You can’t have everything you want.

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When  I was in graduate school, one of my friends married a guy who was almost fifty. I swore then that I would never be married to an old man.

When my husband and I got married, I told him I wanted him to live forever.

I almost choked over sickness and health.  I told him, I am good on the sickness and health as long as you don’t get sick.

For richer or poorer I said was also fine as long as we still could afford cappuccinos. You can’t make this stuff up.  I actually told him when we were dating that it was mandatory for us to make enough to afford for me to have cappuccinos. True love!

I know a guy who is married to his fourth wife. It occurred to me the other day that he had never had to endure menopause.  That’s a thought.  If he hasn’t been married to a woman over forty, has he missed anything wonderful?

While you’re married, at some point, you change the rules.  We all change the rules if we change at all.  Some people cannot stay in a marriage where the rules are changed.

Change the rules. Change the game. Change your dress size. Become a hunter. Give up hunting. Become a swimmer, a runner, a gambler.  Become a thin person. Some men don’t want their wives to be thin because then they’d have to be nice to them. A confident man wants his wife to be as beautiful as she wants to be.

I want my husband to live well, to be healthy, and he is getting better all the time.  We’re going to sushi tonight and then I think we’ll stop and get a cappuccino.

Published in: on May 12, 2015 at 5:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Home sweet home


Home for a whole month.  I’m so excited to be home I can’t stand it.  Since Mark had his heart problem, I’ve been to London, New York, Minneapolis, Chicago and Boston.  It’s so great to be home for a while.  Mark and I need to have some chill time.  We are going to SF for Tobi’s graduation and then for a couple days of wine tasting, but that’s all in California.  Stephen is going off on another epic journey, but we are glad to be home.  I need to breathe.  We’re going out to Sushi Gen tomorrow night with Bill and Sasha Anawalt.

AA likes to point out that realizing there is a problem is a large part of solving the problem.  I’m not sure that’s true.

I realize that I tend to do all kinds of things for people or organizations, and I should curb my enthusiasm.  But realizing this doesn’t change me.  It really makes no sense to do something for someone if you’re going to just resent it afterwards.  Being generous is a wonderful trait, and it’s one of my favorite qualities in a human being, but being ridiculously generous lacks integrity.  I like intelligent people very much.  Intelligence, integrity, compassion, generosity.  All of those are the elements I admire.  But balance is important and somehow, I struggle with balance.  While I’m working on balance, I need to get some sleep.

Published in: on May 11, 2015 at 10:05 pm  Comments (1)  

Happy Mother’s Day


“Pussy-cat, pussy-cat,
Where have you been?”
“I’ve been to London
To look at the Queen.”

“Pussy-cat, pussy-cat,
What did you there?”
I frightened a little mouse
Under the chair.”

Mother’s Day we walked around Lake Merritt; we had Bloody Marys and eggs; the walk was 3.5 miles, there were goslings following the mama goose swimming in a little gosling line.

The mother goose watches them and doesn’t let them leave the line; she speaks to them in her mama goose language, what we could understand sounded like Mother Goose rhymes.

We did the stairs as well, it got warmer, there was a wildlife refuge island in the middle with birds and a white bird hanging by its neck.  There were many birds feeding their young.

It was a great Mother’s Day.  We’re all under a lot of pressure around my family and the press, so just taking a day to have fun was lovely. Tomorrow, the heat turns up again.  But we’re ready.

Mark’s getting better, it takes time.  Sometimes the clouds start heavy at the beginning of the day, but then, by the middle of the day they clear off.

Published in: on May 10, 2015 at 8:43 pm  Comments (1)  

Try eating bugs


I’m sorry, I can’t eat that.  You hear this all the time. I can’t eat eggs. I can’t eat dairy, wheat, corn, milk.  American kids have 35% chance of having some kind of allergies compared to 20% in the rest of the world.  If you don’t want to have allergies, live someplace else.   Didn’t we use to eat whatever was on our plate?  The squishy green beans, overcooked carrots, the parsley, the meat loaf, the pork chops, over cooked scrambled eggs, cottage cheese with cling peaches.  Then there were tasteless soups and greasy hamburgers.  We ate what we were given.

