things that are temporary


Soft-shell crabs.  The warm spot in the ocean, a broken heart, the lead in the school play.  Last licks.
Seahorses, your target heart rate, the jalapeño cornbread basket, and a bad hair day. 
Cherry blossoms, Marathon Sunday, sleep, and cabin fever. 
Your library book, veal, your magazine subscriptions, and the rain.
The miniature marshmallows in your instant hot chocolate, a fear of the dark, the previews at the movie theater.
Food coma, The U.S. Open, and the batteries in your remote. 
Pub lunches, crisp fries piled onto your burger, a bucket of golf balls, and the last set of lat pull-downs.  Ripe melons.
Sleep-away camp romances, lightening bugs, airings of It’s a Wonderful Life, and long nails.
Root canal, comic-strips, and Saturday morning cartoons.
A rush of adrenaline, training bras, and feeling satiated after eating Chinese food.
Getting your ass kicked at Scrabble, candlelight, luminous copper pots, and sore feet.

A clean shave, virginity, parking meters, and some marriages.
My moods, our health, drinks with umbrellas, and the day.
His bad temper, a bad haircut, pimples, sunburn, and the heat.
A restraining order.
That job offer, your waistline, and Bush’s term.
Free cone day at Ben & Jerry’s, The Spice Girls, the flavor of your gum, and orgasms.
Beaujolais Nouveau, opportunity, friendships, pain, and infatuation.
Jersey tomatoes, the ozone layer, card games, and staring contests.
All baseball records (aside from Cal Ripken Jr.’s consecutive games and Pete Rose’s hitting streak).
Perms, the mint that grows in your yard, and a hockey power play.
Trading hours, oil prices, Menudo, and baby teeth.
Snowfall, hiccups, an itch, and apple-picking season.
Dim sum Sunday, a cab ride from 82nd and Lex to Blue Ribbon Sushi, and winter according to the groundhog.

The lines at Thunder Mountain, the scent of Evelyn roses, the pre-show of the Academy Awards, and small talk.
A crackling fire, hangovers, history, and Stila lip glaze tubes.
L’oreal anti-frizz gel, light bulbs, and the summer.
Road construction on the L.I.E., a standing ovation, shoulder pads,  and my friendship with #6.
The spotlight, double-breasted suits, big hair, and names like Myrtle. 
The New Kids On The Block, mistakes, and Lent.
Hunger, a warm plate of cookies, dinosaurs, school, first impressions, and life.
Your mother-in-law’s visit from out of town, the Cabbage Soup Diet, the honeymoon, and foreskin.

Things that are not:
a diamond is forever, scars, regrets, and our love for our children.



  1. That's very Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon-like. Years ago, I wrote a whole series of diary entries based on her titles. They're wonderful ways to spark writing.

  2. Love your words. They fill my very depressed empty body right now and inspire me to find my own.

    your babies are beautiful. I think I am having post-partum depresseion. Did you ever feel that? Ever at all?

  3. This made me laugh and reminded me of the pain involved in birthing my children. "It's only temporary" is the phrase I clung to and played on repeat.

  4. these are the posts that drew me to your post from the beginning. i love lists like this one that are thought-provoking and make you think, "oh yeah that one too…"

    hope you're hanging in there w/ the babies and getting some more sleep. don't beat yourself up about breast feeding. NOT worth it, really. i pumped for 4 months and drove myself BANANAS!!

  5. "a broken heart." let's hope so.

    although I think that even when you're not "heartbroken" anymore, you're still a little heartBENT.

    marvelous post.

  6. I got news for you; EVERYTHING IS TEMPORARY!!!
    (in the 'big picture' sense of things)

  7. What a rush of emotion. That was a fantastic, thought provoking post. I love the images you create with your words.

  8. Your babies have such adorable little chicken legs. I love the way they seem to realize each others presence.

  9. "We didn't start the FIRE!.. da na naaa na.."
    This post is just like that Billy Joel song.
    Make of that what you will…

  10. Swear to God everytime I open this page, this post has grown longer. More and more things have been added to the laundry list.

