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Happy, Happy Birthday Sarah

Happy, Happy Birthday ... May all your dreams come true ... Happy, Happy Birthday from Red Robin to you ... Sarah has the patience and good humor to have endured that obnoxious song during the years that it was my favorite. No, not when I was seven, it was during college. Sarah_amy_in_canada_1

I love Sarah for a million reasons, but toward the top of the list is the fact that she has the best laugh in the world.

Sarah and I have been friends through so many phases it's not even funny. Well, a little bit funny when you look at the pictures. We were friends from high school j obs working at the Sunset Grill in Gig Harbor to the better part of two years as roommates in college. Sarah's been my friend through phases that make me cringe to remember.

My first memory of us as friends is after an away game in high school, we had a late tennis match and after finishing our games, we were waiting and talking and laughing in the van. And eating the surprisingly delightful combination of Satsuma mandarins and sugar cookies. The whole box of them. If I remember correctly.

Sarah is an awesome friend and was an amazingly patient and good-natured roommate. The only fight I remember us having was waged (by me) in sticky notes and lasted very briefly. Something to do with a hair dryer and me being an impatient, mean person in the morning.

Sarah is a good sport and always game for little adventures. More than once we drove to Canada on a moment's notice. There was also one spur of the moment debacle when she agreed to go on a little adventure driving up to Mt. Baker in my Geo (where she had perma-shotgun) with pillows in tow so we could sleep in the car. We came home early because a) it was freezing and b) it was freaky/stupid to sleep in a Geo on the side of the Mt. Baker Highway. And another night, during finals week, we went for a drive to get some smokes and she woke up beside me wondering why we were still driving, and by the way where are we? Some of my favorite memories are from Sarah and me living together: checking the mail, sharing clothes like her awesome Suicide Suedes, talking for hours and hours, studying (there was studying, right?), napping whenever we felt like it, watching Silk Stalkings, and playing games. And learning to navigate the stages of being on our own from defrosting a mini-fridge, stacking bunk beds to the point of fire hazards and reveling in the pleasures of not having anyone to tell you to clean your room. Ever.





In a lot of ways, Sarah knows me better than anyone, all the different me's I've been since I was 17. And she's been a true, loyal, loving, honest, awesome and genuine friend to all of them. I adore you and wish you a healthy, happy year ahead with much to laugh about!

Dear Editor


word count: 41,149


For all the times people have heard me say "I am so writing a letter!" they might be surprised to hear I just wrote my first letter to an editor this summer. I've written plenty of letters, positive and negative, to the customer service departments of many companies but I've never followed through on writing and mailing a letter to a publication until this summer. In April I read an article in Poets & Writers about Janice Erlbaum and her book "Girlbomb" and called the bookstore from the coffee shop to see how soon they could get it ordered for me. I love that book. I thought about writing a letter but you know, got busy or whatever. I figured surely someone else would write in to acknowledge what a great article and book it was. So I was shocked when I picked up the May/June issue to find the letter posted here. WTF? I was so pissed I filled the letters page with handwritten notes and meant to write a letter the second I got home. And then - again - I didn't. But it nagged at me and transferred from to do list to to do list until I finally sat down and wrote it. I don't know if it'll get published or not, but I felt better having sent it off. This mentality that our good is limited and only a select few can be successful is so infuriating.

Here's my letter:

Dear Editor, I was surprised and disappointed with Mary Bem's letter "Down and Dirty Memoir" in response to Amy Rosenberg's article featuring Janice Erlbaum's memoir Girlbomb. ("First" by Amy Rosenberg, March/April 2006). I am compelled to take issue with the letter writer’s sarcastic, disparaging, dismissive tone. It seems that she made a judgment based on a pull-quote and slammed Erlbaum as a greedy memoirist with nothing but a dirty tale to spin. I admit the pull quote got my attention. I went immediately back to the bookstore where I purchased my Poets & Writers and ordered the book. It is now among my favorite books, in large part due to Erlbaum’s honesty, irreverence and her bravery in telling the truth about her experience. I also enjoyed it because she’s a talented, witty and clever writer. Though we’re all entitled to our opinion, I encourage Ms. Bem to recognize there’s room in the publishing industry for a range of experiences and styles of writing. To respond so bitterly to a fellow writer’s success is a shame. The suggestion that memoir writing is a “game of one-upmanship” is ludicrous. To imply that Erlbaum engaged in said game is offensive. Respectfully, Nathalie Hardy

