The selfishness of Misty Morgan

If you were a bookish child born in (I’m going to guess) the 80s, chances are you read the Serendipity books.


I checked out a lot of these from the library over the years, but I think the only one I actually owned was Misty Morgan. That book has ended up on my kids’ shelf, and while it hasn’t gotten into the regular routine yet, I have read it to them a few times over the last few years. And I’ve got a bone to pick with author Stephen Cosgrove.

To catch you up, the title character Morgan is this majestic stallion:


He has a friend, “a very pretty princess dressed in pinks and purples” who “lived by time and time alone.” She lives in a “magnificent” castle filled with clocks: “alarm clocks, cuckoo clocks, grandfather clocks, and even a grandmother clock.”

The princess spends all day every day running from clock to clock, making sure they’re all set and keeping the right time. This is literally how she spends all her time. There’s no explanation given for why she has to babysit these clocks, or what will happen if she lets them fall out of time. But it’s clearly important to her – she is always “rushing here and rushing there, crying ‘Can’t be late!’…Time was the master and the princess was the slave.”

Morgan, on the other hand, loves to “play and frolic in the forest and meadows…He would chase after butterflies and kick at the sun, for his life was his own and filled with fun.”

Good for you, Morgan.

Morgan goes to the castle one day to see if the princess can play, but surprise! She’s busy. She tells him she doesn’t have time, but maybe later. He goes outside to wait for her (while doing absolutely nothing) and then heads back inside, “sure that he had waited long enough.” She gets impatient and tells him she doesn’t have time to play right now, and runs off.


Morgan goes back outside. He waits for her. Let me tell you exactly what he does:

A day, maybe two, passed by while he nibbled on some flowers and chased a bird about the meadow. He idly spent his time scratching his back on the bark of a tree, or taking naps in the bright, golden sunlight. He waited, and wiled away the time. Finally he galloped back to the castle.

Inside, he finds her shoveling coal in the basement. She’s annoyed and says, “Listen, unicorn! I am very, very busy. Time is wasting and I don’t have time to play right now. When I do have time to play I’ll find you! For now, leave me be!”

He is very bummed out, and leaves. He wanders away from the castle, and into the Misty Meadows, “a place so lonely, quiet, and empty, that even the birds wouldn’t sing.” He’s so despondent that he walks straight into the Misty Meadows.


The princess continues working, until one day she notices that Morgan is missing. She goes to look for him, and when she can’t find him right away, gets scared that something’s happened. She follows his hoofprints and sees they go straight into the Misty Meadows. “‘Oh no!’ she cried. ‘No one or no thing has ever gone into the Misty Meadows and ever come out!'”

She tries to go into the fog to find him, but everything is “shrouded in silence” and she’s out of luck. So she sits down at the edge of the “Stream of Regrets” and “began to cry and cry. She cried for her selfishness. She cried for those times that she didn’t have time to share.”

Magically, Morgan appears out of the fog, and she runs to him. She leaps on his back and “off they ran, the wind whipping at their hair. The last thing the princess did before they ran out of sight was to take off her watch and toss it far into the Misty Meadows, for she would never be a slave to time again.”


To which I say…wtf? First of all, the princess doesn’t even get a name. And we only see her face one time out of the ten illustrations she’s in.

And who has made her a slave in this castle? She’s the princess but doesn’t seem to rule anything – she just works 24/7. Is this a metaphor? What’s the backstory here?

Also, why can’t Morgan read the room? She needs help. OFFER TO HELP HER. Maybe if you helped her she would have more free time. It’s not like you’re busy. (See above, with the wiling away the time.)

I think the moral of the story is the most annoying part to me. Like, this whole thing was her fault? Because she was feeling overwhelmed and couldn’t stop to run around outside?

It’s also possible that recently I was trying to vacuum, and my five-year-old paused Super Mario Brothers to say, “Hey, you are distracting me with that vacuum sound!”

Okay, new moral:






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2018 Best Picture ranking

There are only nine Best Picture nominees this year, but we still barely fit them all in before the Oscars this Sunday. Here they are, best to least-best.

