Tag Archives: DoYoReHoBloMo

Thanksgiving Leftovers


Destined for Sotheby’s: A fingerprint calendar I made in 1983

Like many adult-children who assume their parents will live forever, I hoped my parents would also be my personal storage space for Everything I’ve Ever Made, Loved, or Owned. I saw the writing on the wall when my old bedroom became my mother’s “project room,” and they started sounding like Japanese organization consultants. Still, I resisted.

Now when I go to my parents’ house, they give me bundles of old things to bring home and nostalgically cry over or burn to the ground. After Thanksgiving dinner this year, my dad handed me a large folder filled with my school projects, including old notes and weird doodles I drew. Going through that folder was like taking a long, sweet walk with myself in 1984.

One special thing, a red spiral notebook, was from my 5th grade Composition class with Mr. Storkman. Among the written gems of this budding writer: a directive on how to get a guy to go out with you (even if he has a girlfriend), a short composition about cow stomachs, and a friendly monster with razor-sharp ears that are as big as my torso. I laughed so much going through that notebook; deep, satisfying belly laughs straight from Discovery Elementary in Gig Harbor, Washington.

My favorite composition was titled “How To Write A Great Paragraph”:

Here I am going to tell you how to write a great paragraph. First and most important of all is INDENT. Always remember to indent. Indents are important. But probably even more important than indents are punctuation. Like exclamation marks! And question marks? And periods. Make sure you write from margin to margin without going outside of them. There are many ways to make a paragraph great. And that’s how you


Teacher’s remarks at the bottom of the page: “You forgot to end your paragraph about how to write a great paragraph.” I think the handwriting looked sarcastic but I guess we’ll never know.

Whatever, Former Me. Keep writing and moving forward. Read good literature, journal every day. Someday you’ll write a political blog post that consists of just emojis and make all those former teachers proud.


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On Being A Turkey


I’m currently in the middle of my favorite annual meltdown: Thanksgiving Dinner perfectionism. My chef brother makes the actual dinner – along with my mother, also a former chef – so there’s no performance pressure there. Thanksgiving is like my brother’s Olympics, SuperBowl, Christmas and birthday rolled into one giant meal for 20 people, so he generally pulls out all the stops. Keeps it somewhat traditional but mixes it up; his cranberry compote has bacon in it, for example, and one year he did three different stuffings (one was straight-up Stove Top for Yours Truly – I WON’T APOLOGIZE FOR THE BUTTERY PROCESSED CRAP IN MY LIFE).

There’s a finesse to freaking out about nothing, but after 40 years of practice, I’m at the top of my game. While the hate crimes pile up in this country and children go hungry and cats fight dogs in the street, I’ve been on Pinterest, agonizing over recipes I will never make at parties we will never throw. Welcome to Thanksgiving Privilege 2016, Population: Me.

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Take Me To There


“We are a plague on the Earth.” -David Attenborough

All night I thought, “Marika, get your ass up, turn on your computer, and write DoYoReHoBloMo: Day 18!” but I couldn’t because of fleece sheets and David Attenborough and reasons.

Of course I mean Sir David Attenborough, international sex symbol and notable human treasure, the narrative voice for the world around us and for those who cannot speak — like rivers, tomatoes, volcanoes, and cats, among other incredible things. I started watching Planet Earth Part 2 last night and could. not. stop.

I’ve been a superfan of every Attenborough globe-trotting project throughout the years. I remember watching The Private Life of Plants with my parents and realizing how little I knew about everything on the planet — and that one was just about plants. I watched episodes of Planet Earth back-to-back, immersed in the world we live in but one that’s brighter, more beautiful, and terribly savage. If we’d watched stuff like that in school, I think it would have been inspiring (at least inspirational enough for me to go). Instead, it was always some bullshit afterschool special where you always knew the answer: Don’t be a bully like Travis, a pushover like Nancy, a bad girl like Rhonda. Later on in life, Travis probably comes out of the closet, poor Nancy joins a cult, and Rhonda becomes your favorite stoner friend who gets you discounts at the yoga studio.

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Perler Beads of Wisdom


Blooper & Boo

Some people think perler beading (pictured) is a child’s activity because children can do it, but nothing could be further from the truth.

I was born into a Fuse beading family, the lowest of the perler caste. At 12, I was betrothed to a boy from a Melty family – above my station, to be sure, and my parents were so proud – but knew I was destined for something greater. I cut off all my hair, stole my brother’s clothing, and fled the city disguised as a poor beggar boy. I found work in the house of a modest Pyssla perler family, where I added to my knowledge in secret. The other servants hated my work ethic, eventually framing me for theft and I was thrown out in the middle of the night.

I thought my fortune had changed when I was hired into the home of a great Nabbi family, but the mother beat me out of jealousy. A geriatric house manager with sad eyes took pity on me, and taught me perler magic that I’d never even heard of. Before he passed away from the Colored Lung, he revealed to me his true identity, and told me to find his estranged family – of the ancient Perler lineage – to deliver them a message in the city I’d escaped from.

It was time to go home.

Once back, I went straight to his family compound – an actual palace on a hill that looked down over my childhood slum – but they would not see me. After many weeks of insistent visits and bringing gifts to the house manager, they finally granted me an audience. After delivering his message of reconciliation and apology, and months of assisting the family with things around the palace, they adopted me as one of their own. I revealed my female identity at that point, and everything I’d learned growing up. It turned out I was a quick-study, and also very gifted, so they hired the best tutors to assist me with my studies.

At age 18, I was sent to university to study advanced perler techniques, including history, perler mathematics, physics, liberal arts, and philosophy. I graduated with top honors as the valedictorian, then went on to get a Master’s and Ph.D. in Perler Anthropology. At my graduation, I looked out into the sea of shining faces, and saw in the crowd: my parents. My adopted mother had tracked them down, and we were happily reunited.

What I’m saying is, the two perler projects you see above – Mario Bros. coasters for my husband’s 35th birthday – weren’t just made with love and attention. They are part of a rich tapestry of struggle and sacrifice; an ode to hard work and reaching for the stars. They are the creative culmination of my blood, sweat, and tears; a physical manifestation of following your dreams. Also, they took me like two hours to make, so NOW I AM AN EXPERT.

[Thank you Craft Fight Club for the tutorial and superfun crafting lady day]

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Love, Lucifer


Justin’s brain is legend.

My sweet husband turns 35 today, meaning he has five years, tops, before I trade him in for a younger model and an overpriced penis car that goes vroom.

If you had told me 15 years ago that I’d be in a happy second marriage with a younger man, some bright day in the future, I would have bitterly laughed in your face and then lit another cigarette. Up to that point, all I knew of marriage was that to the wrong person, it could be hard and explosive and soul-crushing and sometimes very scary. I had never felt more alone than I did when I was married. Internally, I was suicidal most of the time; externally, angry and defiant. I could not remember what happiness actually felt like for a long, long time; we just brought out the worst in each other, two fighters with different agendas. Even our marriage counselor told me to throw in the towel, but we held on for another 18 months. It was quite telling that our best and most mature conversation was when we decided to divorce. No yelling, no threats. Just…reality. Here we are, and it’s not good for anyone. We have to save ourselves from each other. Reality felt so good, the weight lifting from my shoulders so abruptly that it took my breath away. Then the fear came. And the logistics. And friendship triage. And stupid mistakes. And learning. Fuuuuh. So much goddamn learning.

I met Justin during what should have been a classic rebound phase. After my husband moved back to the Midwest, I spent the summer getting in trouble and kind of dating and smoking too much and making new best friends on Seattle dancefloors I barely remembered the next day. One of those summers.

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