A small sequence of events


Kevin barbecues Carrie a birthday cake.


Meanwhile, CJ gets a hit in the eye by Albus while the two are playing soccer in the living room. CJ not sure he will survive.


Cake arrives at table, CJ inconsolable, candle burns down. [Note: Carrie is not turning a number that ends in either 3 or 0, though the 3 is applicable at the beginning of the number.] “You’d better blow that out before it goes out.” Nobody remembers to sing Happy Birthday. Candle sputters, flame dies. Carrie announces that this is a bad omen. Children go silent. Then AppleApple says, “You’re so superstitious, Mom.” Carrie admits this is true. Children cheer up.


Kevin replaces candle. Carrie protests. “This is not a better omen!”


Fooey captures the moment.


Carrie captures the Fooey.


Fooey pretends to look all serious. Meantime, CJ has stomped upstairs in a fit of pique. He wants to play Pit. “It’s Mom’s birthday. We can play Pit on your birthday.”


CJ reappears at Carrie’s elbow, looking injured and attention-deprived. Family consults the “Feelings” chart, which Fooey has enhanced with a few extra feelings not covered on the original, including “Guilty” and “Sacred,” which may be a misspelling. “Is ‘weird’ a feeling?” Fooey wonders.


Albus demonstrates “Angry.” CJ agrees. He feels angry. Albus wonders if perhaps CJ also feels “Bloated.” Carrie points out that “Bloated” is a physical rather than an emotional feeling. Albus argues that feeling bloated should count.


CJ cheers up. Kevin serves cake and ice cream. CJ takes first bite. Fooey announces that this is another bad omen: birthday girl should have gone first. Carrie reminds family to sing Happy Birthday to her. Family decides to practice small talk for AppleApple’s benefit (AppleApple is paralyzed by social situations in which small talk is required). “Are we doing mini-talk?” says CJ. It takes everyone a moment to compute. In CJ world, mini-talk = small talk.

Family does mini-talk. Amusement is had. Kevin does dishes. Carrie does bedtime reading. Birthday is tucked into bed.


Last night.

I dreamed my Canadian editor sent me a message with the subject line: Reminder: Girl Runner edits due!

I dreamed of heart failure.

I dreamed a house with a big back yard into which we could not enter.

I dreamed mounds of dirty snow.

I dreamed that we needed a key to get in — or out. We just needed a key.

This morning.

I’m back at the pool. My Girl Runner file sits open. I’m ready to polish. I’m ready? I’m ready.

On December 29th
New year's resolution for the unresolved


  1. Susan Fish

    I cannot decide which cracks me up more: discussion of whether or not bloated is a feeling, or mini-talk. Both are hilarious.

  2. Nath

    I will refer to small-talk as mini-talk from here on in, though I suspect it won’t make me any better at it…


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