    It's like a monster. By tomorrow, it will have eaten the entire internet.

    FROM STEPHANIE: Yes, that's the point. The list itself is temporary.

  11. Regrets can be temporary! They are when you like who and where you are, and thus realize that every decision you made led you to the place you're in now.

    I agree with what you once said about being suspicious of a date that claims to "have no regrets" but only because such a statement reflects a lack of thoughtfulness or humility. It's one thing to view events in the past and realize that if the situation arose today, you would take a different course, but that's not quite regret. Regret implies that you're still living in the past, still focused on what could have been. We've all spent more time there than we'd like, I'm sure, but here's hoping it's not permanent!

    FROM STEPHANIE: I think we can regret hurting someone. You can make peace with that, receive an acceptance of your apology, but it's still a regret you have, even if you learned from it.

  12. What a wonderful first list. I wish that you would expand the second. My daughter's name is Hadassah, which is a lovely name in Hebrew, but which technically means "myrtle plant." But, of course, we never call her "Myrtle." All in all, a very good read.

  13. That's a really good point, made me stop and think for a while. But I'm sticking to my guns. Even with an apology from the person you hurt, it can be hard to forgive yourself for having done so. But the person you hurt undoubtedly healed and hopefully learned from the experience. So why hang onto it? What makes us want to retain guilt when it doesn't even help the person we hurt? Maybe to keep ourselves humble, maybe to make sure we don't do it again. But that kind of shame doesn't do us, or the other person, much good. I know this is practically impossible to say when you're in it and easy to say from the outside, but forgiving yourself doesn't mean you're taking your actions lightly. It just means that you have faith in the other person's ability to heal and that you understand that people are imperfect. We make mistakes, we hurt each other. We don't have to hang on to it just to prove to ourselves that we *really* feel bad about it.

  14. I love when you write these kinds of posts. Unfortunately for me, training bras, or rather, double AA's, have not become temporary for me after breastfeeding 3 kids. I miss my B's. Sigh. That's the one negative that I don't remember anyone commenting about in your previous posts. But, onward and upward (well, maybe not exactly upward).

    How amazing is it that you know that indescribable feeling of the love you have for your children?

  15. "All baseball records (aside from Cal Ripken Jr.'s consecutive games and Pete Rose's hitting streak)."

    Cy Young's 511 wins. since 1911. :-)

  16. you both make interesting points about regret. my only real regrets involve people that i loved who had died. my mom died when i was 24, and while we were extrememly close, always said i love you, always did nice things for each other just make the other feel cared for and appreciated, i still wish that i hadn't been 24 when she died. i was just coming out of that young adult thing (and before that i serious depression that had dogged me throughout HS and college), and i was being thoughtless and nearsighted, forgetting to call her sometimes, staying in nyc for holidays with all my cool artist freinds instead of going home, lost in my own world of first jobs and career dilemas, roomates, dating, nyc. i worried about my looks and fretted more than i care to admit about what i should wear and how i appeared and how i sounded. ugh. and now all that time i spent doing nothing, worrying about crap, parties, money, being crazy, being young, sometimes it makes me feel ill to think about it. and i know that i wasn't any different than many 20 somethings, and that i was a good daughter, and that i didn't know that she was going to die young, and if i did, i would have made different choices. and when she got sick, i did-i moved back home that week and and moved into the hospital and took care of her. and i know that if the situation occurs again, and i'm the mom, and i'm sick, i would fault my daughter nothing if there were years of teen modiness and tantrums, boundary setting and the million and one distractions of new independence. but still. i can't help wish something had been differnt. i can't stop thinking, but still. i don't really know what purpose that feeling does. i never had it until my mom got cancer, and a way it marks that, and my sudden adulthood. childhood was regret free, adulthood had regrets and with them a much deeper awareness of time, cause and effect, whats important, whats not.

  17. "Nothing is more permanent than the temporary," so say the Greek. Take opportunity and Bush's term (from your list) for example.