Quenched Quest

Perfectdrink I've worked all summer on creating the perfect beverage. My first concoction ended with flames coming off the burner. Today, though, I nailed it. The perfect beverage for me. I took this recipe from the best of Cooking Light and added my own twist - mixing in club soda. Caffeinated, bubbly, refreshing, low calorie, cheap and easy. At last, my quest is quenched.

Notes: To see the full recipe, double click on the picture, you should be able to scroll down. If that doesn't work, let me know and I'll post it. Also, I used Splenda instead of sugar and to save time I didn't follow all of the directions; this may or may not be the reason for aforementioned fire. I recommend snipping off the paper tag on the teabags before dangling them over the pot.

Disclaimer: this is not the perfect beverage for mint haters.

The Longest Sunday

Do you ever get Sunday back-to-work blues? You know, you're going about your weekend and all of a sudden this feeling creeps up on you that tomorrow is a Monday. And then there's a little nagging anxiety, or a full-blown panic attack, depending on who you are. So for me right now, facing going back to work on Monday after having enjoyed this wonderful summer break is like having a perfect long weekend and this last week of summer is like the longest Sunday. So this Thursday morning at 10:30 equates to about 6 p.m. on Sunday, where you know you can't finish everything you thought you'd get done that weekend, but if you let go a little you could still enjoy a nice, peaceful evening. Or, you could destroy it by stressing and worrying.

I'm struggling to keep the angstiness at bay and just enjoy the next few days. But as my vacation nears its end, it's tempting for me to feel like I wasted it by not accomplishing everything that was on my "to do list". Honestly, though it really was more like a "to do manifesto." Okay, so I didn't loose 4o pounds, or write an entire novel or organize everything in my house. But I did: submit parts of my manuscript to an agent, write 1/4 of my first novel, read books, swam, learned that my bike actually does go up hill, ran a mile, made a funky-looking lasagna, tried some new recipes, organize a couple closets, served jury duty, spent time with friends, slept well ... and got refreshed to go back to work. I trust this year will be different. I love my job and am going to work hard at focusing on the positive things.

No Apologies: your thoughts?

Word count: 37,652

I'm working on an essay for Brain,Child the magazine for thinking mothers (this magazine totally, totally rocks). I look forward to reading this magazine every season, and I'm not even a parent. I would be proud to write for this magazine. Last weekend it dawned on me that I still might be able to pitch to them because I can offer some thoughts from this side of the fence: the married without children side. So I'm not single, but childless sounds so ... I don't know, like I'm missing something. And I do want to have kids but I'm okay with the fact that I don't right this second. I've been drafting this essay in my head and journals for a couple years - things I wish people with kids remembered about life from this side of the world. Back in the day when my mom-friends could leave the house in three minutes or less versus the thirty it takes now, and that's on an extremely good day.

So I started that draft yesterday, the working title, and I think I'll stick with it is called: "No apologies" and in essence it's about how yeah, children change everything, but that doesn't mean it's for the worst. My favorite parts so far:

As the debates rage on about the myriad choices women make regarding careers and children, I try to remember this essential truth: we are two sides of the same leaf. The chasm between those of us with and those without children isn't as wide as The Others would like us to believe. We all love to laugh, share stories of daily minutiae and need comfort after meltdowns. To think news of a girlfriend's pregnancy will not alter a friendship is naive. To assume the change will be negative isn't giving yourself or your friends due credit for weathering the shifting priorities with your usual wit, honesty and a willingness to grow into the changes.

