Posts Filed Under weeks of mayhem

This week…we’re alive, and it rained. How boring is that?

by Janelle Hanchett


  1. You know what’s weird? Practically every time I go anywhere with a group of mothers I don’t know (GOD HELP US ALL), I end up saying something that offends somebody, at least once. It’s like a disease. The worst part is I think I’m being funny, and yet I get this look like “somebody should kill you in your sleep and give your kids to anybody else in the world.”
  2. On a similar note, yesterday at a friend’s baby shower Ava asked me if I would please stop flailing my arms in a particular manner she found offensive. So I ask “Why? Am I embarrassing you?” She responds with a smirk “No, you’re embarrassing yourself.” And she kinda raises her eyebrows like “whatcha gonna say to that?” And of course I had nothing.
  3. She’s my best shit-talking student. I’m so proud. Her sarcasm skills are developing so nicely.
  4. The bad news is we’re super broke this Christmas. The good news is we’re super broke this Christmas. Allow me to explain: first, it sucks because we can barely afford gifts for our kids. Second, it rocks because we can only afford gifts for our kids. You know what being broke brings: SIMPLICITY. (And, apparently, alliteration. OMG make it stop.)
  5. I’m serious. At first I was pretty upset about our bleak financial situation but now I’m kind of okay with it. My friend told me about making body scrubs for people, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t actually do it! (So easy, and so nice. I pinned a bunch of recipes on Pinterest if you’re interested). And there you go. Boom. Everybody’s getting that from me. Simple, people. SIMPLE.
  6. That’s the plus side, but I can’t bullshit you. I feel pretty broken down right now.  I was doing okay after I found out the university cut my financial aid (entirely), but when I found out I have to retake a class next semester because it’s “expired,” I pretty much hit a wall of “fuck this” and “get me outta here.” We’re barely making it and I am so tired of cutting it so close, every single month. Ah, whatever. This is such in inane topic I’m boring myself. I made this decision and now I’ve got to finish, but shit. Part of me just wants to drop out of school and get a job, anywhere doing anything, to end this paycheck-to-paycheck thing. I won’t do it, but my LORD, sometimes it’s hard.
  7. Do you ever wonder if maybe you’re on the wrong path, because it’s just so hard? Like the “right” path would be easier, or something? Damn. I probably have that exactly wrong.
  8. Alright. That’s enough. Enough whining.
  9. On Friday night we heard one of the loves of my life, a beautiful friend named Cara Lyn, a cellist, playing chamber music in a quartet in the Bay Area. We were sitting in the very back row (duh, all three kids were with us), and Georgia was standing on my lap. After the first movement, Georgia yells out, in a very clear, audible voice: “AGAIN!” Everybody erupted in smiles and laughs and clapping. It was one of those moments when babies just fix everything.
  10. Alright people, tell me I can do this. I can, right?

In the mean time, here’s some pictures from our week. It rained. And since we’re in California, everybody was like “Wait. WHAT IS THIS? It’s as if there’s water, and it’s falling from the SKY?!!”

And they all started driving like drunk ninety-year-olds.

On that happy note, have a great week, all.


as Georgie says: “It’s rainings!”

Ava being a very serious baker in her nana’s glasses…

Georgie getting folded up in her chair at the concert.

12 Comments | Posted in weeks of mayhem | December 2, 2012

Three days later, still thankful

by Janelle Hanchett


I think I may be a little late writing this post, except, maybe not. Maybe it’s better to write this a couple days after Black Friday, when the world loses its mind over shit it doesn’t need, and the day before Cyber Monday, when the world does the same, only online.

I would have written it on Thanksgiving, but I was too busy eating, everything. And then of course the day after Thanksgiving was not an option since I was super busy trampling the elderly and knifing people to save 40 bucks on a cell phone at Walmart.

As Melville said: “Ah, humanity.”

(If you can call that shit ‘human.’)

I’m grateful for a lot of things. The nanny, for example (AKA The Gift Descended Upon us From on High via Craigslist). My husband. My kids. Not having cancer. My home. My dogs. Bacon.

The standard stuff.

But you already know that. You gotta be a real asshole with some seriously limited perspective to not be grateful for the fact that some people love you and you aren’t suffering from terminal illness and you have a home and a Labrador with floppy ears and kids that think you’re alright.

