The Quotable Gabe, Part 19

On things to run down the stairs and shout into the kitchen in your most dramatic voice: “It’s getting worser! We’re running out of time!”

On sticks, where you can get a good price: “I bought it from my grandfather.”

On sitting on dad’s pillow: “I’m going poop on this astronaut potty.”

On providing his mother with medical care: “This might not hurt.”

On the dark reality of the apparently carefree game he’s playing with his sister: “We’re making you into a poisonous ghost!”

On his Lego creation, described in an extremely angry voice: “That thing delights you!”

On useful commands to shout repeatedly at the playground: “Activate manual steering now!”

On the dance music on the radio: “I like it, but it’s not very good.”

On everyone’s favorite green sushi condiment: “Would you like some salami to dip them in?”

On how to make an old man in the supermarket checkout line shake his head and mutter about things he has to put up with: “Santa!”

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The Quotable Gabe, Part 18

On important facts: “Remember, the moon is slimy inside.”

On where he got that stick: “Not anywhere.”

On building up to Father’s Day: “I’m ready to be your son now, daddy.”

On how kids just don’t respect their parents these days: “I’m destroying you!”

On the Eiffel Tower: “Look at that rocket! Blast off!”

On approaching dad with a hammer after putting a laundry basket on his head: “Here goes the banging!”

On questions dad has trouble answering: “Is it now later?”

On whether he’s a robot: “No. I’m just in a box.”

On what he’s up to: “I’m ruining!”

On which of his aunts made his picture blanket: “Ms. Megan. She’s my grandfather.”

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Maggie Was A Good Dog

More than ten years after we took Maggie home from the shelter, our dog passed away yesterday. She had been sick for a while, she had trouble moving and she was very weak. So yesterday afternoon, I took Maggie to the vet and stroked her fur and thanked her for taking such good care of us while the doctor helped her go comfortably.

This morning was jarring, because she wasn’t there to spring up from her bed desperate to be let outside. To be honest, it’s been a long time since she did much springing. Arthritis has kept her hobbled, sometimes terribly, but she always stayed by our side. Maggie wanted nothing more than to be near her people. I kept thinking of a Christmas dinner, at my parents house, when we had all the tables joined up in a circle and Maggie spent the entire evening laid out in the direct center, exactly equidistant from everyone in the family.


I don’t think she’d ever been happier.

I spent a lot of time crying yesterday, but this has been particularly tough on Abigail. Maggie has been a constant in her life since the beginning. And Maggie was a great dog for kids. She was calm and loving, and most importantly for a family dog, she was tolerant.

Yesterday, Abigail took this picture with Maggie. Then we helped Maggie into the car and Abigail sat in the back for a long time with her arms wrapped around her dog.

Gabe is only three, so I’m not sure he quite understands what’s going on, although he had a few questions, too. Who could forget Maggie’s incredible display of self control, when all she wanted to do was lick the baby?

But Maggie was more than just a playmate for the kids. She was our dog. She would protect our house loudly against any visitors or packages that might need delivering. She was an irritable pirate.

She was a big fan of Spain, and was particularly enthusiastic when they won the World Cup.

She was an emergency landing pad.

She was, of course, a Christmas babushka .

But most of all she was our dog. We were so happy to have had the chance to be her family. We miss her very much. And now I’m going to let a much younger Abigail express exactly how we all felt about her.

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The Quotable Abigail, Part 67: Seventh Birthday Edition

On her brother’s incredibly articulate facial expressions: “Gabe looked at me like he didn’t want me to have a treat and only him to have a treat.”

On a carefully considered aside, delivered without irony in an otherwise accurate description of the freeway she was providing to her brother: “It’s like a bunch of bears peeing and pooping on your face.”

On her drawing: “It’s daddy long butt.”

On having the game Civilization explained to her: “I’m walking away now.”

On achievement: “Do you want to see the greatest paper airplane yet thrown?”

On patting people on the head: “That’s what I do to Uncle Andy when he’s a good boy.”

On perhaps missing the greater themes of the show: “Get your swords, Wonder Pets!”

On motivating her brother ahead of his first soccer practice: “Are you ready for running and kicking? And breaking ankles and noses?”

On the dangers of the Natural History museum: “I only know one type of dinosaur that doesn’t eat meat. And you know what we are? Meat!”

On what she would have happen to Harry Potter at the end of the last book: “Be expelled.”

On her favorite word: “Mischief.”

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The Quotable Gabe, Part 17

On holding back the imaginary wall of water in the kitchen using chairs, blankets and his “vas,” his favorite stuffed loveys: “Those are my dam vas.”

On why we aren’t going inside: “I need to stay in the cold to warm down.”

On changes to story time as a result of preschool: “When you hear the sound, daddy, it’s time to turn the page.”