Just as much as you don't want to have to apologize for being a mom, I don't want to feel guilty for being single. So let's don't.

Yes, I realize this is just a super way to offend and alienate some friends, but this is supposed to be general and I'm not trying to offend anyone, just share some thoughts - so some of the points I'm making include (in no particular order):

  • Unless I specifically asked, or we're like best friends, please, dear God, spare me the most specific details of your labor experience. Remember when your little brother first saw a tampon? Okay, that's how I feel when I hear terms like "ripening cervix" or "herniated navel." I know it might make me seem immature, and I can just hear it now, "If you can't handle words like that, you're most certainly not ready for the experience." I love you. I care that you were in pain and that maybe some horrible things happened. Surely you have other--wiser--friends you can talk to? Until I join your club, no more talk about mucus plugs, okay?
  • No, I don't know what it's like. Don't assume I do. I have no idea how tired you actually are. Cramming for finals is the closest I can get to relating to your sleep deprivation. And even then, there were, um--sleeping aides. It was seven months before I knew one of my dearest friends hadn't had a full night's sleep since the day her daughter was born. I admit, I thought she meant she was extremely tired. I didn't realize when she said "I'm tired" in a quiet voice that she meant "I'm exhausted beyond fucking coping."
  • If a friend without children gives you a bizarre baby gift, it's just 'cause we really don't know what you need. Registering is extremely helpful. Except for those of us who can't go into a Babies R Us without having a panic attack. I might get you baby-themed scrapbooking supplies, because that I can relate to. It's not that I'm trying to say you have nothing but time now so get started on scrapbooking your baby's journey from womb to wage-earner. And I'm not implying that you're a bad mom if you have no intention of filling out the baby book beyond, name, date, height and weight.
  • Perhaps the most intolerable thing is this phrase: "Oh, you just wait!" This is usually said in a menacing tone and comes across as a threat.

That's just a couple of things. I'm still working on the first draft. So I'm curious to hear your thoughts - from moms and ... and (what's a better word for non-moms???!?) - about what you wish your friends knew?

The guy's got guts

Tim_and_nat Matt and I were trying to remember what we did last year for our anniversary. Clearly it wasn't an epic celebration. When I found this picture dated 8-12-2005 I remembered we'd gone out for a drink and dinner and instead of the movie we'd planned to see, we went to a friend's house because Tim was in town. Tim's the type of guy you change plans for--even anniversary plans--because you don't want to miss out on seeing him.

Tim's the kind of person you just feel good being around. He's defiantly in the loose cannon category. You never know what's going to come out of his mouth. One of my favorite Tim stories is when he had his thumb wrapped and hand out of commission. His friends tried to get him to go skiing but he didn't want to do anything that might get him hurt as he had a ton of work to do at the shop. So, they opted to go to the safer Family Fun Park where Tim hurt his hand on the bumper cars. (If I remember correctly). The fact that Tim saw the humor in that makes him my kind of guy.

Also putting him high on my list is his sense of humor and loyalty. He's been through a remarkable year where the things he figured he could always count on to stay the same, didn't. And although he may not be quite ready to send any thank you notes to those who hurt him, he's managed to stay focused on what's positive and continue to be healthy and happy at heart. I respect Tim for dealing with life head-on. The guy's got guts.

I love ya Tim Tait. Partly it's because I like saying Tim Tait, partially because you're one of the coolest.

p.s. Tim's birthday was in March ... I'm catching up slowly but surely!

Just Peechy

Recently, I met a guy who'd never seen a Pee-Chee. True story. We were all reminiscing about our Pee-Chees and his face was blank. Not even a glimmer of recognition. He seemed normal enough, so obviously Pee-Chee deprivation didn't screw up his childhood, but still, I worried for him. I decided that although it would be a delayed experience, his development as a true child of the 80's was incomplete without a Pee-Chee to decorate with the initials of his crush (E+N 4-EVR) and the names of his favorite bands.