Sometimes, of course, I am that real asshole with no perspective (and I whine and moan and cry because something isn’t going my way (OH POOR ME)), but mostly, as many of you know, I realize I’m lucky to have anything in my life, let alone the aforementioned bundles of goodness.

And maybe it’s for that reason that the thing I’m most grateful for, above all else, is the fact that I was once a total and complete failure.

I’m not trying to be cute. I’m not begging for compliments. I’m stating a fact. Four years ago I looked at my life and saw failure, in every direction. As a mother, wife, daughter, employee, friend, citizen of earth.

I tried to pull it off, I really did. But I couldn’t. I failed. One of the definitions of failure is “a state of inability to perform a normal function.” Yes, precisely. That was me.

And the “normal function” I was unable to perform was life.

Why was I a failure? Because I was maladjusted to life. Because I was immature, self-centered and full of fear. Because I relied on MYSELF, somehow not quite realizing I was the reason my life wasn’t working.

And for these reasons, I was a fucking drunk.

But I couldn’t admit it. So I blamed you and you and him and her and this and that until it damn near killed me.

Everybody talks so much about success like it’s the most important thing in life: Yay me! Go me! Look at these successes! And they’re all thankful for the way life has delivered them what they wanted. They’re grateful for having some neatly wrapped package of existence, all snug and comfortable and pretty. And for sure, that’s some good shit. Go team.

Maybe I’m just weird, but in my experience, the only real, lasting good in my life – the only solid perspective, lasting contentment, enduring peace or recurring joy – has been the result of failure, not success. My life changed when the agony of my existence became so thick I was forced to make a decision: change or die.

If there was a glimmer of success visible along any path of my life, I would have held on to that as proof of my own well-being, and I would not have changed. And I probably would have died.

But as it was I saw only disaster, so much so that even I couldn’t deny it, and upon that foundation of malfunction and catastrophe, a life was built, slowly, piece by piece, until it stands right now, firm and bright and beyond anything I could have imagined, and beyond anything success could have offered.

And so I owe it all to failure.

You, the fact that you read this, and the fact that I get to write.

And this life, all of it, a trip to Santa Barbara over Thanksgiving, when the world is celebrating the good, as it shines now, I celebrate the same, and love how it used to flicker dimly, in the dark recesses of a trembling mind, until it became all of this, and freedom.



do you see the pup?


Snow, Harry Potter, and…a GOAT!