  • Get Out – Best movie of the year! I loved it. Entertaining, thought-provoking, and surprising. Vital.
  • Lady Bird – Also vital. And perfect. This spoke to me so hard.
  • The Shape of Water – I was so inspired by this one. Gorgeous. Kinda weird.
  • Phantom Thread – Creative genius treats women badly. But surprising plot. But you know Daniel Day-Lewis is so method, he was definitely a jerk on set.
  • Call Me By Your Name – I’m still not sure why they were calling each other by their names? There’s a lot I appreciated about this movie, even if it didn’t hit me in the heart the way Lady Bird did.
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – I understand why this movie is problematic in ways, but I’m hopeful that it created conversation around those issues.
  • Dunkirk – One of my fears is being trapped somewhere and drowning. This movie kept playing on that.
  • The Post – Pandering??
  • Darkest Hour – Should be called Darkest Two Hours. Plus, spoilers for Dunkirk.

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Dream Journal 2017

This year, I started keeping a dream journal for B—just a long-running note in my phone that I would add to whenever he told me about a dream. I started because I thought that first one was so funny. But now it’s kind of a fun thing, and a conversation that he’ll initiate sometimes. Like, “Oh hey! I had this dream last night!” Although most of the time, if I bring it up, he says he doesn’t remember. I guess he takes after Drew more than me in that regard. (Drew may be the sleep talker; I’m the vivid dreamer.)

Some of it gets kind of dark—you can tell he got really into Halloween and scary stuff this year, and hasn’t quite pulled himself back out yet.

Italics are me speaking. Otherwise the wording is all him.


We had a gopher as a pet and then we went to eat some ice cream, 1, 2, 3: me, Opa, and Gopher.

I had four dreams last night.

I had a dream about going across and across.
Across what?
Across the street.


I had a bad dream last night. There was a skeleton, and I was fighting him, and he was a BAD skeleton.

I had a dream about going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house after it flooded, and we built a gingerbread house.

Grandma and Grandpa were in my dream. We were in a 6-door car. There were no cats.

I had a short dream today. Oma closed the door all the way to get some papers out of the room. And then I saw their eyes and I started to cry.

I had a dream about Auntie Liz’s house. And Auntie Liz said probably it’s hiding from the next door.
What was hiding?
One cat and it was hiding from another one. I asked Auntie Liz to see where was Mike, and Auntie Liz said she was probably hiding from the cat next door.


Mommy, I had a good dream last night. Me and Little Red Riding Hood were in an elevator all by ourselves, and we were going up and down. No one was with us. First we went up, then down, then up. Just me and Little Red Riding Hood.

I was at school and I saw something this tall.
Is that little?
No, it’s very tall! I went to Mars so I could see what I could see on Mars.
What did you see?
That blue pellet up in the sky.

[We’re both sleeping in the living room bc he was sick]
Mommy…mommy. I had 400 dreams last night. This many.
[Proceeds to tell me the first one, but I’m so exhausted I don’t remember it at all]


I had one dream last night. It was a beach dream. There were no waves and no fish and no sharks and no whales and no sand. Just sidewalk and cars and a little sand. And little waves, like this high.

I had a dream that I was going to fall into the canal.
Oh no! What happened?
I didn’t go underwater.
Did you float?
Yes, I saved myself.

I had a dream that you and Ethan Wong were talking, and he was like, Whaaat? He went like that: Whaaat? He said, Whaaat?

Something bited me. A bird. It was black. The bird bit me because it was bad. It came from…I don’t know. Where does the bird hide?

My second dream was about an answer. It was kind of a doubled one.

In the first dream I went to school. In the second dream I was still at school.
What happened at school?
Baby H said hugs and kisses.


Did you have any dreams last night?
I didn’t have dreams. I had stories.
[won’t tell me any of them]

Grandpa was there, and he helped me build more electricity towers. They weren’t the brown ones, they were the clear ones. We were at school, and then we walked all the way to the condo. When we were building the electricity towers, we didn’t take the truck. We took a blue Hyundai Elantra.


When I was going down some steps, and then I fell back into my bed.