  18. i agree with it all except for one: regrets. some of my regrets used to make me cringe with shame, and as i got older i learned to accept them as part of my growth process. they became points or moments in time, and no longer regrets. i began to view them as necessary steps to my development and started to ease up on myself, especially after i had my daughter. i think you will too.

    wish i could meet you…


  19. Actually I would have to say that the mint that grows in your garden is not temporary. As a weed, it keeps coming back year after year, which is the best part!

  20. Great Post! I sent it to both my teenage daughters, asked them if they'd ever made such a list…

    Also checked out the new pictures of the kids….so adorable. SO ADORABLE. Carbon copy baby Beers you got there ;)

  21. If number six is your least important ex-friend and as annoying and inconsequential as you claim, why mention her here? seems like you REALLY want her to know how you feel about her and to hurt her (I didn't comment on that post, but did think it very mean, on the assumption that she read it and knew it was about her).

  22. I loved this post. It really got me to thinking about a lot of things that have been going on around me. I've been a reader for awhile now, I don't comment that often, but I had to let you know that I enjoy your posts.. The ones that bring about the most controversy to the simple ones that speak volumes. :)

  23. The feeling that you can start everything from anew is only temporary and occasional. But is great. And is what makes the life nicer to live, and the hope easier to sustain

    1. Foreskins are temporary if you’re a Jewish boy. They only have theirs for 8 days or so depending on their family and the situation of their birth.

  24. To Barbara E. Hemorrhoids are forever, sorry to break it to ya… they are just in remission. I guess surgery would be an option but that sounds like a pain in the ass, too… (-;

  25. Am I imagining things or did you put up a few more of the babies? Regardless I noticed the last few today and man I miss my baby being that small, with that silky skin, tiny lips and balled up baby fists.

    Lucas makes me laugh for some reason. Maybe it's his expression. He just looks so laid back and chilled.

  26. i'm with you, bloggadocio… thank goodness the stress of planning a wedding is only temporary… no matter how hard we try to make it stress free! i feel your pain… good luck!

    stephanie, good call on the stila lip gloss! i am in love with it and this gave me a good reason to hit the mall this weekend. great list… thank you for a fun writing exercise i'm going to try with my english students today!

  27. "You added foreskins. Foreskins aren't temporary. They're a body part, for goodness sake."

    For Jewish boys they are temporary. If a baby boy is born healthy, it is removed on the 8th day in a ceremony called a bris. Temporary.

  28. Hot stock tip alert! Assuming Maggie's correct about my 'rhoids, I'm about to send witch hazel futures through the roof. But I hope she's wrong :(

  29. My bad, I forgot sometimes Stephanie is part-Jewish.

    Since her son was still in NICU on day eight, I guess she'll have to do a bris now that he's out, unless she just went ahead and signed for the doctor to do it, which would make it more of an elective circumcision, really.

    The trend among non-Jews is moving toward non-circumcision being the norm in the USA. In most European countries, it already is the norm.

  30. More importantly, Stephanie, who do you have in your March Madness brackets? What about Texas? You're down there in Austin. Can the Longhorns go all the way? And what about A&M? Are the Aggies for real? And how about Texas Tech? If your answers turn out to be the right ones and I win my office pool, I'll love you forever!

  31. Whoa, what a list! I read them with such interest—totally fascinating how you came up with all of them. And a lot of it was very familiar from your writing as well.

    I have to disagree with you about the diamond is forever part—-sometimes we give people diamonds, and it doesn't mean forever once the break up or divorce has taken place.


  32. Oh, this is the joy of the rose:
    That it blows,
    And goes.

    There is beauty in impermanence.
    Very often there is just relief – New Kids on the Block..

    Loved this post *_*

  33. That was awesome in that you conveyed the feelings, evoked memories, pointed out truisms, were poignant and funny. Quite an accomplishment for a half page or so! One to save. Thanks

  34. Your mention of Blue Ribbon Sushi prompts me to ask if you've visited or heard about Uchi on South Lamar yet? If not, perhaps try it the next time you guys want (or need!) a night out and are craving sushi. It's one of my favorite Austin restaurants. If you have already eaten there, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts.

  35. Not to sound petty but New Kids are currently selling out arena’s on tour right now. Just saying

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