by Janelle Hanchett


  1. I feel like people should stop telling me to clean up my language on my blog. I mean, if I haven’t done it by now, what are the chances I’m ever gonna fucking do it?
  2. Speaking of language, Georgie is using some really innovative variations of it. She calls her pajamas her “bananas.” She inserts the article “a” in strange places: “Look at A me,” or, when you ask her how old she is, “A two.” And sometimes, “Go A nigh-nigh.” So that’s not adorable, at all.
  3. Do you guys ever listen to NPR on the topic of America? I did today. By the end of the show I came away with three facts: 1. Climate change is coming and we all shall die an Armageddon-like death; 2. The economy is in a state that makes it virtually impossible to address climate change, and therefore we will all soon die an Armageddon-like death; and 3. My best move is probably to build a home out of hay bales and solar panels, in Denmark, and invest in some sort of arsenal to defend my family from the upcoming apocalypse.
  4. I realize these things may be true, but they’re scary. Why can’t I just live with my head buried so deep in the sand I’m just SURE we’ve got nothing to worry about? Because that doesn’t help, Janelle.
  5. Since I haven’t written this list thing in 2 weeks, I have to tell you about what we did 2 weekends ago. We went to this place in the Sierra foothills called “Apple Hill.” We went there to hang out and get apples. Imagine that. Anyway, we were there for about 10 minutes when it started hailing, then snowing. It was like FREEZING. Ava was in flip-flops. Whatever. She’s ten – not my problem if she makes stupid decisions and her toes freeze off.
  6. No really. I’m serious. I am a firm believer in letting kids experience the consequences of their own decisions, particularly when it’s a kid capable of saying things like “Do you know what my teacher did today? She used a malapropism! She said ‘pitcher’ for ‘picture.’” You know what a malapropism is but you can’t figure out how to wear weather-appropriate footwear? I don’t think I can help you.
  7. Anyway, so we get there and it snows and the kids start flipping out and playing in it, and we drink hot apple cider and have a snow-ball fight. Then, the yuppies from the San Francisco Bay Area started trying to drive their BMWs up the hill, slipping all over the fucking place, until one of them crashes into a tree and my badass husband had to help them out.
  8. That was Sunday two weeks ago. After that I had a week of hell. I’m pretty sure I’m never going to actually graduate. I’ll just have 99% of a Master’s Degree, but not the actual thing. Won’t that be swell?
  9. Oh, and a goat was born at the ranch. Have you ever seen a baby goat?! They’re stunningly adorable. Obviously, they brought it in the house.
  10. If I told Tyler Durden how much I like the iPhone I recently purchased, he’d probably say “You are not your fucking iPhone.” But then I’d have to respond, “Right, I can see how you might think that…but have you ever actually had an iPhone?”
  11. But this past Saturday we had Ava’s Harry Potter birthday party. She turns 11 next week. I’ll get all weepy about that later. I need to tell you about this party first. So the little girl started planning this thing at least 6 months ago. Not kidding. She had it all figured out, down to the FOOD. Everybody who came had a character. She planned the “classes” we would teach. My husband whittled each girl her own wand. My mom and I made a “sorting hat.” We provided them all capes and pins based on the results of the sorting hat (Gryffindor or Ravensclaw!). Mac was Snape; my mom was Professor Trelawney; I was Professor McGonagall. We were all dressed up. I did the sorting hat. My mother the “divinations” class. My sister-in-law was the dude at the store who gives out wands. And Mac was a VERY MEAN Professor Snape, who the kids just couldn’t get enough of.  My mother-in-law made all the food (and I mean ALL of it).

It was an amazing party. Ava said it was the perfect Harry Potter party and it was everything she had hoped for.

I felt like telling her she was everything I’ve ever hoped for, my little Hermione Granger


the wands Mac carved. best daddy ever?

Mac beams a kid.


and…the goat.


Have a great week, all.


14 Comments | Posted in weeks of mayhem | November 18, 2012

This week…forget it. It’s NEXT WEEK that matters!

by Janelle Hanchett


  1. So the other day Ava says “I hope Jill Stein doesn’t win the presidency, because I want to be the first woman president.” Before asking her exactly what she plans on doing as President, I had to address my more pressing question, which was how the hell my 10-year-old knows about the Green Party candidate. (Cause God knows WE aren’t discussing that stuff around the dinner table…I’m not that contentious of a mother.)
  2. So I ask her “How do you know about Jill Stein?” She looks at me like I have seven heads, responding “Mama, she’s the Green Party candidate.” “Yes, Ava. I know that. But how do YOU know that? You’re ten.” And this kid responds “Oh, I read your voter’s pamphlet. By the way, what are you voting on Prop 32?”
  3. Um, it’s a bleak day in paradise when you realize your kid is a more educated voter than you are.
  4. Speaking of the elections, they’re a pretty big deal, for me, personally. Far-reaching, immediate effects. Since half the people I know are evidently moving to Canada if Romney gets elected, and the other half are leaving the country if Obama stays in office, no matter what happens I’m losing half my acquaintances. PRETTY BIG SHIT I guess.
  5. Also, according to my Facebook feed, we’re also screwed in other big ways. If Obama stays in office, we are all going to end up paying 99% percent of our incomes to support new Socialist systems, nobody will ever be able to buy a house again, and for sure, in the next four years, there will be nothing left of America. On the other hand, if Romney wins, all women will suddenly find themselves banished to the home, gay people will be deported to a remote island off the coast of Fiji, and the 1% will take over the nation while the rest of us wither and die, slowly, in refrigerator boxes.
  6. I’m sorry to joke, but I have to, because I’m sick of the election hysteria. Just vote for Roseanne Barr and move on. (I’M KIDDING PEOPLE!)
  7. On a serious note, many of you asked what happened to my dear friends’ little dog, Rusty Bear. I apologize for not writing it last week, I should have. I guess I didn’t want to let the sad resurface, and I forgot now thoughtful and compassionate my readers are. You remembered. And you asked. Last Monday morning, Rusty Bear was found passed-away alongside the freeway about a mile away from my house. His dad said he was “going home.” And I guess in a way, he has. RIP little fella. Say a quick prayer, lend some positive energy to Cara Lyn and Roy, from wherever you are, my friends who lost their friend and beloved companion.
  8. Now I feel weird writing anything else. It was such a sudden tragedy. Hold on to what you have. Love it now.
  9. Speaking of loving things now, we did Halloween. I love it now. I didn’t really love it then. Ava was a jellyfish. Rocket was a Lego mini-figure. Georgie was a ladybug. They were adorable. It rained on us while we attempted trick-or-treating. I was in a terrible mood. I was stressed-out about my own shit and wrapped up in myself, selfishly. I kept trying to get out of it, but I just couldn’t. I hate it when that happens during important events. At one point it occurred to me I was being nicer to the people who answered the doors (complete strangers) than I was to my own family. More on that winning behavior later.
  10. Yesterday my son woke up a little before me. We cuddled as always, until he popped up and announced “I’m going to make my own breakfast!” He darted out of the room. I followed about 5 minutes later and found him in the kitchen, beaming, with a cup of coffee in his hand. “I made you coffee,” he said, “I just have to put the milk in!” He was so proud. He couldn’t stop smiling. He looked so confident, bolting around the kitchen in his boxer shorts and insane hair.