On perhaps my favorite sentence ever: “You can’t have the fire-breathing moose because he’s a little bit fire-breathing.”

On Gabe and his bulldozer: “Here comes a problem!”

On how living in San Diego may have limited his knowledge of weather: “You need wet ears to see wet rain.”

On the deal: “I’m the queen, so I get to kick everybody’s hats. That’s the deal.”

On games, too aptly symbolic for my taste: “You be the darkness and I’ll be the sun, okay?”

On his demand that I stay at his bedside for at least three minutes: “If you go in one minute, I would have to get a crane that’s big and I would have to get in it and I would have to bash you.”

On holistic health care: “If you’ve got a headache, you can rub your rock on your head.”

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The Quotable Abigail, Part 66

On crabs: “They’re bones with eyes. Seriously. That’s what they are.”

On the surprising find in an old purse that sounded like something that wouldn’t have been a surprising find in an old purse: “There’s a bunch of old Chex in here.”

On her third favorite holiday: “Valentimes Day.”

On the deep meaning of her artwork: “This is you and this is money that you’re giving to me.”

On the morning rush: “You always think we’re late, but we’re not!”

On forcing her brother to accept a dramatic rewrite of the rules: “You want to win, dontcha?”

On being backed into a rhetorical corner: “I’m not arguing!”

On things that were pronounced exactly the way you think: “What does Uranus look like?”

On clearly not paying attention to her brother: “Ohhh. Very interesting.”

On the monarchy: “King is a boy word for queen.”

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The Quotable Gabe, Part 16

On rural, inland driving: “Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins.”

On what he has me looking for: “I’ll show you when you find it.”

On what his toy car is heading out to get: “Hot chai latte and a blueberry muffin. For my children.”

On what I’m hoping will be a new phrase bikers start using: “Ride with your wheels on!”

On night time observations: “That’s a big nose you’ve got there.”

On whether he’d like some pumpkin pie: “No! That’s cat food pie!”

On actually a pretty good description of the video game we were playing: “I’m going to fight the bad jack-o-lanterns away with the fire pencil!”

On what happened in the backyard: “One ant got squished by an eagle because ants are so squishy.”

On bad smells: “Skunk juice is pee-you ”

On vision: “I’m glad we all have eyes. We need to peel eyes so we can see dolphins.”

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Behind the Fish

Freeze Frame Fiction just published my story, “Uncle Fish.” It’s part of their third volume of flash fiction (under 1,000 words) and there are a lot of good stories to be read.

Uncle Fish is the kind of story that’s best read, rather than described. But I can offer a little backstory. In fact, I would like to dedicate this one to my dad. After all, it’s his fault that I once got a Christmas present from Uncle Fish. My mother accused him of drinking while he wrapped the presents. Fifteen years or so after getting that gift – it was a “pulp fishin'” t-shirt for those curious – I began to wonder about this supposed Uncle and what he’d be like. This story was the result.

Also, my dad really did that with his socks.

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The Quotable Abigail, Part 65

On dealing with the late-evening Halloween slowdown by shouting out the front door: “Every trick-or-treater! Come to [our address]! We have lots of candy for you!”

On insect husbandry: “Every time I cut my hair, I could collect the little pieces and make a lice nest.”

On Dad walking in for the end of what sounded like a long, detailed explanation: “…that’s a life cycle or it goes to the store.”

On “Du Hast” by Rammstein: “This is a good dance song.”

On Kraft singles: “American crash cheese.”

On the sort of thing Dad gets yelled at for these days: “You made me bit my lip because you whispered while I was chewing!”

On things to say while gesturing at your outfit: “I’m sorry but… too fancy to run.”

On why she likes being sad: “Because when I’m done crying I can lick my tears.”

On why the Grinch should have taken the children, rather than the toys: “That would have been a more evil plan.”

On yuletide worries: “I don’t think we’re on the good list, though.”

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The Quotable Gabe, Part 15

On tidiness: “My mess is ruined!”

On things you learn walking behind the dog: “I don’t have that kind of butt like Maggie.”

On pre-Legoland planning: “Can we go somewhere like Legoland after Legoland?”

On the big questions one thinks about after listening to music in the car: “How can we can we dance while our beds are burning?”

On what happened in his bad dream: “I’m not gonna go tell you because it’s bad!”

On being sad that there are no dishes to wash in the sink: “I have dishes in my heart to wash.”

On Madeleine and Beatrice: ” You guys are not good girls.”

On things you can listen to in a silent car: “Did you hear that sound? That’s a sky dancing sound.”

On good reasons: “I can’t hold your hand, Abigail, because I have one sonic screwdriver in my hand.”

On the Great Flower Petal-Pulling, Big Sister Meltdown of 2014: “When my flower gets all ruined, I don’t act like that.”

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