In my dream, I saw a big yellow cat, and it went like this. [does litter box dance move from the movie Puss in Boots] But then it wasn’t a cat, it was really daddy. It went under a gate.

In my dream last night, I kinda went to my school but it wasn’t it was a different school and I saw Jack Larkin there. And I saw that he was building with the Legos. And in my dream one more thing: we saw a stranger. It didn’t take us anywhere.

What’d you dream about?
Boogy man.
What happened in your dream?
Oogy Boogy. Oogy Boogy. Oogy Boogy. Oogy Boogy. He was tryna put me down the pipe.
Ooh, did he put you down there?
No he didn’t do it. Cause I cut him in two halfs.
What’d you use to cut him?

Is that a graveyard or a corn maze?

I had a dream about touching Swakeek [elf on the shelf]. I touched him two times in one dream.
What happened when you touched him?
All his magic went into a soupcase that he carries.


I dreamed that Frankenstein came to TTT [school extended care]. And I kicked his head up. It went up and into the water.
Uh-oh. Was he a bad guy?
No. He was a bad guy and a good guy. Also I pulled the bolts that hold his head up. Then I kicked his head off.

Two spirits, they were good and they took me and Trevor and Sean to the pharmacy to get a band-aid. All three of us needed a band-aid because we were outside hugging and we fell and bleeded.
That story you just told—did it really happen or was it a dream?
It wasn’t a a dream, it was a nightmare. Hey H, I have so much more blood than you.

One time I had a dream that everyone was wearing pajamas at the Fillmore in San Francisco.

I had too many dreams last night.
Do you remember them?
I just know that I sneaked out and got a sticker chart.
Ooh, what were the stickers for?
To put on the Legos.

Mama, I had a dream that I was eating snow.
Oh wow! Where were you in your dream?
I was in Hawaii.
There’s not usually snow in Hawaii.
Oh right…I was in Texas.

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Mild Roaring

I think I might have tinnitus.

(I was googling it and I guess “patients and laypersons” pronounce it “tin-EYE-tus” while “clinicians and researchers” pronounce it “TIN-ih-tus.” I hate to ever be lumped in with the laypersons so I’ve been pronouncing it TIN-ih-tus in my head and for purposes of writing this, but when I say it out loud it sounds so pretentious that I revert to tin-EYE-tus.)

Tinnitus is “ringing in the ears,” although it can also be described as “hissing, static, crickets, screeching, whooshing, roaring, pulsing, ocean waves, buzzing, dial tones, even music.” Luckily mine isn’t as annoying – it’s just like a lowkey dial tone. Sometimes it’s stronger, sometimes it’s quieter. But I was clicking through the sample sounds on this webpage and the eighth one – “Roaring” – kinda hit home for me.

My (possible) tinnitus might help explain why I feel like I’ve been saying “Wait, what?” more frequently. When I’m trying to listen through a closed door to see if that was a sleeping child crying out, or just something on TV, I find it annoying. But most of the time, it’s no more than mildly irritating, usually at night while I’m falling asleep. And then, it’s like my own personal white noise machine.

I hope it just hangs around like this without getting worse. I can handle a low-volume white noise machine in my head. Maybe that’s why I’m so good at sleeping. Maybe it’s a good thing, this mild roaring. It could be a lot worse. It could be “Cicada” or “7500 Hz Tone.”

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LMAO (Lively, Mirthful, And Oxen)

My five-year-old is learning to tell jokes. Last night he told me this one:

How do evil cows laugh?

(He read it off his milk carton at school! How cute is that?)

Then later he told us these gems:

How do cows build things?
With their feet!

Where do cows go to school?
The farm!

Drew and I think he doesn’t quite understand punchlines yet. Also, he might think all jokes need to feature cows.


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A stroller down memory lane

When I was pregnant with my firstborn, my parents bought us what ended up being one of the most useful things off of our registry: a travel set that comprised a stroller, an infant car seat, and the base to secure the car seat into the car. We didn’t know whether we were having a boy or a girl, so we went with the elephant pattern, which I still think is adorable. (We also have an elephant-patterned pack n play, and had a matching bouncer.) (Because we are suckers.)


