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2003-08-28 | 2:08 p.m.

The way to make money, I'm told, is to appeal to people's interests. (Actually, I've also been told that you can make money "doing what you love," but come on. So far that strategy hasn't panned out.) Anyway, the point is, I've been thinking I should write a book called Women in Quicksand, because that is by far the top search phrase used to reach my site via search engines. By the same reasoning, my second book should be called She Peed Her Pants.

The girls are going to have a luau birthday party here on Saturday, and the house remains in its usual militant disarray. I do work on it, have been working on it all week, but there is a lot that hasn't been done. I keep waiting for a burst of energy that never comes. I've tried to enlist the kids to help but it is an exercise in futility. Easier to let them watch Willow. What can I say? It's easier to clean the house when they're not moving.

I talked to another homeschooling mother who described how easy her children are, how they don't have TV or computer games, how they work quietly together on projects, and how very helpful they are. I know it's all true, and I could not but marvel. Before I could build up much in the way of envy, I found out from someone else that the mother also has cancer. And the part of me that is me at my most brutally essential thinks better that I have feral children than cancer. Cancer scares the hell out of me.

Five or six gunshots fired off around 11 p.m. last night. Always from the house at the end of the street. Another neighbor, Claudette, called this morning to plot strategy. She has a million miles of energy and no kids, so I put her on the speed-bump project. I tried to get it going, but after they sent me the paperwork, I lost it. They told me it would take a couple of years so I couldn't feel the momentum, I guess. But knowing Claudette, we will have speed bumps within the year.

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