Posts Filed Under weeks of mayhem

This week…I [almost] moved the potty out of the living room.

by Janelle Hanchett
  1. There comes a time every semester when I realize I really should just pull the plug on the whole endeavor, because I’m going to die from the stress. And what use is a Master’s Degree if you’re dead?
  2. These are the things I want to know.
  3. In fact, I don’t quit precisely because I want to know if an M.A. is any use in hell, where I will surely be going after I die from stress, OR kill the next 21-year-old who sends me an email asking THE VERY FUCKING THING we discussed in class, at least 4 times.
  4. Anyway, I’m there: the midpoint, when the projects are deep and the money is short, and the end seems nowhere in sight. Okay. Enough whining. I’ve done school before. I’ll do it again. WE SHALL NOT FAIL.
  5. On another equally riveting topic, I believe I have mentioned that we have a toddler potty in our living room. Luckily, our house is not exactly what one would call “fancy,” so a plastic toilet in the corner really doesn’t seem particularly out of place. Now that I say that out loud, I’m realizing that’s really, really weird.
  6. But true, nonetheless.
  7. What can I say? Georgie enjoys pooping among her people. After she did that particular act this morning, and we jumped up and down and gave her high-fives for rockin’ the potty training thing, I picked up the center part of the potty (um, with the poo in it), to dump it in the actual toilet. As I was walking to the bathroom, Georgie decided to throw some large toy object in front of me, causing me to trip forward and launch the contents of the toddler toilet across the kitchen floor.
  8. I believe I now understand why people do not keep toddler toilets in the living room. Ask me where the toddler toilet is now. Yeah, that’s right. Still in the living room. WHAT?
  9. [Why do you look surprised? I mean if I had the capacity to LEARN from my mistakes, why would I have THREE children instead of ONE? I don’t mean that. That was a joke.]
  10.  You know what isn’t a joke? Last night at 5:30 our friend’s dog ran away from our house. We looked for him until 1 in the morning and haven’t found him yet. My heart is just breaking. These particular people are CRAZY in love with this little pup. And so, Rusty Bear, if you’re reading this, I hope you had fun gallivanting around town, but it’s time to come the fuck home, little fella, before your owners lose their shit for good.
  11. Oh, right, forgot to mention, Mac and Rocket had their first guitar recital together yesterday. They both take guitar lessons from the same (amazing) teacher. Mac and this other little boy played guitar and Rocket sang and banged these stick things together (um, percussion?). The song was “When the saints go marching in.”

Not gonna lie, I cried a little. I mean you don’t see THIS and keep it together.

Well at least, I don’t…

Have a great week, all.


10 Comments | Posted in weeks of mayhem | October 21, 2012

This week…my husband turned 31 and I crawled out of the funk. Also, I’m apparently old.

by Janelle Hanchett


  1. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to write these posts on Sunday again. Hmmmm. Food for thought. It feels weird to write “this week” when really it was “last week,” but oh well. I’m sure we’ll pull through this one.
  2. Speaking of pulling through, at the risk of sounding sentimental [and potentially of shit], I have to say that after writing that “I’m in a funk and can’t get out of it” post and reading your comments about it, I found myself in a remarkably better mood. I know writing is “therapeutic” (I hate saying things like “therapeutic”), but I really think it’s the combination of letting it out and reading you people. Lately I haven’t had time to respond to many comments, but I read each one, carefully, and when I have more time I will be responding more again.
  3. I have no time. Ever. This is the middle of the semester, when I feel my own death approaching, slowly, angrily, in the form of research and writing and students who won’t turn shit in. Or turn it in but do so in this ridiculously half-assed manner and I wanna punch ‘em.
  4. Which reminds me, I mentioned the movie Fight Club to a class of freshman. I quoted “you are not your fucking khakis” – it was relevant I swear – and they all looked at me like I was from some other planet. THEY DIDN’T KNOW WHAT IT IS. I felt old and appalled at the same time. So powerless. I mean how is a person to sit with the idea that subsequent generations may not know Mr. Tyler Durden? How people? WHY?
  5. And the worst part is they think I’m so old they couldn’t trust me that it’s fucking cool. So I showed them excerpts on YouTube.
  6. After they saw Brad shirtless with blood dripping out his nose, they were convinced.
  7. I think we may need to watch it. That would probably be the only shit they learn all semester. Or at least, the most valuable.
  8. Yesterday I took Mac to Monterey for his birthday to get his tattoo worked on.  While there, I somehow got another tattoo (small one on my wrist). The kids were with my mom, meaning Mac and I spent a day together. The two of us. Alone. Walked along the coastline, ate clam chowder and shrimp cocktail, watched each other get stabbed with ink-dipped needles. ALL VERY ROMANTIC I assure you.
  9. But, we came back to a very, very sick boy. Strep throat. So sad. And now, I’m sure, the whole family will get it, and I’ll be back in the funk just as soon as I got out.
  10. Nah, there are antibiotics for that kind of funk.

