only sign it but will also have my children come up with a random dedication for you. I’ll try to keep the number of times they use the word “toilet” to a minimum. Email me at [email protected] for a copy!


Thanks to all of you for reading. Without this blog I never would have had the confidence (or skill) to live my dream of writing and being read.


P.P.S. If you are a member of my family, you are expected to buy a book. Come on. Do it. Do it for the sake of all our future Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.


March 23, 2015
by admin

Healthy Cookbooks Remind Me Why I’m Not Healthy

good food dayI am trying to eat healthier.


It’s tricky to work in healthier foods when you have kids who only want to eat mac and cheese (and only the yellow kind, with the tube pasta), but for the sake of myself and my family I keep trying. My attempt to eat better is a work in progress that will probably end with me dying of a heart attack in my eighties after fighting with my nurse over my secret stash of Tootsie Rolls. (The first line of my eulogy: “Meredith Bland was full of love: she loved her children, she loved her husband, and, unfortunately, she loved her Tootsie Rolls. Which brings us to the reason we are gathered here today….”)

My latest attempt at healthy eating involved the new cookbook A Good Food Day, by Marco Canora. This book is beautiful: the photos are great, the recipes are clear, and there’s lots of helpful information about better ways to eat. Unfortunately, as I flipped through the pages, I realized that I will never be one of those super-healthy kale-eating smoothie-making people. I am not good enough for this cookbook.

Here are a few recipes, with the parts that are impossible for Meredith crossed out:

1. Buckwheat Groats with Apricots and Almonds

That sounds frickin’ delicious, but “buckwheat groat” is clearly something that gets cleaned out of a machine. According to Canora, however, it is “…actually the seed of a plant similar to rhubarb, not a type of wheat.” This makes me all kinds of suspicious. First of all, why can’t we say the name of the plant? What’s wrong with this plant that makes it unnameable in a cookbook? Second, why not then be honest and call the recipe, “Seeds of Unnamed Stalked Vegetable With Apricots and Almonds.” And finally, I object to using the word “wheat” for something that isn’t wheat. It’s like capturing an opossum and introducing it to everyone as your new cat. Nice idea, but it doesn’t work.

2. Dandelion Salad with Hard-Boiled Eggs


Did I ever tell the story about the time I was pregnant and nauseous and an old man started peeling a hard-boiled egg next to me?  It ends the way you think it does. And I know a lot of people who say that dandelion greens are delicious, I’m just not there yet. It seems like the kind of food you eat when you’re starving to death in a field, and it doesn’t kill you, so you put some olive oil on it and keep going.

3. Cream-Free Creamed Corn

See the discussion about the word “wheat” in number one.

4. Japanese Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Frittata

I can’t. I can’t go to the produce guy at Safeway and say, “No no, not regular sweet potatoes. I’m looking for Japanese sweet potatoes.” I do not have a big enough flounce or a tight enough asshole to pull that off.

5. Amaranth “Polenta” with Tuscan Kale

If the name of a recipe includes a food in quotes, I’m intrigued but not particularly hungry. And also, fucking kale. The end.


I’m going to stop there, but I think it’s clear why I will fail at health. All of the above recipes might be insanely delicious, but the chances that I will make them and that my children and husband will eat them are negative never.

I’m not writing off this cookbook, though. I tried two of the recipes and they were out of this world.

1. Roasted Broccoli with Hazelnuts and Pecorino

It was like the heavens opened up when I ate this broccoli. I mean…it’s the best broccoli I have ever had. Ever. EVER.

2. Whole Wheat Rigatoni with Porcini Mushrooms and Baby Spinach

Now, I had to make this using regular rigatoni and had to leave out the mushrooms because I wanted my kids to eat it. They weren’t excited about the spinach, but they ate it and said it was “okay.” I LOVED it. And if my kids tolerate something and I love it, I call that a huge success.

If I were a better person and someone who didn’t struggle with making cereal, I would make everything in this book and probably love 99% of it. The two recipes I did try were awesome. I’m just not a “Roasted Carrots with Millet and Mint-Pistachio Pesto” kind of girl. But if someone wants to make it for me, I’m all in.

Note: This cookbook was given to me for free by the Blogging for Books program. All opinions are my own.

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