It’s funny how we get all worked up about not liking people’s allergies considering the fact that almost everyone has something they can’t or won’t eat.  You can’t eat mushrooms, onions, garlic, eggs, red meat, pork, veal, lamb.  And of course there is gluten free.  Nearly one third of Americans are avoiding gluten.  You may think that’s no big deal, but in real terms that’s changing restaurants and grocery stores, fast food and convenient stores.

It gets annoying sometimes though.  If you’re dating, it’s really annoying, you just want to say, please tell me you can just eat like a normal person.  I also find it amusing when someone is upset that you don’t remember their food preferences/allergies.  Really? I don’t know what you eat.  Keeping track of my own family is enough for me.  We have one son who was vegan and I think is vegetarian now but sometimes eats fish.  My daughter and her partner are gluten free and dairy free.  My son tries to eat very healthy all the time. Mark and I don’t eat red meat, pork, lamb or veal.  We do eat fish and chicken. That’s all I can track.

My advice to people who complain about the food problems is this: Be patient with everyone’s food issues. You may have your own at some point.  We all have things we don’t like. Or maybe you are ready to eat bugs? Go ahead, give it a try. Go to Thailand.  Eat up.

Published in: on May 8, 2015 at 9:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Time to go to sleep.

I keep saying tomorrow I’ll get caught up.

Big things are afoot at the Hen House. Public announcement once the stew is settled.

Mark’s in Seattle tonight.

Steve and I are driving to San Francisco on Saturday.


Published in: on May 7, 2015 at 10:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Climb into the well, feel the water rising

When I was a kid, there was a well, and I climbed to the bottom of the well. I climbed down there and there was wet moss on the rocks along the side of the well. A small wet trickling of water. Down below the well you could climb into was the deeper well where fresh water came from.  That’s where you could feel your soul gripping the space between stones.  The air in the well was moist, a thicket of wet air. A lot of kids wouldn’t go into the well; they were afraid of the dark and the wet air, and the mossy feeling of being underneath the earth.  What if there are snakes? They would say. What if snakes live there? What about spiders?

I like salamanders, red ones and green ones, and I liked to think that if I went deeper, I’d find the underside of the earth.  The inside of a well, is only the scratch of the surface.  You know the earth is way deep down.  And down in there is water.  Water that lives underground.  We need more water in California.

Published in: on May 6, 2015 at 9:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

I miss the beach, Red Hen amazing events in May!

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I used to always go to the beach after I turned in my grades. Now I think about the beach. Sometimes I don’t have time to think about the beach, but I dream about it. However, in May, we are doing a bunch of fun things that I am looking forward to, and hanging with our kids, so it’s all good. And I’m going to get caught  up on sleep which is what I need the most.

Plans for May.

  1. Go back to New Year’s plan of doing situps every day.
  2. Go to party that is hosted by Jack Black.
  3. Do Pilates twice a week.
  4. Go to San Francisco for weekend and spend Mother’s Day with the kids and drink Bloody Marys and go out on paddle boats and see our friend Irv Davis!
  5. Run 100 miles.
  6. Sushi Gen with Bill and Sasha.
  7. Finish editing my non fiction book.
  8. Boston Court May 13th and Rose Gallery May 14th.
  9. Going out to Raymond Bar with Ron and Bianca and Vanessa.
  10. Tamale dinner with city laureate at our house.
  11. Going to see play at Boston Court.
  12. Dinner with Eloise and Colleen.
  13. Back to San Francisco for Tobi’s graduation from SFSU with her Masters!
  14. Wine tasting with Tobi and Molly.
  15. Los Angeles Philharmonic with Hila Plitmann!

Okay, May’s going to be super fun. I’ve just gotten started.

Published in: on May 5, 2015 at 7:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Make way for Insiders, you don’t need to make way for outsiders because they’re outside


Being an insider is more fun than being an outsider because you get paid more and you get to wear better clothes.  Plus, when you’re walking in line, you are unlikely to be pelted with tomatoes.  People talk to you at parties.  You’re in the range of normal. You can easily get jobs. People do not send you movies to watch where the main character’s friends tell her she is un-dateable. When you walk into a party or restaurant, you see some mirror of yourself with the other guests.

