Guest Post: My favorite snarker

April 2, 2012

Dear Readers,

I am alive! Although I’m sure I want to be, not at all. That was totally hairball painful and if it were not for great inventions like morphine, I’d be wandering around naked in the woods somewhere, looking for God.

This week, God=Morphine, okay? At least in my world. Next week, God will probably be Vicodin. And then, if the stars align, I might be able to write something that isn’t complete dreck.

Luckily, I have friends who do not write dreck (or is it ‘drek’, Linda?) and a few lovely friends hopped over to help MorphineGirl out in her time of need. I love friends like that. Thank you, my lovely Nap. It’s reasons like this that I will never abandon you, even though you love James Joyce. xoxo

Please welcome her, dear Readers. She’s awesome.


In her weakend state, KitchWitch foolishly agreed to let me post on her blog. Here, for your reading pleasure while she heals, is a post she has inspired but probably will disavow as soon as her screaming muscles are up to it.

If you feel like sending hate mail (for the bad recipe or the general snarky sentiments), direct it to me instead of her. Kitchy doesn’t need any more irritation this week.

Hope you enjoy…or at least learn something…or at least don’t writhe in pain.

—TKW’s guest poster, Naptimewriting


Life, Friends, and Cheese

Life, as we all know, is full of ups and downs.

It’s also full of more than enough annoying people who helpfully offer their useless aphorisms for how and what to think about…well…everything.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

“Hang in there and everything will turn around.”

“Bad things come in threes.”

“You reap what you sow.”

“Karma will get her.”

“The journey is more important than the destination.”

“Pre-ground coffee is good enough.”

It’s all bunk, of course. Humans are the only creatures who pretend that things will always be okay, that there is a sense of parity and balance in the world, and that there is a reason to choose green leafy vegetables over luscious carbohydrates smothered in cheese.

But they’re wrong.

Sometimes life sucks. A lot. (This is also true for those beings who don’t buy books full of quotes to make themselves feel better. But those critters don’t know they’re going to die. We do. So I’ll cut us all a lot of slack on the Hang in There kitten posters. And the bookmarks of baby elephants frolicking in the surf.)

Sometimes, there are no silver linings or positive spins. Sometimes really good people die ugly, messy deaths and leave small children distraught.  Sometimes little kids get really sick and their parents watch them struggle and fight and lose. And I don’t want to hear empty words about that.

What I realized in my very recent mid-life crisis (let’s pretend it happened last week year and I’m totally over it and balanced and whatnot, shall we?) is that there is more to the nigh-on-40 desperate existential panic than glimpsing mortality, giving up the fight against the increasingly wrong bathroom scale, and the realization that, sooner or later, we’re going to run out of chances to choose a new career when this one just isn’t working. Because what I found in my totally-not-over-the-top, very-reasonable, measured-and-thoughtful midlife crisis is that part of why standard lines of good cheer don’t work once you’ve reached about 40, is that a shocking number of your friends and family are sick. Really sick. Creepy diagnoses you should *never* Google kind of sick. And more friends and family are divorcing than you ever thought would. And more are miserable in their jobs but are so compelled by the wonderful and genuinely meaningful responsibilities of house and family that they stick with a bad work situation.

People in their 20s rarely have friends die from cancer or heart disease. By the time you’re 50, a lot more than you ever though would…will. People just out of college don’t endure a crummy job or a loser boss. But a plethora of us do once we hit 45. Half of marriages end in divorce, but not when the couple is 25. Divorce hits in gratuitous numbers when people grow apart or fight over money or feel panicked that they need chance.

And that happens smack-dab in the middle of “why am I here, what have I done, what the hell is left?”

But you know what?

Some of your friends will be happy. And they’ll want you to be happy.

Some of your friends will be in really sweet relationships, and they will inspire you to want that for yourself.

Some of your friends will have babies. Delicious, vulnerable, perfect babies. That you can give back after you’ve sniffed them and let them sleep in your arms.

Some of your friends will have already had their babies and can offer you help, advice, or a shoulder to cry on when you are overwhelmed at the reality of being really, really new at something for the first time in your adult memory.

Some of your friends will teach you why the glass is always half full. Not as a line or a quote or an annoying cross stitch. Nope. A real, heartfelt, just-one-dinner-with-you-and-I-feel-worth-something lesson.

And that’s why I talk with and write to and read the work of people like The Kitchen Witch.

Because the answer, people, the enduring respite:  is friends.

Samuel Beckett said “All we have is words.” He couldn’t be more wrong. Words are cold and imprecise substitutes for humans. And most humans suck. So if all we have are humans, what good is that?

Pretty damned good if just a few are friends.

Recipe: Friendship Lunch

A loaf of ACME sourdough
A wedge of several types of Pyrannean sheepsmilk cheeses
Cumin, coriander, and jalepeño spiced pepitas
Aguas frescas
Fresh air

That’s all you need. Really. Try it.


All my best to you and yours; and a speedy recovery to our dear Kitch Witch.