And for the other kind?

There’s you.

Let’s make this week suck less than last…mmmkay?

And enjoy this…

19 Comments | Posted in weeks of mayhem | October 15, 2012

Last week….Ava, for the win.

by Janelle Hanchett


  1. For obvious reasons, Mondays aren’t generally my favorite day. But this morning, Ava was lying on my bed reading a book (no school) and I was in my bathroom getting ready. For some reason I asked her “Hey Ava, does your school ever talk about what you’re supposed to do if somebody tries to kidnap you?” She responds “not really.” So I ask “Well, do you know what to do?” And then, people, she nonchalantly looks up from her book for a second, says “Yeah, you kick ‘em in the balls,” then looks back down.
  2. So clearly, today is a better-than-average Monday.
  3. I suppose a better mother than me would be slightly alarmed that her ten-year-old just used the word “balls,” but given the context, I’m alright with it.
  4. On Friday night Mac and I went to the San Francisco Bay Area (I spelled it out because I realize many of you aren’t from here, and I often talk about “the city” or “the Bay” as if that means something to everybody on the planet, so I’m trying to be more contentious.) to see Florence and the Machine with my bestie. It was ridiculously fun.
  5. I hate it when I say “bestie.” I really should not say “bestie” again.
  6. Then, on Saturday, we went to the Hoes Down Festival in the Capay Valley, where we go every year, because it’s one of my favorite events ever. However, this year they opened up online sales so it was like 12 times larger than prior years and there were all these yuppies there (also from the San Francisco Bay Area), doing their obligatory “farm day” with their children, wearing the obligatory “country clothing,” (e.g. $200 jeans with a country feel and $400 cowboy boots without a scratch on them). Needless to say, the vibe had changed.
  7. The “new vibe” apparently involved me receiving sharp comments from 3 or 4 strangers on the topic of my parenting choices, which apparently include a blatant disregard for toddler footwear and the horrendous choice that my two-year-old doesn’t have to hold my hand EVERY FUCKING MOMENT OF EVERY FUCKING DAY. More on that later.
  8. No but really, why do people trip out so much about a toddler walking a few feet in front of her parents? I don’t get it people. I don’t. This one broad was like “Where is this child’s mother? WHERE?” And I was like “um, right here.” And she was all scowling and full of disdain: “Oh, wow. I thought she was alone.” I was 5 feet behind her. Five feet.
  9. And then, because two giant events in two days isn’t quite enough (because we’re 23 years old and just never ever get tired!), we went to an amazing shrimp boil/oyster feed at my friend’s house on Sunday. It was wonderful. I’m 90% sure fresh oysters are the best food in the entire world.
  10. As you know, my neighborhood leaves something to be desired. As in, it sucks ass. It’s ugly, unsafe, and uninteresting. Except our neighbors behind us. They’re amazing. Every couple months, these people party like hell all day long – booze, yelling, music, about 12,000 squealing kids – and they’re loud, like really loud. But then, at precisely 8:45pm, they shut the whole thing down. I mean it’s like silent. They turn off the music, send people home, and go inside. Blows my mind. It’s as if they respect others and consider their neighbors. Can you imagine? They must be from some other planet, but they renew my faith.

Speaking of renewed faith, in the parking lot of the Florence show, some dude gave me a “Don’t be a dick” sticker, which I promptly put on my car, feeling like my life was FINALLY complete. But then, I got home and Ava says “Mama, you do realize you pick me up from school in this car, right? I don’t really want to be the kid whose parents drive around with a swear word on their car.” So I took it off. Because she’s probably right.

