Forty & Fatuous!


Bossy jewelry = best jewelry

Against all odds, I managed to survive the first 40 years of life, like some kind of walking girl power anthem circa 1978. In the days leading up to my birthday, I realized I haven’t done much with this life – in terms of what I wanted to accomplish, anyway – besides holding on with both eyes closed and hoping for the best. I’ve been more talk, less walk – but I want to change that.

So I ordered a custom-stamped necklace (pictured) from my friend Tiffany at Geisha Creations. I wanted a visual call to action, something to keep my eyes open; a reminder of what 40-year old me wants out of life that 39-year old me was too afraid or lazy to attempt. Sure, I balked at how cliché it all was: Turn 40, freak out, stare critically at self in mirror, give up, marathon Game of Thrones, then make list of things I should’ve done when I was 22. Still, it’s better than no list at all, or being dead, or listening to One Direction.

I don’t know what the next 40 years will be like, but hopefully this bucket list will keep me busy for at least the next year.


40th birthday brunch on Alki Beach

#ThisIs40 Bucket List:

-Acquire three dragons through trial by fire and an army of slaves/horse enthusiasts.

-Learn to throw lightning bolts like some kind of white­-privileged, hammer­-wielding god.

-Purchase an Invisibility Cloak for those days I don’t want to be seen, which lately has been every day that has the word ‘day’ in it.

-Slay a Minotaur or, alternately, become one. Terrorize whole cities.

-Give birth to a shadow monster in a cave for political reasons.

-Fulfill burlesque dream of performing in a giant champagne glass filled with soy sauce and potstickers.

-Turn my closet into Princess Mombi’s closet using the KonMari Method.

-Jump from a helicopter onto a moving train onto a penny-farthing.

-Wear the Sovereign’s Imperial robe and royal crown to my next Pap smear; bring the Archbishop of Canterbury to make the process more austere.

-Train a pack of Direwolves to mush as new main mode of transportation.

-Get certified and start throwing shade at the competitive level. Throw it far and wide.

-Learn to braid hair so I look like a shield maiden who permanently lives at Coachella.

-Write television series modeled after Muppet Babies starring the Game of Thrones White Walker winter-babies. Hilarity and deadly shenanigans will follow.

-Double my cheese intake.

-Make more lists.


Wanted: Life Internship

Forget lemons. If I was Life, I’d hand people durian fruit or a mushy tomato — something disappointing, more reflective of the challenges we face every day. Maybe a brown banana, or a bag of donuts dipped in motor oil? Honestly, you’d be lucky to get a lemon out of me.


The only good lemon

I rode into 2016 with all the fanfare of a 2015 survivor, but here’s the mortifying thing: I’m still me (insert heavy sigh, eye roll). I take the stairs when I’m with people but the elevator if I’m alone. I rearrange everyone’s home in my head, from the furniture to how the cups are organized. I secretly want Blake Lively’s hair while publicly hating Blake Lively, or any girl with professionally-tousled white privilege hair. I crave French fries 362,000 times a day. And sometimes I hang in my car at Rite Aid, a block from our house, just to get some much-needed alone time.

The things I worry about are pretty standard for a person: kid, money, health, husband, the death of creativity forever. I’ve also worried about falling into a boring Trojan Horse routine, where hiding inside the horse is – gasp – another boring routine. So this year, I wanted to look back on 2016 and say I did something different. I don’t mean perfect, that’s not possible, unless you are Beyoncé. Hey, she birthed an on-trend color upon a haystack made of gold with the undisputed King of America. If that’s not perfection, I don’t know what is. What’d you do, give birth in a hospital and then go home like a person?

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After Grief, There Is Cake

To ruin a beautiful cake with tears is the loveliest form of therapy.


After writing about grief and a fraction of the ways it has affected me, I puttered around for a while, wondering what I should do next. I’d eaten all the carbs, and slept all the sleeps, and cried all the salty waters — then bled out on the blog and still felt somehow incomplete. Grief doesn’t have a visible finish line, per se, but I secretly hoped someone – an adult with maybe a double Ph.D. in Human Grieving – would walk up to me on the street and just hand me a diploma.

“You did good — excellent work,” the Grief Doctor might say. “But it’s time to stop eating Cool Ranch Doritos and get back to living. Marika, your grieving will end in 3…2…1….” and then I’d be officially done. Not with all of it, no, but the bulk of my sadness would be lifted. Someone would throw me a graduation party, and then I would know to move on.

That isn’t how it works, of course, but I hoped for some personal grief marshals anyway — tiny beacons of light, waving me in from afar for safe landing.

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Grief: It’s What’s For Dinner


The past 12 days have been a confusing fog of lovely, horrible life things. I kept trying to write about it – every day, I would try – but that led to more confusion, and crying in public, which is my favorite thing to do in the world after ‘being marginalized’ and ‘emergency dental work.’

Ann Voskamp said, “When grief is deepest, words are fewest.” I’m usually a vomiting fountain of words, but this past week I couldn’t arrange them. I’d write a sentence, delete a sentence; pound a fist on the desk and fold into myself. I actually wept, old school-style, like some kind of swampy Old Testament Ophelia, covered in thistles and daisies and weeds, ‘incapable of her own distress’ and all that. You know it was bad if I’m quoting from Hamlet.

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The Housewife in Me


I picked up a vintage British book right before our wedding called “101 Things For The Housewife To Do.” I’m not a housewife in the traditional sense because I have a paying job (and zero talent or interest), but according to this book, I’m really not a wartime housewife from 1949.

I bought the book because the blurb made me laugh so loud, a mirthless grinch reading Ayn Rand actually shushed me in the bookstore. (Dear Grinch: Please stick to your unromantic dinners for one, kthx.)

The back said:

“If you can learn to lift your ribs right out of your waist, and to let them expand outwards…you will soon develop that “upward buoyant poise” which is the secret of grace and which would bring less drudgery and more joy to the daily dusting, bedmaking, picture straightening, and all the dozens of things which go towards making your home beautiful.”

From this, I made some judgment calls about the British housewives of 1949:

-Rib removal = no big deal. These bitches were hardcore. Go ahead and blood-eagle yourself in the name of grace and dusting.

-Housewives have considered housework a drag since the beginning of Time, or at least the 1940’s.

-“Upward buoyant poise” seems like an unnecessarily high bar for cleaning out toilets.

-Bedmaking? (That’s not really a judgment, I just don’t know what it entails since I have a duvet.)

-Apparently pictures went askew at an alarming rate back then.

In 1949, this book was basically the internet for women. Instead of online advice from Martha or the FlyLady, they sat down, lit what I assume was a hundred candles, and educated themselves on wifing a household.

Husband: You know they had electricity back in the 1940’s, right?

Me: Shut up.

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