A stroller is a big piece of equipment, and we live in a smallish apartment with a front door that is literally on the street. We don’t have storage space for things like bikes and strollers, but we quickly realized that the best place to keep it would be in the trunk of the car that most often transported the baby—my car. This way if we were out at the store and needed the stroller we’d have it, and if we were leaving home for a walk the car would be parked right outside and easy to get to.

When he (because surprise! it’s a boy!) was born I was driving a green Ford Taurus with gray leather seats that felt like a car for someone older than me, but it had a sunroof and one of those combination panels in the driver’s side door to unlock the car if you didn’t have your key with you, and I liked both those features. It also had big backseats to fit a car seat, and a big trunk for the stroller and whatever else we could wedge around the stroller.

A little over a year later, our baby had graduated to a bigger car seat, while his infant car seat sat in storage waiting for his eventual sister. I was driving home (alone, luckily) one day when I smelled smoke and then I saw smoke and so I pulled over and the smoke didn’t go away and as it got worse I realized something was really wrong, so I got my purse from the front seat and I got the stroller from the trunk and I opened the back door and tried to get the new, convertible car seat out but Drew had put it in and I wasn’t sure how to unlatch it, and I ended up abandoning it in the car. By the time a stranger pulled over there were flames coming from under the hood and the fire department was on the way, and I remember this man grabbing the stroller with my purse and some other stuff from the trunk sitting on it and saying, “We should move further away,” and pulling everything down the road away from the car. The car burned down to the frame, the fire department put out the flames before they crept into the bushes off the road, and it ended up being really the best ending possible to a story that begins, “One afternoon, my car spontaneously combusted.”

I got a new car and moved the stroller into that trunk. And there’s it’s stayed, taking up most of the usable space, forcing me to load groceries and Target bags and laundry and recycling and everything into the front seat or squished around the kids in the backseat. (There are two kids by this point in the story.) Most days it feels like this:


But the thing is, the second kid isn’t even little anymore, and she doesn’t want to ride in anything—a stroller, a grocery cart, whatever. She wants to walk. Or as she says, “Me do it!” And the big one is the size of a small pony so it’s not like he even really fits in the stroller. It’s just been taking up space lately, which is a valuable resource that we’re rapidly depleting as it is.

So this weekend, my parents were here, and we took advantage of them and their big truck by giving them a lot of kid stuff that’s been outgrown or discarded: toys that don’t get played with, and the stroller no one will use. It was a weirdly emotional moment, loading it into the back of their truck. I know someone else will be able to use it, but we just used it so much over the last five years. It’s a monumentally empty space now…which is good, because we need the empty space to grow into.

As God intended…filled only with LaCroix and sand:


Next on the list: the changing table.

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Halloween 2017

At the beginning of October, I made a list of Halloween activities I wanted to do this month. I still feel like last year we got a little cheated out of Halloween (we were all super sick with a terrible flu on the actual day (and following days)) so I wanted to really throw us into it this year. Also, B is old enough to be really into it, and H is a lemming and will do whatever he does, so it was really fun to have two kids who were eager to dress up, trick or treat, do crafts, read scary books, and on and on.

My list went (in no particular order):

Bad Apple jamberrys (they glow in the dark!)

Spiderweb craft using B’s hand and string for a web – I think this actually turned out pretty cute!

Pumpkin patch – this is Lemos Farms in Half Moon Bay

Go home to visit grandparents and see the corn maze

Boo Fest at school

Decorate Halloween cookies

Gel clings on windows (a tradition now!)

Show the kids Hocus Pocus and The Nightmare Before Christmas (he liked it!)

Pumpkin carving

Finish B’s costume – this was my rendering using a pajama base from

Shorten H’s Moana dress…she’s such a ham. In this picture, she’s just showing off her flower to the camera.

Trick or treating! Here is Moana and Puss in Boots:

And here is the embarrassingly large amount of candy they collected:

A good October! And now we are doing a few Thanksgiving-themed things before we dive headfirst into Christmas starting on November 24. Happy holidays!



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