But I had it on for 24 hours.

And it was fucking glorious.

At least I have this, to remember…

10 Comments | Posted in weeks of mayhem | October 8, 2012

this week…I WAS THE BRAVEST CHICK IN THE WORLD (or something)

by Janelle Hanchett


  1. Sorry I didn’t write all week. The truth is I didn’t have anything to say, and I made a vow to myself that I would never “force” myself to write a post. That takes the fun out of it, making it a chore. Plus, if I had to force myself into writing when I had nothing to say, you all would have to endure the result, which would inevitably be a bunch of passionless drivel.
  2. And obviously, we all prefer passionate drivel. Duh.
  3. Anyhoo, today we bought Georgie “big girl panties.” Strangely the kid is almost potty trained. I am not responsible for this. I am the worst potty-trainer in the world. So bad, in fact, that I deemed that job “the husband’s job,” for three reasons: 1. I suck at it. 2. I hate it. And 3. He did a great job with the first one, and the second, so why fuck with nature?
  4. So we put the panties on her and she promptly removed them, which is no big deal, since she’s usually walking around naked, or half-naked anyway. Whatevs. Pick your battles, etc. I picked her up at one point though and noticed a wet spot on my shirt. Using my vast deductive reasoning skills, I determined that she piddled on me, but it wasn’t enough to be a full pee, which led me to believe it was the remains of a previous pee. So we asked her “Georgie, did you just pee on the floor?” To which she responds “Yes.”  And then we ask: “Will you show us where?” And the kid says “Sure” all nonchalantly and starts walking into Rocket’s room, where she points to a suitcase on the floor. Sure enough, she peed on a suitcase that was leaning against the wall.
  5. Which means my toddler PEED LIKE A CAT on personal belongings. And like a cat, she just looked at us like “what? Leave me alone so I can get on with my life.”
  6. So the underwear thing is going great.
  7. Also, tonight I had one of those moments in parenting where the truth hits you like bucket of ice cold water across your face – the reality of your life, maybe something you haven’t wanted to see. It was a nothing moment, and yet it was an everything moment. Ava blatantly disobeyed me in a way that made it clear to me that we are on our way to more independence, a little rebellion, dare I say it? Teenage years. Oh, people. NOW I have something to write.
  8. On Saturday we went with some of our favorite people in the whole world to San Francisco, one of our favorite places in the whole world. We went to the Exploratorium, which is this hands-on science museum type place for those of you living in Massachusetts. (Why Massachusetts? I don’t know. It’s the first place that came to me.) It was so much damn fun.
  9. And they have this thing there called the “Tactile Dome.” It’s this giant dome. Yeah, I know. You probably could have gathered that yourselves. But inside it is this maze (tunnels and slides and corners and shit) and it is PITCH BLACK in there, so you have to navigate wholly by touch. I hate to tell you this for fear of ruining my street cred, then again I have no street cred, so here we go: the first time I went in I had this insane claustrophobic panic attack. I started sweating, my mind was screaming terrible thoughts, my heart was pounding. I almost tackled my friend behind me to get out. But I took a break and tripped out for a minute at my own pathetic-ness, then talked to the dude who worked there. He suggested I try it again with just one person, who I trust, who could tell me what’s ahead and help me. So I picked my friend Roy because he’s an Eagle Scout and speaks in soothing tones. I figured if anybody knows how to handle a fucking spaz like me, it’s a damn Eagle Scout. And I did it people. I faced the fear and did it. Strangely I’m kind of proud of that. I mean I was really scared.
  10. But you know what I’m more proud of? My kids did it too. Seven and ten years old, in a pitch-black dome, navigating tight turns and tunnels, squealing in delight like it’s freaking Disneyland. I love having kids who aren’t afraid to try new things. I love that they just DO IT, and live, taking risks, throwing themselves into the arms of this world, this place, whatever that may look like.

Sometimes things like that happen and a little voice comes into my head “Well, Janelle, maybe you’re not totally messing up this parenting gig after all.”

Cause even though I may be terrified, my kids can stand on their own two feet, and teach their mama a few things in the process.

Brave little bastards.