There are moments when you look at your children and you just can’t believe how good and real and solid they’ve become.

In spite of it all. Or perhaps, because of it all.

Lately I’ve been struck by how sensitive and thoughtful the boy is becoming, how he’s becoming just like his dad…everybody’s talking about shit they’re grateful for. I’m grateful for that.

Anyway, have a good week.

And don’t forget to fucking vote.

YOU determine which form of apocalypse our country faces!



here’s to the sensitive boys.

would it ruin the moment if I told you he thinks farts are funny?

5 Comments | Posted in weeks of mayhem | November 4, 2012

This week…I hung out in paradise, and came home to heaven.

by Janelle Hanchett


  1. I will never, as long as I live, understand men. I don’t think that statement needs further explanation.
  2. I will also never, as long as I live, quite adjust myself fully to the way life is fired at you in point-blank range. The way it appears stable, and comfortable, and maybe, even a little predictable, until all the sudden. Boom. And nothing is as it was before. Fear sets in of the new place and the new way, and you just hope you’ve got the strength to pull through. One.More.Time. Until finallyyou realize, just as suddenly, you’re already doing it.
  3. So this week I traveled down to southern California, all the way down to the  lovely San Diego. We were there for an academic conference. If you’ve been there, you know it’s amazing (San Diego, not necessarily the conference).
  4. I spent most of my time in that weird mother zone where every moment holds two very distinct emotions: 1. Damn it’s nice not to have my kids here; and 2. Damn, I really wish my kids were here.
  5. There is no rest for mothers. (As I’m sure you’ve noticed.)
  6. But on this trip, I didn’t even have my husband with me, which was doubly weird, because if I am ever away from my kids, he’s there. So I was like alone. Well, alone with some really nice, smart people.
  7. So I enjoyed it there immensely – sitting on the beach, having meals in restaurants without debauchery and mayhem, hanging out in a gay bar the Friday night before Halloween – but I was happy to come home, and it’s very clear to me that I belong right where I am with the people I’m with, doing what I’m doing. And that’s a pretty good feeling.
  8. Our presentation went well, particularly if you think fifty people attacking you is “going well.” Okay it wasn’t that bad. I added that last part for emphasis. But we were talking about a bit of a controversial subject, and we were pissing people off.
  9. So in other words, it was a WIN.
  10. I got home, and my three little kids bolted at me with slightly alarming speed, and I was in love, again. Though of course, I was never out of it. But they seemed to have changed. Ava had a little more sass, Rocket’s face looked slightly more grown up. His hair was longer. Georgie used the gerund form. (“eating.”) It’s weird, being away for a few days, coming home, looking at your kids as if you’ve seen them for the first time.
  11. And sure it’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen.

Even, I would say, more beautiful than this moment in Ocean Beach…



and Happy Halloween, a little early…

4 Comments | Posted in weeks of mayhem | October 28, 2012