The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

The Weekend I Read Basket Baby

In theory, I love a four day weekend. I am always convinced I will accomplish all of the things. I mean, how can I not, with four entire days at my disposal? Four days is plenty of time to do all the laundry, update my database, send holiday cards, reorganize the pantry, buy all the Christmas presents, lose five pounds, and reprioritize my goals in life.

This is what I actually got done this weekend:

1. I hennaed my hair. I figured out this summer that I’m allergic to one of the main ingredients in permanent hair dye. It turns out it isn’t normal to get blisters on the edges of your ears and the desire to scratch the skin off your scalp in your sleep for a week after you dye your hair. So hippie-washout-hair-color-that-takes-an-hour-under-a-plastic-bag-to-set-and-turns-a-little-pink-after-a-few-weeks it is!

2. I cured myself of a debilitating crouton addiction. Jason bought two bags of croutons for the dinner salad Saturday night because he usually buys one and I eat half of it while he’s making dinner and then the salad ends up slightly crouton-anemic. He thought if he just bought two and only let me near one, we’d have plenty. So I proceed to eat almost an entire bag of croutons by myself, because I’m like a goldfish who isn’t smart enough to know when to stop eating and given access to enough croutons I will just eat until I die. (Remember the gluttony scene in Seven? That’s what it would look like if I ever accidentally got trapped in a crouton factory.) But ever since I ate almost an entire bag, and then dinner on Saturday night, I can’t even look at the empty crouton bag without wanting to ralph. Apparently it’s like being forced to smoke an entire pack of cigarettes in one sitting when you’re 15.

3. I watched all of the new Gilmore Girls episodes while high on half-doses of cold meds (I only ever take half because full doses of Dayquil make me fall asleep and full doses of Nyquil keep me awake. I’m a delicate, sensitive princess and I can totally feel that full dose down at the bottom of all those mattresses).

4. I read Basket Baby, by Kelli Donley.

Kelli is one of my oldest and dearest friends and I’m so proud to tell you that last week her publishing company sent me a gorgeous copy of her second. damn. novel. to read and promote. (You’re supposed to read the italicized words like Nathan Lane’s character in The Birdcage would, hand gestures included.) I mean seriously, how fucking amazing is that?

Let me tell you a little bit about Kell. My girlfriend, Kelli, has a plan to save the world, one act of kindness (and something she spent several hours hand-crafting just for you) at a time. When you need her, she’s always there with a baked good and a self-deprecating story to make you feel better about whatever specific misery you’re dealing with. She’s bright, dedicated, and always put together with a string of pearls or a bracelet of turquoise. Kell is one of those people who has a constant running list of things she intends to accomplish, and one by one, she checks those fuckers off. One foot in front of the other, one bite of elephant at a time, she tackles her goals with tireless ambition. Sometimes, when I have a project that seems too big, too cumbersome, too long-term to see a potential successful end, I remind myself if Kelli Donley was there, she’d divide it up in chunks, dig in and not give up until it was done.

One of Kell’s life goals (among Solving World Hunger, Baking a Flawless Souffle’, and Having a Bottle of Sauvignon Blanc Named After Her*) has always been to publish a novel. We’ve talked a million times about the struggles behind not only finding time and motivation to write, but the unlikeliness of the works to actually be published in this day and age. I have always been discouraged, but she, characteristically, marched forward, wrote one page after another, and toiled on. Kell has spent years on this project in writing groups, writing workshops, editing drafts, researching language and cultural details, pouring her heart and soul into telling her story. And hot damn if it hasn’t paid off. Basket Baby is available for purchase December 6, 2016, and she’s doing a book signing at Changing Hands in Tempe on December 9th. I’m seriously so proud of her hard work. She is, despite its cliche’, an inspiration to me.

Basket Baby is the story of a woman’s struggle to pull out of the dark pool of grief she finds herself drowning in after the stillbirth of her first child. The protagonist, Macy, a journalistic photographer, investigates the social castes of the Bolivian culture through the haze of her own loss, and tries to piece her own life back together in the process. A baby is left at a doorstep. A priest is befriended. Macy witnesses the duality of life’s beauty and its unrelenting tragedy in the rural communities she visits on her journey through the pain of her loss. Shit like that.**

You should buy Basket Baby. I knew nothing about Bolivia before I read it, and now I know at least five things. Also, my girlfriend, Kelli is beautiful and I don’t want to get too mushy or anything, but I love her and am really proud of her and what she has accomplished. (Although, it doesn’t have a single zombie in it and I feel like zombies are to stories like chocolate sauce is to ice cream: More is always better. Except that once when my sauce to ice cream ratio was like 3:1 and I made myself sick and couldn’t eat ice cream OR chocolate sauce for awhile. So maybe this story doesn’t need a zombie. What the fuck do I know?)



*I mean, if these aren’t specifically on her list I feel like they should be.

**WARNING: Not a professional book reviewerist.

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