An Open Letter to My Mother’s Chihuahua

The Daily Life Text

Dear DaiBee,

You are a wee thing with many contradictions. It is my hope that you can help me to sort some of these in speedy fashion.
Hopefully these things can be resolved with minimal brain power on my part. Seven days with you has exhausted me.

1. You will only eat one kibble at a time, and then, only if your food has been topped with Sprocket kibble. You turn up your nose at fresh cucumber, pomegranate seeds, and blueberries, all of which Sprocket eats with impunity. And yet, you will happily gnaw at a petrified piece of fig on the ground, right next to your own poo. You’ll eat it particularly quickly if some other creature (bird, raccoon, squirrel) has taken its share and then discarded it. Same goes for random seed pods. Don’t look away. You know what I’m talking about.

Also, you are terrified of ice cubes in your own water bowl. If it is in your bowl it is safe to eat. How can I help you to understand?


2. You yap yap yap for no particular reason, and then, when shown the thing that is making the noise that made you yap, you stand stock still and refuse to go anywhere. This is not normal behavior. You have HUGE EYES. Can you not see these things are not bothering you?

photo 2

2a. You don’t do anything without scurrying–freaky little claws on my laminate floor–and yet, when we go to walk you, you sometimes lock your legs and refuse to move. This is not good. This makes your walks very short because they take a REALLY LONG TIME.

photo 3

3. You are so little. And SO loud.

4. When you see something you are afraid of, you stand in the middle of the street. (???)

5. You need to pee at 4:27 every morning. (This is not a contradiction; this is just weird.)

6. You are growing on me, like a fungus. But if I counted the number of times you annoyed me, they would probably just about even out the number of times you have been sweet.

I think that is enough for now. When you have sorted yourself out, you are more than welcome to all the shriveled figs in our backyard. But don’t blame me if you’re out there, chewing on some dried fig, and you end up a snack for the rock doves.


Auntie Yi Shun

A User’s Guide to Post-Residency*

The Daily Life Text

*Or, any intense period of Doing the Things You Love to Do Most.

1. Upon landing at home airport, immediately feel lost and bereft due to one of the three following reasons:

a. Am no longer scheduled to the eyeballs and therefore have no idea where to go.

b. Am too used to having only two places to go (home, school) and am therefore boggled by many choices (BAGGAGE CLAIM? GROUND TRANSPORT? BATHROOM? WATER FOUNTAIN? SNACK STAND???)

c. Am ridiculously hungry due to morning spent mooning around friend’s apartment, wondering where other friends are and then realizing they are nowhere near because residency is over.

2. In automobile home from airport, sulk because spousal unit is not a writer and therefore must be terrible company. Anyway, spousal unit is in midst of annoying in-car-speaker-abled conference call and cannot hear you talk anyway. Put hands over ears.

3. Upon arrival at home, spread baggage all over kitchen. Refuse to clean up. Sprawl on couch, morose. Remove brassiere without taking off shirt because cannot be arsed with anything. Pull blanket over self; stare at ceiling.

4. Remember have tons of lavender souvenirs in suitcase and therefore suitcase must smell like Whidbey Island. Open suitcase. Ignore spousal unit’s cry of joy that you are actually doing laundry so soon after arrival. Root through all clothing until find all lavender souvenirs. Leave mess. Bury face in lavender things.

5. Eat egg salad for dinner.

6. Remember that have not watched TV in 10 days. Therefore am clearly in need of 6-hour marathon of Inspector Lynley reruns. (Based on Whidbey-Island-based novelist Elizabeth George‘s mystery series!)

7. Run out of Inspector Lynley reruns.

8. Eat egg salad for breakfast.

9. Check facebook, Twitter madly for news of Whidbey MFA friends. Remember newly-downloaded Instagram. Check that, too.


10. Set up computer at kitchen bar because cannot stand sight of office.

11. Scribble in awesome new diary from friend.

12. Feel better.

13. Peek at deadlines. Feel immediately worse.

14. Get hiccups. Postpone conference call by three minutes due to hiccups. Hiccup through conference call.

15. Peek into office. See souvenirs from graduation, letters from friends, last Sunday’s NYT magazine.

16. Feel better. Answer e-mails.

17. Clear wall for scenes from needs-dusting-off novel.

18. Send query letters.

19. Put away suitcase. Do laundry. Imagine spousal unit’s joy.

20. Feel better.