I was going to put in a few photos, but I realized there’s only one that sums up what I want to say, and it’s this one. It’s my friend Cara Lyn, about whom I could write a whole post, who embodies the life and energy and love I’m talking about. You can read her here, at her brilliant freaking blog, or you can just look at this picture for a minute and let it all sink in. Honestly, I suggest both. xoxo. Love you people.


2 Comments | Posted in weeks of mayhem | September 30, 2012

this week…I fell off a diet, and was thinking of my mom

by Janelle Hanchett


  1. Georgia’s new trick is to climb onto the toilet and then onto the bathroom sink, using the toilet paper roll as her support. Once up there, she drinks out of the faucet, douses her head under water, or “brushes teef.”
  2. Tonight, just to spice things up a bit, she decided to rub hand soap in her eyes. Why was she alone long enough to do that, you ask? Because I’m a bad parent. No really. That’s the reason.
  3. Damn. I should have said I’m into “free-range parenting,” then my neglect could seem purposeful. Not that free-range parenting is neglectful. I don’t know enough about it to form an opinion. At this point, I’m just talking shit.
  4. How surprising.
  5. Honestly, I think I kind of lean toward free-range parenting, unless it involves leaving my kids unattended in a park. Not because I don’t trust my kids, but rather because I don’t trust humanity. Period.
  6. I went on the Paleo diet for 6 days. Yes, that’s right you heard me. Six days. Why? Because I want to lose the last 20 pounds and I thought that diet might help me break my crack-addict need for sugar. Why only 6 days? BECAUSE THAT SHIT IS FUCKING IMPOSSIBLE. Also, I’m a quitter.
  7. I have an exam tomorrow in a linguistics class that constitutes 25% of my grade. I hope that explains why I’m sitting here writing a blog post, and gives you an idea of how well this semester is going. You know, my level of engagement.
  8. Yesterday was my mom’s birthday, so we drove to Chico to visit my brother. All of us (my mom, brother, his wife, their 3 kids and my brood) all went on a bike ride in this enormous park with a creek, then we went back to his house and ate great food and cake (yes, that was the end of my Paleo diet).

And in the days leading up to my mom’s birthday, I was thinking about her.

I was thinking of the woman who nursed me until I was four, who never said I couldn’t sleep in her bed, even when I was 18 and home from college and just felt like it.

I was thinking of a single mother who packed up her kids with no money and a bursting heart and drove them up the coast of California, through Oregon and Washington to British Columbia, with not one campground reservation nor shred of restraint, camping along rivers, hills, in storms, in the sun, catching fish, building fires, shielding us from the rain and the world.

But opening it to us, too.

Of a woman who snuck us into events we couldn’t afford, laughed at crap in her way, stretched a few rules, but only the “little ones.”

Don’t bother telling her it can’t be done.

She’ll do it.

I was thinking of a woman who sang Grace Slick in the car and Big Brother & the Holding Company and talked of the first time she heard “The Times They are A-Changin,” how she cried because his words were so true, and she knew them to be true. How she listened to Sunday concerts in Golden Gate Park in the 60s, worked in a candy shop in high school, and for Francis Ford Coppola later, drank Southern Comfort with Janis Joplin. A woman with some history.

I was thinking of a woman who faced empty pockets but never defeat, started businesses on her own and when they failed, and she found herself at zero, on the ground, she packed up those kids, went to the beach and started again on Monday.

Don’t bother telling her it can’t be done.

I was thinking of a woman who taught me about natural birth and breastfeeding, and when the time came, she helped me do both.

I was thinking of a woman who raised my children while I lost myself in the depths of alcoholism – of a woman who held me but let me go, at just the right time. Of a woman who became “nana” to my babies, who love her and sleep in her bed, just like I did.

Of a woman whose message – single, undying, clearest message – the message she lived, not said – the one that now lives in me like a gospel hymn, the song of my mother…the one down deep in my bones that never quiets, no matter where I am…

No matter what, it can be done.

So get up, and move your feet, and make it happen.

Words that rose up from my soul in my darkest hour, wrapped me in the warmth of a mother’s bed, and pulled me onto my feet.

So happy birthday, mom.

I was thinking about you.


[P.S. I had NO idea this post was going to turn into this, which is why it’s part goofy part serious. Sometimes I start writing and what comes out is not at all what I expected. But I think we’re good enough friends that I can just leave it, and you’ll probably understand.]

my mom and my girls…