{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

TKW April 2, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Ohhhhh, I’d forgotten about those crack pepitas! Those were so good. It was one of my best days, sitting on that pier with you.


Abby April 2, 2012 at 2:18 pm

First of all, Dana, god speed (and by “god,” I mean prescription painkillers.)

Second, great post. But I would like to add that although these shit storms usually start happening when you’re middle age due to everything you mentioned, some people have to go through the crap at an early age which often makes it seem even more unfair (although we know nothing eases the pain, not age or expectation.) I’m only 30, but good lord, my shit storm umbrella has been overused up to this point.

The last thing you want to hear is that “everything happens for a reason,” even though it’s easier to believe that it does. Sometimes life sucks. Most of the time it’s unfair. But the things that make it worth it? The things that keep us opening up that umbrella for the shit storm? People, connections, relationships. Someone to pull you under their umbrella or for you to pull under yours.

Great post ;)


TKW April 3, 2012 at 6:26 pm

We can share the umbrella even though that that never works because the umbrella is never big enough, so shoulders and hair and coats get wet. But it’s okay, because you are sharing an umbrella with a friend.


Alexandra April 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm


I’ll be open minded. But…y’all..she loves James Joyce!!


TKW April 2, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Ha! She’s just smarter than the rest of us rubes who think, “Whaaaaa?”


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri April 2, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Kitch, hope you feel better soon. Thanks for the introduction to Naptime. Loved what you said and how you said it.


BigLittleWolf April 2, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Send love & hugs (and virtual chicken soup – though the painkillers sound much better).



TKW April 3, 2012 at 6:33 pm


Painkillers are lovely. Alas, they turn your writing into ass.


Jack E. Glidewell April 2, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Life is what we make it, Always has been, always will be, I love my past. I love my present. I’m not ashamed of what I’ve had, and I’m not sad because I have it no longer.


faemom April 3, 2012 at 12:14 am

TKW: Rest and get well soon. And tons of hugs.

Nap: Thanks. Tonight, I needed to read this.


idiosyncratic eye April 3, 2012 at 5:20 am

[applause] Well said! (The scary thing is that stuff has all happened in my 20s, someone needs to deal out that time honoured platitude ‘it can only get better’). ;)


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes April 3, 2012 at 5:41 am

@TKW: enjoy the drugs, the drugs are good when you are in pain
@naptime: add raisins and walnuts, their sweetness works wonders alongside the tangyness of the cheese.


Jenna April 3, 2012 at 8:48 am

Oh Kitch . . . I’m sorry.
If I lived near you I’d bring over a decadent, carbodyrate-laden pile of pasta.
Since I don’t, I’m glad you have friends like Nap to eat pepitas with.


TKW April 3, 2012 at 6:37 pm

My sweet friend Nap lives on the coast, so this was a special visit, Her best gifts to me, obviously, are her words.


Lana April 7, 2012 at 11:35 pm

The month of March, my birthday month, was the worst in my life so far. My world turned upside-down and I am still reeling from the surprise attack of reality. This post hit me right where it should to set me straight. I received a lot of those empty phrases from the people that, I believe, wished me well, but I know that there is no balance in the world, no fair-no-fair scale, no wise old man with a beard who judges us.
I love coming to your site, not for fuzzies, but for a dose of reality and a bigger dose of humor – those are the only remedies for the shit I am facing (and I am facing a load of it:)
I hope you feel better soon, really, as I need your snark to propel me up!


Arnebya April 10, 2012 at 10:42 am

Thank you for this. I am usually the glass half empty girl screaming about who the hell stole half of my damn drink. The emptiness of words/sayings confounds me. The one I hate the most was “it was just her time.” Um, not at 17 months. That there’s some bullshit and I’ma need you to never say it again b/c how does that even make sense to you to say out loud to someone? There’s an awful lot of bad shit happening in the world, some of which I don’t comprehend how people actually live through. But. Even though I tend to shake my fist at the universe, I also tend to rely on my friends fairly heavily. I need them. I am glad to have them. And I think we’re overdue for some pepitas.


Liz April 11, 2012 at 7:16 am

So the first thing I did was wonder how long I have been gone, that I don’t know (yet) what Kitch is going through, so I will immediately be backtracking to catch up once I’m done with this comment!
The next thing I did was mentally thank naptimewriter for this post.
The third thing I did was forward the link to my 6 top people in life…so they would understand how I feel.
I am turning 40 this year, and I find myself recently being a little more cynical about life (and more grateful that so far, knock on wood, my immediates have been ‘one of the lucky ones’) . I have already started to see stuff and realize stuff in life that I didn’t quite “get” when I was in my 20s.
This post is amazing.
And the LAST thing I will be doing is adding her to my blog list.


Heather April 16, 2012 at 6:57 am

Nap, you hit the nail on the head once again. It really is all about friends. And Dana, while I’m late commenting on this post, my thoughts have been with you throughout. I hope that your snark is returning and that God is returning to a big pain in the ass in the sky instead of a pill in a bottle ;) Love ya girl. Hugs.


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