So the search was on - I checked ebay first and was surprised to find the very same Pee-Chees I threw out with my collection of German quizzes are now worth up to $10. What in the hell? So after a little research, I discovered, though it might be a rumor, that Pee-Chees are (prepare yourself emotionally for the following statement) no longer being made. That's right. No more Pee-Chees. Upon hearing that, Rosie promptly proclaimed, "That's what's wrong with America today!"

I am still waiting to hear back on my email to Mead Corporate to get the skinny on the situation. But it seems to be true - here's an article I enjoyed reading with some pictures of seriously old-school Pee-Chees.

After searching all over town, I finally found some Pee-Chees for .75 each at our little local market. A little dusty, but familiar as ever. I also found an - um - alternative Pee-Chee on e-bay: Um, is that a keg stand? Yeah- we didn't have those when I was in school ... keg stands, yes. Pee-Chees with someone hitting a bong, not so much.

Osculating Alcopops

Word Count: 33,578

day's discoveries:

I used to wonder who goes to websites for products like Mike's Hard Lemonade. People like me. I like to do my own research to avoid any embarrassing copy editing corrections. Obviously, with my grammar skills as atrocious as they are, I keep them busy enough without making them look up the actual calorie contents of  Mike's Hard Lime. Curious? A Krispie Kreme has 20 less calories than a 12 oz. bottle. Also, drinks like that are called Alcopops. "Want a beer? No, thanks I'll just have an Alcopop."

Stranger still, I can't believe how hard it is to come up with synonyms for "kissing." I've highlighted the two that really baffled me.

kiss 7kis8


  Syn.                 salute, osculate, baiser (French), caress, French-kiss, soul-kiss, blow a kiss, smack*, smooch*, pet*, buss*, neck*, make out*, play post office*; see also caress, love             2, touch            1.

See lick, neck*, thank

Osculate? I can hardly use that in a sentence, even mockingly. It sounds like something you pay extra for in the porn industry.

"May I osculate you goodnight?"

"Did you guys osculate?"

"How could you osculate her while you were dating me?"



where does a city’s heart beat loudest?

pulsing thru the pavement –

electric energy absorbed by the soles

of your Adidas, Nine Wests and Dr. Martens

mysteriously contorting frowns to smiles

you pass by a homeless man

crouching, clutching a Styrofoam cup

the kind for coffee

no change in your pocket

but coffee—yeah—that sounds good

stop at the next Starbucks

where does it beat loudest?

in the interactions, daily rituals

names of no importance

it’s in the lady who wears her

hair in a tight bun, smiling as she tips

the guy with a nose-ring

who always remembers

you like it

nonfat, foamy



by nathalie hardy june 1999

Only if you really hate your kid. And even then ...

Today's Word Count: 2,155

As I was looking for a character name that fit the image in my head, I went to my trusty source: The Baby Name Network where I found something quite distressing. I am hoping there has been a typo. A gigantic, German typo. According to this site, the number one most popular name for baby girls is: Schmetterling. **Seriously. How horrifying is that? And, sure, it means butterfly--and butterflies are oh, so pretty. However, there is nothing pretty, or kind, about naming your baby Schmetterling. In fact, when I got my first car, a lovely Geo Metro thank you very much, I wanted to name it after one of my favorite things-- the butterfly. I considered Papillion and Mariposa before settling on the Slovak, Motylek. Never, ever did I--even for a single second--consider naming my Geo Schmetterling.

**The day after I posted this, I checked back on the site and now the number one girls name is: Elizabeth. The lovely Schmetterling isn't even on the top 100 ... Currently, as of 8-8-2006 at 12:42 p.m. the top pick for boy names is: Lavache (from Shakespeare's Alls Well that Ends Well) Really? Lavache?