Are you an insider? Here’s how to tell, Nicelle.

  1. You have a good job and you probably always will.
  2. You have a good education.
  3. You have never been kicked out of anything.
  4. You wear fairly normal clothes.
  5. People do not stare at you ever.
  6. People do not laugh and point.
  7. There are no ridiculous parts of your body or truly silly habits that you refuse to quit.
  8. When you see a sign that says Keep Out, you do not walk around that sign and climb the smokestacks of the Queen Mary with your kids. (I did this once, but in my defense is I had a yard long beer at the Yard House.)
  9. When you see a sign that says No Trespassing, you stop.
  10. Generally, you try to follow the rules.

Signs that you might be an outsider

  1. People have pointed and stared.
  2. You might have a job, but it is not guaranteed.
  3. You have an escape plan that involves a truck and camper, a tent, or a skateboard, and you really think that’s going to work for you.
  4. You’ve been homeless and you remember those days as having been fun.
  5. You’ve left parties to go home and read or think.
  6. You look at yourself in the mirror and realize you’ve never seen anybody dressed like you.
  7. Your ideas are way outside the box.
  8. You do not need approval to be happy.
  9. When they put the sorting hat on you, you found out that you weren’t supposed to be in any of the four houses.
  10. You are not trying to rectify the situation. You like to think that being outside means you taste rain on your tongue.
Published in: on May 4, 2015 at 8:19 am  Comments (3)  

Do You Believe in God?

I am still in recovery from meeting Chomsky.

Here is what I want to ask him.

  1. Do you think race problems in America will ever end?
  2. Will we always have the 1 % problem in America?
  3. Will America ever move on from being dependent on making weapons of mass destruction?
  4. How does language change the way we think?
  5. Do you believe in God?

Men always want women to sit around and ask them questions and wait for the answers, and in Chomsky’s case, he might have some answers worth listening to.

I had a lot of work to do today so I decided to go to the aquarium, after my meetings, then work.  But I ended up walking around Boston until 2 pm, it was so beautiful, the cherry blossoms blooming, the Chinese in the park doing martial arts, the whole city humming and blooming.

I love Grub Street and Boston and the party tonight was great fun. All these agents and editors and writers drinking and talking about stories.

Published in: on May 2, 2015 at 8:42 pm  Comments (2)  

God, On the Eighth Day, My Nigerian cab driver says that should be the title of my book and it’s going to be a huge hit

Notes on Travel:


  1. Lovely drive. Pilates.
  2. Lovely drive to Pasadena. Meetings.
  3. Lunch with beautiful friend Lisa.
  4. Lovely drive to Union Station.
  5. Reading with Robin Coste Lewis, Eloise Klein Healy, and Luis Rodriguqez. Made plans for wine and dinner with Eloise and Colleen. Made plans for tamales and tequila with Luis and wife.
  6. Lovely drive to Santa Monica.
  7. Amazing reading with Elena Karina Byrne, Gary Dop, Steve Langan and Ramon Garcia.
  8. Drive to nearby party.
  9. Really fun party at Barbara’s house on the beach.
  10. Lovely drive home.


To Chicago


Sales meeting, lunch with Chris Abani. Boston.

Okay funny part of the whole day.  I have this cab driver in Chicago who is Nigerian.  And he keeps talking.  When I talk on the phone, he talks with me afterward about my conversation.  He asks me about everything, he gets me telling him all this stuff and then he wants to know about my book and I tell him and he decides my book should be called God, On the Eighth Day.  He also says that I have to go on Fresh Air with Terry Gross. He says she is going to love my story.  I am going to remember that my Chicago cab driver on April 30th predicted that my book, God on the Eighth day would be a massive success and that I would be on NPR.  I tell you that guy really made my day.

He liked Chris a lot too.  I told him to read Chris’s books.

Published in: on April 30, 2015 at 7:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

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